Did you know that at the turn of the century they had a very colorful ministry in Edinburgh, Scotland, with Drs. Black, White, Brown, Blew, Greene, and Grey? They used to say that White would preach you black in the morning and Black would preach you white again in the evening. There was something for everybody.

It was Black who wrote the book The Gift of Influence; and the title, as well as the content, has stayed with me ever since I picked up the volume in a second-hand bookstore about fifteen years ago. The thesis is that your influence acts as action through people far beyond where your imagination can run. We are indeed “epistles known and read of all men.”

We subscribe to the Pittsburgh Post Gazettebecause I so very much like Al Abrams’s column and his editing of sports news. Apart from Daly in theNew York Times, there is no one who “suits” me quite the way Al Abrams does.

There have been all kinds of excitement about the Dapper Dan Dinner, and I wish there were some way some day for me to qualify. About 2,000 athletes get together for this dinner, and I would surely like to look upon such an array.

Among the pictures on the sports page was one of Buff Donelli, who illustrates my thesis about “the gift of influence.” Buff used to be a great soccer player, but he also coached for a while at Duquesne University. I just happened (if anything can “just happen” to a Calvinist) to see Buff working on the backfield one day over and over and over again on what turned out to be a perfect piece of timing. He taught me a great lesson without his knowing it, and I have followed his career at Columbia University just because of that one day. All-American Howard Harpster used to run and run and run; Hub Radnor used to run and cut. Joe Ferrara used to charge up hillsides. I guess one goes from slavery to the promised land a step at a time.


Dr. Frank Gaebelein’s appeal for a Christian aesthetic (Feb. 26 issue) is indeed timely. As he urges, “art … has deep spiritual and moral implications.”

The problem of formulating a Christian theory of aesthetics is unfortunately a thorny one. I am not at all sure how such a biblically based theory might be elaborated since (as Dr. Gaebelein admits) “the Bible says little directly about the arts or aesthetics.”

What the Bible does give us—and Dr. Gaebelein, I think, suggests this—is a point of reference from which to evaluate all human activity, including of course worldviews expressed in the arts (whether explicitly or implicitly). All art and all aesthetic activity has its presuppositions about reality, and biblical faith helps provide the means for critically articulating—even if not approving—the theoretical framework underlying such activity.

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That all “good” art need not be explicitly “Christian” goes without saying. There is no reason why all art should convey truth of a certain specified sort. The “heresy of didacticism” is all too apparent a danger. It would seem, then (to take issue with Dr. Gaebelein), that the ugly may well be aesthetically and artistically expressive, if only in repelling us. Art need not be limited to “the expression of truth through beauty.” Art, to be art at all, must certainly be expressive. Whether its expressiveness must [always] be beautiful is a further question.

West Somerville, Mass.

Dr. Gaebelein’s article cleared the ground and should be welcomed; it was particularly gratifying to see his insistence upon both the importance of the arts and their degradation at the hands of some contemporary writers, musicians, and artists. His constructive proposals, too, deserve sympathetic consideration: a biblical aesthetic and the cultivation of a critical Christian good taste are urgent desiderata.

But Dr. Gaebelein’s mention of Protestant hesitation in work on aesthetics is not the full story. Evangelical suspicion of the arts springs from a historically pervasive ascetic tradition.… Even in an age when most educated people wrote, when Christianity was virtually unquestioned, and when the issues of the day were seen in Christian terms—even then, an evangelical Christian writer of the first rank was a rarity.

It is easy (but right) to criticize the low cultural standards of many (most?) Christians. But then most non-Christians have these standards too.… Culture has always been for a minority and probably always will be. The conclusion to be drawn, it seems to me, is that the Christian faith operates as an educational impulse only in the realm of the sacred. There is no reason to believe that it urges its adherents to secular study for non-vocational, purely aesthetic purposes.…

Wirral, Cheshire, England

The article is depressing. Certainly there is ample ground for its criticism of some aspects of current evangelicalism. But does not the suggestion for reform present a leisurely kind of Christianity, lacking in fervor and a sense of urgency, which finds so much time for the cultivation of the natural man that one wonders how much time would be available for saturation with the Word of God, for meditation and prayer, and for participation in church and other Christian activities.

