FLIES OR ANTS?
Our patriotic picnic was over, the crowd had left for the lakefront and the ball diamond, and I remained, a sluggard among the ants. These regimented hymenoptera, with their proverbial industry, were transporting cake crumbs to their colony headquarters. My observations were interrupted as I drove away a fly which had buzzed up from a puddle of root beer to light on my nose.
John Ruskin once wrote a tribute to the fly as the freest, most republican (I suppose we should say, democratic) creature on earth. He contrasted the fly’s impudent individualism with the instinctual slavery of the ant. Our bandstand orator of the afternoon had described communism as anthill collectivism. He too preferred the fly life.
I had supposed that Ruskin’s dry admiration for the fly was an expression of nineteenth century individualism. He also observed once that no human being was ever so free as a fish. (Since fish can catch flies and flies fish, so that we have both flying fish and fly fishing, it is difficult to decide which is the better symbol.) It now appears that the fly should be cast in a symbolic role in this century also. What is more existential than a fly buzzing against a window pane? Perhaps the beatnik fly in a lamp globe!
Are we to choose, then, the liberty of the rebel fly, or the burden of the adjusted ant? As I swatted at the fly that had returned to my cheek, I decided for the ant. Anthill conformity is probably not at all confining for ants, and its efficient pattern is far more satisfying than droning meaninglessness.
Or is there a better candidate for Insect of the Century?
Pastor Peterson came back from the ball game with a sprained ankle and rescued me from my musings. He pointed out that it is not surprising to find all insect analogies to be one-sided caricatures of human life. True human freedom is the liberty of the sons of God. The real liberty tree grows beside the stream of grace from God’s throne. Any view of liberty that ignores God becomes inhuman license or slavery; men live like ants or die like flies.
FAKERY AND SHAME
Your article “Fake Degrees in the Pulpit” (May 11 issue) has done a real service to the cause of Christ. Dyrness’ statement, “With shame we must admit that our conservative brethren in the ministry are more susceptible to worthless degrees …,” should really disturb the evangelical conscience. Besides correcting the doctrine of the liberals, your magazine should continue to Christianize the ethics of the conservatives.… Your prophetic voice will continue to be really prophetic if it is heard in a prophetic way in its own camp.
The Canadian Mennonite
Such … articles … will discourage honest, sincere men and women from falling into the trap of “buying a degree.” And it will perhaps close up some of these fraudulent institutions.…
First Presbyterian Church
While I am in full sympathy in cracking down on the diploma mills and fraudulent schools, would it not be worth while if Dr. Enock C. Dyrness would take a crack at the unearned doctor’s degrees given by accredited institutions for other reasons than that of merit.
Northside Methodist Church St.
The University of London informs me that after one has taken his bachelor’s degree in residence there, he may then qualify for his master’s or doctor’s degree through off-campus study. I understand this is also done in many other countries. If it were done here by our recognized institutions, would not these fraudulent schools disappear for lack of patronage? Should higher education be reserved for only those who have sufficient time and money to leave their employment and families and go back to school?
East Liverpool, Ohio
I should like to commend you heartily for two very relevant articles, “Christ and the Campus,” and “Fake Degrees in the Pulpit.”
Roger Hull, Jr. did voice great and timely convictions and his words are tremendous. But I cannot share altogether the pessimistic view that a large majority of college students are indifferent, or a great deal more indifferent than their parents back home. Each year since the existence of our all-student congregation we have averaged at least a 40 per cent Sunday worship attendance of the total on our rolls, and each year we have received new Christian commitments through baptisms and confirmations of students. Furthermore, the attendance of student officers at our monthly chapel council meetings is as good or better than the attendance of council members of town parishes I have served. Since my ministry here is but one scholastic year, I can cite these examples without becoming suspect of drawing any attention to any personal success.
University Lutheran Chapel
West Lafayette, Ind.
BIBLE AND PUBLIC SCHOOLS
My three grandchildren will be returning soon to the public schools here after two years in the Government schools in Europe, to be told that their grandparents are intolerant, stupid, bigoted, and otherwise incapable of their proper guidance and training. I would like to have it explained … why they are required by law to attend a school which bans the Bible.… The public school system was doomed when teaching of the Bible was prohibited.
Washington, D. C.
PERSPECTIVES OF THE KIN
The age we live in demands that laymen in the scientific professions develop a knowledge of the philosophy of Christianity—of theology—in order to find meaning for what they have accepted pragmatically by faith. It is in just this position that your periodical comes. Not all is acceptable or agreeable, but all is provocative.…
The “letters to the editor column” has opened my eyes to the narrow-minded bigotry of modern Christendom and has shown me the necessity of tolerance about minor differences.
