Dear Mr. And Mrs. America:

The American phenomenon of gospel show business is on the wane, but it’s far from dead. Converted motion-picture actors, television personalities, and rock ’n roll singers (like Dick Van Dyke, Pat Boone, Cliff Richard) are still frequently stellar attractions at Christian mass meetings. A recent San Francisco Youth for Christ rally featuring Miss America of 1965, Vonda Kay Van Dyke, is a vivid case.

After a preliminary Soupy Sales-type pie-in-the-face fun fest, rally director Guy Rowe introduced the teen-age YFC King and Queen who brought on The Celebrity Herself. The curtains parted revealing the former Miss America seated in regal splendor on an elevated golden throne in the midst of four majestic columns topped by the banner: “Vonda Kay Van Dyke.” Hair beautifully coiffed high on her head and wearing a discreet filmy, flowing rose gown, Miss Van Dyke gracefully descended to down center stage to receive a bouquet of roses. Regrettably, Bert Parks wasn’t present to sing you-know-what.

The beauty, charm, and talent of Miss Van Dyke (now a real-life Mrs.) showed why she was chosen both Miss Congeniality and Miss America. A fifteen minute routine with her dummy, “Kurly-Q,” displayed her versatility as a ventriloquist (which will soon land her guest shots on network television). Her bright personality, humorous “dialogue,” and sweet singing made a smash hit with the clean-cut, unhippie teenagers in the audience of 400 (or evangelistically speaking, 600).

Then Vonda gave a direct statement of her personal commitment to Christ. She recounted experiences and rewards of being Miss America—travel, appearances, friendships, a scholarship, a car, and a $10,000 wardrobe (at which teenyboppers audibly sighed). But she stressed that life without Christ, like the broken Miss America crown she one day found in her suitcase, has no lasting value. After her heartfelt testimony, twenty-five young people came forward for spiritual counsel.

The Christian Church need not look to entertainment-world celebrities and elaborate productions as means of making Christ known. But we certainly can use more vibrant witnesses like Miss Van Dyke. Despite the unnecessary show business trappings, beautiful Vonda really rang the bell.

A Beast who loves Beauties,

The Pulse Of Youth

Thanks and a vote of admiration to David E. Kucharsky for putting his finger on the pulse of American youth (“A Case for the Young,” Oct. 11). Thousands of younger Christians, who have experienced something amounting to consternation over older Christian positions held by many in an inconsistant way, will also thank him. The point that age is no criterion for either creativity or responsible thinking was particularly appreciated.

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Professor of Church History and Theology

Toccoa Falls Institute

Toccoa Falls, Ga.

Brother Kucharsky is just like the friends of Job and about as wise, practical, and helpful as they were. He is typical of … all those seeking to condone lawlessness and justify young people in their revolt against God and country, home and church, grace and truth.…

We have a generation of spoiled, unspanked, irreligious, unconverted, ignorant, brainwashed idiots.… It is not going to help by telling them … that they have the right to rule the church, the home, the school. They are not mature, not qualified, not ready to take over. It is time for them to learn a few manners, a little respect, and a little decency, modesty, virtue, manhood, womanhood, and a little Christianity. God have mercy on pagan parents and their creeps.

Edgewood Church

Puyallup, Wash.

I … especially enjoy (and agree with) “A Case for the Young.” Along this line I witnessed the following incident in the downtown section of Portland, Oregon, today.

An old crippled man was crossing the street when the light changed and caught him out in the middle. Of course the auto horns started blasting at the poor old man who could hardly hobble along. A “hippie” (with long hair, etc., and barefooted) jumped off the curb, ran out to the old man and took his arm and helped him across—neither paying any attention to the horns.

Portland, Ore.

Prayer And ‘Inspiration’

W. C. Robinson’s “The Inspiration of Holy Scripture” (Oct. 11) is a literal answer to prayer as I begin the year leading a senior high Sunday school group in studying Christian Credo. I thank the Lord for the way he uses your magazine to enrich the lives and make more efficient the service of lay-workers such as myself.

Thibodaux, La.

