Dear Televiewers:

Are you distressed that television competes with family worship in your home? Worry no more. The Rev. Robert S. Macnicol offers you a way out. Following the old maxim, “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em,” this Church of Scotland minister suggests in a new book that we convert our nightly session with the one-eyed monster into an occasion for family worship. His recommendation: Before turning on the set, the family should pray, “God be in my head and in my understanding.” If we say grace before eating a meal, he reasons, why not pray before viewing TV? And who knows, maybe prayer is more needed before televiewing than before gluttony.

Lest you hastily dismiss this latest wrinkle in sacred-secular synthesis, consider how TV may lend itself to your religious life. Do we not all need divine wisdom to understand why the TV prophets of profits offer us such continual trivia? We can be thankful, though, that the high priests in television city do provide different services to please everyone: for high churchmen—living color; for low churchmen—black and white.

Checking TV Guide, I found many program titles fraught with theological significance. If you want light on the doctrine of man, you might tune in such shows as “Lost in Space,” “Jeopardy,” “The Fugitive,” “Bewitched,” “Death Valley Days,” or “The Monkees.” For ethics, try “To Tell the Truth,” “Let’s Make a Deal,” or “Love on a Rooftop.” Television also offers certain messianic figures: “Captain Nice,” “Mr. Terrific,” and “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” (or, if you prefer, “The Girl from U.N.C.L.E.”). Some shows apparently deal with demonology: “Dennis the Menace” and “The Green Hornet.” If you desire eschatology, dial “It’s About Time” or “Star Trek.” And don’t forget the biblical thriller, “Jericho.”

These are but a few programs that may aid your family in its religious observances. But I must leave now. The strains of “Winchester Cathedral” are calling our family congregation to view “Father Knows Best.”

Your tube boob, EUTYCHUS III

Unique, Appropriate, Timely

You are to be complimented on the publication of the interview with Dr. D. Elton Trueblood and the excerpt from his book (Jan. 6). The discussion, obviously, is very unique, appropriate, and quite timely.… A possible weakness may be found in the confusion of certain concepts that have been bantered about recently due to the nature of and our concern for this cyberculture and affluent society in which we find ourselves, namely those of “work,” “job,” “leisure,” and “free time.” …

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For one thing, let us stop equating job with work. Job is related to the way a man makes his living; work is activity and energy directed to a purpose or end. If you equate the two you tend to identify a man with his job, and evidences of immorality may be involved when we treat as equivalent a man’s job and his identity, his meaning of life. One’s job may be that of an appliance salesman, but his work is being a disciple of Jesus Christ (or other, such as gardener, hobbyist, etc.).

Secondly, stop equating leisure with free time. Leisure is not free time, and it might possibly, by definition, have nothing to do with time at all. Leisure is a condition of being, a situation created by our society. Free time, on the other hand, is time away from the job one holds.

Thirdly, it is doubtful whether we can find biblical support for equating work with job; therefore, let us stress the Protestant-Puritan ethic of hard work, but with the understanding that we do not mean by it “job”! The Bible, in fact, summons us to work, not to a job (Paul refers to his work as an apostle, but his job is that of a tentmaker).


First Methodist

Moravia, N. Y.

I was particularly grateful for the candid and objective interview.


Professor of Preaching

The Lancaster Theological Seminary of the United Church of Christ

Lancaster, Pa.

One of the best features of CHRISTIANITY TODAY is its question-and-answer interview, and I was especially interested in the one with Dr. Trueblood.


San Marino, Calif.

Dr. Trueblood expressed the malaise of this age in the phrase, “the disease of contemporaneity.” This disease seems to make one regress into infantile forms of behavior. We have seen an infant, held in its father’s arms, playfully kick him in the face. This conduct belongs to infancy, not maturity. But our age, through some of our leading lights, is finding its greatest joy in kicking our theological and philosophical fathers in the face. And they do this not with booteed feet but with hobnailed shoes. Our fathers are having their teeth kicked out so they can only mumble to the present generation if they can speak at all. The great conversation in the Western world from the days of Linear A and Linear B in ancient Greece is not being even heard, much less understood. The tragedy is that the Church, hoping to retain the avant-garde within its portals, is joining in the infantile sport. Isn’t it time we matured intellectually, morally, and spiritually, and spoke out of the great past and the inspired Word of God to the living present?

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Huntington Baptist

Huntington, N. Y.

