Dear Iconoclastic but True Believers:

In this issue on rebirth, we gladly note that Britain’s Malcolm Muggeridge, the satirist we previously cited for his protest against students’ demands for pot and the pill, is moving closer to orthodox Christianity. Muggeridge, who was raised in a family of Fabian Society socialists, has come a long way in his search for the authentic in life. As a young socialist teaching in India, he urged his students to revolt against British rule. Later, after a trip to Russia, he discarded left-wing views and became a foe of Communism.

As a journalist, he has consistently raised his impudent voice against the high and mighty (even the British monarchy and the Anglican church) or anything slightly malodorous. He lampooned the sending of Bonny Prince Charles to a private boarding school. He described Churchill’s writings as “gaseous and overwritten.” He recently began an article, “Next to showing Jesus Christ around the Vatican, I should most like to be conducting officer to William Shakespeare returned to earth for his quatercentenary celebration.”

Last year MM poked fun at the way the social and political pace-setters, like writers of a Western, divide the scene into good guys and bad guys. According to them, observes MM, current good guys include strikers, homosexuals, JFK, Martin Luther King, Senator Fulbright, Bishop Pike, abortions, contraceptives, abstract art, psychiatry, ecumenism, and priests who leave the church and marry. Among bad guys are the Pentagon, Ian Smith, Billy Graham, LBJ, and traditional Christian beliefs. The bad guys, however, appeal to the common people and have a way of outlasting the good guys.

In May, 1966, Muggeridge stated: “I have never wanted a God, or feared a God, or felt under any necessity to invent one. Unfortunately I am driven to the conclusion that God wants me. God comes padding after me like a Hound of Heaven.” In March, 1967, he wrote, “As for the Gospels and Epistles I find them (especially St. John) irresistibly wonderful as they reduce the jostling egos of now—my own included—to the feeble crackling flicker of burning sticks against a majestic sunset.” This year he said, “I am more convinced than I am in my own existence that the view of life Christ came into the world to preach, and died to sanctify, remains as true and as valid as ever, and that all who care to … may live thereby, finding … an enlightenment and a serenity not otherwise attainable.”


Welcome to the Kingdom, Malcolm.

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I believe your article, “Where Is Modern Theology Going?” (March 1), is going to be most helpful to all of us here at the Board of Evangelism, and I shall certainly call it to the attention of … my staff. You have said it well, and have said it concisely.…

I like the way your “conclusion” hits and hits hard at a problem confronting all of us; namely, the problem of God. I agree that “the problem of God” does stand before us as the critical problem of the next decade, and it is fundamental for all mankind. This is why I believe so definitely that we must all work together rather than as a fragmented people. We are one in the family of God, and it is essential that we recognize our oneness.


General Secretary

General Board of Evangelism

The Methodist Church

Nashville, Tenn.

Modern theology would not exist in any of its various emphases, were it not that traditional theology is basically and fundamentally missing the truth of life and from God, and actually obscuring the truth while professing to proclaim it. Do I accept any of the modern theological positions or digressions from traditional theology? The answer is a definite No, and just as definitely, I do not accept the traditions of purported theology that obscure and displace the Gospel.…

“Theology is now in a state of confusion” only for those who are obsessed with myopic views of their own understanding of traditionalism. Those whose minds are set on the truth of life from God, and responsive to the Spirit of God, are able to see the clarity of the issues.


The Methodist Churches

Fairview, Wesley Chapel,

and Moravia, Iowa

I would like to tell you how enthused and delighted my classes and I have been with … “Where Is Modern Theology Going?” Dr. Henry has compressed so much reading and so much keen analysis into such a small compass, and graced it all with a clever journalistic style!… I congratulate you on wearing such heavy scholarship gracefully.…

The article stimulated so much interest that the copies you send here each issue were immediately snapped up, and a dozen students are looking for copies.


Visiting Professor

The Episcopal Theological Seminary

Lexington, Ky.


I want to express my appreciation for the excellent article, “Viet Nam: The Vulnerable Ones” (March 1). I have had a keen interest in Viet Nam since 1920, when two of my cousins went there as missionaries of the Christian and Missionary Alliance. One of them is now retired; the other, the Rev. Herbert A. Jackson, was stationed at Dalat, and went to Di Linh just before the missionaries at Dalat were evacuated. He was evacuated later by helicopter and is now at Nha Trang.

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I felt that you gave an excellent picture of the situation, and trust that you will be able to keep Viet Nam before the attention of the Christian world.



Graduate School

Wheaton College

Wheaton, Ill.

I have just read your editorial “Putting First Things Second” (March 1). I am deeply disturbed. Let me say first of all that I speak as a Christian, not as a “social activist”.…

CHRISTIANITY TODAY praises the martyrs at Ban Me Thuot—Mr. Ziemer, the Thompsons, the Griswolds, and Miss Wilting. And rightly so. Thank God for them. But will CHRISTIANITY TODAY dare to thank God for the martyrs at Boston—Rev. Coffin, Dr. Spock, et al.?

