Eyes To See

I was standing in the office of a fellow worker when a guest was brought in to be introduced to me. I turned to shake his hand. He walked by me, gave a non-committal smile, and put out his hand to my compatriot. To avoid embarrassment we all acted as if the introductions were intended to go that way.

Undoubtedly the good gentleman took one look at me and decided I must be a delivery man waiting for someone to sign my ticket. His confusion is understandable since I was tieless, overdue for a haircut, and generally scruffy in appearance. (That is to say, I was my usual sartorial disaster.)

The experience brought to mind one of the Father Brown mystery stories by G. K. Chesterton. The body of a murder victim has disappeared. Father Brown asks the policeman guarding the site who has entered and left the house. The policeman assures him that no one has come or gone. Father Brown directs his attention to the walkway and the very visible footprints in the snow. At that the officer informs him that only the postman has been there.

The point of the episode is that some people are invisible. Bums, scruffy looking delivery men, waitresses, and “service” people fall into this category.

The truth of this became very evident to me earlier in my checkered career. During my brief days driving taxis I discovered that cab drivers are among the invisible people. People will say in front of a cab driver things they would entrust only to the persons they’re talking to.

As a final proof of my point, stop and think about how many times you’ve wanted to get the attention of your waitress only to realize that you don’t have the foggiest idea what she even looks like.

Some Christians seem to accept this as a necessary part of modern urban life. But I can’t believe that anyone who came into contact with Jesus was invisible to him. If anyone did remain anonymous to him I’m sure the choice was that person’s, not his.

You can’t turn every human contact into an intimate relationship. You can take at least one good look at everyone Jesus brings into touch with you and remind yourself that this is a person for whom he died.

As the brother of our Lord reminds us, “Don’t ever attempt, my brothers, to combine snobbery with faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ!”



Just a note to thank you for your article in the March 2 issue on the wrath of God (A Layman and His Faith). In these days of great emphasis on God’s love and forgiveness with a concurrent very little emphasis on judgment, repentance, and the wrath of God, we wholeheartedly thank you for this article.

Article continues below


Lay Evangelism Inc.

Marion, Ind.


Cheryl Forbes should be applauded for her evaluation of Time to Run (The Refiner’s Fire, Mar. 16). And George Wilson should not react too stringently to Ms. Forbes’s negatives. World Wide Pictures does the best job of full-length religious filmmaking that has ever been done, and they should be proud of their efforts. Still, Ms. Forbes is right in her criticism. Religious filmmaking has a long way to go.

I must disagree heartily, though, with Ms. Forbes’s concern that salvation truth cannot be conveyed through film. Editors of Christian books and magazines have the same problem with quality that Christian filmmakers have. This state of affairs is phenomenal, since the Creator can pour his genius through the Christian creator in a way that should make Christian art the best there is, in every medium. But, alas, Christian writers and artists let their hearts dominate their heads and we settle for the sweet and simple rather than hold out for the real.

Salvation truth can be and should be communicated through every medium there is, because every medium has dynamics peculiar to itself that can communicate facets of the gospel that no other art can communicate. But we will continue to wallow in mediocrity until all of us—writers, editors, producers, and artists of every stripe—get tough-minded about our inadequacies.


Inspirational Books


Nashville, Tenn.


Your coverage of the continuing conflict at Concordia Seminary has, for the most part, been objective. We laud you for it.

However, the March 2 issue again did a grave injustice to Dr. Scharlemann. In his letter to the editor Dr. Scharlemann says he knows of no resolution “which came before the convention calling for my removal from the faculty.” In an editorial footnote to this statement you assert, “The removal resolution is number 319 of the 1962 LCMS Proceedings.”

Rather than call for his removal, as the footnote implies and as some of us at that time sought, it requested Synod’s members to refrain from attacks upon Dr. Scharlemann. Most of your readers will not have access to the Proceedings referred to in your footnote, which at best tells a half truth, the most dangerous of all deceptions.

Article continues below


St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church

Brookfield, Ill.


In the lead editorial of March 16, “First at the Cradle, Last at the Cross,” a plea was made for the Church to broaden its vision and allow women of every sort of temperament to fulfill their destinies as human beings in the fellowship of Christ. The subsequent editorial, “Sex Rights and Wrongs” (Apr. 13), directed against the Equal Rights Amendment but with no real analysis of the issues involved, therefore was surprising. Would not a consistent editorial policy on the role of women in contemporary society have indicated that the proposed ERA should have been considered with the same question in mind, namely, does the ERA ensure that women will have equality before the law as human beings?


State College, Pa.


Thank you for Ralph E. Powell’s “Stumbling Over Syncretism” in the April 13 issue. Without wavering on the critical truths of Christianity, he reminds us of our need to be lovingly open to the revelations in other traditions.

How much easier it is for me to love my intellectual concept than to love my neighbor! How easy to register distress over doctrinal purity; how difficult to remind my ego that love is ineffable. When the redemptive plan begins to sound formulized, I have only to remind myself of Pharisaical pretensions to understanding.


Los Angeles, Calif.


It is strange that Gary Hardaway’s article in your May 11 issue makes the mistake of importing the plot of Bunyan’s other great allegory, The Holy War, into The Pilgrim’s Progress. Such an error is a symptom of the ignorance of many evangelicals today of the most evangelical and greatest Christian classic in world literature.


Arlington, Va.


Just a note to indicate my appreciation for the article on Paul Tournier in your May 11 issue (“Paul Tournier at Seventy-Five”). Certainly this fine Christian gentleman, who has enriched so many of us, deserves the tribute that author Gary R. Collins and your editors pay him. May the fruit of the Spirit that Tournier so graciously exemplifies in his person abound in us all so that each of us may grow in His image.


American Baptist

Seminary of the West

Covina, Calif.


I want to express my gladness to you after having read the article “An Atheist’s View of Christian Growth” by William A. Holt in the May 11 issue. Holt seems to have reached to the core of the Christian life in his observations of church people who influenced him. Perhaps he has seen Christians as only a “new” Christian can. I regret that as an older Christian, I have bogged down several times in church problems and lost my gladness about the church. Thanks to Holt’s relating his beautiful experiences and to learning of his wife’s faithfulness and hope within the church, I feel a new faithfulness for the church stirring in myself.

Article continues below


Lewisville, Tex.

Many thanks for William A. Holt’s magnificent article. [His] article gives tremendous encouragement to the pastor as well as to those of us in the pew who are trying to make an impact for the cause of Christ.


Richmond, Va.


I was sorry to see another indication of CHRISTIANITY TODAY’s declining editorial standards in the review of John Warwick Montgomery’s Quest for Noah’s Ark by Carl Armerding (Books in Review, April 27). Isn’t there someone on the staff who checks for uncritical and prejudicial statements such as Armerding’s description of the book as a “collection of bits and pieces”?

As one who helped to assemble this unique sourcebook and contributed to the enormous research which lies behind it, I found Armerding’s put-down rather discouraging. If ever an attempt is made to prove or disprove that a certain “great wooden object” upon Ararat “was an ark or that it dates to whatever period the flood may represent,” I should have thought that just such a book as The Quest for Noah’s Ark would have to be written.


Manchester, England

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.