Songster Leads Drive
A new evangelistic drive has been launched in the Methodist Church by Dr. W. E. Sangster, former minister of famous Central Hall, Westminster, and now general secretary of the Methodist Home Mission Department.
Dr. Sangster, at a press conference in London, said he was devoting his energies to a “forward movement in evangelism” … which, he hoped, would bring about a “revival of sound religion” in the land.
He urged that Methodists ask themselves two questions: (1) Where as church people are we failing? and (2) How can we bridge the growing gulf between the Church and the masses?
“We are all agreed that the Church and the nation have drifted apart. There are no accurate statistics of the number of people associated with the churches in this country, but I am satisfied that 10 per cent would be an over-estimate. In America … the proportion is over 60 per cent.”
Dr. Sangster is planning a series of schools of evangelism in prinicpal cities of England between now and spring. At each school he will be accompanied by a team of four experts in different kinds of evangelism.
Change Of Names
The Belgrade government has issued a new decree ordering all towns and villages in Yugoslavia with names of Christian origin to replace them with names of a communist association.
The decree was cited as an example of the Tito government’s continuing anti-religious policy.
‘Red Dean’ Attacked
Dr. Hewlett Johnson, the “Red Dean” of Canterbury, has been publicly accused of misrepresenting the facts in his criticisms of missionaries in China.
The dean, in answering a question from a Cambridge under-graduate group on why missionaries were forced to leave China, alleged that they had worn American service uniforms and had taken photographs of factories which might be of use to the enemies of China.
He was immediately challenged by Canon Mervyn Stockwood, Vicar of St. Mary the Great Church in Cambridge.
“The dean and I,” he said, “are both members of the Church of England, and some of the expelled missionaries were our brother members. The dean has made a disgraceful attack on them. He knows that they were devoted servants of China.”
Dean Johnson replied by saying his information came from a reliable source.
Canon Stockwood suggested the source might have been the communist Daily Worker, published in London.
Anglican Bishop Expelled
The Anglican Bishop in Egypt, Dr. Francis F. Johnston, has been expelled after serving there 40 years.
The bishop, who arrived in England with the Provost of Cairo Cathedral, said they were only two on a list of 60 senior members of the British community in Egypt who were ordered to leave the country within seven days.
Bishop Johnston said the expulsion order came as a complete shock. (The Egyptian government evidently was retaliating for the British-French attack).
The Church Missionary Society, largest Anglican society working overseas, reported a general deterioration in the Egyptian situation. Restrictions have been placed on the movements of missionaries, and two of its doctors have been taken off the Egyptian medical register, making it impossible for them to practice.
Family Books Revamped
Soviet Zone authorities have revamped family books in a new effort to lure young people from their religious loyalties, East German church officials reported.
The family books, traditionally issued in Germany to newly-wed couples, no longer provide space for entering church ceremonies—weddings, baptisms, confirmations and funerals. Instead, they include a double-page for “entries regarding participation in youth dedication ceremonies.”
Church leaders also charged that anti-religious indoctrination among members of the newly-created armed forces of the communist East German regime is being carried out with continued vigor.
German evangelical foreign missionary personnel increased from 180 to 754 since end of World War II.… Dr. Jerzy Stachelski, member of United Polish Workers (Communist) Party, named head of Polish government’s Office for Religious Affairs.
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Items For Congress
Strong resolutions urging passage of anti-liquor legislation by Congress were adopted at the National Temperance League board of directors meeting in Washington, D. C., Nov. 26–29.
U. S. lawmakers were asked to re-introduce and pass these measures:
Williams Bill HR-8000, banning sale and service of alcoholic beverages on airlines within continental United States. The bill passed the House at the last session. Adjournment killed it in the Senate.
Neely Bill S-313, with amendment suggested by Sen. Morse, making it compulsory that applicants for drivers licenses agree on chemical tests if they are involved in accidents. Refusal to do so will mean automatic revocation of their permit.
