A Fundamental Justice

Spencer Perkins [“The Prolife Credibility Gap,” April 21] makes one good point and some bad ones. True, it is tragic black and white Christians are deeply divided. But the insinuations and title of the article won’t help.

Prolifers are not all conservative Republicans or unrehabilitated rednecks. We are liberal, conservative, feminist, traditionalist, Protestant, Catholic. We put our disagreements over other important issues on the back burner while fighting for the most fundamental justice—the right to life. I fear that if our black brothers and sisters will not commit to the battle for the unborn until Southern fundamentalists repent of opposition to civil rights and evangelicals agree on a solution to poverty, it will not speed our reconciliation. But it may delay legal protection for the most innocent victims of injustice.

Rev. Kenneth Langley

Island Baptist Church

Beach Haven, N.J.

Can’t abortion be weighed on its own? To hope for whitey to come to Mendenhall and see the racial problems of America is like asking the Baptist convention to see Saint Peter’s and repent of 400 years of ecclesiastical strife.

Jack Hickman

Sewickley, Pa.

You are courageous and right to publish Perkins’s article addressing evangelical racism. We evangelical whites need the reproof: If you will reprint it every year, maybe it will no longer be applicable by A.D. 2000.

Lewis Hodge

Knoxville, Tenn.

Perkins’s claim to speak for black Christians is totally ludicrous. Being a black Christian and an active member of the church within my community, I know that most black Christians stand totally against abortion. Perkins is a perfect example of how a lot of Christians are deceived by their own intelligence.

Jeffery A. Favors

Athens, Ga.

Experiencing Harmony And Health

In “The Other Half of the Gospel?” [Apr. 21], Colin Brown has “debunked” several Bible verses that have long brought comfort and challenge to believers. Radical reliance on spiritual healing has brought harmony and health into my experience for over 60 years. The counterarticle, “What I Was Doing at the Hospital,” shows the relevance of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount to today’s stressful living.

Joseph G. S. Robinson

Worcester, Mass.

I look at my experience and say, “God is still in the miracle business.” Colin Brown looks at his (limited) experience and draws a (faithless) distinction between “God’s covenanted mercies and God’s uncovenanted mercies.”

John McCook

Edmond, Okla.

What a shame such a brilliant writer doesn’t believe the whole gospel or counsel of God. I do pray that he never gets sick or is afflicted.

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Rev. George B. Atkinson

Westport Baptist Church

Newcastle, Maine

Outlandish And Unreasonable

The so-called Meditation “Unravelling the Mystery of Weakness and Strength” [Apr. 21] was full of outlandish and unreasonable passages. For example, Peter Kreeft says, “God had to die and suffer the horrors of hell to save us from that dark side.” How can God die? He sent us Jesus, so he can’t die. Why do you allow such junk theological food in your otherwise good magazine?

Rev. A. Howard Gabriel

Medina, N.Y.

Kreeft beautifully sets forth the weakness/strength paradox. However, Christ did not conquer death by ascending to heaven as a disembodied soul; he rose from the dead. Believers are not spirited away at death; they are raised immortal at Christ’s coming.

Freeman Barton

Oakland City, Ind.

No Taste For Apologetics

As one who was helped immensely as an undergraduate by E.J. Carnell’s writings, I appreciated Carl Henry’s review of Rudolph Nelson’s biography [Books, Apr. 21]. Unfortunately, the existential mood of our culture has motivated a distaste for apologetics in the church except for a lopsided emphasis on creation “science.” But neglecting to seek and proclaim objective truth, whether in the world or in the church, has disastrous consequences. A version of the Christian faith that speaks only to the heart and not to the mind is not the faith of Jesus Christ, Paul, or Augustine, and leaves the body of Christ unable to nurture its members properly and unable to confront our culture with an authoritative message.

Glenn Torrey

Emporia State University

Emporia, Kans.

Finally, a Scandal

Recent exposés of nationally known clergy have whetted the appetite of even our home-town newspaper. They finally got their chance last month when they staked out our pastor’s house.

It happened on a Saturday night, shortly after the pastor and his wife had turned out the lights and gone to bed. A thumping and fluttering in the dark kept them both awake, so the pastor decided to investigate. A flick of the light switch revealed that a small bat had made its way through a partially opened window into their bedroom.

Now the appearance of the bedroom light did not arouse the attention of our eager journalists who were dozing in their car across the street, but the shrill scream of the pastor’s wife did. They startled awake to see the silhouetted figure of our pastor swinging a broom violently in the bedroom window and yelling, “Get out of here, you old bat,” while his wife screamed bloody murder.

