Comments on an Evangelical Institute

The Sons Of Light

If you ever go from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Atchison, Kansas, you will drive through part of the rich Missouri Valley, formed eons ago when the wandering Missouri laid down layers of good topsoil for miles around. And if you should happen to be there for the sunset, you will see some of the most beautiful scenes this country has to offer and your soul will be at peace.

To my left a long freight train met and passed me, and because of the habit of years I counted the cars. There were more than a hundred. I thought again of the riches of this great land and of whatever the gimmicks are that hold our system together. To my right a man on a tractor was working his fields, with the tractor lights on. Farmers don’t worry so much any more about the wind and the weather, because they can work night and day when they have to. Someone on the radio informed me that 2,000 fingerlings had just been dumped into several of the lakes in the northeast corner of Iowa. He went on to report that last year 32,000 fishing licenses had been issued in Iowa, and that considering one thing and another the people interested in this sort of thing had figured out that every fisherman caught 3.4 fish. This is a little high, even for my own lifetime average.

I stopped for something to eat in a diner in Atchison, mostly to find out where I was and where the church was where I was supposed to speak at a dinner meeting. As I ate I listened to a man standing by one of the tables tell the three people there and the rest of us in the restaurant about his son-in-law, who had been to Japan, the Philippines, and all the islands of the South Pacific. As frequently happens in such situations, I was depressed to think of all the preparation I had put into my speech when so many other people were interested in so many other things and not at all in what I was about to say. So I went to the dinner and spoke to forty men about the new Presbyterian confession. They hung on my every word, I am sure, but before and after my speech the conversation was about politics, farming, and athletics. Oh yes, they tell me that every fourteen seconds somebody buys a new Ford!


Enthusiasm For The Institute

I am intrigued with your idea.… Many of the faculty of even a large state university still have interests and concerns for evangelical Christianity. On our campus we have learned that an institute can develop tremendous new thrusts in a particular discipline. I am confident that the proposed Institute of Advanced Christian Studies with an interdenominational base but dedicated to the study and advancement of evangelical Christianity could be a tremendous force in overcoming the “watering down” of Christianity which has been taking place throughout the Christian society and even in many of our church-supported universities. May God grant the development of such an institute.…

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Educational Administration

and Facilities Unit

The Ohio State University

Columbus, Ohio

Your current editorial suggesting an Institute of Advanced Christian Studies (May 13 issue) is a most encouraging proposal and would fill a real need.… As to location of the institute, I think there could be no better place than the Boston area. Besides the finest libraries, I think the climate of the academic world is both stimulating and tolerant, and the attitude towards visiting scholars receptive.…


Professor of Zoology

North Dakota State University

Fargo, N. D.

Let me take this opportunity of assuring you of my genuine enthusiasm for the project—a really splendid idea!


Columbia Theological Seminary

Decatur, Ga.

You are to be commended for your proposal.… The objectives of the institute highlight the major reasons why a Christian university is needed and could very well be a vital complementary activity.



Wheaton College

Wheaton, III.

The editorial “A Proposal for Evangelical Advance” (May 13 issue) focuses one of the great needs of the faith in our time. The prevailing views and teachings of an age are the reflections of what a very few intellectual leaders have set forth in seminal literary works. While the Christian faith is more than the process of intellectual activity, biblical theism is still a far more rational and intellectually acceptable answer to the dilemmas of man and the universe than are the fashionable ideologies of our era. When top Christian scholars produce systematic and comprehensive works that are convincing to other top scholars that perhaps the biblical way of thinking has arrived at some of the right answers after all, then will we begin to see basic changes made. In this far-ranging endeavor we must have works on man and his faith, his society, his family, his education.

CHRISTANITY TODAY is a shining example itself of how the filling of a real need in these high levels of thought leadership causes ever-widening circles of influence to radiate. Now one of the imperative needs is in the academic field and for a new Christian Institutes to be hammered out by the finest Christian thinkers.

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Would not a location in northern Virginia not far from Washington with the Library of Congress and the University of Maryland be a good one for the Institute of Advanced Christian Studies and the later university? (The influential University of Virginia would not be far distant either.)


Memphis, Tenn.

As a member of the faculty in the department of philosophy of a secular college, I welcome your proposal and hope it will bear fruit.…

The libraries of secular colleges and universities are virtually devoid of defenses of the conservative Protestant position.…


La Mesa, Calif.

One Race

My heart sang with great joy this morning as I read “One Race, One Gospel, One Task” in the April 29 issue.… It is the declaration the world needs today for all who name the name of the Lord Jesus—and especially in the light of the purposeful design of the enemies of the Gospel to destroy its impact in the churches and in the world.… I would like to purchase 100 extra copies of this article.…


Executive Secretary Emeritus

Southern Baptist General

Convention of California

El Cajon, Calif.

You have a wonderful issue.… But you defeat your purpose in “One Race, One Gospel, One Task.” Your cry “One Race” is the most dastardly kind of racism! When will you let God be God? He created men of different races.… Racism is wrong, yes! Yours, too! Think about it!…


Boligee Presbyterian Church

Boligee, Ala.

