Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 1, 1953

Advertisements And Editorials


Many months before the new Revised Standard Version of the Bible was available for distribution, a nationally known advertising agency was employed to 'sell" the new book to the public. With hundreds of thousands of dollars at their disposal this agency put on an intensive propaganda campaign, sending copy and mats to publishers of religious journals all over the nation. They got stories in the slick-paper magazines (Collier's, Life, Look, etc.), bought space in the big daily newspapers, had reviews on the radio, and in general put on the sort of campaign that such an agency would be expected to conduct. Well experienced in selling tobacco, whiskey, tooth-paste and cereals, this agency did a super job.

And many brethren were "sucked in" by the campaign. Among gospel papers the mortality rate was high. Even the "old reliable" of Tennessee (Gospel Advocate) carried an illustration of the book and said in its advertising that it was "The Bible you MUST have." It describes the new book as being "more accurate," and gave instructions to order from the Gospel Advocate Company. And in Texas the Firm Foundation and Christian Chronicle waxed even more enthusiastic and lyrical in their advertisements, giving great amounts of space, declaring "you'll turn to this Bible twice as often," and saying, "Obscure, old-fashioned phrases are gone. Language is clear and vigorous, as it is in the earliest manuscripts known. In the Revised Standard Version, the true meaning of many passages will be clear to you for the first time . . . More accurate . . ." Brother Hudson's book club in California, gave the same build-up, using the same advertising copy.

One result of this fan-fare of publicity was that thousands upon thousands of copies of the new translation were sold. One of the above publishers had to announce that his stock was exhausted, and those who had ordered would have to await a new shipment. Doubtless there were great numbers of unsuspecting and trusting brethren who ordered this book, feeling they were getting a reliable, trustworthy, and "accurate" translation of the Bible.

Then The Roof Began To Fall In.

In the Gospel Guardian of November 6 we published an article by Oswald T. Allis pointing out that the new version is filled with compromises with liberalism and modernism, that it is arbitrary and capricious in its handling of many debated points, and that the bias and prejudice of modernism shines through in page after page. We had also an editorial pointing out some of these things, and warning against the use of this book as a "Bible."

The retreat of our brother journalists from their enthusiastic advertising support of the book was immediate — and commendable. Issue after issue of their journals since then has pointed out the weaknesses and infidel compromises of the new version. Editorials and articles have been in nearly every subsequent issue, retreating and backing off from the enthusiastic praises of the advertisements. And we rejoice in that, of course. But one cannot but wonder why these articles and editorials were not used before the fulsome praise of the advertisements had put the books into the hands of the innocent 'and unwary! Surely, it is not quite fair to praise a book so lavishly in advertisements, and then after it has been bought, turn around and write editorials warning the buyer that he has purchased a lemon! If our brother editors did not know what was the nature of the new translation, then they had no business advertising it in such glowing terms. If they did know, and still advertised it, intending to write their condemnatory editorials only after a sizeable number had been sold — well, we are hardly ready yet to think they'd stoop quite that low. But whether inadvertently or deliberately, the papers which have praised this version so highly in advertisements, and then turned around and condemned it so severely in editorials betray a vacillating uncertainty and instability that ill becomes any editor or publisher of a gospel paper.

Meanwhile, we think the Revised Standard Version can be a very helpful and useful book — but not as a Bible! It certainly does have some excellent features, and it does help to clarify certain passages. In the hands of a thoughtful and well-grounded student, it can be most helpful. But if it is to be accepted as an "accurate" translation of the Bible, it is dangerous and destructive.

— F. Y. T.

"Husband Of One Wife"

We appreciate the number of articles that have been submitted on this subject, and wish it were possible to use them all. But such is impracticable for reasons of space. No new material seems to be in the articles now being submitted, and no new arguments are being made. So with the publication of articles by Brother Porter, Brother Holt, and Brother Edmunson in this issue we will ring down the curtain, at least for the present, on this question. Brother Douthitt does not wish to make any response to Brother Porter's present article, as he feels it has no new material. So we are not shutting off anybody without a hearing. The arguments are before our readers. We commend them to your serious study.

— F. Y. T.