It is with great pleasure that I announce the inauguration of the Eutychus V religious book award program. The program is designed to upgrade the quality of contemporary religious books.

The staggering dimensions of the problem came to me on a recent visit to the offices of CHRISTIANITY TODAY when I took a look at the shelves that house book rejects.

What can I do, I asked myself, to improve the quality of religious books offered on the market? My first idea was to cut off all the fingers of the religious book writers of the world. Undoubtedly, this intrepid, hard-to-discourage lot would simply learn to operate their typewriters cum naso.

Perhaps by selective breeding, I thought, we could eliminate the “writing compulsion” gene. However, by the time we had an effective program there would be fifty thousand worthless new religious books on the market.

The possibility of a series of coordinated terrorist attacks on religious book publishing houses together with the bombing of a few strategic presses was attractive but too risky.

And then came my moment of revelation. Don’t be negative—be positive. Offer the authors an incentive for quality.

So my program of awards was born. There are three categories: fiction, nonfiction, and tripe.

The fiction category includes collected sermons, devotional books, Christian biographies, Bible commentaries, and most books by dispensationalists.

Non-fiction includes only some new translations of the Bible and Calvin’s Institutes.

Tripe includes all books that have any form of the words unique, contemporary, relevant, or exciting on the dust jacket. Also included are all books by authors citing D.D., Litt.D., and L.H.D. degrees and all books promising the rediscovery of God’s truth that has been obscured or lost until Dr. —— was given the true key to the Scriptures. (The title of this category was chosen because it’s short and easy to spell and is not to be taken pejoratively.)

Here’s the way the competition works. Each author must submit an unpublished book manuscript. In submitting he enters into a perpetual agreement that neither he nor his heirs will ever have the book published.

The manuscripts are then judged, first on the basis of which of them by not being published has saved the greatest amount of wasted time in not having to be edited, proofread, printed, distributed, read, and reviewed.

Since the first criterion naturally favors longer manuscripts, a second is: Which book by not being published has saved the greatest degree of anguish and/or disappointment on the part of potential readers? The results of the criteria will be averaged, and the winner in each category gets a cash prize.

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The level of financial reward we are able to offer will depend on your generous response to this program.


I am puzzled why Dr. Stanley Sturges chose CHRISTIANITY TODAY as the forum for airing his views concerning what he considers to be “The Growing Quarrel Among Seventh-day Adventists” (June 18), inasmuch as he had available to him Spectrum and Perspective, the publications he himself mentioned (perhaps he knew that more Adventists read CHRISTIANITY TODAY!); and why CHRISTIANITY TODAY should see fit to publish a full-length article about what is an essentially intradenominational affair, and not yet very significant either.…

In reference to Ellen G. White, Dr. Sturges fails to distinguish between inspiration and authority. “Inspiration” has to do with origin; “authority” refers to function. Adventists do … believe that Mrs. White was inspired; and they hesitate to speak of degrees of inspiration, within or outside of the Scriptures. It does not follow, however, that “the writings of Mrs. White have the same authority as the Bible.” To make such a claim would be to make of Mrs. White’s writings a deutero-canon, and Adventists have repeatedly and emphatically declined to do so.… The classic Adventist position regarding the status of Ellen G. White’s writings … was perhaps most simply put by Carlyle B. Haynes: We test Mrs. White’s writings by the Bible, not the Bible by Mrs. White.…

As for the question of fallibility, this is a very great issue indeed. When we can all come to a definitive solution of this problem in regard to the Scriptures, then we Adventists will be able to use that solution as a paradigm for coming to terms with Mrs. White! I confess that we find the two situations quite parallel. It may even happen that our ultimate understanding of Sister White, a figure of recent history about whom we have much information, may serve us in understanding how the Holy Spirit did things through Isaiah and John!

I find it very exciting to be an Adventist these days.

Asst. Prof. of Theology

Andrews University

The Hartford Seminary Foundation

Hartford, Conn.

As a former member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church I found Stanley G. Sturges’s article most interesting.… If I could have one magazine to read it would be CHRISTIANITY TODAY, and I read it from cover to cover and then pass it on.

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Los Angeles, Calif.


The recent article “Literary Style in Religious Writing” (June 18, July 2) is vividly written.… I commend Dr. Linton for his convincing manner in “getting the point across” of the necessity of religious writing, for the purpose of “its entry into the heart”.… He left quite a challenge with me concerning “religious writing.”

San Jose, Calif.

Calvin D. Linton’s [article] is superb. How I wish I could sit in his classroom!

Auburn, Ala.


In regard to Harold B. Kuhn’s guest editorial, “The Legacy of Niebuhr” (June 18), … The whole flavor of Kuhn’s editorial is designed to place Reinhold Niebuhr in as favorable a light as possible. Granted, he was a genius, but his philosophy and ethics were totally humanistic. Most certainly his writings are neither Christian nor theological.

Neither his sinful (i.e., finite) Jesus nor his supra-historical abstraction, Christ, matches the Jesus Christ found in the New Testament. His hope is only the humanistic hope born of despair and based on what F. A. Schaeffer would call an irrational leap in the dark.

Shouldn’t an evaluation of such a man’s work contain much more criticism than the statements that evangelicals don’t agree with him and that “they regret his lack of a high view of biblical authority, and his denial of the sinlessness of our Lord”?

Although I would agree that Niebuhr’s writings contain truth and that they have been helpful to me, I would feel remiss if I didn’t take the trouble to point out that Niebuhr was guilty of pouring new wine into old bottles.

His apostasy is clear. He was an existential humanist, not a Christian theologian. Since he denied that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, he was led by the spirit of anti-christ and should come under the censure of the Word as one of those “clouds carried away by the wind without giving rain.…”

Interim President

Western Bible Institute

Denver, Colo.


