Some people are easily pleased, which probably accounts for all my excitement when everyone stands up for the “Star Spangled Banner” at a big-league baseball game. Since those heroes on the diamond represent all my Walter Mitty dreams, it seems just nice all around to watch them standing there on the baseball diamond, in that beautiful grass, with their heads bared. It makes one feel like all kinds of a good American, with what Madison Avenue likes to call “deep down goodness.” As an old Pittsburgh fan, I used to like to watch Dick Groat especially, on account of his bald head. He was the kind of person an old man like me could, as the bright ones say, “identify with.”

Now to make every man my age happy there comes along Mr. Y. A. Tittle, the best and the baldest quarterback in the big time. There are a lot of things Y. A. T. can do that I can’t do, but isn’t it nice to think what a wonderful athlete he is at his age and all. My Walter Mitty flights continue, notwithstanding certain obvious disparities between Y. A. T. and me.

Somebody has been advertising new shirts for men. This season they are showing a man on the left page wearing a shirt made by Omar the Tentmaker and on the right page a football hero wearing a new, trim shirt. Somebody gave me some new, trim shirts only to break my heart because I am not trim the way the shirts are trim. I don’t look like the man in the ad—I go along with Y. A. Tittle for my hairline and Smokey Burgess for my general physical contours.

And what brought all this on? Well, last week I had to teach a Sunday school class to some adults who were just ordinary citizens, bless them, and the material that came out from the New York office was a little too trim. How is it in your church? I am of the opinion that our resource boys have become provincial. They convey the impression that they don’t know what people are wearing this year.



I have just read the prize-winning sermon on universalism, by R. Eugene Crow (Dec. 20 issue). Content: good, helpful. To whom? Preachers, theologians, perhaps some laymen.… If this was supposed to be a sermon preached to a local congregation of worshipers, in my opinion it was way over their heads, and did very little to set forth the plain teachings of the Scriptures against universalism. If this was a lecture or treatise on the doctrine and dangers of universalism delivered to theological students or a group of preachers, then it hits the spot.

I have no criticism concerning the article, or its being printed in CHRISTIANITY TODAY. This was good. I was thinking of what is generally known as a sermon, delivered to a local congregation of Sunday worshipers, setting forth God’s truth as declared in his Word, and warning them of the dangers inherent in the doctrine of universalism. This “sermon” just isn’t that. However, it does do one thing. It makes me want to preach a sermon to my people refuting this doctrine. Maybe that was the original intention. If so, good.

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South Side Methodist Church

Huntington, W. Va.

The “sermon” missed the heart of the issue, its central point. The place to begin is with the Cross. Had there not been some everlasting principle at stake there would have been no need of the Cross.… For the Cross says the issue of man is so consequential to himself and to God, that only an invading act of God in his infinite suffering could meet the issue. The fate of man lies in such terrible jeopardy, man is so incurably helpless that only God’s Cross can reverse the impending disaster.…


Oxford, Ohio

I will leave it to others to criticize the structural and stylistic qualities of Dr. Crow’s sermon-essay. It seems to me that behind this version of personal responsibility lies a theoretical universalism implied in the possibility that all men might be saved if we would but preach the Gospel with sufficient urgency. It should rather be acknowledged that it is the grace of God that alone moves men’s hearts to repentance and faith. The only sure bulwark against the sentimental appeal of universalism is the regrettable circumstance, affirmed by both Scripture and experience, that apparently not all men are recipients of divine grace.


First Congregational Church

Brewer, Me.

I would like permission to reprint the article.…

I have shown this article to two of my colleagues. They feel that its message should be as widely disseminated as possible. For that reason, they are anxious that the people in the pews of our churches read it.…



The Pentecostal Testimony

Toronto, Ont.