Langner Bill S-923 and Siler Bill HR-4627, banning liquor and beer advertising in interstate commerce.
Dr. Duke McCall, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky, presided at the sessions, held at Calvary Baptist Church. The church’s Woodward Hall, site of the meetings, also was used for the founding of the Anti-Saloon League in 1895.
A record 23,432 Protestant missionaries are now serving abroad, compared to 11,289 in 1936 and 18,576 four years ago.
The Missionary Research Library, in releasing the totals, said some 280 boards and agencies in the United States and Canada, including over 60 that do not send personnel, received $130,000,000 to finance missionaries in 1955.
Digest of other findings in the survey:
Missionaries serving in 100 foreign countries—35 per cent in East, Southeast, and Southern Asia; 29 per cent in Africa, south of Sahara Desert; 26.5 per cent in Latin America.
India, despite efforts to discourage new missionaries, leads all countries with 2,127. Japan next, with 1,562; then Belgian Congo, with 1,195. China, once host to 4,492, now has one. He is the Rev. Paul Mackensen of United Lutheran Church in America, held by Communists in Shanghai prison.
Six of 10 are women. Fewer single women serving.
About 28 per cent ordained; 34 per cent four years ago.
More than 2,000 are physicians and nurses.… 43.5 per cent sponsored by boards and agencies in National Council of Churches. Slightly less than 20 per cent supported by Interdenominational Foreign Missions Assn.; 17.8 by Evangelical Foreign Missions Assn. Independent societies send 12.8 per cent, while Canadian boards send 3.1 per cent.
Most of increase since 1952 accounted for by evangelicals, independents and faith groups. Sent additional 4,170, compared to 631 by National Council. Older bodies now emphasize support of nationals.
Methodists send most—1,513. Seventh-day Adventists next with 1,272, followed by Presbyterian Church in U. S. A. (Northern) with 1,072 and Sudan Interior Mission (interdenominational) with 1,024.
Views On Armageddon
Foreign Correspondent William Stone-man, of the Chicago Daily News, stood at Armageddon, in Palestine, to describe “the sights and sounds of armies girding for war at this place of destiny.”
In questioning biblical spokesmen on the meaning of the Book of Revelation’s verses relating to Armageddon, the News came up with three views:
Allen P. Wikgren, chairman of the University of Chicago’s New Testament Department, said “the prophecy doesn’t even apply to future events, but to events already in history.”
The Rev. Francis L. Filas, S.J., of Loyola University, said “Catholic scholars generally agree that St. John’s writings of Armageddon apply to the clash between good and evil during all ages.”
The News then stated, without an attributable quote, that “some Bible scholars interpret these words literally and believe that this will be the terrible scene on the Day of Judgment. If these men are right, it is possible that Correspondent Stoncman … had a preview of Armageddon.”
• Georgia Baptists refuse to endorse decision of Supreme Court on racial segregation.… Alabama Baptists adopt “middle of the road” approach to problem.
• Mississippi Baptists approve $600,000 loan for their four colleges.… Resolution barring Negro students from attending Baptist schools and colleges defeated by North Carolina Baptists.
• Tennessee Baptists indorse committee report on race relations, but delete “acceptance” of Supreme Court decision.… Florida Baptists approve report that members guided by New Testament cannot join Ku Klux Klan or other “mob” groups “whose goal is to defeat and set aside the law of our land.”
Probe In Colombia
The Canadian Council of Churches has called on the World Council of Churches to send a two-man team into Colombia for on-the-spot investigation of reported persecution of Protestants there.
The call was made in a resolution voicing “deep apprehension and concern at the repression of religious groups and the denial of freedom of worship to some in Spain and Colombia.”
The pastor of a Baptist church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, has been told by a county judge, “It looks like you’ll have to open a dance hall nearby to avoid the issuance of a beer license to a tavern across the street from the church.”
Oklahoma law restricts the operation of beer taverns near dance halls, but has no bars against taverns operating near schools or churches.
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