“Crisis in Christian Education” (May 21) is a fine contribution, and I congratulate and thank Frank E. Gaebelein for the excellence of his presentation.…

One great difficulty lies in an apparent inability on the part of those who are teaching in our Christian universities and colleges to enumerate the unchanging doctrines and spiritual values to which Dr. Gaebelein refers. It seems that academic freedom has preempted this area, so that a professor is at liberty to weave his own doctrines and to brainwash his students with his own sense of spiritual values, many of which doctrines and values are ever changing and unabiding.…

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Christian educational institutions should teach within the periphery of the Christian concept that is “entirely compatible with unchanging doctrines and abiding spiritual values,” and they should also teach what is compatible with the ideals of the system whereby the contributors and potential contributors who are expected to free Christian educational institutions from full governmental dependence, will be properly inspired to fully support what is being taught.

New Orleans, La.

CHRISTIANITY TODAY is doing a very fine service by means of the emphasis upon Christian education and the responsibility of the Christian public to support these schools. Every school has a tension point in reference to operating expenses and needs help badly.

I am not among those who believe that Christian colleges are going to fold up. I understand that some forty-four church-related colleges will be closing their doors this year. In many cases it will be because they have lost the excuse for existence.

Dr. Frank Gaebelein’s lead article in the May 21 issue has clearly stated that reason for existence and the integration of every discipline of learning with our Christian world and life view. Additional emphasis by Carl Henry, underscoring this viewpoint and showing the carryover of this viewpoint into every area of life, was most helpful. Thank you for your contribution to Christian education.


Gordon College

Wenham, Mass.


So many of us who have been standing on the firing line of our denomination for these many years have been taking fresh heart from the work and witness of the Presbyterian Lay Committee. Their monthly magazine with clarifying articles on the many issues confronting our church have been extremely helpful.… So the attack by the stated clerk of the General Assembly (“Ecclesiastical McCarthyism” and “Presbyterians Weigh Pacts,” June 18) was really a strike at one of the few fountains of hope we have in our denomination. I cannot speak too highly of this band of stalwart, committed Presbyterians who have pledged themselves to preserve the scriptural and confessional witness of our denomination. Its tone has always been conciliatory and its veracity beyond question.

The disclosure of the grant of $10,000 to the Angela Davis Defense Fund with resulting deep division throughout our whole church makes it more imperative that the work of the Lay Committee be strongly supported. It helps us to have hope for our church, to believe that God is beginning to do a “new thing” in our midst through events like the “Celebration of Evangelism” and articles and reports from other parts of the country where so many thousands of our Presbyterian brethren and pastors have not and are not about to give up.

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So thank you for your remarks; it did appear to me that there was an attempt to bite a feeding hand.

Westminster Presbyterian Church

San Jose, Calif.


My wife and I returned one month ago from a visit to the Holy Land, and wish to correct a misimpression in the editorial “The Right to Worship” (June 4).

The Ottoman empire held the Middle East for 300 years prior to World War I. After the defeat of Germany and Turkey, the Middle East was divided into Arab states roughly as they are known today. Accepting the Balfour declaration (1917), Jerusalem was to be kept open to all religious faiths, but up until the 1967 war, the members of the Jewish faith were barred from the Old City of Jerusalem.

After the Six Day War (1967), the Western Wall (Wailing Wall) was found desecrated with garbage piled against it, but still, all three faiths—Christian, Muslim, and Jew—now have access to their religious sites.

Also, because there is a Muslim shrine behind the Western Wall, the Jewish side is closed on Friday to permit the Muslims to worship uninterrupted, and Saturday, the Jewish side is closed for Jewish Sabbath observances.

When we visited Bethlehem, in the western bank, our Jewish guide turned our group over to an Arab Christian, and these two men are the best of friends. Today, there is more religious freedom and tolerance of the other man’s beliefs in the old and new city of Jerusalem than can be found anywhere else in the civilized world.

Chicago, Ill.


The June 18 “What If …” cartoon, showing a bleary-eyed, unshaven psalmist who (presumably early in the morning) exclaims: “ ‘Thou makest the outgoings of the morning to shout for joy.’ Did I really write that?” can hardly be called a contribution to good taste or to reverence for words inspired by divine majesty.…

Centuries ago, Socrates knew about a poet’s rise to heights of vatic utterance and his return, as a person, to ordinary levels of existence and communication. “Not by [their own] wisdom do poets write poetry, but by a sort of genius and inspiration; they are like diviners or soothsayers who also say many fine things, but do not understand the meaning of them” (Apology). If even the purely intellectual and emotional levels of “divine afflatus” in heathen poets remained unrecovered and unattainable in subsequent states of calm and tranquility, why be surprised at greatness of utterance granted by so unique a force as divine inspiration? Even a child can point out the fatal flaw in the “humor” of the June 18 cartoon.

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Milwaukee, Wis.


May I express my admiration and gratitude for Carl F. H. Henry’s courageous article “Introduction to Theology” (“Footnotes,” June 4).

It is indeed extremely sad that theology, after an 1,800-year intellectual pursuit, finally has nothing more to say than has already been said by the competition outside the Church for ages.

Right now the ecclesiastical business seems to concentrate on a never-ending sequence of self-perpetuating and totally useless meetings to provide the majority of the establishment with a convenient excuse for not having time to tackle the real issues and actually backing up their frustrated laity.

Fortunately Christ and the saints have demonstrated to the Church that serving God does not have to be synonymous with monumental inertia, mental retardation, and/or doctrinal petrification. “For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare, not for woe!—plans to give you a future full of hope” (Jer. 29:11).

Chairman, Technology Division

Durham College

Oshawa, Ont.

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