BOOK OF THE FORTNIGHT
This remarkable venture improves the best features of scores of book purchasing plans. More books are sent to fewer readers more often with less obligation. You do nothing. Absolutely nothing. No applications to fill out, no forms to return. If you do not wish to keep the books which you receive, give them away or throw them out. Under no circumstances are you obliged to read any of them. This ultimate plan is made possible by the generosity of a select group of authors who pay handsomely to have their works printed. Publishers are invited to participate with choice “surprise” stocks (trade term for works they are surprised to find still in stock).
Book of the Fortnight offerings are reviewed in this column (although not all books here reviewed can be included in the plan). If you wish to become a member of the Fortnight Club, keep subscribing to this paper, and keep wishing. Perhaps your name will be chosen at the next centennial meeting of our board of directors. But remember, do not apply; you do absolutely nothing!
Our first offerings include:
Strange Stranger, by Ella Mae van Buiten. A novel for heart burn. Glee Hopewell finds herself strangely drawn to this strangely forbidding stranger. Must she learn the secret of Agent 33? (Answer classified.)
Counseling Counselors, by an Anonymous Analyst. The author was the prominent director of a famous Viennese clinic, who has recently been institutionalized. He writes from a first-hand knowledge of the field. In-service psychoanalysis is recommended through a new input-output tape recorder proposed by the author.
The Committee Man, by the Committee on the Advancement of Ecclesiastical Committee Work. This book represents the fruit of five years of committee investigation into the self-image of the committee man. It is composed of a symposium of self-portraits and a joint declaration which is useful as a master committee report for any occasion.
Dead Sea Treasure Guide, by Ali von Totenmeer. Are the fabulous treasures described in the copper scroll of the Qumran Community still buried in Palestine? See for yourself with this do-it-yourself manual for the amateur archaeologist. Complete directions, Arabic dictionary, pick, shovel, etc.
CHRISTIAN AND JEW
You are to be congratulated on your materials … on Christian and Jew and the need to win the Jew to Christ (Dec. 8 issue). Our own people do not understand the change that has taken place in the past quarter century in the Jew—his attitude towards life and God and in his attitude towards Jewish culture. Christian people are tragically indifferent to winning Jews. This almost criminal indifference indicates that something is basically wrong in our approach to the task of evangelism. I rejoice in your courage in facing this task.
The Sunday School Board
Southern Baptist Convention
I promptly showed them to a Jewish friend …, and he too is so impressed that he would like to have some extra copies.… One of the difficulties I have run into in talking to my Jewish friend is, being a reformed Jew, he takes an extremely liberal view of the Old Testament, which … to a certain extent kicks the props out from under the New Testament.
I trust that you will not consider it an impertinence if I venture to state that, in my judgment, the conception of the pre-Christmas issue was … inspired.
Miami Bible Institute
Despite diverse viewpoints, the Niebuhr essay and recent articles in CHRISTIANITY TODAY focus attention commendably on the importance of reconciling natural man, Jew and Gentile, with God. The Great Commission (Matt. 28:19) to teach and baptize all nations is universal, given by Christ after he came to his own who received him not (John 1:11). Paul, the Pharisee of Pharisees (Acts 23:6), calls it the “ministry of reconciliation” of man with God through Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 5:18). Again, as “Apostle of the Gentiles” (Rom. 11:13), he sums Jewish-Gentile relations before God, reminding them that “the natural branches” (Jews) were broken off because of unbelief, that the “wild branches” (Gentile believers) are grafted in by faith, but that they dare not be “highminded, but fear,” knowing that “the natural branches” shall be (re)grafted “into their own olive tree” (Rom. 11:20–24).
We Christians have no choice but to honor Christ’s commission, being most effective as we remember Paul’s admonitions, also his assurance that the gospel of Christ is “the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth, to the Jew first.…” (Rom. 1:16). He exhorts our ministry to the Jew, while counseling patience in what the Rev. Buksbazen calls the “uphill task.” Paul says the Christian must not be ignorant of the fact that “blindness in part is happened to Israel until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in” (Rom. 11:25). Then Christ comes to regraft the natural branches (Israel), pouring upon “the house of David … the spirit of grace and of supplications and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced.…” and “the Lord shall be King over all the earth” (Zech. 12:10; 14:9).
Rabbi Gilbert observes that many Jews, going to Christianity, fail to find a cessation from prejudice and finger-pointing. Jews embracing Christ do so, knowing they must also suffer prejudice and finger-pointing from their own—learning Christ’s standards that “he that loveth father or mother … or son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Matt. 10:37). Who but the Son of God, the Messiah, our very own Creator (John 1:3), has authority to make such a demand of mortal man in order to redeem his immortal soul?
Bringing the Jew to recognize Christ as his Messiah is difficult because of Israel’s partial blindness. It does require exceptional love and understanding and a goodly measure of practical charity. But of many fields of Christian service, I know of none that is more blessed of God or more satisfying than to bring one of His “chosen” back to his inheritance. There is always the exciting possibility of guiding another Paul through his self-imposed blindness to full spiritual vision, from darkness into the “light of the world” (John 8:12).
American Board of Missions to the Jews
Washington, D. C.
