It was a long time coming, but Gospel-Tronics, Incorporated, has finally produced a video game just for preachers. It is fairly realistic. Clergy-Kong is an old, arthritic Bible blip that tries to climb a set of ladders to the upper levels of clerical success. At each of the seven levels, Deacon-Trons try to push the ladders over to keep Clergy-Kong on the lowest possible level of the television grid. It’s a very fast game, in which the Clergy-Kong has to avoid sudden constitutional lasers, which are fired by bright board-member blips and can pierce at every level of Clergy-Kong’s climb.

The game was well researched before being marketed. Taking into account low clergy salaries, the machine operates on a dime, in contrast to the 25-cent machines that laymen can afford. Further, each time Clergy-Kong is struck by a constitutional laser, the electronic beeps play three bars of “Come, Ye Disconsolate.” Its computerized, solid state system is constructed so that if any man of the cloth plays the machine using his tithe, the machine shuts down, returns the dime, and plays in synthesized chimes, “Is He Satisfied with You?” (This is an improvement over popular lay models where an entire tithe and much time can be spent.)

I know one pastor who has become proficient at Clergy-Kong. He tends to get a little carried away with it, but he has built a great church by quick maneuvering and political prowess. He is a natural at Clergy-Kong. I slipped up behind him and peered over his shoulder the other day just as he injected his dime.

The machine bleeped on.

Clergy-Kong started up the first ladder.

“I’ve got you now, Elder Smith!” cried my friend. The little blip cheeped and ground out three beeps of “Victory in Jesus” just as the first deacon toppled from the laddertop and fell, in disintegrating shards of light, to the bottom of the grid.

“Haaaa, Haaaa, you’re next, Chairman Jones,” he shouted. His eyes tightened into hardness as he swirled the levers and Clergy-Kong climbed the second set of ladders. Clergy-Kong raised the tiny electronic Bible and struck the second blip of light, which toppled from the ladder and disintegrated.

“Out of my way!” he shouted. “Jesus, help me; Gladys Conklin is on the third level! Help me.” He started up the third set of ladders: “You’re gonna get yours, old girl!” cried the pastor. His hands gripped the pistol levers of the Clergy-Kong machine and the blip of light moved up. Clergy-Kong smote the female blip, and light exploded as the electronic chimes played three bars of “God, Give Us Christian Homes.”

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He cried, “Hah-hooo, I got ’er, boys! I’ll reach pastoral success in no time.”

But his victory was premature.

A constitutional laser caught him from the side and he exploded.

“This game is over! Go back to the seminary graduate position and deposit another coin!” said an electronic voice just before the grid went dark.

When I left my friend, he was crumpled before the dark grid and fumbling in his pocket for another dime. He seemed on the verge of tears. “Must it always end like this? Help me, please help me,” he said, staring high above the grid into the empty void beyond the machine.


Dylan Inquest Questioned

I am sorry to see your inquest into the matter of what Bob Dylan would say if you had the opportunity to ask him the question [News, Jan. 13]. I’m not quite sure, though, what the question would be. Are you born again? Are you running with us?

From a theological point of view, the question of judgment belongs to God, and on this earth, to whoever has ecclesiastical jurisdiction. Otherwise, decisions about where other people’s hearts are maybe should be left behind.


Bristol, Tenn.


As the media crank up big plans in recognition of the “prophecy” of George Orwell, let us Christians remind the world by voice and pen that 1984 is—as always—the year of our real Big Brother. (It has the makings of a timely and arresting bumper sticker, doesn’t it!)


Rehoboth, N.M.

With all the discussion on 1984, let’s not forget Orwell’s Animal Farm. While we are sighing in relief that 1984 is inaccurate, someone, in a much more subtle way, has been changing the rules. The government is gaining control over the family and the church. Our press and educational system are controlled by secularist views. It would seem right in line with Orwell’s irony that 1984 would be the year that Animal Farm comes to pass.


Minneapolis, Minn.

Duplication Impossible

I think I understand the point Eutychus was trying to make [“Dr. Seuss, M.Th., M.Div., Th.D,” Jan. 13]. But what I really learned was that as easy as it seems it should be to duplicate Dr. Seuss’s style, it can’t be done! In fact, ’twould seem to me better to be “blatant and dry” than to try to imitate Dr. Seuss (or even Eutychus!). I remember all too well when, despite my red suit and false whiskers, I was informed by a three-year-old: “You’re not Santa Claus, you’re old Brother Bob”!


