When in 1964 Bishop Stephen Bayne resigned as the Anglican Communion’s first executive officer, graphic tribute was paid to the liaison he had established between that body’s autonomous provinces. “He has stitched them together with his person; a flying needle traveling over 120,000 miles a year.”
Now his successor, Bishop Ralph Dean, after completing his five-year stint, is returning to British Columbia next month. Publicity has been given to the fact that during his term in office he has gone seventeen times around the world.
Not to be outdone, Dr. Eugene Carson Blake has now described himself before an American University audience as a member of the “ecumenical Jet Set.” All this emphasis on mileage made is just shrieking for a comment from lolanthe:
Tripping hither, tripping thither,
Nobody knows the why or whither …
If you ask the special function
Of our never ceasing motion,
We reply without compunction
That we haven’t any notion.
The whole thing recalled a touching little piece once seen in a local newspaper. In accepting a retirement presentation, a locomotive engineer observed that his work had taken him over a million miles. It conjured up visions: about 180 round trips between New York and San Francisco, or two jaunts to the moon and back with enough left over to circle the earth twice.…
Not so. The engineer’s charge had been a shunting locomotive that had never taken him out of the railroad sheds. The newspaper headline was “A Million Miles to Nowhere.” The moral might suggest that even those who travel hopefully in an ecumenical Jet Set age might not get anywhere. Especially if their outlook is that ascribed by Dean Inge to a certain bishop: “He has taken a first-class single ticket on the line of least resistance.”
I would not want to give a onesided picture of what Dr. Blake said on that campus occasion mentioned above. After expressing “pleasure at the striking interest of Eastern Orthodox Churches in the Uppsala conference” (from which the Greeks pointedly absented themselves), Dr. Blake made another striking remark that was rightly publicized by Religious News Service. “If our critics knew what really happened at the WCC,” he declared, “then we’d be more eager to know what they think about us.” It’s not what he says, it’s the way that he says it.…
Your issue of April 25 is not the first outstanding one, but rather one more in a series of such, which impels me to write you my thanks for so substantive a contribution to religious discussion and news.
Indiana University English Department
I congratulate you on the excellent article “The Recovery of the Positive,” by Louis Cassels (April 25). His appraisal of the reasons for lagging church attendance substantiate my own observations.
Southport Methodist Church
Dr. B. L. Smith, in “Biology and the Christian Faith” (April 11 and 25), … seems to infer that all Christians believe in divine creation and all biologists believe in evolution. Actually, many church people have compromised with evolution, and many biologists believe that God created the kinds of animals and plants in the beginning. This [writer] has taught biology many years and belongs to the latter group.…
The study of hereditary factors or genes has demonstrated that they are composed of deoxyribose nucleic acid, DNA for short. A gene is very complex indeed, and this fact makes it reasonable to believe that living things were constructed by an intelligent Being, not by chance. An added fact is that DNA is used by the living cell to transmit traits rather than transmitting the traits by itself. The cells of every living thing are complex; if they were made of DNA alone they could not live. Furthermore, if they had been built up gradually through the ages, the simple, beginning forms could not have carried on the functions necessary for life.…
Julian Huxley does well in comparing the processes of heredity with the Second Law of Thermodynamics—the tendency to run down. But somehow he fails to see that this is a crippling blow to his favorite theory of evolution. When plants and animals reproduce, the offspring usually are much like the parents or more distant ancestors. When there is a heritable change, called a mutation, there is a loss of vigor and sometimes a crippling effect. Thus there is a slow but sure downward tendency in organic nature.…
Thus the kinds of plants and animals, even man, tend slowly to become like worn-out garments through the storing up of harmful mutations in the germplasm.… The world is like a clock which was wound up in the beginning and now is running down.
Creation Research Society Secretary
I greatly appreciate your many editorials but was particularly pleased with “Mission and Missionaries: 1969” (April 25). The graph is excellent and sets forth the facts so clearly.
May I suggest that a similar article and graph on the number of national workers—pastors, evangelists—would be most helpful. Many lament that more missionaries aren’t sent forth, forgetting completely that national churches in many countries of the world are established and have their own national leaders.…
Keep up the good work. CHRISTIANITY TODAY is meeting a great need.
Andes Evangelical Mission
Plainfield, N. J.
I have always appreciated the forthrightness and integrity in your editorials. However, I feel your editorial on … missionaries gives evidence that you really didn’t do your homework.
It seems you are trying to prove the point that NCC-related churches are suffering from missionary attrition.…
I must submit there are many … facts which you chose to ignore. One of these is the philosophy of missions. Many of our older mainline denominations have in recent years tried to train up native leaders to replace missionaries. And, while there may be fewer missionaries on the field and they may be spending more money, many of these groups really are doing a more significant work.