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Is not the real problem a spiritual one? Santa Barbara, Calif.

“Protestant icon” indeed. Mr. Gaebelein’s statements are indeed of a rhetorical nature. It is quite obvious that the “ever present head of Christ” referred to can only be that of Warner Sallman’s. Countless Protestants (and, I might add, Catholics) consider this to be among the finest and most inspirational of modern visual arts.…

At any rate, we who are appreciative of Sallman’s efforts can console ourselves with the fact that Mr. Gaebelein was kind enough to temper his allegation with “almost.” In all due respect and with appropriate bouquets, the article in general was excellent, timely, and thought-provoking without being in the pedestrian or prosaic trend.

Albert Lea, Minn.

I enjoyed it so much that I had to tell you of my enthusiastic agreement. It is wonderful that at long last we conservatives are getting excited about the aesthetic.…

How long must we endure the manifest dishonesty of those churches that pride themselves on their rendition of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion or Mass in B minor and so forth, without believing (as Bach so completely did!) what they are singing. When are those churches who do believe and are interested and able to perform such masterpieces going to honor the triune God whose Spirit so gloriously inspired these works? Second Christian Reformed Church

Grand Haven, Mich.

I am quite sure there is a relationship between our aesthetic appreciation, our worship, and our theology, and oftentimes even perhaps our standard of our Christian ethics.

You really have been most kind and patient in what you wrote of evangelical standards. I appreciated [the] reference to the “Protestant icon.” At least in Europe we are spared that romantic sentimental misrepresentation.

General Secretary

The International Fellowship of Evangelical Students

Lausanne. Switzerland


I have read with great interest your article “Less Ritual, More Religion?” (News, Feb. 26 issue).

The article is good; a fair appraisal, and I would hope that more and more emphasis, through this and other means, might be placed on the comparative study of religions.

Supreme Court of the United States

Washington, D. C.


Your coverage of “Flying Mishaps” (News, Feb. 12 issue) among churchmen is worthy of careful notice. I trust that it speaks loud and clear to someone who may be contemplating a move in the direction of flying his own plane or even riding with an amateur who does.

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In the hands of a professional or equally experienced pilot, the risk of flying is not great. Beyond this, however, it sharply rises to dangerous proportions—sales claims notwithstanding. There is, of course, risk in everything that we do. Some actually prefer to live “dangerously for Christ” in order to get the job done. But there is a point of diminishing returns.

We who have spent many years of our lives in full-time aviation ministry, both at home and abroad, are increasingly conscious of the inadvisability of the itinerant Christian worker trying to use an airplane as he might his automobile or a public carrier.


Missionary Technical Training

Moody Bible Institute

Chicago, Ill.


With reference to “A Time for Christian Candor” (Editorials, Feb. 12 issue) and your quotations from the American Church Quarterly, I am in agreement with the criticisms of Bishop Pike’s theology but not with the expressed amazement that the bishop, “no longer accepting the faith of the Church, ‘does not propose that he shall thereby be debarred from enjoying the emoluments and accepting the honored and privileged dignity which accompanied his office.’ “This seems to me to be as unjust as it is uncharitable. Certainly Bishop Pike believes that he holds the faith of the Church. He believes also (I think mistakenly) that the faith (“the treasure”) must be detached from the traditional terminology in which it has been conveyed (“the earthen vessels”) if it is to be understood and accepted by our contemporaries.

