Dear Sons Of The Rising Superchurch:

Last December in our Christmas gift list we put Episcopal Bishop Chauncey Kilmer Myers down for a manual on how to shoot from the lip. A recent statement by this successor to Bishop Pike on San Francisco’s Nob Hill makes it abundantly clear that he has now developed his talents as a theological blunderbuss. In a daring departure from his church’s Thirty-Nine Articles, this “veddy high chu’chman” has said that Protestants should acknowledge the pope “as chief pastor of the Christian family and … joyfully acclaim him as the Holy Father in God of the Universal Church.”

Bishop Myers apparently yearns for the good old days before Henry VIII’s hanky-panky with Anne Boleyn and the consequent separation of the Church of England from the Church of Rome in 1535. If we join Chauncey in his voyage home, we can expect experiences that Protestants have missed for four centuries.

First there’s the pomp and pageantry. We will be able to join the acclaim for the humble chief shepherd as he is borne on his throne through the cheering multitudes. We may even have the opportunity to bestow a kiss on the papal ring (or in lieu of this, kiss the worn-down toe of St. Peter’s statue). We may join the poor in gazing at the abundance of gold, silver, and precious stones nestled in the Vatican treasury and realize we somehow have a stake in this wealth.

Next, we will have a final authority on all matters of faith and doctrine. Protestants leery of sola scriptura (the “paper pope”) will, as followers of the Holy See, have church tradition to guide them and, in the clutch, an ex cathedra utterance from the Vicar of Christ. True, our wives will have to stop taking birth-control pills—but only for a while, since we expect that the Holy Father will soon change the immutable and join the Margaret Sanger clan of family-planners. With the pope as our chief pastor we will have the opportunity to embrace a new set of beliefs (the immaculate conception, the assumption of Mary, the apocrypha as Scripture), and be on the receiving end of a steady flow of new dogma.

With all these advantages, I might possibly be willing to accompany Bishop Myers back to Rome if it weren’t for one thing. I’m not sure I could hit it off with the Protestant prodigals returning with him. Maybe I’m too provincial for a Superchurch.

Your roamin’ brother, EUTYCHUS III

How To Get Together

The idea of 45 million evangelicals cooperating in the cause of Christ is one about which all of us should get excited (“Evangelicals Seek a Better Way,” Editorial, July 7). However, the many obstacles to the fulfillment of your great idea, so far as I can see, will prevent such a fulfillment for many years. These obstacles are largely psychological and not without solution, but to get such a large body of people to change their minds about others presents a formidable task indeed.

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Scarborough, Ont.

Your presupposition (prayer, worship, interchange of ideas, and fellowship) is a reality at our church. Under the direction of the Rev. Ned Richardson, a group of men form what is called a “Play and Pray” group. We meet every Wednesday for basketball, lunch, and prayer.

The uniqueness of this group is that it includes: two Presbyterian ministers, one Evangelical Free minister, one Christian Reformed minister, two Assembly of God ministers, two Youth for Christ men, one Inter-Varsity representative, one David C. Cook Publishing salesman, one school teacher (Catholic), one school administrator, one Baptist minister, and one Campus Crusade for Christ representative.…

Is it not possible that, since a small group at this level have been getting together for two years with a common purpose, we could do it in greater numbers?


Director of Christian Education

and Youth

Walnut Creek Presbyterian

Walnut Creek, Calif.

What if Christian women would hold a neighborhood coffee for other Christian women in their immediate neighborhood—there might be as many churches represented as there are women—and present them with the most solemn challenge to meet weekly, not to chat about religion, but, in the light of present-day dangers threatening the welfare and happiness of their families … to begin a weekly prayer time. The purpose of the prayer? To ask God to revive his people, “beginning with me” (and meaning it, of course), and to cause us to become obedient children, imbued with power from on high, in order to carry out the Great Commission by whatever manner he sees fit. And, in case we may not like the method he should choose, ask him to give us discernment to see that it is his method, and to enter into it wholeheartedly, nonetheless.


Espanola, N. Mex.

One thought I had … would call for … a Bible-study group … run by evangelicals, and taught by an evangelical. This group would invite any person from any denomination, who would have only to claim the Bible as divinely inspired and as the sole authority for the group study, to join.…

A different thought (but along this same line) would be to have the study group (though sponsored by evangelicals) run itself: each member could conduct a session on his particular interpretation of some passage in the Bible and then lead a discussion among various members of the group following his talk.

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Both ideas would help unite believers, might encourage non-believers to attend (and participate if they desired), and might break down denominational skepticism and confusion.


Deland, Fla.

