Soap Suds on the Electronic Church

Christian TV, already in space via satellite, has now entered the stratosphere of soap opera. Producers soon will scour the country for writers to keep up with audience demands for “true-to-life” Christian soap, so I have prepared an outline for an episode of a series called “Out of This World.”

Mildred Drew, former short-term missionary, is trying to survive on the meager salary she receives teaching art at a small Christian college. She has been at the school only three months, but already she is torn between her attraction to handsome Tom Blue, a first-string quarterback, and to Prof. Reuben Gates, 30 years her senior and a thousand years her intellectual superior.

To further complicate Mildred’s life, Tom’s younger sister, Betsy, has run away from home to seek Tom’s help because she is pregnant. Tom persuades Mildred to take Betsy to live with her during “this difficult time.” When Pastor Cantor comes to counsel Betsy, he demands that she reveal the father of her unborn child. Mildred is tormented by her concern for Betsy’s mental stability and Pastor Cantor’s insistence that the baby must not come into the world “without a name.” Just when she decides to tell Tom she can no longer be responsible for Betsy, he comes to thank her for enabling him to keep his mind on football so the college can win the division championship. In desperation, Mildred tries to contact Betsy’s parents but learns that they are in the Virgin Islands.

Mildred seeks counsel from Professor Gates, but he confides that he has only six months to live, and asks Mildred to help him locate his estranged son, Wilbur, who is an artist in Greenwich Village. Mildred promises she will go to New York to look for Wilbur. Before she leaves, Pastor Cantor pressures her into teaching the first-grade Sunday school class for six months for Mrs. Tibbets, who is having gallbladder surgery.

Just as Mildred is going out the door to catch a train for New York, Dean Thompson phones to tell her that three students have dropped her art class. Mildred determines to pray for these students because she believes her ceramics course is vital to their mental health.

The train is pulling out of the station as Mildred runs along the platform. At the last moment, a handsome man with a patch on his eye reaches down and sweeps her up into the train. As the episode fades out, Mildred is seated on the train next to her rescuer. He pulls out a pipe and she pulls out her Bible.


Not Caught—in Process

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Why is intellectual tension tantamount to being “caught between two faiths? “A Scientist Caught Between Two Faiths” [Aug. 6] was well done, but to say Jastrow is caught between two worlds of thought is to misunderstand the depth of what he has to say. His life is one of inquiry, his mind remarkably open to new understandings. Hardly caught, he is in process. Our evangelical bias is that a process toward the faith is progress, and that a process toward science, if certain dogmas come under question, is falling away. But if a harmony of these “two worlds” is to come about, we must be willing to allow our faith to be informed by science.

I therefore find the supplementary article, “The Two Faiths Tied Together” [Aug. 6], absolutely unnecessary and counterproductive. Why are we so uncomfortable with the intellectual tension caused by an honest agnostic? Why include a second opinion to set these tensions at ease? Who, really, is “caught”?


First Presbyterian Church

Lubbock, Tex.

The Jastrow interview should emphasize the fact that it is not possible to separate true science and Christianity. By definition both are statements of truth and reality in all areas of creation and of life, and so cannot be in conflict if both represent the truth.

Like it or not, millions do turn to science and technology as an alternative to religion. But we must seek ways to convince others that the Word of God is not only to be trusted but is so true that science cannot possibly disagree with it. In fact, it would be helpful to stop thinking of God in supernatural ways. God is the only natural One, and if anything, we are the unnatural ones. When science finally does discover God they will probably brag about it as a great achievement of their own. They will completely ignore the fact that God was surrounded by others when they found him.


Brick, N.J.

Wrongfully Named

In North American Scene [Aug. 6], you carried a news item concerning the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches. We are not the GARB; our name is the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches, and we are a fellowship of local churches. Also, your item indicated that we were a “74,000-member denomination.” The GARBC has 1,585 fellowshipping churches with a total membership of more than 250,000 people. Our churches actually minister to more than 300,000 people, and our fellowship is growing.


General Association of Regular

Baptist Churches

Schaumburg, Ill.

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Enough, Please!

Am I the only one growing weary of seeing every film reviewed in CT turned into a “Christian” message? You had a case with Chariots of Fire [Jan. 22], but to turn E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial [July 16] and even Annie [Aug. 6] into films with “images of grace” and “messianic significance” is going too far. Not everything on the screen has a Christian message in it. To dig deep to find one does an injustice to the film and disturbs the credibility of truly Christian films.


Baltimore, Md.

Weaknesses Betrayed

Clark Pinnock’s otherwise excellent article on presenting classical theology [“Climb One Doctrine at a Time,” Aug. 6] betrays several weaknesses. First, he seems to lump all nonevangelical theologians together in the same bag, which he labels “liberal.” This does not provide the basis for precise theological discussion.

Second, it would be well to recognize explicitly and utilize the positive contributions made by nonevangelical theologians. Unless and until conservative theologians are ready to do this, they will remain in an intellectual backwater.


Copperas Cove, Tex.

Issue of the Year?

Your August 6 issue gets my vote for “issue of the year” (maybe even the decade) because it goes to the heart of the prime question facing Christianity today: “How do we resolve the conflict between science and Christian theism?” The arena is marked off brilliantly by Clark Pinnock [Climb One Doctrine at a Time], with the correct solution implied in the very enlightening interviews with Robert Jastrow and Donald MacKay.

If thinking Christians could persuade the other side that there is indeed “truth” outside the purview of the scientific method, and that “truth” obtained by this method is merely a subclass of “all truth,” then a meaningful cooperative effort can be launched to tap the real mine of truth. Rather than controversy we would have mutual respect and cooperation. If today’s evangelicals are sincere and confident, not to mention faithful, they will have no fear as to where this search for “truth” will end.


La Habra, Calif.

A Slavering Mouthful

I am deeply appreciative of the words of prophetic warning in Charles Colson’s “The Most Fearsome Judgment” [Aug. 6]. They were timely, true, and thankfully received. They came with all the force of the apostle’s words in Romans 1, describing and denouncing the state of the Gentile world. The call for radical repentance is the only thing that will make survival possible. As the slavering jaws of the wolves are seen about our camp in the growing Saturday evening of the world, I pray the exhortation may be heeded.

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Saint Louis, Mo.

This article gives the impression that we Americans are one monolithic society. No distinctions are made between the church and the world: “We do precisely what we want to do, answering only to the whims of our desires.” “Our passions and lusts are insatiable …” Colson writes of the “cesspool of our own greed and lust and hate.” Does he intend that “we” and “our” be understood only in a rhetorical sense?

The prophet Elijah fled to Horeb and hid in a cave. The voice of the Lord asked, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” Elijah related the many sins of Israel: “The sons of Israel have forsaken thy covenant … and I alone am left.” Then God told him, “Yet will I leave 7,000 men in Israel who have not bowed the knee to Baal …”

I am not implying that Charles Colson may be a modern Elijah, but his article needs some clarification.


Albuquerque, N.M.

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