Safety First

The new automobile seat-belt interlock system made mandatory on all 1974 model cars is a marked success in reducing not only injuries but automobile accidents. Injuries are reduced by approximately 23.2 per cent through the wearing of seat belts, and as approximately 61.4 per cent of drivers will wear them only 26 per cent of the time without coercion, the net result is a 10.54 per cent reduction in injuries. In addition, surveys show that 3.7 per cent of 1974 car owners are entirely unable to start their cars with the new system, while the remaining 96.3 per cent fail to start them on an average of 5.7 per cent of their attempts. This results in 9.18 per cent fewer trips being taken at all (except for those owners of 1974 cars who also own older model cars and take them when unsuccessful in starting their 1974 models).Figures supplied by Department of Urban Management and Planning (DUMP). The total reduction (injuries and accidents combined) approaches 20 per cent, a saving that eminently justifies whatever slight unpleasantness may be involved in the so-called “coercive” aspects of the mandatory system.

Success in auto safety has now led government planners to turn their attention to the most dangerous of all situations, the human home. As is well known, the majority of all accidents occur in the home, and the vast majority of all sickness either originates there or becomes localized there.

Beginning in 1975, all new homes will be required to have a safety interlock system on doors, permitting no one to leave the house during rain, or when the humidity rises above 95 per cent, without rubbers securely fastened to his feet. From 1976 onward, a more sophisticated interlock will permit no one to leave the house when the inside-outside temperature differential exceeds 18 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Centigrade) without a securely fastened muffler and gloves. To prevent circumventing of the safety installations, all first and second floor windows must be equipped with non-removable bars. (Extreme right-wing scare propaganda, to the effect that people whose houses catch on fire, even in summer, will be prevented from escaping until they have put on their mufflers and, in case of rain, their rubbers, should be branded for what it is.)

The interlock system has many possible commercial and ecclesiastical ramifications. Private clubs, for example, might obtain systems making it impossible to get up from club overstuffed chairs without depositing dues in a coin-operated dues machine. Churches could use an interlock system on Sunday-school room exits, permitting them to be opened only by the reciting of an appropriate Bible memory verse, which could be changed weekly. (Fire regulations now require that automatic sprinklers be installed in connection with the memory-verse interlock system.)

In short, we can all see that—despite some shortsighted criticisms—the interlock safety program has undreamtof potential for enriching human life, and we all owe government a vote of thanks for getting us started on it.

EUTYCHUS VI

Overlooking A Branch?

Thank you for the excellent article, “Revolt on Evangelical Frontiers,” by Carl F. H. Henry on The Young Evangelicals (April 26). It is encouraging to hear that there is a branch of evangelical Christianity that takes women seriously (or is attempting to) and that representatives of “establishment evangelicalism” are willing to take the new evangelicals seriously. I enjoy Dr. Henry’s articles and have read many of his books. However, whenever I read an article by him or anyone else in CHRISTIANITY TODAY, I get the nagging suspicion that it is assumed that all of the readers are male. It is heartbreaking to feel left out.

EVON BACHAUS

Minneapolis, Minn.

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I would like to express my appreciation for Carl Henry’s discriminating and helpful review of The Young Evangelicals. The reference to my repudiating the “Second Coming copout” may be misunderstood. I most certainly do believe with all my heart in the Second Coming. What I have actually said is that the Lord’s return is not to be taken as a copout but as a spur to involvement, witness, and service.

LEIGHTON FORD

Charlotte, N. C.

First Hand

I was, to say the least, appalled by the implications made in the editorial, “Needed: A Strategy For Academia” (May 24). It may be true, as the writer implies, that there isn’t much concerted evangelism happening on most campuses in America, but it isn’t true of all of them. Further, his generalizations don’t reveal any firsthand knowledge on his part. I have to admit that to a large extent my ire is due to the fact that I know that our own Christian World Liberation Front street-theater troupe draws large crowds in the open several days every week at the University of California at Berkeley and at several other Bay Area campuses. Their “Collage,” “Choose or Lose,” and “Joseph” presentations in particular have been most effective evangelistic shows in addition to being true art. Further, our people and other Christians here and elsewhere have laid hold of the spiritual openings made available by the drawing power of the various Eastern religious groups rising up in this country. The Lord has raised up many disciples for himself as a result.

Further, the interest in our materials and methods by Christians on other campuses around the world tell me that Christian evangelistic action is not dead everywhere. At the invitation and on the initiative of Christians in other cities in California, we regularly participate in concerted evangelism. The large number of applicants for our summer intern program also is significant to me. Apathy may be rampant, but it has not overwhelmed Christians on campus.

