Denomination For Every Family

Harvey Jackson announced today the formation of Denominations Aplenty, an organization committed to the idea that we need more denominations, not fewer. Eutychus interviewed Jackson at his Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, headquarters.

Eutychus: Why more denominations, Harv?

Jackson: Every man’s religion is a personal thing between him and God. Our goal for the eighties is for every family in the United States to have its own denomination. By the year 2000, we hope to extend that to a denomination for each and every family member.

Eutychus: That seems to fly in the face of Christian unity.

Jackson: Unity is a myth. Name one good thing that ever came out of large denominations.

Eutychus: Fellowship.

Jackson: All right, name another.

Eutychus: Peace, understanding …

Jackson: You’re missing the point. Ever since the Reformation we’ve been stressing more and more the priesthood of the believer. My organization is simply carrying that to its logical conclusion.

Think of the benefits: No more denominational politics, no more fights over who controls the church, no more petty theological disputes.

Listen, Euty: If you had your own denomination you could settle things nice and peacefully between you and God. There would be no hassles about organizations. Just happy Christians.

Eutychus: What’s your plan to carry out this mission?

Jackson: We’ve put together a “Start Your Own Denomination” kit that sells for $29.95. Each kit includes a cassette tape of Jane Fonda singing “I Gotta Be Me,” a book of unregistered names for new denominations, and quickie incorporation papers for the state in which you choose to register your denomination.

Eutychus: I don’t think I can endorse your plan, Harvey.

Jackson: Don’t worry about it. I’m only called to preach division; I can’t guarantee results.


The SDA wall

“The Wall of Adventism” by Joan Craven [Oct. 19] is, as a whole, well balanced, and should be read carefully by Adventists and others. I do not believe the Sabbath presents an insurmountable wall; the wall is lack of understanding on both sides and a lack of desire to lessen that misunderstanding. Adventists, I believe, will draw nearer to other Christians when we begin to have a better comprehension of what Ellen White was and what she was not.


Fairview Oklahoma

Craven lauds an Adventist father who, according to her, told his daughter, “The denomination you belong to doesn’t matter. What matters is if you love Jesus.” Some denominations deny even the divinity and virgin birth of Jesus Christ; in Craven’s view, however, these or a thousand other errors are quite acceptable, just so you love Jesus. Come now: What honest Christian, Adventist or otherwise, can subscribe to such unscriptural drivel?

Article continues below


Mead, Wash.

It’s too bad Craven remembered “Bible Ping-Pong” rather than “Jesus Loves Me” from her childhood. Her characterization of Adventism by way of selected anecdotes leaves a lot to be desired. For instance, she missed Adventist Bible teachers who assign their students to attend non-Adventist churches and to research their beliefs and practices; she missed my mother, who sent me to Baptist youth meetings when our Adventist church had none.

Her wall of separation crumbles on the final page, where she shows prominent Adventists writing for non-Adventist publishers, an Adventist bookstore being one of a non-Adventist publisher’s top academic customers, and Adventist parents being surprisingly open with their children who choose other denominations.


General Conference of

Seventh-day Adventists

Washington, D.C.

Adventism can be flawed. Heaven was flawed by a created being who won a third of the angels plus 100 percent success in Eden where he met total failure. I have two nephews who left the church, sons of an Adventist minister.


Norridge, Ill.

Keeping the Sabbath is not a man-made doctrine. There are many nominal Christians who “worship” on Sundays in a cold, formal way. The gospel is to force us from this, too. Still, finally, the Ten Commandments are not to be played with.


Moorhead, Minn.

If everybody ought to keep the Sabbath from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday, then why did God create the world in such a way that in the Land of the Midnight Sun and Midday Noon, for many months each year the solar orb is not seen to cross the horizon, making it absolutely impossible to see, no less observe, the time of the setting of the sun?


Pembroke, N.C.

Christians and the 1984 election

You are to be commended for a thoughtful analysis of the American political scene in your October 5 and 19 issues. I would point, out though, that the record of Congressman Don Bonker (D-Wash.), one evangelical quoted frequently in the final article, illustrates the credibility problems Democrats have when they try to appeal to Christian voters by saying they represent the cause of social justice. While Bonker tells your magazine that “one out of ten verses in the synoptic Gospels deals with the question of wealth and poverty,” he has not been overly concerned about the unborn children of the poor, since he voted against amendments that would have barred Medicaid coverage of abortion and barred the use of federal and District funds to pay for abortions in the District of Columbia.

Article continues below


Durham, N.C.

