I Get That Flighty Feeling

When David wrote that “the lines” had fallen to him ‘in pleasant places,’ he was obviously not talking about the airlines. Or haven’t you tried to make plane reservations lately?

My wife and I had to be in Los Angeles, so I phoned the travel agent to discover what flights were available and how much the trip would cost. In order to be on time for our meeting, she said we would have to leave at 5:30 A.M., change planes twice in Denver, and pay a figure that got higher the longer I talked with her. I think she had an adding machine attached to her computer.

“If you leave on a Tuesday,” she said in that consoling voice, “I can cut $50 off your fare. No—sorry! That rule applies only to conventioneers who use carry-on luggage. Let me see—” I broke in: “I can’t leave on a Tuesday. It has to be a Wednesday.”

“Is there any possibility you can get your firm to change the dates of the meeting? If you visit the World’s Fair en route, we give you $100 in play money to use as you please.”

“I don’t want to visit the World’s Fair! Suppose we leave the night before? What flights are available?”

“The night before—let me see. Oh, we have a dinner flight—no, sorry! That’s been canceled. If you and your wife can drive to Kansas City—”

“I don’t want to drive to Kansas City! I live miles from Kansas City! I want to fly to Los Angeles, spend one day there, and then fly home!”

“It’s too bad you can’t stay there a week. We have a fabulous plan that includes a visit to the Badlands of South Dakota as well as a tour of the Disneyland parking lot. It’s great for people who watch for license plates.”

Trying to lift the conversation to a higher plane, I asked, “Just tell me what flights are available on Wednesday, what they cost, and when they leave. Maybe I can take out a loan or pawn my luggage.”

“Well, if you won’t have any luggage, sir, we have a very special deal—no, that’s been canceled. If you and your wife’s combined ages totals more than 150, we can—”

“They probably will total that by the time I get these reservations! Look, forget the whole thing. I’ll see if we can mail ourselves to Los Angeles.”

“Oh, we have a marvelous overnight package service! Now, if you and your wife have a total weight—”

Forgive me, but I gently placed the receiver on the cradle.


Copyright Frustration

Three cheers for “God Gave Me a Song: Copyright Restrictions Took It Away” [Feb. 4], The current trend in Christian music copyright restrictions has made me wonder if there is a special translation of the Bible within the industry with hitherto unknown scriptural parentheses. For example: “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable (if you first set it to music and copyright it).” “But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good (and if you can turn a buck in the process, so much the better).” And, “… speaking to one another in psalms (royalties to King David payable through his trust fund), and hymns (always properly prefaced by ‘permission granted for use in this particular conversation only’) and spiritual songs (permission to copyright granted by the Holy Spirit), singing (all the way to the bank)”!

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Evangelical Free Church of Newark

Fremont, Calif.

Time For Acceptance

Perhaps it is time for us to put aside our paranoia as well as our suspicion of esoteric motivation and just accept the new breath of liberating air at Harvard with appreciation and Christian humility. I find million-dollar rationale rather difficult to identify in Harvard’s recent appointment to a Merrill Fellowship of a relatively unknown missionary [myself] who ministers in Bangladesh with a small mission that is within the orbit of the unassailably evangelical Interdenominational Foreign Missions Association (IFMA).


International Christian Fellowship

Livonia, Mich.

I suppose we should be pleased that an institution such as Harvard University is showing such an interest in evangelical scholarship, but there is a danger unmentioned in the various responses to Dr. Martin’s article. That danger is found in any faculty that permits a broad spectrum of theological opinion. Evangelicals are such because they believe the Bible. God warns us about the cancer of heresy, and tells us clearly what treatment the body of Christ must use to maintain spiritual health.

We cannot expect our precious evangelical faith to remain healthy if our teachers cannot identify as cancerous the latest theological heresy. If I read Scripture correctly, I am called to hold to the sure word as taught, not be a creative theological innovator.


Bellewood Presbyterian Church

Bellevue, Wash.

If the evangelical movement is as strong as all indicators seem to show, if evangelical scholarship is as sound and respectable as an increasing number of nonevangelical scholars seem to recognize it to be, if the evangelical experience is as challenging and transforming as we profess it to be, then evangelicals should welcome the Harvard experiment—even on Harvard’s terms!

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Asbury Theological Seminary

Wilmore, Ky.

Witness Or Stumblingblock?

