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not to forget
story in the Fall issue concerning the Holocaust (specifically the excerpt
from Elie Wiesel's book) brought back bitter memories to this TCU alumnus.
It was only a few hours after the liberation of Buchenwald concentration
camp that I was privileged to visit that horror place. In the Army Signal
Corps at the time, I had a camera and took pictures of the stacks of bodies
outside the crematory -- on the ground and on a truck.
pictures were enlarged many years ago and copies given to the Holocaust
museum in Washington, D.C., as well as the Dallas Memorial Center for
group of soldiers was fortunate to have a guided tour of the "facility"
by an inmate -- one Mr. Bernstein who was an English-speaking German-Jew.
Bernstein, who had been a chemist before the war, was assigned to work
in the hospital laboratory where prisoners were used as human guinea pigs
for various medical experiments.
inmates were infected with diseases like typhus and malaria and used to
test experimental drugs. Bernstein said his knowledge of chemistry saved
his life because he was able to detoxify some of the bodies and, he confided,
he practiced cannibalism to keep from starving.
known and seldom mentioned is the fact that many trainloads of prisoners
in the concentration camps (according to Bernstein) were killed and sent
to Nazi soap factories in Denmark where they were used to make this scarce
I viewed the collection Ilse Koch, the wife of the commandant of Buchenwald.
Her hobby was collecting tattoos. At intervals, the "witch" would wander
through the camp searching for interesting tattoos on the chests and arms
of the shirtless prisoners. If a tattoo appealed to her, she would order
the prisoner shot and she then made book covers, lamp shades, pocketbooks
and bags from this human tattooed skin.
Koch committed suicide in prison in September, 1967 after being institutionalized
for 20 years. This is only a brief sketch of some of the horrors of Buchenwald
viewed by this alumnus.
Mitchell Williams '49
on a ledge
cover photo in the Fall issue of Jim Peden and his 1-year-old daughter
Rachael demonstrating a cliff evacuation exercise in the Fall issue brought
back painful memories for my husband Fred '87 and I.
ago, we lost a dear friend in a mountain climbing accident in Estes Park,
Colorado. His wife and five- month-old son had to endure a three-day wait
while a search and rescue team located and air-lifted his body from the
rough terrain. Like Jim Peden, our friend was a "seasoned mountaineer."
a dangerous sport and paid for it with his life. As an adult, he had a
right to pursue his passions no matter how sad the consequences.
also has a right to pursue his interests, but he does not have the right
to endanger the life of his daughter. In this photo, Rachael Peden is
clearly in a dangerous predicament since she is hanging over a steep cliff.
I have no doubt that if something were to have gone wrong in this maneuver,
she would not be here with us today. I was also horrified at the thought
of her "traversing across a waterfall" at only six weeks of age.
position with the volunteer mountain rescue team of Middlebury, Vermont,
is surely one of great assistance. I applaud his efforts, but his daughter's
participation is unnecessary and certainly not voluntary.
the purpose of demonstration, a life-like doll could be just as effective.
To honor our friend and countless others who have lost their lives in
climbing accidents, I hope the Pedens will consider this safer option.
Oklahoma City, Okla.
We're pleased that so many readers in this issue and the previous one
felt strongly about Dr. Kenneth Cracknell's Summer issue article, "Questioning
Faith." Unfortunately, this will be the last issue we will accept letters
directly related to that article. You can be sure, however, we will examine
the issue of faith in future issues.
the Summer issue article, "Questioning Faith," Dr. Cracknell
isn't being honest with himself or others about what he teaches. It may
be many things, but it isn't remotely "Christian Theology."
Call it pluralism, pantheism, panentheism, polytheism or esoteric Gnosticism,
none of which Christ taught, and all of which the apostles defended against.
If he truly believes it to be Christian, he's right to be "questioning
displays alarming scriptural ignorance despite pastoral and academic background,
and uses unprofessional, selective methodology. I'm relieved to read objections
from other alumni and know I'm not alone in my concern. Much of his article
has already been answered by them, but I can't stay silent about his twisting
and manipulation of scripture. "Missionary work and loving service
is not the prerogative of the Christian Church alone," he proclaims;
who claimed it was?
declares that we attain heaven by faith in Christ, not good works, and
that works are an outgrowth of our relationship with Christ. It doesn't
claim exclusive rights to good works, but a difference in their source.
Christian theology doesn't "condemn the vast majority of humankind
to hell"; it offers the loving solution for a humanity that has already
condemned itself. Dr. Cracknell quotes the covenant with Noah, but only
as far as it supports his own ideas. God promised not to destroy humanity
again with a flood.
confuses all of humanity with either Israel or gentiles, and past present
times with end times, using extra-contextual, spiritualized redefinitions
of convenience, as in Hosea 11, Malachi 1, Isaiah 54, and Genesis 12:3
and related scriptures -- simply ignoring abundant Biblical distinctions.
He's not even creative in the ways he takes scripture out of context.
Testament does "unambiguously" declare that God wants all humans
to be saved ... and to know the truth. Not only did he conveniently leave
out verses 5 & 6 of 1 Timothy 2, but he didn't even finish quoting verse
4. Apparently it's too dicey to tackle the whole issue of truth and nontruth.
The "light that shines" among those of other faiths is the light
doesn't change having been created by God. Jesus was speaking to Jews
and Pharisees when he spoke of "sheep who are not of this fold."
