Welcome to the Mail Room for Present Truth Magazine! This is where we post some of the interesting letters which we have received from our viewers. All of our viewers are invited to E-mail us your comments and views and we will post these views for all to consider!
"Essays on Election"
Gentlemen: While I cannot agree with your issue on election (and in fact believe that it is an extremely one-sided viewpoint of that doctrine), I must sadly agree with both Brinsmead and Hillman that traditional Reformed theology has, in discussing election, omitted real in-depth study of the election of Israel, Christ, and the church corporately.
Sir: I applaud your article, "Election in the Light of the Old Testament Background,". It was one of the most clear, concise, and biblical articles I have ever read on this important matter. Without a good grasp of Old Testament passages dealing with election, it is impossible to come to an accurate understanding of the subject.
One pivotal point in the article was the delineation between "unmerited election" and "unconditional election." Certainly election is unmerited, proceeding from the gracious love of God. Yet along with our election exists a personal responsibility to strive to live consistently with the gracious calling which we have in Christ.
The Simple Teachings of Jesus
Sir: Your new booklet, The Simple Teachings of Jesus, is so simple that even I can understand it. I hope this publication receives the circulation it should.
Mrs. L. A. Stearman
Sir: I received your journal on a regular basis but somehow, either through moving or for some other reason, stopped getting it. When I was rearranging my files, I came across some of the old issues. It was a sort of revival for me to rediscover them. I began reading your journal in my first year of seminary, when zeal for biblical truth ran high. However, I managed to get "watered down" in the four-year process and now find myself in the parish, in need of stronger theology.
Please reinstate me as a subscriber. I feel that your journal has been a vital ministry to pastors and theology students who are constantly being seduced into less sufficient gospels.
Sir: I have found your material somewhat tedious and repetitious and lacking in the dynamic of practical twentieth-century issues and answers.
Sir: In a day and age when doctrine and dogma are looked down upon as being unnecessary and so much useless hard work, it is refreshing to have a journal that really digs into Scripture and comes up with a lot of interesting, edifying and informative material.
Walter A. Haag, Lutheran Pastor
Sir: I have "ceased not to give thanks for you" (Eph. 1:6) since reading your first issue several years ago. I suppose the only complaint I have is that your journal, Luther and a few other Reformation writers have tended to use up all of my free time. But when the truth of the Reformation starts to dawn on you, it is hard to get enough of it.
Sir: For about two years I have had the pleasure of following articles in your journal. During this time the situation has sharpened in Finland . There has been division, and a man-centered new-birth orientation seems to have become dominant. Its advocates claim they are returning to the original church, but in fact they don't know hardly anything of it. The old system in Corinth is their ideal, not those ideals written by Paul in his second letter to the Corinthians.
Sir: I have not always agreed with all your contributing authors in every detail, but your publication is the best religious journal I have come across. It publishes the kind of truths we should be hearing every Sunday morning, especially in our old-line Reformation denominations. I am grieved that too many of our Lutheran churches have become so liberal and lax in scriptural teachings. Thank God, however, that there are still some who look you in the eye and are not afraid to say, "This is what it takes to be a Christian—justification by faith in the merits of Jesus' life, death and resurrection," and, "God expects us, with the guidance and help of the Holy Spirit, to grow in Christian love even though we stumble and fall every day, yea, every hour."
Mrs. Helen W. Blakeslee
Sir: I am a Presbyterian pastor in Brazil , and I received your special issue on "Justification by Faith" and liked it very much. Congratulations for publishing so excellent a journal to remind us of the principles of the Protestant Reformation.
Ephraim de F. Beda
Sir: My husband and I were both raised by Christian parents in the Methodist Church . We each were "converted" as children, and, I believe, sincerely. However, we never came alive until we heard Reformation truth—the "done" of Jesus Christ instead of the hopeless "do" of self. Now nothing else is tolerable, and so we are most grateful to God for your calling and your obedient ministry.
We love the articles in your journal. The entire publication is so tastefully done that we are proud of it and love to lend it to others.
Mrs. Joseph H. Lawson
Sir: After reading your special issue dealing with "Justification by Faith and the Charismatic Movement," my reaction was, "Get on their subscription list." How necessary it is in our day and age to hear once again a clear-cut presentation of the truths the Reformation stood for!
"New Testament Witnessing"
Sir: With joy and appreciation I have been reading and rereading the "New Testament Witnessing." It is so clear on evangelical truths and very rewarding in the search for deeper understanding of God's written Word.
Mrs. Leona Wirgau
Lutheran Sunday-School Teacher
Sir: I have enjoyed the emphasis your manuscripts give to justification by faith alone. Also, the abstract basis of your publication—the Bible alone and the priesthood of all believers—is good. But your articles on "Man" disturb me. The whole point in "man" is that Christ became man. The Bible is not just history and doctrine, but the Spirit's presentation of Christ. The profitability in any scriptural pursuit is to arrive at Christ.
