SWING LOW SWEET CHARIOT
“Hello there! Welcome to Trader Eli’s, largest chariot dealer in Jerusalem! My name is Sam. Can I help you?”
“I’m just looking right now, but I’m interested in a chariot for a friend.”
“I understand perfectly. Just step right over here and let me show you this little beauty. Here’s a small, easy-handling model with a single-tree for one horsepower. Notice the white sidewalls and the deluxe interior with leopardskin upholstery. The two-tone exterior is available in all those wild colors the ladies really go for.”
“It’s not for a lady friend.”
“Something for a man friend, eh? Well, just step over here and let me show you this racy sports model. Notice how low slung this baby is. Sits right on the ground. And the sleek styling makes it look like it’s doing 100 just sitting still.
“Standard equipment on this job includes brass wire wheels, Acacia-wood dashboard and racing stripe. It also comes with a double-tree for a full two horsepower.
“Since it’s getting near the end of the model year I’ll make you a special deal on this one. Our sales manager’s on vacation so I’ll just slip this one through at 100 denarii over our cost.”
“Actually, I had in mind something with a bit more dignity. We need something to be used in a sort of political parade, so it needs to be a chariot that says prestige and authority.”
“I can see you’re a man of real judgment about chariots. We have exactly the model you need! Just come over here and take a look—the chariot all Judea wants.
“Here’s our luxury model. The emperor himself uses one of these—custom-made, of course. This one is handcrafted.
“Take a look at the interior with cedar-of-Lebanon panels inlaid with ivory. For a touch of luxury there’s a built-in hourglass. The floorboard is covered with the finest goat’s hair carpet. The rail is of the purest bronze.
“Notice the deep purple finish which suggests royalty and the trim which is of pure gold of Ophir. The deluxe wheel covers complete the look of elegance. Can I write this one up for you?”
“Not yet, I need to check with my friend. But I must confess I’m impressed. How about the price?”
“Well, a chariot like this does cost a little more, but then it retains more of its value over the years. You’d never regret making the extra investment for a vehicle like this. Besides, think of it like this: the chariot industry is the bedrock of our economy, so you’re not only doing yourself a favor in buying one of these—you’re doing the empire a favor. As chariots go so goes the nation.
“Why don’t you think about this one and check with your friend? Here’s my card if you decide to take this one. And your name is?”
“I must say, Mr. Iscariot, your friend is mighty lucky to have a man of your discriminating judgment looking out for him.”
OCTOBER 8 SPECIALS
Among the good things in your issue of October 8, the editorial “The Prayer Amendment” and the review, “Bernstein’s ‘Mass’: No Word From the Lord,” deserve special comment. The discussion of the prayer amendment is discerning and the position adopted is the right one. Seven years ago CHRISTIANITY TODAY (June 19, 1964) carried a lead editorial opposing the Becker amendment and it is encouraging that it continues to point out the dangers of well-meaning but ill-advised changes in the Constitution.
Miss Forbes’s sensitive and thoughtful critique of the Bernstein Mass merits high praise. It gives the reader a vivid account of the content of the Mass and combines this with penetrating comment on the musical, theatrical, and spiritual implications of the composition. It’s a first-rate review.
CAPTIVATED, BUT CONFUSED
I was captivated by your timely [article], “A Truce Proposal for the Tongues Controversy” (Oct. 8). However, when I spotchecked the reference to John Wesley’s Journal entry I found that [it] had discontinued with his passing in 1791. Upon checking the same date in 1759 I found the reference I assume Pinnock and Osborne are referring to. I’m not convinced that the physical and verbal manifestations that Mr. Wesley describes are “tongues” and he does not identify them as such. I’m convinced that the principle that Wesley suggests applies to the “tongues” controversy, however, and hope that the rest of the scholarship of this article is more accurate as I would like to use it in my preaching ministry. Keep up the good work.
Labish Center Community Church
We would like to thank [Mr. Draper] for pointing out an unfortunate typing error in our manuscript. The actual date upon John Wesley’s journal entry is November 25, 1759 (not 1795). Due to the large number of inquiries regarding this, we would like to quote and comment upon this. The entry reads in part:
The danger was, to regard extraordinary circumstances too much, such as outcries, convulsions, visions, trances; as if these were essential to the inward work, so that it could not go on without them. Perhaps the danger is, to regard them too little, to condemn them altogether; to imagine they had nothing of God in them, and were an hindrance to his work [Works, II, 519].
Though tongues is not specifically mentioned in this passage, it is implied and undoubtedly included by Mr. Wesley, as is indicated from a letter to “The Reverend Dr. Conyers Middleton” on January 4, 1748–9 (Works, X, 54–6). In this letter he argued exactly as our article against those who assert there was no glossolalia after the apostolic age. He concludes (X, 55), “Many may have spoken with new tongues, of whom this is not recorded …: Nay, it is not only possible that it may be so, but it is absolutely certain that it is so.” He finishes by attesting to its then current practice. Thank you for allowing us to clarify a quite important point.
Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
STOOP TO TWIST
The article, “Black Origins of the Pentecostal Movement” (Oct. 8) by James S. Tinney represents a clear and deliberate effort on the author’s part to build up a black theology and faith as stated in his opening paragraph.
It is regrettable that Tinney would stoop to ignoring and twisting facts in order to try to teach a black doctrine. The truth of the matter about the baptism with the Holy Spirit as witnessed by glossolalia or speaking in tongues is stated in Acts 2:38–39, “For the promise is unto you and your children and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” There is no hint in the New Testament Scripture that this promise should be racially slanted.
Tinney does a great disservice to God and to his Spirit by calling the baptism of the Spirit an “authentic black faith.” Historically tongues can be traced through history from Pentecost until this present day. There is absolutely no basis for Tinney to say that the Azusa Street revival is an authentic black faith.
State Overseer of Oregon
Church of God of Prophecy
While it is true that there was significant black participation in the origins of Pentecostalism in the United States, it is a mistake to characterize the movement as a “black faith” or as distinctively African and Afro-American. Although black Pentecostals have often made this point, the overwhelming evidence suggests that the distinctive doctrine of the movement, i.e., that glossolalia constitutes the initial evidence of the Holy Spirit baptism, was formulated by a white man, Charles Fox Parham in his Bible college in Topeka, Kansas, in 1901. It was in Houston in 1905 that Seymour learned of the Pentecostal doctrine from Parham, his “father in the Gospel.” Rather than Pentecostalism being derived from blacks, the opposite is actually true. Seymour’s role as well as that of the Azusa Street Mission was in popularizing the doctrine rather than originating it.
A proper word to describe the origins of Pentecostalism would be “interracial.” Almost from the beginning, the Azusa Street revival had white participants such as Frank Bartleman and Florence Crawford.… The movement was … interracial, the cry at Azusa being, “the color-line has been washed away by the Blood.”
The enthusiastic mode of worship, including glossolalia, had been a pattern of white worship for over a century before Azusa Street. The “great awakenings” of pre-Revolutionary Virginia and Massachusetts, the Cane Ridge revivals of 1800–1801, and the great nineteenth-century camp meetings under both Methodist and Holiness auspices had produced the whole range of emotional demonstrations common to present-day Pentecostalism from the “jerks” to glossolalia. Pentecostals feel that the universality of their faith is seen in the fact that its beginnings and development cannot be ascribed to any one race, nation, or ethnic group.
Society for Pentecostal Studies
Franklin Springs, Ga.
NO LONGER SHOULDER TO SHOULDER
It seems to me that there is one very glaring defect in L. Nelson Bell’s thinking expressed in his article “On Separation” (A Layman and His Faith, Oct. 8).
Dr. Bell cites the example of the Sunday-school teachers who sought to use well known evangelical literature in the classes they teach. His advice to them—to show their pastor and their district superintendent the literature they wanted to use and endeavor to obtain their consent—in other words, to do their best to try to remedy the situation—was sound advice. But he then advised them that if they could not obtain their consent, he would take the children elsewhere. Dr. Bell then goes on to say, “But at the adult level my own reaction would be to stay in and witness with love and conviction, praying that the Holy Spirit will use this witness to help those who need to be changed.”
Is not Dr. Bell overlooking the vital and important fact that the Church of tomorrow will be composed of the young people of today? Most adults who have been solidly grounded in the faith could remain in a church which has abandoned the faith without having their own faith shaken. But do we adults not have a responsibility to do everything in our power to insure that our boys and girls are likewise grounded in this faith?
When the official literature of the Church differs radically from the Confession of Faith and lessens respect for the Bible as God’s infallible Word—when the church sponsors publications which advocate permissiveness in sex and the use of drugs—when youth conferences encourage our children and grandchildren to sing blasphemous songs—when an official board of the church is actually maintaining a fund to pay for abortions in defiance of God’s commandment “thou shalt not kill”—when radical leaders sponsor liquor parties for youth delegates to our General Assembly, have we not reached the point where we should follow Dr. Bell’s advice to the Sunday-school teachers and “take our children elsewhere”?
The executive committees of the four conservative organizations which have struggled for many years to reverse the radical trends in the Presbyterian Church U. S. met this summer and decided that the time has come to start preparing now for a continuing church which will be faithful to God’s Word, loyal to historic Presbyterian doctrine and polity, and obedient to the Great Commission. The vote to take this action was 25 to 1 with Dr. Bell casting the only dissenting vote.
When conservative leaders who have stood shoulder to shoulder with Dr. Bell over the years decide by such an overwhelming vote that they can no longer condone the continued erosion of Presbyterian doctrine and polity which has been taking place in our church, Dr. Bell’s inference that we are assuming “a self-righteous attitude,” “wrapping around ourselves the robes of personal piety” and “giving up rather than standing up for the truth” could, to say the least, well have been left unsaid.
Concerned Presbyterians, Inc.
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