New For Do-It-Yourselfers

The imaginative work of the noted Viennese physician Dr. Sigmund Freud sparked the growth of a medical specialty called psychotherapy. Unfortunately, the strictly academic and professional disciplines of psychiatry and clinical psychology require years of study and preparation, and their concepts and techniques are extremely difficult to master, or even to understand. This is not entirely without certain benefits, as suggested by the ballad of the era with its haunting refrain, “And this set of circumstances / Now enhances the finances / Of the followers of Dr. Sigmund Freud.”

But whatever the benefits to the followers of Dr. Freud and their patients, the sad fact was that there were too few of each—too few well-trained psychotherapists, and hence too few troubled people receiving the attention they desired. As a result, several methods have been devised for rendering psychological problems easier to understand and making their care and treatment more accessible to the masses. In the peace-loving people’s democracies, the emphasis has been on “re-education,” and several highly trained police and prison organizations have been developed to provide the general population with the necessary attention (cf. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago). In the bourgeois West, however, with its emphasis on individual enterprise, such far-reaching state techniques are for the moment unavailable.

In the West, therefore, attention has been given to bringing psychology down to the do-it-yourself level. On the Christian side, Jay Adams has made a significant contribution with the concept of nouthetic (monitory or confrontant) counseling, while “Kaiser” Bill Gothard with his emphasis on unquestioning obeisance to authority has furnished the general public with easy-to-follow guidelines. But it is really a secular physician, Dr. Thomas Harris, who has paved the way for widespread amateurism in psychological analysis and behavior modification with his concept of Transactional Analysis (TA). TA, with its easy-to-understand concepts such as parent-adult-child, offers distinct advantages over orthodox Freudianism and its mystifying id-ego-superego.

Perhaps all that Transactional Analysis has promised, and more, may be accomplished by the newest school of popular psychotherapy, introduced by Swiss banker and psychologist Dr. Adolf Schnitzler in his now-famous book Mein Kauf (My Deal). As Schnitzler has shown, there is no longer any need to engage in the unnecessarily complex analysis demanded by TA, i.e., trying to understand, in a particular relationship or “transaction,” which element is the parent, adult, or child. According to his new program, Deal Analysis (DA), the only question that need be asked about any relationship is, “What’s in it for me?” Suitable attention to this inquiry, and prompt action based on the answer, will, according to Dr. Schnitzler, provide a simple, easily understood standard of values and conduct for everyone who can add up a column of figures.

Heartened by their earlier success in taking over and applying the principles of TA, several evangelical thinkers and businessmen have plunged into DA with enthusiasm, and we can expect the early development of a distinctively Christian approach taking full advantage of Mein Kauf’s secular insights.

Whatever Happened To …?

Klaas Runia’s article, “ ‘Conceived by the Holy Spirit, Born of the Virgin Mary,’ ” in the December 6 issue was very timely and much appreciated. Donald Bloesch’s “Whatever Became of Neo-Orthodoxy?” in the same issue was a great disappointment. Bloesch’s article impressed me as a frantic attempt to salvage too much out of so little. If the church today must listen to the prophetic voice of neo-orthodoxy, as Bloesch suggests, before it can be spiritually credible and socially relevant, we have come upon a sad day. To be sure, if it listens to the prophetic voice of neo-orthodoxy, it will be new all right, but it will certainly not be orthodox. I would like to ask, “Whatever happened to orthodoxy, the Machen variety as expressed in his Christianity and Liberalism?”

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Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology

Dallas Theological Seminary

Dallas, Tex.

A quick but hearty “thank you” is in order for the Klaas Runia article, “ ‘Conceived by the Holy Spirit, Born of the Virgin Mary’ ”; the Donald Bloesch article, “Whatever Became of Neo-Orthodoxy?”; and Eldon W. Koch, “Thanks to a Bible Ferret.” All three articles are of the highest caliber and reminiscent of the earliest and finest days of your magazine.

