Send this skeptic the living Liz

What The Fool Said

They tell me it is one of the basic rules in the legal profession that when one is engaged in cross-examination he should never ask a question unless he is sure what the answer has to be. Otherwise the argument might just get out of hand.

This is an equally good rule when you are dealing with youngsters. Never ask them a question unless you know what the answer has to be, or they might just lead you down the garden path. I remember one time giving a children’s sermon on light, and I kept switching the light on and off to illustrate my point (whatever the point was). At the very end I switched the light off and asked the youngsters, “Now where has the light gone?” A big bass voice far beyond its years answered from the front row, “Out in the hall. I can see it out there.”

One time at a boys’ camp I had a Mason jar full of beans of various sizes. My point was that if you shook the jar of beans long enough, the big beans always came to the top. “See,” said I, “the big beans always come to the top; so remember that, if you have a big bean, no matter how much shaking up there is, you will always come to the top.” Whereupon one of the more helpful boys in the audience asked, “What if the jar is full of nuts?”

Considerable shaking has been going on in theological circles recently, and the question before the house is whether the big beans or the big nuts are coming to the top. This is not just an academic question.

One of my readers (how do you like that?) wrote in to suggest that in the death-of-God controversy we have an interesting parallel with the late Vatican Council. After centuries the Romanists have condescended enough to say that the Jews are not “Christ killers.” Now what will they do in Protestant circles with those men with the big beans who have killed God? Maybe they aren’t big beans. “The fool has said in his heart, There is no God.”


Who Wins The $5,000?

I am both amused and astonished at Louis Berger’s $5, 000 offer to you (Eutychus and His Kin, Mar. 18 issue) for “irrefutable and realistic proof that there ever existed a supernatural person named Jesus Christ.” Of course, two absurdities underlie the offer. First, the supernatural nature of our Lord is not empirically demonstrable.… Secondly, proof of our Lord’s deity cannot be purchased with money. That comes only through self-commitment to him as divine Saviour and Lord.…


Temple Baptist Church

Ellsworth A.F.B., S. Dak.

Two letters in your issue for March 18 should be brought together. Louis Berger offers you $5,000 for “a single irrefutable and realistic proof that there ever existed a supernatural person named Jesus Christ.” Eutychus II mentions Gert Behanna, who wrote the book The Late Liz. Since Berger doesn’t like books, send him the living Liz. He will have his proof, and possibly get converted at the same time.

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Aldrich Avenue Presbyterian Church

Minneapolis, Minn.

If Mr. Berger … can furnish me with a single irrefutable proof that his judgment will be irrefutable, I will furnish him with an irrefutable proof that Jesus Christ existed (no books).

If, however, he cannot guarantee that his judgment is irrefutable, how will he know that my proof is irrefutable? Philadelphia, Pa.


It is obvious that this correspondent is an avowed atheist or he would not write as he does!…


Port Charlotte, Fla.

To prove to you that he is a dream—or a myth—I agree to donate $5.00 to your library fund for books published at Tübingen from 1825–1875 if you will furnish me with a single irrefutable and realistic proof that there ever existed a natural person named George Washington (no books).…


Ascension Lutheran Church

Pittsburgh, Pa.

The letter … reminds me of a question asked by one of our X-ray students … “Can you prove to me there is such a thing as an X-ray?” Sometimes you can’t see the woods for the trees.…

The very existence of the Church is a miracle that could satisfy [Berger].…


Penn Valley, Pa.

I am sure you will get numerous replies to Louis Berger’s $5,000 offer, but I thought the offer so tempting I would take him up on it—just in case.

There is only one condition to his whole proposal which will have to be cleared up first before anything is proved or gained. Mr. Berger has to prove first that he himself exists as well as his $5,000, and if he can do that and will grant the same privilege of his basis for proof to us in proving Christ existed—supernaturally—then I know he can be taken, and I am sure you know this, too.

It becomes more amazing to me each year in the ministry how those who attempt to refute Christ and Christianity bear the burden of proof themselves; God’s revelation has been that unique! I hope you claim the $5,000.


Lutheran Church of the Resurrection

Waterville, Me.

A Great Contribution

“God: His Names and Nature,” by Harold B. Kuhn (insert, Mar. 18, issue), is an outstanding contribution to the science of theology.

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I have presented the previous essays in our “discussion period,” and they have been well received by our people.…


Palestine Baptist Church

Jackson, Miss.

We read [it] with joy and profit.… Oak Lawn, Ill.


Tit For Tat

I was very grateful for your publishing the article “The Church and Social Problems,” by Howard E. Kershner (Mar. 4 issue).…


Harrington Park, N. J.

It disturbs me a great deal.… His article … is a perfect example of the reason why many of my fellow ministers and I have stopped our subscriptions to his magazine.…


Minister of Education

First Methodist

Charlotte, N. C.