There’s another fallacy set forth in the editorial which I want to say a little about before I quit. That is the idea that concerted evangelism has to have a speaker with “status and success” in order to be effective. Now that’s utter nonsense with no evidence to back it in the first place. There are some things about the students I know today that are relevant here. Even well-known speakers like Bobby Seale and William Kunstler are not drawing large crowds around here these days. Today’s students are also tired of rhetoric. Presentations through such media as street theater seem to get better attention and results. Also, disciples are not commonly made in large crowds. Remember that we are seeking to see people change government from the kingdom of this world to the kingdom of God. That requires action by groups of Christians, not speeches by celebrities.

I just can’t help adding that Christians here also have a broadly based, viable tutoring program in Berkeley high school. A large number of our people are also involved in a regular ministry to prisoners in jails and prisons. Read Right On newspaper regularly and you’ll see some visions for a Christian outreach that is “socially relevant and intellectually respectable in terms of a Christian apologetic.”

JACK N. SPARKS

Christian World Liberation Front

Berkeley, Calif.

Slipped Key

I would like to correct your comment (News, “Denominations: The Downward Drift,” May 24) relative to the reported 5 per cent loss in membership among the American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A.—referred to as “the largest decrease” among Protestant denominations. In actuality, American Baptist membership took an upward swing in 1968 and has steadily grown from 1,344,210 of that year to the present 1972 figure of 1,501,989. It was indeed unfortunate that correction of a key-punch error (discovered after statistics had been submitted for the 1973 Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches) apparently was not received in time to adjust the ABC figure. Reports of membership over the past five years indicate this increase: 1968—1,344,210; 1969—1,353,129; 1970—1,396,900; 1971—1,484,393; and 1972—1,501,989.

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ROBERT C. CAMPBELL

General Secretary

American Baptist Churches in the U. S. A.

Valley Forge, Pa.

For Food

It was very kind of you to list agencies involved in the famine program in Africa, and we are grateful, of course, for being included in this list (Editorials, “Feeding the Hungry,” May 24). I think it is wonderful of CHRISTIANITY TODAY to alert the Christian public to responsibilities in this area when the needs are so keen and acute.

TED W. ENGSTROM

Executive Vice President

World Vision International

Monrovia, Calif.

Your continuing interest in “Feeding the Hungry” is deeply appreciated by all of us who are trying to do something about it, and I am grateful for your good editorial reminder in the May 24 issue. In the interest of our thousands of friends and supporters, who must wonder why Medical Assistance Programs is omitted from such a list of organizations responding to the cause, I think it only fair that we set the record straight. [According to] a March 17 Disaster Memorandum from the Agency for International Development, State Department, Washington, MAP’s involvement is more than the other voluntary agencies combined. In addition to this, MAP sponsored a team of fifteen Seattle Pacific College students who are returning this week after nine weeks of invaluable assistance to the missionaries working in famine relief in Ethiopia.

J. RAYMOND KNIGHTON

President

Medical Assistance Programs, Inc.

Wheaton, Ill.

You failed to mention an organization that … by its very name would suggest unselfish devotion to the crying needs of humanity: Food For the Hungry.

PAUL C. PEPOON

California, Ky.

• Both MAP and Food For the Hungry were given prominent mention in our April 12 news story on the African famine. Many U. S. voluntary agencies have provided aid; space limitations prevented us from listing them all in the editorial.

—ED.

No Option

CHRISTIANITY TODAY has persistently upheld integrity and responsibility in the controversial question of Western Christians’ support of evangelical believers in the Soviet Union, particularly in reference to Bible smuggling (“Smugglers Are Deceivers,” March 1, and “Smuggling Reexamined,” April 26). I am dismayed to read opposition to your clear defense of biblical principle. Submission to divinely ordained authorities is not an optional matter for one who has accepted the authority of Scripture—as you have rightly emphasized. Those who counter, “We ought to obey God rather than man,” have failed to show that there is any command from God requiring Christians of the West to provide Bibles for their brethren inside Russia. Such civil disobedience as can be supported by reference to the apostles’ example (Acts 4 and 5) must be predicated upon the decision that to obey the requirement of civil authorities is to violate a command of God. My not smuggling Bibles into Russia is not such a violation. Thus, defiance of the Soviet regulations must be construed as defiance “of what God has ordained” (Rom. 13:2).

PAUL D. STEEVES

Assistant Professor

Stetson University

DeLand, Fla.

In Sight Of Excellence

May I congratulate you on the fine edition of CHRISTIANITY TODAY which deals with education (May 24). The article by Elisabeth Elliot, “Should You Go to College?,” is excellent. I have read many articles and pamphlets on this subject, but her approach and insight are superb.

UDELL SMITH

State Director

Department of Student Work

Louisiana Baptist Convention

Alexandria, La.

ERRATA

In the June 7 news story, “Clyde Taylor: Our Man in Washington,” “International Foreign Missions Association” should read “Interdenominational Foreign Mission Association.”

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