Dr. Crow’s text is that illuminative passage in Matthew 25:31–46, but he does not make [a] single attempt to tell us what his text says.…

The motivation, sincere or insincere, for development of a doctrine and the supposed effects of a doctrine cannot be, logically, admitted as evidence either for or against a doctrine. But this is the type of evidence that Dr. Crow is using. If we claim the Scriptures as source of our doctrinal concepts [then] nothing but Scripture can be used in testing doctrine.…

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Lynnwood, Wash.



Thank you for the fine editorial comment titled “Our Times Are in His Hand” (Dec. 20 issue). It contains some good Old Year’s-New Year’s sermon “fodder” for a time when the writer claims there is a dearth of it.

I would like to take kindly but serious exception to the contention contained therein that “neither Old Year’s Day nor New Year’s Day is a Christian holiday.” Both are, and New Year’s Day doubly (and more) so. Both are two of the Twelve Days of Christmas, and New Year’s Day is the Feast of the Circumcision of Jesus—the Holy Name Day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Since this is true, can you think of many more important days than the latter—especially since it comes on the first day of the year? It is a day which turns our devotional attention to the wondrous Name of Jesus—“for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).


St. Mark’s Episcopal

Anaconda, Mont.

Your good editorial … reminded me of an old hymn seldom heard today with one beautiful verse as follows:

Oh mystery of mysteries

Of life and death, the Tree!

Center of two eternities

Which look with rapt, adoring eyes.

Forward, and back, to thee!


Colorado Springs, Colo.


It is encouraging to read a sympathetic article on liturgical worship by a Methodist pastor (R. P. Marshall’s “What is Liturgical Worship?,” Dec. 20 issue). Unfortunately the article misses the heart of liturgical renewal, the Holy Eucharist.… Used specifically, liturgy is the efficient means through which the whole body of Christ participates in this Eucharistic sacrifice.

When liturgical principles such as simplicity and congregational involvement, or liturgical details, such as versicles and responses and the historic creeds, are removed from their Eucharistic context and applied to what is essentially a preaching service, the inevitable results are “formalism,” “prettifying,” and “ceremonialism,” which destroy the integrity of both the liturgy and the preaching. It is foolish and dishonest to confuse what is appropriate to the Eucharist or to preaching.…

In a broader sense, liturgy is not a matter of forms, ancient or modern, to be applied indiscriminately. It is a matter of getting what has to be done, done efficiently. If what has to be done is the Eucharistic sacrifice, one type of action will be appropriate; if it is the proclamation of the Gospel through preaching, another will be appropriate. In this basic sense, the term liturgical can be applied to the preaching service. By this criterion many of the classic preaching services of Protestantism were more liturgical than are some of those labeled liturgical today. Some Anglicans of the nineteenth century made the mistake of indiscriminately borrowing from Roman Catholicism practices which distorted the integrity of the Anglican liturgy. Liturgically minded Protestants would be wise to learn from such mistakes on the part of their Anglican brethren. If liturgical worship is to be understood and applied, attention must first be given to the essence of what is done in worship, and then to the means of accomplishing that end.

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The General Theological Seminary

New York, N. Y.


I enjoyed very, very much … “My Life in Preaching” by Otto Dibelius (Dec. 20 issue). It inspired me to rethink my preaching and to sit and write an article for our local newspaper.


Church of the Brethren

Midland, Va.

I look forward to the day which will bring me a new issue of CHRISTIANITY TODAY. Especially was I appreciative this week of the splendid, convicting, and moving article by Bishop Otto Dibelius.

I was, however, horrified at the same time. What did I come upon in the perusal of my copy but a piece titled, “The Melody Man of Gospel Music,” treating of Mr. John W. Peterson. I was distressed, not to say dismayed. How can this be? I asked myself, and in CHRISTIANITY TODAY, the journal of respectable and responsible evangelicalism! I now inquire of you, sir: Do you not realize that Mr. Peterson has done as much as anyone in the last decade to degrade church music? What once was our glorious musical heritage has been so prostituted as to give us in its stead a frivolous, worldly, and spiritually corrupting corpus of song, which uplifts no one, certainly entertains many, and is completely incapable of inducing worship.

