“Good day, Reverend. Do you have a few moments to.… Good. Here’s my card. Why don’t we sit down and I’ll explain our service. What is it? Well, idyll spelled IDL—oh, you’re not familiar with us? Interior Decorating for the Lord is a subsidiary of Evangelical Amusements, which has just been bought by Yatsumitso. Yes, that’s right, the company that made your sanctuary piano. The chairman of the board has read all the marketing reports about the evangelical boom—we are a very successful company, let me assure you—and since Yatsumitso was already in the churches, in a manner of speaking, the chairman decided to test the waters even further.

“Now, I can see by looking around your office—this is where you do all your counseling, right? Yes, I thought so. Had many successes? Many troubled souls found peace and security lately? Sorry to hear that. Are you sure you aren’t rationalizing? Oh, I grant you that prayer is a part of it and that God’s time is not always our time. But he did give us minds to figure out better techniques to make his message more, shall we say, accessible to our generation. And that, not to put too fine a point on it, is why I am here.

“What can I do? Didn’t you have courses in counseling in seminary? Right. That’s no longer enough. In fact IDL is putting together a seminary course based on our proven techniques of office decoration. Perhaps your successor will have his counseling degree with an emphasis on color scheme or furniture placement.

“Yes. That’s what I’ve been talking about all along. Look at the color of this office. White may be fine for hospitals, but not for a pastor’s office. Sterile. Uncreative. Cold. Uninviting. The first thing we do is to warm it up. You want people to find you receptive, don’t you?

“And this furniture. The desk is disgraceful. Look at those dents, scratches. Why, aren’t those marks? Oh, your son did that. I would have suggested paragoric. Your parishioners want a family man, but you can’t have the evidence in the furniture. This chair will also have to be replaced. I can hardly sit still, much less listen to you. You need a grouping. Sitting behind a desk is fine for scolding the janitor, but not for reassuring a depressed personality. Let’s add a sofa, and a few soothing pictures, perhaps of a more idyllic time, say the country in bloom. The snow scene goes. Yes, I know it matches the walls. That’s the trouble. Perhaps a few plastic plants. Nothing so upsets a counselee as to see a dying philadendron. And I can do the whole job for only a few thousand dollars.

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“You’ve heard enough? Then I’ll have my crew start next week. What? Well, if you’re willing to take that kind of responsibility. I suppose the Holy Spirit is better than nothing. But if you should change your mind.…”


Author’s Views

Calvin Seerveld’s article “Gospel of Creation” (Nov. 17), which I am extremely disappointed to find in a magazine purporting to uphold the inerrancy of Scripture, reveals his own weak and neo-orthodox view of the Bible.… Such neo-orthodoxy undercuts the very breadth of God’s, revelation and casts us onto the shifting sands of humanistic relativism.


Forward Baptist Church

Toronto, Canada

Confusing Head

Imagine our surprise when we picked up the November 3, issue and turned to page 12 to see: “Midwest Christian College Recalls 1972–75 Alumni: Faulty Biology Text Stated as Reason.” Further reading clarified the headline, of course, but we began to wonder how many people who know about our college would simply have seen the headline, concluded that it meant us, and questioned what was happening here. Let it be stated, then, that Midwest Christian College has not recalled her alumni nor has she a faulty biology text. We continue to develop preachers and Christian educators as we have for more than thirty years. We continue to strive for increasing effectiveness, ever seeking ways to do the job better. But we have not recalled any alumni!


Midwest Christian College

Oklahoma City, Okla.

Lifting Up Thanks

I would like to thank CHRISTIANITY TODAY and Alzina Stone Dale for her contemporary psalm of thanksgiving (“Thanksgiving Is Not Ash Wednesday,” Nov. 17). How uplifting it was to be made to feel the Thanksgiving worship she experienced in the past and now which echoes the ancient psalmist who encouraged us to “offer up thanksgiving unto the Lord for all his benefits to us” and not feel guilty. At times, the giving of thanks, the exulting in the blessings of God upon us, the sheer enjoyment of our relationship to God, is the only appropriate thing to do or the only thing we feel like doing. That’s my kind of Thanksgiving. Thank you for helping me worship that way in my study. I hope to do the same in public worship this Thanksgiving season.

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Cookeville, Tenn.

Although I agree with Alzina Dale that we as a people have allowed Thanksgiving to be joyless, I have some problems with her theology. Since when has America become a chosen people or a chosen nation? I am quite comfortable with the fact that Christians have been elected and chosen by God as a nation of priests. But to lump all Americans together, as if we, as a people, were a second Israel is too much. Biblically there is no basis for comparing America with Israel, because God chose one nation and that was Israel and when Israel did not live up to God’s calling as a people, to shine like a light for the world to see, God chose for himself a diversity of peoples to be the chosen children of God, and they are the Church, not the U.S. or any other nation.


Washington. Pa.

Tribe of Solzhenitsyn

Sometimes when we receive a shipment of several items in one package the most valuable are found at the bottom of the package. So it was in the November 17 issue. The last article by Harold Kuhn (Current Religious Thought. “Solzhenitsyn and Some Spiritual Implications”) tells about Solzhenitsyn’s speech at the Harvard Commencement on June 8. Here we have a refugee from totalitarian Russia holding up a very real and unpleasant mirror to our nation’s moral decadence. And it is not to our credit that this man had the courage to make the remarks he did at one of the supposed citadels of Western civilization. Commencement addresses have a habit of becoming pointless pablum for the entertainment of the populace. No doubt his audience at Harvard did not appreciate his remarks but that is just where they were needed. It is not often that the “intelligentsia” have such basic truths thrown in their faces. More power to Solzhenitsyn. May his tribe increase.


Grand Rapids, Mich.

Melodyland Regroups

Re the news articles on Melodyland School of Theology in your issues of December 1 (“Dissonance Jars the Melodyland Harmony”) and December 15 (“Melodyland Lingers: Is the Song Ended?”): We asked journalist Yurica to delay sending articles on the Melodyland faculty difficulty until the situation became clearer. As a result of her precipitate articles many inaccuracies need to be corrected.

1. “The school faculty” did not ask for a major reorganization. Only certain faculty did so, not including our heavyweights: Walter Martin, world renown specialist on the cults; Dr. Michael Esses, Semitic specialist of international repute: Dr. Donald Reiter, leading Baptist spokesman and practical theologian; Old Testament scholar Dr. John Rea; and so forth.

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2. Eleven faculty members and two staff persons who signed the ultimatum have broken their contracts with the institution and left in the middle of the school year. Only four of these faculty members had earned doctorates, and a number of them were part-time professors. Typical of current replacements is Rodney Rosenbladt, formerly of the Westmont College philosophy department. We continue with twenty-five faculty members and no retrenchment of instruction.

3. President Rodman Williams disengaged himself from the dissident faculty and continues as president.

4. It is simply untrue that the “problems at the school are not theological in nature.” One of the chief factors precipitating the dissident faculty’s ultimatum was the firing of a staff member who, like several other professors who have now left us, found unpalatable Melodyland’s exceedingly strong statement on the inerrancy of Scripture and rejection of the higher critical method.

5. The dissident faculty sent an unsolicited letter to the regional accrediting association imparting the kind of misleading information that abounds in your articles by Yurica, but this has now been rectified with the executive secretary of the association. Melodyland’s accreditation status remains unchanged.

May we request more responsible news coverage of our activities in the future? Bearing false witness against a neighbor is a serious spiritual matter.


Professor at Large

Melodyland School of Theology

Anaheim, Calif.

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