After weighty theological issues like "Election" and "Covenant," we thought it might be a welcome change to deal with such things as our stewardship of the body. How much does physical fitness, for instance, have to do with mental and spiritual fitness? Is vitality a factor in preaching vital sermons? If physically unfit airline pilots are removed from the cockpit, should physically unfit preachers be removed from the pulpit? Might not some who try to get help from a book on Secrets of Victorious Living obtain more practical help from Dr. Cooper's famous book on Aerobics and from the purchase of a pair of running shoes?
Has Christian theology often neglected the place of the body in redemption and practical sanctification? James N. Lapsley is one theologian who thinks it has. In the foreword of his recent book, Salvation and Health (Westminster Press), Lapsley says, 'The want of a sound anthropology is one of the roots of the crisis in which the church finds itself today, if it is not indeed the main source of that crisis."
After discussing the Greek versus the Hebrew view of man and the Grecian influence on Christian theology, this issue of Present Truth Magazine goes on to explore some practical aspects of the wholistic or Hebraic view of man. John Watson's article on "The Minister's Care of Himself" is remarkable because it was written so long ago (1896). In one or two places he might have overstated his case, but most ministers will give him three cheers for the flourish of his final paragraph. Some might get the idea of presenting it to the bishop or board of elders as part of their Magna Carta! To conclude this issue, we have invited a Christian physician to write on the relation of physical and spiritual health.
After reading this edition of Present Truth Magazine, some may do what a pastor friend of mine does when someone comes to see him for spiritual counsel (or a theological discussion). He takes his visitor for a brisk walk — and if the visitor wants a good talk, he gets a five-mile walk. The pastor gets his exercise, and the visitor generally finds that exercise in the open air can go a long way toward solving problems which he thought were purely spiritual. In theological dialogue this procedure has another advantage. If the pastor is fit and walks quickly (like my friend), he can always win the argument, because the other fellow can't get his breath to talk while he walks.
The idea could be useful in another area. I was wondering whether my Calvinist friends were awake until we published an issue on "Election." That did it! We got so many letters (and some very long ones with great arguments) that it is impossible to print them all and answer them all. If I could only get all these valiant defenders of the faith together some time, I would say,
"Come, let us walk [quickly] together."