P. T. Forsyth once said, “The natural man makes a good Catholic.” What he was getting at was the difference between a spiritual man and a natural man, and the reason he tied this in with Roman Catholicism was that he was criticizing the necessity of all the sense experiences that mark the Catholic faith—lighting, incense, action, the kind of grace a man can almost hold in his hand.

But this is not merely a criticism of Catholicism. We all need physical signs for spiritual realities, and we all are subject to the danger of worshiping the signs instead of the realities they represent. This is idolatory; it is as if a girl should fall in love with her engagement ring and forget about the man who gave it to her. Signs are necessary because we are physical as well as spiritual beings, but we too readily slip over into a satisfaction with our own symbols.

The late Sam Shoemaker once told me a story about Bishop Creighton, of St. Paul’s in London, who was a low churchman. One day he was invited to speak for another bishop who was very high church. After the service they were in the host bishop’s study, and the bishop asked Creighton, “Well, how did you like the service?” Creighton replied, “I didn’t care much for that incense.” To which the other bishop replied, “I don’t blame you, but it was the best I could get for two and six.”

Protestantism is beginning to run toward symbolism, and as one old preacher once said, “The more crosses we put on our buildings, the less we have in our hearts.” I am becoming increasingly suspicious of anything in religion that you can take a picture of. If salvation is by faith alone, just how are we to arrange the camera and the lighting to get a picture of a man being saved?

Spiritual things are spiritually discerned, and church magazines lately are filling up with pictures.


Varied and many are undoubtedly the replies to your January 29 issue given over to the “Appraisals of Ecumenism”.…

The building of the ecumenical church is likened to the building of the Tower at Babel. Its motivation was to find a paradise that was lost, and, being frustrated, a building to reach heaven that could not be gained in the efforts of the flesh. Only at God’s intervention is his program advanced. At the coming of Christ in glory, the Church will be complete in visible union with her living Head, even Jesus Christ our Lord. Neither man, nor his mammoth organization, nor his political skill in maneuvering will be allowed to represent Christ—as he is.…

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The unity we seek is not in uniformity but in diversity. This unity must be of the Spirit who sovereignly gives his gifts unto his servants. The body is one, but the functions are many. The real unity is spiritual—by those born of the Spirit, led of the Spirit, filled by the Spirit, and mightily used of God by the Spirit. In the last analysis, our business is not to “make unity,” but to acknowledge that there is already unity of the Spirit by whom all believers are baptized into One Body. This unity must be kept in the bond of peace.

Let us purify the Church and pray for oneness of all believers.

Brae Burn Heights Community Chapel

Trenton, N. J.

Your issue … was thought-provoking and most timely.

The deepest note in the New Testament is spiritual unity. We read again and again “… and they were of one accord.” That’s what we need between churches, not more organizational unity. We have too much organization now, which is eating up the spiritual church.…

Brighton, Ill.

I was surprised to find little if any mention of the involvement of the National Council of Churches and the member churches in politics, especially the way they support so many of the same positions taken by the Communists and other false liberals. These activities, which seem so strange for Christian churches, are apparently well authenticated.…

For over thirty-three years I was an official member of the local Methodist church of about 1,100 members, but the support that our pastor and the NCC gave to continuing the present corruption in Washington was so disgusting to me that I resigned from my positions as a trustee and a member of an important commission, and will discontinue my membership as soon as I find a suitable church to join, possibly before.

So far as I know, it has been traditional from the beginning for Protestant churches to stay out of politics, and for my church and the council to which it belongs to plunge into politics on the side of those who have been so active, and who promise to continue to be active, in destroying our constitutional form of government, was just more than I could stomach.…

Alliance, Ohio

It would seem that in the interest of fairness, accuracy, and information, you would have allowed a present member of the ACC and the ICC to present the work of the organization.… There are many qualified men who could have contributed much more than what we received from Dr. Buswell.

First Baptist Church of Ogden

Boothwyn, Pa.

“Southern Baptists and Ecumenical Concerns” is highly enlightening.…

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Muncie, Ind.

Hurrah for J. Lester Harnish! His article on the ecumenical movement is a jewel in a trash heap.

First Baptist Church

Ness City, Kan.

Among other things, Dr. J. Lester Harnish states, “… then there is no reason why you shouldn’t … cooperate with others who are not Baptists.…”

We do cooperate. Dr. Wayne Dehoney, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, clearly points this out in his article in the same issue. But the second part of this quote is what we distrust—and with reason. The logic contained there is that once we start “joining,” the momentum therefrom would lead some to want to join organizations composed of anything and everything that puts the stamp of “Christian” on themselves. This is one thing that restrains us. We realize that in these times the grandiose American theme of a monolithic organization, the bigness, the importance, and so on, does have a tremendous appeal; to some Baptists perhaps that would be the right answer.…

Fenton, Mo.

Catholicism has not changed. Did you ever talk to a converted Catholic regarding his relief from the terrible fear of purgatory? Can a priest who enriches himself on the fear of a season in purgatory burning be a brother in Christ? Is the mythical body of the blessed mother of Christ in heaven acceptable to the Father of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ?…

I have a love and pity for Catholics and have Catholic friends. I cannot fellowship with their misleaders (2 John 10).

Gary, Ind.

Your issue with its objective and relevant appraisal of ecumenical and evangelical Christianity on a worldwide front is a welcome source of collateral reading for this missions instructor. Thank you.

Chairman, Missions Department

St. Paul Bible College

St. Paul, Minn.


