Dear Pot-holders and Pill-pushers:

For most of his sixty-five gleeful years, Malcolm Muggeridge, Britain’s master of wit and satire, has relentlessly wielded a razor-sharp rhetorical rapier against the false and the pompous. His perennial duels with the Establishment so endeared him to students at the University of Edinburgh that they elected the former editor of Punch as rector, to present their views to the administration. But recently Muggeridge, true to his deepening convictions, drew blood from the student body in announcing his resignation as their spokesman. In a rectorial sermon in St. Giles Cathedral, he lit into them for expressing their rebellion against “our run-down, impoverished way of life” by “a demand for pot and pills, for the most tenth-rate sort of escapism and self-indulgence.” Said Mug to his youthful audience: “We await the great works of art, the high-spirited venturing into new fields of perception and understanding, and what do we get?—the resort of any old slobbering debauchee anywhere in the world at any time—dope and bed.”

Students reacted by pooh-poohing the drug charge, claiming “the pill” was a passport not to promiscuity but to responsibility, and saying representation by a rector was anachronistic, anyway. But it was apparent to a nation of spectators that the man described by critic Stanley Kauffman as “an iconoclast with astigmatism, a hater of sham with a touch of sadism,” had shattered a new idol.

The disdain of MM toward pot and the pill should make all evangelicals consider their involvement with these modern-day visas to ennui. I must confess I have a real pot problem. But it’s not the pot you get a belt out of; it’s the pot you try to get a belt around. My wife’s concern is not whether to take the pill but how to put up with a pill (me—a real hophead).

It might be a good idea if we stayed away from all forms of pot and the pill. Let’s begin by abolishing those pot-luck suppers. The way they affect my pot, they may drive me to pot. And maybe we better follow the Catholic method of birth control. When a priest was describing it to a jazz musician, he said, “There are only two alternatives: periodic abstinence and complete abstinence.” The musician replied, “Oh, I get it—rhythm and blues!”

Down with pot and the pill! Up with Muggeridge!



If “a word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver,” then Calvin D. Linton’s article on “Higher Education: The Solution—Or Part of the Problem?” (Feb. 16) is twenty-carat stuff.

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Calvary Memorial Church

Wayzata, Minn.

Linton’s definition of the five “myths” of modern education has helped me to see more clearly what is my responsibility in preaching and in the teaching of young people. The Christian young people of our community have frequent disagreements with the philosophy of their “humanistic, man-oriented” teachers in the public school, some of whom openly ridicule Christianity. With the information provided in Linton’s article I hope to be able better to show my young people the difference between the biblical and natural views of man, and too, I pray, how to defend themselves against such destructive noneducation.


Eureka Reformed Church

Eureka, S. D.

Dr. Linton’s essay was a clear and articulate statement of what may prove to be the most pressing problem of our generation, getting as it did to the root and “gut” issues rather than dealing exclusively with their manifestations. It was refreshing to hear nonsense properly labeled and the epithet responsibly defended. As one who works with collegians, academically and spiritually, I appreciate this cogent and concise statement.


Adult Education

First Baptist Church

Montebello, Calif.

I just finished reading.… “Higher Education: The Solution—Or Part of the Problem?” … and I cannot refrain from writing a brief word of appreciation.…

For a time after its founding, about a dozen years ago, CHRISTIANITY TODAY did not, in my judgment, seem to attract the necessary educated talent and intellectual caliber to hold its own in a highly competitive field. In recent years, however, it has come of age, and it clearly merits serious attention on the part of policy-makers and other leaders in contemporary American society. The editorials themselves seem to reflect decreasingly an obvious effort to grind the old “fundamentalistic” axe and increasingly a resolve to come to grips with basic issues of our time. Between this journal and the Christian Century one can now hope to achieve some reasonable balance as he tries to keep abreast of developments in the religious world of our time. Anyway, both editor and writers in this particular issue merit hearty thanks and congratulations for putting out an excellent product.


Chairman, Dept. of Sociology

Mary Washington College

Fredericksburg, Va.

It is most encouraging to read … the essay by Calvin D. Linton.… I am privileged to serve on the Governing Body of Wolverhampton Grammar Technical High School and, in addition, frequently meet educationalists, head teachers, and staff in connection with work of the Gideons International within the British Isles.… Mr. Linton’s essay would be most useful if produced in booklet form.

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Ascalon Holdings Limited

Warley, Worcester, England

The article was not only most inspiring but straightforward and factual. I was highly pleased.


Chairman, Bible Dept.

Grace College

Winona Lake, Ind.

I would like to commend you highly on the February 16 issue.… It is the finest thing on higher education I have read yet. It certainly comes at a very important time.


Central Christian Church

Wenatchee, Wash.


It was satisfying that you found “Some Ethical Concerns” worthy to be included as a comment on the editorial, “Are Heart Transplants Moral?” (Feb. 16). The editorial itself is one of the finest I have seen to date.


General Director

Christian Medical Society

Oak Park, Ill

Dr. Spitzer states, “The moral, ethical, and theological implications related to the choice of the one who will live and the consequent de facto sentencing of 99 who could have lived but will die, stagger the mind.” To me as a law student the term “de facto sentencing” seems unfortunate, for sentencing is an act against a person or persons which is positive, and also a condemnation. In the case illustrated I cannot see any aspect of sentencing. Where there are 100 patients requiring a heart transplant to live for every available donor, I see this situation not as a de facto sentencing of the 99, but as the saving of one, and the choice of that one is the choice which has the implications which are great. If none of the 100 received the transplant, none would live. Where there is one donor, then one life is saved. Ninety-nine are not sentenced “who could have lived,” for they, in this illustration, could not have lived in any case.


Washington, D.C.

