Evangelical Rabbis in a Christian Mishnah?

While at times the CT Institute on eschatology [“Our Future Hope,” Feb. 6] reminded me of evangelical rabbis in a Christian Mishnah, I appreciated the discussion. My only regret was that Kantzer’s “plea for unity” has been ignored by the evangelical … church. I pastor a church that could not allow men like John Calvin, Martin Luther, Francis Schaeffer, John J. Davis, Charles Hodge, and a host of others to join or teach because of their eschatological positions. That’s not just unfortunate, it is a sinful tragedy, which shames the gospel of Jesus Christ as much as Peter’s refusal to eat with the Gentile believers in Antioch.


Everett Evangelical Free Church

Everett, Wash.

The CT Institute discussion was excellent. Gleason Archer’s comments make me recall a story about an ardent dispensational premillennialist like Dr. Archer, who visited his physician with a sore throat. The doctor put the tongue suppressor in the man’s mouth and instructed him to say “ah.” After much effort, all the patient could manage was a muted “pree.” In frustration, the doctor demanded to know why the dispensationalist would not cooperate. He replied, “Doc, I am so convinced of my premillennial view I can’t even say the first syllable of that other viewpoint.”


First Baptist Church

Prescott, Ark.

The vignettes of the various millennial views were very helpful, but in error on at least one point. Midtribulation premillennialism actually is a special case of pretribulation premillennialism, not a variety of the posttribulation kind. In both the pretrib and midtrib systems, the Rapture comes before the Great Tribulation. The only difference between the two is that pretribs call the whole seven years “the Great Tribulation,” while midtribs insist that only the last three-and-a-half of the seven years qualify for that title.


Cedar Crest Southern Baptist Church

West Monroe, La.

Thank you for a fine job editing our discussion on eschatology. May I suggest one correction? In the bibliography under amillennialism, the volume of mine that should have been listed is not Created in God’s Image but The Bible and the Future (Eerdmans, 1982).


Calvin Theological Seminary

Grand Rapids, Mich.

I would like to report from personal experience that pretrib premils are “Rapture happy”—they practically worship the Rapture. It will save their skins—at least that’s the impression they give. Jesus should be our focus, not the Rapture; if it comes, fine, but if not, we are called to be faithful.

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Dayton, Ohio

Why defend a lie?

Charles Colson is among the most respected of current Christian writers. However, in his “Must Government Deal in Deception?” [Feb. 6] he goes too far in defending the situational lie. Rahab was commended for her faith, not for her deception.


Lyle, Minn.

Colson asks, “Can government always tell the truth?” He seems to imply that sometimes it cannot. I would like to suggest the reason it often “cannot” is revealed in some of the examples Colson cites; currency manipulation and meddling in the internal affairs of other nations is so commonplace today that we almost expect it from our government. But when government insists on doing things it should not do, it is not surprising that lies are used to cover the dirty tracks whenever possible. If government did its job (protecting the lives and property of citizens within its borders), there would be much less “need” for lying and cover-ups.


Highland Heights, Ky.

Robert Coles versus “Wheel of Fortune”

After your cover story on Carl Rogers, I was surprised to see yet another psychologist on the cover in the person of Robert Coles [“The Crayon Man,” Feb. 6]. However, I found the articles, as well as Dr. Coles, both elucidating and challenging. In the same week in which Newsweek’s feature was television game shows, an in-depth, yet readable account of one who finds biblical truth in the poverty of children is extremely refreshing.


Lurgan United Brethren in Christ Church

Shippensburg, Pa.

Thank you for the article about Robert Coles and his work, which updates Legh Richmond’s Annals of the Poor of 150 years ago. Then compare that article with the one debating the details of eschatology. The latter is intellectually stimulating, but what does our Lord think of this? How much more does the Bible say about the poor than it does about the millennium? Why do our shibboleths (doctrinal statements) include the latter and not something about our interpretation of Matthew 25:31–46?