E. W. Storr
Sir: Thank you for your articles on "Man." They are not only biblical and exegetically sound, but so relevant to our everyday living and Christian perspective.
Timothy A. Vettrus
Sir: "God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth" (John 4:24 ). This does not sound wholistic. It sounds like spirit activity alone. Your respect for the body is not shared by Jesus, who advocated mutilation if one part of the body led to hell (Matt. 5:29 -30).
Myron C. Horst
Sir: Present Truth Magazine has been of great aid to me during the past four years as I have attempted to come to a sound view of the gospel and Christian living. I have recommended your journal to many of my friends and to the elders of the church where I attend. I also use your publication in my discipleship program, which is the ministry God has called me to in His Son.
As a regular reader I don't always agree with all you write. I think you have stated and defined issues with great clarity and have built a positive apologetic of your system in so doing, showing the unscriptural positions of opposing views. Yet at times your own conclusions seem based on presuppositions rather than biblical exegesis. This is especially true of your articles on "Man," in which you stated that man is defined only relationally and not internally. This conclusion, though interesting, needs to be explained in light of the Scripture's teaching on the "heart" of man. Whereas I believe in the complete-unity approach to man, I also believe that the Scriptures give great insight into the inner psychology of man. I'm afraid logical consistency reigned here more than biblical study.
Norman R. Wise
Sir: One of the most certain things I know is that man in himself is nothing and that we only have significance as we relate to God—and then only through Jesus Christ. It is in this light that mountains become plains. Thank you for Present Truth Magazine.
David B. Stockin
"Righteousness by Faith"
Sir: Your journal has proved very interesting. The series on "Righteousness by Faith" revealed many new things to me. I would like to thank you for the thoroughness of all the articles, but also, at the same time, for their simplicity for the serious Christian.
Neville du Plessis
Republic of South Africa
Sir: I would like to thank you for your publication. It has been a challenge to both my school and my family. I particularly enjoyed your series on "Righteousness by Faith."
Sir: I have received enormous benefit from reading your journal. It is true that once "the Pauline article of righteousness by faith alone is allowed to spill over into sanctification, not only is the glorious gospel ruined, but sanctification is ruined too." Uphold what you have till the Master's return.
A. E. Mba
"New Testament Eschatology"
Sir: I derived great blessing from reading your special issue on "New Testament Eschatology". In fact, my own thoughts have moved in the same direction for months. I have been dissatisfied with the various eschatological systems and was searching for an eschatology that was more Christ-centered instead of event-centered.
However, in your desire to stress, and rightfully, the objective work of Christ, I feel that you missed a golden opportunity to expound subjective experience within its proper context. The practical exhortations in Hebrews are not minor issues at all. They are a logical outgrowth of the theological truth discussed in the Epistle beforehand. So the writer to the Hebrews places subjective experience within its proper framework—i.e., objective theological truth. Subjective experience always goes wrong when it is torn from its proper framework.
Charles Dickson, Minister
Republic of South Africa
Sir: Over the past few years I have read your journal with great interest. Your absorbing concern with justification by faith is one that I share. While I was at theological college, as well as during the early years of my ministry, I read fairly extensively on the subject, including Karl Barth's Dogmatics in toto! However, it seems to me that your needle has stuck in that particular groove long enough. However crucial the Epistle to the Galatians, there are many other Epistles in the New Testament.
I am surprised that you have not moved more extensively into the study of the liturgy. For in liturgy, theology moves from the abstract to the concrete. Nor perhaps should we be too surprised to find that many Roman Catholic theologians have a head start in this field of study, and we may really have to learn from them the application of the doctrine of justification. For justification tells us—does it not?—that we stand before God clothed in the righteousness of Christ, that in Him we are welcomed not as slaves but as sons, that "we are hid with Christ in God." When more effectively do we act out this new status in Christ than when, at the Eucharist, we enter into the self-offering He has made of Himself to the Father, and when at baptism we are united to Him? As Barth observed somewhere, it was not from a Protestant that he learned the doctrine of justification, but from a Russian, Dostoevski. In their liturgy the Orthodox have undoubtedly preserved the truth in a more certain and available fashion than our Protestant tradition of ever-changing theological fashion will allow.
Church of England Minister
We are trying to be like a little salt. Present Truth Magazine is not "balanced" reading, and that is not our aim. We take it for granted that our readers roam elsewhere. We are like boys who see a leak in the dyke and are doing what they can to stop it. We can't patrol the whole wall. However, you may be surprised at how far we range in days to come. Thank you for your letter. -Ed.
Sir: Your journal has proved most stimulating, and even where there has been a difference of opinion, the reasoning and scriptural evidence have been impressive. I must also congratulate you on the highest standard of production.
Peter M. Humphris
Church of Scotland Minister
Mail Room index
Volume 46 index