Beeper Mania

Paging a catalog recently, I saw a self-activated beeper: it will go off 25 seconds after it is surreptitiously triggered. The inventor claimed he got the inspiration to page himself while listening to a boring sermon.

The potential for a device like that boggles the mind.

It could work to the preacher’s advantage. Suppose he found himself stuck at a boring meeting of the kitchen committee. Somewhere between the discussion on missing forks and the exchange of potluck recipes, he could trigger his own beeper—and escape to the sanctity of his office.

But I can envision an even greater use for the self-activated beeper. Assuming that individual beepers could be tuned to beep a different note of the scale—a two-octave range, say—I foresee a whole new high-tech type of music.

Just picture it—16 businessmen, slightly greying at the temples and wearing matching charcoal pin-stripes, lined up in front of the church to give a beeper rendition of “A Mighty Fortress.”

There’s no telling where it might lead. Barbershop beeper octets could spring up by the hundreds. Beep-off competitions could be staged across the country to determine the best beepers in the land. Colleges could organize beeper choruses to give church concerts. And the handbell choir would go the way of buggy whips and bustles.

As I said, it boggles the mind. I’m not sure what it does to the ears.


Enough, Already!

To continue to give space to Tony Campolo’s heresy trial can only embarrass the evangelical cause [News, Dec. 13]. Bill Bright and the Roddens remind me of the keepers of orthodoxy described by Samuel Butler in the seventeenth century:

“[E]rrant saints [who] decide all controversies by infallible artillery: And prove blows and knocks … as if religion were intended for nothing else but to be mended.”


Waco, Tex.

The national spotlight focused on Campolo has now established the validity of his Christian credentials; apparently only some parts of his A Reasonable Faith merit redaction criticism. Hopefully, thoughtful readers will be able to distinguish between theological deviancy (I found only one eyebrow occasionally raised) and sociopolitical diversity (in a one-note band, different tones are likely to sound discordant). Books like this are designed to stretch the mind. Unfortunately, they often expose the fragility of the fabric/fellowship of the Christian community.


Newtown Square, Pa.

The discussion is an eye in the storm of evangelical disunity, and the CLS and Chicago panel have done us all a great favor. But does not this action equally warrant the appearance of Dan Rodden before the CLS panel?

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Oklahoma City, Okla.

Too often orthodoxy is my doxy and unorthodoxy is your doxy. Why not forget what Bright calls, by his own interpretation, long-standing positions held by evangelicals as a whole, and let Campolo continue to communicate biblical realities, as Packer suggests, with “full fruitfulness.”


Nazarene Bible College

Colorado Springs, Colo.

Too Hot To Handle

Writing an article about the present tendency among ideological groups to accuse their opponents of nazism is a delicate (and foolish?) task [“Everybody’s Favorite Symbol,” by Donald Bloesch, Dec. 13].


Daughters of Sarah

Chicago, Ill.

The reason everyone we personally find unpleasant is called a Nazi today is simple. That Hitler and his Nazi followers were singularly evil is almost universally agreed upon by sane people: we agree that Nazi equals personified evil; we have created a rhetorical truism. We need that. When concepts like “good and evil” have seemingly melted into a vast amalgam of gray we still have the security of knowing “at least we can rely on the fact that the Nazis were evil.” People need some absolutes.


First Baptist Church

Willmar, Minn.

Bloesch’s “Favorite Symbol” was a refreshing breeze on a warm day. The extremes to which we evangelicals go—whether to left or right—are symptomatic of our uneasiness in a world seemingly out of control. But Bloesch need not have taken up Tom Sawyer’s whitewash brush to hide the indignities of our American past.


Farmville, Va.

Christ’S Attitude Toward Divorce

The review of another book taking the stand of no remarriage under any circumstances in the case of divorce has prompted a rare letter to an editor [Jesus and Divorce, Books, Dec. 13]. I wish the academics would join some of us in the trenches and try out their exegesis in real life. The church needs the attitude of Christ, who condemned divorce but traveled through hostile territory to offer a five-time divorcee living water and a better life.


