Can book jackets be demythologized? Even cereal boxes now profess to “give it to you straight”—what about the puffed blurbs on the back flap of the books you read at breakfast?
A shot has been fired which will be heard around the world. The first author has taken his stand on the Common against the red-jacketed line of publishers. Alban G. Widgery is the minute-man; his tocsin is a single sheet, printed in black ink on white paper, and mailed recently to librarians and book dealers. The announcement lacks all trace of layout men and copywriters. It looks like this:
The T.Y.C. Co.
in its 1961 Fall Announcement of
A PHILOSOPHER’S PILGRIMAGE
by Alban G. Widgery
made misrepresentations which the author asked to be corrected publicly in a satisfactory manner. As the publisher has not done that, the author here does it at his own expense.…
“It was asserted that the author had ‘achieved fame’ on three continents. Nothing in the book justifies such a statement. If it is supposed that he consented to it, he might rightly be exposed to ridicule. He knows, as others do, that he has achieved fame nowhere.
“It is said that the author ‘rubbed shoulders’ with Dr. Arnold Toynbee. He has never even met him.”
There is more, including a dust jacket description of which the author did approve, where we learn that he is a senior citizen of seventy-four, has studied in England, Germany, France, Scotland, India, and admires the people of Scotland.
Perhaps British understatement explains Mr. Widgery’s factual modesty; perhaps he has Scottish scruples. In any case, his courage should achieve fame for him on three continents.
Eutychus Associates wish to analyze representative “puffs” on dust jackets and in book announcements. Clip samples from your new book jackets and send them to us. We are particularly interested in the art of excerpting adjectives from book reviews.
Evolution And Immortality
In reference to “the naturalistic evolutionary view of origins that undergirds dialectical materialism” (Editorial, Apr. 13 issue), I am as opposed to social Darwinism as you are, but I do not think that the solution lies in the rejection of modern science and a return to the theology of the Dark Ages. The assumption that immortal spiritual personalities cannot be produced by an evolutionary process is not a scientifically proven fact, but a … dogma inherited from Christianity itself. All the findings of parapsychology and psychical research indicate that animals have a psychical constitution similar to that of man, and there are several very well authenticated and documented cases of animal ghosts in the journals and proceedings of the American and British societies, as well as numerous unofficial reports.
Evolution, so far as it involves progress at all, implies, by very definition, a movement away from, not toward the animal, in beings higher than the animal, and evolutionists are as fully aware of the danger of retrogression as any fundamentalist.…
Evolution does not exclude sin and need for a Saviour if the requirements of the Divine law are higher than can be reached by any evolutionary process.
THEODORE B. DUFUR
Los Angeles, Calif.
The Church has, up till now, … been altogether too lenient toward evolution.… That is an odd position in the light of Him who died for truth, and never cut a corner for anyone.… He said God made humans in the beginning, male and female (Mark 10:6). That would not be a making of reptiles, for example, or asexual amebae, or algae, or worms, which lowly creatures then “evolved higher” till Darwin, Shakespeare, Marx, Christ, Caesar, Marconi, Ford, Huxley, and Khrushchev “arrived.”
L. VICTOR CLEVELAND
Re A. M. Watts’ implications of a continuing creativity (Eutychus, Mar. 30 issue) … it need not be added that the “evolutionary process of creation” no longer stands regarded as a valid theory—either by secular or divine authority; that no man can “accept” that that is not; and that CHRISTIANITY TODAY is the medium neither of “traditional fundamentalist interpretation” nor of compromise in any fashion.
The end of the creative summary effects, in the Hebrew, a most emphatic assertion of the completedness of that creation: “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished.…” The Hebrew verb kalah is rendered in the Puàl case: to the non-Hebraist it might be explained that the Puàl is an intensive passive; our Lord’s purpose in using an intensive here is evident.…
Verse three follows with … “ceased from all his works which he had made.…” “Had made” [signifies] a completed action.
There is not space to even make mention of the numerous scriptural evidences that could be brought to bear on the hypothesis of a continuing creation.…
HENRY A. GOERTSON
Vancouver, B. C.
Front Page Of The Worker
Now that CHRISTIANITY TODAY (News, Mar. 30 issue) has reported on the United Presbyterian General Council’s … attack against conservative anti-Communist groups, will [you] also report the other side of the picture?
One of the aims of the Communist Party, U.S.A., is the destruction, abolition or reduction of anti-Communist groups.… They do not care if others transmit their line. In fact, all Communists deliberately try to get respectable groups to transmit their propaganda.… The Communist paper, The Worker, in a recent issue has congratulated these Presbyterians in a front-page editorial!…
How can the Christian church arrive at a consensus of conviction that will enable it to speak a prophetic and biblically valid word of witness on current issues?
The answer is fairly simple when one thinks of a local congregation where Christians can gather together for face-to-face discussion and prayerful study of the Word of God as it relates to a particular issue. The problem becomes more difficult the further one moves from the congregational situation toward the corporate agencies of church cooperation. What are the processes of brotherly admonition, correction, and counsel within the structures of inter-church cooperation?
While living in Washington, D. C., in 1954–1957, I noted that this problem was unresolved by both the National Council of Churches and the National Association of Evangelicals. The NCC Washington office was almost reduced to silence on any current issue because of their reluctance to speak without having a clear mandate from the regularly constituted channels of action within the organization or without checking back with their constituent groups.
