Significant religious overtones abounded in the deliberations of the 1960–61 term of the U. S. Supreme Court. It has been many years since the nation’s highest tribunal weighed so profoundly the principles of church-state separation and the Judeo-Christian tenets which undergird American jurisprudence. (See also June 19, 1961 issue of CHRISTIANITY TODAY.)
Two rulings handed down just prior to the court’s summer adjournment were especially significant: One refused to decide the constitutionality of a Connecticut law which makes it a crime to use or advise the use of birth control devices. The other struck down a Maryland statute which provides that only citizens who declare their belief in the existence of God may hold public office.
The court was sharply divided on the Connecticut issue; the vote was 5 to 4 and six separate opinions were handed down. The Maryland case produced a unanimous ruling in favor of Roy R. Torcaso, who appealed to the court after being refused a commission as notary public because he refused to take an oath beginning, “In the presence of Almighty God …”
The Maryland decision is one of a series in recent years which, some observers feel, confer dignity on irreligion while placing theistic dynamisms in national life on the defensive.
Whereas separation of church and state was designed by the Constitution to guard the country against sectarian pressures in politics, it is felt that now the principle tends to become a wedge for giving respectability to the rejection of all religion.
Concern is increasing that the next step may well be to make irrelevant whether a witness believes in objective truth and changeless morality, let alone in a Supreme Being, that is, whether he believes anything other than that his own testimony is his own testimony at the moment he speaks it.
The Supreme Court held that the Maryland law violates the Bill of Rights. Seven other states have similar statutes: Arkansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.
Justice Hugo L. Black, who delivered the opinion of the court, cited the dictum laid down in Everson versus Board of Education (330 U. S. 1)—which upheld parochial school bus transportation—that “The establishment of religion clause means at least this: neither the state nor the federal government can set up a Church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, or all religions, or prefer one religion over another …”
Black observed significantly that nothing in the cases of Zorach versus Clausen or McCollum versus Board of Education (two cases which are figuring prominently in the current controversy over federal aid to parochial schools) in any way has modified its dictum in the Everson case.
Justice Felix Frankfurter, the court’s only Jewish member, delivered the opinion dismissing the appeal of Dr. C. Lee Buxton, dean of the Yale University Medical School, and two married couples (the wives were his patients).
The court, in effect, threw out the appeals because Connecticut does not make a serious effort to enforce its law. The jurists indicated that if the state ever attempted a criminal prosecution against individual married couples for practicing birth control, there would be a real injury to the appellants’ constitutional rights which would merit the court’s consideration.
Justice William J. Brennan, Jr., the court’s only Roman Catholic member, delivered the deciding vote, with a brief concurring opinion.
The League for Planned Parenthood of Connecticut subsequently announced it plans to open contraceptive clinics in the state.
The Washington Religious Scene
As Congressmen began to think about adjournment time, the insistence of some Roman Catholic Democrats upon federal funds for parochial schools led to speculation that all aid-to-education bills may be dead for this session.
In mid-June, a key vote in the House Rules Committee stalled the Kennedy administration’s $2,484,000,000 public school aid program. A motion to delay action was adopted by a 9 to 6 margin, with two Roman Catholic committeemen, normally pro-administration, voting for delay.
In other action involving church-related education, a Senate education subcommittee wrote into the National Defense Education Act extension bill a specific ban on award of fellowships to divinity students or persons preparing to teach in divinity schools.
The bill does provide, however, for federal loans to church schools.
A Senate juvenile delinquency subcommittee, meanwhile, heard testimony relating violence on television to rising rates of juvenile crime.
Democratic subcommittee chairman Thomas J. Dodd of Connecticut said more than half the television programs featured during the prime evening hours are devoted to crime and violence.
James V. Bennett, director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, told the Senate probers that the parade of violence on television is a direct contributing cause of juvenile delinquency and makes it more difficult to recruit good police officers.
Bennett concluded his testimony by reciting a poem which he said he heard at an international gathering of law enforcement officers:
Sing a song of TV
For the little ones,
Four and twenty jailbirds
When the scene is finished
The blood is ankle deep.
Wasn’t that a pretty dish
To send the kids to sleep?
Another controversy focused on the Washington-headquartered organization of Protestants and Other Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
Christianity and Crisis, a weekly edited at New York’s Union Theological Seminary, asked POAU to halt its “blatant anti-Catholicism.”
The publication charged that the organization “insists on judging Catholicism by its worst examples,” uses “inflammatory language” and constantly identifies “its own sectarian position as the ‘American’ position.”
