Evangelical Broadcasting Outlook

The radio and television picture regarding religious broadcasting is fuzzy with conflicting reports as the new year begins.

United Evangelical Action magazine, edited by Dr. James DeForest Murch, immediate past president of National Religious Broadcasters, Inc., has this to say:

“Some evangelicals are laboring under the erroneous idea that ‘all is well’ since the tremendous demonstrations of evangelical solidarity and co-operation in Washington a year ago when the National Religious Broadcasters, Inc., met in annual convention.

“All is not well with evangelical broadcasting. The announced policy of the Broadcasting and Film Commission of the National Council of Churches in favor of ‘free’ or ‘sustaining’ time and against the ‘sale’ or ‘purchase’ of time for the broadcasting of religion is being promoted vigorously and effectively at the local level.

“… the battle is still on. The National Council of Churches is slowly but surely extending its vise-like control over State Councils and local Councils of Churches. By an elaborate system of inter-related committees, national policies are being implemented at the local level. This is a new development.… The constituent denominations of the NCC often have the largest and most influential churches in the local community. Their pastors and key laymen are in position to make the contacts necessary to kill evangelical broadcasting.”

Dr. Eugene R. Bertermann, current president of the NRB, was far less emphatic when queried on the “new” pressures. He said:

“The situation, certainly, calls for continued vigilance on the part of evangelical broadcasters, but I do not feel there has been any major change in the problem as it existed when the NRB met in Washington.”

Recent reports asserted that Dr. Charles E. Fuller was cutting his “Old Fashioned Revival Hour” to one-half hour as a result of “pressure.”

When contacted by CHRISTIANITY TODAY, Dr. Fuller confirmed that the program would change to one-half hour, but he added:

“So far as our program is concerned, we have had no pressure brought to bear upon us by any station or group, but rather we are constantly being offered time on various stations which seem anxious to carry the program.”

In a letter to his mailing list about the change, he said:

“The past two years it has grown increasingly difficult to secure outlets for a full hour program, and even more serious has been the fact that due to higher living costs, strikes, drought, floods, etc., our income has fallen behind, so we are not able to continue to carry the full hour on the ABC network and the hundreds of independent stations over which this program has been heard for so long. We have spent much time on our knees concerning this problem, and now are confident God has clearly revealed his solution to us.

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“It is this—after January 12, 1958, the ‘Old Fashioned Revival Hour’ will cease to be an hour long as it has been in the past, and we will no longer broadcast from the Municipal Auditorium at Long Beach.” (Mr. Fuller began his radio ministry 33 years ago.)

The Rev. S. Franklin Mack, executive director of the Broadcasting and Film Commission of the NCC, vigoriously denied that pressure was being applied at the local level against evangelical broadcasting. He said:

“Our policy remains the same. We hope all stations will exercise more discrimination in the regulation of all religious programs. Some of our programs have been taken off the air. Instead of blaming someone else, we go to the station involved and try to solve the problem. This is a time for self-examination on the quality of programs. We are doing it.

“We are not urging pressure on the local level. Our contact with local Councils of Churches is one of friendly relations. Certainly, we would not suggest that they advise stations on what constitutes good broadcasting.”

United Evangelical Action supported its assertions with a “spot check.” Here it is, in part:

“In Danville, Illinois, the First Baptist Church, for 102 years a leader in the religious life of the community, was branded as ‘non-cooperative’ by the local ministerial association, and the ‘good word’ was passed on to Station WITY. As a result a fine, years-long broadcasting hour was eliminated.

“In Huntington, Long Island, N. Y., Station WGSM was ‘encouraged’ to adopt a new policy refusing to sell time for religious broadcasting, but making time ‘available to all major religious faiths as a new policy, refusing to sell time for a free, public service. The minors have no rights.

“In Spokane, Washington, the ‘Old Fashioned Revival Hour’ and other nationally-known evangelical broadcasts were dropped ‘as a matter of financial policy.’

“In Columbus, Ohio, evangelical paid broadcasts were eliminated because of pressures by the Council of Churches which holds that ‘a disproportionate amount of time in religious broadcasting is given to that type of commercial programming which does not reflect the theology or the worship practices of the main body of the American people.’