Sunday School Days

Your brief statement, “Sunday School on Monday” (News, April 15 issue), was apparently written from partially misinformed sources.

Our board is in the process of redesigning the church’s educational services and printed resources. Your reference to upgraded teacher preparation, more substantive material introduced at an early age, and the like is a correct interpretation. However, in none of our working papers have we advocated the elimination of the Sunday (church) school. This would be (1) inappropriate on our part, since in the Presbyterian system a church session decides what its educational program should be; and (2) our strategy calls for more of almost everything now employed in the Church’s educational arsenal. This includes more time, not less, in which members of the Christian community may develop the abilities they must have in carrying forward the mission and ministry of the Church.

One hour on Sunday has never been an adequate response to the educational need in the Church. For too long we have been expecting too much from too little! Our board feels that church education in the future must be geared to a more inclusive time-event strategy. This need and our emphasis at this point in history is on addition—not on subtraction.

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Assistant General Secretary

Board of Christian Education

United Presbyterian Church

Philadelphia, Pa.

• Our report was taken from usually reliable news sources, which in this case erred.—ED.

We Want More!

Accept our thanks for the article (Apr. 15 issue) “Preach, Pastor!” by Harold R. Crasser. Please give us more of this type of message.…


Hartland Baptist

Middleport, N. Y.

It stirred the coals of my soul.


First Baptist Church

Navasota, Tex.

Hawks Vs. Doves

Let me commend you for the fine editorial on “The Church and the Viet Nam-Bound Soldier” (May 13 issue). With some 3,500 servicemen on our own denominational roster, we find it a real task to keep local churches interested in maintaining contact with our servicemen.



The Servicemen’s Department

Free Methodist Church

Winona Lake, Ind.

“The Church and the Viet Nam-Bound Soldier” is about the most heathen statement you have made. Are you encouraging ministers to becloud the Word when it says “Thou shalt not kill”?…


Leola, Pa.

Your editorial speaks to a most timely question. I trust that the Church will begin to exercise her responsibility to her young men.…

Not only must our young men be brought to face the implication of “Thou shalt not kill” for the Viet Nam situation, as you suggest; they must also face up to the requirements of our Lord’s command, “Love your enemy” (even if one feels called to kill Viet Cong soldiers).… While we do have the responsibility to encourage our young men to serve in the military only in a way consistent with biblical injunctions, we must not hush up our criticism of a military conflict which is being waged immorally, illegally, and futilely.…


Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship

Lawrence, Kan.

Ramsey No ‘Artful Dodger’

Dr. Douglas (News, April 15 issue) has quite misrepresented the Archbishop of Canterbury’s comments on his Vatican visit. Almost every statement of the specific paragraph is typical of journalistic half-truth.

It is quite unfair to label Dr. Ramsey an “artful dodger.” His replies to questions were what many in England have come to expect from most respectable diplomats. The archbishop made it very clear that, since the pope is a head of state, arrangements for a visit by the supreme pontiff do not therefore lie in ecclesiastical hands.

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Nor did Dr. Ramsey “duck” questions on infallibility. He very wisely pointed out that Catholics themselves do not seem to agree with regard to the meaning of this term. Still less did Kenneth Harris (the TV interviewer) understand its meaning—and who knows, still less (apparently) Dr. Douglas!



Faith and Thought

London, England


In my article, “The Teacher of Righteousness from Qumran and Jesus of Nazareth” (May 13 issue), the omission of the phrase “Allegro concludes that” in the paragraph on The Nahum Commentary reverses the sense I intended. The sentence with the omitted phrase italicized is as follows: “Although the Teacher of Righteousness is not explicitly mentioned, as the enemy of the Wicked High Priest, Allegro concludes that he was one of those who were crucified.”

The point of the matter is that Allegro has read into the text what is not there. For the reasons which led him to do so, one should consult his article, “Further Light on the History of the Qumran Sect,” Journal of Biblical Literature, 75 (1956), 89–95.…


History Dept.

Rutgers—The State University

New Brunswick, N. J.

Clearing Up The Mystery

The review of the revised edition of my The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings (April 15 issue) contains a number of inaccuracies that are in need of correction. First the statement, “The revision was so minor, incidentally, that the author makes no mention of it in his introduction.” On page xii of the new preface are three paragraphs, each dealing with an item of considerable import dealt with in chapters six, nine, and ten.

A comparison of the new edition with the old would have revealed many new items all the way through. Scarcely to be escaped are sixteen charts of the kings presenting the vital yearly details of each reign, these taking the place of the single chart in the first edition; there would have been found over forty new tables and graphs greatly clarifying the presentation; in chapter six is found my new view of the Azariah-Menahem section of the annals of Tiglath-pileser III with a map of that period, etc., etc.

The statement of the reviewer [Dr. Gleason Archer] that I said only that “no evidence has been forthcoming that has given me cause to change my views on any item of major importance” is misleading in that it has been lifted from its specific application and has been made to apply to the entire field. What I was dealing with in that connection was my chronological conclusions, which happily were in no need of major revision. To take so localized a statement and make it cover the whole field is to make me say something I did not say and which is not true. Actually the fifteen years since the publication of the first edition have been highly fruitful in progress toward a clearer understanding of many of the perplexing problems involved.

