Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
November 5, 1953

The Overflow

F. Y. T.

Two more weeks After delays of two years or more we can set a definite date for the beginning of the Dunne - Pickup discussion. Professor Dunne has been having (and is apparently still having) some rather serious trouble with his superiors about the debate. Everything he writes has to go through "channels," to be censored and approved. We now have in our possession from him however material for three articles, together with the responses from Brother Pickup. We will begin publication of the material in the issue of November 19th. It is possible that the priest may be able to get other material released from his censors by that time; and if so, we will run his rebuttal arguments along with Pickup's replies in consecutive issues.

Dismissal prayer The visiting preacher (in this case, ye editor) had just preached a sermon on "The Sin Against the Holy Spirit." Being called upon to dismiss the audience, one of the local brethren prayed, "0 Lord, help each and every one of us to go out and put this lesson into practice in our daily lives."

Giving thanks It happened in a Tennessee town where the church is large. One of the leading attorneys of the city, a member of the church for a long time, was called upon to lead in the expression of thanks for the bread at the Lord's table. In the hushed silence of the quiet moment his voice boomed out like a calliope: "God is great; God is good. Father, we thank thee for this food. Amen."

Thanks for everything!

We've carried articles in recent issues on "Giving Thanks For the Giving." One of our readers suggests that there are usually considered to be five items in our Lord's Day worship: Singing, teaching or exhortation, praying, the Lord's Supper, and the contribution. He proposes that all the congregations now initiate the practice of having a brief prayer of thanksgiving (1) before the singing — to thank God for the privilege of singing; (2) before the prayer — to thank God for the privilege of praying to Him; (3) before the teaching — to thank God for the gospel; (4) at the Lord's table, following the example of Christ; (5) before the contribution — to thank God for the privilege of giving! In support of his proposal he cites Paul's admonition that we are to "Pray without ceasing." No comment.

A working church Brother Jack McAmis of Kannapolis, North Carolina, tells us that the Kannapolis congregation is a 100 percent "working" church — some of them work for the Lord; the rest for the devil.

We're neither!

One of the techniques of Catholicism is to try to line up the whole world as being either pro-Communism or pro-Catholicism. If one is anti-Catholic, the hierarchy immediately tries to smear him with the label of Communism. We couldn't help thinking of that when we read Roy Cogdill's fine article (see front page) on "The Truth Between Extremes." The Gospel Guardian is neither "Sommerite" nor is she a "school in the church budget" factionist. Both extremes have tried to smear us as being one or the other. But read the article . . Cogdill says it better than anybody else can.

Sign of the fish Early Christian literature has many veiled references to the "sign of the fish." Probably the odd symbol grew out of the necessity for secret meetings during the time when the church was suffering persecution. And why the "fish"? Well, the Greek word for fish is "ixthus," which are the initial letters for "Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Savior." It is as follows: "I," the initial letter for "Jesus" (the Greek alphabet has no "j" and uses "i" instead); "X," the first letter for "Xristos" or Christ; "TH" the initial letters of "Theou" meaning "of God": "U" stands for "uios" meaning son; and the "S" is for "soter," which means Savior. The references are not clear, and the interpretation may be fanciful; but most students give the above as the probable meaning of the fish symbol.

Lincoln's rule

"If I were to read, much less answer all the attacks made on me, this shop might as well be closed for any other business. I do the very best I know how, the very best I can and I mean to keep on doing so until the end. If the end brings me out all right, what is said against me won't amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, then angels swearing I was right would make no difference." — Abraham Lincoln

He got the "call"

When "Raccoon" John Smith was growing up, he had an intense desire to preach; but struggled in vain to get the "call" which in those days was supposed to be both indispensable and miraculous. One day as Smith was going through a pasture a vicious bull charged down upon him, bellowing and bawling. Caught squarely between the horns of the raging beast, Smith said to himself, "If the Lord should be with me in this extremity, and deliver me out of this trouble, I will know assuredly He wants me to preach, and I will no longer scruple to be ordained." Well, the Lord delivered him all right, and Smith became a preacher. From some of the pulpiteering we've heard in recent years we opine Brother "Raccoon" John was not the last preacher in the world to become somewhat confused between a gospel call and a lot of bull.

Tetzel's troubles One of the most amusing stories out of the religious life of the middle ages has to do with John Tetzel, the Dominican monk who was so infamous for his sale of indulgences in Germany and Holland, and whose excesses in this respect really triggered Luther's reformation. Tetzel exploited the popular ignorance and superstition to the point of actually selling what amounted to licenses to commit crime without incurring guilt. A certain Teutonic knight paid him a tidy sum for an "indulgence" to forgive him the guilt of a robbery which he was contemplating. That very night the indulgence purchaser set upon Tetzel, cuffed him unmercifully, and seized the fat money-bag the monk was carrying. When Tetzel cried out in protest, the robber boastfully pulled out his "indulgence" and showed Tetzel his own signature guaranteeing the right to commit this robbery without guilt! The eminent church historian, Schaff, declares this story was widely circulated in Tetzel's own lifetime, and that it is quite probably an actual happening.