He was referring to gentile believers who would "listen to his voice"
as the Jews were not doing. This passage in John 10 also asserts that
there will be one flock and one shepherd, and Christ identifies himself
as the shepherd. When contemporary thinkers talk about "the unknown
Christ" of Hinduism, or the "latent Christ" of the world
religions, they might also reread ancient Biblical warnings about false
Christs, false prophets, and false teachings.
Cracknell basically side-steps John 14:6 with vague referrals to larger
mystery concepts, so we can't address his mockery of Christian acceptance
of Jesus' words. But his reading of Ephesians 4:10 is, in his words, "ripped
from its context." Paul has just emphasized the fact that Christ
came down to earth, and is answering the rhetorical question of why: to
fill everything with his presence.
"down to earth" and becoming flesh, God through Jesus was able
to make a human payment for a human debt. That he "filled everything
with his presence," refers to the becoming of God of the one thing
he wasn't. God and his creation are separate things -- except in Christ,
where they meet. If, breaking with his usual practice, Dr. Cracknell would
read just a little further, he would find that Paul writes in Ephesians
4, "Then we will no longer be babies. We will not be tossed about
like a ship that the waves carry one way and then another. We will not
be influenced by every new teaching we hear from people who are trying
to fool us. They make plans and try every kind of trick to fool people
into following the wrong path. No! Speaking the truth in love, we will
grow up in every way into Christ, who is the head."
someone at TCU will balance what's taught to his students with an accurate
Biblical perspective and some healthy critical thinking, and that Dr.
Cracknell will one day stop trying to fool others and himself and grow
up in Christ.
Orth Boggs '91
since things first blew up in Iran in the early 1980s, we've learned
more and more about the maniacal zealots in the Middle East who start
(un) holy wars, commit murder, imprison, ostracize, persecute, and in
more ways than I can count simply condemn every single person they encounter
who doesn't hold the same religious beliefs that they do.
to find that there are so many equally intolerant and unkind fanatics
writing to the editor in the Fall issue concerning a subject about which
no living person has true and verifiable first-hand knowledge.
pompous and egotistical bigots actually believe that each of the billions
of people who have died and are going to die in the world's history that
didn't, don't and won't believe in the same religious doctrines as you
have gone or are going to go to eternal fiery damnation? Your senseless
pontifications astound me.
you believe them saddens me. That you live in the same world as I frightens
Dr. Craig Merrell '74
Cracknell sounds like he is true to his academic calling. Is there
any entity that is omnipotent and omniscient that cannot stand up against
questioning? When questioning is not permitted, then TCU would have to
close the departments of biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics.
at TCU where I learned to question everything until it was proven. How
many colleges at TCU use a text, or reference, that is nearly two thousand
"Could I use Scripture in a court of law?" Most of it is "hearsay"
and usually inadmissible.
would like to respond to the Summer 2000 article, "Questioning
Faith," by Dr. Kenneth Cracknell. As he said, we all know someone
who appears moral and honorable; however, Scripture teaches that no one,
except Jesus, is or was without sin (Romans 3:23).
have always been a minority and always will be. Throughout the Old and
New Testaments, God promises to save a remnant of Jews and Gentiles. (Universal
salvation is not taught in the Bible.)
of the Gospel is totally unique. Every religion, except Christianity,
tries to "reach up to God" with good words, rituals, dietary
laws, etc. Christianity represents God "reaching down to man."
(See Romans 3:21-26.) We are saved through God's grace only as we accept
Jesus as our savior by faith. (Salvation in some different way may be
"inclusive" and "politically correct," but it contradicts
covenant is hardly the greatest covenant in the Bible, but let's see what
it really says and not what Dr. Cracknell wants it to say. He picks part
of verse 9 to show it's everlasting and part of verse 10 to show that
it applies to all mankind.
are correct, but he says this means that God will never seek to destroy
man. The actual covenant is in verse 11, but he leaves it out to try to
prove his point that non-believers can be saved. The covenant declares
that God would never send a worldwide flood to destroy the earth again.
God does desire for all men to be saved, but he knows that not everyone
will accept, by faith, that Jesus paid our penalty for sin at Calvary.
took God's wrath upon himself that was intended for all mankind because
all have sinned (Romans 3:23). The verse from Malachi (1:11) says that
God will respond to believers of all nations who worship him. (See Isaiah
56:6-7.) Dr. Cracknell quotes Acts 10:35, but he does not say who is "acceptable
verse (10:36) identifies them as believers in Jesus Christ. If Dr. Cracknell
holds a view of "high" Christology, as he states, why does he
not accept Jesus as the "only way" to God?
was the "only one" who paid for our wickedness and depravity
through his death, burial and resurrection. (Mohammed and Buddha are still
in their graves!) The entire 14th chapter of John is teaching that Jesus
is the only way to God. (See John 14:6, Acts 4:12, Hebrews 10:19-20, 1
John 5:11-12, etc.) Along with Psalm 23, John 14:6 is always quoted at
a Christian's funeral. John writes that we have access to God only through
our acceptance of Jesus as savior.
may be "contemporary thinkers" who talk about an "unknown
or latent Christ" of world religions, but it is not taught in the
Old or New Testament.
John sums it up: "He who has the Son has life; he who does not have
the Son of God does not have life" (1 John 5:12).
how many non-Christians will be saved? Dr. Cracknells's "Christian
theology of religion" is not taught in the Old or New Testament.
His liberal belief system that God says "boys will be boys"
is not biblical.
a "good person," as judged by worldly standards, cannot get
anyone into heaven. "He who has the Son has life; he who does not
have the Son of God does not have life."
C. DeHart '60