The First Baptist Church
Baptists, Bible, And Tolerance
I wish to commend Dr. Clark Pinnock … for his recent comments about theological liberalism in our Southern Baptist seminaries (“Southern Baptists and the Bible,” April 25). The problem is not that some of us are concerned about a few liberals in each seminary; rather, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find any faculty members in our seminaries who hold to the evangelical view of the Scriptures. The Southern Baptist denomination is, as a whole, conservative in its doctrine. But the seminaries which are charged with the responsibility of educating the future pastors of this conservative constituency ridicule biblical inerrancy and deny propositional revelation. One result of this is a growing loss of confidence in the Scriptures. Many laymen would be satisfied … if the seminaries would at least present the evangelical view of the Scriptures as a plausible alternative. But those of us who saw the same thing happen to many seminaries in the American Baptist Convention know that tolerance and open-mindedness has never been a trait of theological liberals. Therefore, other laymen are beginning to talk of withholding funds from the seminaries, even if this means withholding money from that sacred cow Southern Baptists call the Co-operative program.
Chairman, Dept. of Philosophy
Western Kentucky University
Bowling Green, Ky.
Dr. Clark Pinnock says our Southern Convention “committed itself to biblical inerrancy” when it adopted the “Faith and Message” statement. In this opinion Dr. Pinnock shows the same lack of clarity about Baptist principles which our Sunday School Board showed—unintentionally and to a lesser degree—when that board advertised Dr. Criswell’s eloquent personal testimony (Why I Preach That the Bible Is Literally True) in such a way as to imply that the Criswell view was their official position.
When an agency as influential as our board lets a disputed doctrinal position become an official stand, even implicitly, then we have coming in the back door what Baptists have always refused to allow in the front—an authoritative confession or creed.
To head off any such “creeping creedalism,” I authored, and our oldest Baptist professors’ association adopted, a resolution protesting the tendency to let one method of interpreting the Bible (rather than the Bible’s own message) become our authority.
True, the “Faith and Message” statement contains a confession which speaks of biblical inerrancy in some sense. But Dr. Pinnock overlooks the opening of that statement, where it is made clear, in language stemming from E. Y. Mullins, that no confession is final or authoritative over Baptists.
Associate Professor of Religion
University of Richmond
Feel much better
by his latest,(“Hole in Your Head,” Current Religious Thought, April 25).
rates my praisest.
Church of the Mennonite Brethren
Religion For Intellectuals
“A Theology of Trust,” by Harold O. J. Brown (April 11), is a very timely and most helpful message to so-called intellectuals who think that man, by wisdom, can find God.…
It is a paraphrase of the old song, “The old-time religion is good enough for me,” put into sixty-five-cent words so as to make it palatable to the “intelligentsia” who deify education and worship at the altar of mental gymnastics.
I particularly like his statements: “A ‘naive believer’ who does in fact trust and obey is likely to attain a valid unsophisticated theology, while the sophisticated theologian … will wind up with inadequacies in both his faith and his theology,” and “The challenge to the evangelical theologian, then, is to affirm the integration of knowledge and trust.” Amen and amen!
(The Rev.) IRVING KUGLER
I have just read … that there are apparently now enough votes in the Senate to defeat Mr. Nixon’s ABM system. And that reminded me that one of the sanest and most balanced views on the subject was the April 11 editorial in CHRISTIANITY TODAY.… Thank you for the stand you have taken.
May I respectfully state that your editorial on “The ABM Decision” constitutes bona fide pussyfooting. From a supposedly exemplary Christian periodical one would expect an affirmative position either one way or the other. As born-again Christians we must emulate our Saviour Jesus Christ, who minced no words in dealing with people.…
The position set forth by the President should be supported because the Soviet rulers cannot be trusted.… They are out-and-out atheists and as such are entirely immoral, unreliable … schemers.… Any agreement, oral or written, isn’t worth a tinker’s dam.
St. Petersburg, Fla.
In your remarks on the ABM decision, you obscure the issue. The issue is not whether or not to take the Sino-Soviet threat seriously. The issue is whether, in view of the vast American stockpile of nuclear weapons and delivery systems, it is necessary to spend another $9 billion on still another system, when there are other pressing demands upon our economy.
If Jesus Christ read that statement in your editorial (“Vandalism in the Name of Peace,” April 11), he would have been shocked and dismayed to see you repudiate so clearly what he taught.… If he were in Viet Nam today he would still be turning the other cheek and telling men of the good news and bleeding and dying for them, all before he would think of using napalm.
Monck Baptist Church
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