Emmanuel Baptist Church

Chatham, Ont., Canada

Attaching Blame

Tim LaHaye’s statement that “we have been legislated out of the possibility of a spiritual revival” [“Leaders of the Christian Right Announce Their Next Step,” News, Dec. 13] could not be more ludicrous. Do we hear Peter whining at Pentecost that revival was limited by society’s permissiveness toward pornography? Or Paul exhorting Timothy to trust in legislative reform? How can a Christian say “the only way to have a genuine spiritual revival is to have legislative reform”? Why not place blame for spiritual morbidity where it belongs—on our self-centered self-righteousness that strives to turn off the dark in others while refusing to turn to the light in ourselves—the light we have in theory, at least.

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San Gabriel, Calif.

A terrible mistake has been made in all the translations of 2 Chronicles 7:14! It should read “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves and pray, and seek legislative reform and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven.…”


Salem Baptist Church

Brandenburg, Ky.

I read the comments by Tim LaHaye with avid interest. The quotes by Alan Redpath and the late A. W. Tozer regarding the Holy Spirit [Reflections, same issue] are a classic example of “outdated” Christian thinking, and diametrically opposed to everything the “modern” evangelical stands for and holds dear.


Air Crusade, Inc.

Palm Desert, Calif.

If LaHaye is quoted accurately, I am in shock. I once heard an evangelical leader say that when you stop preaching the gospel but still want to do something for God, the only arenas left are in political and social action. Except he said it about liberals.


Rancho Mirage, Calif.

Regarding Jack Kemp’s quote, “God is the author of the U.S. Constitution,” where does he propose we include this document in the rest of the recognized Scripture—after the Revelation or somewhere close to the Books of the Law?


Eagan, Minn.

Congressman Kemp’s statement should have Bill Bright’s theologians raising the question of heresy; in this case, I probably could support them. Perhaps a new lectionary could be devised to include readings from the Constitution?


Bethany Evangelical Covenant Church

DuBois, Pa.

The Pastor’S Computer

I appreciated Eutychus describing the pastor who lost the use of his computer [Dec. 13]. Perhaps the deacons’ decision was a little hasty. They missed opportunities for ministry that a computer can afford, particularly in the area of prayer. If the pastor had programmed a prayer disc, “Compupray,” for his people, they could have prayed every day in front of the CRT, recording new requests and answers as they occurred—a visual and visible reminder of how God answered their prayers!

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Dallas, Tex.

The Homosexuals Among Us

You deserve highest commendation for willingness to address an issue the church simply cannot pretend doesn’t exist anymore [“Homosexual ‘Marriage,’ “Nov. 22], John Stott’s article is a good beginning for constructive dialogue in the Christian community on how the church should address the needs and concerns of its homosexual members.


Point Loma Seventh-day

Adventist Church

San Diego, Calif.

In his otherwise outstanding article, Stott offers scant hope for the Christian “invert” who struggles with homosexual desire. Must such a one really await the age to come to find deliverance? I think not.


Santa Rosa, Calif.

Stott speaks with a clarity, perspicacity, charity, and biblical fidelity that are surely prophetic. It is heartening to everyone who yearns for a sure teaching voice in the church to come upon teaching like this after having heard for so long the strident voices speaking in the name of evangelicalism on the topic, but in reality defrauding Christians and subverting the Bible. Bravo to CT.


Beverly Farms, Maine

Stott’s opinion on homosexual partnership is presented as if it is the only acceptable Christian option. Although it is shared by others, we note that a CT-Gallup Poll [1979] found to the contrary that 19 percent of evangelicals did not hold that “homosexuality is wrong.” It is unconscionable to blame people for seeking to do their best in a disciplined expression of what they are sexually, especially if every sexual expression of who they are is proscribed.


New York, N.Y.

Many Christians will find Stott’s use of “homosexual Christian” a contradiction in terms. He might have lent more credibility to his article if he had expanded on the meaning of the term. If one does not accept his premise of “homosexual Christians,” one must reject the entire article.


Ellicott City, Md.

What a whitewash! No wonder the church is in such turmoil. Sin is sin, and cannot be hid in a corner.


Stewardson, Ill.

Stott states that people are not responsible for their homosexual orientation. In most cases, they are not to be blamed for its initial development, but they are responsible for its continuance. Doesn’t sanctification embrace all of a believer’s life, including his sexuality? I identified myself as “gay” for over 15 years, but I’m now enjoying the fulfillment of heterosexual marriage.


Exodus International

San Rafael, Calif.

I agree with Stott. An active homosexual lifestyle is clearly wrong, but we need to reach out in love to those who want to leave the lifestyle and be healed.


Malden, Mass.

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