The Mark of the Man
Most readers' responses to published articles are critical, frequently offering opposing opinions. Yet, in the case of Michael Hamilton's reflective article on the work and ministry of Francis Schaeffer (Mar. 3), overwhelmingly the sentiments expressed by the many who wrote were appreciation and gratitude for Schaeffer's impact on their own lives.

Over and over readers responded with comments like this one by Gerald Rodriguez of San Jose, California: "Schaeffer's writings, and the writings of others influenced by him, have helped to shape and define my place in this world as both a Christian and a citizen." And Charles McCoy of Watchmen Fellowship in Mt. Hermon, California, observed: "It would be interesting to know how many of us were deeply touched by his life and work despite his feet of clay. With all of his limitations, he was a pivotal figure for twentieth-century Christianity." Well said.

A Faithful Disciple
Thank you for Michael Hamilton's insightful treatment of the ministry of Francis Schaeffer, a Christian whose desire to be a faithful disciple of our Lord could not be captured by any of our labels ["The Dissatisfaction of Francis Schaeffer," Mar. 3]. Perhaps reflection on his life would help us avoid the temptation to dispose of others by categorizing them.

Prof. Stanley K. Fowler
Heritage Baptist College and Seminary
Cambridge, Ont., Canada

In my view, there are two things wrong with the article. One was that it seems to relegate Schaeffer to history—in fact, a history that existed in the 20 years prior to his death, the 1960s and 1970s. Nothing could be further from the truth. The world Francis Schaeffer fought against is still the same—only much worse.

The second missing element is intellectual passion. Schaeffer was a true believer and a prophet as well as an evangelical and activist. When he wrote to my family from Switzerland about the "Christians thundering in the background" without providing alternatives to abortion, he was reminding us that faith without works is dead—or quite useless.

B. J. Wheeler
Cedar Falls, Iowa

* I have had the Complete Works of Francis Schaeffer on my shelf for several years. Though I know the writings of Francis Schaeffer are considered watershed material, they have always been books that seemed too daunting to try to read. And so they have sat unread. Your article has stirred me to make the effort to read his works and have my mind and faith challenged. Hopefully, your article will introduce many more to Francis Schaeffer and they will be enlightened by the thinking of this intellectual giant of the evangelical world.

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Gregory Woodard
Emmanuel Christian Center
Minneapolis, Minn.

* My campus ministries pastor at the University of Iowa in the mid-1970s helped me to apprehend the works of Francis Schaeffer. Since then, I have recognized that there are two types of Christians: those who read Schaeffer, thus identifying the "Line of Despair" in art, science, and contemporary culture; and those who refuse to read Schaeffer and in bewilderment ask, "What in the world is happening, and how did our culture get so messed up?"

Steven J. Baker
Missionary with New Tribes Mission
Urbandale, Iowa

Michael Maudlin's introductory article ("Inside CT") leaves a completely wrong impression concerning two matters. First, Schaeffer's last book, The Great Evangelical Disaster, was his own book in every respect. Though I worked closely with Schaeffer in putting the book into final form, the content was Schaeffer's own material—namely, his lectures, notes, and articles that he had assembled over a number of years (as well as his two-page outline that determined the structure).

Second, Maudlin's statement that many people think Schaeffer is an extremist (these were not my words) also leaves a wrong impression. In reality, Schaeffer was a radical thinker, who was committed to understanding all of life in light of God's Word. Because of this, he was able to understand the root, spiritual causes that underlie the radical breakdown of contemporary life and culture, perhaps more clearly than any other Christian thinker of our time.

Lane T. Dennis
Crossway Books
Wheaton, Ill.

Schaeffer was—to many of us who matured in the neo-evangelical movement—the first person who excited us about the possibility of thinking Christianly, a pioneer in exposing what Mark Noll would later call the scandal of the evangelical mind.

However, as Hamilton notes, there was a shift in Schaeffer's work after the How Shall We Then Live? series in the 1970s. From that point on, the Schaeffer legacy grows contentious. Those of us on the evangelical Left who parted with Schaeffer in the end lamented the turning; those who joined Schaeffer in the end said the later work was the culmination of the earlier. I was concerned that works like Christian Manifesto were not only out of place with the earlier work, but also that they might incite to precipitous action some of the wild folk of the evangelical Right. Indeed, when I read in Hamilton's article that certain notorious organizations founded their work on the points in Manifesto, I say "just so." To politicize today's moral environment on the basis of a latter-day Machen-like antithetical Reformed fundamentalism is to legitimate an extreme form of intellectual reductionism.

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I will always cherish the impact that the early Francis Schaeffer had on me and on my generation. We cannot always account for what became of that memory in the hands of others, and, perhaps, of our teacher himself.

