Introducing Presidentials And Double-Barrels

Taking up a theme found in Proverbs, the Prophet Amos clarifies the Lord’s abomination of “diverse weights and diverse measures.” He denounces those who want to “make the ephah [a measure of volume used for selling grain] small and the shekel [weight used to measure gold or other metals accepted in payment; later, a definite coin] great” (Amos 8:5). But things are different in our modern, technological society. Money is valued not by weight, but by what is printed on it. Unfortunately, rising prices coupled with the paper shortage makes it harder to value a 2½-by-6-inch slip of silk paper at only one dollar: the U. S. Treasury is talking about replacing many of the nominal one dollar bills now in circulation with twos, which cost no more and use no more paper but have twice the “value.”

There was a time, from 1944 to 1971, when most of the currencies of the world were tied to the U. S. dollar, which in turn was tied to gold. But since 1971 the dollar has been untied, and everything else with it. As a result it is now clear that the world will have to find new standards of value and units of currency. We can all be thankful that in the light of current events some solutions virtually propose themselves.

One suggestion for replacing the declining unit of value known as the dollar would be a new, much larger unit, the “presidential,” worth approximately 295 old 1972 dollars, at least for the purpose of charitable contributions. This would come in especially handy for making an annual church pledge. A person intending to give ten dollars a week, instead of writing $520 on his card, could simply write “1.73 presidentials.” For tax purposes, the presidential is even more valuable, being figured at about $695 1972 dollars. Thus a person owing $1400 in taxes could simply write his check for 2.01½ presidentials, and that would certainly soften the emotional pain otherwise caused by writing out the high figure.

In international trade, however, the presidential might be less acceptable. An internationally respected unit has to be found, and the obvious solution is oil. The old Spanish gold doubloon, acceptable everywhere in its day, could find a worthy successor in the new Arabian double-barrel. The double-barrel remains constant in value, despite the decline of the dollar, mark, pound sterling, etc. Thus a dollar was worth about 0.2 double-barrel and a pound 0.5 early in 1973, but today the dollar stands only at 0.0167 double-barrel and the pound at about 0.04. Obviously neither dollars nor pounds are a satisfactory medium of exchange. This could lead to some welcome changes in banking practices. Savings, demand, and time deposit accounts could be opened at local filling stations, thus putting them back in business. All this could be controlled through a nation-wide system of Federal Reserve Tanks setting the discount, octane, and sulphur ratings. International settlements could be handled through a World Tank, or for greater reliability, by means of drafts on the Royal Arabian Tank (RAT) where the double-barrel originated. International trade would flow freely again and both local filling station and international shipping interests would be stimulated. Surely the prophet Amos overlooked these amazing possibilities of the future when he uttered his rather jejune comments about manipulating currency.

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To Limit Stagnation

Thanks to Reverend Gilmore for his analysis of the problems of visitation in the local parish (The Minister’s Workshop, Nov. 23). It seems that the purpose of this important duty is too often misunderstood. Visitation is a ministry of the Church and not just that of the pastor. Granted this is an important part of his ministering to his flock but limiting it to his efforts will stagnate the Church’s outreach and discredit the message it preaches.… For a minister to visit his people only for social purposes or to satisfy a desire for attention is a flagrant misuse of time and talent. Legitimate needs should be looked to. Many ills of the spirit could be cured if each Christian were challenged and trained to minister to others themselves by way of visiting those in need of the Gospel. Taking the Gospel to a degenerate world has a purifying effect on the messenger. P. M. BARBER Servicemen’s Evangelism Center

Church of God

Hanau am Main


Those Cultural Myths

C. S. Lewis certainly was a creative genius and CHRISTIANITY TODAY did well in saluting his accomplishments in the November 9 issue. It is unfortunate, however, that in one article, Joan Lloyd’s “Transcendent Sexuality as C. S. Lewis Saw It,” you chose to concentrate on one of his heretical speculations rather than his vast areas of creative orthodoxy. In giving sexuality transcendent reality, ontological status, Lewis betrays his platonic roots, which sometimes get the better of his biblical theology. Some of his constructions (e.g., “he does play Form … she Matter”) also seem closer to Taoist categories of yin and yang than to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Lewis has taken the categories of a patriarchal culture and projected them on the divine.

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God is Spirit, God is both masculine and feminine—not simply masculine as Lewis asserts. To reduce God to a masculine figure is to bring him down to the level of the Canaanitish gods. Genesis 1:27 affirms that God’s image includes both male and female. Both Christian men and women are called repeatedly in the New Testament to conform themselves to the image of Christ (cf. Eph. 5:1, 2; Phil. 2:5; Rom. 8:29). Christ tells us that in heaven there will be no marriage, and Paul states that in Christ there is neither male and female. Scripture does not say (as some early church fathers did) that women who are truly Christ-like become males.

