Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
February 23, 1961
NUMBER 41, PAGE 8-9a

Beyond The Horizons

By Wm. E. Wallace, Box 40, Poteau, Oklahoma

The Reason For Billy Sunday's Success

The overwhelming reason for Billy Sunday's success was his own talent for dramatization. He acted out the homely little stories and the Bible vignettes which had become a revivalist's stock in trade, and he gave them a breath-taking vigor. Sunday skipped, ran, walked, bounced, slid and gyrated on the platform. He would pound the pulpit with his fist until nervous listeners expected to hear crunching bone. He would, in rage against "the Devil," pick up the simple kitchen chair which stood behind the reading desk and smash it into kindling; once it slipped away from him and nearly brained a few people in the front rows. As he gesticulated and shook his head, drops of sweat flew from him in a fine spray. Gradually, he would shed his coat, then his vest, then his tie, and finally roll up his sleeves as he whipped back and forth, crouching, shaking his fist, springing, leaping and falling in an endless series of imitations. He would impersonate a sinner trying to reach heaven like a ball player sliding for home — and illustrate by running and sliding the length of the improvised tabernacle stage. Every story was a pantomime performance, Naaman the leper, washing himself in the Jordan to cleanse away his sores, was reproduced with extravagant vitality by the evangelist, who would stand shivering on the bank, stub his toe on a rock, slap sand fleas, shriek with the cold at the first plunge, and blow and sputter as he emerged from each healing dip. Crowds guffawed as Sunday depicted a society woman cuddling a pug dog, a staggering drunk weaving into a saloon, or a mincing preacher ordering groceries in his pulpit manner. Hurling some imprecation at a "boozer," the ex-outfielder would leap to the edge of the platform, one leg stretched out behind him, the other knee bent double, his arm stabbing out ahead of him, his whole taut tense body like a javelin held in rest a few inches off the ground.

Drama critics who saw the performance in the tabernacle agreed that no stage imitation of Sunday could begin to reflect the reality of him. A dancing dervish, he reproduced the jerks of Cane Ridge while the sinners, in this case, were transfixed merely by watching. At the end of a sermon he was drenched with perspiration. Sometimes he would pull a Themos bottle from a hidden recess and splash water on his face, before plunging once again into gymnastics. — From "They Gathered At The River" a book by Bernard A. Weisberger.

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Church Members Should Act

....The National Council of Churches is made up of members representing 33 Protestant and Orthodox de-nominations. It purports, quite spuriously, to represent something like 36,000,000 American church members. It probably cannot truthfully claim to represent 1/36th of this many church members. Yet, the very nature of its being gives to the National Council an area of responsibility and influence that is exceedingly dangerous.

The National Council claims to represent, by reason of his membership in a Protestant church, the writer of this editorial. Well, it doesn't. As a matter of fact, the vast army of church members in the United States either is unaware it is contributing to the upkeep of the National Council of Churches, or has never been handed an opportunity to make a choice one way or another.

It is on this point, we believe, that the rank and file members of churches can take a hand in slowing down the hasty march to Socialization and Communization that is so obviously the goal of many leaders in the National Council.

Here briefly, but by no means in total, are some of the publicized goals of the Council:

Diplomatic recognition of Red China; admission of Red China to the United Nations; co-existence with "the Communist nations;" avoidance of "the posture of general hostility" to the Communist nations; the use of military force only when "sanctioned" by the United Nations, where the veto is the predominant implement of the Soviet Union.

At present in Tulsa some church members are pushing for disaffiliation from the National Council of Churches. We think it would be a wise and properly vigilant move if the members of all churches affiliated with the Council would do the same, for nothing can spoil a rigged confidence game like a deflated money bag.

Americans who do not believe in what the National Council of Churches believes in — and they are legion — should not be expected to accede to its actions or contribute to its upkeep.

There is a simple solution, if church people everywhere will but act. — Editorial, Tulsa World, December 25, 1960.

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Revising The Bible

Occasionally, preachers and teachers are approached by individuals who are confused or baffled over Bible revisions. They have heard preachers and teachers refer to the King James Version, The American Standard Version, The Revised Standard Version, et cetera. From the pulpit quotations are made from different revisions and references are made to contrary versions of various passages.

Why does the Bible need revising? It is not a matter of revising God's word, nor is it a matter of revising truth. Revision involves the language used by translators to express God's word.

The necessity of revision arises because of the discovery of ancient manuscripts, because of the continual change in our English language, and because of new information as to meanings of Biblical terms.

Another reason given to justify revisions: Improvements in the interpretation of passages. We can see the relevance of the first three reasons for revision, but we question the last one. In modern revisions, such as the Revised Standard Version, the so-called "improved interpretation" finds its way into the text presented by modernistic scholars.

Such revisions as the Revised Standard Versions of the scriptures contain too much modernistic interpretation. Modern scholars have loose or liberal views regarding New Testament fundamentals, and this looseness results in loose "improved interpretation" in many texts which they revise.

No revision is completely free of prejudicial interpretations of scholars. The King James Version, for example, offers the word baptize instead of immerse or dip. This is due to the interpretation of the King James scholars regarding "baptism." "Baptism" could be administered by dipping, pouring or sprinkling according to their concept. so rather than translate the Greek word baptizdo as it should have been translated (dip or immerse) they framed a new word — baptize. Thus they catered to their interpretation and to a prevailing religious practice regarding a vital New Testament commandment.

This particular "interpretation" is not harmful because we can determine what baptism was 1900 years ago and can thus determine what it must be now.

But in modern revisions, modern scholars insert their modern conceptions and interpretations into the texts. Inasmuch as modern scholars embrace loose or watered down concepts of New Testament fundamentals, we should view their modern revisions with suspicion and caution.

— W. E. W.

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"The New English Bible"

TIME magazine, January 16, 1961, reports the forthcoming appearance of a new translation of the Bible, produced by a committee of thirty scholars. The New Testament translation, appearing in March, is designed to "not only introduce the Scripture to those for whom it has been a closed book but will also freshen its meaning for those who know it well." The Old Testament translation is scheduled to appear in 1967. — W. E. W.

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"Failures In Conversion"

The Christian Century, January 18, 1961, carries a report of the comments of a Baptist evangelist criticizing Baptist emotionalism: "At a December revival meeting in Portland Baptist Church, Oklahoma City, Clifton Brannon of Longview, Texas, who left law practice 11 years ago to become an evangelist, severely criticized 'emotional' religion. He accused his fellow Southern Baptists of following only one of the Bible's three commissions: to teach, to preach and to pray. Said he: 'They come and work on people's emotions through preaching methods and they baptize someone after they get him all stirred up.... Emotionalism will work for a while, but it takes education to last. I have no faith at all in mass conversions. We get an off-brand Christian who is emotionally unstable.,"

We have been telling the Baptists something like this for a long time. It is good to know that there is some recognition in Baptist ranks regarding Baptists following only part of the Bible's instruction on the plan of salvation. — W. E. W.