I believe Dr. Olshan in “Should We Live Like the Amish?” [Feb. 4] presented a somewhat romanticized view of the Amish. He points to their practices as a silent witness to the vitality and Anabaptist heritage of their Christianity. He didn’t mention, though, that those practices can also be a snare to the faith of the Amish themselves, and a stumblingblock to outsiders. One has to recognize the Amish for what they are: fellow sinners saved not by the particular form of institutionalized piety accepted in our little corner of Christianity, but, like the rest of us, by the blood of Jesus alone. To my knowledge that fact is rarely, if ever, articulated by the Amish to the community at large.


Bluffton, Ind.

Misleading Heading

Your news article on the U.S. Center for World Mission [Jan. 21] is greatly appreciated; it is sensitive and balanced. Perhaps it was only at the last moment that the heading became misleading.

First, it refers to “Ralph Winter’s Mission Center.” This gives me credit I do not deserve, and to me, at least, it seems to downplay the role of 300 mature people who work here every day. More embarrassing to me is the statement in the heading, “His ‘unreached people’ strategy seems to be taking hold …” Your readers must not fail to know that this strategy is neither my invention nor monopoly. It is a major trend. We have no more created the ‘unreached people’ concept than an incubator creates eggs.


U.S. Center for World Mission

Pasadena, Calif.

Freeze Or Fry?

Kenneth Kantzer’s editorial “What Shall We Do About the Nuclear Problem?” [Jan. 21] clearly explores the ethics involved and wisely warns Christians against engaging in fads. Could it be that the nuclear freeze movement is verging on becoming a fad?

There is much evidence to lead one to believe that the nuclear freeze idea is a public relations coup, born in Russia, that has, through Communist ingenuity, taken root in America. Its acceptance as “gospel” by many concerned Christians, and by millions of people of good will at large, is based on the false assumption that we only have two choices: freeze or fry.


Christian Voice

Pacific Grove, Calif.

Kantzer’s solution to the nuclear problem is neither “moral” nor “rational”; pragmatic perhaps, but not rational and certainly not moral. He moves illogically from the question of dying for something to the supposed right of killing for something. He also makes the mistake of equating tactical nuclear weapons with strategic ones, and says “tactical nuclear weapons are the only deterrent against the vast and impressive Russian military establishment.” The question at hand, however, concerns the massive destructive power of our strategic forces (ICBMs, SLBMs, etc.) not battle-tactical weapons.

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It seems Kantzer is caught up in the “Red scare” interpretation of Soviet activity, one that is being questioned by many internationalists in the free world. Hence, he is unable to consider creative and cooperative alternatives in our negotiations with the Russians.

Similarly, he claims nuclear weapons have been the deterrent that alone has kept the peace for 30 years. Aside from the single-cause fallacy of such an assertion, he fails to see that his main argument is essentially utilitarian, hence he avoids the normative question altogether. The question is not when but whether nuclear weapons should ever be used.


Denver Conservative Baptist

Theological Seminary

Denver, Colo.

Two-Pronged Protest

I read with interest and support Menahem Ben Hayim’s article, “The Remnant in Israel Today” [Jan. 21]. The “two-pronged protest” he describes can also be found in similar communities in the United States.

The main reason for the tension lies in the failure on the part of the synagogue and church to understand what the Messianic Jews hold as sacred, and to appreciate the cultural, sociological, and historical roots from which we descend. These roots are the basis for our unique theological perspectives and distinctive expression of faith. It is time for the church to rejoice in this rather than fear a reconstruction of the “dividing wall” which has been demolished by Messiah Jesus.

Church leaders ought to consider the multitude of church denominations and affiliations that exist as potential “dividing walls” of their own, before attempting to remove the “speck” of Jewishness out of the eyes of Messianic Jews. The Jewish community, on the other hand, must realize that no matter how hard it might try to ignore us, Messianic Jews simply will not go away. Messianic Jews and leaders of the Jewish community must dialogue with one another.


Beth Sar Shalom Messianic Center

Brookline, Mass.

I recently returned from a prolonged stay in Israel designed to investigate the possibility of immigrating there as an American Hebrew Christian. I found that the “two-pronged protest” against church and synagogue described in your article was merely heightened during this time. I have experienced the same struggle here in the United States ever since coming to faith in Jesus the Messiah.


Los Angeles, Calif.

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