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“In Mineola, New York, Station WKBS adopted a policy whereby all ‘commercial programs fall into a news and music category’ and all ‘commercial religious programs’ were canceled.

“In Los Angeles, California, Station KFAC discontinued all religious broadcasts. Caught in the change of policy was one religious program which claimed to be the oldest in the nation, having been launched in 1923. When the pastor carried the case to the Federal Communications Commission, he was rebuffed by the finding that since KFAC was consulting with the Church Federation of Los Angeles in the drafting of its new policies, there was nothing that could be done about it.

“In Schenectady, New York, Station WGY announced that it was dropping paid religious broadcasting because of an ‘imbalance of fundamentalist Protestant theology’ but would continue to provide free time for an adequate, representative schedule of religious broadcasting, undoubtedly in consultation with the local Council of Churches.

“In Boston, Massachusetts, Radio Station WMEX canceled ‘The Fellowship Hour,’ a daily devotional program sponsored for more than twenty years by the New England Fellowship of Evangelicals. This was the oldest daily religious broadcast in New England.

“Other evangelical broadcasts suffered a similar fate in the Boston area.

“Such instances could be multiplied by the hundreds in all parts of the nation. Usually there are accompanying denials by the local Councils of Churches that they have had anything to do with the demise of evangelical broadcasting programs.”

News Editor

David E. Kucharsky, staff correspondent for the United Press in Pittsburgh, will succeed George Burnham as News Editor of CHRISTIANITY TODAY, beginning with the January 20 issue.

Burnham, a veteran of 20 years in the daily newspaper field, has resigned to organize a syndicated column for the secular press on human interest in religious news. One of his objectives will be to tell the story of foreign missions in language the man-on-the-street can understand. The author of four books, he also will devote more time to the preparation of manuscripts on the lives of outstanding Christians.

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Kucharsky received his B.A. in journalism at Duquesne University. After serving as an Air Force lieutenant from 1953 to 1955, he joined the UP Pittsburgh staff.

Writers Confer

Wheaton College (Illinois) will host the Third Annual Writers’ conference March 7 and 8.

Among the speakers engaged for the conference are Joseph Bayly, editor of His magazine; Grace Irwin, Canadian novelist; Harold Fuller, editor of The African Challenge, and Charles Urquhart, radio and TV writer. Peter Viereck, noted essayist, poet and philosopher, will give a general address.

Captive Chaplains

A conference of Methodist leaders urged in Washington, D. C., that ministers be discouraged from serving as industrial chaplains unless their salaries are paid by the church and they are completely independent of both management and labor.

The recommendation was made by 50 delegates attending a two-day meeting on “Methodism’s Ministry to Industry.”

Pastors in industrial areas were urged to “become familiar with local situations, learn the viewpoints of labor and management, boldly face controversial issues, and emphasize that the ultimate power of Christian ethics is in the life of the individual Christian who takes his faith and ethical standards into his daily work.”

The report said the church must not become the “captive of any faction or section of society.” Chaplains hired by industrial plants, it said, faced limitations “imposed by the fact that the salary of this type of chaplain is paid by sources other than the church.”

People: Words And Events

Luminous Hands—More than 100 deaf persons were enabled to “hear” as well as see “The Ten Commandments” with the help of a pastor whose luminous hands relayed the film’s speaking parts. The Rev. C. Roland Gerhold of St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church for the Deaf in Newark accompanied members of his congregation and other deaf persons in the community to a showing of the movie.

Spare Time—On the street called Chong No near the new Bible House in Seoul, Korea, is the shop of a cobbler who makes his spare time count for God. Between the repair jobs he does for the people, he reads to his customers from the Bible. And the Bible is heard by hundreds who cannot read.

A Promise—Secretary of State John Foster Dulles took part in a service at the American Cathedral in Paris during the NATO conference. He read from the 46th Psalm, which begins, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”

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Million From Alumnus—Wittenberg College, Springfield, Ohio, has received a gift of $1 million from a former student who had to borrow $200 in order to stay in school and receive his diploma 34 years ago. The donation was made by Dr. Stanley Hanley, president of the Power Equipment Co. of Galion and Columbus.

Dies at 100Dr. James Thomas Blackwood, Monteagle, Tenn., believed to be the oldest Methodist minister in the United States and possibly in the world, died recently at the age of 100.

