How About $2.50 A Soul?

I have a friend who pastors a small church in a small town. The big-name evangelists don’t make it into town for regular crusades (and now, television fans, “Billy Graham’s Temecula Crusade”). But the no-name evangelists do. When you don’t have a name, you have to have a gimmick … or a guarantee. And the evangelist who came to my friend’s small town did.

He called all the pastors together, described his crusade, and then said in sacred tones, “I can guarantee that 250 souls will come to Christ in the seven days I’m here.” For the 250 souls and seven days, no-name wanted $1,500.

Later my friend and I figured it out on his calculator: 250 souls for $1,500 is $6 a soul. That seems high even in today’s inflationary market. If he can make guarantees, we reasoned, why can’t we dicker on the cost? So we came up with a counter-proposal.

We’ll pay top dollar—$5 a soul—for first-time conversions. (We don’t want the evangelist stacking the deck, so to speak.) We’ll spend $2.50 for second-and third-timers. (Nazarenes would call them that; Presbyterians would say “reaffirmations of faith.”) However, we’ll only pay $1.50 for people over sixty-five because they are unlikely to go into “full-time Christian service.”

We presented the plan to the evangelist. For some reason, he didn’t buy it. I can’t understand it. He could have made $2,100 in a good week.


Surprisingly Healthy

Your editorials in the November 21 issue (“And How Are Things at Home?” and “Book of the Year, Topic of the Year”) stating that “if you think that raising children is chiefly the woman’s responsibility, rid yourself of that notion” and commending the books of Scanzoni-Hardesty and Jewett to your readers reminded me that I have wanted to write for several weeks to commend CHRISTIANITY TODAY for its positive and healthy approach to the “women issue” in evangelical circles. The editorials, book reviews, and articles have been more favorable to the equal status and role of women and men in society and church than, very frankly, I had expected. I encourage you to take even more forthright leadership in helping evangelical Christians to come to a proper and peaceful acceptance of the privilege and responsibility of every Christian to serve in any position in the Church to which God may call her/him.


Associate Professor of New Testament Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary South

Hamilton, Mass.

I was puzzled and dismayed to hear that fifty-five out of 150 evangelical leaders canvassed by Eternity should honor Scanzoni and Hardesty’s All We’re Meant to Be as a “most significant” book, the one that evangelicals “need to read” for 1975. Has the view of Scripture of one-third of such leaders so changed as to accept with favor a book whose hermeneutical and exegetical presuppositions are so at variance with those one used to identify as their own?… But perhaps the fifty-five were disarmed by the preface in which a warmed-over version of the “God’s will” plea is entered, the writing of the book being portrayed as an answer to prayer, an evocation of the working of God’s love in two hearts.… That there is substance to the charge that women have not been given their proper place in the Church is clear enough. But there are only two ways to remedy this: revive the biblical structure and practice, or replace it with another one. The danger for Christians, especially Christian leaders, is to allow a proper guilt over the failure to work out the biblical structure in their own families and churches to stampede them into an innovation which is not only now the easier option but also destructive and non-biblical. As Harvard Divinity School dean Stendahl candidly notes in his essay on the topic, the ideology of feminist theology finds its roots “in the Enlightenment or in Hellas or in the cult of Baal,” not in the Bible. Here, I believe, is the real choice: not exegetical but ideological, and therefore not the outside of the cup but the inside.

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Syracuse, N. Y.

From Resource To ‘Rip-Out’

I would like to express appreciation for the good articles that have appeared in CHRISTIANITY TODAY this past year. More and more it is becoming the best resource for my keeping up with current thought and trends important to the parish ministry. Two other periodicals have been dropped because of the excellent coverage in this magazine.

One aspect of the magazine has been disturbing recently. It has begun to look like Sport’s Illustrated, Psychology Today, and some of the other periodicals that specialize in postcard inserts throughout the pages. One wonders if the next “pop theology” will be called “rip-out Christianity.”

CHRISTIANITY TODAY has a much more vital service than being an outlet for bulk mailing purposes. I detest the thought of having to rank this periodical as one that has to be cleaned out before it can be enjoyed and studied.


Lakeview Covenant Church

Duluth, Minn.

Just a word to express my appreciation of your excellent magazine. I read it cover to cover. I especially like those low-key cartoons, where you often transpose a Bible character into a present-day confrontation.

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Reynoldsville, Pa.

Separate—From What

Your November 7 issue on higher education raised the question of whether Christians should “season” secular campuses, but addressed itself entirely to Christian colleges. On the basis of my six years on three secular campuses in the U.S. and nine years (six as a student) in two British universities, I would encourage every Christian student to go to a secular campus.

Parents commonly send their children to Christian colleges to protect them from anti-Christian teaching and morality, and to give them Bible teaching integrated with their studies, in a community with a Christian life-style. The monastic issue is an old one; biblical separation is from sin, not from sinners. Christians are to be salt and light in a rotting and dark world. When a professor becomes aware of a substantial Christian minority among his students and colleagues, his teaching will usually show less anti-Christian bias. And we have nothing to hide; Christianity has the answers, and will stand up in debate. Further, the major need for today’s Christian student is to integrate his faith and studies with his life, which includes witness to his non-Christian contemporaries.


University of Colorado

Boulder, Colo.

Visiting Associate Professor of Astro-Geophysics

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