I wish I could honestly state that I read the various medical publications that come to my desk with as much avidity as I devour … CHRISTIANITY TODAY.
Vancouver, B. C.
No matter how many Eutychuses there may be, it would be nice if all your correspondents of differing schools would observe the simple rule of Christian courtesy.
I am 19 years old.… I first came into contact with your magazine when I babysat for my pastor.… I was really impressed by the articles I read, and I read all his old copies. The issues are so well put and really make their points clear. I thought you might appreciate knowing that your magazine appeals to teen-agers such as I.… Enclosed please find $5 for a one year’s subscription.…
I am now reading (for second time) Religion without Revelation by Julian Huxley. I live at Penney Farms …, where we have 20 breeds of Protestantism and nobody really doing any thinking. I am 92 years of age and have lived with a Bible in my hands all the time. I now think most of my teaching and preaching all these years has been erroneous.… The above … will furnish something of a reason … why I do not subscribe to your really excellent sheet. It is trying to prop what seems to me is a really lost cause.
Penney Farms, Fla.
I want to thank you for the contents of CHRISTIANITY TODAY which, in my opinion, is the best paper of its kind published in America today.… We Presbyterians, of course, have our denominational paper which is tops in its field, but you are covering a far wider and more general area and are doing it magnificently.
Grace Presbyterian Church
Kansas City, Mo.
CHRISTIANITY TODAY is filling a precise need in the evangelical world of thought and doing it very precisely.
The Presbyterian Church
White Plains, N. Y.
Your paper is the only one outside of my denominational literature that I read.… Much good can come from articles and material contributed from different denominational sources.
I’ve never found such an unbiased … magazine, denominationally speaking. Baytown, Tex.
I have been valiantly struggling against a subscription to “another” religious journal. With your March 2 issue my will to resist has been completely demolished! Please … enter my subscription to the most helpful and exciting religious publication in this country today.
Reformation Evangelical Lutheran Ch.
Lancaster, S. C.
Excellent publication …, particularly your … issue of … March 16.… God bless your testimony against the many watered-down pseudo gospels of “liberal” (?), “modernists” (??), who are enslaved and ancient unbelievers.…
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
St. Louis, Mo.
I am now eighty-seven years of age, and have been in the Baptist ministry over sixty years, but I have never read a paper that contained so many wonderful messages that can be accepted by evangelicals of so many denominations.
To truly glorify God we must be careful to print only … what really is true to his Word in Scripture, and as you know most people today will not tolerate this—they demand the Arminian heresy, the denial of the true God who “will have mercy on whom he will have Mercy.”
I find your magazine pertinent and stimulating. I am frank to tell you that it seems to me there is a bias toward Calvinism and against Arminianism, or Wesleyanism.
Northwest Nazarene College
President Nampa, Idaho
I do not enjoy reading your magazine.… At the very best it is 99% chaff in my opinion.… I am Pentecostal and I do not go for dead formalism or intellectualism. I would rather be a fool on fire than a scholar on ice.
No. Bonneville, Wash.
I want to know more about orthodox Protestant Christianity since I myself aspire to the Catholic priesthood.… We stand united in our mutual recognition that the Scriptures are definitive because they have, in a real sense, God as their Author.… Particularly interesting to me was the editorial “Theology in Ecumenical Affairs” (Feb. 16 issue). There can be real unity in Christ only if that unity includes unity in truth. Ecumenical discussions with those who do not subscribe to this fundamental principle are impossible, as you … so clearly stated.
Strange as it may seem to you, Billy Graham is far from being God, and the Bible is far from being the Word of God.
• Billy Graham, of course, has never claimed to be God, but he has honored Scripture as the Word of God written as did Jesus (John 10:35) and the apostles (1 Thess. 2:13).—ED.
I appreciate your doctrinal soundness, spiritual depth, interesting news, and helpful articles which are often a help in sermon building.
I can truthfully say that no magazine comes to me that so completely fills my wishes for a Christian presentation of everything a minister should have to enlighten and inspire him for the great work into which he is called.
From the very first issue of CHRISTIANITY TODAY, I have read and enjoyed the magazine thoroughly. After joining the faculty of Bethany Bible College I began using it in connection with my classes in contemporary theology.
You might be interested to know that we have made a card file of the writers and the “thumb-nail” sketch of their lives which you give … and by so doing build a reference file which is proving very valuable.
Bethany Bible College
Santa Cruz, Calif.
