The Importance Of Sin For The Revolution (Tr)

Although “The Wages of Sin” by Professor v. Schlunk (issue of October 11) has merited attention in professional exegetical circles, it has been criticized by the widely growing community of revolutionary theologians, on the grounds that it reveals total bondage to a bourgeois mentality. One such theologian, Dr. Enrico Cabeza de Madera, has submitted a trenchant criticism in the form of a brief essay entitled “¿Revolutión sin pecado?” The manuscript, which arrived at our offices wrapped around a bomb, made such an impact that it seemed prudent to reproduce it in full here.

Prof. v. Schlunk has revealed his bondage to the oppressive class interests of the bourgeois milieu from which he springs in his essay “The Wages of Sin.” He writes as though sin were of significance only to the profit-oriented exploiter class. Actually it should be evident that St. Paul, although of middle-class origin, must have made a complete conversion to a revolutionary proletarian mentality, as did his noted successors in revolutionary thought who were also of bourgeois beginnings, K. Marx, V. I. Lenin, and Mao Tse-tung.

If Paul had been writing for a middle-class, exploiting audience, he surely would not have used the word “wages,” symbolic of the oppressed wage-slave struggling to retain a tiny portion of the surplus value of his labor confiscated by the oppressing classes. Instead, he would evidently have used “profits.” Hence it is clear that Paul addresses himself to the working class, or the proletariat, and seeks to promote the world revolution.

V. Schlunk is correct in observing that Paul wants to draw attention to the wages (not profits) of sin. However, he errs in eliminating the important third element, death, as mythological. Dialectical thought teaches us that a thesis (wages) and antithesis (sin) must be followed by a synthesis. To omit the synthesis death is to revert to a pre-scientific world view no longer possible for those familiar with Marxist-Leninist thought.

Paul, although writing obscurely in order to evade the censorship of the imperialistic Roman oppressors of his day, is evidently appealing to the wage-earner or proletarian to sin, as v. Schlunk has pointed out, mistaking it however for an appeal to the bourgeoisie. And the immediate results of this sin, as Paul states (not long-range, as v. Schlunk propagandistically claims), will be death. Insofar as death is a common result of violence, and violence is an inevitable prerequisite for true revolution, it is clear that the revolutionary doctrine taught by Paul envisages violence as a means of destroying the oppressor class and establishing the dictatorship of the proletariat (and their intellectual leaders), which is doubtless what the Apostle had in mind in Galatians 5:1, “Do not submit again.…”

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Of course, the Pauline emphasis on the wages of sin, so important in order to free sin from monopolization by the bourgeoisie, does not inevitably exclude the thought of profit, as evidenced by the lucrative sales of our revolutionary theological works precisely among the bourgeoisie. ¡Vica la revolución!

Now Convinced

As one who wrote to Dr. Lindsell expressing concern at the possible outcome and influence of Lausanne, let me now say that I’m convinced of its unique value to the evangelical cause throughout the world this century.

Goatbridge, England

On Sharing

The articles by Edith Schaeffer (A Layman and His Faith) have been encouraging and helpful. Not only does she display the commitment to Scripture sadly lacking in some quarters, but the application of those Scriptures is most helpful. We rejoice that the Lord has made available this kind of sharing in CHRISTIANITY TODAY and do want to support this writer and hope that she may continue to contribute.

We are thankful for your ministry in the magazine. It must be a monumental task to try and be fair and yet faithful. Thank you for your effort and thank the Lord for your success.

Greeley, Colo.

God And Banners

It was a surprise to me to read in your editorial that I had commented “favorably” on Salvador Allende’s attempt to introduce a peaceful Marxist revolution in Chile (“The Church and Political Ambiguity,” July 26). There is nothing in my article to indicate whether I would or would not include myself among the “many Latin Americans” for whom the former president of Chile was a symbol of hope! Ideological prejudice has prevented the author of your editorial from distinguishing between a statement of fact and a value judgment. The same applies to my affirmation that “according to a common opinion” the U. S. State Department played a part in Allende’s downfall. Representative Michael J. Harrington is in a better position than I to speak on the validity of that opinion, but it does seem to me that the Watergate case leaves no room for optimism with regard to the ways in which politicians often operate. That is beside the point, however: my article intended to be a statement of facts leading to a question that must be taken seriously: “Will Christians ever learn not to try to enlist God under the political banner of their preference?”

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Associate General Secretary

International Fellowship of Evangelical Students

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Only One Side?

