A friend of mine, who is a Very Important Christian Leader, takes time to answer his mail but not to sign the finished letters. His signature is so poor that anybody could sign the letters. His secretary merely stamps the signature: “Dictated by Dr._______ but signed in his absence.” The twenty-second time I saw that stamp, I received a brilliant idea from my muse which, if it pays off, ought to give my wife and me a trip to Winona Lake Bible Conference.

I plan to market a complete set of “Sacred Stamps” that every pastor can use in his ministry and which will save him a lot of time and trouble. For example: “Passed by the official church board but never carried out.” (This one you use on the church clerk’s reports, and also on annual reports that don’t report anything.)

This one is for sermon outlines: “Originally preached by Spurgeon, but borrowed by _______.”

For use in books only: “Borrowed from _______ but not returned.”

“United with the church and has not been seen since.” (This one is for membership record cards and also visitation cards. We include two of these stamps. They wear out in a hurry.)

“United with the church and I hope he/she never comes back.” (The pastor uses this on his own private records.)

“Sorry, our church does not support free-lance missionaries even if they have seen a vision.” (This one will save you a lot of letter-writing.)

I will also prepare special stamps made to order. No sooner had this exciting news gotten out when a well-known pastor wrote asking for: “Baptized by Dr._______ and not to be baptized again.” He wants to stamp this on the candidate, so I’m suggesting he use the kind of ultra-violet system they have at Disneyland.

I’ll be watching for your order.


(signed in his absence)

A Bit Unfair

The article “Does Male Dominance Tarnish Our Translations?” by Berkeley and Alvera Mickelsen (Oct. 5) was very thought-provoking. It made me aware of very real dangers in “one-person translations.” The article was a bit unfair, however.

There seemed to be a convenient attempt made to show that the word “head” in 1 Corinthians 11:3 meant source and only source (according to the Greek-English Lexicon of Liddell and Scott). But in Bauer, Arndt, and Gingrich’s Greek-English Lexicon the word “head” (kephale) is used “in the case of living beings to denote superior rank …” (p. 431). This does not mean inequality, but superior roles among equals, i.e., God and Christ in 1 Corinthians 11:3.


Young Life staff

Amarillo, Tex.

The Mickelsen’s article interested me almost as much as it bewildered me. They pointed out correctly that the Greek kephale means “head,” not “supreme.” But they stretch the Greek too far to state that there is no sense of authority implied in the word—that the meaning comes closer to “source.”

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Ephesians 1:22 and 5:23 both speak of Christ as “head” of the church. Does this mean that he is only the church’s source—with no authority over the church’s life and mission?


Trinity Lutheran Church

Kearney, Mo.

As to “improving” or “clearing up” expressions of Scripture, those who seek to do “dynamic” translations know that it is not a case of word-for-word transference of Greek into English. Every conscientious translator seeks to render the meaning of the passage. Contemporary translators have sought to do just that in the passages to which the authors take such strong exception. The Mickelsens follow the same pathway—to “make plain” what they think the Scriptures ought to mean. They shoot very wide indeed of the mark.


Tracy City, Tenn.

All in all the article upholds the basic translation principle of faithful reproduction in the target language of what was written in the original. The “Editor’s Footnote,” however, was gratuitous.

As for Psalm 68:11 you would advocate the opposite of what the Mickelsens are saying. You would have the translator insert words that are not in the Hebrew: “Great was the company of those women who publish the Word of the Lord.” The editor claims that the Hebrew word is “explicitly feminine.” So is the word for water. So is the word for house. The word for father—our male parent—has a feminine ending in the plural. This has nothing to do with sex. The word in 68:11 is “heralds of good news,” and simply means “those who proclaim the good news,” whether male or female.


Atlanta, Ga.

I was surprised at the misleading statements in your “Editor’s Footnote” to the Mickelsens’ article. You say that in Acts 18:26 the KJV “reverses the Greek order to place Aquilla (sic) before Priscilla,” but in fact the Textus Receptus used by KJV translators has Aquila first.

Also, when you say that the KJV “correctly notes the feminine Junia in Romans 16:17” and that the masculine Junias has “little or no justification,” you mislead the nonspecialist in Greek, for in fact it is impossible to decide on the basis of grammar: Iounian could be the accusative form of a masculine or feminine name.


Assistant professor of theology

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Bethel College

St. Paul, Minn.

I was most astonished to read the Mickelsen’s article. I had almost given up hope that a major Christian publication would ever recognize the fact of so much un-Christlike chauvinism in our Bible translations and, therefore, from our pulpits and Sunday school classrooms. My only regret is that you waited until so many Christian women and men had already laid the groundwork for dialogue about sexism in the church before you felt it was safe enough to speak on this topic.


Berkeley, Calif.

It was a welcome surprise to see Berkeley and Alvera Mickelsen discuss linguistic matters related to translating some of the Bible’s “woman passages.”

Obviously the time has come for conservative church people to acknowledge with repentance these centuries-old misconceptions about the biblical view of women. In recent years, when members of the Evangelical Women’s Caucus have tried to clarify misleading translations, they have usually either been ignored or given a fast putdown.


Berkeley, Calif.

The Paraphraser

We want to thank you for sharing the interview with Kenneth N. Taylor, the Living Bible paraphraser (Oct. 5). We appreciate his willingness to share some of the battles he fought and even the mistakes he made. His spirit of humility is overwhelming.


Bibles for the World

Wheaton, Ill.

Telling how someone or other came to know the Lord through the Living Bible because it was “the first time he read the Scriptures and understood them” leaves the Holy Spirit out altogether. In other words, what the Holy Spirit cannot do, Ken Taylor’s Bible can.

I would guess that the overwhelming majority of men and women saved from sin during the last several hundred years came to know the Lord as the Holy Spirit made the teaching and preaching from the KJV real to their hearts. If only Taylor’s Bible had been available, who knows what Charles Finney, Jonathan Edwards, D. L. Moody, R. A. Torrey, Evan Roberts, and others could have accomplished for the Lord!

I’m not one of those who says, “If the King James was good enough for Peter and Paul, it’s good enough for me.” There are many good translations. I just don’t feel that the Living Bible is one of them.


Elmwood Place, Ohio

The Bible: True and Romantic

Leland Ryken’s article “The Bible: God’s Storybook” (Oct. 5) was very stimulating and equally satisfying. As a student of literature and a fledgling poet, I and many others are always inquiring for a sound base for resolving the apparent “conflict” between realism and mythological romance. It is refreshing and encouraging to see another writer challenge the accepted notions and appeal to the Scriptures as both the divine authority and the grandest romance ever told.

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Austin, Tex.

Strong Response

I have read with keen interest “The Ironies and Impact of PTL” by Philip Yancey (Sept. 21). There was a strong response in my heart to that article. I feel that it was written in a very fair and unbiased way, and yet the observations and information about PTL that need to be made public were also included.

As a minister of the gospel, I have been greatly concerned about a number of things that were dealt with in that masterly article.


Executive Director

The Pentecostal Benevolent Association of Ontario

Agincourt, Ont.


David F. Wells, author of “Prayer: Rebelling Against the Status Quo” in the November 2 issue, was incorrectly identified as associated with Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Dr. Wells is now on the faculty of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, South Hamilton, Massachusetts.

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