Unfortunately, death is not usually sudden and definite. It is preceded by a gray period of impending death, especially in the donor for transplantation, who is usually a patient with severe brain damage following an accident or a stroke. The urgency and enthusiam for finding a donor must not interfere with the usual heroic measures to give these patients every chance of survival. In addition, the judgment to continue the various mechanical devices for supporting life against statistical odds should not be clouded by the need for a donor.

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These two points focus on the real problem concerned in transplantation: Who should be the overseer for proper conduct and decisions during the “gray” period preceding death? This question is not restricted to transplantation but pertains to use of prisoners for drug research, to use of humans for cancer research, and to manipulation of the genetic coding. The fundamental question is whether or not one individual should have authority over the life and death of another. Since this is not a scientific question, I would insist that these moral judgments be based on and overseen by a group of Christian laymen. The medical profession should be a part of this group but not the controlling interest.

Will concerned laymen recognize the increasing importance of these moral decisions concerning life and death and then accept their responsibility, or will they give authority of one individual over another to science or a governmental agency?


Department of Surgery

University of Kentucky

Lexington, Ky.


I am writing to express my disapproval of your comments on Eartha Kitt (“Eartha Kitt’s White House Spectacle,” Editorial, Feb. 16). Your jellyfish attitude toward the incident is a disgrace. You would have been able to work very well with the third Reich. What we need in this dying nation of ours are people willing to have the integrity and courage to stand up for what they believe is right.


Asst. Pastor

Emanuel Lutheran Church

Manchester, Conn.

Why must you clutter your fine magazine with occasional unnecessary and uncalled for disparaging remarks about the John Birch Society? The most recent case in point is your excellent editorial concerning Eartha Kitt’s intemperate public outburst at a White House luncheon, which you compared to “a John Bircher who called a former president a Communist.” This is an oversimplification at best and a deliberate falsehood at worst.


First Christian Church

Hampton, S. C.


More and more I have come to appreciate the quality of your magazine. It is refreshing to see an “evangelical” publication deal with so many pertinent issues as yours does in such a forthright manner.

Don’t let Carl Henry or his approach get away from you. I fear that an ice-age prejudiced narrow-minded approach will petrify your power.


Bethany Methodist Church

Purcellville, Va.

I respect the sound perspective and balanced judgment in your editorials. I also find the various contributions by leading scholars excellent reading. Yours is the only church periodical I find worth reading consistently.

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San Antonio, Tex.


Since your editorial, “All the King’s Horses” (Feb. 16) expresses the wish that “the doves would stipulate precisely where … they would draw a line against Communist aggression,” this “dove” would like to suggest his answer. The line against anybody’s aggression should be drawn precisely where the aggression takes place. We saw this achieved in the Korean war, where the aggression of North Korea was combated in such a way as to restore the status quo ante bellum.…

Likewise, in Southeast Asia, aggression should be stopped where it occurs. But the truth here is: there was no such aggression committed by Communists. Viet Nam was not divided into two sovereign countries.… The United States fabricated the present division of Viet Nam, propounding the fiction of two separate countries. Whatever armed encounters result from this situation can hardly be justifiably labeled as simple “Communist aggression.” One must take into account the fact that America has unjustly and immorally prodded the Communists into the actions we undertake to counteract. The “Pueblo” incident, also, must be viewed within this context.


Lawrence, Kan.


Although not a Negro, I am a non-Caucasion (Chinese) who has had a taste of the grievances they experience to a degree we cannot ever comprehend. But it is as a Christian that I am especially appreciative of the fine editorial, “Confronting the Racial Crisis” (Feb. 16). It is, in a sense, an indictment of us who in our spiritual concerns fail to see our earthly responsibilities … or choose to do so.


Seattle, Wash.

I am writing to present a concept of Christian involvement in the urban problems of our times.…

In the majority of the evangelical churches I have had contact with, the method of reaching people with the Gospel is exactly the opposite of the way it is done in the mission fields. In the “home” churches, the pastors encourage their congregations to “go into the highways and hedges and bring them in,” and then these pastors evangelize from the pulpit every Sunday.

In the “mission churches,” as I understand it, the missionary goes where the people are, preaches the Gospel, does personal evangelism, and then forms a church. The church services are devoted first to worship and then to instructing “the saints for the work of the ministry” so that they go out where the people are, repeat the process, and form new churches. Also, mission works are concerned with the whole man, i.e., “Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, soul, strength, and mind.” Therefore they include schools to teach the mind and often have dispensaries and “soup kitchens” to meet physical needs.

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Now the question is this: Why do we not go and do likewise and send a qualified Negro missionary into, say, northeast Washington, D. C., and begin a “mission field” church there?

If I read my Bible correctly, this approach is scriptural, and if I read my history correctly, it is relevant. It may be the only way of avoiding another “long hot summer,” and possibly would begin a revival.

In addition, there is another plus financially. It seems to be fairly well established that the mission schools, dispensaries, and other services are performed with more effect and less cost than any government program, no matter how efficiently operated. This is no doubt due primarily to a difference in dedication and motivation of the individuals involved.


Annandale, Va.


“Skeptics in Concept?” (News, Feb. 16) should sound a solemn note of warning to our Christian educators who still believe the verities of the Protestant Christian faith.

The unabashed liberalism of the current curriculum of the United Church of Christ will be merged with the “Confession of 1967” mentality in the United Presbyterian Church. Throw in the Episcopal view of heresy as “anachronistic” and God only knows what monstrosity will be concocted.… What a tragedy to see church officials shattering the foundation of belief and assuming the role of disciples of humanism and political science.

No doubt all three churches will have a significant contribution to make to COCU—“The Corporation of Cocksure Uncertainty.”


Watertown, Mass.

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