New Approach—A new method in the rehabilitation of prisoners is being tried in California at Tulare County’s road camp. When prisoners go to bed their wired-for-sound pillows lull them to sleep with a recorded religious talk. Results will be announced after a test of 30 to 60 days.

Chaplain InjuredLt. Comdr. Paul W. Reigner of Philadelphia, Protestant chaplain at Antarctica during the International Geophysical Year, was seriously injured recently in a helicopter crash. He is making a “satisfactory recovery.”

Newspaper Chaplaincy—Creation of a newspaper chaplaincy has been proposed by James W. Carty, Jr., religion editor of the Nashville Tennessean. He said newspapers need chaplains because, with their accent on deadlines, “many tensions develop and erupt.”

Printer’s Devil—The church members in Jackson, Miss., wanted to encourage their pastor. An article was prepared for the weekly church bulletin, under the headline, “Boost the Pastor a Bit.” It came out this way in print, “Boot the Pastor a Bit.”

Writer PassesDorothy L. Sayers, who has won a measure of distinction through her writings as a dilettante Anglican theologian, died recently in England. Miss Sayers wrote 12 plays on the life of Christ in the colloquial language of her country. The plays created wide debate. At the time of her death she was working on a translation of Dante’s Divine Comedy.

Public Relations—A far-reaching public relations program for the Southern Baptist Convention has been approved by the denomination’s executive committee to interpret and promote the SBC through the press.

Digest—Full accreditation by the American Association of Theological Schools has been granted to Fuller Theological Seminary.… Larry Ward, former managing editor of CHRISTIANITY TODAY and Christian Life magazines, is now associated with World Vision, Inc., Dr. Bob Pierce, president, announced. Ward will edit the World Vision Magazine and aid Roy Wolfe, director of publications, in the preparation of mission literature for local church use.… A budget of $431,000 has been adopted by the Billy Graham San Francisco Bay Cities Crusade Executive Committee for the six-week crusade opening April 27.… Robert P. Taylor, Southern Baptist chaplain, is the new chief of personnel division, office of Air Force chaplains, Washington, D. C.

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Training View

Speaking at the 71st annual meeting of the Theological Faculties Union of Chicago and Vicinity (100 teachers from 12 seminary faculties), Dr. James F. Gustafson of Yale Divinity School, collaborator in the Niebuhr Report on ministerial training, said, in part:

“Too many classes and too many subjects are taught by the same man. Too many students study too many courses at the same time. Too many students read only the textbooks and reserve shelf books, and never get into the library stacks.

“We give too many survey courses and not enough depth courses. There is not sufficient penetration for students to grasp basic issues. We have too few seminars, and some students graduate without ever getting into a single seminar. We have too little tutorial assistance and too cursory guidance on the part of teachers.

“Professors are not stimulating initiative and basic insights in theological students today. They are failing to transmit basic perspectives and fundamental interpretative principles. We should train men to be self-starting and self-educating, men who will continue to grow in the knowledge of God and the culture around them.”

Dr. Faris D. Whitesell of Northern Baptist Theological Seminary was elected president for a one-year term.

Five-Point Plan

About 100 missionaries, publishers and printers, representing 31 evangelical mission boards and 22 countries, met in Lincoln, Nebraska, recently in the sixth annual Evangelical Literature Overseas (ELO) conference, to plan a strategy of advance in the urgent task of meeting world literature needs.

Harold B. Street, executive secretary of ELO, announced in his keynote address a five-point program for the coming year: (1) formation of a panel of technical experts in writing, translation, production, and distribution of evangelical Christian literature whose counsel will be available through ELO to both missionaries and nationals; (2) establishment of a library of technical books at ELO headquarters in Wheaton, Illinois, of help in all fields of mission publishing, and a catalogue of evangelical manuscripts and books available for translation or adaptation; (3) encouragement of a training program for nationals; (4) sending of specialists to various language areas to counsel in all phases of mission publishing; (5) encouragement of field literature groups in setting high standards for published material.