Your decision … to select such a miserably inept and theologically faulty article to represent a viewpoint is inexcusable on your part.…

The greatest crime is yours for reprinting it and doing great injustice to a problem that needs scholarly treatment. Alexandria, Va. EUGENE W. WIEGMAN

Praise From A Pacifist

I want to express my warm appreciation for “Problems for Pacifists” (Mar. 4 issue). This is a more thoughtful and more accurate treatment of Christian pacifist matters than has usually been the case in CHRISTIANITY TODAY, and I am most grateful for it.


Executive Secretary

Mennonite Central Committee

Akron, Pa.

Baptists And Cocu

In re Eugene Carson Blake’s comment on the American Baptist Convention’s avoiding joining COCU (News, Mar. 18 issue): Hoorah! Dr. Blake understands Baptist polity better than many American Baptists—he realizes one association or convention of Baptist churches cannot extend the alliances of those churches. Maybe our constituency will hear him.


Highlawn Baptist Church

Huntington, W. Va.

Daniel Still Lives

“Come Alive, Daniel!” (Mar. 4 issue) is a very unique approach in answering the “Critics,” and I am in favor of coining a medal for Dr. Grider, to honor and hold in commemoration this re-criticism.…


Calvary Baptist

Drayton Valley, Alberta

In my book Daniel is more alive than he has been for more than two thousand years.…


Brooklyn, N.Y.

I appreciated the article.… If Dr. Grider has any more such articles, I think they ought to be in print.…


South Flint Church of the Nazarene

Flint, Mich.

[The article] very adroitly scathes the higher critics and the modernists with their “new morals”.…


Executive Director

Miami Rescue Mission

Miami, Fla.

More On Christian Science

Thank you for the splendid article, “Ten Questions to Ask Christian Scientists” (Mar. 4 issue). This is as a complete article as I have ever read on this subject, logical, truthful, and to the heart of the matter.

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Harrisburg, Pa.

Mr. Hoekema has not studied the writings of Mary Baker Eddy; if he had he could not possibly have reached the conclusions he set forth.…

This letter is not to clarify the opinions of Mr. Hoekema … because I’m sure that the Christian Science Committee on Publication has already taken care of that by this time as they are very alert to such matters.…


Middletown, Ohio

I have received sufficient blessings from my experience with students of Christian Science and their teachings that I cannot sit idly by when I feel that they are being totally misunderstood if not maligned.…

No, I’m not ready to give up my Reformed faith for the teachings of Christian Science; but I have the feeling that much of our difficulty is with language, and that too many of the critics of Christian Science pass quick judgments without trying prayerfully to understand. I am proud of the fact that Presbyterians have met for discussion. The body of Christ cannot be severed, and I for one will never attempt it.

Mrs. Eddy was the beloved pastor of many sincere, devout students of the Word of God: people who love God, and their neighbors. I am a pastor, a student of the Word, who also tries to love God and his neighbors. That rather puts us all on the King’s Highway.…


First Presbyterian

Titusville, Fla.

Greatest Since Denney

Thanks for such a wonderful periodical as yours. Of all the things you have ever published nothing compares with Leon Morris’s “The Centrality of the Cross” (Mar. 18 issue). In fact it is the greatest theology on the death of Christ since James Denney’s The Death of Christ. I can hardly wait to get the book. Kingsport, Tenn.


Leon Morris stated, “It comes as something of a surprise, for example, to find that, apart from the crucifixion narrative and one verse in Hebrews, Paul is the only New Testament writer to speak about “the cross.’ ” Although the word “cross” is not specifically used by Peter, it is certainly implied in First Peter 2:24, “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree.” Likewise there are three references to “the tree” in the Acts of the Apostles (5:30 and 10:39, spoken by Peter; 13:29, spoken by Paul).…


Wyckoff, N. J.

One Man Or Two?

On page 33 (Mar. 4 issue), is not Stacey E. Woods, general secretary of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students, really C. Stacey Woods?…

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Darlington, Pa.

• He really is.—ED.

Those Cartoons

The “What If …” cartoons are wonderful. They are satirical without being bitter, and funny but not overdrawn.…


Occidental College

Los Angeles, Calif.

A ‘Snap’ For Ridicule

Your report on “McIntire at the Capitol” (Mar. 4 issue) is not as we in Pennsylvania understand it. Also, the picture of this man looks as though your photographer, no different than many of our secular reporters and photographers, went out of his way to “snap” for ridicule.…

If one of your little reporters must ridicule or belittle someone, send him in the direction of Bishop Pike, who sounds [like] Anti-Christ.

I, for one, would appreciate a full and true report or story on Carl McIntire by an unbiased person.…

I do trust your magazine will not come under the influence of the NCC or WCC.…


Fayetteville, Pa.

After reading your article, I would not have your magazine. Dr. McIntire is one of our great patriots who is trying to save America from the takeover by Communism and stands for the Bible as a real part of our American heritage. He is working hard to preserve your freedom too.…


Santa Cruz, Calif.

Readers Say …

I still find the “Deaths” section the only section I can trust. I commend you for it!


Richardson, Tex.