Lincoln, Neb.

The article on Robert Coles is one of the most extraordinary in the history of CHRISTIANITY TODAY.


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Sun City, Ariz.

I sincerely appreciated Philip Yancey’s interview of Dr. Coles. It stimulated me once again to take a good look at whether I am trying to pull “A’s” out of my walk with the Lord, or if I am truly serving him in Spirit and truth by taking time for the least and the best of these.

Regretfully, the conclusion to the article leaves one hanging on the thin line of misinterpreting the “spark” as a statement for universal salvation. We must never leave it unclear that the spark of God’s image is marred in every human, and only the washing of Christ’s redemptive blood can regenerate that marred relationship with God.


Grace Bible Fellowship Church

Reading, Pa.

Gored Oxymorons

Prof. Warren S. Blumenfeld of Georgia State University recently published a book that catalogues thousands of oxymorons, those self-contradictory expressions like jumbo shrimp, freezer burn, and working vacation.

As I read the book I realized, with all due respect to Professor Blumenfeld, that he had overlooked a few oxymorons from in and around my church. Take, for example, our pastor assuring us that due to Communion, he would be giving a mini sermon.

Or the poster that announced the community Easter sunrise service would feature a unified choir. Whoever wrote that has obviously never sat in a choir loft.

Then there was the announcement in our bulletin noting that the church was looking for a volunteer junior-high leader. And the short business meeting announced by our board chairman to discuss hiring a long-term youth pastor.

It really got bad when I was invited to a conference where the keynote address was by an expert in practical theology.

Now that I’ve alerted you to their existence, you’ll quickly find other Sunday morning oxymorons. But why take my word for it? I’m a confirmed skeptic.


Saying “no” more than once

In response to your editorial “Saying No” (Feb. 6), youthful sex is not the only social issue where a secular or sanctified “no” would correct a multiplicity of problems. Isn’t it amazing that when one observes biblical principle, even in the twentieth century, so many negatives, natural consequences, are avoided. It makes one wonder whether the physical world and the message of the Bible might not have something in common—doesn’t it?


Fresno, Calif.

Praise the Lord! Finally a prochastity movement. I have been trying to explain (and even understand, myself) my feelings and ideas for solutions to teen pregnancy before abortion is an option. To me, the solution is not stopping abortions but stopping the reason for them by building self-esteem and making “saying no” peer acceptable, and even “cool”—or whatever it is they say these days.

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Hillsboro, Oreg.

Model oneness

Thank you for your news coverage of the ICBI’S Summit III on the application of Scripture [News, Feb. 6]. The article, however, implied more basic differences than consensus among conferees. The opposite is true: a genuine, congenial spirit prevailed. Together they discussed; together they prayed and sang; and together they forged out more than 170 resolutions on which they would agree.

ICBI is nearing the completion of its ten-year plan. A lot has been accomplished—but in minimizing these accomplishments, history will show that ICBI’S greatest contribution lies in the fact that men and women of strongly differing theological systems, yet all committed to the Scriptures, could in fact work together and produce together. ICBI is a model of true ecumenicity for years to come.


International Council on Biblical Inerrancy

Walnut Creek, Calif.

Family to the rescue

One small correction in your report about the Second Mile Project I initiated to help Pastor Charles Blair and Calvary Temple in Denver [“A Concerned Christian Goes the Second Mile,” Feb. 6]: Instead of 24, there were 50 Christian leaders on the National Committee of Concern, representing all theological and ministry positions. It is a classic example of the whole family of God helping one part that is hurting.


Family Concern

Wheaton, Ill.

So many presidents!

Concerning the appointment of Robert A. Seiple as president of World Vision [Jan. 16], Mr. Seiple was appointed President of World Vision US; the Rev. Tom Houston is President of WV International. Because your magazine is widely read outside the United States, it is important that any confusion in the minds of your readers be removed.


World Vision Canada

Mississauga, Ont., Canada

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