POAU Executive Director Glenn L. Archer stated that “our energies are so absorbed in the current Congressional battle for church-state separation that we have none left for detailed reply to critics.”
Brunner and the WCC
Noted theologian Emil Brunner says the World Council of Churches has fallen for Communist peace propaganda.
His charge, contained in a newspaper article written for the influential Neue Züricher Zeitung, provoked wide controversy last month.
Brunner said the success of Communist strategists in weakening what remained of Christian and humanist forces was “alarming” in Protestant quarters.
“The Communist strategists undertake to split and make of no effect what Christian and humanitarian strengths are still in existence in Europe,” he declared. “Most alarming is the success they have gained in world Protestantism.”
The article appeared on the eve of the first Christian Peace Conference in Prague, sponsored by the Czechoslovak Communist regime. Dr. Glen Garfield Williams was “unofficial observer” for the WCC at the Prague conference. He is secretary of WCC for inter-church aid in Europe and his duties include keeping up with developments in Eastern European churches. He is a Baptist from Wales.
The WCC’s initial reaction to Brunner’s charges was in the form of a quotation in its Ecumenical Press Service Bulletin from a skeptical comment on the theologian’s article.
The comment appeared in Le Courrier, Roman Catholic newspaper in Geneva, under the signature of its editor, Rene Leyvraz.
Leyvraz said the exploitation by false Soviet pacifism of the menace of a nuclear conflagration “in no way dispenses Christians from being conscious of the extreme gravity of this menace for the human race and even for all created nature.” He added that the West must work to prevent such a conflagration without in any way opening its doors to Soviet invasion.
Brunner had asserted, “The World Council of Churches accepted as their password, ‘Anti-communism is the line of attack of the Roman Catholic church and must inevitably lead to war!’ ”
The theologian cited “the fact that that segment of Europe which is still part of the Free World owes its very existence, above all else, to this very nuclear armament of the West which had never been put into action.”
He said some had fallen for “the Communist trick of equating nuclear armament with willingness to wage an atomic war and making the West responsible for it.”
• The 20 million vacationers due to visit America’s national parks this summer have an opportunity to participate in services of worship conducted by the National Council of Churches’ parks ministry. This year 156 seminary students working in the parks will conduct services and serve as chaplain-counsellors. Now in its tenth year of operation, the parks ministry is a joint program of the National Park Service and the NCC. The evangelical wing of U. S. Protestantism has no comparable program.
• Baptist, Methodist, and Congregational churches in New England are falling behind in their support of vacation Bible schools, according to the Rev. William B. Udall, director of youth evangelism for the Evangelistic Association of New England.
• American University and Wesley Theological Seminary plan to establish a Center for Church Business Management. A specialty-prepared curriculum for the center will lead to a master of business administration degree and a “certified church business manager” degree. It is believed to be the first such program ever offered by a U. S. college.
• Campus Crusade for Christ International plans to bring out a new evangelistic magazine aimed at reaching non-Christian college students. Professor Wilbur M. Smith of Fuller Theological Seminary will be editor of the publication, the first issue of which is due September 15.
• The village council of New Brighton, Minnesota, reversed itself last month and granted a special use permit to the proposed United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities sponsored by the United Church of Christ. Approval is subject to the council’s endorsement of the development plans.
• A shipment of goats and rabbits to Haiti last month was sponsored by the Massachusetts Congregational Christian Conference’s Committee for Social Action. In addition to 136 animals, sent as part of a project to upgrade the quality of native animals on the drought-plagued island, the shipment included veterinary pharmaceuticals, school supplies, canned goods, and candles (Haiti has very little electricity). All were donated by churches, civic and welfare groups, and business firms.
• Reconstruction of the main sanctuary of the First Methodist Church of Anderson, Indiana, is virtually assured with completion of a successful funds campaign. The sanctuary was destroyed by fire last December but an education building was spared. The church, largest Methodist congregation in Indiana, now has pledges and gifts of some $700,000, plus an insurance award of $300,000, for a new building.
• Midwest Bible College and Kansas City Bible College are merging faculties and facilities to form Calvary Bible College. The Rev. Roger J. Andrus, president of Midwest, will assume the presidency of the new nondenominational school.
• Editor Carl F. H. Henry of CHRISTIANITY TODAY was presented with the Wheaton College Alumni Association’s annual service award last month “in recognition of outstanding and distinguished service to mankind as theologian, scholar, and leader in the field of Christian journalism.”
• Iliff School of Theology in Denver plans to offer a new program of study leading to a master of sacred theology degree, beginning this fall.