Ronald A. Wells
Calvin Center for Christian Scholarship
Grand Rapids, Mich.

Hamilton's characterization of Schaeffer's "version of Christianity" as being "tightly sectarian" is hardly an accurate description of Schaeffer's much broader vision of the church. In an address to the Presbyterian Church of America on June 16, 1982, Schaeffer strongly appealed for a nonsectarian view of Christianity. He said:

We are to be Presbyterian and Reformed, but that is not the limiting circle of our responsibility. I would say to you, I plead with you concerning this, we are to be Reformed and Presbyterian but that is not the limiting circle of our responsibility. Our distinctives are not to be the chasm. We hold our distinctives because we are convinced that they are biblical. But God's call is to love and be one with all those who are in Christ Jesus and then to let God's truth speak into the whole spectrum of life and the whole spectrum of society. That is our calling. The limiting circle is not to be just that we are Presbyterian and Reformed. We hold these things because we believe indeed they are that which is taught in Scripture. But out beyond that there is the responsibility, there is the call, to be something to the whole church of the Lord Jesus Christ, and out beyond the church of the Lord Jesus Christ to the whole society and to the whole culture. If we don't understand this we don't understand either how rich Christianity is and God's truth is, nor do we understand how wide is the call placed upon the Christian into the totality of life [italics mine].

Can this view of our Christian calling rightly be labeled tightly sectarian?

Prof. J. Robert Vannoy
Biblical Theological Seminary
Hatfield, Penn.

In the mid-1970s, while editor of Moody Magazine, I was profoundly impacted by Schaeffer's film and lecture series How Shall We Then Live? That led to two different cover stories on Schaeffer.

However, the most profound impact Schaeffer had on me had less to do with his prodigious intellect and philosophical acumen and more to do with how his view of God was actually lived out. Twenty years ago he appeared in person at the Arie Crown Theatre at McCormick Place in Chicago for the showing of the film series. At the end he took questions from the audience of more than 4,000.

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At one point a young man in the balcony began a question in a halting, nearly incoherent growl. Clearly, he suffered from cerebral palsy. Schaeffer closed his eyes in concentration as the question went on and on. I understood maybe one-fourth of the words. When the man finished, Schaeffer said, "I'm sorry, I didn't understand the last three words." The young man repeated them. "Forgive me," Schaeffer said, "the last word again, please." Then Schaeffer restated his question and answered it with the time and dignity he had accorded all the other questions. When the young man asked yet another lengthy question, some in the audience shook their heads as if irritated that he would take so much time.

But Schaeffer repeated the process, being sure he understood every word and answering fully. It struck me that he had been kinder than the incident called for. He could have asked someone else to interpret for him. He could have asked to speak to the young man later. But everything he had expounded in his book and film was tested by this seemingly insignificant incident.

Jerry B. Jenkins
Zion, Ill.

Of history and worship
* Like Wendy Zoba ["Where Have They Laid My Lord?" Mar. 3], my pilgrimage to the Garden Tomb and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher was filled with ambivalence. There is no question that the open-air, garden setting of Gordon's site appeals far more readily to the American evangelical's sensibilities than the dark reaches of the church.

On seeing the encrustation of candles and icons inside the church, one of my seminary classmates mumbled nervously, "I don't think Jesus would like this." But what I found most curious was the behavior of my evangelical companions in contrast to the local Orthodox faithful. The Orthodox knew exactly what to do when coming to, say, the Holy Sepulcher proper: cross themselves and kneel to pray. My companions were far less certain what to do. Look, gape, shuffle, take a picture—this was the response of tourists, not pilgrims.

We who rightly place so much importance on the historicity of our Lord's footsteps and now-empty grave seem not to have figured out an adequate way to experience such places. Are we so eager to worship "in spirit and in truth" that we have no way to "offer our bodies as living sacrifices"?

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Pastor Russell Yee
New Life Christian Fellowship
Oakland, Calif.

Zoba's article brought back memories of my own two trips to the Holy Land. On both occasions, most of the people on the bus had the same reaction the author did to the Garden Tomb.

However, cold facts are all against its authenticity. General Gordon did not pick this place as Golgotha because he saw a face on the rock. It is even unlikely that a structure like that could have kept a skull-like appearance through the many earthquakes and wars that Jerusalem has endured. According to his own words, his reasons were more esoteric. In a letter he put forth the notion that Jerusalem was like a reclining man, with the three valleys of Jerusalem making the breaks between the arms and legs. Calvary (he reasoned) must be the crown of the body and the head. Therefore, it had to lie to the north, in the direction of the Garden Tomb. He further based his opinion on typology, not exegesis. Since the sacrifices were slain northward of the altar, therefore Calvary had to be to the north—not the west, as the traditional site was.