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To implement this program, specific projects are planned, such as a series of how-to-do-it booklets on various phases of mission publishing. With the objective of training both furloughing missionaries and newly-appointed literature personnel, ELO encourages colleges, Bible schools, and seminaries to set up courses in mission publishing, and it acts as liaison between missionaries and publishers or printers willing to provide on-the-job training.

Not primarily a fund-raising agency, ELO seeks to provide a meeting ground for co-ordination and development of cooperative publishing programs in the various language areas, through sponsoring literature conferences, making surveys of currently available evangelical literature, with a view to filling the gaps in a given language area.

Literature conferences in Beirut, Tangier, Barcelona, and Lisbon are being planned for May-June, 1958, Street announced.

A British group similar to ELO is in process of formation, under the aegis of the Evangelical Alliance of Great Britain, it was announced. An initial conference is scheduled for February 4 in London.

Priority manuscripts needed in most language areas, according to a survey reported by the Rev. Harold Kregel, missionary to Spain under the European Evangelistic Crusade, include a one-volume Bible commentary, Bible dictionary, Bible study material, evangelistic material in local dialects, devotional books, and children’s stories.

Newest of the mass-appeal periodicals is Kiran, launched in India in October, as reported by the Rev. Irvine Robertson, missionary to India under the Evangelical Alliance Mission. This brings to nine the number of mass-appeal periodicals, with nine more to be launched in 1958.

In Africa, V.I.P. (Vernacular Illustrated Publications) leaflets, produced by the Sudan Interior Mission, are a follow-up of the success of the African Challenge, first of the mass-appeal magazines, which in five years has rolled up a circulation of 180,000. The V.I.P. four-page leaflets, cheaply produced though heavily illustrated and in color, appeal to non-Christians by means of a folk fable, a health message, with a gospel message following, and a puzzle.

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Conference sessions at Lincoln featured “how-to-do-it” panel discussions and workshops in the three major areas of publishing: Editorial problems, emceed by the Rev. Donald K. Smith, literature secretary, South Africa General Mission; and Robert Walker, editor, Christian Life; production problems, Kenneth N. Taylor, director, Moody Press; and Rev. B. H. Pearson, executive secretary, World Gospel Crusades; distribution problems, Rev. Kenneth R. Adams, general secretary, Christian Literature Crusade; and Rev. G. Christian Weiss, director, Missionary Agency, Back to the Bible Broadcast.

“In the light of increasing population, increasing literacy, and increasing need for the evangelical message of the printed page,” Street challenged the conference, “shall we not dedicate ourselves afresh to the task of producing more and better evangelical literature? Shall we not, with renewed recognition of the urgency of the hour, commit ourselves in full obedience to the One who commanded, ‘Write in a book and send it to the churches’?”

Pagan Attitudes

Bishop Gerald Francis Burrill of the Episcopal diocese of Chicago has issued a pastoral letter containing 10 requests designed to make “eloquent proclamations of our basic understanding of the Christian faith.”

“Many of the customs surrounding death and the burial of the dead reveal pagan attitudes,” he said.

The bishop asks that funerals be held in the church or home instead of a funeral parlor, except “for grave cause.” The casket should be closed at all times, flowers should not be used in the church, and fraternal rites are not to be used in conjunction with the Office for the Burial of the Dead. The burial service “can be a source of great comfort to the bereaved when it is not subjected to distortion by addition of elements of crass sentimentality,” wrote the bishop.

Music at the services must be authorized by the clergy, the bishop said. Sunday funerals are to be avoided, and remuneration of the clergy is not required and should never appear on the undertaker’s bill, except when legally necessary, he added.


Press Merger

The Sudan Interior Mission has announced the combining of its two influential printing operations, the Niger Press and its publication, African Challenge.

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Launched by SIM in 1944, Niger Press has produced about four million pages of literature in the past four months. African Challenge, started in 1951, has an English edition circulation of 185,000.

New York Audit

The final report of the executive committee of the Billy Graham New York Crusade, audited by Price Waterhouse and Co., showed total receipts of $2,850,031—leaving an excess of $217,618 over expenditures.

Roger Hull, chairman of the executive committee, in making the report public, said:

“We again express our gratitude to Almighty God for the way in which he has provided for our every need … Over two million people heard the gospel proclaimed in New York and many additional millions heard it each Saturday night on television. We can count those who came forward in the Garden to make a public commitment, but there is no way to count the many additional thousands who made commitments or rededicated their lives to Christ in the quiet of their own hearts without leaving their seats.”