Beth Spring [Oct. 5] reveals the discomfort of unreconstituted church-state separatists when repeating the stock charges of the so-called moderate Republicans. Her historical analysis missed the real story: the political activation of the Religious Right against the encroachments and abuses of secularism. This is not so much, as she would have it, a response to Reagan or classic Republicanism. What Reagan has succeeded in doing, however, is precisely what the new style of leadership is about—he found a parade and stepped in front of it. The unassayed theme, though, is the parade itself. I find it incomprehensible that when a national leader finally does identify with a sizable portion of the conservative agenda, a leading conservative publication then, instead of applauding, seems at once embarrassed and appears to lack the confidence to speak clearly its conscience.


Presbyterian Church of the Cross

Omaha, Nebr.

Bless you, CT! Into my small town, where politically thoughtful evangelicals seem as scarce as hen’s teeth, and where single-issue conservatives are thick as bugs on a bumper, comes your magazine twice a month to revive my mind and my heart. Your thought-provoking articles and detailed news coverage are a welcome supplement to my reading diet. Special congratulations to Beth Spring and Rodney Clapp for their objective, comprehensive, thoughtful, and biblical articles on the Republican and Democratic parties.


Rutland, Vt.

Rodney Clapp’s “Insight” into “What the Democrats Believe” [Oct. 19] was neither insightful nor believable. Trotting out the same old tiresome liberal clichés hardly constitutes a “closer look” at the issues of this campaign. The editors have done the readers a great disservice by allowing ludicrous generalities. How is it that the same magazine that purports to reveal the deeper meaning behind the not-so-deep metaphysics of Robert Schuller cannot present a clear summary of something so easily authenticated as the Democratic and Republican positions or records?


New Ringgold, Pa.

I applaud Rodney Clapp’s article; he states the position of the Democrats well. Issues such as abortion, the nuclear arms race, and poverty must be dealt with. One cannot afford to base this election on a single issue; much is at stake. However, we must recognize that God can and will work through whoever gets elected.

Article continues below


Crawfordsville, Ind.

Was your article “What the Democrats Believe” actually written for an evangelical readership? I wonder. If this is where evangelicalism is headed, I want off the train. I’ll call myself something else.


Monmouth, Oreg.

I am not registered to vote. I have no regrets. I think I am well informed.


Hesston, Kansas

Love, not mud

A special thanks to Gil Beers and Harold Smith for the editorial “Mudslinging in the Sanctuary” [Oct. 19]. I heartily concur with their comments. At a recent meeting of Independent Baptist pastors in our state, the preaching schedule was devoted to this subject of friendship, fellowship, and acceptance. For too long we have shot at one another when we should be loving one another.


Westfair Baptist Church

Jacksonville, Ill.

I would suggest your editors reread the last two paragraphs on p. 144 of Bad News for Modern Man. Having read Franky [Schaeffer]’s book, it is quite clear that he is speaking of evangelicals as “we.” It would seem that Beers and Smith are upset because he “calls them out.” Whether Jesus used invectives when he chased out the moneychangers, I don’t know. The fact remains, however, that he did chase them out.


Amarillo, Tex.

Your editorial makes some valid points. We should certainly love others who also follow Christ, but I would like to make a distinction, as Jesus did, between lay people and those in leadership positions who claim to speak for the Founder of the Christian church. Christ clearly condemned (and Paul does, too) the false teachers and apostates who slip in and mislead the flock. People are beginning to wake up to the fact that a lot of what is being taught in some seminaries and “Christian” colleges is not Christian at all. Appeals to “love” to mask false teaching (on abortion, for example) have nothing to do with love at all.


The Moral Majority, Inc.

Lynchburg, Va.

I heartily endorse the editorial, and suggest CT practice what it preaches in the Eutychus and His Kin column: No more letters that simply call names or make accusations without support.


St. Louis, Mo.

Franky Schaeffer a “self-appointed” leader? Somehow I take that inherently derogatory description as CT’s own form of mudslinging. (Or is it loving confrontation?)

Article continues below


Hume, Ill.

Voting for Christians—or “infidels”

“When ‘Infidels’ Run for Office,” by Mark Noll [Oct. 5], provided a perspective that was provocative as well as informative regarding the problematic role of the Christian in the voting process. It was very helpful to focus upon an instance in American history where the election of an “infidel” proved to be a wise choice. Yet, the conclusions regarding the proper religious assessment of a candidate lacked a sense of biblical direction. The Bible says little or nothing about how to sort through political demogoguery, nor does it state how to evaluate a candidate’s platform; but it certainly speaks explicitly about the purpose of government: justice must be served. Whether the candidate is a believer or unbeliever makes no difference. The application of this biblical truth would have safeguarded against the religious prejudice that shrouded the understanding of the colonial “evangelicals” during the election of 1800.


