Commenting on Ecclesiastes’ curtain speech about “pleasing words” and “words of truth,” G. S. Hedry says: “In the ancient world authorship was held of small account, so small indeed that the names of many authors of antiquity have been lost. The question men asked of a book was not ‘Who wrote it?’ but ‘What does it say?,’ and there was no need for an author to make a profession of modesty, since his work was not regarded as a personal achievement or a feat of virtuosity” (The New Bible Commentary Revised, D. Guthrie and J. A. Motyer, eds., 1970, p. 578). While that observation says less than some of us would say about the biblical writers, it nonetheless holds a powerful message for many of the rest of us.
For all that, I shall risk a few reminiscences and venture some comments on evangelical literary production.
Some thirty years ago, the only book this converted journalist had written was A Doorway to Heaven, a readable work on the Pacific Garden Mission now long out of print after some eleven editions. An evangelical publisher telephoned me from his Hawaii vacation spot to offer a $10,000 advance royalty if I would write a newspaperish biography of Jesus. The invitation rather stunned me. Who was I, I mused, to write a life of Jesus? Besides, the thought of thus turning Christian realities into a profit bothered me. My negative decision at that time helped to reinforce a growing determination to devote my writing energies to solid advancement of the cause of biblical truth.
When I wrote Remaking the Modern Mind I soon learned that many believers who have a lively evangelistic interest in Christianity do not at the same time have serious intellectual propensities. Even a fellow college alumnus wrote the alumni office that ...1
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