Is not the bishop’s concern that the Gospel reach the multitudes (“the sheep having no shepherd”) a judgment upon the complacency of the orthodox? If those of us who claim to hold the true faith were as zealous as Bishop Pike is for its communication, would we find as much cause to complain that “Bishop Pike gets the headlines”? That the common people hear him gladly may well be food for serious reflection. The white light of the Holy Spirit is refracted through the prism of human thought into many colors, each of which is partial and, by itself, deceptive yet essential to the whole truth. Our Lord promised that the Holy Spirit would lead us into all truth. If he is still leading us, then “catholic” truth is still open to further enrichment. Is it not possible that James Pike (to change the figure) may be the Holy Spirit’s gadfly sent to rouse us from our lethargy and to spur us on to seek new insights? What we need is the faith once delivered in combination with Bishop Pike’s zeal and talent for communication. Perhaps this is just what the Holy Spirit is up to as he works to unite all things in Christ!

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Suffragan Bishop

Episcopal Diocese of Long Island

Garden City, N. Y.


Re the letter from Ward Gasque in your issue of February 12: I am “unordained” not merely because I belong to a fellowship in which the distinction between clergy and laity is not recognized. My vocation, as I am conscious of it, is to a lay ministry, and, so far as I can judge, I should have remained a layman no matter what my ecclesiastical attachment had been.

Faculty of Theology

University of Manchester

Manchester, England


“Church History and Theology” (Feb. 12 issue) contains a major error of fact.… In referring to the fifty-six-volume series of the American Edition of Luther’s Works, Dr. Bromiley wrongly attributes dual publishing of the series to “Augustana-Muhlenberg.” It should read “Concordia-Fortress Press.”

Director, Public Relations

Concordia Publishing House

St. Louis, Mo.


Thank you for your excellent article, “The Falling Tower,” by H. Eugene Peacock (Feb. 12 issue).

Executive Director

Division of Christian Social Concern

American Baptist Convention

Valley Forge, Pa.


Our friend, Dr. Arthur F. Glasser, the home director of an honored member of the Interdenominational Foreign Mission Association (IFMA), has presented some very helpful and interesting thoughts on the position of IFMA missions in today’s Christian scene (Jan. 29 issue). To what he has written a bit more needs to be added to present the IFMA position in a somewhat different light, or to fill in some areas that need more emphasis.

IFMA mission leaders are indeed aware that “winds of change are blowing with gale force.” The prevailing attitude in the face of these gales is one of optimism and confidence, and I don’t think that this arises from a “head in the sand” policy.

The following points are suggested by material included in Dr. Glasser’s article:

1. IFMA missions have in recent years recaptured the New Testament emphasis on the Church. While these missions have been very active in developing special ministries, such as radio, literature, correspondence courses, medical work, and other similar activities, they have come to realize that the New Testament pattern is evangelize, disciple, establish churches. This renewed emphasis on the essentials has resulted in the issuing of calls for more highly trained and dedicated specialists in evangelism, Bible teaching, and church work. The emphasis is on a partnership with the emerging younger churches in … establishing strong spiritual churches.

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2. IFMA recognizes that many overseas Christians long for identification with other believers around the world. The very emphasis in the past on indigenous development now militates against an easy identification with Christians in the sending countries and elsewhere. The ecumenical movement seeks to capitalize on that longing, and the indigenous churches overseas are being appealed to very strongly. IFMA missions are alert to this need. One development has been the joint effort with the Evangelical Foreign Missions Association (EFMA) in Africa where the Africa Evangelical Office, headed by the Rev. Kenneth Downing, has been established in Nairobi, Kenya. Mr. Downing, working with African leaders, has encouraged the setting up of evangelical fellowships in various parts of Africa. These efforts have resulted in a greater realization by the believers of their essential oneness in Christ with other believers in Africa and around the world. These fellowships are linked through their adherence to a conservative theological position and a common purpose in the work.

3. IFMA missions are not without fault or weakness, and some may have to plead guilty to “an attitude uncritical of nineteenth-century paternalism and white supremacy.” But are they alone in this attitude? My observations lead me to believe there is development in the right direction here. IFMA missions have in the main promoted healthy indigenous churches, which development, by the way, is being threatened by a neo-paternalism or financial diplomacy through the inducements being offered from World Council of Churches sources in the form of scholarships and other helps.

