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Volume 11, Issue 4: Sharpening Iron

From Us:

Aside from our quirky theology and boyish good looks, our next most frequently commented on quality is our bizarre attempt at humor. We couldn’t hope to explain it (like salt and vinegar potato chips and Yiddish rap, it’s certainly an acquired taste), but we did hope that in the spirit of ad fontes, we could point our readers to where we first caught the bug. But we really ought to warn you, like the tuna casserole at a church potluck, the stuff is infectious. But the truth is we didn’t start it. It was Wodehouse that did it. It was all his idea and it’s all his fault. That’s our story and we’re sticking to it.


From You:

Dear Editors,
Regarding the last issue of your fine magazine: as a woman who wears a head covering, I must take exception to your otherwise excellent article, “Sexual Glory,” in which Douglas Wilson writes, “And those few Christians who do believe that the passage is binding today, think that it is talking about women of severe countenance dressed in gray with a doily on top of their heads. No one thinks of it in terms of a biblical eroticism.” Let me assure you that my husband and I enjoyed all the implications of your recent issue on feasting. In addition, I believe you’re forgetting the words of that great philosopher, Charlie Rich: “And when we get behind closed doors Then she lets her hair hang down And she makes me glad that I’m a man....”

South of Here

Dear Editors,
Okay, when you poke fun at amils, are you really calling them gnostics in order to provoke them, insult them, or dismiss them as irrelevant? Or what? Do you want amils to read your mag and be challenged to possibly agree with you? Is your mag preaching to the choir, or do you aim for converts to your theological positions?

Courtney Dunkerton

Editors reply:
All of the above. We love our amil brothers and want to hug them into the truth, but we do wish they would worry a bit more about the way they often rid Christianity of any hint of earthy materiality. They too often like to rest in a world where holiness, intellect, and spirituality are the only siblings in the crib.

Dear Editors,
Warning: ‘Closet Agrarians’ will ultimately get ‘outed’!

David E. Rockett

Dear Editors,
I’d like to respond to your fund raising plea in this last Credenda. I don’t believe in your postmillennial gobbledy-gook at all. Christ is already on the throne, having re-established the dominion Adam lost and was never again told to exercise (because he couldn’t). We may now pursue holiness in Christ. As far as “dominion” on our part in this doomed world, let’s just live peaceably with all men, if possible, and live the truth knowing final judgment will come soon enough....

You’re good men, and I deeply appreciate your insights and exhortations. So ok, I guess I can put up with some postmil weirdness. It’s a bit like Lincoln’s defense of Grant’s propensity for booze: if that’s what made such a superb soldier, let’s order up a few rounds for everybody! You might want to keep it in moderation, however.

Eric Stampher
Visalia, CA

Dear Editors,
I so dislike the arrogance so common among “theonomy-types” that I can hardly bear to read Credenda/Agenda, but I must write to commend you for your firm stand on alternative medicine. World magazine “backed off” on truth about it when they met with the barrage of wild letters following their fine editorial on the subject.

It certainly is a theological issue, as you suggest. What a shame to the name of Christ to see Christians flocking in hordes to this focus on self and trying to get back to Eden via “dried carrot”! As I tell my patients: “This is a fallen planet; poison ivy is ‘natural,’ but that doesn’t mean it’s good for you.”

Carol Tharp M.D.
Winnatka, IL

Dear Editors,
I read with bewilderment the article Beer, by Ben Merkle. He should not complain so much; after all, it appears that he has found a beer strong enough to get him drunk and make him write nonsense. My heart goes out to him. It is very sad when somebody has to prove his masculinity by acting like an idiot.