I have just read … the stirring and remarkable “A Short Story of Antichrist,” by Vladimir Solovyov (Jan. 29 issue).

If it is possible, I would like to know if this story is in print now in booklet form.… I think it is truly remarkable that an article based on Bible prophecy written over sixty-five years ago is so accurate in its description of present-day world events. It reminds me that “the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.” Jesus said, “When ye see these things come to pass, look up, for your redemption draweth nigh.”

Crestline, Calif.

I was deeply impressed.… I wish that CHRISTIANITY TODAY could publish it in tract form. It contains a message that should have a very wide distribution.

Duluth, Minn.

• We regret that the following acknowledgment was inadvertently omitted from the paragraph introducing “A Short Story of Antichrist”: From A Solovyov Anthology (SCM Press, London). Used by permission.

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CHRISTIANITY TODAY is not planning to print the story in pamphlet form.—ED.


L. Nelson Bell’s article “Cults Made Respectable?” (Jan. 15 issue) treats a grave and growing problem with an incisiveness which etches the evil in bold relief.

Thanks to all concerned for its publication—it deserves the widest possible circulation.

Church of Christ

Liberty, Tex.


Reference the report in CHRISTIANITY TODAY, January 15, entitled “Abandoning the Pretense” (News), may I be allowed to correct a possibly false impression.

My resignation from the Church of England is not directly connected with the secessions on the ground of baptism which, in the present situation, I regard as a peripheral issue. It is in fact due to the move away of the Church of England from the Reformed basis enshrined in the Thirty-nine Articles, the Book of Common Prayer, and the Ordinal. This trend is not new, but now has the official backing of the Lambeth Conference (e.g. the Doctrine of the Eucharistic Sacrifice), and has been rubber-stamped by Parliament in the recent Canon Law debates regarding the permissive use of the Mass vestments, stone altars, and so on. I find only one authority for my faith, namely, a fully inspired Bible which I believe to be the revealed Word of God, and only one ground for my faith, which is justification through faith in the atoning work of Christ, by an act of grace.

I have not refused to baptize any infants whatever, as you imply, though others have, for I acknowledge myself bound by my oath until my resignation becomes effective. I therefore need no reminding of my plain duty, for my plain duty I regularly accept as my Christian duty!

York, England

I find great stimulation in reading CHRISTIANITY TODAY, and as an Episcopal priest I should like to comment on “Abandoning the Pretense.” Herein are described certain Church of England clergy who refuse to baptize infants in favor of an Anabaptist position on Baptism.… In baptism, it is not so much a matter of what we can do for God as much as what God does for us. “You did not choose me, but I chose you” is Scripture which the Church affirms in the baptism of infants. The Philippian jailor heard this faith asserted by Saint Paul, and he had his whole house baptized (Acts 16:32). Mrs. Wesley had John and Charles baptized as infants because she knew that God would do a good work in them. Infant baptism is not a pretense, and, thank God, it is not being abandoned.

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St. George’s Church

Central Falls, R. I.


Your plea for an interest in spiritual health as contrasted with the craving for creature comforts (on page 30 of the Jan. 15 issue, in connection with your comments on the Harris Survey) was most helpful.

Many of us have long waited for an important publication like yours to come out with a strong expression on what we regard to be a major problem in Christendom today—materialism. No more than a casual comment is what we usually get.

Maybe this tiny whisper is a portent of better things to come.

Board of Bible School and Youth

Baptist General Conference

Chicago, Ill.


Jerry H. Gill, in “The Meaning of Religious Language” (Jan. 15 issue), presents the premises of the logical positivists—that meaningful language is either definitional or empirical, and that religious language is neither—and refers to various persons who accept at least one of these premises. He failed to present another option, denial of both of the premises, which has been the usual position of conservative theologians.

Lecturer in Philosophy

Los Angeles City College

Los Angeles, Calif.


Concerning your news item in the January 15 issue about Dr. Harleigh Rosenberger: You quote him as saying of his movement to the United Church of Christ that there are no “major theological differences” between that group and the American Baptist Convention.

Yet Dr. Rosenberger notes that he will now have to begin the baptism of infants. Since the 1640s Baptists have held to the theology and practice of “believer’s baptism by immersion.” To those who consider Scripture and theology a serious matter, this concept of regeneration is of crucial importance. We affirm in this practice that a person becomes a Christian only when he takes the step of repenting his own sin and believing and confessing the Lord Jesus as his personal Saviour.

While I do not wish to begin a controversy with the many churches which practice infant baptism, I do wish to strongly disagree with Dr. Rosenberger about the importance of the difference between these two concepts of spiritual regeneration. This is central to the Christian faith. However, this seems to be only another instance where one is so involved in ecumenical spirit that the serious questions of scriptural interpretation and church practice are dismissed with a wave of the hand.

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Gosport Baptist

Gosport, Ind.


Your recent editorial comment on Mississippi (Jan. 1 issue) … was too much for me to take! Your “holier than thou,” so typical of northern demagogues and hypocrites, was not at all unusual, but many of us had hoped that you would keep out of this rabbinical, devilish debacle and defend the last outpost of white respectability and decency.

I will not renew my subscription.

Tryon, N. C.

I do not like the extremes of ultra-liberalism; neither do I appreciate the extremes of ultra-conservatism. I feel that CHRISTIANITY TODAY does not follow either extreme but is true to the essentials of our wonderful faith.

San Diego, Calif.

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