The Fifth World Order Study Conference of the National Council of Churches urged churches to study its recommendations of U. S. recognition and U. N. admission of Red China. Cleveland delegates could hardly have suspected that their proposals would lead, in some quarters, rather to a study of the NCC and the question of its value to the churches. Some church bodies have decided that they did not require a year’s study before making a pronouncement on the Red China issue. The American Baptist Convention, meeting June 4–9 in Des Moines, Iowa, was one of these.

Indeed, this lively issue provided the only extended debate of the sessions. After a number of staccato-like two-minute speeches, with delegates still wishing to speak, the convention voted narrowly, 245 to 234, in support of U. S. policy which denies diplomatic recognition to Red China and opposes its admission to the United Nations. Added to a Committee on Resolutions report which merely asked study of the Cleveland issues, was an amendment introduced by Missouri lay delegate O. K. Armstrong, staff writer for Reader’s “Digest and former congressman. Mr. Armstrong urged an immediate stand in view of impending U. N. action in September on Red China’s usual try for admission. His amendment urged that recognition be withheld until Red China shows respect for human rights.

The amendment carried in face of warnings it would mean “embarrassing headlines,” “condemnation of the Cleveland conference and the ‘Hartford Appeal’ of the NCC,” and “repudiation of the leadership of Dr. Edwin T. Dahlberg,” NCC president and a Baptist. Opposing the amendment: the Resolutions Committee; a new “Commission on the Initiatives for Peace,” which also had simply urged study of the Cleveland issues; the convention’s General Council, which had reported favorably on the Cleveland findings; and the Baptist Pacifist Fellowship.

A long list of adopted resolutions revealed the convention mind in other areas as favoring: accelerated negotiations for disarmament and elimination of nuclear weapon testing, but with effective controls; total abstinence from alcoholic beverages; planned parenthood; action to combat traffic in pornographic literature; anti-inflation measures; laws curbing labor union and management corruption; opposition to gambling in all forms; a stand against commercialization of Sunday; denial of tax money to sectarian schools and hospitals; the right to ask candidates for public office to state views on church-state relations; and removal of racial barriers in all areas of life.

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Elected to succeed Mrs. Maurice B. Hodge as convention president was Dr. Herbert Gezork, of Newton Centre, Massachusetts, president of Andover-Newton Theological School, thought an appropriate choice in view of a current convention campaign to raise seven and a half million dollars for Baptist higher education. Gezork ran unopposed, as did Dr. Edwin H. Tuller for the top full-time executive staff post of convention general secretary. Dr. Tuller succeeds the ailing Dr. Reuben Nelson and comes from the directorship of the convention’s Council of Missionary Cooperation.

Dr. Tuller had been one of several speakers to point out to the some 3,000 delegates and 4,500 registered visitors their convention’s worrisome lack of growth in membership and stewardship: e.g. American Baptist membership increased 5.4 per cent in the past 20 years as compared with the 71 per cent gain of ten other Protestant denominations in the same period.

Most nettlesome is the tremendous growth of the Southern Baptists, part of which American Baptists feel is at their expense.

Pre-convention sessions of the Ministers Council featured a forum on the Southern Baptist “invasion” into northern territory. An American Baptist spokesman was critical not so much of Southern Baptist penetration into the North as of the Southern Baptist practice of locating churches next door to American Baptist churches which makes for “actual competition.”

Steps are being taken to correct this practice, said Dr. Blake Smith, Southern Baptist minister from Austin, Texas. Dr. Smith spoke of Southern Baptist concern over a development which threatens continental Baptist unity “more seriously than the Civil War.” Southern Baptist loyalty to their convention program, he confessed, has led to “unethical behavior.” Differences in doctrine, culture patterns, worship forms, and ecumenical relations have created the desire of Southern Baptists who have moved north to begin Southern Baptist churches. Did you seek out these folk, “did you really want them?” chided Smith.

Speakers and literature at the Des Moines meeting probed causes of the denomination’s relative immobility, ranging from lack of theological convictions on the Bible and missions to the autonomy of Baptist polity.

But Dr. Jitsuo Morikawa, director of the Division of Evangelism, had a hope. Perhaps the American Baptist Convention would be used of God, he said, to effect a reformation of the church in America “because we are weak and painfully aware of our weakness,” for God has “chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things that are mighty.”