Let me clarify a point that may be moot to some people. The real victim of feminism is Ben Merkle, who thinks that masculinity is being enslaved to sundry vices, being a drinker and losing control of oneself—which you have to know happens to women, even though some may not admit it. This is the picture of masculinity that feminists paint. You can even see it in the sitcoms and in the comic strips....
A few years ago, I used to drink a glass of wine now and then, just to prove my “Christian liberty,” and that did not make me any more masculine. Now that I have abandoned that practice of asserting my Christian liberty by drinking, I am not any less masculine. By the way, did you know that drinking alcohol can make you more feminine?

Sarkis Baltayian
Sierra Madre, CA

Dear Editors,
Most of the articles I read in Credenda/Agenda are instructional, solid messages delivered through, usually, excellent prose. Nathan Wilson’s article “Soft Pelagian Rears” was excellent prose.

Boone Brumagen
Dover, PA

Dear Editors,
Have you got a Holy Ghost hammer in Nathan Wilson! Woosh, pow, bang. And his rockets are hitting their targets.

Kurt Prenzler
St. Louis, MO

Dear Editors,
Thank you for your very appropriate Credenda comments on today’s church architecture as compared with that of days gone by. A primary character of today’s churches is a total lack of majesty in their “worship” attitude, replaced—as you so correctly submit—by the mundane of everyday secular mentalities. The same is so evident in the music, and I’d certainly like to see you address that in Credenda sometime. We now have those infernal, superficial, self-viewing choruses, which I call the “7-11’s”—they have 7 lines, and you repeat them 11 times. And they’re accompanied by more of the mundane in beat-heavy, digital combos. Gone is the majesty of the great hymns and the great organ accompaniment. I can no longer find a church that really engulfs one in worship of a majestic God on a majestic scale, and I’m so tired of going to church only to find that everything’s exactly the same as “outside” in the secular world. So I no longer even try. There’s no home any longer, unless one is satisfied with a spiritual nursery so bereft of any nutrition in the genuine presence of the God of the Scriptures to encourage anything beyond spiritual infancy.

Dick Ikenberry

Dear Editors,
Great issue on architecture, thanks. Reconstructing the arts is a complex trail filled with twists and paradoxes. However, I’m waiting for the issue called A Theology in Tones: Dissing Musical Existentialism. If ever anyone proposes any sort of standards for evaluating music, even the most thoroughly Christian thinkers, even many reconstructionists suddenly become practical existentialists: “Oh yeah? Says who?” This is evident in such wildly inconsistent facts such as your children being allowed to listen to Auditory Pornography (U2), and in the bizzare filthy music that World magazine reviews and recommends.

Why is this? Standards for musical evaluation are not that difficult: not nearly so esoteric as standards for architecture. We decide what music is appropriate for the Christian the same way we decide about any other thing not specifically named in the Bible: by motive and by effect. Motive and Effect are the only things that can be evil. And since music has no motive, it must be judged by its effect. Yes, architecture is judged the same way, but it's much easier with music.

Michael E Owens

Dear Editors,
By cheering Paul Weyrich’s suggestion that Christian conservatives should limit themselves to defensive political action, you are denying God’s ability to enable his children to fulfill the Proverbs 31:8 mandate within this present socio-political context. How can we “judge righteously the cause of the dumb,” and plead for “all such as are appointed to destruction” if we limit our offensive “evangelion” to every part of life’s spectrum except governing authority: legislative, judicial, and executive?

Paul says in Rom. 13 that such authority exists as God’s merciful safeguard to prevent evil and good from becoming indistinguishable by punishing one and rewarding the other. Until God’s people lay the context for revival by making whatever sacrifice is necessary to exercise the minority political power we have, through an attempt at state secession, we cannot reasonably expect to convince the majority that the spirit within us is distinguishable from the one they are presently serving.
I’d love to discuss this at further length, over a pipeful of Kentucky burley and a pint or three of oatmeal stout. That is, when I’m 21, late next year. By then, however, we will most likely be occupied with more pressing matters, like barricading our doors to the onslaught of babykilling sodomites, who in the absence of the law, have no knowledge of sin.

Jonathan O’Toole

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