Institutional “apartness” confronts the ideal of unity

Soma These Days

One of ray Scottish grandmothers had the unshakable belief that civilizations fall when people take too many baths. “Look at Rome,” she said. “It was when they began paying too much attention to their bodies that decay set in.” More baths, more national decay. It was post hoc, propter hoc reasoning that would probably not stand up, but she was adamant in her discovery.

Wasn’t it Robert Benchley who had an unforgettable movie short called Through the Alimentary Canal with Rod and Gun? This should have settled for all time the worries of most hypochondriacs.

All this arises out of the stitch-by-stitch account we have had recently of President Johnson’s operation and the still fresh memories of Eisenhower’s heart attack. I have no notion of undermining their diseases or the concern the country felt in both cases; but it did get to be just a little too much by the time every newsman had worked off his assignment. Even Moyers broke down a couple of times trying to be serious about the particulars of Johnson’s gall bladder. I am reminded of a modern critic who said that most of our novels have forgotten about the romance of love and have degenerated into clinical analysis.

Just for perspective take a look at President Jackson even before he ran for a second term. Quoting Samuel Eliot Morison’s The Oxford History of the American People, “At the time of his inauguration he carried in his body two bullets which poisoned his system. He suffered from headaches, chronic dysentery, nephritis, and bronchiectasis. In his eight years of office he had at least two severe pulmonary hemorrhages and several attacks of dropsy.”

We are amused by the quaintness of the Puritans’ minute concern for their spiritual life, but maybe my grandmother was right. The more important question is, “Is it well with thy soul?”


‘Organic’ In 1891

In the article by Patrick Rodger on “Organic Church Union” (Nov. 5 issue), the statement was made that the first use of the term “organic unity” dated back to 1907, so far as he had been able to discover.

I have a book written by … John P. Brooks, The Divine Church (1891), [which] refers frequently to the idea of “organic unity” as being desirable for all who are a part of the body of Christ.


Dean of Administration

Kansas City College and Bible School

Overland Park, Kan.

After having read Mr. Rodger’s affirmative reply … one can still be in doubt on the sort of unity that he really is advocating there.… Despite the author’s tentative endorsement of the kind of unity found in Orthodoxy, one looks in vain, in his stress on the local unity of Christians “in one place” and “in every place” with one another, for the Orthodox stress on Christians’ unity with the Incarnate in spirit (faith) and in time—the two spheres of reality that were wedded in the Incarnation. The institutional apartness that happens to separate the members of the several Orthodox dioceses “in one place” like Chicago, extreme as it is and practically undesirable as it may be, in no way essentially invalidates the Orthodox ideal of unity in belief and in practice. This unity, not local institutional unity, is the essential meaning of unity.…

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Chicago, Ill.

The Risks Of Satire

I must say how much I enjoyed “The Stiff-Collar Commentary” (Nov. 5 issue). I heard a “psssssst” from the gas bag of textual criticism as it sought to escape a shiny needle.…


Abilene, Tex.

I’m no scholar, but I can see that undoubtedly he [Koopman] is envious, and no longer feels capable of fulfilling his office, for there is further evidence that he covets Lincoln’s great fame, that he is full of negative thinking, and shows clearly that he has never gotten the meaning of the Ten Commandments, wherein we are told not to “bear false witness”.…


Erie, Pa.

I … am ecstatic over [the article]. I suppose it is logical to atomize somewhat, so I must point out that I feel the address begins with two separate sources written seventy-three years apart—one stating “fourscore years” written in 1856, and the other stating “seven years” written in 1783. This would explain the quaint combination of terms.

I would also have to disagree with the idea that “M” is Mary Todd Lincoln. She may have added the words “proposition” and “birth,” but she was too coy to ever use the word “conceived”; this was from a more Freudian person, possibly M2.…


Seventh Day Baptist Church

Washington, D. C.

I have a photocopy of that original document [Gettysburg Address]. It shows the work of one person—not many.…

To me this wonderful document was Lincoln’s own brain (and heart) child—not … ideas from others.


Freelandville, Ind.

If such an article had appeared in a comic book, it might be overlooked.…


Dubuque, Iowa

“The Stiff-Collar Commentary” is beautiful, simply beautiful. A brilliant parody illustrating the fallacies and pitfalls of those who traffic in such conjecture and hazard as destructive “form criticism”!