• The Norwegian Missionary Council will refuse integration with the World Council of Churches as part of the projected absorption of the International Missionary Council. The WCC hopes to welcome the IMC into its administrative framework at this fall’s assembly in New Delhi, but some IMC constituents, such as the Norwegian council, have balked.
• Sunday school leaders in Scandinavian countries are launching a co-operative procurement program for illustrative materials. They hope that the collective approach will result in better quality and lower cost.
Peace Corps Proselyting
The United Presbyterian Commission on Ecumenical Mission and Relations told the Kennedy administration last month that it opposes all financial and contractual arrangements between churches and the Peace Corps.
The commission, the United Presbyterian denomination’s interchurch and missionary arm, dispatched a statement to the President and to Peace Corps officials urging that the Peace Corps sign no contracts with religious groups “which would proselytize to their persuasion through their projects.”
The statement affirmed the church’s support of the Peace Corps as a government agency for overseas assistance and good will. It commended the Peace Corps for accepting persons without regard to creed. But church and Peace Corps work should be separate, the statement emphasized.
“The Christian mission aims “to proclaim the Gospel,” it said, whereas the Peace Corps aims to give personal assistance. “These goals may parallel each other but are not identical.”
The national executive committee of the American Jewish Congress almost simultaneously expressed its own vigorous opposition to participation of religious groups and missionary societies in Peace Corps projects overseas. The congress said use of government funds by religious and missionary groups would violate church-state separation.
The New York Times recently quoted a Peace Corps official as saying that about half of all Peace Corps projects assigned to voluntary agencies will be carried out by religious groups.
Any “deliberate or coincidental” effort by church groups to spread their religious beliefs or “enhance their good name” through Peace Corps programs overseas would violate, the congress said, the “mandate against use of governmental funds or personnel to promote religious teachings or practices.”
Meditating in his study last month, a prominent Washington, D. C., minister realized a “disconcerting fact”: “that in the many hundreds of sermons which I have preached over the years never once have I chosen John 3:16 as a text.”
Dr. Lee Shane of National Baptist Memorial Church, setting out to fill his homiletical gap, discovered that many others also seem to overlook the verse:
“I went through the 11 volumes of the American Pulpit Series and discovered that none of these contemporaries of mine, some 70 giants of today’s pulpit, had chosen John 3:16 to expound for this series. Then I jumped back to yesterday and scanned two volumes of sermons by the great Thomas Chalmers, looking in vain for a sermon on John 3:16. I leafed through a volume by Henry Ward Beecher, but no [such] sermon there. I looked in some volumes of Best Sermons of the Year.… Nowhere did I find a sermon … on this familiar text.”
Shane wondered why. He suggested that the very sublimity and simplicity of the verse may be responsible.
At any rate, Shane decided he had avoided “this potent text” long enough. On June 18 he delivered a sermon on what is perhaps the most quoted verse in all the Bible:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Four out of ten American Methodists attend church less than half the Sundays in the year, according to a study by the Boston University School of Theology.
The study, outlined in an article by Hartzell Spence in the July issue of Together, also indicates that Methodists have relaxed their traditional code of abstinence from alcoholic beverages.
Nearly one third of U. S. Methodist church members see no harm in moderate social drinking, the survey suggests.
The seminary’s study was made at the request of the Methodist Board of Social and Economic Relations and includes reports from 5,020 members in 267 typical charges. The study is set forth in detail in a four-volume series being published by Abingdon Press, Methodist-related book publisher in Nashville.
Other findings: Only about half of U. S. Methodists believe in equal opportunity for all races, only seven out of ten favor abolition of segregation, and one out of five expects little or no pastoral or church guidance on social concerns.
Spence, a Methodist layman, said in his Together article that “the real shock of this study is abundant evidence that a good many Methodists have relegated God to the perimeter of their lives instead of giving him the center.”
Dr. Albert P. Shirkey, minister of Mount Vernon Place Methodist Church in Washington, D. C., declared that he was “deeply concerned over the laxity that has settled upon our churches.”
“It is high time that we sound forth with renewed emphasis,” he said, “the great romantic certainties of faith and call our people to repentance and to a closer walk with God.”
World’S Fair Witness
Amidst a spectacular $80,000,000 display of human achievement which will woo millions to the Seattle world’s fair next year, Protestants are planning a modest but strategically-located “Christian Witness Pavilion” (see left). Some are hopeful that its theme, “Jesus Christ—the Same, Yesterday, Today, and Forever,” will be effectively implemented so as to remind science-saturated fairgoers of the changeless Gospel.