As a Bible professor in a Methodist theological seminary (its name is not really germane!), I reject much of what I read in your journal. Yet I am richly stimulated by its many well-written articles and editorials, and my judgment is that the quality of your publication is steadily improving. The January 1 issue was a superb example of the same.


Hood Theological Seminary

Salisbury, N. C.

Your paper becomes the only rallying point for level-headed, emotionally sound, evangelical, and scholarly men to share.…


Pioneer Memorial Church (United Presbyterian)

Solon, Ohio

I credit your magazine with making a major contribution in keeping Christianity out of the twentieth century.…


Keolumana Methodist

Kailua, Hawaii

A Bold Effort

Recently I have been disturbed by [your] … permitting the Orthodox Presbyterian Church to use such Christian ethics as [is] in evidence in its advertisement “A new confession—or a new faith?—the Presbyterian predicament.” This seems to be a bold effort to confuse, disturb, and proselyte.…


United Presbyterian

Cedarville, Ohio

Whose Blake?

It amazes me … that CHRISTIANITY TODAY favorably presents … the new [general secretary] of the World Council of Churches, Dr. Eugene Carson Blake! Isn’t he known on an international scale as being in sympathy with Bishop Pike and his denials of basic Bible truths? How can you, an evangelical, present Dr. Blake in a favorable light as a trustworthy spiritual leader?

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Pennsylvania Avenue Baptist Church

Warren, Pa.

I am appalled by the vicious attacks (implicit and explicit) on both the World Council of Churches and Eugene Carson Blake.…


Toronto, Ont.

The Continuing Debate

In his column, “Priorities First” (Mar. 4 issue), L. Nelson Bell aptly answers the letter of Robert D. Bulkley (“Not Either/Or”), contending that the Church must hold to its central mission: the conversion of individuals to Jesus Christ. Bulkley, in his emphasis on changing social structures, obviously wants to assure us that he still believes genuine conversion is basic. But it seems equally obvious that his own priorities lie elsewhere and that he regards as “superficial” the conversions of those Christians who do not happen to hold his own enthusiasm for the present-day civil rights movement. There are tens of thousands of dedicated Christians who share a vital social concern but who cannot endorse much of the current civil rights movement with its disturbing exhibitionism, frequent defiance of law, and pseudo-Christian overtones.

At the same time I wonder if Nelson Bell has not sidestepped Bulkley’s very legitimate charge that conversion does not necessarily always bring the change in social attitudes which should follow. Especially has this been true in the area of race and segregation. Racial prejudice still holds sway in too many Christian hearts. Worse yet, some have even appealed to the Scriptures for support of their segregative views. The majority, of course, simply have gone along with the status quo. Thus when Congress passed the Civil Rights Act in 1964, some evangelical Christians found themselves jumping onto the bandwagon at the last minute because it would have been too embarrassing to do otherwise. Their social conscience had been awakened not so much by inner Christian conviction as by the long overdue social legislation that finally gave the Negro his voting rights as an American citizen. The tragedy that many Christians have been the last to face such social issues head-on will hurt the evangelical cause for years to come.

These facts, while they must be acknowledged, in no way undercut the main thrust of Bell’s reply. Bulkley says that “there is no evidence that the kindest and worthiest motives are what emerge from what we label the conversion experience.” Has he never heard of the dramatic social changes that swept England following the Wesleyan revivals, or the social concern that grew out of the First and Second Great Awakenings? Has he forgotten the roots of the Salvation Army, the YMCA, the rescue missions, and a hundred other works of their kind?

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If society truly is to be transformed, let alone souls saved from eternal loss, the priorities of which Bell and the Scriptures speak must be kept. Otherwise, the social reforms which Bulkley so earnestly desires will be as “superficial” as the conversions he would like to invalidate.


Chicago, Ill.

Evangelism and evangelists that make the winning of converts the prime mission of the Church sometimes remind me of the efforts of the Pharisees which were so roundly condemned by Jesus (Matt. 23:15). To insist that the Church as the Church has no responsibility to speak and work to promote justice, righteousness, and peace in the earth is to deny the testimony of the Scriptures.… The principle enunciated in the Constitution does not forbid mutual interests and concerns of church and state; [it was only intended] to prevent any one church or combination of churches becoming a state church.


United Presbyterian

Adena, Ohio

Although Dr. Bell says it is all a matter of priorities—first, the Church must change the hearts of men through the proclamation of the message of redemption in Christ—I find it difficult to see a second priority clearly. My guess is that he doesn’t really have one.…

We still wait for some explanation why so often “born-again” Christians dramatically change their attitudes toward the use of Sunday, toward tithing, drinking, smoking, dancing—but not toward the racial prejudice and injustice that secular (and Christian?) society tolerates and perpetuates all around us.…

Although he too is much afraid that the liberal church leadership today is promoting socialism, Howard Kershner, in his article in the same issue, “The Church and Social Problems,” at least has a clearer answer to my dilemma: “… reborn men and women go out and remake society.…” Can we believe him? Does Dr. Bell agree?


First Congregational Church

Stratford, Conn.

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