Having been an observer attending sessions of the International Congress on World Evangelization, to me it seems regrettable that the news report in CHRISTIANITY TODAY, “Sidelights at Lausanne” (Aug. 30), gives a one-sided report concerning Dr. Francis Schaeffer’s question regarding Mr. Malcolm Muggeridge. Those who truly know Dr. Schaeffer know his great faithfulness and courage in standing for the final authority of the Word of God and the importance of the true evangelical position in this day. They also know his unique consideration for the positions of every individual and the great Christian love in which he meets any opposing view.… It is possible that Dr. Schaeffer’s most earnest and powerful plea for evangelical seminaries to return to the position of faith in the inerrancy and historicity of the Bible, but in loving reverence of the personal worth and dignity of the individual who holds another view, may in the light of eternity have a greater impact for God than even Mr. Muggeridge’s brilliant, eloquent, and most thought-provoking address.

Oakland, Calif.

Wesleyan Women

This is in response to your September 13 editorial on the death of Methodist theologian Georgia Harkness (“Hearkening to Harkness”), in which you comment that “the evangelical camp has no prominent women theologians.” I’m not sure whose provincialism is showing or how stringent are your requirements of “prominence,” but may I remind you of Dr. Mildred Bangs Wynkoop. Mrs. Wynkoop, ordained in the Church of the Nazarene, has held several positions of importance and has authored several works of theology. After completing her doctorate at Northern Baptist, she served as chairperson of the department of theology at Western Evangelical Seminary and president of a seminary in Japan before accepting her current position as chairperson of her department in Trevecca Nazarene College in Nashville. Dr. Wynkoop also currently serves as president of the interdenominational Wesleyan Theological Society, a scholarly society of perhaps 600 members that is the Wesleyan counterpart to the Evangelical Theological Society. She has authored Foundations of Wesleyan-Arminian Theology and Love: The Dynamic of Wesleyanism, as well as other smaller books and articles.

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Mrs. Wynkoop is one of the most important theologians in the Wesleyan wing of evangelicalism.… Methodism had her Georgia Harkness, but conservative Methodism has had her Mildred Bangs Wynkoop and a multitude of other women who have served as teachers, pastors, evangelists, and advocates of the cause of women.

Director, Mellander Library, and Assistant Professor of Theology

North Park Theological Seminary

Chicago, Ill.

• For a very favorable review, see February 1 issue, page 30.—ED.

Two Masters

For me CHRISTIANITY TODAY’s credibility is jeopardized by the “ifs” in the third paragraph of the editorial “Amnesty, Reconciliation, and Healing” (Sept. 13). By accepting the assumptions of the state instead of looking for Christian alternatives, you open yourselves to the charge that the government is ultimately Lord and not Jesus Christ. From at least the time of Moses, God’s people have been exhorted to “stand still and see the salvation of the Lord” (Exod. 14:13).… The power of the state is pervasive and its security seems obvious. But if we assume that the state has the authority to command Christians to do evil that good may prevail, we call into question our ultimate loyalty to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. As he observed, it is not possible to serve two masters.


Gospel Herald

Scottsdale, Pa.

Plugging Women

The article “Survey Results: Changing Church Roles For Women?” (Sept. 27) is the reason for my note to you.… For many months the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has been thinking in terms of a … dedicated Christion woman for the board. This has already become a reality, I am happy to say. Also a terrific Christian [woman] board member has been added to World Wide Pictures. You will also be interested in knowing that the manager of the Christian radio station in Black Mountain, North Carolina (WFGW), is a lady, and the station is operating more efficiently than ever before. We have enjoyed having ladies on the committees of various Billy Graham crusades in different parts of the world.

Associate to Billy Graham

Montreat, N. C.

Physical Irony

Ironically enough, immediately following Richard Pierard’s statement on “sexist doctrines so latent in our faith as practiced today” (“Survey Results: Changing Church Roles For Women?,” Sept. 27), a news item by David Virtue begins: “She’s an attractive, six-foot German blonde, single, fluent in three languages.…” It is disappointing when Christians resort to characterizing women in phrases heavily loaded with physical attributes, while men are usually described in terms of intellectual or spiritual attainments. Happily, Miss Barend was cited because she is the first woman to hold a major post in the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Does it matter what she looks like?

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Canon Press

Washington, D. C.

Free Pardon

I was shocked at the self-righteous reaction of some Christian leaders (Dr. Carl F. H. Henry and Dr. Hudson Armerding, particularly) to the pardoning of Richard Nixon (“Ford’s First Month: Christ and Conflict,” Sept. 27). Billy Graham’s comments seem to best reflect genuine Christian compassion. He has not forgotten that all true believers are sinners chosen without merit.… Does Dr. Henry desire that God had dealt with him with a pardon disciplined by justice or with a “free pardon” in Christ Jesus? It will not do to hide behind the truth that Christ met God’s demand for justice, for it is still true that Dr. Henry, Dr. Armerding, and all the rest of us hell-deserving sinners had our sin debt paid for by another and we got off scot-free!

Academic Dean

Southeastern Bible College

Birmingham, Ala.


In “On Friendship and Homosexuality” in the September 27 issue, the reference to Ecclesiastes should have said Ecclesiasticus.

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