The pavilion project is in the hands of a specially-organized group known as Christian Witness in Century 21, Inc. Tentative budget: $175,000. Nineteen denominations will be represented, plus 14 other evangelical and ecumenical groups.
The fair will open April 21, 1962, the day before Easter (a sunrise service is planned), continuing through October 21.
Selling the Home Base
The Peoples Church, a Toronto landmark, was sold last month for $650,000, enough to pay for construction of a proposed new facility seating some 2,000.
“During the last 30 years,” said a statement issued by the church, “The Peoples Church has spent more than four million dollars on foreign missions and practically nothing on the maintenance of the home base. Visitors have always been amazed at the lack of paint, old-fashioned equipment, and inadequate facilities that are apparent in every part of the century-old building. While the people have sent this vast sum overseas, God has increased the value of the property to such an extent that a completely new and modern plant in an ideal location will be paid for with no lessening of the missionary effort.”
The old sanctuary, formerly the St. James Methodist Church, will be razed and the site redeveloped. The new church will be located on a key intersection in a residential area north of the Toronto business district. The congregation will be able to hold services in the present building until the new structure has been completed. September, 1962, is the target date for the move.
Dr. Oswald J. Smith, founder of The Peoples Church, was succeeded as pastor by his son, Dr. Paul B. Smith, in 1959.
The Manchester Story
Billy Graham completed one of the most strenuous campaigns of his 15-year evangelistic ministry last month before a crowd of some 50,000 at Manchester’s favorite sporting rendezvous. The turnout for the closing meeting Saturday, June 17, was the largest of the three-week North of England Crusade.
Preaching into the damp, chill night air of Manchester, Graham struggled to overcome the effects of a debilitating throat infection and fever that had forced him to relinquish the pulpit to associate evangelist Leighton Ford in the first five services.
“God’s strength,” Graham lectured his sympathetic hearers, “is made perfect in weakness,” and he proceeded to predict to the huge audience and to tens of thousands listening by relay hook-up in churches all over the British Isles that the United Kingdom was “either on the brink of a catastrophic moral declension or on the verge of a spiritual revival.”
Aggregate attendance for the Manchester series topped 400,000, according to crusade officials. Some 18,000 inquirers were counselled in all, as many as 2,300 in a single evening. Crusade spokesmen said that nearly 80 per cent of those responding to the evangelist’s invitation were committing their lives to Christ for the first time. This was the highest percentage ever registered during a Graham campaign, and it reflects the alienation of Britain’s industrial people from the life of the Church.
Despite official aloofness by the Manchester Council of Churches, all but two or three of the council’s principal churches joined in active support of the crusade. Anglican Bishop W. D. L. Greer, president of the council, officially opened the crusade. The council had voted to withhold its collective support because the Graham team declined a council proposal that the evangelist share the pulpit with three prominent preachers known for their socio-political views.
In an effort to reach great numbers of unchurched in the North of England, the crusade executive committee arranged 40 special meetings in the large engineering and textile plants of the Manchester area. Associate evangelists Leighton Ford, Grady Wilson, Joe Blinco, and Roy Gustafson found themselves proclaiming Christ in unusual places, where sometimes they were ignored, sometimes faced by a diminishing audience; they came away nonetheless thrilled by the obvious results among hundreds of Britain’s skilled artisans. Workers crowded into canteens, hung over fences, interrupted card games at lunch, leaned against lathes, and sat in cranes to hear the Gospel message.
Following rallies in Glasgow and Belfast, Graham was scheduled to return to the United States in time to receive a special Christian Endeavor award in Chicago on July 7, and to hold eight days of meetings at the climax of a crusade, July 9–16, at Minneapolis-St. Paul state fair grounds.
S. E. W.
Evangelist and Mrs. Billy Graham were invited guests of Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace June 22. It was the fourth time the Grahams have been so honored. The Queen’s interest in Graham’s ministry is well known.
The invitation from the Queen was received by the Grahams some weeks ago but the fact was not revealed until official announcement came from the palace June 20. “The Queen has invited them before,” said a palace spokesman.
The Mystery Man
New light was thrown on the nature of Korea’s ruling military junta as leaders of the regime gave an unprecedentedly cordial welcome to Dr. Bob Pierce of World Vision upon his arrival in the republic fresh from the successes of the Tokyo crusade.
General Do Yung Chang, head of the Korean government and chairman of the junta’s Supreme Council, received him at an official luncheon to which cabinet members were invited and at which Pierce was asked to give a Christian witness.