Middletown, Ohio

I think a different lesson is to be learned. The election of 1800 was a key fork in the road in determining the relationship between church and state in the United States. Is not the statement “separation of church and state” at the vanguard of all the attempts to exclude religious thinking from the free market of ideas and the workings of government? This statement of Jefferson’s, not found in any of the documents on which our government is founded, is accorded the authority of the Constitution itself. The Christian leaders in 1800 rightly understood the election as a confrontation between the veiled humanism of the enlightenment and the Christian belief system. We are now reaping the fruit of that election 200 years later in the secularization of society and a government that is uncommonly uncomfortable with God.


Portland, Oreg.

You have done a great service by giving a perspective of history and of origins of the issues.


San Jose, Calif.

Judging Schuller

Some of the responses to your articles regarding Robert Schuller remind me of lines by Chang Tsu, a Chinese philosopher of the fourth century B.C.:

How shall I talk of the sea to the frog, if he has never left his pond?

How shall I talk of the frost to the bird of the summer land if it has never left the land of its birth?

How shall I talk of life with a sage if he’s the prisoner of his doctrine?

Let Schuller be judged by the fruit of his ministry in the conversion of the secular world rather than whether or not he is a “fellow-prisoner of doctrine.”

Article continues below


Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Watching Maranatha

When I read “A Team of Cult Watchers Challenges a Growing Campus Ministry” [Aug. 10], I thought that you had addressed an important issue in relation to Christians keeping a watchful, concerned, and caring eye on one another. When I read the responses [Oct. 5], I wondered if these people were writing about the same article I thought I had read. So I reread the article. Then I reread the letters. One writer referred to Mr. Frame’s “alarming lack of objectivity,” that he “casts doubt upon an impressive list of endorsements.” Yet it was pointed out that the organization used a picture and a statement of Billy Graham without knowledge or permission of Mr. Graham’s evangelistic association. With this in mind, how should I view Maranatha’s other endorsements?


Long Beach, Calif.

I was not going to write regarding your discussion of Maranatha until I read your readers’ responses. As a pastor and campus minister, we have been dealing with Maranatha’s groups for six years. The experience has been most disturbing. Thank you for your article. All I have seen in the Christian media has been praise for Maranatha. I had begun to think that those of us in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Alabama were dealing with isolated cases of fanaticism.


Hendersonville Chapel

Hendersonville, Tenn.

Withdrawing that IVP book

I read “InterVarsity Withdraws a Book Opposed by Prolifers” [Sept. 21] with sadness. Why withdraw a book? IVCF apparently lacks convictions and integrity, lacks forethought and afterthought, and so therefore withdrew the book without biblical reasons for doing so after publishing the book without biblical reasons for doing so (at least as far as the abortion chapter goes).


Tempe, Ariz.

Shame on you, James McLeish, president of IVP, and Jimmy Locklear, public relations director, for allowing the threat of financial withdrawal from your ministry to cause you to back down from what you first believed to be a perfectly moral decision to publish Dr. Jones’s book. Shame on you, Curt Young, and your Christian Action Council, and you, Joseph Scheidler, and your Pro-Life Action League for being afraid to allow opposing views to be distributed through the Christian community. And shame on you, Franky Schaeffer. Your father stood for intellectual integrity and honesty and never backed down from an honest opponent.

Article continues below


Third Presbyterian Church

Fort Wayne, Ind.

Playing Bible games

Your story about “Bible trivia” games [Oct. 5] reminds me of many hours of enjoyment, excitement, and profitable Bible learning that I and thousands of others have appreciated for years in the form of “Bible quiz” activities of many sorts. I thank God for these and for the creative entrepreneurs who have invested time and money to encourage Christians and others to have fun while learning more about the Bible. I, for one, am not offended that the secular Trivia Pursuit “craze” has sparked this new enthusiasm for Bible quiz games. Nor am I offended that some of the publishers may turn a handsome cash profit. Christian publishing houses have been doing that for years while providing the church with helpful published materials.


Winnipeg Bible College

Otterburne, Man., Canada

That article taught important lessons about the paucity of Christian creativity; the nature of Christian commerce; and the readiness of Christians to trivialize their faith for fun and profit. But then, if you can’t beat them, join them!


Richfield, Minn.

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.