Where Is Gallup’s 34 Per Cent Solution?

After the death of Howard Hughes, one of the world’s richest men and surely its most famous recluse, the dentist who examined his mouth for the autopsy said he had never seen teeth in worse condition.

Did those broken, diseased teeth cause pain?

We don’t know, but we do know from other published accounts that Mr. Hughes regularly took drugs. One was identified as cocaine.

When I read that, I recalled a conversation with a missionary in Colombia, South America, several years ago. He was sort of thinking aloud about the chief of a tribe (which, incidentally, was only one generation removed from the stone age) and his practice of chewing coca leaves. These leaves, readily available in the jungle, are the source of cocaine.

“I suppose that back home in the States, the people in churches that support me would think I should crusade to put an end to chewing the coca leaf. But did you notice the chief’s teeth? He’d be in constant pain without those leaves.”

Strange, isn’t it, that a billionaire who lived in a country with the world’s best provisions for dental care should choose the path of the world’s most primitive and impoverished people.

But not so strange as that the jet set in New York and other major cities, the self-styled “beautiful people,” should choose to use cocaine and become psychologically dependent on it when their teeth are capped and cared for by expensive Park Avenue practitioners.

“God gave them up.”

And gave their children up to Eastern religions that are discredited in the very countries from which they came. Are Korean young people “Moonies”? No, they’re Presbyterian evangelicals. Are our imported gurus growing in popularity and influence among young people in India? Ask any Indian student. Is sexual permissiveness the “in” thing in Russia that it is in the United States? The Communist leaders learned a lesson about marriage and the family forty years ago.

Things are really turned around. I felt safer in the jungle with primitive people than I feel in New York, especially at night. Some years ago, when Elisabeth Elliot and her young daughter were living in the Auca village, when the tribe was not yet evangelized and little clothing was worn, she commented that a man never looked at her in the way that nine out of ten men on the streets of New York looked at her.

These days I read about the revival of religion, especially of evangelical Christianity, in every magazine and newspaper I pick up. Time, Saturday Evening Post, Newsweek, U.S. News and World Report: all have covered the subject in depth. So has the Village Voice.

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If I were an unbeliever, I’d be inclined to say, “Where are all those born-again evangelical Christians George Gallup discovered in his recent survey? Where is their influence? Personally, I’ll take the jungle.”


Systems Only

How … can John Warwick Montgomery condemn Testing Christianity’s Truth Claims (Books, April 1) for the failure to be something which Gordon Lewis never intended it to be? To quote Dr. Montgomery, “Presumably the author intends to give student readers a general picture of current influential defenses of the Christian faith.” This statement must indeed be presumed, for I can find little basis for it in TCTC. The book does not claim to be a “survey of the field,” as Montgomery supposes. The preface of TCTC says that “the book gives priority to systems of thought developed in favor of historic Christianity’s truth claims.” And further, these are to be “distinctive systems.” So the writers treated in the book were selected not on the basis of their current popularity but on the basis of whether they developed a distinctive and consistent system of apologetics.

If this fact is kept in mind … then one can understand TCTC’s allocation of space: 130 pages to five systems and five authors, or an average of twenty-six pages each; 108 pages to Carnell’s four approaches, or twenty-seven each.…

As a student of apologetics myself, I am confident that a book such as TCTC will prove to be more valuable in the long run than many other apologetical works because it provides the necessary foundation from which to view and critique current and future attempts at apologetics.


Denver, Colo.

Why Pardon Cleaver?

As a longtime subscriber to your magazine, I find that my cup of frustration is about to overflow. The final straw is the editorial “Convincing Case For a Pardon” (Feb. 18). When stripped of its window dressing, the editorial is asking that Cleaver be pardoned simply because he has become a Christian. Am I to understand from this that you favor the pardoning of all who are charged with or convicted of a crime? If this is not so, then why the particular attention paid to Cleaver’s case? Is it because he has joined the ranks of our “Christian celebrities” (Colson, Bryant, Carter, Boone et al.)? Or is Cleaver to be pardoned simply because he has become a Christian after he committed the alleged assaults? There are many men and women in the prisons of both our nations who have also become Christians after the commission of a crime. Are they to be pardoned also?…

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If Cleaver has been charged, then he ought to stand trial. If he is innocent, we shall all thank the Lord together. If he is guilty and is sentenced, then we ought to still thank the Lord together and support him during his time of imprisonment.


Program Coordinator


Whitehorse, Yukon

On Anti-Semitism

I would not have the readers of your March 18 editorial “Let’s Clear Up the Fuzziness and Be Friends” think that to carry the roots of anti-Semitism back to the New Testament, especially as it is used in the liturgies of all the churches, causes me any less distress than it causes you, your readers, and other evangelicals.

Unfortunately, your statement that “all that the Gospels say is that some of the Jews in Jesus’ day were involved in his execution” is very far from the effect of the gospel text on the ordinary Christian reader or listener. It is constantly “the Jews” who are mentioned, nor is it only his contemporaries, since they call down the responsibility for his blood also on their children. But in fact crucifixion was never a Jewish method of execution, though … by the time the Gospels were written down, the writers did not want to emphasize that the Romans regarded their divine master as a criminal.

Moreover, when I said that the picture of the Pharisees in the gospels, and that of the law in Paul’s letters, were both false, it was only after the most scholarly examination of which I was capable. I remember the shock it caused me, when I was compelled to face the fact that the charge was true. Moreover, one could not overlook such passages when they were read liturgically by all the churches, without comment, explanation, or omission, day by day and century by century. The New Testament gives a picture of the Jewish people and their religion which allows to neither a legitimate contemporary existence. Judaism is presented as, at best, a preparation for Christianity. Jews are shown as though they should have seen this and become Christians.

This is the root cause for the persistence of anti-Semitism, and for the silence of the churches over the real danger, as well as the constant malicious propaganda, which surrounds Israel.


Blandford, Dorset, England

1. Granting that Parkes is not an evangelical, he still is an ordained Protestant clergyman.… Would Jews take offense if Christians quoted a recognized rabbi who is more friendly to Christ and Christianity than “evangelical” Jewish orthodoxy allows? Would Christians know the difference between rabbi and rabbi?…

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2. Agreeing that it should “be shouted from the housetops that no one should blame today’s Jews and Gentiles for what their forebears did,” as your editorial says, the fact still remains that Gentiles are not blamed but Jews are and were blamed throughout the centuries by priest and people …

3. I do not agree with the words James Parkes uses in his approach to the problem of Matthew 23 and John 5, but evangelicals should think over their approach to these passages, and I would plead with them that they be not quoted out of their cultural context. Jesus was a Jew.…

4. I have been now an evangelical believer for forty years. In pre-World War II days, some German evangelicals were invited to preach alternately in the Jewish mission house (since the German language is so like the Yiddish that we spoke). Invariably two of these evangelicals would often choose a text from John, especially 8:44, to show us Jews our sinfulness. In both cases, when Hitler invaded Poland, they became the most ardent Hitler supporters, and their sons joined the S.S., which performed the Jewish exterminations. The ones … who risked their lives to preserve us somehow left out these verses when they preached at us and never threw them in our faces. I realize this is an argument of post hoc ergo propter hoc, logically invalid, yet for the sake of the Gospel among Israel it is worthwhile to consider …


Kehilat Mashiach Congregation

Cincinnati, Ohio

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