The general also dropped in unannounced at a Sunday evening service at Yung Nak Presbyterian Church where Pierce reported to an interdenominational gathering the results of the Tokyo crusade.
A ten-minute interview granted by the shy mystery man of the junta, ascetic, incorruptible, one-time Communist General Chung Hi Pak, stretched into 45 minutes as the man who reportedly master-minded the coup d’état listened to the evangelist.
“Are you a Christian?” asked Pierce.
“No,” said the general. “My father and mother were Buddhists but I am nothing.”
“Then what is your spiritual program for Korea?” said Pierce, whose organization is celebrating its tenth anniversary of service for widows and orphans in the republic. “Your political, social and economic program has dynamic. I can sense it in the streets. But Korea’s young people need more. You can still fail unless you find the spiritual dynamic which alone will win hearts and save your country.”
As he continued his witness the general listened intently. Finally the evangelist asked, “May I pray?” The general hesitated, then consented and both bowed their heads as Pierce prayed, “O Lord, keep this government from letting a good start rot away into a lust for power.…” And the general saw him to the door with tears in his eyes.
Public opinion in the Korean church continues to support the military government’s strong measures to restore honesty and integrity to Korean politics. Some 500 civil servants have been fired since the May 16 coup d’état for having concubines. More than 9,000 government employees have been dismissed as draft dodgers. Dance halls have been closed and the police have been ordered to crack down on Seoul’s rampant prostitution.
S. H. M.
NCC AND THE FREEDOM RIDERS
For two June days in Chicago the “Freedom Riders” passed through the meeting of the National Council of Churches’ policy-making General Board, then vanished much as some apocalyptic ghost riders of the sky. But they nearly stayed—the vote was close. And they left a heavy, if unghostly, imprint upon the resolution “An Appeal to Christian Conscience,” which produced in the course of its adoption the only prolonged debate of an otherwise quiet assemblage of some three-fifths of the 250 board members in the Pick-Congress Hotel.
The resolution condemned every form of mob violence and designated segregation as “itself both a form of violence and an invitation to mob violence.” The board had been asked to affirm “its belief in the justice and sincerity of the purpose of the freedom ride movement.” But Presbyterians and Methodists from the South gave strenuous opposition to the idea of approving the particular technique and methods of the Freedom Riders. The Northern brethren were reminded of the increasing difficulty in getting Southerners to represent their churches at NCC meetings. On a close vote (55 to 44) the words “non-violent movement” were substituted for “freedom ride movement.” But affirmed were “the constitutional rights of all people to freedom of movement in interstate travel on a non-segregated basis.”
Another successful resolution, which required virtually no debate, declared that “the proposal to extend federal loans” to nonpublic, church-controlled elementary and secondary schools for construction “of all or any part of their buildings, such as classrooms, is tantamount to aiding the church with public funds collected by taxation.” The requiring of citizens to assist schools established by those of another faith was named a “violation of the religious liberty of all Americans.”
However, it was made clear that the NCC position involves neither opposition to, nor support for, “proposals to make parochial school tuition deductible as a religious contribution from federal or state income tax.”
Present U.S. immigration laws came under fire, though one member exasperatedly declared, “I’m perfectly willing to leave some things to Congress without churchmen horning in on every decision.” A previous NCC-sponsored consultation had condemned the present basis of the quota system as racially discriminatory. The General Board thus urged its member communions and responsible agencies to study the issues involved.
The accompanying discussion featured the first of a pair of clashes of opinion between two prominent United Presbyterians, Stated Clerk Eugene Carson Blake and Union Seminary’s President Henry Van Dusen. Both times the procedural point in debate was whether the General Board should vote on the basis of committee reports of the content of relevant documents or wait until they had the material in their hands for personal study. Blake supported the former view while Van Dusen saw this as a challenge to the “integrity and autonomy of this board.” “We should not be asked to pass on what we have not seen,” he said with some heat. He gained majority support for his position.
Reports were heard on two of the more troubled areas of the world—Indonesia and Angola. Concerning Indonesia: its Protestant church is one of the largest in Asia, numbering some five million (“Last Sunday morning it is probable that more people went to Protestant churches in Indonesia than in Great Britain”); relations with the Dutch have recently gone from bad to worse, the Dutch being made the scapegoat for every evil; in many areas, missionary activity has been prohibited since independence, and recent developments “indicate that in another year no Dutch missionaries can continue work in Indonesia,” which will leave many mission hospitals without doctors and schools without teachers; serious division exists within church leadership whether to favor the political trend toward “guided democracy”; “the trend toward a totalitarian state under the name of ‘guided democracy’ is unmistakable”; “communism is strong and growing stronger, while political movements democratic in principle are being forced out of existence”; Indonesian Christian leaders have called on the churches of America for help “as coworkers in building up the Indonesian church.”