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Our eyewitness news team immediately called the police, and after they arrived, everyone was a little embarrassed. But that didn’t stop the newspaper from reporting the incident under the headline: “Screaming Pastor’s Wife Brings Police—Pastor Found Beating Old Bat with Broom.”

Local clergy, beware. And close your drapes.


Out Of The Mainstream

Concerning “The Ivory Tower Comes to the Windy City” [Apr. 7], while the gathering of theologians is important, they are out of the mainstream of Christianity. The important part of our faith is that the Bible is true, and that the divinity, lordship, and resurrection of Jesus Christ are of the body of truth.

Willard Totten

Falls City, Oreg.

Anselmian Scripturalism? Bovine Somatratopin? Tablet 3? Martin Marty and cohorts seem caught in an academic eddy well outside the torrent of public need. These dissertations and discoveries will have not the slightest impact on society aside from their apologetic value (if any) in answering the major questions hungry people continue to ask: Is there a personal God? Is Scripture true? Did Jesus rise from the dead? What does this mean for me? This is what is running through minds and conversations from lunchrooms to boardrooms in a society that demands empiricism, the bottom line, before investing themselves.

Jim Kostur

Lake Oswego, Oreg.

Clapp’s farm cousin was probably closer to the truth than we like to admit. Occasionally, the theologians need to take the elevator to the ground floor of their ivory tower, go outside, live where the rest of us do for a while, then return, not to the tower, but to God’s Word.

Rev. Daryl L. Brown

Columbus First Free Methodist Church

Columbus, Ohio

Instead of a bunch of pickle-pussed old men, we currently have a sophisticated gaggle of cosmopolitan theologians—including, I daresay, more than a few Worldly Wisemen. Small wonder that Pilgrim gets the heebie-jeebies.

William Dauenhauer

Wickliffe, Ohio

Improving On God’S Hymnbook

Charles Kraft’s beautifully sincere desire that hymns of praise predominate in the church service [“The Hymnal Is Not Enough,” Speaking Out, April 7] is marred by his misconception of the primary purpose of worship services. He deplores the prominence of “informational” materials—Scripture readings, sermons, and “informational” hymns. Actually, these are the basis of a richly productive church service. Like it or not, we are primarily receivers, not givers. The Psalter, frequently called the hymnbook of the Old Testament church, rightly and insistently calls on us to praise God, but it undergirds and exhorts with lengthy “informational” recitals proclaiming divine activity that incites and generates our praise. Can we improve on the divinely inspired Hymnbook?

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Dr. Oliver C. Rupprecht

Milwaukee, Wis.

I identify completely with Kraft when he describes new-found freedom in worship without the use of a hymnal. Two years ago, God revolutionized my relationship with him in worship. It was such a deep, powerful experience that I have not been the same since.

Rev. Andrew L. Cullen

Gashland Presbyterian Church

Kansas City, Mo.

I agree that change can be very good and traditions broken. But are not these changes already taking place and new traditions being forged? In the process, should we not cherish the relevant old even as we experience what is new?

Mrs. K. F. Johnson

Moorehead, W. Va.

The column contained the thought, “Is the main audience made up of young people? Contemporary music should predominate.” This is a new way of saying, “Give the people what they want.” It is a way of preaching—or singing—to itching ears. Nowhere does the Bible tell me to do my own thing. It does have plenty to say about reverence, worshiping in spirit and truth. But just go with something because the audience is made up of younger people? Whoa! Why not teach them ways of the Lord?

Rev. Jim Reid

Houston, Tex.

Restitution Makes Sense

I just read Charles Colson’s article “Why George Bush Should Break His Promise” [Apr. 7] and very much agree. Restitution makes sense for all the reasons he says, and certainly is in line with the way the Lord deals with people.

Larry Wiener

Alhambra, Calif.

Icons: Visual Theology

I enjoyed Ed Knippers’s article exploring the use of icons in the Orthodox church [The Arts, Apr. 7]. However, he fails to mention some other important reasons why that church uses icons. The Orthodox church maintains that icons are visual theology. Indeed, one of the primary uses of the icon is to instruct those unable to read.

But icons are far more. The early icon painters felt they were instruments through which the Holy Spirit expressed himself. For this reason the icons are treated with reverence by Orthodox Christians. Icons have never been an object of worship, but are rather an enhancement to worship and a form of honoring or venerating the saints and their accomplishments.

Peter Chopelas

Bothell, Wash.

The article was an excellent piece of rationalization to get us around the second commandment. I am now so convinced of the correctness of the Protestant ban on icons that I am disposing of “imaginary” pictures of Jesus.

Laurence A. Davis

Wichita, Kans.

Letters are welcome. Brevity is preferred, and all are subject to condensation. Write to Eutychus, CHRISTIANITY TODAY, 465 Gundersen Drive, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188.

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