The Rev. EDWARD A. JOHNSON

Ohiowa, Nebraska

Were my definition of the term evangelical the one employed by your editorial staff, such a misleading article would never have been published in a “magazine of evangelical conviction.” Would CHRISTIANITY TODAY and/or Dr. Bloesch have the evangelical public believe that the “strengths of neo-orthodoxy counterbalance its weaknesses”? Any position having universalistic tendencies forfeits its right to be labelled historic, evangelical Christianity and therefore deserves stronger criticism than being termed “not sufficiently evangelical.” I urge you to sharpen your evangelical senses and allow publication of only those articles that clearly affirm, defend, or communicate the historic Christian faith.

Campus Director

Campus and Lay Mobilization

Erie, Pa.

For Better Music

Thank you so much for your excellent article in The Refiner’s Fire regarding Christmas music (Dec. 6). As a Christian musician, I long have prayed and worked for better music in our church and lives—and I found your article encouraging. I especially liked the list of works by Harold Best; they were intelligent, sensitive choices.

Beverly, Mass.

After taking a second look at my comments quoted in The Refiner’s Fire, I question the statement that “Handel’s Messiah … is perhaps the greatest piece of Christian music ever written.” The comments were based on a telephone interview and I think I probably characterized Messiah as “perhaps the greatest piece of Christmas music”; indeed, the next sentence says, “Bach, too, wrote some fine Christmas music.” Were I called on for an opinion regarding the greatest piece of Christian music, I should probably mention Bach’s St. Matthew Passion.

The Refiner’s Fire is an excellent feature and is making a fine contribution to Christian understanding of the arts and literature.

Arlington, Va.

Two More

I have just finished reading Dr. Boice’s article entitled “The Great Need for Great Preaching” (Dec. 20). I agree wholeheartedly with his four requirements for great preaching. However, I would add at least two more requirements. First there is the need that the pastor know his people on a personal level and this requires a weekly plan of home visitation. The home visit will give the pastor insight as to where his people are as far as biblical knowledge and application are concerned. His expository preaching will be greatly enhanced as he comes to know his people. This is part of “shepherding the flock God has given him.”

The second additional requirement I see is a positive practice of Ephesians 4:11–16, in which the pastor becomes the instructor of Christians, teaching them to minister in Jesus’ name. When this is faithfully done, the preacher will have more time for his devotional life, Bible study, and sermon preparation.

First Baptist Church

Ballston Spa, N. Y.

Religion In Objects

What are the “Yiddish silver goblets” mentioned in “Crime in Church”? (Jan. 3). Your reporter apparently confused Yiddish, a language, with Jewish, an adjective describing elements of a religion, Judaism. Worse, he or she attributed religious characteristics to a cup, something unlikely in monotheism. What may have been intended is to describe goblets used by Jews in Jewish Sabbath rites to bless the “fruit of the vine.” The error is especially saddening because the crime may have involved Jewish-Christian hostility, as your reporter noted.

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Religion reporter

The Cincinnati Enquirer

Cincinnati, Ohio

• The goblets are as Mr. Kaufman surmises. We regret the inept description.—ED.

Less Than Happy

I feel that an otherwise excellent issue (Jan. 3) of CHRISTIANITY TODAY has been somewhat clouded by the editorial, “On Baring Our Souls.” It is difficult to know if you are just poking a bit of fun at the whole idea of footwashing as a biblical practice or have a serious intent in view. I have an idea that the thousands of earnest Christians who take this as a very serious part of their religious ritual will be somewhat less than happy about the article.

Since it is true as you say that the matter is only mentioned twice (John 13 and Tim. 5) I would call attention to the fact that in John 13 our Lord not only performed the act but also commanded his followers to do likewise: (ver. 15) and in Titus Paul commended it. In the light of these two Scriptures perhaps the practice has more going for it than many other things that have found their way into our Christian ritual without any scriptural example or commendation. (Incidentally, I am in no way associated with any of the denominations to whom this is a very sacred and holy matter.)

Springfield, Va.

• We wanted to encourage people who don’t practice footwashing to consider it seriously.—ED.

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