Concerning Angola: the change in U.S. attitude toward Portuguese territories in Africa, announced by Adlai Stevenson in the U.N. last March, resulted in retaliation against some churches; “a constant fear of the Portuguese has been that Protestant missions will draw the Africans away from Portuguese ways”; precisely because Protestant Africans “had advanced on the road to ‘civilized’ status they are now suspect,” many having been arrested and some killed.
The General Board also:
• Watched NCC President J. Irwin Miller receive on behalf of NCC the Outstanding Citizenship Award from The American Heritage Foundation for “its educational program encouraging informed voting and responsible participation.”
• Later heard President Miller liken the church’s role in speaking to the citizenry to a parent speaking to a child, giving reproof where needed. “We can’t say the Church should keep its nose out of politics,” for the Church is concerned with “the whole man.”
• Authorizing Miller to issue a call for convening of the Fourth National Study Conference on the Church and Economic Life to convene in Pittsburgh, November 8–11, 1962. One major area of discussion: “changes required in the American economy for the U.S. to discharge its responsibilities in and toward the world economy.”
• Commended the film Question 7 (dealing with Christianity-communism conflict in East Germany) to member churches “in the hope that congregations will ask local theatres to show it and will encourage their members to see it.”
• In a major address, NCC general secretary Roy G. Ross submitted a well-received plan for stimulating ecumenical development on the local level. Said Henry Van Dusen, “The great battle for ecumenicity is not on the world or national level but is going to be fought in local communities.” He sees Christ as the Head of the Church, and councils of churches as “the heart out of which flows the vitality to the members.” Dr. Ross deplored the fact that five states and 35 cities with more than 100,000 population have no councils with employed leadership. Of 5,270 cities, towns, and counties with over 5,000 population, 4,507 have no council at all, though they have an average of ten or more churches. He said, “Declarations by national or world church bodies regarding their ecumenical commitments create an impression of insincerity when their local congregations seem to proceed as branches of sectarian bodies without any vital form of communication and cooperation with one another.”
Recalling that the Apostle Paul was shocked by the dissension and divisions within the Christian community in Corinth, Dr. Ross asked, “How much more would he have been distraught if the segments of the church in Corinth had gone to the further length of attaining separate church buildings which they designated ‘Church of Corinth (Paul),’ ‘Church of Corinth (Cephas),’ and ‘Church of Corinth (Apollos)’?”
Dr. Ross did not go on to ask the Apostle’s reaction to the even more profound division over the doctrinal nature of the Gospel itself, which exists among NCC members. To the Galatians Paul’s reaction must have seemed striking for its rigidity: “Though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” Many evangelicals are unable to divorce such portions of the biblical witness from the vexing problems of church unity, and some are hopeful that the NCC will face up to the theological issues as well as the ecclesiastical.
The following report was prepared forCHRISTIANITY TODAYby Dr. Harold Lindsell who is joining the magazine’s editorial staff for the summer months (see opposite page).
The American Baptist Convention met in annual session June 14–18 in the new multimillion dollar coliseum at Portland, Oregon. More than 4400 delegates and visitors, coming from many of the convention’s 6000 churches in 40 states, represented the 1,600,000-member ABC constituency.
Key issue of what proved to be a rather routine and yet thoroughly-organized operation was the “Hargroves Plan” for the reorganization of the ABC. The plan was accepted by the delegates without great fanfare. In simplest terms, reorganization provides for a General Council with 46 voting members and 50 nonvoting members. Of the 46 voting members 36 are elective and must come from each of the convention areas. Six officers of the convention, including the immediate past president, along with four members representing program boards compose the remainder of the voting members. The council now will have the power to control, dispose of, and distribute real and personal property; borrow money with the right to commit the convention and pledge its assets for such purpose; approve campaigns for capital projects; and it shall present “the names of persons to be elected by the convention to fill such vacancies as may exist in the office of the General Secretary, and in the membership of the Convention, and the Board of Managers of the Ministers and Missionaries Benefit Board of the … Convention.”