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This masterpiece of caricature by Mr. Koopman dramatically points up the inherent vulnerability and ultimate downfall of this specious system which purports by its myoptic scholarship that “It Was There!” and interjects its own sin-blinded speculation instead of letting the inspired Bible with all of its force, truth, and beauty speak to it.…


St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church (Missouri Synod)

Waterbury, Conn.

More On The Confession Of 1967

In researching for an essay on the terms of subscription to the Confession of Faith as currently practiced within our denomination (in view of the proposed changes in these terms), I have come across a classic statement as to the meaning of these terms in the 1867 volume (XXXIX) of the Biblical Repertory and Princeton Review, No. 3 (July), in article 5 entitled “General Assembly” (pp. 440–522), written by Dr. Charles Hodge.…

In view of the significance of this matter for the current debates within our church and the fact that Dr. Hodge’s writings are not available in collections as Dr. Warfield’s are, you could prove of great service to the church by publishing this obscure article to the world of CHRISTIANITY TODAY.


Calvary United Presbyterian Church

Jersey City, N. J.

• Here is an excerpt from Hodge’s essay: “We do not expect that our ministers should adopt every proposition contained in our standards. This they are not required to do. But they are required to adopt the system; and that system consists of certain doctrines, no one of which can be omitted without destroying its identity. These doctrines are, the plenary inspiration of the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, and the consequent infallibility of all their teaching.… It is this system which the Presbyterian Church is pledged to profess, to defend, and to teach; and it is a breach of faith to God and man if she fails to require a profession of this system by all those whom she receives or ordains as teachers and guides of her people.”—ED.

Labels And Libels

Thank you for the useful and pertinent article in the November 5 issue, “Heresies and Hearsays,” by Winston M. Sherwick.


Church of the Nazarene

Carmi, Ill.

In the next to the last paragraph of Sherwick’s article, the first sentence declares that we should speak the truth in love according to Ephesians 4:15, and then the second sentence refers to the fundamentalists as witch-hunters. “Practice what you preach” would be a timely exhortation for the author.…

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All through the article, I couldn’t help but wonder if the author was in the strife-torn CBA and trying to hold up the sinking half. Is he?


McBain Baptist Church

McBain, Mich.

• No. The CBA (Conservative Baptist Association) is not alone in its protest against “heresies and hearsays.”—ED.

For a while there, I rather thought he was using “labels and libels” when he wrote of the “paranoid personalities,” the “emotionally ill people,” the people who have “Messiah complexes,” the “extremists,” and those who participate in “ultra-fundamentalist witch-hunting.”

But, of course, as he used these terms and descriptions, they were not “labels and libels.” After all, Mr. Sherwick is a “soul-winning, life-nurturing Christian.” Please express my gratitude to Mr. Sherwick for describing himself and clarifying his position.

I would surely have thought otherwise!


Second Street Presbyterian

Albemarle, N. C.

A Quaker Speaks

I do not pretend to speak for the 203,000 Friends in the world, not even for the Meeting I serve.… I speak only for myself.…

Two aspects of the Normon Morrison self-immolation are of special interest to Friends. First, the taking of his own life. This, as his widow has well pointed out, is historically unknown in the life of Friends.… For one to destroy with deliberate premeditation any human life, his own included, is in complete contradiction to the spirit and history of the Society.… To think by burning one’s helpless little girl—which appeared, at least, to be his intent—one could halt the burning of little girls elsewhere (as utterly deplorable as this is) makes Friends shudder; the sixth commandment has something to say about this. Friends have never taken kindly to the concept that the end justifies the means.

And yet, something that Morrison did is totally and essentially Quakerly. That he felt a faith is a thing to be lived—a way of life, not a dialectical philosophy or a theological exercise for one’s rational powers divorced from the way he treats his neighbor or his wife—is precisely one of the basic messages of Friends. Though I protest his method, I applaud his attempt to live his religion.…


West Branch Friends Church

West Branch, Iowa

A Good Word

Let me thank you for the good editorial stand for the death penalty on the basis of Bible teaching as given in CHRISTIANITY TODAY.