A loud, firm evangelical Christian voice is needed to speak out against this insane and dishonest war in Viet Nam. Will CHRISTIANITY TODAY dare to be that voice? Or will the editors of CHRISTIANITY TODAY continue to hide behind the myth that Communism is of the devil and endorse the slogan on the hippie button—“Kill a Commie for Christ?”


Urbana, Ill.


Agreed: Evangelicals ought to learn to laugh at themselves, as Calvin Seerveld suggests (“Comic Relief to Christian Art,” March 1). But they ought also to develop in serious art the now unhappily all but lost ability to satirize sin and sinner.…

In the warm climate of ecumenism and ethical theology, it may seem disturbing—and perhaps logically unfair—to reduce sin and sinners ad absurdum. However, true compassion is not exhibited by an encouraging pat on the back, a sympathetic chuckle, when forceful denunciation and a sardonic laugh are indicated. The Christian artist may, in fact, be able to suggest truth more effectively than the philosopher or Bible scholar through comic distortions and inversions.


Madison, Wis.


As one who is always happy to read or listen to what Dr. John Sutherland Bonnell has to say, I read “The Resurgence of Spiritism” (March 1) with great interest.” What surprises me is the rippling human alarm that has been activated among Christians by … Bishop James A. Pike’s … observations of his spiritual walk through this world.…

It should not frighten us that he openly questions old and cherished doctrines and traditions.… Are we so shaky of structure as to feel threatened by the observations, freely shared, of another Pilgrim’s walk?… Is it not possible that men such as our brother Bishop Pike are used … by our Lord to test our personal faith by shaking, Samsonlike, its structuring for evidence of spiritual smugness, spiritual slothfulness?… We shall by its shaking and swaying learn only where it is weak and in need of re-examination and repair. The chance to be made more weather-fast is blessing indeed. It is cause for praising God, not fearing.

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Union, N. J.

What do you think of a prayer crusade for the conversion or restoration of Bishop Pike? I know the Episcopalians are so straight-laced that they would never accept the idea of praying for the restoration of an unrepentant sinner, but I personally believe that the Baptists are more open to God and would pray for the conversion of an unrepentant sinner such as Bishop Pike.


Grand Prairie, Tex.


Your recent editorial, “Is Ecumenism Running Out of Fuel?” (March 1), captured my thoughts along this line.

This movement never had any fuel (fire) in the first place. You could place a puppy dog, a snake, and a bunny rabbit in a sack, leave them for a few days, and get the same results.

God’s evangelistic body will shoulder this load of keeping the true Church intact; these ones will eat the Word, and be sincere in many prayers toward a living God, not a social leader in some far-off place.


Dallas, Tex.


I am disappointed in you. By any standards the current Eutychus is not only third in succession but definitely third rate in quality. I haven’t the foggiest notion who this most regrettable Eutychus may be—but I wish he weren’t.…

I’ve read your publication regularly.… Never, until Eutychus III shambled sloppily onto the scene, thumbs hooked into his suspenders and toothpick hanging from his lips, have I felt that something or somebody was slipping badly.…

Certainly everyone with taste and some measure of regard for the dignity and sacredness of God’s Word must have felt very unhappy with the March 1 column on Dr. Jordan’s The Cotton Patch Version of Paul’s Epistles.…

I love and cherish the Word of God, and I don’t think any purported version, translation, or paraphrase of any portion of that sacred book is good (fingerlickin’ or otherwise) that uses vulgarity and profanity and that attempts to superimpose the writer’s own particular social and political biases on the work of the Holy Spirit. There is no excuse for condoning such writing.

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Paradise, Calif.


Your excellent editorial, “Are Heart Transplants Moral?” (Feb. 16), … raised the most interesting and thought-provoking question, “Who survives in a brain transplant, the donor or the recipient?” I do not think that in actual practice this is a question which we shall ever have to answer, as in my opinion transplantation of the whole human brain will never be possible.…

As you state correctly, the human body of fallen man cannot last forever, and at the very most the discoveries of modern medicine, including the techniques of organ transplantation, can only postpone physical death for a relatively short time. It remains true that the most important thing is not for man to hanker after a few more years of physical life on earth but to possess eternal life through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and … to be able to look forward confidently to the resurrection of the body.


Hanover, Mass.


It appears that a mistake was made (Miscellany, News, Dec. 8, 1967). The training which has been arranged between Bethel College and Youth for Christ International was between our Bethel College in Mishawaka rather than the Bethel College in Minneapolis.



Bethel College

Mishawaka, Ind.


A bombshell! Critics we always have with us. But such penetrating observations balanced with specific, sensible, and positive suggestions (“What’s Wrong with Campus Ministries?,” Feb. 16) are as rare as they are welcome.…

Who knows? Mr. Troutman’s bold suggestions might spawn a concrete, superior alternative to the status quo. Here’s hoping they do!


Denver, Col.


Orville S. Walter’s article, “Emotional Conflicts of University Students” (Feb. 16), speaks harshly but helpfully to the Church. It is an article which I would like very much to make available to students from our church.


First Baptist Church

Bogalusa, La.

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