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CHRISTIANITY TODAY

North America

Citizens of Atlanta, it is said, look upon General Sherman as a fellow who was rather careless with fire. There were indications in the Georgia capital April 23–28 of a feeling on the part of the National Council of Churches that its Fifth World Order Study Conference in Cleveland had been playing with fire. The occasion was the 99th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S. (Southern), and the Cleveland conference’s pronouncements favoring U.S. recognition and U.N. admission of Red China in general overshadowed all other issues in producing the longest and most vigorous debate of the annual meeting in Druid Hills Presbyterian Church.

Chief firefighter on the scene was Dr. R. H. Edwin Espy, associate general secretary, National Council of Churches, who in committee session and before the assembly (as a fraternal delegate) emphasized the manifold services of the NCC apart from the study conferences it calls from time to time and which, by their nature, it cannot control. But his efforts were unavailing in face of opposing overtures from 11 presbyteries. A majority report of the Standing Committee on Interchurch Relations called upon the assembly to “register its disapproval” to the NCC for the action taken by the Cleveland conference on Red China. This the assembly did, the measure passing by a large majority after reports were heard concerning some repercussions of the Cleveland pronouncements in the Far East: divisiveness within the Southern Presbyterian church in that area and Roman Catholic pretensions in Formosa of being the only effective bulwark against communism. The majority report was amended to embrace a minority report which had “reaffirmed” the right of conferences ...

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