C. S. Lewis would further polarize the sexes rather than unite them in Christ. He would perpetuate the cultural myths that we are so different that we have little in common—precisely the kind of thinking which has always fostered homosexuality among those who sought deep relationships with one who was their equal. He would perpetuate the myth that submission and obedience are for women only, a myth which has denied women their rightful places of service in the church (note his irrational stand against women in the ministry, a stance shared by his Anglican colleagues in this country). Let us praise Lewis where praise is due, but let us criticize him where he was patently in error. God is not masculine—or feminine. God is God.


Chicago, Ill.

The Work Of Many

I deeply appreciate the generous heading which CHRISTIANITY TODAY spread over the review of Alan Tippett’s great book, God, Man and Church Growth (Nov. 23), but honesty compels me to point out that the Church Growth School of Thought is the work of a community of missionary scholars. I have had something to do with its beginning, but its present depth and height and worldwide spread are the work of the twenty-seven contributors to the book and many others. They come from many lands, belong to many communions, and are masters of many disciplines. They have contributed richness to Church Growth, naturalized it in many soils, and emphasized it as New Testament Christianity.


Fuller Theological Seminary

School of World Mission

Pasadena, Calif.

Ten Years Late

I was present at the Chicago Social Concerns Thanksgiving Workshop, and except for having had to depart before its conclusion, would have signed the declaration. But let not us participants be too proud of what we accomplished (“Evangelicals on Justice: Socially Speaking,” Dec. 21).

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The declaration was so broad as to lack real meaning. We asserted in the declaration that “we must rethink our values regarding our present standard of living.” But proposals that really went to the gut—to cut our standard of living 50 per cent and for a graduated tithe—got nowhere. With our federal government in a serious crisis, a proposal calling for President Nixon and our national leaders to repent—it said nothing about impeachment or resignation—successfully emerged from a study committee but was shunted aside on the floor.

In other words, whenever the discussions got specific there were comments that such statements would attract the attention of the press and would alienate the constituencies back home.…

I have spoken in recent weeks about Watergate to the Mississippi and Indiana editors, on the Wheaton and Trinity college campuses, and to evangelical churchgoers in Iowa, Wisconsin, and Illinois. These are hardly hotbeds of liberalism. My own observation is that many evangelicals in the pew are far out front in their social concern of the moment than many of their “leaders.” The pitiful thing is that many church people and religionists could have signed the Chicago declaration ten years ago.


Washington, D. C.

CHRISTIANITY TODAY’S news coverage of the Thanksgiving Workshop “Declaration of Evangelical Social Concern” would have been more accurate had its own news staff actually attended and covered the sessions. Both the news reporting and the editorializing evaluation within it are less than accurate.

The verdict that there is “little in the declaration that has not already been said” disregards both the specific context of faith in which the evangelical participants spoke and their concentration on a carefully-worded and limited constellation of concerns. One would have little difficulty, in fact, in identifying some issues on which CHRISTIANITY TODAY has been silent. The failure to mention that Dr. Frank E. Gaebelein, former co-editor of CHRISTIANITY TODAY, and Dr. Paul Rees, a CHRISTIANITY TODAY board member, were signatories, is curious.

Your news coverage impugns the motives of participants by asserting that the “reasoning” behind the refusal to adopt resolutions condemnatory of U. S. involvement in Chile and of the Watergate scandals as a desire to avoid turning off fellow evangelicals. What weighed with many participants was the futility of getting trapped in a paraecumenical resolutions-issuing process, and in respect to Chile, I for one, and some others no less, were wholly unconvinced that the fall of the Allende regime should be lamented and that the U. S. rather than Allende was responsible for his fall.

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Would not CHRISTIANITY TODAY serve the evangelical cause best by throwing its weight on the side of social justice in an articulate and precise way? Editorial comment was happily more sensitive to the significance of the Chicago declaration, although it laments the declaration’s “overlooking the growing sense of ingratitude in the United States.” Hardly so. Since the statement deals with concerns of social justice, it wrestles issues that have dulled the reasons for gratitude on the part of many, and which, if not confronted, will do the same for the rest of us.


Arlington, Va.

From Corner To Corner

When last week’s mail brought me the December 7 issue, the first thing to catch my eye was the featured article on “Evangelical Awakening Among Catholics.” This is exactly what I had been experiencing and observing … in our Tuesday morning neighborhood Bible study. I was thrilled to learn how widespread the moving of the Spirit of God has been. The next article I read was “On Brazen Heavens” by Tom Howard. And once again I found a lucid portrayal of something our family had lived through recently. To most readers these are entirely unrelated topics. But not so in our case.

Between November ’72 and May ’73 we saw our stalwart, handsome little eight-year-old Philip forfeit his life to that dread disease. After extensive liver surgery God gave him four months of apparently exuberant health, during which time he made a public profession of his faith in the Lord Jesus and was baptized. And then came the quick drop.… On his ninth birthday, May 28, the Lord took him home, which was a lovely reassurance to us that God had been watching all along and that He had very neatly numbered his days. God had given him six months, during which time many people came to know and love him. And that was when the bands of Christian love were extended between our family and these newfound friends in Christ in the Catholic community.


Midland Park, N. J.

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