A Child’S Garden Of Musings

Now that we have baptized Mother Goose and transformed her silly rhymes into bedtime sermons for children, we must strive to conquer new literary worlds and share truth with more people. After all, not everybody reads Mother Goose.

I have long felt that the Sherlock Holmes saga is tailor-made for spiritual messages. Surely “A Study in Scarlet” immediately brings Isaiah 1:18 to mind, and ‘The Valley of Fear” suggests Psalm 23:4. (Oh, why has it taken us so long to see this?) Beyond question, Paul’s “Beware of dogs” (Phil. 3:2) can be related to “The Hound of the Baskervilles.” I could name several more, but I will leave to you, the reader, the thrill of discovering them for yourself.

So much for detective stories. How about applying some sanctification to A Child’s Garden of Verses? I submit an edifying sample:

How would you like to go up in a plane,

Over the bus routes wide?

If you bring twenty to Sunday School,

You shall receive a free ride.

How would you like to enjoy a long trip,

And visit the Holy Land fair?

Bring two hundred people to Sunday School

And we will escort you there!

Vast vistas of evangelical opportunity open to us! Time would fail me to suggest what could be done with children’s games. I ask you: Why should the little ones only enjoy themselves at games, when they could also be edifying themselves? Would it not be wise and profitable to read them Luke 15 before they go out to play “hide and seek”? Would not this add more seriousness of purpose to their play? I’m sure it would.

I tell you, the possibilities are limitless! Why have a ducky or a doggie on a child’s bib when a dispensational chart would accomplish much more? Bars of soap shaped like Noah’s ark, or the tables of the Law, would rescue a child’s bathtime from being merely an exercise in outward cleanliness.

Children of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your childhood joys.


Finding A Balance

Let me commend the convincing arguments in your December 12 editorial “Just Because Reagan Has Won …” This salutary word is most important for all of us who call ourselves evangelical in today’s American society. With others, I have been looking for a sense of balance in this whole matter of my political interest and stance as a Christian and as a responsible voting citizen of our nation. You have helped us all.


Executive director, World Vision

Monrovia, Calif.

You’ve done it again, droning on about “key issues” for evangelicals while omitting the “rights” of the purest “minority group,” the unborn. Reagan was elected by a margin equivalent to the prolife vote he garnered.

Article continues below


Tipp City, Ohio

In the wake of Ronald Reagan’s election, news of the so-called Moral Majority has reached expatriate Americans here in England. Has not the “moral majority” learned anything from history? When early Christians captured Constantine for the “moral majority,” the church rapidly sank in the peat bog of spiritual mediocrity. To exchange political power for spiritual strength seems a pretty pathetic substitution.


Kensington Baptist Church

Bristol, England

The church should be extremely careful lest it transform itself into a pressure group, whether in boycotts on the economic level, or bloc voting on the political scene. Otherwise the church ceases to be the church of Jesus Christ, and becomes another human organization. Efforts to Christianize the social order, divorced from the heart of the gospel, result in the secularizing of the religious mind.


Trinity Lutheran Church

Waterloo, Iowa

Too Generous

John Stott is far too generous in analyzing the weaknesses of the statement of the Nationwide Initiative in Evangelism in his “Reviving Evangelism in Britain” [Dec. 12]. The statement leaves out the substitutionary atonement, presents a defective view of sin, fuzzifies biblical authority, and completely ignores the Second Coming of Christ. In general, the statement reads as if it had been drafted by a group of scholars committed to watering down the Christian faith.


Redeemer Covenant Church

Downey, Calif.

Three Cheers, But …

Three cheers for Larry Richards’s digging and divulging regarding the CT-Gallup Poll, “The Great American Congregation: An Illusive Ideal?” [Nov. 21]. However, his admitted idealism and bias toward picturing the church “as a family of brothers and sisters.” tends to blunt his spade. He seems to be hurt that people overwhelmingly turn to their immediate family for help rather than to church members. Why should that be disconcerting? Family is family! One’s immediate family is the historical biblical and cultural center for the meeting of virtually every need. The current evangelical vogue for “deep interpersonal relationships” (spoken with hushed, intense tones!) goes too far when the implication seems to be that it is something less than “spiritual” for my literal brother to know and care for me rather than a brother in my church.

