Readers' Forum

Tozer Article Corrections

Please allow me to correct some incorrect info that Bernard R. DeRemer wrote in his article on A. W. Tozer in the August issue of your publication. He states that Tozer wrote The Pursuit of God in his study. The back of the book itself reveals that Tozer wrote the book while traveling all night on a train to Texas.

Also the Alliance Witness is no longer the title of the denominational magazine, nor has it been for quite a few years. It is Alliance Life.

Mac McSweeney
Pastor of Oak Grove Alliance Church
Williamsport, PA

Editor’s note: Brother DeRemer rechecked his sources and found that it was the first draft of The Pursuit of God which was written on the train. The final draft was done “on his knees,” as the article stated.

“I’ll Cling to My NIV” 

I must take exception to the article in the August issue of Pulpit Helps magazine in which Ted Kyle enthusiastically supports the views of Professor Leland Ryken questioning the inviolability of all but the King James Version. Does he also question the authenticity of the New KJV? He does specifically question the NIV, which is my personal preferred translation. Does Ryken suggest the KJV is any less a dynamic equivalent than is the NIV? I am not a Bible student, nor am I a linguist, but does not the very term “dynamic equivalent” denote inspiration from God? Doesn’t the term literally mean “equal in power”?

As for the three costs of the adoption of “dynamic equivalence” mentioned in the article:

• I find memorization of the NIV much easier than the archaic language of the KJV, although I do prefer the poetic language of KJV in Psalms.

• I have no problem whatsoever with expository preaching using the NIV. In fact it’s easier for me to find understanding in the contemporary language of NIV.

• I find no more basis for questioning the authority of the Word in the NIV than in the KJV.

I am surrounded by many who would agree with Professor Ryken, but also by many who prefer other translations. I agree that there are some versions that take far too much liberty, but until God tells me otherwise I will continue to use and promote my NIV as my translation of choice.

Jim Pauquette, pastor
New Hope Community Church
Hope, Michigan.

Ted Kyle’s response: You’re entitled and welcome to take exception! However, most of your questions are best answered by Prof. Ryken, and I suggest you get hold of his book. It should be judged on its own merits, not on a review. I do think you are mistaken as to the meaning of “dynamic equivalency”: as used by the translators, it means they no longer feel bound by the literal meaning of the words they are translating—in order to render the “sense” of the passage. They feel they are doing a better job of communicating. That is what the debate is about. The opposite of “dynamic equivalency” is “essentially literal,” which includes, among other versions, the KJV, the NKJV, the NASB, and the ESV.

Perturbed About Polling Procedure

I am writing about your editorial “Disappearance of Tithers Spells Trouble for Churches” in the August 2003 issue of Pulpit Helps. You based your article on the results reported by Barna Research Group.

As a home-schooling parent, I was surprised by the statistic that 0.1% of home-schooling parents (presumably those that would identify themselves as Christian) give a tithe to the church.  You noted that you were surprised by this as well.

Therefore, I went to the Barna site to read the actual report. It can be found

As a result of reviewing the report, I must question the conclusions of the report. The methodology section of the report states: “The data in this report are based on a nationwide telephone survey conducted by the Barna Research Group from its interviewing facility in Ventura, CA. The OmniPollSM survey involved interviews among 1010 adults…”

One percent means one in a hundred. One-tenth of one percent means 1 in a thousand. In order to statistically conclude that 0.1% of home-schooling parents give a tithe (that is, 1 respondent out of 1000 questioned), it wou­ld be necessary for approximately 1000 of the 1010 participants to be home-schooling parents. It doesn’t seem likely that 99% of the randomly chosen survey recipients would be Christian home-schooling parents.

Further, it was reported that 0.1% of Catholics, Hispanics, liberals, and downscale households gave a tithe.  In order to statistically arrive at 0.1% for each of these demographics, it would be necessary for 1000 of the 1010 participants to be poor, for 1000 to be Hispanic, for 1000 to be Catholic, and for 1000 to be liberal. In other words, it would be necessary for 1000 of the 1010 participants to be poor-Hispanic-Catholic-liberal-home-schooling parents. Again, that doesn’t seem likely.

As a result, the conclusion that 0.1% of these five demographic groups give a tithe is highly suspect.  Perhaps there was a typographical error, and the 0.1% should be 1%. This would require only that 10% of those surveyed be home-schooling parents, be Catholic, be liberal, be Hispanic, and downscale households. [This] is at least more plausible. Or perhaps 10,000 people were surveyed rather than 1000.

Finally, the Barna report itself claims accuracy of only +-3.2%. Given this accuracy, making any statement to the precision of 0.1% seems rather bold.

(By the way, I have contacted the Barna Research Group to ask for clarification on their printed conclusion.  I have not yet received a response.)

Jeff Wheeler
Pulpit Helps subscriber

Editor’s note: David Kinnaman responded for the Barna Group to our query. This is his response: “Within those five segments, none of the respondents were qualified as tithers.  So technically speaking, the correct percent is actually zero. But practically speaking, if we were to look at the entire population of those five segments, we are sure to find tithers in each of those groups. So, the report concluded that less than one-tenth of 1% of those segments were qualified as tithers. That's a way of being accurate to the data—less than one-tenth of 1% illustrates the very low proportion of people who meet that qualification— while also being reasonable about the practical realities of the population.”

 Messianic Letter Postscript

“…It appears to me that we Christians, in our effort to emphasize salvation by grace through faith in Christ alone sometimes go to an extreme that Jesus and the New Testament writers avoid, namely that of minimizing or abolishing the Ten Commandments. In my opinion, God says they’ll never change in duration, only location; through faith in Jesus and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, they will go from being mere commands on stone tablets to loving directions written on my heart, thus transforming me with ever-increasing Christ-likeness (see Matt. 5:17, 18; Jer. 31:33; Heb. 10:16).”

Michael Demma

2011 Disciple 155x50 2011 AMG 155x50
Disciple Banner Ad