No Joke

Looking through your October 11 issue, I came across the cartoon. If that is not the lowest down blasphemy against God Almighty and the Lord Jesus Christ, I’d like to know just what you call it.… This “joke” may be pleasing to people, that is some people, but if that is the reason it is there, then the person who put it there is certainly not a servant of Christ.


Hauge Foreign Mission Inc.

St. Petersburg, Fla.

The Bible And Modern English

From the Bible translation articles in your September 27 issue, one gets the impression that the new translation is but a reaction to the RSV. This is far from the case. It is primarily an honest effort by those who hold a high view of Scripture to do their very best to give to English readers a faithful translation of the best-attested text on the basis of extant Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek manuscripts. The position paper setting forth the purposes does not single out any existing translation for a “naughty boy” spanking.…

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A special goal of the translators is that of putting God’s Word into today’s language. This the RSV did not do, nor are the KJV, ASV and NASB in modern English. Instead, they follow the Tyndale tradition, which represents the English of another day. But if we want the Bible to span the generation gap, and if we want it to speak to the unchurched, we must use contemporary English, and that is what is being done.

One further point. We read: “Could not the thousands … of man hours to be spent on this new version be better invested elsewhere?” One has only to get involved in such a project to find the answer. There is no more important task in all the world than to study the Scriptures with the diligence necessary to convey their thoughts accurately in another language and at the same time to make God’s eternal truth available to modern man in language through which the Holy Spirit may minister to him God’s saving grace.

Professor of Biblical Languages and Exegesis

Gordon Divinity School

Wenham, Mass.

Dr. Hardwick’s defense of the RSV seems strange in view of its many deficiencies.… The RSV is woefully inadequate and has improved very little the rendering of enigmatic passages in the Hebrew; many mistakes of the KJV were still contained in the RSV. Despite the admirable attempt to use information from Qumran and other new sources, the RSV repeatedly failed to make use of new lexical knowledge such as that from Ugarit (cf. Dahood’s translation of Psalms in the Anchor Bible).

Dr. Harris is quite right when he says “It is too much to hope for a translation to satisfy all scholars … But no effort should be spared to achieve for our day something of what the KJV translators did for theirs.” Despite the new translations present and forthcoming, there is nothing I know of that corresponds to the scope of the evangelical translation project.

Assistant Professor of Old Testament

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

Fort Worth, Tex.

I want to applaud the article by Stanley Hardwick.… He faces the problem of biblical translation, interpretation, and theology squarely.

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Philadelphia, Pa.

R. Laird Harris’s case for a new evangelical Bible translation seems unfortunately to rest upon the erroneous view that the RSV was produced by a conspiracy of leftist scholars dedicated to the overthrow of the historic biblical faith, thereby highly inaccurate. He proposes, of course, what would amount to a translation equally inaccurate and biased—only in a different direction.

The “critical” (thank goodness) RSV translators were competent scholars and honest, accurate translators skilled in textual criticism. By contrast, few evangelicals even know well the six or seven languages, let alone the lower critical methodology and orthographic-paleographic techniques necessary for Old Testament text work. Textual study and translation should always be left to the best scholars—not to well-meaning but unqualified men, whether liberal or conservative.

His comments on the “thirty conjectured text alterations” in Isaiah now supposedly invalidated by the Dead Sea Scrolls show a lack of text-critical sophistication.… The thirty text problems … are also text problems in the Dead Sea Scrolls—they just don’t make sense as they are, and should be emended.

If the Holy Spirit inspired Isaiah to say “girl” (’almah) instead of “virgin” (bethulah), which he surely did, evangelical scholars should assume he knew what he was doing and not force their New Testament-informed views, post facto, on the eighth century prophet.

Cambridge, Mass.

I must take exception with both articles.… The criterion for determining whether or not a new version is needed should be … the need of English-speaking people compared with the needs of the rest of the world. We American evangelicals have become Bible gluttons, surrounding ourselves with version upon version, while half the world has yet to read a solitary Bible verse. If we were filled with the love for others mentioned so often in the New Testament, we would propagate the Word of God throughout the world in all languages.

