Here is a roundup of significant religious developments during 1959, compiled through the combined efforts of editors of CHRISTIANITY TODAY, its correspondents around the world, and news agencies which serve the magazine:
EVANGELISM: Billy Graham’s popularity continued to rise. His crusade in Australia and New Zealand won unparalleled response … An outdoor rally in Munich climaxed the ninth Kirchentag by drawing 400,000 persons.
THEOLOGY: The 171st General Assembly of the United Presbyterian Church in the U. S. A. confirmed appointment of Dr. Theodore A. Gill as president of San Francisco Theological Seminary despite his denial of the Virgin Birth … A United Church of Canada committee published a doctrinal study disavowing hell and Christ’s second coming … The Southern Baptist seminary at Louisville, fearful of losing accreditation in the firing of 13 professors, asked for resignations instead, an action which apparently mollified the accrediting agency (see page 33) … Scholars asserted that Gnostic influences pervade the so-called “Gospel of Thomas,” post-war archaeological recovery.
MORALITY: Signs of U. S. moral bankruptcy were evident in continuing disclosures of payola and fixed quiz shows … The Senate Rackets Committee held 63 days of hearings. The corruption they have turned up prompted passage of a new federal law aimed at labor union irregularities … Preliminary crime figures for 1959 showed increases in the incidence of murder and rape.
ECUMENICITY: Pope John XXIII said he would summon an Ecumenical Council (latest target date: late 1962 or early 1963) … Preliminary talks between Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox theologians were shelved indefinitely … Plans were announced for a Pan-Orthodox meeting, first since ...1
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