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Scotch Switch

A move toward merging state-associated churches in England and Scotland stalled in Edinburgh this month. The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland (Presbyterian) rejected, 300 to 266, a plan to adopt a system of bishops as a step toward intercommunion with British Anglicans. (See also “Review of Current Religious Thought” on page 40.)

A joint committee two years ago recommended a system of Presbyterian bishops and Episcopal lay elders.

The assembly went on record as viewing the system unacceptable because it implied a denial of the catholicity of the Church of Scotland and the validity and regularity of its ministry within the church catholic.

A report of the Church of Scotland’s Inter-Church Relations Committee had submitted the merger proposals as “unacceptable in their present form.”

Following the vote, Dr. A. C. Craig of Glasgow University, convener of the committee for three years, announced his resignation.

“The Church of Scotland has made a switch in its policy and the church now needs a new man to take over,” he said.

Craig declared that doubt had been cast on the nature of the unity to be sought between the Presbyterians and Anglicans. He appealed anew to the assembly for promotion of unity moves with other churches.

“Sacramental union,” he said, “connotes far more than a mere dribbling kind of intercommunion affecting only a few individuals occasionally and in special circumstances.”

Craig said that if the assembly rejected this policy it would “in effect be turning aside from the main stream of the ecumenical movement.”

Christian Amendment

At a meeting in Seattle this month, the General Board of the National Council of Churches declared its opposition to a “Christian amendment.”

The board passed a resolution declaring that adoption of such an amendment to the U. S. Constitution “would confuse the issues involved in the church-state separation principle” and could lead to denial of religious liberty of non-Christian Americans.

Under the “Christian amendment,” perennially before Congress, a provision would be added to the constitution declaring: “This nation devoutly recognizes the authority and law of Jesus Christ, Saviour and Ruler of Nations, through whom are bestowed the blessings of Almighty God.”

Another board resolution asked church groups and communicants to support responsible organizations and legislative programs discouraging “arbitrary discrimination” in the hiring of men and women over 40.

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During its two-day session, the General Board was reminded of a year-long “program of education and world peace” to be launched by the NCC July 1.

Religious News Service reported that the program will entail distribution of long reading lists and audio-visuals and sponsorship of training seminars.

Dr. R. H. Edwin Espy, associate general secretary of the NCC, said the “peace project” will be undertaken by four commissions of the NCC Department of International Affairs in cooperation with social action units of the council’s 32 constituent denominations. He added that the commission will deal with four broad subjects: power struggle and security in a nuclear space age, overseas areas of rapid social change, changing dimensions of human rights, and international institutions and peaceful changes.

“Special consideration,” he said, will be given findings of the Fifth World Order Study Conference held last fall in Cleveland, where the project was initially made public.

A message of Cleveland conference, sponsored by the NCC Department of International Affairs, recommended U. S. recognition of Communist China and its admission to the United Nations. Although refusing to refer to the Cleveland findings as “official policy,” the NCC is nevertheless promoting their distribution.

Tactical Errors?

Attendance at the New York City United Protestant Evangelistic Rally at St. Nicholas Arena May 13–15 was “rather unsatisfactory,” according to the Rev. Richard L. Francis, chairman of the committee on arrangements for the Protestant Council of the City of New York.

The three meetings addressed by Dr. Harry Denman, guest evangelist, drew slightly more than 1,000 persons per night.

Rain on the opening night got the series off to a slow start, but Francis attributed most of the failure to several “tactical errors.” He said there should have been (1) more thorough preparation in local churches, (2) borough rallies to precede city-wide rallies and (3) a Sunday evening opening followed by series of nightly meetings extending at least a week.

Unitarians And Unity

Unitarian churches responding to a nation-wide plebiscite are reported to favor merger with the Universalist Church of America by a margin of three to one. The majority of Universalist churches also reported in favor of merger, but opponents said scarcely one-sixth of the communicants of both bodies had voted. Voting results were released last month just prior to the American Unitarian Association’s annual meeting.

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The two bodies will hold a joint conference in the fall to vote on a merger which would bring together 105,000 Unitarians and 75,000 Universalists.

No Dictation

Delegates to the 16th annual convention of the Conservative Baptist Association of America voted to leave up to each member congregation its treatment of the race relations problem.

