“The currents of life are running deep—in bewildering confusion, in wild abandon to pleasure and lust, in commitment to demonic purpose, in yearning for redemption from lostness and guilt and weakness, and in searching quest for values that can survive nuclear chaos. The Gospel speaks to life like this, at the deepest and highest levels. But the most agonizing concern, the most daring thinking, and the most skillful portrayal of life seem to spring from sources unacquainted with the truth that makes men free. Here is a challenge to the Christian writer—to tell the good news so convincingly that there will be a new birth of faith and hope and love.” With this timely definition of the Christian writer’s task Dr. Clifton J. Allen, Editorial Secretary of The Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, recently convened the annual writers’ conference at Ridgecrest, North Carolina.

If the Spirit of God is creative and re-creative, should not Christian writing pioneer new motifs and patterns that impart new glory to the written word? For evangelicals a special theological connotation attaches to “the Word of God written”: the Living God has in-scribed his thoughts into the language of the sacred writers. Ought not this confidence, therefore, to challenge the evangelical writer in each generation to utilize language as the colorful marketplace of spiritual truths? If Christianity is a message for all people, for the masses—as indeed it is—each succeeding year brings greater responsibility to Christian writers for creative material that tackles life, in Dr. Allen’s phrase, “at the deepest and highest levels.”

Even the secular press currently voices a growing demand for something fresh and worthwhile.

Evaluating the 1961–62 ...

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