Those who accept the Bible’s testimony to itself … should have a fellowship. They already have it in Christ; it is desirable that they have it before men.…

The proposed evangelical Christian institution of higher learning would be a good starting point.


Lutheran missionary

Kobe, Japan

We should ask for opinions as to what could be done within the framework of the NAE, what changes should be made to make it acceptable. Or should we drop the NAE and seek a new organization or fellowship?



Evangelical Free Church of America

Minneapolis, Minn.

NAE can do the job, if we will back them up with our finances and our prayers, as well as speaking encouragingly of them.


Denver, Colo.

If your figures of those leaning toward a theological conservative position are approximately correct, they are both encouraging and frightening at the same time. It is encouraging to realize that the laymen within the Protestant churches, especially those within the larger, more liberal-oriented denominations, are remaining faithful to most of the basic teachings of Scripture.

The thing which is frightening about all this is the thought of any type of unified religious organization which would include 35 to 45 million people. Is it possible that the very attempt to organize this vast cooperation among evangelical believers would in itself have a deadening effect? Without a degree of organization one must admit to the possibility that a greater degree of cooperation might not come about. However, it is a historical reality that institutionalization has most often produced that which was never originally intended. Let us be careful of empire-building.


Professor of History


State College

Fullerton, Calif.

The unity and fellowship of Berlin certainly demonstrated to all of us what can be done—and more, what ought to be done—in cooperative efforts. I am sure we in The Christian and Missionary Alliance would welcome every opportunity for united action and fellowship.

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The Christian and Missionary Alliance

New York, N. Y.

Should We Separate?

The article by Klaas Runia (“When Is Separation a Christian Duty?”, June 23 and July 7) has been a great pleasure to read and study.… A poll of ministers of five major Protestant churches shows a very large per cent reject the vital teachings of God’s Word. What can an individual do when [his] supposed shepherd is pulling his flock backwards? Aaron almost took his people back into idolatry, just as many pastors of today are doing.

I am of the opinion that separation is better in such a case, as long as there are fundamental, Bible-guided churches to attend.


Norfolk, Neb.

Dr. Runia seems to refer profusely and exclusively to the letters of St. Paul but carefully skips the main text, the word of Jesus himself: “Behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves” (Luke 10:3), thus losing at least one dimension of his subject and probably the key to the problem.


Don Mills, Ont.

Dr. Runia is entitled to his opinion, “I have no appreciation whatever for any form of separatism.” As a spiritual descendant of some very famous Separatists (they landed in Plymouth in 1620), I find myself wishing he’d rethink that opinion.


Mayflower Congregational

Milwaukee, Wis.

A splendid illustration of divine action in separation is seen in Exodus 13:16. Moses is deep in intercession for Israel. Jehovah has found them a stiffnecked people and refuses to go up with them into the promised land. Moses pleads for a reversal of this decision: “Wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? Is it not in that thou goest with us?” The presence of God among his people, Moses reasons, is the proof positive of grace received. Moses concludes (in the AV), “So shall we be separated, I and thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth.” The LXX reads not “so shall we be separated” but “both I shall be glorified and also thy people, more than all the nations.”

Here is separation by glorification, honor which distinguishes man and people from all others. It is not the cleavage which is emphasized but the glory which separates. And that glory is the direct result of the Lord’s presence—God among them, exalting them, honoring them, makes apparent their “separation” from the world. Of this kind of separation we can take more.


Grace Baptist

Washington, D. C.

In The Wake Of War

Your account of the death of Solomon Matar, custodian of the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem (“Mideast: Weighing the Effects,” News, July 7) struck home with a brutal jab of sorrow to the heart of one traveler to the Holy Land. Anyone who ever visited the site of Christ’s burial and resurrection will remember how this humble Arab Christian made the occasion vivid and enriching by his eloquent Christian testimony to the truth of the Resurrection.

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St. Peter’s Lutheran

Hay Springs, Neb.

The report, “Jerusalem: A Third Temple?” (News, July 21), showing that the Jews do not plan to rebuild the Temple and restore the sacrifices because they feel that Messiah will do it, confirms what I have believed for years from Ezekiel 43:10, 11, that they will not be shown the pattern until they are “ashamed of their iniquities.” This Third Temple will follow Israel’s repentance and the return of Jesus the Messiah.…

A fitting follow-up to that report would have been the words of Genesis 18:20, 21; “As for Ishmael … I will make him a great nation. But I will establish my covenant with Isaac.” This is the sovereignty of God, acknowledged by King Hussein, who told his people that “Allah did not will [an Arab victory],” and professed by Presbyterians, who acknowledge that “all things are ordained of God.”