Officials explained that “this is in keeping with our belief that a church’s national organization should not dictate blanket principles to its individual churches across the country.”

Dr. B. Myron Cedarhold, general director, reported that the association now comprises 976 churches in 39 states.

Meeting in Cincinnati with the association were the Conservative Baptist Home Mission Society, which maintains 91 missionaries in 17 fields on the North American continent, and the Conservative Baptist Foreign Mission Society, which now has 375 missionaries serving on 13 foreign fields.

Dr. Vincent Brushwyler, general director of the foreign mission society, told 1,200 delegates that “unless God miraculously intervenes with revival on a world-wide scale, Christians are engaged in a losing battle from the standpoint of statistics.” He added:

“A most generous estimate would indicate that not more than two million are won to the Lord in any year throughout the world.”

Goal: Every Language

The American Bible Society distributed a record number of Scripture portions last year, according to a report made at the group’s 143rd annual meeting in New York last month.

The world-wide distribution total—16,629,486—included more than a million complete Bibles.

Dr. Eugene A. Nida, the society’s secretary for translations, said that as of December 31, Scripture portions were published in 1,136 tongues. The total included the complete Bible in 215 languages, New Testaments in 273, and at least one Gospel in 648.

Nida said there are still more than 1,000 languages and dialects in which no part of the Bible has yet been published.

As part of the annual meeting, commemorative parchment scrolls were presented representatives of Bible societies in Maine, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York. All are observing sesquicentennials of their founding.

After Australia

On Sunday night, May 31, Billy Graham flew out of Australia after an evangelistic series the like of which the continent has never seen.

In city after city attendance records were broken, unprecedented numbers came forward to register decisions for Christ, church leaders testified to a new spirit of cooperation between denominations, congregations were increased, and a great stimulus was given Christian work generally.

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In the final phase of the meetings Graham followed up work of associate evangelists Grady Wilson in Perth, Joseph Blinco in Adelaide, and Leighton Ford in Brisbane.

In Perth the two Graham meetings drew a combined attendance of 65,000, largest in the city’s history. During the eight days of the crusade more than 100,000 attended, out of which more than 5,000 made commitments to Christ.

In Adelaide Graham addressed the largest initial crusade crowd of his ministry: 65,000. Weekday meetings which followed saw crowds of 35,000 and 45,000. Some 8,500 commitments were counted during the final three meetings.

Another record crowd was on hand in Brisbane, where Graham held his last Australian rally before some 80,000.

The Australasia crusade was witnessed by an aggregate of 3,250,000 of whom 142,000 recorded decisions for Christ.

Can it be said that revival has begun

in Australia? It is early yet to give a final answer. A preliminary observation is that the impact of the crusades varied from place to place. The greatest impact was in Sydney, where there was wholehearted support from strong churches. While strong support came elsewhere as well, no other city in Australia has as many powerful evangelical elements. The situation thus made for more thorough preparation in Sydney. With more people praying and working, the results were greater. Church life was correspondingly enriched.

L. M.

Reaching Japan

A World Vision-sponsored crusade in Osaka, Japan, drew an aggregate attendance of 96,200 and saw 7,467 record decisions for Christ.

Dr. Bob Pierce, World Vision president, spoke nightly for three weeks in Osaka’s Festival Hall. The crusade had the support of 400 churches in the Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto area.

The climactic closing service saw more than 9,800 converge on the scene. Among the more than 5,000 who stood outside, unable to enter the jammed auditorium, 407 responded to the invitation and joined 406 who had been seated to make commitments to Christ.

(For another report on Christian activities in Japan, see page 33.)

Congressional Testimony
Red Atrocities

The House Committee on Un-American Activities released this month the full text of a consultation with five natives of the Red-dominated, Chinese-Korean mainland revealing persecution of Protestants behind the Bamboo Curtain.

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(The House Committee on Un-American Activities has been the target in recent months of some leading churchmen who signed full-page advertisements in influential newspapers urging abolition of the committee.)

The holder of a Princeton seminary master of theology degree, the Rev. Samuel W. S. Cheng, testified that between 1949 and 1958, some 140,000 Christians had been killed on the Chinese mainland. Another witness told of a lady evangelist who was tied between two horses which were sent running in opposite directions. Still another described how, in order to get information, the Communists pour water into the mouths of victims until their stomachs swell.