On the other hand the NAE spokesmen in Washington sometimes made statements and public testimony about which they assumed the support of their constituency but which had not arisen out of any carefully considered consultation or staff work among the constituent groups. (Examples would be NAE statements on immigration and UMT legislation which certainly did not have the support of their Brethren in Christ and Mennonite Brethren constituents.) It seems to me that in both cases there was, and still is, a weakness in the procedures by which Christian concerns and biblical authority are made part of the actual dynamics of policy formation by interchurch groups. There is, of course, a similar problem for any denomination which tries to arrive at a consensus of conviction among the variety of congregations and area conferences, or synods.
Don’T Marry The Daughter!
It seems to me that the great and good men of the last 50 years were not only evangelical but were scholarly: Machen, Riley, Gaebelein, Moorehead, Schofield, Chafer, Newell, Pierson, Torrey, Ironside, Thomas, Scroggie, Dixon, Hinson, Brooks, Fausset, Kelly, Darby, Seiss, Edersheim, Ryan, Nicholson, Liddon, Grant, Peters, Maclaren, Moule, Ryle, Anderson MacNeil, Orr, Robert Dick Wilson—surely these men were evangelical and scholarly. Yet some of our young intellectuals seem to be trying to give the impression that we have had no scholars and that the truth has not been defined and stated and clarified and classified. Somewhere there is a blind spot of arrogant pride, it seems to me. How naïve can our “New Evangelicals” get?…
I greatly fear that many of our new champions of compromise of principle and truth want the good conscience of being true to God and to the Bible but they also want that popularity, favor, fellowship and dignity that comes from the liberal camp of so-called intellectuals. There is a world of difference between being friendly, cordial, Christian and neighborly with the unenlightened modernists, and marrying their daughter and giving them that feeling and sanction that they can serve the Devil and enjoy divine favor.…
My quarrel with the New Evangelicalism is that they are no more scholarly than the leaders in the fundamental movement. Secondly, because some fundamentalists were not loving and wise and judicious, is no proof that the whole movement is false.…
MEROLD E. WESTPHAL
Lakebay Community Church
Church And The Alcoholic
For the past seventy-five years and more, in the skid row sections of great cities and small towns, rescue missions have struggled to keep doors open, and extend a helping hand. What tremendous effect these could have had in the fight against alcoholism if churches had determined to provide them with proper facilities, assisted them with their finances so that trained personnel could have been brought in to take some of the load off the over-burdened superintendents, and by this shown the world that they believe Christ is the answer.
I believe there has existed a “great gulf” between these institutions and the churches. The rescue mission feels the Church just “doesn’t care.” And the churches aren’t interested, or feel that any assistance they would offer would be unwelcome. The lack of interest in some cases, without doubt, stems from conditions which the Church feels should, and could, be improved. I would remind those who feel that all missions are mere “flop houses” that we now have some great institutions, headed by qualified and dedicated men of God, that are reaching the alcoholic with the only remedy, the Gospel.
I must confess that I believe the Church has taken the easy way out. We have decided to turn the job to A.A. and others, and concern ourselves with more pleasant tasks. Since this is obviously a moral issue, how can we shirk the responsibility of dealing with it? Of course the alcoholic is an emotionally disturbed individual, but doesn’t it sound reasonable that to get him grounded in the faith is an important basic step toward helping overcome this problem? Regeneration is the only foundation upon which rehabilitation can be successfully carried out.
One of the latest problems we who are directly connected with the work among alcoholics are being confronted with results from the fact that he is now being convinced that he has an “incurable disease.” He has “tried religion” (by this he usually means he belonged to a church, or had asked God to help him). In fact, there are so many conflicting views as to the cause and cure of this problem that there is little wonder it is becoming more difficult to deal with.
Someone has summed it up in this manner: The alcoholic himself says he is “the world’s most misunderstood individual.” The professionals say he is “a maladjusted and very sick person.” Society says he is “a nuisance.” The Bible says he is “a drunkard.”
There is now strong evidence that A.A. and the Salvation Army are teaming together. The tragedy is that it is simply A.A.’s program and the Salvation Army’s facilities. I attended one of these sessions and if some of the Salvation Army workers of years gone by could have witnessed this scene, their hearts would have been broken. The room was so filled with cigarette smoke, one could hardly breathe. The guest speaker used language suited to the barroom.
A.A. is now planning to increase its public relations activities. However, it is still the same A.A. program, with an occasional mention of “The Man Upstairs,” but totally devoid of genuine spiritual help. John 14:6 speaks for itself in this connection.
However, they have put such effort into assisting these individuals, even “babysitting” with them throughout entire nights and days, that they have made those of us who profess the name of Christ bow our heads in shame over our indifference.
It is not too late to do something about this problem. Many have died a drunkard’s death in cheap hotels, alcoholic wards and flop houses across the nation. Statistics prove that the next generation will be faced with the problem of dealing with more of these individuals than we today. Raising the drinking age limit and other related laws is not the answer, but 2 Corinthians 5:17 is, for then the defeated victims of drink can say with Paul: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
ROY E. HATFIELD
Niagara Falls, N. Y.
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