The report of Edwin F. Chinlund, treasurer, said the $217,618 excess would be distributed as follows:

$150,000—Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, to be used for the support of television broadcasts of subsequent crusades.

$67,618—Protestant Council of the City of New York, Department of Evangelism, to be used for follow-up work resulting from the Crusade and for the development of evangelism in cooperation with all churches in the Metropolitan area.

The report of receipts and expenditures from inception, May 17, 1956, to December 16, 1957, is as follows:


$32,938.87—Offerings received at Madison Square Garden, stadiums, rallies, and so forth.

$2,004,532.17—Contributions from appeals, receipts from television broadcasts, supporting contributors’ gifts, gifts from other crusades and other miscellaneous gifts.

$1,559.87—Net receipts from the sale of song books, Bibles, other books, records, periodicals and other miscellaneous receipts.


$622,960.83—Expenses of meetings in auditoriums and stadiums.

$322,308.60—Advertising and publicity.

$114,513.07—Local radio and television program expenses.

$239,792.94—Office operations.

$133,706.07—Team housing, honorariums and travel expenses. This includes living and travel expenses of members of the Graham team while in New York and honorariums paid to additional personnel who handled specialized work. No salaries are included for Dr. Graham or members of the team, as these were paid by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in Minneapolis.

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$56,578.94—Counseling and follow-up expenses.

$1,054,439.12—Direct cost of national television broadcasts.

$60,000—Preparation of film “Miracle in Manhattan.”

$28,113.34—Other expenses. This includes meetings, breakfasts, luncheons, in connection with fund raising and the securing of interest and support of ministers and others.

(A number of observers pointed out during the crusade that the total cost of winning thousands for Christ was less than the cost of one jet fighter plane, built for destruction).

Balanced Education

A Lutheran group has warned that a “needed emphasis” on scientific education, resulting from the launching of earth satellites, must not be given priority over “the cultivation of the spirit and mind of man.”

The warning was sounded in a resolution adopted by the Board of Higher Education of the United Lutheran Church in America at its mid-winter meeting in Washington, D. C.

The board said “any educational changes which do not preserve a balance between the ethical and functional may cause us to lose our soul while seeking to gain the world.”

While the board commended church-related colleges for training men and women in scientific fields, it challenged them to continue to produce “spiritually mature and responsible leaders” in the various professions.

It also called on Christian educators to “awaken in their students an intelligent commitment to the spiritual foundation for the quest for knowledge.”

South America
Another Auca Rebuff

American Protestant missionaries have suffered another setback in their attempts to gain a foothold among the savage Auca Indians of eastern Ecuador.

The Auca tribe, said to be the fiercest in South America, has been consistently hostile to the missionaries. Early in January, 1956, they massacred five young Americans who sought to convert them.

The latest act of hostility occurred when the Aucas attacked a group of semi-civilized Quichua Indians from the settlement where the missionaries had set up an outpost. As a result, the mission post had to be abandoned.

The mission center had been conducted by Mrs. Betty Elliott, 31, of Moorestown, N. J., widow of one of the missionaries slain in 1956; Dr. Wilfrid Tidmarch, a British subject who is in his late fifties; and Mrs. Tidmarch, an American.

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Hopes for reaching the Aucas had been encouraged a month earlier when three Auca women visited a shack the missionaries had built near the junction of the Curaray and Agian Rivers. The women’s visit came after the Aucas had attacked the shack, piercing it with dozens of spears and lances.

Later the missionaries used light planes provided by the Mission Aviation Fellowship to broadcast appeals for friendship in the Auca language through loudspeakers over the native villages.

However, the attack on the Quichuas indicated that the missionaries’ peace overtures had been fruitless.

When the Auca women arrived at the mission shack they were greeted by Mrs. Elliott, who spent ten days with them. She made tape recordings of all they said. The women made frequent mention of the name of Muipo, who is reputed to be the most savage and hostile of the Auca chieftains.

Argentina Report

Luna Park, the Madison Square Garden of Buenos Aires, has been the scene of many memorable events during its long history.