As a seminary student I want to say that the articles in this magazine have done much to help me stand firm for the fundamentals of the faith. I think that every paper I wrote for the various theological courses, and especially my B. D. thesis, which was on Luther’s doctrine of the Christian life, with special reference to justification and sanctification, contained quotations from various articles.… I have a complete file of CHRISTIANITY TODAY issues, and I am amazed at how many times I go through back issues for material. For example, in preparing a series of messages on the Gospel of St. Mark, I received much help from the article dealing with Mark, especially the list of good commentaries.… One of the things I especially like about the magazine is that the articles are of lasting interest, and are as valuable one or two years later as they were at the time of publication. I don’t honestly think I can say the same thing about any other Christian publication that I receive.
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
I enjoy your magazine very much. Some of it is over my head, a little, but if I read it, later I find parts of it have registered—to my great benefit.
Your last issue just simply nauseates me. I’ve tried to read the magazine—but now am convinced it does me more harm than good.
East Cleveland Baptist Church
East Cleveland, Ohio
I, for one, appreciate the mature adult context of the editorials, and the differing opinions I find quite refreshing.
Forgive me for failing to take the time to thank you for the best religious magazine that comes to my desk. Your uncompromising faith in the inspiration of the Scriptures is surely reassuring in this age of skepticism and unbelief. I appreciate the very fine articles, especially those of the gifted editor.
Church of Christ
I do not want to miss a copy of it. Many of the articles are worth the price of a year’s subscription. Nelson Bell’s page is worth much to me.
To me, … “A Layman and His Faith” … is worth the price of the subscription … alone. The statements are so clear, so close to God’s word, that it is a pleasure to read them.
A word of commendation … for Eutychus and his witty penetration of the essentially anti-Christian implications of the jargon of existentialism, Bultmannism, etc.!
Katonah, N. Y.
May God bless you in your continuing effort to present fundamental Christian verities to the intellectually discriminating, theologically conservative, sociologically compassionate, and spiritually humble.
First Methodist Church
Conway Springs, Kans.
Your magazine, for the most part, lives in the past and is very useless in coping with contemporary problems with meaningless “nice” Gospel phrases.
Central Congregational Church
Jamaica Plain, Mass.
I enjoy this magazine very much, but do not know how much longer I shall be able to read it. Eyes are growing dim with the years, and I have already entered the octogenarian class.
You may be interested in knowing that the first of my giant anthologies—Christ and the Fine Arts—now of age (21 years since it was first published in 1938), is now revised and enlarged. More than 300,000 copies of this giant anthology have been sold, and it has gone round the world in its circulation during the past 21 years.
Los Angeles, Calif.
I look forward to every issue without ever having been disappointed. It is wonder-food for an old lady who loves the Lord Jesus and who draws nearer the Heavenly Gate month by month to be so encouraged on my journey (I am 81) by the articles and editorials.
CHRISTIANITY TODAY has … done so much to deepen my spiritual life …, done more than any other earthly experience to lead me to near “oneness” with our Saviour.
Your very able and high-level paper is long overdue for our field, and I read the copies … avidly, wishing all preachers might have this help. I am retired now, after a ministry since 1895.…
Brevard, N. C.
I am a charter member, and, as long as our precious Saviour tarries and permits me to inhabit this earth, I desire to remain on your mailing list.
I want once again to express my Christian devotion to all who work on your magazine. Your ministry has been the main influence, humanly speaking, which has kept me from abandoning evangelicalism. When I verged on losing faith in the doctrine of plenary inspiration, it was CHRISTIANITY TODAY that held me true.
Let me express to you the praise I give God for the intellectual gain and the Christian thrill which is mine with every issue of CHRISTIANITY TODAY.
San Francisco, Calif.
Preponderance of this-worldism of religious emotional intellectualism.…
I cannot too highly express my appreciation to all responsible for initiating and maintaining this excellent publication. How it keeps one’s mind “on the stretch” and in the way of basic issues.
The Baptist Parsonage
Paradise, Nova Scotia
I praise God for the … need filled by your scholarly magazine, one of which a Christian can be proud and not feel that the Lord is dishonored by inferior workmanship.
As I was bringing Senator Carlson in from the airport in a taxi, our conversation wandered across many things. The taxi driver interrupted us and displayed a large Bible that he carried in his cab and made reference to the fact that he had heard Billy Graham and Bob Pierce on the radio regularly and had committed his life to Christ, and now was actively interested in Christian things, including the regular reading of CHRISTIANITY TODAY. This is a further evidence of the extent of the influence of the paper.
Park Street Church
It has been a source of encouragement and enlightenment … and appears to be improving as time goes on. You may take that word “improving” any way you like—either in the old Scottish way of “standing the test” or “getting better.”
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.