Cheers For Charles And Chatterley
Some years ago I went across the ocean, having been invited, surprisingly, to lecture at an ancient university. My topic compelled some consideration of an English king who lost his head, the tercentenary of which “melancholy scene” had elicited some abrasive comments from modern Puritan scholars. Before I embarked on my first lecture, a venerable clergyman approached me and intoned sepulchrally: “Speak a good word for King Charles the Martyr.” I did. And said one for O. Cromwell, too, which holy wobbling did a power of no good to my listeners and reputation.
I had forgotten the incident till the other day when I read in a learned journal an article by John Robinson, the retiring Bishop of Woolwich. Reviewing his ten years in that post, he contrived to do so without once mentioning God, much less essaying any speak-a-good-wordiness. I of course exclude the unwitting reference into which he was betrayed in referring to the title Honest to God.
Incidentally this best-seller, his participation in the New English Bible translation, and his testimony in court to the wholesome influence of Lady Chatterley’s Lover he refers to as “three success stories of the past decade.” With this moving gesture of defiance he went off to be dean of Trinity College, with which the heir-apparent to the British throne is connected. It is comforting to know that the latter, though another Charles, is a sensible young man whose head is unlikely to be moved by latter-day opponents of divine right.
You will find no coyness about naming the name of God in Dorothy L. Sayers’s essay “The Shattering Dogmas of the Christian Tradition” (in Christian Letters to a Post-Christian World, just published by Eerdmans). “That you cannot have Christian principles without Christ,” wrote Miss Sayers, “is becoming increasingly clear because their validity as principles depends on Christ’s authority.… It is not true at all that dogma is ‘hopelessly irrelevant’ to the life and thought of the average man. What is true is that ministers … often assert that it is, present it for consideration as though it were, and, in fact, by their faulty exposition of it make it so.”
In this view detective novelist Miss Sayers, a quite considerable theologian on the side, is at one with another versatile character. Billy Sunday said many skeptics had told him: “Bill, if you will only preach the Principles of Christianity instead of the Person, we will find no fault with you.” Came the reply, engaging but firm: “Nothing doing, old top!”
A Real Classic
Never have I been disappointed in an article by Dr. Calvin D. Linton or Dr. Addison H. Leitch! These men write with such penetrating depth, such clarity, and such simplicity, and their subject matter is always so relevant that I feel deeply moved and inspired when finishing any article by them. Dr. Linton’s “Delusion and Reality” (Oct. 10) is truly a masterpiece—a classic.
Grand Rapids, Mich.
My heartfelt thanks for the clarity and objectivity of David Kucharsky’s report (News, Sept. 26) on the U. S. Congress on Evangelism! It is regrettable that some of his colleagues in the mass media were something less than fair and accurate in their coverage. In some instances I found myself asking, “Can this possibly be a description of the same congress—with its outpouring of blessings and inspiration—in which I participated?”
Perhaps this serves a useful purpose, though, in pointing up the fact that for much too long we have talked “among ourselves” and have failed to communicate the basic gospel message effectively to others.
WILBUR R. ATEN
Central Christian Church
As a lay person attending the U. S. Congress on Evangelism in Minneapolis I was blessed, I was inspired, I was uplifted.…
We sat together. We fellowshiped. We listened, and we learned. Elements were introduced from time to time that were not completely in the spirit of the occasion; but love suffereth long, and is kind. So, we listened first and foremost to speakers who stated the purposes that had brought us from the far comers of the nation.
It is with deep appreciation that I review in thought the vast efforts of the dedicated men who had the vision, the initiative, and the fortitude to make the congress possible. Surely the prayers of thousands of delegates have gone heavenward in their behalf.
The Problem Of Peace
Concerning your “Open Letter to Mr. Nixon” (Oct. 10), I must take issue with your presentation of the problem.… Is our problem “to keep them from winning” on the battlefield, or conference table, or is it what you cite as that which our nation does not know—“what to do to bring peace?”
You seem much more concerned about justifying the United States and its involvement than you do about peace.… I wonder if God’s peace will be concerned with who wins at the conference table?
Webster Groves, Mo.
SIECUS At Sea
“Sex Education in Public Schools” (Sept. 26) succinctly summarized and ably analyzed the efforts of SIECUS to provide reasonable guidelines in today’s pluralistic society. Evangelical Christians will do well to thoughtfully utilize the best of SIECUS material without leveling blunderbusses at one organization’s efforts to chart a course in rather unknown seas. Particularly at the junior-high and senior-high levels, it is difficult to see why public schools should not supplement whatever home instruction has been given with competent films and discussions on human sexuality in the larger context of personal and family values.…
Since the AMA’s brochure on sex education recognizes in its title that “Facts Are Not Enough,” Christians should assist local educators in discovering the basic principles and attitudes necessary for such instruction.
