The greatest sins are neither the most spectacular nor the most fun. Dishonesty operates under cover and bears no necessary relation to pleasure. Yet no sin is more destructive of morality. The dishonest person has lost his integrity. And when this is lost, all is lost. Integrity is an ingredient of all morality, a fiber woven into every virtue; without it, every virtue becomes a form of hypocrisy.

The Dean of Boston University’s Marsh Chapel said recently in a sermon that studies suggest that 40 to 80 per cent of college students cheat—some more and some less. They cheat, said the Reverend Robert H. Hamill, to outwit the professor, to beat the system (when grades count too much), and to please overly ambitious parents. But even more significant is Dean Hamill’s assertion that college students also regard cheating in school as a good preparation for the kind of society they will soon enter to compete for success. “When they see public officials grafting from public funds, citizens cheating on income taxes, loose law enforcement, … students conclude they must train themselves for sophisticated skulduggery in the future, and the campus seems a good place to practice!”

On or off campus, dishonesty ought to be recognized for what it is: moral suicide, a disintegration of the moral self. The dishonest person is morally fractured. He is double-minded. He has lost his integrity, his wholeness, for dishonesty is by definition the deceptive act in which one attempts to appear to be what he is not. And the conscious attempt to appear to be what one is not is hypocrisy. It is often said that you cannot trust a Communist. But neither can you trust a dishonest American. If 40 to 80 per cent of the future leaders of America practice cheating on our campuses and adopt it as a mode of getting on in life, we will soon have to find a better argument against the Communist.

Dishonesty is hypocrisy, and the most religious and moral people of the day received Christ’s most scathing denunciations. Not to the drunkard or to the woman of the street but to the Pharisees (whom everyone regarded as very respectable) did Jesus utter his “Woe unto you hypocrites!” Devoid of integrity, the religion and morality of the Pharisees were more provoking to Christ than the more spectacular and pleasurable sins engaged in by others. Why? Because even the best religion and morality are nothing without integrity.

For all their insistence on the supreme demand of love, the advocates of the “new morality” leave us with no external norm against which we can check our behavior. Unless the Christian Church calls men back to the external biblical moral norms, we can expect moral disintegration to go on apace. And it will be an unhappy world indeed when none of us can trust another because each of us lives by a private morality that is of the self, by the self, and for the self.

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James knew it long ago: A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.

Sword For Sword

In a lead article in the United Church of Canada’s Observer, the Rev. George W. Goth of Hamilton, Ontario, assails “right-wing fundamentalists.” In essence he wants no ecumenical involvement or dialogue or contact with these people. His decision apparently derives from unpleasant correspondence in which he has been called “a whited wall, a sepulchre full of all uncleanness … a child of Satan … on [his] way to Hell on a bob-sled.” “I will not,” he comments, “for the sake of a questionable unity, join hands with these people.…”

No one can justify or condone this kind of letter-writing. But the language of the fundamentalists—to whom as a class Mr. Goth imputes his correspondent’s diatribes—appears by comparison almost pale alongside the language of Mr. Goth. He reciprocates by labeling them as “Neanderthal types who spread their poisonous vapor and hate in the name of Jesus.” They are “human dinosaurs” who “sympathize with their perverted brethren in the Southern states who believe in, and practise segregation.” One can hear the “sanctimonious belching,” listen to the “sickening slogan,” observe the “slanted vision,” of these “pied-pipers.” Mr. Goth says he has more in common “with a Radhakrishnan of India, a Martin Buber of Israel, and even a Bertrand Russell, than … with those whose fanaticism would make God over in their own puny image.” He must oppose these “lilliputian creatures whose arrogance and onesidedness would reduce everyone to the level of an ant heap.”

Certainly the attitude of extremists described by Mr. Goth holds out little hope for fruitful conversation. The best answer to this kind of attitude is to let it speak for itself. Anti-ecumenism spawned upon such terrain must die aborning. But similarly, any ecumenical dialogue built upon the spirit of Mr. Goth’s reply appears as sterile and extreme as the viewpoint he attacks. In the light of the biblical ethic and the express commandment to love friend and enemy alike, hate begotten by hate is as much a betrayal of the Gospel as the hate that provoked such a response. The New Testament enjoins Christians to manifest a spirit of love and compassion. No one who names the name of Christ ought to forsake his deepest convictions. But there are better ways of expressing those convictions than by name-calling and bitterness.

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Red Is Red After All

John C. Bennett’s verdict that “Polish ‘red’ is different from Chinese ‘red’ ” may not be so true as he thinks. The president of Union Theological Seminary, New York, holds that the free world should be more discriminating in its hostility to Communism and not list all Soviet satellites in the same category. But the Polish government’s trial and sentencing of Polish-American writer Melchior Wankiwucz is continuing evidence that there is no true freedom under Communism wherever it prevails.

Writer Wankiwucz’s crime was that he joined thirty-four other intellectuals in a letter to the premier complaining about censorship and restriction of publications and persons critical of the Communist regime.

Eternal vigilance against movements that can lead only to the loss of freedoms inherent in the Christian faith is a daily necessity. Free men must continue to warn against those who would restrict freedom. That some men look with a degree of equanimity on those dark certainties inherent in Communism is in itself a warning. Red may not be red in some sectors of New York, but evidence persists that it remains red in Poland no less than in Russia.

