The most profound discussion to come out of our family’s Christmas last year was on the topic, “When does the Christmas season really end?” I maintained that the Christmas season was over on the twelfth day of Christmas, and that I had a song to prove it.

“How utterly fantastic!” said our oldest daughter. “Are you going to let a parade of leaping lords, milkmaids, and noisy birds make your decision for you? I vote for the day we take down the decorations and the tree. That is the official end of the Christmas season.”

“You people who live by sight and not by faith,” grumbled our married son who reads deep theological books. “What difference would decorations make? Suppose you were in the catacombs without any decorations? You need to look at these things existentially.”

My wife had patiently waited her turn. “I have two suggestions; take your pick. Christmas is over when the last bill is paid. Or, Christmas is over when you’ve eaten the last cookie and cleaned up all the leftover turkey.”

“Whose god is their belly,” muttered our theologian son under his breath. “Mother, how can you let such gross things as money and food govern your enjoyment of such a wonderful thing as Christmas? It’s almost pagan!”

“A lot you people know about Christmas,” retorted the youngest daughter. “Take it from an expert: when you get tired of your toys, or when they’re all broken, then Christmas is over. When the fun is gone, Christmas is gone.”

“And suppose you don’t get any toys, smarty!” argued her sister. “I haven’t received a toy for Christmas in years. I get adult gifts!”

About that time, we all started talking at once. It probably would have turned into a free-for-all, with everybody throwing tinsel and assorted decorations; but at that point, my nephew blew his new policeman’s whistle and brought us all to a dead stop.

“Fine bunch of Christians you people are!” he said. “Who ever said the Christmas season was supposed to end?”

My wife slipped to the piano, and the discussion ended with all of us singing “Joy to the World.”

Merry Christmas—forever.


So What’s New?

The incredible advertising by the publisher of the New King James Bible and the review by book editor Walter Elwell (“The King James Even Better?” Nov. 2) cry out for further comment.

We have now reached the point in new translations when the questions “Why?” and “What will this new one add?” need to be raised most seriously. The apologia for the New King James simply does not hold up.

First, it begs the obvious question: what is different here from the RSV, which also claims that it is “not a new translation, but a revising for our day of the King James”? Second, Mr. Elwell fails to address the real reason people prefer the King James. It is precisely its archaic language, especially “thee and thou” pronouns, that make people think the King James is more “holy-sounding.”

Article continues below


St. Mark’s Episcopal Church

Philadelphia, Pa.


I appreciated very much your comprehensive dealing with Christian higher education (Nov. 2).

Karen D’Arezzo’s article “Christian or Secular College: Choosing Between Them” did a fine job of presenting the pros and cons of secular and Christian colleges. One option not stated overtly was doing a portion of one’s study at each type of school, and perhaps gaining the best of both worlds.


Northern Baptist Theological Seminary

Lombard, Ill.

Monkey See, Monkey Do

Time, Newsweek, and U.S. News could have provided all the background needed for Edward Plowman’s monkey-see-monkey-do coverage of evangelical movements of social concern (“Is Morality All Right?” Nov. 2). Unfortunately Mr. Plowman appears to have bought into the contention that this Christian resurgence is but a tool or arm of the New Right.

But what about the fundamental issues being addressed not only by Falwell, Grant, and McBirnie but also by more intellectual and theological types such as Francis Schaeffer and C. Everett Koop? By making so much of the New Right connection, CHRISTIANITY TODAY has neatly diverted attention away from the substantive issues of a Christian world and life view and a Christian theory of society and the state to matters of lobbying and influence-peddling.

In this way CHRISTIANITY TODAY is contributing to the attempt of the secular media to stifle any Christian resurgence that goes beyond the limits of the tabernacle or the revival hall.


Professor of theology

Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

Deerfield, Ill.

Letters to Eutychus

Long ago, the various writers of the Eutychus column combined real wit with down-to-earth logic and biblical reality. But for a while now, I’ve often wasted valuable time reading it.

In the November 2 issue (“Hurry Up and Worship”), however, Eutychus X is bringing the column back to what it should be.


Oroville, Calif.

Just what was the column by Eutychus X (“Take One Tablet,” Oct. 19) meant to accomplish? Unless I misinterpreted it, it was meant as a put-down of any readers who may hold a dispensational view of the Scriptures. I had thought CHRISTIANITY TODAY was more dedicated to effecting an attitude of tolerance among its readers than one of division.

Article continues below


Galilee Baptist Church

Chicago, Ill.

The present Eutychus is a confirmed dispensationalist. I suspect that is why he may have felt a little more freedom in poking fun at dispensationalists.Ed.


Kenneth Taylor’s statements about the “postponement” of the Tyndale Encyclopedia of Christian Knowledge (“Ken Taylor: God’s Voice in the Vernacular,” Oct. 5) have an uncertain ring to many of us who were unceremoniously informed last April that the project was “terminated.”

The official word given to the editors and writers came from Mark Taylor, Tyndale House’s vice president, who stated in a letter that the project was being “terminated” because “Tyndale House has determined that it was no longer financially feasible for us to continue with the Encyclopedia.”

The encyclopedia’s editorial staff was not consulted in the decision to end the project, and all 400-plus writers and editors were hastily dismissed. Does Tyndale intend to rehire these persons? If so, what guarantee can be given that the hours of labor spent researching articles will come to fruition in their publication?


Union Theological Seminary

Richmond, Va.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.