The question as to whether a common community ethic can be found which is compatible with the Christian faith can be answered in the affirmative. Church and home education then may augment this effort and pinpoint our distinctive Christian ethic at those places where it definitively transcends a humanistic one.
Ideally the Church would offer seminars for both students and parents on family-life education. Here the facts of biology could be wedded to the values of the Christian ethic. Having organized and participated in numerous such programs, I have found the response most gratifying.
LEWIS P. BIRD
Eastern Regional Director
Christian Medical Society
Your editorial, “Sex-Education Controversy” (Oct. 10), makes sweeping indictments of persons and groups opposing sex education as it is presently being presented and used in our public-school system. May we humbly suggest that you be more specific than you were in this editorial, when you make counter-accusations.…
Your final paragraph would be a fitting close to an otherwise poor presentation, had you deleted the first sentence. Here again you make sweeping accusations, without being specific at all.
What, may we ask, can be gained by making such statements, without any supporting documentation?
Finally, may one humbly suggest that, before you attempt to editorialize again on this subject, you inform yourself much more thoroughly than you seem to have done before you penned this article.
A. C. CLAASSEN
James Huffman’s article presented much worthy material corroborated by my findings as a recent consultant for parents here in Lubbock. Too much opposition stems from rumor, panic reaction, and ignorance of the problems.…
However, my criticisms of our local situation, if true generally, should be considered more thoroughly: (1) Sexed proponents have presented no evidence their courses are accomplishing what they say they are supposed to—i.e., young people being helped “to avoid getting into trouble.” (2) SIECUS personnel are often humanist and mold their material accordingly, thus further establishing naturalistic humanism as the state religion. (3) Administrative sloppiness allows material for (sex) segregated classes to be shown to mixed classes and unpreviewed material to be dumped on the classroom teacher.
CHARLES A. CLOUGH
Lubbock Bible Church
I have been a public-school teacher for fifty years—always in the underprivileged areas of Detroit. I know … the need for sex education, but not without moral background.…
Dr. Mary Calderone is quoted in several articles I have read as saying, “Sex is for fun … great sexual pleasure.” That is purely pagan!…
Please make sure you are not misled about these materials. Many of our teachers are, like myself, sick at heart over the material being used.
As an educator working directly with such a program. I am only too aware of all that you have reported. I appreciated the accuracy and the thoroughness of the article. It comes at a time when massive doses of misinformation and insinuation are inundating communities throughout the United States. I also appreciated the way in which the article pointed to positive action on the part of the Church in regard to this issue and suggested that the Church stop hiding its collective head in the hope that the subject will go away.
Thank you for a most needed and accurate article. It tells it like it is!
Campbell Union School District
Huffman’s defense of SIECUS is shocking, as SIECUS’s major objective expressed in books published by its leaders is definitely anti-Christian. Huffman shows only a superficial acquaintance with the philosophy and objectives of SIECUS. Evidently Huffman accepts SIECUS’s position that there are no moral absolutes but as society’s social mores change the Church must be prepared to change its position.
In Maryland the Citizens Committee was organized by grass-roots parents protesting the sneaking in of sex education by the protagonists of the new morality. Our protests have been made on moral and constitutional grounds only.…
The best approach to a settlement of the issues involved—relating to the rights of parents with religious convictions to having their children exposed to teaching contrary to their personal conviction—is through the interpretation of parents’ rights by the U. S. Supreme Court, and we are hopeful of securing such a landmark decision. Other legal steps are also being undertaken to protect the parents’ rights.
A more objective approach is needed by CHRISTIANITY TODAY than the one-sided appraisals that have appeared.
(The Rev.) STANLEY M. ANDREWS
Maryland Citizens’ Committee for Decency and Morality
The Size Of Evil
If “A Look at the Problem of Evil” (Sept. 26) does no more than leave the heart with the peace of resignation and the mind reeling, is it worth looking?…
I suggest that the question of evil and the suffering that comes with it can and should and must be answered in our modern world which is so deeply conscious of its suffering. And I submit that the Christian answer must … come to the question from the eschaton, the end. It can only be seen in the dawn of the Kingdom of God.… In the neglect of Christian eschatology lies the failure of this article. God answers the question of evil from the vantage point of the Kingdom, doing full justice to its three components. We need not be left with so little to face so much!
HANS W. ZEGERIUS
Knox Presbyterian Church
Of all the “What If …” cartoons I have enjoyed over the years, by far the best in my opinion is, “Paul, don’t forget to ask if they give a clergy discount” (Sept. 26).…
If, as we so loudly claim, our God is able to supply all our need, surely we need not manipulate people to get it.
Church members who do not pay their pastors on a par with their own earnings must accept the blame for exposing said pastors to the temptation of Paul’s friend in Lawing’s cartoon.
Central Baptist Church
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