Canton, Ohio

“Do Evangelicals Need a New Translation?” Having used and loved the KJV throughout my lifetime, and having memorized many eloquent portions, my answer is a definite, “NO!”


Hutchinson, Kans.

Creation And ‘Campus’

I protest the faulty theology in Dr. Taylor’s article, “Christian Opportunity on the Secular Campus” (Sept. 27).

Such statements as “we Christians cooperate with God in creation” and “[God’s] lack of freedom in changing the ground rules once he started” seem to me to be in serious conflict with Christian doctrines of the finished work of creation and the complete sovereignty of God in his creation.…

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Of course, Christians have excellent opportunities to witness on the secular campus. But I think that an integral and fundamental part of that witness is to challenge the presuppositions on which the concept of a secular campus rests, such as the ultimacy of academic freedom and the liberty of the mind not captive to Christ.

Assistant Professor and Documents Librarian

West Chester State College

West Chester, Pa.

A Matter Of Conscience

Our Canadian bishops are asking their priests protesting the birth control issue to examine their consciences. After reading your editorial, “Widening Crack in the Wall of Catholicism” (Sept. 27) I would like to suggest the same to its author.… Is this response to Catholicism dictated by the Bible and Christ, by evangelical principles? Or, is it your feelings about Catholicism?

St. Patrick Church

Kankakee, Ill.

I’m afraid that I cannot share CHRISTIANITY TODAY’S sympathy for the Roman Catholic priests who are protesting and dissenting from the pope’s birth control encyclical. It is the same, sad old tale of persons who want to be something (in this case, Roman Catholic priests) but are unwilling to take what goes with it. The fact that the pope’s encyclical is unbiblical and even anti-biblical does not change the illegitimacy of their protest. They bought a train ticket, now let them either ride the train to its destination or get off the train completely.

Grace Lutheran Church

Smithville, Tex.

The hang-up comes in the use of the word “infallible” in dealing with matters of faith and morals. Sola scripturais as frail a reed as sola papa.… What faith is required when assent is demanded in a Book which, or a pope who, cannot possibly be wrong? This is not faith, it is credulity.

The Chapel of the Ascension

Lexington Park, Md.

Shock Gimmicks

Regarding Eutychus Ill’s “Prudes about Nudes” (Sept. 27): what is so outlandish about using gimmicks to shock a decadent and deaf generation into reality? Have you not read Ezekiel 4:12–15? Have you not read of David’s “dancing before the Lord with all his might.” … Also, 1 Samuel 19:24 says of Saul, “and he stripped off his clothes also, and prophesied before Samuel in like manner and lay down naked all day and all night.” … Maybe the Lord is speaking to a group who are willing to obey at the risk of reputation and job.

Greeley, Colo.

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Evangelical Influence

My attention has been drawn to a paragraph in “World Council and Evangelical Renewal” (Editorial, Aug. 30) which asks about evangelicals on the Faith and Order Commission. The paragraph implies from the special meeting with the conservative evangelicals held at Bossey after Uppsala, “that the Council’s position is still that it wants evangelicals to serve its interests but not to influence it.”

I know you will be glad to know that this inference is not justified.… Long before any Roman Catholics were appointed to the Faith and Order Commission there were members who were certainly conservative evangelicals. The present membership includes Professor Dale Moody of the Southern Baptist Convention, Dr. Earl Hilgert of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the Rev. E. Chavez Campos and the Rev. Daniel Palma of the Pentecostal Church of Chile. There are also not a few from member churches who would rightly be considered conservative evangelical. One is Dean Nam Dong Suh of the Presbyterian Church of the Republic of Korea and another the Rev. Principal C.S. Song of the Presbyterian Church of Formosa.

Executive Secretary

The United States Conference

World Council of Churches

New York, N.Y.

Social Direction

It is with great pleasure that I read [your] articles related to the Church and all its facets, as well as social concerns.… As an evangelical myself, I deeply appreciate the editorials which give clear direction as to the social trends of our day.

Mennonite Brethren Church

Dinuba, Calif.

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