The Church of the Holy Sepulcher has good reason for not looking like it is supposed to look—it has been fought over, prayed over, destroyed, rebuilt, and gilded for 20 centuries. It is the most hallowed place in Christendom, and it satisfies all the biblical requirements—it was near a main road; it was at that time outside the city gate; it was on a rock outcropping in full view of Herod's palace, the fortress Antonia, and the city wall.

None of this is, of course, relevant to the spiritual impact that the Garden Tomb has on modern pilgrims. He is not in either place, nor was he—for long.

Bill Fleming
Rock Hill, S.C.

Having served as chaplain of the Garden Tomb, I was moved by Zoba's touching article. During the past 30 years, a lot of hallowed traditions about the history of Jerusalem have been shaken. One might suppose the archaeologists could give a firm ruling as to which of the "Christian holy places" were authentic. No such proof is available. As Teddy Kollek, long-time mayor of Jerusalem and also historian of the city, pointed out apologetically, the New Testament events did not seem very important at the time. "The death of Jesus caused scarcely a ripple in Jerusalem … and there is nothing to mark any of the sites, in Jerusalem or elsewhere, associated with the life of Jesus."

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However, the distinguished professor of New Testament, John McRay, states that "the memory of a place so sacred would not be forgotten." I suggest it was not the empty tomb but the risen Lord that became the center of attention, and there is not a shred of evidence that the early Christians bothered to visit the empty tomb for another three or four centuries!

The test of tradition is how near to its source it starts. It is interesting that ten years after the mother of Constantine picked out the spot, Eusebius wrote that the discovery on that spot was made "contrary to all expectation." This shoots down the theory that "the memory of a place so sacred would not be forgotten."

We do not worship locations—we worship the Risen Lord. Through the visual aid the Empty Tomb stands as a symbol of hope in a world of despair.

John Woods
Bradenton Beach, Fla.

Not head hunters
* The last paragraph on page 51 [of the News] article "A Nation Out of Control?" [Mar. 3] said that the Batak were headhunters. The Batak have never been headhunters. My ancestors never treated human beings as toys or animals. In the same paragraph, the article mentions the Batak church. The church described is one of several Batak churches. It is HKBP (Huria Kristen Batak Protestant, Church of Batak Christian Protestant), the biggest and oldest one. Its congregations not only were established across Java island but also across the nation. At least two congregations were also established in Singapore and California, U.S.A.

Marolop Nainggolan
Claremont, Calif.

The women on the NRB board
Thanks for the good article on women broadcasters and the report on NRB 97 ["Women Broadcasters Make Inroads, Slowly," Mar. 3]. However, there is one small clarification I'd like to make: NRB has nine women on its 90-member board, including one female executive committee member. [The board make-up] can be confusing because we elect our board in 30-member classes each year (each class is for three years on a rotational basis, so one is up for election each year).

Sarah Smith
National Religious Broadcasters
Manassas, Va.

The article incorrectly stated that four of thirty NRB board members are women. —Eds.

Wishful thinking?
With regard to the News article "Evangelicals Join in Inaugural Events" in North American Scene [Mar. 3] and the remarks of certain evangelicals as a result of their relationships with President Clinton: Given the almost daily revelation of scandalous allegations relative to his administration, comments like "the development of your [Clinton's] heart, your increasing desire to know God and to live for him" seem aberrant. Or do such comments just represent wishful thinking? The words that come to my mind include stonewalling, whitewashing, and damage control, among others.

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One wonders if those evangelicals who have met with him have ever urged an honest assessment of himself, with remorse, confession, and apologies where needed. Such openness would be a wonderful example and point America back to the God who has been so gracious to us all.

Robert C. Stevens
Concord, Calif.

Not just for Pentecostals
Thank you for the mention of our organization in David Neff's editorial ("Dare We Be Colorblind?" Feb. 3). Neff refers to our organization as publishing "magazines for Pentecostals and charismatics." While this has historically been our core market, two of our five magazines never have been focused toward charismatics and Pentecostals: Christian Retailing, which serves the general evangelical Christian products industry, and New Man, which serves the growing evangelical men's movement.

You had one small factual error: When we set a goal to double our minority hiring, we started at 9 percent, rather than the 4 percent mentioned in your column. But, as you reported, we have grown to 25 percent minority staff.

Stephen Strang, President
Strang Communications Company
Lake Mary, Fla.

Brief letters are welcome. They may be edited for space and clarity and must include the writer's name and address. Send to Eutychus, CHRISTIANITY TODAY, 465 Gundersen Drive, Carol Stream, IL 60188; fax: 630/260-0114. E-mail: Letters preceded by " * " were received online.

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