Let us have no more of this.


Sixth Reformed Church

Paterson, N. J.

• Composer Peterson won entree to these pages as a newsmaker. CHRISTIANITY TODAY aims to apprise its readers of significant religious (rends, whether these be considered favorable or adverse.—ED.


The December 6 issue … is excellent. The feature articles and editorials are all of the highest quality. However, I wish to raise a question, in the name of Christian unity, as distinguished from organic union, concerning the position of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.

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Dr. Oswald Hoffmann has written a splendid Christmas message, and no listener tan deny the incisive thinking he applies to his radio messages. I find myself in agreement with his thinking in all major points and wish that we could acknowledge each other as brothers in Christ. However, it is just at this point that I must admit to a sense of confusion and genuine sorrow. Confusion because the official position of his denomination does not permit fellowship with other Christians about the Lord’s Table. Sorrow because of their belief that all other members of the body of Christ “eat and drink unworthily” at the Lord’s Table.

The only regrets I have ever had from my military chaplaincy experiences came from the stillness of mind and heart from Missouri Synod chaplains.…


Past National Chaplain: The American Legion

Lynnwood, Wash.


Thank you for giving us an opportunity to express ourselves on some precious Bible text (Nov. 22 issue).

What would we do without the Word of God to carry us through the hard experiences of life?…


Gridley, Ill.


On page 28 of the Dec. 6 issue … are the words: “Christ was crucified by Jewish hands.” This is in flat contradiction to John 19:23. The Gospels of course state that he was crucified at Jewish instigation, but the actual execution was by Roman soldiers on the order of the Roman procurator.


New Concord, Ohio

• But see also Acts 2:23.—ED.


I enjoyed reading the article by Bruce M. Metzger, “Four English Translations of the New Testament” (Nov. 22 issue). I was in complete agreement with almost everything he said. With one small … exception. In his last paragraph he said, “The wide variety of renderings already on the market rightly leads many persons to conclude that the need for additional translations is diminishing.”

In regard to the English language I certainly agree with him, along with his conclusion that what we need here in our country and among our people is “the ‘translation’ of the Word of God into the daily lives of those who profess to be followers of the living Word!”

But as far as the rest of the world is concerned the idea that the “… need for additional translations is diminishing” is far from the truth of the matter.

Today, two thousand years from the time Christ’s followers were told to go forth and evangelize the world, there are still more than 2,000 languages that lack any portion of God’s Word translated into them!

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Regional Secretary

Middle Atlantic Regional Office

Wycliffe Bible Translators, Inc.

Charlotte, N. C.


Re: “Paulus ex Machina” (News, Dec. 6 issue): Sooner or later it was bound to happen! But my heart gives out to St. Paul for his having been treated like hamburg through a meat grinder.

Of course a computer is accurate. It cannot be otherwise. It can only put out what it is fed. Any fault comes from the programmer—the human operator. All he needs do is to feed it a “bit” of misinformation or neglect to insert a different “bit” of good datum and the resulting answer is based on the false premise.

Instead of trusting in Mercury and his $2250 toy (good computers by Sperry-Rand, IBM, and GE cost 100 times that price) and an a priori method of reasoning, the Holy Spirit can be trusted to lead and attest by the internal evidences of the Book that he indeed moved that great mind and soul to write.

Another added proof that the Bible is divine and still the all-sufficient authority for faith and practice is the way it withstands the attacks of Satan whether by fire or Mercury’s machine. Of course the latter is more subtle.


Defense Electronics Division

General Electric Company

Syracuse, N. Y.


For three years CHRISTIANITY TODAY has come regularly to my study. For many years The Christian Century has done the same. I read them both and find much that is helpful in each. Sometimes as I watch them lying there together on the shelf (to what lengths “togetherness” can go!) I have the feeling, somehow, that there is a lifting of editorial eyebrows and a whispered, “Well, feature meeting you here, in a thoughtful pastor’s study!”