4. IFMA missions are not hostile to cooperative endeavors overseas when such undertakings are sponsored by groups or individuals true to the historic Christian faith. Thus IFMA missions will be found in many cooperative spiritual ministries. Being realists, they know that the hope for stability in their work depends on building carefully and with materials of integrity. They do not overlook theological issues when considering cooperative endeavors.

5. Support for IFMA missions comes almost entirely from conservative evangelical churches and individuals. Where supporting churches are in some instances to be found within denominations having ties with the ecumenical movement, their support of IFMA missions arises from their desire that their missionary support go to those who stand with them in their own conservative theological position.

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In Dr. Everett Cattell’s article reference is made to “some measure of cooperation” between the IFMA and the EFMA. While it is not considered essential or desirable that these two organizations merge because of the different nature of their constituencies and organization, it should be pointed out that there are at least seven joint IFMA—EFMA committees to deal with such subjects as comity, mission education overseas, area considerations, and other joint concerns.

With so much of the world yet to be evangelized, there remains much work for all evangelical missions to do. Certainly there is need for the emphasis which has characterized the work of IFMA missions, and there is confidence that God’s hand will remain upon this work.


Interdenominational Foreign Mission Association

Ridgefield Park, N.J.


Our focus [in] … Life’s Bible issue … was not on man’s discovery of God (Editorials, Jan. 15 issue) but on man’s study of the Bible and the discoveries he has made about the times in which it evolved. From the response we’ve received, we know that many Protestant leaders—clergy and laymen—found Life’s issue a worthwhile discussion of the Bible’s history and meaning. Some have sent us copies of sermons in which they’ve recommended the issue to their congregations, and prepared special texts takens from its theme.

As you noted, the text of Life’sspecial issue was written by biblical authorities prominent in their own right, or by experienced members ofLife’sstaff with constant assistance and advice from leading scholars and theologians. You have assigned to Miss Seiberling a role different from the one that was actually hers: overall planning with special emphasis on illustration, taking advantage of her vast knowledge in the field of art history.


New York, N.Y.

• As Miss Schubert implies, we erred in attributing to Miss Seiberling the opening essay of Life’s Bible issue. On the basis of the editorial note in Life attributing the planning and producing of this issue to Miss Seiberling, we incorrectly assumed that, as the person in charge of the entire issue, she wrote the unsigned introduction. We regret this mistake.—ED.


I read with pleasure the article by Virginia Ramey Mollenkott on “The Bible, the Classics, and Milton” (Jan. 1 issue). Your readers may be interested in two books that, taken together, cover the subject of Milton’s use of the classics and of the Bible rather thoroughly, at least insofar as the major poems are concerned. They are The Club of Hercules: Studies in the Classical Background of Paradise Lost by Davis P. Harding (Urbana, 1962) and The Bible in Milton’s Epics by James H. Sims (Gainesville, 1962). My book was reviewed by Professor Mollenkott for Seventeenth Century News (Spring, 1964), and a review of both of these books appeared in Notes and Queries (September, 1964).

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Chairman, Department of English

Austin Peay State College

Clarksville, Tenn.


Just a word of thanks for the essay on “The Deity of Christ” (Dec. 18 issue). Yes, I am behind on my reading. But the morning before I read that, I had been laboring through a modern book connected with “church restructure” and various theological questions, taking the liberal view. The contrast in tone, and in the effect on my mind and spirit, between these two pieces of Christian literature was a real experience.

How can such writing on the fundamentals as this be dubbed obscurantist? This is sound and solid Christian doctrine. The other is words, words, words. This is Gospel, that is gibberish. This is Beethoven, that is The Beatles. The other book calls forth an occasional Hmmm, but this essay calls forth a fervent Amen.

Tokyo. Japan

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