Walter Mitty Revisited

Johnny Knox had always wanted to be a missionary. He felt sure it was God’s call for his life. But lots of things had gone wrong. After only a few months, taking a course called World Evangelization and Social Conscience, he wasn’t sure about mission work. There he was, trying to hear the professor, who was saying, “So you see, class, before you can witness in Third World countries, you’ve got to liberate those who so often are chained in political systems; once you break the government’s back, you deliver people to new freedom, and once they have political liberty they can understand Christian liberty.… You may have to pay the price of military intervention.… You see … no, passive resistance is not strong enough … and …”

Johnny was dreaming, drumming his pencil on the table (Ta pocketa, pocketa, pocketa). “Could he preach …” (Ta pocketa, pocketa). “Yes, yes, I see that hand, and is there another? No … no(Ta pocketa).

“Company B, this is Johnny Knox. We’re going to blow Alfredo off hill 42. Now get this straight.…” A mortar exploded near Johnny’s leg and he slammed down his field phone to grab his machine gun and fire into the jungle (Ta pocketa, pocketa, pocketa). The hot barrel of the weapon spit red laser fire into the jungle.

Picking up his field phone, he said again, “Listen, B Company, you got any more Agent Orange? I think there’s some more of those ungodly imperialists in the jungle straight ahead. Defoliate, defoliate. Remember, it’s all for Him. Once we burn the Satanic government forces out of the jungle, the people will be free to understand the message of peace. You got that, B Company? 10–4. I can’t hear you, B Company. Phone’s dead. Wave if you got my transmission.” Johnny paused, peering through the smoky clearing. He saw them wave back. “Yes, yes, I see that hand, and is there another!” he shouted exultantly. And then he quietly began to sing “Just As I Am.” In the distance he heard the clattering but friendly tread of the tanks (Tapocketa, pocketa, pocketa).

“Knox, in what ways do you see the relationship between political liberation and spiritual liberation,” asked his professor, suddenly. “Knox, are you listening?”

Johnny shook himself—the jungle disappeared. He was back in World Evangelization and Social Conscience.

“Sir,” said Knox, not quite free from his daydream, “we’ve defoliated the jungle. Now can we tell them about Jesus?”

The class giggled and Johnny looked down.


Faith and Healing

I want to applaud Paul Brand and Philip Yancey for the excellent article, “A Surgeon’s View of Divine Healing” [Nov. 25). One factor so often overlooked is a faith that sustains and overcomes in the face of physical illness. My years in the pastorate have led me to believe that kind of faith is much stronger and more virile than a faith that “hopes” for miraculous healing and gives up if it doesn’t happen, or disappears when it does. I recall that Paul prayed for the removal of his “thorn in the flesh,” and God’s answer was, “My strength is made perfect in weakness.”

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Cromwell, Conn.

Do attempts at medical healing deny God’s ability to heal in a miraculous fashion? Christ did not refuse to heal the woman with an issue of blood because she had used up her money with paying physicians. Christ never performed a miracle when another cure was possible. Do you think he would have fed the 5,000 if the disciples had had plenty of money and there had been a bakery and fish market nearby?

If miraculous healing occurs today, I would expect many more such healings in Bangladesh or similar Third World countries without adequate medical assistance than in the U.S. where the talk is of a surplus of medical doctors!


Association of Baptists for World Evangelism, Inc.

Cherry Hill, N.J.

Timely and Challenging

Your editorial “Gambling, Everyone’s a Loser” [Nov. 25] was very timely, informative, and challenging. Many states, including Pennsylvania, are being inundated by progambling forces. I am happy to report that in Pennsylvania we have a group of over 50 legislators committed to opposing any additional legalized gambling, such as casino gambling. In November, this group of legislators hosted the annual meeting of LANCE (Legislators Against New Casino Establishments) at our capitol in Harrisburg; present were representatives from Massachusetts, New York, and New Jersey. The progambling forces are trying to play one state against another, and we believe that in an organization of legislators from many states we can share information and defeat that attempt.


House of Representatives

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Wife Abuse

I have just finished reading “Wife Abuse: The Silent Crime, the Silent Church” [Nov. 25]. Why was no mention made of rehabilitation, confrontation, or a call for responsibility on the part of the wife beater? The article dealt with the subject as though the beater didn’t exist. Why did the author say the beaten wife needed to be told that Jesus had forgiven the woman caught in adultery? Is that really germaine?