Stripped To The Foundations

Asia commands increasing attention on the front pages, and CHRISTIANITY TODAY will devote an entire issue next July to evaluation of that great continent from a Christian perspective. Soon to return from a six-weeks’ tour, Co-Editor Frank E. Gaebelein has addressed Christian leaders in India and Pakistan and has conferred with missionary statesmen in key Asian cities.

From a political perspective there is little encouragement in Red China’s detonation of a nuclear device, in the worsening war in Viet Nam, in the leftward look of Indonesia and Cambodia. But what of the missionary enterprise, supernational and superracial in its stance? Here too some missionary observers find scant ground for optimism. Not only has one-third of the globe fallen under Red banners, but Christians in Asia are outnumbered and outfought in the greatest onslaught since the Muslims wiped out Christianity in North Africa thirteen centuries ago. Communist leaders believe in their false faith more intensely than some Christian leaders seem to believe in the true faith. In the present time of trouble in Asia, says Dr. Samuel H. Moffett, distinguished Presbyterian missionary in Korea, the faith of the Christians “is stripped to the foundations, and they are either standing there, or they fall away.”

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But not all is dark in Asia. There are stirring narratives of Christian advance, new chapters of spiritual devotion. If anything, the sense of urgency about the task of missions has multiplied abroad, while in America some observers detect a loosening of that sense of urgency even in the Christian colleges and seminaries. “Precisely where the Church is growing fastest,” says Dr. Moffett, “it most needs the American missionaries.” It may well be that the spiritual fate of Asia depends as much upon the courageous dedication of evangelical youth in America as upon the perseverance of Asian task forces on the other side of the globe.

How To Compute A Minister’s Salary

The first comprehensive survey of clergymen’s incomes reveals that 81 per cent of them are subsidizing their own ministries by paying a portion of their auto expenses incurred in church business. A guidebook for local churches issued by the National Council of Churches, which conducted the survey, states, “No responsible institution but the church charges part of its business costs against the salaries of its staff members.”

The 5,623 ministers who responded to the survey, from fifteen predominantly white Protestant denominations, traveled an average of 13,468 miles each year on church business at a cost of $1,212. But they received an average car allowance of $649.

In revealing this and other data, such as an increase in personal debts over the past five years and an income that falls “below salesmen and public school teachers, and only a little above clerical workers, craftsmen and factory workers,” the NCC has performed a valuable service. It has done for the minister what he can hardly do for himself.

Yet the distinction between salary and “car allowance” points up the erroneous thinking that so often goes into the determination of ministerial salaries. A minister’s salary should be determined by his need to live and function as a minister in a given community. Since he needs his car to buy groceries, take vacations, and go fishing as much as to make sick calls, a distinction is made between salary and “car allowance.” But this rests on a false premise that projects size of salary in view of such matters as size of the church and ministerial success in gaining members and bringing in money. Too many congregations buy ministers, and too many ministers sell their services. The result is that salaries are determined as are prices in the market place.

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A Test Of Moral Courage

The detention of sixty-three American citizens as “prisoners of war” and the threatened execution of a missionary doctor as a “spy” by fanatical, Communist-inspired Congolese rebels in Stanleyville confronted the United States with a new burden of responsibility. The issue at stake was not colonialism or military aggression but the moral responsibility of the American government to let the world know that her citizens abroad are truly citizens, not orphans.

We do not urge unilateral punitive action against rebels who defy their own government. Were American forces to move into Stanleyville with guns blazing, they would give needless credence to the Communist gossip about Western “colonial conquerors.” A basic premise of counter-insurgency is that military effort is ventured within the framework of indigenous forces that we advise rather than control.

But the United States is obliged to provide protective action for citizens who, in the pursuit of their legitimate occupations, find themselves pawns in the internal strife of an “emerging” nation. We bemoan wars of “containment” that seem to contain only us, and to confer needless advantage upon our enemies. American soldiers die daily in South Viet Nam in a war we have no intention of winning.

America became a great nation because of high moral and spiritual principles and, in this greatness, has been a blessing to the world. At no time more than today do we need a firm return to right above compromise and principle above expediency. Any concept of a “Great Society” must include moral resolve at a time when accommodation to evil is the easier course.

To Tell The Truth

Martin Luther King Jr.’s slur that F.B.I. agents have been slack in civil rights responsibilities was met head-on by Director J. Edgar Hoover’s reply that King is “the most notorious liar in the country.” Mr. Hoover was answering Dr. King’s reported charge that F.B.I. agents in Georgia had failed to act on Negroes’ civil rights complaints because the agents were Southerners. A spokesman for the F.B.I. added that four out of five agents in the Albany, Georgia, office are Northerners and, moreover, that “Mr. King knew it.” Dr. King subsequently denied that he had ever made the charge.

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Since Dr. King is a Baptist minister and a Nobel peace prize recipient and has been editor-at-large of the Christian Century, any criticism is lightly dismissed as “white backlash.” But concern over King’s actions has widened far beyond his efforts to prod F.B.I. agents into the role of civil rights agitators. Some of his associates and advisers have been under close scrutiny, and reports abound that certain developments might seriously impair the moral image of some civil rights crusaders and hence of the cause itself. No stable solution can be found to the vexing social problems of our age apart from a sustained dedication to the whole range of spiritual priorities—truth, righteousness, and love included.

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