The General Council is granted all powers except for those which the convention specifically reserved for itself. Some delegates observed privately that the reorganization represented a drift away from traditional Baptist ecclesiology toward a centralized and hierarchical form of church government. The plan was designed to simplify problems of the convention and reduce overhead. Contributions to the last “unified budget” fell short by $400,000.
The convention’s financial dilemma was highlighted in the report of the foreign mission societies which revealed that many of their costs during the period 1953–1958 increased 50 per cent or more while receipts for the “unified budget” rose only about 33 per cent. The increased amount allotted to the foreign missionary agencies rose about 20 per cent, although actual expenditures of the missionary agencies increased about 32 per cent. Seven new foreign missionaries were commissioned, but the boards admitted that calls have come for many more personnel than the boards can find to appoint, and they acknowledged that their societies “are hard pressed to maintain current work.… It is unrealistic to expect any sudden significant changes in the support picture. Thus a greatly increased missionary staff is not feasible or probable.”
Delegates adopted an overall budget approximately equal to the last two.
Dr. Josef Nordenhaug represented the Baptist World Alliance and delivered one of the finest messages of the convention, relating the work of the Holy Spirit to the work of the alliance and stressing solidarity in action which comes from fellowship.
The Conservative Baptist governor of Oregon, Mark Hatfield, clearly enunciated the principle that a world of people in need must have the Gospel of Jesus Christ, who is the incarnate God. He cited Gibbon’s explanation for the fall of Rome and intimated that similar trends in American life can be halted only by the preaching of the Gospel.
Fonner Minnesota Governor Harold E. Stassen, a member of the General Council, personally advocated admission of Red China and East Germany to the U. N. Georgia Harkness, Methodist theologian, deplored “hysterical anti-communism” as a “more immediate danger than Communism.”
In resolutions, the sale and use of alcoholic beverages were condemned. Gambling, legalized or not, was also criticized. “Freedom riders” were commended and integration approved. The Democratic administration was commended for its “Peace Corps” idea with the recommendation that Congress pass enabling legislation. Support of the National Council of Churches was reaffirmed and other resolutions recommending dissemination of birth control information and help for migrant workers were passed. Federal aid to parochial schools was described as a violation of separation of church and state.
A sticky situation developed over a resolution designed to approve of government medical aid for the aged. The resolution was defeated by a vote of 575 to 401. A substitute motion was passed which included the phrase to “refrain from asking the federal government for any additional aid.” Upon later reconsideration, a new resolution embodying approximately what the original resolution contained was passed by a large majority. The vote came after a white-robed nurse pleaded for aid. Dr. Edwin T. Dahlberg, former president of the NCC and ABC, tellingly related the story of a parish member who watched his mother die in a hospital at $26.00 a day. One cynical pastor remarked that the man could now watch his mother die for $26.00 a day which someone else would pay.
Dr. Warner Cole of Detroit was elected ABC president. The Rev. Ward D. Hurlbutt of Colorado was elected president of the Ministers Council, and the Rev. Albert Gerenz of Illinois, president of the Council of State Secretaries.
The convention was well organized. Press and publicity arrangements operated with facility, and the program pro-ceded without any appreciable interruptions. Yet the meetings were somewhat humdrum and certainly were not marked by any bold new moves forward. Perhaps the reorganization plan which was adopted and the report of progress on the 8-million-dollar Valley Forge national offices were the highlights of the business sessions.
At Windsor, Ontario—Because too many churches are playing the numbers game and emphasizing their congregation sizes and income, the Christian faith is losing out to cars, cottages, fishing, and golf, the Baptist Convention of Ontario and Quebec was told at its annual meeting. The charge was made by Norman E. Peverill, the convention’s lay president, who added:
“Our generation appears to have been convinced that two full days of recreation a week are essential and that it is archaic to suggest the observance of Sunday has anything to do with calling ourselves Christians.”
Peverill blamed the churches for making membership more a badge of social respectability than a sign of religious belief. Some churches were exaggerating the importance of non-biblical activities, he said, while others were not wielding sufficient influence on society.
A Citadel Totters
Dr. Addison H. Leitch, noted Protestant theologian and administrator, is resigning his professorship in systematic theology at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, effective August 30.
In a statement to the seminary’s board of trustees Leitch said: “The present structure and future plans of the seminary are not such as can enlist from me the enthusiasm and loyalty which the seminary has the right to expect.” He indicated a desire to avoid reconsideration by stating that claims and counterclaims would be “neither informative nor edifying.”
Pittsburgh newspapers quoted Leitch as believing that the seminary is on the road to liberalism. This was denied by Dr. Clifford E. Barbour, president, who maintained that the institution is biblically-centered.
