Post: Readers Respond
"Enclosed is my check for renewal of my subscription to Pietisten. I've looked forward to each issue and have enjoyed reading every word — not that I 'get' it all, but what I get I like, and it takes me back to the days when I worked with that sort of thing all around me, many hours a day. I t does me good to think of the four of you working together in such a great publication. My copy has gotten around to several former seminarians who are here now and to a few ministers who never were in NPTS, but they appreciate it too.
"Keep up the good work!" Dorothy Johnson, Batavia, Illinois.
"You all are doing a terrific piece of work. Thanks for the good work. Hope the project prospers for a long time to come. I was so pleased to see Runar's [Runar Eldebo] article as lead in the current issue. We had talked a fair bit about his interests in eschatalogical theology the weekend he was out here before his trip to Minnesota. So I am particularly glad to have available his article on Ekman." Robert Dvorak, formerly of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, South Hamilton, Massachusetts, now of Winnetka, Illinois.
"Enclosed find my check for my subscription to Pietisten. enjoy it very much but would be the first to say some of it is pretty heavy for me. But with the aid of my Bible and a copy of Websters I am able to get a lot out of it. I enjoy Waldenström no end. He must have been a terrific man." Isaac Leyden, Haddam Neck, Connecticut.
"The reason I am glad that I get your magazine is that it makes me read the Bible which I am not always sure that you do." Reginald Johnson, Vandalia, Illinois.
"Thank you for the recent issue of Pietisten. I have tucked it away in my brief case for air travel review (one of the few spots I get for personal reading and reflection).
"...I am greatly encouraged by this year's experience at North Park. I see much that is impressive here and much opportunity for enhancement in the near future.
"While the pace has been predictably hectic, I do look forward to learning more of and growing from the deep pietistic roots of the school and the denomination. Reading Pietisten should help in this regard. I also noted in the issue the reference to the meeting of the North Park Philosophy Academy. It would be fun (as a former philosophy undergraduate and graduate student) to attend a meeting of the Academy — perhaps at next year's Homecoming." David Horner, Chicago, Illinois.
"I stand rebuked. "A Reporter's Day Off" nicely knocked down the issue of Greek as an indispensable prerequisite to biblical exegesis. I do have a parting shot: Michelangelo's statue of Moses. From the church fathers down to the 18th century, the great commentators translated the ray of light emanating from Moses' head as horns. It seems that horn and ray have the same word in Hebrew. Hence Michelangelo's Moses has horns.
"Sandstrom's "Magnificat/Genealogy" was an interesting attempt. It might have helped the author to have read a bit more in historical anthropology. In Jewish tradition, virginity is a very practical question; producing a bastard was very serious business. Mary carried a stigma that local society probably never let her forget. If Luke is preoccupied with the virgin birth and genealogy, I can well understand it. Tradition says that he received most of his info from Mary. She would be preoccupied with white-washing an event that family and friends all knew, whispered and probably joked about. Luke was writing to the literate, hellenized Jews of northern Palestine (as opposed to that hashish - smoking Hamilton, man - of - the - people, John), a very prickly bunch it would seem. Demanding, too, Joseph was a cuckold and nothing could prove the contrary, in practical terms. Can you imagine telling the local boys: "God did it."?
"The fact that Mary accompanied Joseph on a grueling trip to Bethlehem that was totally unnecessary (the census required only the male head) and that they stayed so long, may well have been nothing more than to silence tongues at home.
"Sandstrom's distinction of virgin birth vs human parentage is really a non-starter. Do you recall the exact moment your wife conceived? Most couples have more on their minds.... Why should we ask more of Joseph'? I see no theological contradiction between the idea of Joseph and Mary getting it on before during and after the virgin birth!
"If I might be allowed a sweeping generalization, Nordic theology's questions and preoccupations seem more culturally bound than theologically profound. A very good exercise for Mr. Sandstrom and Co. might be to get hold of some of the modern folk songs of Greece on the subject of the virgin birth. Georges Moustakis has translated and sings two, in French. They leave no stone unturned about what Joseph did and did not do and the very thin, gray line between the two." Robert Thompson, Geneva, Switzerland.
"I don't think I've ever really expressed my appreciation of Pietisten. If not let me do so now.
"Not the least interesting reading in your quarterly are the letters from other readers. It was good to "hear" Carl Blomgren again (Vol. II, No.3). Of the seven points he lists for coming up short in the suffering department I will argue only with number two, that is that he lacks the character to suffer. I won't argue about the faith or lack of it. Only he can know about that. But character is something discernible from outside, I believe, and I can't see that he lacks it.
"I would like a copy of Vol. II, No. 2. If you have a spare would appreciate your sending it to me as it seems to contain an article by Zenos Hawkinson, according to Robert Thompson of Geneva, Switzerland. And speaking of Robert Thompson, when will you get him to write a full article for the quarterly? Judging from his letters, he seems to have some style.
" 'The Eschatological Dilemma: A Study of Some Problems in the Eschatology of Erik Jacob Ekman', by Runar Eldebo, was well worth the time of reading — a fine article.
"Eldebo's and Karl Barth's concern over the sovereignty of God mystifies me. How does universal forgiveness hogtie God? When I think of Augusto Pinochet of Chile and Roberto D'Aubisson of El Salvador — to name just two — I am tempted to desire that eternal Hell-fire be their reward. But when I consider that their cruel oppression is measured by time, the temptation flees. How can I think of a God more cruel than they?
"It would be a nice addition to Pietisten if you'd include section on how to obtain such books as Ekman's, The Fullness of the Gospel. I haven't had much time to get to the library, but I somehow doubt that that book will be found there.
"The poems in your last issue were fine.... As Carl would say, 'I've suffered this letter long enuf.' " Dennis Jones, Princeton, Minnesota.