President and Editor

Sword of the Lord Foundation

Murfreesboro, Tenn.

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World Congress On Evangelism

Congratulations on the World Congress on Evangelism being sponsored as a tenth-anniversary project of CHRISTIANITY TODAY.

I am sure that you are aware of the remarkable fact that in one decade CHRISTIANITY TODAY has become a major voice, if not the major voice, of Protestantism in the United States.

This is refreshing, because of the quality of the material which you have published, the confidence of scholarship, the adherence to biblical truth, and the sincere attempt to bring together in living unit the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ and our contemporary culture. Congratulations.


South Congregational

Hartford, Conn.

Reformation Issue

May I congratulate your magazine on a very fine Reformation issue (Oct. 22). It is one of the best issues which your magazine has produced, I believe.…


First Baptist

Manchester, N. H.

The Clergy And The Psychiatrists

Congratulations to CHRISTIANITY TODAY and Orville S. Walters (“Have Psychiatry and Religion Reached a Truce?,” Oct. 8 issue), for giving us the splendid article on current relations between psychiatry and religion.

It is not often that one reads such a well-balanced statement concerning the situation which exists between clergymen and psychiatrists at the moment. An increasing number of psychiatrists are recognizing that religion has unique resources which not only help an individual to face his emotional illness but provide strength for healing. As the practice of psychotherapy moves ahead on a much broader front than providing pills or attempting to deal with the problem by classical Freudian psychoanalysis, moral and spiritual factors are seen as essential ingredients in an individual’s total health and behavior. While it is true that some psychiatrists are uncomfortable about the religious beliefs of their patients and that some clergymen are very suspicious of the practice of psychoanalysis, as these professional workers work more closely together a much better appreciation of one another’s role and contribution becomes clearer.


Honorary President

Academy of Religion and Mental Health

New York, N. Y.

I began to wonder if this wasn’t another vain attempt to discuss two phenomena in quite different classes.… It appears that Dr. Walters is using Christianity and religion synonymously.…

In my studies and those of many others in this area, religion as a philosophy has not proven to be a particularly significant factor in the study of mental illness.…

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It is too bad that Dr. Walters, in discussing psychiatry, mentions only Freud. In too many minds the two are synonymous. I’m sure he knows differently, but it should be said again that Pavlov, Kraepelin, and Piaget have contributed as much as Freud.


Vancouver. B. C.

Skimming Italy

I have just read your article “Schools and Arts, a ‘Creative Outburst’ ” in the October 22 issue and am very glad to note that some of the facts you are referring to are finally coming out into the open in this country. I am particularly pleased with what you say about my native country, Holland, as you may imagine.… I do think, however, that you have dealt quite superficially with the Italian Renaissance, and in fact have not pointed out the completely pagan basis of this movement which expresses itself in an endeavor to bring about a synthesis between the Word of God and unbelieving humanism (e.g., Plato). I could refer you to quite a number of works by my good friend, Dr. H. R. Rookmaaker, of the Free University of Amsterdam; but as this is all in Dutch, which I presume is not known to you, I am attaching a copy of an article by my friend, Francis H. Schaeffer, called “Christianity and Humanism,” which touches upon this subject when dealing with the paintings of Raphael and Michelangelo.

You will note that this is quite a different proposition than the “aristocratic” character you are writing about although I do concede that, unlike the Reformation, the Renaissance had a tendency to “enlighten” the upper ten. It may be worthwhile to point out this aspect of the Renaissance to the American public.…


Wyckoff, N. J.

• Regrettably, the comment on Italian Renaissance painting was scanty. Space requirements prevented any treatment of it in depth.—Ed.

The Hayneville Jury

I must suggest that your editorial on “The Hayneville Verdict” (Oct. 22 issue) … calls into question the honor of twelve men under oath, who have heard the evidence and rendered their verdict. This indicates a prejudice just about beyond comprehension.

Any person accused of crime is entitled to his or her day in court. That day is not supposed to be controlled by undue pressure of the press, religious leadership, or the howl of crowds. It is supposed to be governed by law and evidence.…

I cannot help protesting this unwise effort to destroy faith in our jury system.


Davisboro, Ga.

Attorney at Law

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