Report Of Ten
Report of the Commission on the Reappraisal of the Proposed Occupation and Development of Canaan, Provisional Draft. Submitted by Pastor Peterson.
The Commission reports the result of an exhaustive survey and evaluation of the territory assigned. Our full itinerary was covered in some 40 days of travel over difficult terrain, through fortified areas controlled by hostile populations. Our travel plan may be found in Appendix A. Supplement A1 contains a list of recommendations concerning the preparation, equipment, and training of future exploratory missions of this character. Particular stress should be laid on the necessity of adequate financial subsidy. Apart from an ample distribution of substantial gratuities we found it most difficult to secure proper samplings of the produce, artifacts, and literature of the land, to say nothing of the desired information, some of which was highly confidential in character. The impetuous conduct of a minority of this commission did little to remedy this situation; indeed the random vintage sampling secured by their strong-arm methods was a meagre return for the embarrassment which their uncooperative attitude occasioned us in the conduct of our investigation.
In this connection, Memorandum Alc should be noted. The lack of appropriate psychological testing in the selection of members of this commission resulted in an unhappy lack of unanimity as to commission procedures and recommendations. We appreciate the motives which led to the selection of certain distinguished military personnel for our commission. Unfortunately, however, the virtues, skills, training, and outlook of the experienced soldier are of dubious value in political situations of extreme delicacy. A certain pietistical naïvete on the part of one or two individuals led to an insistence on simplicistic solutions to questions of extraordinary economic, political, ethnic, and even ethical complexity.…
... In conclusion, we recommend the erection of a Permanent Emergency Commission for the Periodic Inspection of Canaan (PECPIC) with an adequate budget and properly screened personnel. Especially in the light of the anthropological data (Appendix 93: the Incidence of Giantism) we believe that the course proposed by the minority would be ruinous. In the scale graph appended our forces are represented by the grasshopper.
(Translation from Scroll 1Qed. The antiquity has not been established.’)
Is the National Council of Churches seeking Christian unity, or is it attempting to reduce the Protestant denominations into a pliable group so that an alien political philosophy can be forced on the people of this nation?…
Everything that is far left and alien to the form of government our Constitution prescribes is promulgated.…
Our forebears came to this country that they might worship God according to the dictates of their consciences. They came from states with monolithic governments supported by monolithic churches united to subjugate the people. They lived through the bloody wars effected by this union.
They came with individual doctrines for which they were prepared to die rather than surrender.…
RICHARD A. GILMAN
La Mesa, Calif.
My best service to you and your otherwise admirable paper would be rendered if I could get you to see that your obsession with the supposed dangers of the ecumenical movement seems to blind you to the fact that nothing helps the cause of those who hate Christ and would destroy his church more than the sort of suspicion and dissension which you seem to desire to promote by your incessant attacks on the National Council and World Council.…
HENRY SMITH LEIPER
American Bible Society
New York, N.Y.
I feel that CHRISTIANITY TODAY represents a far too liberal viewpoint of Christianity. I would not be interested in anything a Methodist, Presbyterian, or Anglican has to say. I am an extreme rightist in both politics and religion. I believe in militant Fundamentalism and nothing else, and am opposed to anything that even mildly compromises with the National Council of Churches. Your magazine doesn’t interest me.
BERNARD P. STANTON
Meadow Lawn Baptist Church
St. Petersburg, Fla.
I commend CHRISTIANITY TODAY for its engrossed interest and diligent study of the ecumenical movement. I hope that it shall continue to be a forum in which critical and crucial problems are discussed and solutions proposed.…
Christ’s prayer does not grow out of a background of 260 competing denominations and groups. When he prayed that “they all may be one,” he meant that the total life of all believers must melt together with the heartbeat of divine love.
If I were ever forced to choose between physical unity and spiritual unity, I would constantly choose spiritual unity for the simple reason that it is vital and necessary whereas physical unity is non-vital and secondary. Physical unity is seen in miniature in the local church which has yet to be cleansed of jealousy, backbiting, strife, division, envy, and pride.…
RICHARD H. WESTBY
First Baptist Church
The Reformers were confronted with the same attempt at organizational unity through a legalistic piety which, in effect, replaced grace with the law. Visible unity is of necessity legalistic. It is also a condition which has never existed in this world. Only God is one.…
Some years ago when the Eastern Orthodox representatives began to sit in with the Protestant leaders on ecumenical conversations, they were reported to have been horrified to hear the church spoken of as broken and divided. Since her unity could never be in a worldly organization, it is blasphemous to identify her with a worldly organization and see her sundered. I think the Reformers would have been quite as horrified.…
I do not believe unity can have any meaning apart from one head. If the church can have one head other than the Living Christ, then the Living Christ is not the head of the visible church. Perhaps much of the confusion would be done away with if we could recover the concept of the church as a living temple being built through the ages on a single foundation laid ages ago. In that sense, visible unity going back to the Risen Christ is quite a different thing than the unity of a section taken at any given moment in history. Our visible unity is as real as the spiritual unity. “Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid.” …
T. ROBERT INGRAM
St. Thomas Episcopal Church
Whither The Road?
It is refreshing to see Bultmann demythologized and dethroned, especially by someone from Princeton (“Beyond Bultmann, What?”, Nov. 24 issue). I wonder, however, if the Heilsgeschichte road will lead to any better end than the existential one.