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As a formerly married person who was beaten by her husband, I found this article to be of little comfort. I think it will make many men in the church quite comfortable.


Santa Fe, N.M.

If anyone thinks the term “torture” is excessive, we challenge them to spend just 15 minutes talking with any Women’s Shelter volunteer.



Community Crisis Center, Inc.

Marble Falls, Tex.

We are doing Christian husbands a disfavor by dumping all the pressure of “authority” on them. I have also observed a number of cases of husband abuse (beating, etc). In these cases, Christian husbands are often fearful of getting help. To do so would, for many, mean admission that they are failing to exert the authority they should. It is time to purge ourselves of the sexism we have carried for so many years.


First Baptist Church

Hornell, N.Y.

Ken Petersen closes with “What the Church Should Do.” He might have added, “and cannot do!” since it is more and more apparent to many that there is a living body of Christ (true Spirit) and a substitute (church of humankind).

Petersen’s “You Can Help …” appears to neglect the single spiritual truth his discussion walks around, namely: If God is love, God’s enemy is hate, vested in Satan’s spirits that attack God’s people but can only kill those who are still in the dark of night where evil walks. But God’s gift of spiritual discernment enables Holy Spirit-led (not carnal) Christians to know when and in whom Satan is present. Then the spiritual binding of Satan in that person is possible. But who in today’s churches of “man’s religions” knows or teaches that? Pride certainly keeps us captive!


Christian Growth

Bradenton, Fla.

Sheer Nonsense!

Your reporter’s intimation [Nov. 25] that if Clarence Darrow were alive today he might support the Louisiana “balanced treatment” creation-science law is sheer nonsense. While Darrow argued that it is “bigotry for public schools to teach only one theory of origins,” he would today immediately point out, as your reporter fails to, that the Louisiana act makes it almost impossible to test legally the question of whether it is permitted to teach more than one theory of origins. The law confuses that question with many other issues by requiring the teaching of the highly disputed arguments called “creation-science” along with evolution whenever the subject of origins is taught. It also bans talk of God, religion, or the Bible.

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Calvin College

Grand Rapids, Mich.


Relative to your story about my lawsuit against Bowling Green State University [News, Nov. 25], contrary to Dr. Ferrari’s assertion I am not aware of anyone who, either in writing or verbally, claimed before I was fired that my work “did not measure up.” It is on record that those persons who specialize in my field of teaching (assessment and evaluation) voted almost unanimously in my favor. I was promoted a matter of months before I was terminated and was rated in the top of the department for merit pay, and university administrators consistently wrote that my research and teaching were “outstanding.”

It is abundantly clear from the court transcripts, numerous affidavits, and letters in my possession that my creationist and religious beliefs and publications supporting my views (such as a monograph I wrote, published by Phi Delta Kappa) comprised the sole reason for my tenure denial and subsequent termination.


Bowling Green, Ohio

Updated Information

Thank you for your positive and enlightening article on Liberty Baptist College. It was an incisive portrayal of the kind of education we endeavor to offer here at Liberty. I would like to update and clarify some of the information: Liberty now offers 55 undergraduate major fields of study, not the 44 listed in last year’s catalogue. Also, the $24.3 million impact referred to is not an annual figure but represents the 1981 impact. The annual impact actually increases in direct proportion to the growth of Liberty.

The article noted that Liberty did not allow men to wear beards or mustaches. While this was once true, recent rule changes have seen many students and faculty alike sporting mustaches around campus.


Liberty Baptist College

Lynchburg, Va.


Concerning the news story about the number of clergywomen in the Episcopal Church [Nov. 11], the total number of Episcopal clergy should be approximately 13,000, not 3,000.


Trinity Cathedral Church

Sacramento, Calif.

A Harmless Club?

With regard to “Witchcraft: An Inside View” [Oct. 21], the article leaves the reader with the impression that a coven is just some harmless club. Scripture is taken out of context and misapplied in the article—for example, the word ob is cited from Leviticus 20:27, but no mention is made of the word translated wizard. No comment is made concerning the fact that the kings of Israel and the spiritists themselves knew what God had commanded concerning them.


Alliance Church

Dawson Creek, B.C., Canada

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published. Since all are subject to condensation, those of 100 to 150 words are preferred. Address letters to Eutychus and his Kin, CHRISTIANITY TODAY, 465 Gundersen Drive, Carol Stream, Illinois 60187.

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