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Yet again, Archer’s charge that I have heaped “very severe judgment upon all and sundry critics” of my work is hardly in accord with the facts. I owe much to the many observations and criticisms that have come to me, and so stated when I mentioned “the benefits of the reactions” from “scholars around the world” which I have followed “with much of interest and profit.”

Instead of pronouncing “severe judgment upon all and sundry,” my remarks quoted by Archer were directed to the limited few standing at opposite ends of the spectrum who base their conclusions on “an a priori bias.” On the one hand are those who feel that the chronological data of Kings cannot possibly be as accurate as my work has shown them to be, and on the other hand are the few who regard as altogether inerrant a volume in which I admit certain slight imperfections due to the fallacies of human hands. Fortunately those in these categories constitute a small minority rather than the large majority, and such was plainly stated. When in my preface I twice referred to the “few” thus involved in raising their “few voices of dissent,” only to have it misinterpreted by Archer as my pronouncing “severe judgment upon all and sundry,” is neither accurate nor fair.

The point I was endeavoring to make in that connection was the difficulty of coming to sound conclusions when evidence is molded to fit predetermined judgments rather than allowing assessments to be shaped by the weight of evidence. The development of Archer’s argument in favor of the accuracy of the synchronisms of Second Kings 17 and 18 is a good example of what I had reference to. It is my view that those synchronisms reveal a chronological pattern some twelve or thirteen years out of line with the other chronological data of that period and with the historical requirements of the times.

To support his view of a biblical pattern with a 728 date for Hezekiah as against my view of a 715 date, Archer finds it necessary by means of “textual emendation” to deny the accuracy of the synchronism of Second Kings 18:13 of Hezekiah’s “fourteenth” year and to substitute for it a “twenty-four” of his own invention, and to make an additional accommodation of three years in order to complete the thirteen years involved by reducing the year of Hezekiah from his 728 to 725. An emendation of fourteen to twenty-four in Second Kings 18:13 would, however, require another emendation in Isaiah 36:1, where the same synchronism of Hezekiah’s fourteenth year for Sennacherib’s campaign is found. Why the synchronisms of Second Kings 17 and 18 should be any more inerrant than those of Second Kings 18:13 and Isaiah 36:1 he does not explain. Neither does he provide any biblical evidence as to how his date of 728 instead of my 715 is secured. The only biblical date for Hezekiah is 715, not 728, and to secure a date of 728 he must forsake the biblical positions of the reigns of Jotham, Pekah, and Hoshea and turn to Assyria for the dates of those kings. Actually, in this endeavor to provide support for a 728 date as against my date of 716/15 Archer has unwittingly acknowledged the existence of the two biblical chronological patterns some twelve or thirteen years apart.

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Would not a more careful evaluation of the details of my volume as a whole have provided a fairer picture and a better review than this presentation so largely concerned with an attempt to set forth his reasons for 728 as against my 715?


Berrien Springs, Mich.

I conceive it to be a prime responsibility of any reviewer to take special note of the main issues raised by any book which he undertakes to review. Certainly the question of the beginning of Hezekiah’s reign was the principal issue raised by the author, both in the first edition and in the second. For this reason I devoted the greater portion of my comments to this much discussed and difficult question.

For two reasons the commencement of Hezekiah’s reign was the main matter for discussion. First, because it was the principal area of deviation from the earlier chronologies worked out by such conservative predecessors as the Fourth Edition of Davis’s Dictionary of the Bible. For the most part, except for occasional shifts of two or three years, Thiele comes out to substantially the same results, although with many refinements and improvements in detail. Secondly, because it represents a deviation from Dr. Thiele’s own presupposition of unfailing accuracy in the biblical authors for him to concede that in this one instance the original Hebrew record was in error by a margin of thirteen or fourteen years. The question cannot be suppressed: if the original manuscript of 2 Kings 18:13 contained so gross an error, what assurance do we have that he may not have erred in regard to the extent of Pekah’s reign (an apparently contradictory set of statements which Thiele very ably cleared up in his discussion). In other words, if this one passage (and its parallel in Isa. 36:1) was in error, then all of the rest of Thiele’s work is undermined. No other chronological statement in Kings can be regarded as completely beyond suspicion.

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Despite misgivings about the textual emandation proposed in my review, I still feel that it does clear up the apparent discrepancies quite satisfactorily.…


Prof. of Old Testament

Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

Deerfield, Ill.

It is regrettable that disagreement must be expressed with both Dr. Thiele’s construction and Dr. Archer’s reconstruction of the dates for these kings, for most pertinent data is neglected by both. This is the reference in Second Kings 16:1 to Ahaz’s first year and this twelfth year in Second Kings 17:1, the latter working out only four years after his first. This is impossible.

Over a year ago I read at the midwest section of the Evangelical Theological Society my solution to this problem. It is now shortly to be published in the ETS Bulletin.…

The solution has commended itself to a number of my colleagues, and it has the advantage of taking the dates as they are and omits altering the text in any way.


St. Louis, Mo.

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