Dreams into Nightmares

My daughter found two interesting items in the want-ad section of our little neighborhood newspaper. I fear they are evidence of a quiet deterioration in my area of the city.

Sofa & matching love seat, oyster velvet with Tracy mink trim, new, never used.
Behind-the-ear Hearing Aids—used two weeks.

A love seat that was never used! And velvet with mink trim at that! It just goes to show you that it takes more than beautiful furniture to make love work. Maybe the problem was that they bought the sofa. I can just see the man of the house dreaming of naps on the sofa while his wife dreamed of cuddly evenings on the love seat. But, alas, their dreams must have turned into nightmares because they never had an opportunity to enjoy either one.

Is there any connection between the unused furniture and the unused hearing aid? Perhaps. I can imagine the conversation.

She: “Honey, you ought to do something about your hearing problem.”


She (pointing to an ad in the morning paper): “There’s a sale on and you can get two behind-the-ear hearing aids for the price of one.”

He: “There’s an ad here for living-room furniture. Why don’t you go buy some new furniture?”

She (to herself): “I’ll get that sofa and love seat combination. If he buys the hearing aids, we can sit and whisper sweet nothings into each other’s ears.”

But he didn’t use the hearing aids for long: two weeks to be exact, and he was through with them. He started hearing things he didn’t want to hear, and he discovered that his home and his world were difficult places. It was better to be deaf and dumb.

Who hath ears to hear, let him hear! Don’t let your dreams end up in the want-ad pages of life.


Loud and Clear

I was particularly moved by Britt Taylor Collins’s cover and Win Couchman’s “Christmas Grinches: Thieves of Joy” [Dec. 11]. They both said loud and clear some of what I have been saving and believing for years about the commercialization of Christmas and our failure to keep Christmas daily and eternal in our hearts.

Thank you for sharing a message that needed to be passed on. I’m glad you are not willing to sit on your hands and do nothing.


Monroe, La.

I had to write and express my revulsion at the repugnant and distasteful art work that appeared on the cover of the Christmas issue. To put Santa on the cross is not only disgusting, but misses the point of the world’s celebration. The world makes no pretense of atonement through Santa Claus, but simply adopts a substitution for the supernatural event of the Nativity. Relevance is one thing—revulsion is another.

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Guidelines, Inc.

Laguna Hills, Calif.

Sane and Solid Approach

Thank you for the sane and solid approach to the Second Coming presented by Samuel Creed in “The Profitable Proliferation of Hot-line Prophecy” [Dec. 11].

The Moravian Church (spiritual descendents of John Hus) expresses its faith in its Litany: “Lord, for Thy coming us prepare; / May we, to meet Thee without fear, / At all times ready be: / In faith and love preserve us sound; / O let us day and night be found / Waiting with joy to welcome Thee.”


Moravian Theological Seminary

Bethlehem, Pa.

This article indicates progress. Hoekema’s reaction to it was refreshing. Creed raises some crucial questions, even though the answers aren’t too refined. A few more logical steps in the hermeneutic process and we might have had a full-blown amillennial treatise!

I’m encouraged that even Walvoord allows that “conservative scholars are divided on whether we should take literally certain prophecies, specifically those relating to Israel and a future millennial kingdom.”


Glamorgan Church of God

Calgary, Alberta, Canada

A Woeful Lack of Information

I was intrigued by Robert Frykenberg’s article, “World Hunger: Food Is Not the Answer” [Dec. 11]. Has he never heard of the major hunger efforts by the mainline denominations? For all of his bluster and bombast, he displays a woeful lack of information about denominational programs that seek to address the very type of broad-based systemic causes of hunger he finds so inadequately addressed by lone-ranger types.

His article would have been more balanced had he given more than a half-paragraph nod to such organizations by noting “World Vision, World Relief, Mennonite World Relief, or Lutheran World Federation may be cited as examples of the best.”


Cutler United Presbyterian Church

Cutler, Ind.

Thank you for publishing this article. We evangelicals are not inclined to appreciate or understand a structure and systemic approach to personal issues and concerns as well as ministry. We Christians in the United States have not honestly looked at the issue of food and the hungry as it exists in our own country. Our blindness to the deficiencies in our own system and society makes a mockery of our good will to other systems and societies.

We have a significant task before us. We must first be educated in the area this article draws to our attention, and neither our churches nor many of our educational institutions offer much help. Second, we must adjust the allocation of our resources in the way that is sensitive to the structures and systems of the people affected by hunger and poverty. Certainly the battle before the church is not simply against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers that cheat people from the right to eat, the right to work, and the right to decent living.

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Seminary Consortium for Urban Pastoral Education

Chicago, Ill.

It’s about time! I have seen both the starving Ethiopian refugees in Sudan and Kenya and 1,100 tons of food sitting in the Port of Sudan not moving to refugees because of the problems so accurately presented by the author. My regret is that so few gullible Americans will read the article.


Waterloo, Ind.

Nicene Creed—Acid Test of Christianity?

As a Christian who does not affirm the Nicene Creed, I take exception to the editorial, “I Believe: A 1,600-year-old Confession of Faith” [Dec. 11]. My impression is that Kantzer is saying only Trinitarians are Christians, and those not identifying Jesus as being of one substance with his Father are heretics. I believe this is a poor position to take, since the author acknowledges the word trinity is not found in the Bible, and the only Scripture verse that appears explicitly set for this doctrine is evidently spurious.

I believe the only way Christians will ever be united in their understanding of the relationship between Jesus and God the Father is to view the relationship as the New Testament describes it, that of a son to his father. I ask you to reconsider making a fourth-century creed the acid test of my Christianity.


Country Chapel Church of God

Michigantown, Ind.

Bravo! Your strong support of the Nicene Creed needs to be shouted from the housetops. It is sad that many theologians today would rather grapple with plastic imitations of our faith than be tested by the fire of orthodox belief and scriptural doctrine.


St. Mark’s Episcopal Church

Casper. Wyo.

Thank you for your article on the Trinity. I would like to add that God is one in his being, in distinction from the many beings he has made, and perpetually One far above the best of human beings he has created. At the same time, he is three-fold in relation to or being with his people: that is (1) as our heavenly father; (2) as our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; and (3) as the Holy Spirit, God our Sanctifier.

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Clinton, S.C.

Factual Statements

In the interview, “Harold J. Ockenga: Chairman of the Board” [Nov. 6], Ockenga is quoted as saying that Carl McIntire, president of the International Council of Christian Churches, attended the first meeting of the National Association of Evangelicals, became unhappy, and “later they formed the American Council of Christian Churches.” The meeting in which the NAE was formed was in April 1942, in Saint Louis. The ACCC was formed on September 17, 1941, seven months before the NAE. This fact was recorded in the September 18, 1941, issue of the Christian Beacon and the October 11, 1941, issue of the Sunday School Times, among others.

William McCarrell, founder of the Independent Fundamental Churches of America, relates in a report he prepared on the Saint Louis meeting what he told J. Elwin Wright when Wright asked McCarrell to participate: “I informed him [Wright] of my having already promised individual support to the American Council of Christian Churches.” He continues: “Brother Wright emphasized that nothing tangible had been organized by those who were sponsoring the call” for what was to be the NAE.


Reformation Reader

Chambersburg, Pa.

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