Montgomery, La.

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A Real Winner

I was so pleased with “Why We Can’t Trust the News Media” [Jan. 13]. It agrees with so much of what my firsthand sources in Guatemala were saying about the situation during Ríos Montt’s presidency. Tom Minnery has done a real service to the cause of truth by seeking out witnesses who can refute Amnesty International’s and the press’s misrepresentations of Ríos Montt’s wonderful days of reform in Guatemala. Catholics in Guatemala and here appreciate his work in the service of truth.


Los Angeles, Calif.

Divine Healing

Paul Brand and Philip Yancey’s article, “A Surgeon’s View of Divine Healing” [Nov. 25], could be misleading and damaging to the Christian community. I am referring to the passage: “Let me illustrate the mind’s power with a few examples recently documented by modern science.…” The fallacy is that the mind is a channel of “divine energy,” an ideology found rampant in the Eastern mysticism and occult metaphisics of Holistic/New-Age health modalities. Furthermore, the line between Jesus/Christianity and “universal energy” is fading.

Perhaps it was an oversight on Brand and Yancey’s part. Nevertheless, what concerns me as a Christian is the growth of spiritual counterfeits, especially in the realm of medicine. The Bible clearly condemns practices designed to gather knowledge from invisible sources and to exercise “spiritual power” apart from God.

As believers of the one, true God, and his Son Jesus Christ, we do have an enemy, Satan. Either Brand and Yancey are talking about a personal God, or a “divine energy” that enables the mind to have power. I sincerely doubt the latter was the authors’ intent; however, there are disturbing features in their article. The shaman they cited who could cause death by the power of suggestion is no example of the “mind’s power.” If as Christians they cannot see that, I shudder at the fulfillment of Paul’s warning to Timothy: “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.”


Chicago, Ill.

I do not agree with any description that “ridicules” faith healer doings. After all, God is the Author and Source of healing. God works in mysterious ways, and his foolishness, if any, is wiser than our wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than men (1 Cor 1:25).


Brighton, Mich.

While it is difficult for a believer to present a clear and unbiased survey of Christian healing, the article “Faith Healing: A Look at What’s Happening” [Dec. 16] shows that it is practically impossible for a nonbeliever to do so. The remarkable events in the less-developed areas of the world, where faith in material methods of healing is not so overwhelming, have been ignored. The lives of those for whom God has been the only physician all their lifetime, and sometimes for several generations in the family, have been unreported.

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Worchester, Mass.

Sinless Perfection?

With regard to “The Salvation Army: Still Marching to God’s Beat after 118 Years” [Dec. 16], I can’t believe that you let Mr. Billingsley’s reference to “sinless perfection” get past your blue pencil. “The perfection I teach,” Wesley wrote in 1761, “is perfect love: loving God with all the heart; receiving Christ as Prophet, Priest and King, to reign alone over all our thoughts, words, and actions.”

In A Plain Account of Christian Perfection, completed in 1777, he wrote, “… ‘sinless perfection’ is a phrase I never use.”


OMS International

Greenwood, Ind.

Theology Explanation Fails

The articles by Robert K. Johnston and Donald Bloesch [“After Fundamentalism: The Future of Evangelical Theology,” Dec. 16] both fail, as does Bernard Ramm in his new book Beyond Fundamentalism, to detect and therefore analyze and explain the theology of Karl Barth.

The reason Ramm, Johnston, and Bloesch have failed, and all who up till now have published analyses of Barth’s theology, is that they all apparently accept the assumption that God, in his essence, is actually timeless and spaceless. They have failed to see that the assumption was first advanced by Eastern mysticism. The difference between all of them and Barth is very simple. They have, in their own theologizing, refused to develop the consequences of such an assumption logically, while Barth has done just this. Why? He followed the argument as presented and developed by Immanuel Kant. They followed it as they found it stated in Athanasius, Augustine (but not in Calvin, for he warns against such speculation in his Institutes), and the later Reformed theologians. None of these, however, developed it logically.

The modern evangelical apologist and theologian must face the facts mentioned above or we shall all be swept into a neoorthodoxy that is neither new nor orthodox but simply a “new modernism,” and a new form of paganism.


Reformed Theological Seminary

Jackson, Miss.

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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