It appears Richards can’t comprehend why people do not seek help from friends and neighbors. One reason concerns the right to deem some areas of our lives as “personal.” Many of us in the counseling field are not happy with popularists who encourage everybody to “let it all hang out” all the time. There is natural embarrassment connected with many of our intimate needs.

Article continues below


Director, Family Development Institute

Speculator, N.Y.

All-Time Low?

Your December 12 issue hit an all-time low in the cartoon (?) on the nativity scene. I consider it in very poor taste bordering on the sacrilegious. Perhaps you should do some serious thinking about the holiness of the birth of our Lord, his death and resurrection. Or are you watching too much TV?


Blaine, Wash.

“A Cute Catchword”

Tom Bisset’s December 12 “Religious Broadcasting …” thoughtfully addresses many of its very complex problems. However, I cringe at the continued use of the phrase “electronic church” or “electric church.” It’s a cute catchword but it is totally inadequate, inaccurate, and unbiblical. We don’t refer to the Christian publishing industry as the “printed church,” yet it serves the same functions of edification, information, and entertainment. Why then label Christian broadcasting as the “electric church?” We don’t baptize, bury, or serve Communion to our “congregation.” Broadcast ministries ought not try to be a substitute for the local church nor should they be considered as such.


Moody Bible Institute Broadcasting

Chicago, III.

Visitation—With Limits

Regarding Neal Kuyper’s “Minister’s Workshop” on pastoral visitation [Dec. 12], I feel that a pastor must look to the Word of God to determine his responsibilities in the local church. One of the frustrations that many a pastor feels is that he is expected to do so many things and most of them are worthwhile in and of themselves. However, he finds that his time spent in productive Bible study and sermon preparation can be greatly eroded if that time is not protected. In larger churches, a pastor can soon be spiritually emaciated because of the many demands upon his time, and visitation can be one of the leading culprits.

Kuyper mentions the involvement of many pastors in sermon preparation, counseling, reading, weddings, and deaths. But no mention is made of the pastor who comes home at the end of a day, having visited in homes, having done everything else that needs to be done only to be met at the door by a family that says, “who are you?”

Article continues below


Grandview Baptist Church

Davenport, Iowa

News Commentary

After reading the December 12 news article “Faith Formula …” my pen can no longer be silent concerning my views on what has been transpiring at Oral Roberts University. I am a 1978 ORU graduate, and thoroughly enjoyed my studies and relationships there. But I had some difficulties when it came to some of President Roberts’s teachings—that is, faith vs. presumption, seed-faith, and “claiming it.”

My greatest contention is the student’s inability to think for himself and challenge (on the basis of Scripture) some of Roberts’s teachings. Healthy dialogue should be viewed not as threatening, but as a time for learning for both parties. For instance, I have come to realize there is nothing “un-scriptural” about having a physical handicap or being poor. Joni Eareckson and Mother Theresa can attest to that.


South Hamilton, Mass.

Clarifications are needed on your December 12 news item concerning the November meetings of the Society of Biblical Literature and the American Academy of Religion. The Consultation on Evangelical Theology is not primarily a “beachhead,” which implies a battle with clearly defined warring factions. Evangelicals have often avoided dialogue, thereby cheating ourselves and others. Those of us who initiated the consultation believe (1) we have scholarly work that needs to be done; and (2) we can benefit from the availability of other scholars at the AAR.


Chairperson, Consultation on Evangelical Theology

Madison, Wis.


We regret errors in two recently published poems by Luci Shaw. In “Theory” (Sept. 19) the word “us” was omitted from line 17, which should read: “to orchestrate us all.” In “The Stars, The Bells” (Dec. 12) in line seven the word “like” should be “light.” Lines seven and eight thus should read: “light runs / like music in the bones …”

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.