Ungentle But Accurate

My National Council of Churches speech (Dec. 23, p. 32, and Jan. 6, p. 25) attacked a position—what I call “the scribal mentality”—and some of its representatives. I was not gentle, but I was accurate.…

The underlying issue … is whether “capitalism” and “Communism” are equal pollutions of the Gospel’s understanding of the person in the light of our Lord Jesus Christ. I hold that they are, for they are the ideological expressions of the myths of the individual and the collective.…

So as to relieve NCC functionaries of any responsibility for the content of my position paper, the latter described itself as “a purely personal response to an assignment (no one else having seen any part of it before it was duplicated).” Your reporter twisted this disclaimer into a boast and a concealment: “Elliott boasted that assembly leaders had not seen his text in advance … he kept it from them.” The latter, in addition, is untrue: not only did the relevant “assembly leaders” have my paper ahead of time, but so also did all the table leaders of the division in which the speech was given.…

There is indeed a “chasm” between the spirit of the speaker who (in my context) says, “The Bible is our authority.… We’re here because we believe the Bible”—a chasm, I say, between the spirit of such a statement and my spirit when I say “not Bible or Christ, not Bible and Christ, but Christ, in and through Bible and Church and history and nature and the world of here and now”.…

I hope you will come to less emotional and more responsible use of this “orthodox open” Christian.


United Church Board for

Homeland Ministries

New York, N. Y.

Constant Challenge

I don’t recall an issue of your magazine that failed to challenge me in one direction or another.


London College of Bible and Missions

London, Ont.

Understanding Personality

Your editorial “Evangelicals and Modern Psychiatry” (Dec. 23) is of real service to the Church and her pastoral ministry. For too long ministers, for many reasons, have ignored the value of knowing the human personality and being able to understand it for what it is and why it’s the way it is.… I do hope your readers find your editorial as light in the darkness.


Kenner Presbyterian

Kenner, La.

You note that fewer than 9,000 out of 235,000 clergymen have had clinical pastoral training. I wish you would publish statistics, if you have them, of how many of those 9,000 are evangelicals by your use of the term. As one who has had clinical pastoral training, my experience has been that the “evangelical” appears to be too afraid to examine his own motives, an inevitable process in any CPT program. Also, evangelicals are usually authoritarian persons, wanting to dictate to others, a role which denies the God-given integrity of the other person.

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First Baptist

East Rochester, N. Y.

Thank God for the good that is being done in this field. However, I do weary a little of always being the recipient of the rebukes. A few years ago a young psychiatrist addressed a group of us ministers and as usual strongly urged us to recognize our limitations and send our counselees to them at the proper time.

At the close I had to ask him some questions, namely: “Do you in your profession recognize your limitations? In the study of the human personality do we not come to an abyss over which the natural man cannot cross? What of the need of revelation regarding the fall of man, original sin, depravity, the new birth, the need for atonement of sin, the cleansing of God’s grace, etc? Do you know when to send your patients to us so we can get them in touch with the Lord of life and miraculous power of the Gospel?” … Too many prodigals today are going to the “couch” and taking detours, rather than going back home. The specialist may deal with some of the symptoms, but the basic disease is still “sin” and the remedy is the “blood of Christ.”


Church of the Nazarene

Renton, Wash.

Your editorial is extremely well-taken. With the high incidence of emotional disturbance in our country, I can see no more meaningful course to be added to the training of prospective ministers. Ministers with whom I am frequently in contact find themselves bombarded with emotional problems and find themselves ill-equipped to handle them. This is particularly unfortunate inasmuch as we believe the Christian message is the answer to the world’s problems.…

It might be of great encouragement to your readers to realize that at Fuller Seminary a great step forward was taken a few years ago in which men of theological training were given the opportunity to train as psychologists through the School of Psychology in order to meet just the kind of shortage you are talking about.


Consulting Psychologist

Tacoma, Wash.


I read the review of Wallace Turner’s new book, The Mormon Establishment (Jan. 6).

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As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (The Mormon Church), I am not in the least disturbed by Wallace Turner’s literary product. I am sure it will not disturb many members of the Mormon Church.

In the 136 years of existence of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints hundreds of uncomplimentary books have been written about it. Most of these books misrepresent the truth of this religious institution.… It is certain that Mr. Turner has done only superficial research in developing his book.


St. George, Utah

Appreciating Laughter

I wish to express my appreciation to Dr. Frederick W. Danker for his fine article on “Laughing with God” (Jan. 6), which recalled to my mind the subject dealt with somewhat less in length or depth, but well, by the late Bruce Barton in his book, The Man Nobody Knows.


El Dorado, Ark.

The Missing Book

I have not yet found a book which I believe is necessary among the clergy, … a concise biographical dictionary giving names of religious leaders of the world.… It should include, not only names, but the background history of each one, their beliefs and theological standards.


Buckeye Free Methodist

Buckeye, Ariz.

Singularly Crass

I found your apparent attempts at justification of Dr. Carl McIntire’s shabby performance on the Pyne talk show (News, Dec. 23) sadly lacking in the honesty and forthrightness which I have come to expect from CHRISTIANITY TODAY. Whether this stems from a desire to excuse him because he is “one of us,” I do not know.… I do know that Dr. McIntire was singularly crass, rude, and boorish. The only sense in which he “generally out-debated” his opponent was in that he managed to talk longer and louder.… Such tactics seem to me to be antithetical to our Lord’s, who is always striking in his winsome graciousness and compassion in dealing with those who stand in need of him.


Wheaton College

Wheaton, Ill.

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