In a later statement, Leitch said: “I hold to confessionalism and to propositional theology, and I feel that the trend of the seminary is away from these positions.”
Before the merger of Western (Presbyterian, U.S.A.) and Pittsburgh-Xenia (United Presbyterian) into Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, Leitch was president of Pittsburgh-Xenia, which was considered one of the sound evangelical seminaries in a long-established denomination. He resigned his presidency at the time of the merger and spoke on the floor of the 1959 General Assembly at Indianapolis against it. The merger went through, however, and Leitch agreed to stay on as a professor.
The Pittsburgh newspapers also carried stories about unrest in the seminary’s student body. It is widely known that the Beaver-Butler (Pennsylvania) Presbytery sent a committee to the seminary to investigate rumors. Barbour has consistently maintained, however, that the faculty and students have been emerging in healthy fashion from a period of growing pains. Pittsburgh is one of the largest Presbyterian theological schools and is currently engaged in a multi-million dollar expansion program.
Lawrence B. Saint
Lawrence B. Saint, 76, one of America’s outstanding designers of stained-glass church windows and the father of three noted missionaries, died June 15 at his home at Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, after a brief illness.
Saint was perhaps best known for the windows he created for the Episcopal cathedral in Washington, D. C. He used people as models, including his own children, and often searched widely for the right face. His son, Nate, one of five missionaries who died at the hands of the Aucas in Ecuador in 1956, modeled for his father when he was three years old.
Seventy of Saint’s original drawings of ancient windows are in the collection of the Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, and copies of these are in Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
Saint is survived by his wife, a daughter, Rachel, now a missionary to the Aucas, and six sons. One son, Phil, is a missionary in Argentina.
Saint was head of the Washington Cathedral’s department of stained glass from 1927 to 1933, a period during which he developed his colors by experimenting to reproduce tones found in cathedral windows of the Middle Ages.
Two weeks after the 9,000 pieces of the cathedral’s north window were shipped to Washington, his Huntingdon Valley studio with all his tools and equipment was destroyed by fire.
Fuller Theological Seminary will see realignment of administrative responsibilities in coming months.
Dr. Daniel Payton Fuller, assistant professor of English Bible since 1953, will become dean of the faculty next February upon his return from Basel, Switzerland, where he is studying for a Ph.D. degree. He is the son of radio evangelist Charles E. Fuller, seminary founder.
Dr. Harold John Ockenga, formerly acting president, will become president, but will retain residence in Boston, where he is pastor of Park Street Church.
Ockenga has resigned as chairman of the Fuller board of trustees. His successor at that post is Charles Davis Weyerhaeuser, a lumber firm executive.
Dr. Harold Lindsell, professor of missions and formerly dean of the faculty, has been appointed to the new office of vice president. Lindsell is spending the summer months in Washington, D. C., as Editorial Associate on the staff of CHRISTIANITY TODAY.
People: Words And Events
Deaths:Dr. B. Foster Stockwell, 61, Methodist bishop; in Buenos Aires … Dr. John R. C. Haas, 64, first vice president of the Evangelical and Reformed Church; in Salisbury, North Carolina. Haas suffered a fatal heart attack moments after delivering a baccalaureate sermon at Catawba College … the Very Rev. E. H. Lewis-Crosby, 96, Anglican dean of Christ Church, Dublin … Lieutenant-Colonel Eduardo Palaci, 78, retired Salvation Army chief in Argentina; in Buenos Aires.
Retirement: From the presidency of Asbury Theological Seminary, Dr. Julian C. McPheeters, effective May 28, 1962.
Resignations: From the presidency of The Iliff School of Theology, Dr. Harold F. Carr. Carr will become director of the College of Preachers of Garrett Biblical Institute … as dean of Gordon College, Dr. Hudson Armerding. Armerding will join the history department of Wheaton College.
Appointments: As general director of planning for the National Council of Churches, the Rev. Robert C. Dodds … as professor at Chicago Theological Seminary, Dr. Fred Hoskins, co-president of the United Church of Christ … as dean of students at Upland College, the Rev. Merle Brubaker … as professor of Christian education at Asbury Theological Seminary, Dr. Paul H. Wood … as editor-in-chief of American Baptist publications, the Rev. Glenn H. Asquith … as executive secretary of the Nazarene department of church schools, Dr. Kenneth S. Rice … as executive director of the Religion and Labor Council of America, Dr. Kenneth Watson.
Election: As stated clerk of the General Synod of the Reformed Church in America, the Rev. Marion de Velder.
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