The descriptions represented sworn testimony under questioning by Richard Arens, staff director of the House Committee on Un-American Activities. Here the witness tells of Red “theology”:

ARENS: Do these churches [on the

Communist mainland] preach the Gospel of Christ?


ARENS: What do they preach?

CHENG: At best they preach modernism; Christ the model for all humanity. They take away the divinity of Christ and point out he was a good carpenter, a good example for the working people to follow. At the worst they substitute Lenin the Father, Stalin the Son, and Mao Tse-tung the Holy Ghost, for the triune God of the Christians. They have completely changed the Christian faith. Where Christian teachings fit in with Communist aims, they are retained. Where they do not, they are eliminated.

The five witnesses came to Washington while on a tour of the United States under sponsorship of the American Council of Christian Churches in cooperation with the International Council of Christian Churches. All now live in free territory. They learn of mainland conditions chiefly through refugees. Cheng is superintendent of the Gospelaires Friends Mission in Taipei.

Arens asked the Rev. Shih-Ping Wang, East Asia director of the Baptist Evangelization Society International, whether the Communist system raised the morality of the people. This was the reply:

“No. There is no morality. 1. There is no morality because the love of the family is taken away. 2. There is no honesty and respect among men or between men. There is no human dignity, they are all like animals. 3. There is no guilt associated with the murder of individuals for the improvement of the state. 4. There is no prostitution on the mainland in the communes because there is no man-woman relationship except the sanctioned two hours a week granted by the government. In Communist Party circles, a woman must submit herself to any party member who desires her favors. If the woman refuses a party member, she may be thrown into jail or stripped and nailed to a wall until she dies. Another punishment is to cut the breasts off the woman who refuses.”

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“They slapped our faces, kicked our bodies, and poured cold water on our heads,” recalled the Rev. Peter Chu Pong, now general secretary of the Hong Kong International Christian Leadership.

Do the true Christians in the large cities attend the propaganda churches?

“They stopped attending,” according to the Rev. Tsin-Tsai Liu, pastor of the Gospel Baptist Church in Taipei. “If it becomes known that they are true Christian believers, they are not allowed to take an active part in the church.”

Kyung Rai Kim, a newspaper editor in Seoul, gave his views on policies toward Oriental communism as follows:

ARENS: What effect would the diplomatic recognition of Red China and its admission to the United Nations have on Southern Korea?

KIM: We are against it. We Korean people in the Korean churches know what communism is. Many American Christian leaders do not know what communism is.

ARENS: Politically, militarily, what

would the effect be on Korea, Southern Korea, what would happen, do you think, if the United States were to diplomatically recognize Red China and Red China were admitted to the United Nations?

KIM: If the United States recognized Red China, it would be oppressing to the free nations. Indirectly it would tend to work towards the recognition of Northern Korea, which would have a very bad effect on our country, bringing about its permanent division. It would be an open door for the Communist agents.

Missionary Enterprise
Jungle Bound

Language remains the greatest obstacle in presenting the Gospel to the Auca Indians of eastern Ecuador. So says Mrs. Elisabeth Elliot, widow of one of the five missionary men slain by the Aucas more than three years ago. Mrs. Elliot established an initial contact with the savage tribe last fall and has been living in their jungle intermittently since then. She visited Quito last month during a four-week rest after her latest, three-month stay with the Aucas. During the Auca stay, she had the company of Miss Rachel Saint, a linguist and a sister of one of those slain, who said she would not come out of the Auca settlement until next month.

Mrs. Elliot said they are finding pronunciation extremely difficult. Syntax appears to be very complicated, she added. The Aucas seem to leave out words necessary to establish proper antecedents.

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Nevertheless, she said, some of the tribes people appear to be learning much.

Mrs. Elliot declared that the most important prayer request in behalf of the Auca project was “that we might be able to manifest the life of Christ to these Indians and in the way Indians will understand, even before we have an acceptable command of the language.”

Wide publicity given the Auca work has resulted in numerous gifts. Mrs. Elliot said the financial needs were limited in that the scope of the work was small. She asked that interested parties channel contributions to other projects where immediate needs are more urgent.

Early this month, Mrs. Elliot and her four-year-old daughter headed back for the tribe. Mrs. Marjorie Saint, another Auca widow, also planned to enter the tribe for a short visit.

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