At night I think I hear, sometimes, a distant sound, and it is at times hard to tell whether I am hearing the rejoicing of the saints together or the drawing up of ecclesiastical artillery and the honing of doctrinal differences to the point of deadly sharpness.

There are times when I wonder how The Christian Century manages to keep such a “hot line” connection with the Almighty. It’s wonderful!

But there are times, too, when I wonder about CHRISTIANITY TODAY in the authoritarian way in which it presumes to speak for evangelical Christendom.…


Warrenton Methodist Church

Warrenton, Va.


Mr. Bruce Y. Dong (Eutychus, Sept. 27 issue) pegged tax-deductible church gifts as subsidies from the state. He said, “I submit that many if not most churches draw their lives from the state through these ‘subsidies’ in the form of tax deductions.” This fences all of one’s income into a tax-priority allegiance to the state.

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God had other views when he reserved the tithe holy unto himself (Lev. 27:30). Without stating sums, Jesus commanded certain renditions from man to Caesar and from man to God. I would give “Caesar” credit for acknowledging that the first tenth is not his to tax, nor mine to spend. Jesus was saying that Caesar’s and God’s endeavors were not cross-purposes, but parallels. I give Caesar further credit for conceding that the tithe is not lost to his and God’s common aim, the diminishing of lawlessness, merely because God reserved it for another channel different from his.

First Baptist Church


Neodesha, Kan.

T. C. C.

T. C. C. Ever heard of it? The question is not so much what does it mean as what could it mean? It is a contraction for “totally committed Christian.” Much is said about the disunity of the Church, despite the many organizations that are seeking to weld into one the body of Christ. The true unity is spiritual and effortless on our part. It comes like the gentle rain from above. The Holy Spirit comes without a fanfare of trumpets. Many despair of the Church ever being one. It is already one. Are men trying to make something which is already made? The intensification of the unity we have in Christ is surely one of the major needs of our day. This is the reason for T. C. C. In every area and in every denomination there are Christians who are totally committed in as far as they know their own hearts.

But there is no central fellowship in their area to which they can belong. If some districts have this in a truly corporate sense, then I will be happy to have some information. A monthly meeting locally with the aim to intensify what we already have rather than to bewail our “unhappy divisions” would be a potential that would change the course of history. The leader of this group could be called the “Overseer.” It would be best to have a layman in charge of this fellowship. The membership would be strict. This would not be another church in the local scene and any attempt would be discouraged. As things stand, we have no place where all Christians can gather to ascertain what the mind of Christ is in a given situation. The need for this in our explosive age is apparent.

My problem is how to get this “off the ground.” You might have an excellent plane on a runway but if it cannot leave where it stands it could become a museum piece.

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Perhaps some of your readers have knowledge of such a type of fellowship and if they have I will be most happy to learn.…


St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church

Dresden, Ont.


This is in reply to a [letter] signed by Ernest L. Laycock … in the December 6 issue.… It is fine that he has Negroes in his fellowship, but where does he get the idea that Satan is behind the “one-race-one-world-one-church delusion”?

If Mr. Laycock would study his Bible a little I’m sure he would find as most Christians do that it is God who founded the one world, one human race, and one Christian Church.


Bathgate, N. Dak.


The demands which confront a Salvation Army officer are tremendous, and it seems that the work never draws to a conclusion. The tendency is for one to be so overwhelmed with the multitudinous aspects of work that sometimes it might cause one to sadly neglect the intellectual and scholastic side of one’s life.

The articles in CHRISTIANITY TODAY have been an intellectual stimulant to me as well as being a wonderful spiritual strength.


Kirkland Lake, Ont.

Please accept my sincerest thanks to you for CHRISTIANITY TODAY. It has been coming to my desk for some time now, and I have learned to appreciate the fine journalism in presenting sound theology as well as the news of the Christian world. You certainly have my personal vote of confidence in the periodical.


District Superintendent Greenville District, North Texas Conference

The Methodist Church

Greenville, Tex.

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