The article by Victor Buksbazen in exposing Niebuhr’s unbelief is worth the price of subscription.
Bethany Baptist Church
The article … by Buksbazen is superb in every sense of the word. How Dr. Niebuhr could ever utter publicly or privately that it is wrong to evangelize the Jews, is beyond human comprehension, and beyond biblical truth.
Mason City, Nebr.
As to … Niebuhr’s … writings: one of the prime difficulties in getting a good theological education today is that you have to read so much that is not so.
As to the brilliantly sincere rabbi: that man can write.… It was strange, though, why he stepped aside … as to the “Bible Belt.” We welcome his fuller investigation. A Jew is doubtless safer in the Bible Belt than any other area of the same size on earth. We deplore our few real crackpots as much as anybody.
Niebuhr … introduced a discrimination that is worse than those the good rabbi had in mind, when we were asked to omit the Jews from our Christian witness. Who is Niebuhr to make the great commission, as given to Christian Jews, read: “Go ye into all the world except to the Jews …”?
How striking that a Jew(!) must tell Niebuhr this fact … [of] the unique character of Christianity.
The rabbi ventures a contrast, saying that “the earth-rooted revelations of Judaism” are “profoundly more relevant to the kind of world in which we live—God’s world—than the other-worldly promises taught in the name of Christianity.” … In … the “Westminster Shorter Catechism,” nearly half of the 107 questions and answers deal with the Ten Commandments. This has made what is called “the Presbyterian conscience.” The rest of the catechism is taken up with God’s correction of sins against the commandments.
Prince George, Va.
The rabbi … gives himself and his cause away! “… The Jewish people shall be the ministering priests unto … men”—that is when they eventually control the world. This is Zionism’s main aim. All Jews are not Zionists, but those with most of the money and influence are …, and they have and will use any means within their power to attain this end.…
Have you ever thought that perhaps the premillennial view has been concocted by the Jews? I have heard many say that we should practically bow down to the Jew because he is God’s chosen race. What do Romans and Galatians say though? We are all equal in God’s sight. We are all sinners and we must all come through faith.
Pauma Valley, Calif.
Indeed did Rabbi Gilbert make me “bristle.” … “… Redemption is a gift that must be earned and deserved.” This is exactly the point at issue. He recognizes that redemption is a gift, yet he insists on earning it, as if it were wages or a bonus for good work, instead of a gift freely offered. He … desires the redemption of society, believing that “man must evermore urgently dedicate his hands at shaping and reshaping the stuff of this life. Right here he and Niebuhr are identical; redemption is the product of man’s hand.…
The quotations from Niebuhr indicate what has been long suspected, that this eminent theologian regards Christianity as more of a religion than a faith. Of course, he is not alone in this. Many Protestants, forgetting their Reformation protest against institutionalized salvation, seem to be covetously eyeing organization as the means of redemption. If these people are correct and modern Christianity is more of a religion than a faith, then indeed is it a product of our Western Gentile civilization and not the product of Christ or the Apostles; and Niebuhr’s conclusion is correct: God does have two ways in which to redeem society, one way for the Jews and another way for the Gentiles, and we ought to stop trying to assimilate the Jews into a Gentile religion.
… Only a short while ago … we all saw the institutional glory of Rome.… Why couldn’t [Luther] have left well enough alone?… Simply because the institution couldn’t deliver the salvation it promised to him.… Speaking and acting as though the Church can redeem society, whether Judaism, Roman Catholicism or Protestantism, is to point up our need for another reformation.
We seem to be in an age enamored with man’s power and accomplishment, even sincere Christians no longer objecting to glorification. We parade our statistics and laud our churchmen, proud of the position to which we have attained. We raise to places of distinction those of our number who are able by devious paths to thread the intellectual needle and thus make Christianity compatible, yes even respectable, in this world of tension. I say this humbly and tearfully, none of us has cried out to stop the adulation of the press in praises of our denominations and our leaders. On the contrary, we have been proud of it, counting it no more than our just due, helping to counteract the tremendous strategic advantage of the Roman Catholic Church. There is no worse offender than I and the Church of which I am a member, for it and its leader have been singularly praised. Shades of Paul and Barnabas at Lystra (Acts 14:8–18)! Have we forgotten that we, too, are men of like passions? Is our vision so distorted that we think we are the savior of the world—that our words of wisdom will save it?
St. Paul’s English Evangelical Lutheran
Where in all the world, in any country or state, has the church, officially and unreservedly, stood positively and boldly for the renunciation of mass and legalized murder? Where, over the centuries, have the peace-making Pacifists, in Jesus’ name, ever been prayerfully and actively supported by the historic churches as a whole? On this matter our Saviour Christ weeps over the Church, through his Sermon on the Mount, daily.…
St. Mary’s Rectory
PICTURES OF COLOR
Permit me to express sincerest appreciation for the splendid message … by Lee Shane (Dec. 8 issue). Not only was the underlying emphasis of his message very good, but I doubt if I have ever read a message where so many word pictures show forth to stimulate the mind and the imagination. To my mind it made the message as much more colorful and impressive as color pictures are superior to black and white.
First Baptist Church
Santa Barbara, Calif.
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