For several weeks downtown Buenos Aires was covered with large red posters announcing “Salvation at Luna Park” and inviting all to the special Oswald J. Smith evangelistic campaign organized by the Protestant churches of Buenos Aires.

Many people objected to the slogan, but whether the phrase, “Salvation at Luna Park,” should have been used or not, over 1,000 decisions for Christ were made during Dr. Smith’s meetings.

This was the first evangelistic effort in which virtually all the evangelical churches in Buenos Aires cooperated. The organizing committee included conservative evangelicals from all denominations. Special training classes for counselors were held in Methodist churches, Pentecostal assembly rooms and Brethren halls. The campaign was the object of much prayer all over Argentina.

Attendance ranged from a minimum of 7,000 to a maximum of over 20,000. Plans were laid for a careful follow-up.

The Buenos Aires press was favorable, on the whole. One sensational weekly stated that the campaign was a racket and demanded a government investigation of the origin of the funds. A more conservative weekly, the R. C. Criterio, criticized the slogan and the type of salvation people would find through Dr. Smith, but recognized the sincerity of the preacher and the organizers. La Vanguardia ran a leading article entitled “A Suggestive Contrast,” in which the meetings were compared with a big R. C. rally in favor of religious education, held at the same time in one of the parks.”

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The R. C. meetings were attended by some 4,000 people after “the vast advertising campaign of the church, the ringing of bells, the firing of rockets and the use of deafening loudspeakers.… On the other hand between 17,000 and 20,000 people gather every afternoon at Luna Park to attend meetings organized by the evangelical groups of Buenos Aires.”

La Vanguardia ended by saying: “Liberty of education and of worship exist in our country. Nobody would think otherwise. Both evangelicals and Roman Catholics recognize the fact. But while the former support their churches and the establishments in which they teach their doctrines with the contributions of their own people, and only ask the State to respect them, the latter, the clericals, insist that the community should pay for the R. C. schools and pay the wages of all their propagandists. That is what they want. The difference between the two groups is very evident.”

Get Tough Policy

Church sources in Vienna said that a congress on “problems of atheistic education” held in Prague under the auspices of the Ministry of Education and Culture may herald a new tough policy against religion in Czechoslovakia.

Rude Pravo, Czech Communist party organ, reported that the congress discussed the “failure of atheistic education in the past” and considered measures to “step up” such education.

According to the paper the conference agreed that atheistic education should not be “restricted to the schools but spread over all parts of the population.” Pravo added that the meeting also discussed “other religious problems in the country.”

The church sources showed surprise over the publicity given the congress. They said that in past years the Czech Communist government has carried on the fight against the Church with as much secrecy as possible.

Moral Leadership

Dr. Frank Woods, speaking after his enthronement in St. Paul’s Cathedral, Melbourne, Australia, as the fifth Anglican Archbishop of Melbourne, warned that the West is losing its moral leadership of the world.

He said that in the eyes of the seething millions of India, the East and Africa, Christianity is not a harbinger of peace and goodwill but synonymous with a civilization which has resorted to war twice in 50 years—“war more devastating and terrible than any before in history.”

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The new archbishop, formerly Bishop of Middleton, England, and chaplain to Queen Elizabeth II, said that not only does the East no longer look to the West for leadership but it has labeled the Christian faith as a western importation which it will resist.

He said the peoples of the East regard Europe as a Christian continent where “unspeakable atrocities, far outstripping in enormity and cruelty the fabulous atrocities of ancient Rome or of modern savages, have been committed.”

“These have been committed,” Dr. Woods said, “by a nation which might well have claimed to be intellectually the most advanced in the world. No wonder that the East no longer looks to the West for leadership.”

The archbishop blamed industrial materialism for causing “the proletarian masses of what was once Christian Europe to lose contact with the church and to become themselves objects of evangelism.”

Dr. Woods said that “possibly the most sinister of all the thought forces of the rising generation, even in so-called Christian countries, are such as to make the great Christian concepts almost unintelligible.”

“Such words as salvation, atonement, miracles, sacrament, grace, redemption, sacrifice,” he said, “need explanation to our generation as if they came from an alien culture. The prevailing school of modern philosophy questions the very foundation of knowledge. Theology, once the queen of the sciences, is held to be intellectually barely respectable.”

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