CLINTON L. DENSON
Something reminiscent of the “Three R’s” of secular education has arisen in theological education. During the past decade the “Three B’s”—Barth, Brunner and Bultmann have moved to the front. To be able to quote from any of these three, for some, is the very height of theological grandeur. Speaking their name has some sort of “magical” significance. On the other hand, to venture any criticism may be the very depth. It’s not “cricket” to be critical of anything theologically “popular,” even if it is pushed on us by a few Germans (and Swiss).
The prominence of these men can readily be seen in the new vocabulary they have introduced. Such words as “existentialism,” “demythologization,” and “dialecticalism” are now common in some areas of theological thought. Even the familiar words like “modern science” and “myth” have taken new meanings. “Modem science” comes to mean anything that can effectively oppose and contradict theology.
The word “myth” has a twofold meaning. Sometimes it is used in the familiar context of anything that is false or untrue, that is, anything miraculous or supernatural in the gospel accounts. On other occasions the term “myth” is used as a sort of half-true, half-false statement, e.g., the creation account and the “myth” of the first 11 chapters of Genesis. It is explained that these chapters are history, but not history like we think of it today.
The ambiguity of this “new” language has given many theologians the gleeful opportunity of trying to transliterate the meaning of the “Three B’s.” Did Barth mean the same thing here as he did the last time when he used this word? Did Brunner intend for this word to have new meaning here? What is Bultmann’s concept in using this word? Thus, many of the new theological books debate the meaning of words and symbols, so much so, that any man experienced in the fine art of debate would probably make a good “modern-day” theologian.
But more important, and possibly the most important point in the present situation, is that the debate over the “Three B’s” has made some forget the “Fourth B”—the Bible. The Bible has its word to say about this. Paul writing to his young friend in the ministry, Timothy, didn’t just warn him once but four times about foolish questions and debate. He begins his first letter to Timothy by saying, “You were to command certain persons to give up teaching erroneous doctrines and studying those interminable myths and genealogies, which issue in mere speculation and cannot make known God’s plan for us, which works through faith” (1 Tim. 1:3b,4; NEB).
To make certain there was no mistake, Paul concludes his first letter by reminding Timothy, “This is what you are to teach and preach. If anyone is teaching otherwise, and will not give his mind to wholesome precepts—I mean those of our Lord Jesus Christ—and to good religious teaching, I call him a pompous ignoramus. He is morbidly keen on mere verbal questions and quibbles, which give rise to jealousy, quarreling, slander, base suspicions, and endless wrangles” (1 Tim. 6:3, 4; NEB). The language here couldn’t have been clearer if it had been written in a current religious journal.
Paul was against some of the things that some men today pride themselves in doing. It is also clear that Paul was more interested in interpretation than speculation. But how is it possible to attain interpretation without speculation? Only through studying God’s Word with the aid of the Holy Spirit can it be done.
Ministers can do without many things, and possibly should, but they cannot do without study. But what should they study? It seems clear that the Bible should have primary importance. The command to Timothy is also given to every minister: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” Some are taking this exhortation and inserting their own thoughts so that we have: “Study to shew thyself approved unto your theological companions, or fellow ministers, workmen that need not be ashamed of ignorance of theological terms, rightly dividing Barth, Brunner, Bultmann and other ‘modern’ theologians.” When this is so, may God help us to seek a return to the “Fourth B,” God’s Word, and “preach the Word,” leaving the “modern” theological jargon to those who don’t know any better.
Passion Of The Times
Much time is spent in your journal examining the … amorphous and protozoan organism that is Protestantism. Does not the real trouble stem from the fact that “Protestantism” has become the ritual side of general culture with no independent center of consciousness? Is collectivism the passion of the times? Then ecumenism must be its religious counterpart.
THOMAS A. BYERS
St. James Lutheran Church
The general polemical, partisan, ultra-Protestant glibness of much of the paper’s material has repelled me.…
St. Mark’s Vicarage
Green Island, New Zealand
Your publication is appreciated as much as any I have ever purchased. The subject matter, the open-minded yet firmly orthodox manner of treatment, the tone of the magazine which is successfully and refreshingly biblical yet which escapes the—from this point of view—easy snare of spiritual provincialism, the amazing ability to speak with a fair amount of objectivity concerning a large number of denominations, the “freshness” of the news (I learned of my alma mater’s change in name from you before from the school itself), and the wit and satire of Eutychus—all are making your magazine for me the magazine most anticipated.
JAMES W. THOMPSON
Park Boulevard Church
Glen Ellyn, Ill.
I think your magazine is splendid.
JOHN M. JENSEN
The Ansgar Lutheran
United Evangelical Lutheran Church
Viborg, S. Dak.
My co-worker and I are in a somewhat isolated Indian village studying the Mundurukú Indian language, with Wycliffe Bible Translators, and it’s always interesting to receive Christianity Today and be brought up to date on world news in relationship to Christianity. Of several publications which we receive, we enjoy CHRISTIANITY TODAY the most.
Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil
Not many a week passes that some reference or quotation from your magazine is not in our editorials.
C. M. STANLEY
The Alabama Journal
There are some good thoughts … occasionally, but they are usually well hidden under multitudes of words.
HERMAN S. FALES
CHRISTIANITY TODAY is checked out every week by our readers.
BERTHA I. ANDERSON
First United Presbyterian Church
Santa Ana, Calif.
A line of appreciation and commendation for your provocative and mentally stimulating articles.… They are contemporary, solid, and express the exploratory spirit of “academic freedom” within the historic Christian faith.
CURTIS R. NIMS
First Baptist Church
San Francisco, Calif.
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.