Berlin Bible Church

Narrowsburg, N. Y.

I have great difficulty reconciling the intellectual integrity and candid scholarship you customarily show with the “prophetic” tenor of recent articles on the significance of the Israeli affair. I was truly surprised to see what appears, to me at least, to be such parochial deductions concerning prophecy and current events.

I for one would like to see a qualified scholar of the amillennial school given an assignment to speak to the issue. I think the fare so far has been far too narrow.… For such a debatable point to be treated in such authoritative fashion is unfortunate, especially when more and more of us are looking to your magazine as spokesman for the evangelical position.


Church of God (Anderson)

Montesano, Wash.

I was quite pleased with the editorials on the Near East crisis in recent issues of CHRISTIANITY TODAY, but … you can imagine my chagrin and disillusionment when reading the “interpretive appraisal” written by the Rev. James L. Kelso (News, July 21).


Minneapolis, Minn.

Many of the statements he makes are contrary to the facts as I know them to be and as many others of us know them to be from personal, on-the-spot knowledge of the situation.… I have been in Nazareth, and I know the condition of the Arabs there and the good relationship that there is between the Arabs and the Jews in Nazareth.…

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We happen to be living in a completely Jewish community and are attempting to build up a good rapport between our church and the Jews, and it grieves us to see someone like this be able to get his views into print in a reputable publication.… We feel that it is time for Christians to speak out on behalf of Israel and be identified as friends of Israel.… This does not mean that we condone or approve of everything they do … [but] as Christians we certainly ought to be praying for them and encouraging them and trusting that this may give us further opportunities to witness to them concerning their need of Jesus Christ, as Lord and Saviour.


First Baptist

Oak Park, Mich.

Faith On Campus

In reading your fine editorial, “New Thoughts on Campus Ministries” (July 7), I was struck by the sentence, “Unexamined presuppositions—perhaps the most overlooked fact is that all starting points for reasoning are based on faith.” If you could get a C. S. Lewis-type of “translator” for Cornelius Van Til’s excellent point along this line (in The Defense of Faith) and print a feature article on it, you would be shining an intellectual torch in a philosophically murky world.


Fairfax, Va.

It is suggested that “pre-evangelism” will become increasingly more important. If I’m reading this right, I would say that the public school would be in an excellent position to impart the academic knowledge of Christian teaching (pre-evangelism) upon which an evangelistic thrust could later be built. The public schools’ responsibility toward religion is to make certain that their students entrusted to their care have an understanding of whatever is necessary to carry on a successful life. Understanding religion in its broadest context, and for our country in particular this would include an emphasis on Christianity, is a legitimate part of the work of the public school. In the prayer and Bible-reading case, the U. S. Supreme Court specifically said that one’s education was not complete without a study of religion. We’re long overdue for such serious study.

I was interested in the comment that the loss of faith common among college students took place back in elementary and secondary schools. This can only reemphasize my point that religion should be studied significantly and properly at these lower levels. I’m not so sure that young people have rejected Christianity—they just really haven’t heard it. I believe that if young people were aware of the degree and depth that Christian principles have influenced Western civilization, those students would be much more interested in giving Christianity a sympathetic hearing.

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Executive Secretary

Religious Instruction Association, Inc.

Fort Wayne, Ind.

To Straighten The Record

In a recent issue of CHRISTIANITY TODAY a brief announcement was made to the effect that I had resigned from Charlotte Chapel, Edinburgh, owing to ill health. In order to put the record straight, I would be most grateful if you would make it clear that I am now pastor emeritus of Charlotte Chapel, and am consequently free from all administrative responsibilities in order to undertake a world-wide preaching ministry.


Edinburgh, Scotland

In recent issues of CHRISTIANITY TODAY, President L. Doward McBain of Phoenix, Arizona, head of our convention, is indicated to have said that he “wished the Harnish move had succeeded so that he could take it rather than apologies to the Southern Baptist Convention” (June 9, p. 35) and that “I think it is not only possible, but it is absolutely essential for evangelicals to cooperate” (June 23, p. 34).

My purpose is not to deny these statements, either in behalf of him or in behalf of myself. However, when they stand alone, they seem to overlook something that he also said in the press conference at the Southern Baptist Convention in Miami Beach in early June. After indicating his wish that it had been possible for American Baptists to participate with other Baptists in the Crusade of the Americas, he pointed out that we had a problem in accepting that invitation because we had a previous program commitment.… In other words, Dr. McBain was not taking a position contrary to that of the General Council.


Executive Director

Division of Communication

American Baptist Convention

Valley Forge, Pa.

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