Evangelist Billy Graham conducts another television crusade across the United States this week. Hour-long films taken during services in San Diego last month will be shown on about 200 television stations on three successive evenings.Showings in Canadian cities are scheduled during subsequent weeks. Telecasts in California also will be delayed, because of the primary election there this week. Similar television series in the past have drawn responses numbering in the millions.
Graham’s crusade in San Diego—nine services in ten days—was plagued by rain and unusually cold temperatures. For only the second time in twelve years the weather forced cancellation of a crusade service. Nonetheless, an aggregate of 180,000 heard the evangelist proclaim the Gospel in San Diego, and 8,690 of them signed decision cards.
Perhaps the most encouraging statistic was the percentage of inquirers: an average 4.8 per cent of the attendance. The average for all Graham’s meetings around the world is 3.19 per cent.
A youth night service drew an attendance of 21,000 with 1,634 inquirers. This number represented a 7.78 per cent response, which spokesmen for Graham said was the largest at a regular crusade service ever recorded in the United States.
Methodists And Evangelism
A resolution commending evangelist Billy Graham was adopted last month by delegates to the quadrennial General Conference of The Methodist Church in Pittsburgh.
It was proposed by Chester A. Smith, 79-year-old layman from Peekskill, New York, and a dean among General Conference delegates.
“We would commend Mr. Graham for his good work in spreading the Gospel and hope that he has many more years of doing so,” said Smith’s resolution. It was approved without opposition.
Graham, in San Diego at the time, also received a telegram of encouragement from Bishop Gerald Kennedy of Los Angeles. Referring to the closing service of the San Diego crusade Kennedy told Graham, “I shall be praying for you on Sunday night.” All services were held in San Diego County’s Balboa Stadium. A crowd estimated at 35,000 turned out for the closing meeting, larger than any attendance ever recorded by the San Diego Chargers of the American Football League.
A highlight of the crusade was Graham’s appearance aboard the aircraft carrier “Constellation,” where he preached to some 2,500 persons—Navy personnel and their families and friends. No invitation for public confession was given aboard the ship, but Graham closed his sermon with a personal appeal for sturdy faith and deep commitment to Christ.
A feature at one of the stadium services was the testimony of Vonda Van Dyke, “Miss Arizona of 1964.” She told the crowd of her discovery that “being a good girl” and devoting her talents to the service of Christ was not enough—that she must commit her entire life to him. She told of the joy in finding the meaning of Christ’s promise, “I am come that ye might have life and have it more abundantly.”
Graham came to San Diego from Phoenix, Arizona, where he had conducted a three-day crusade at Arizona State University’s sports stadium (temporarily bereft, said a spokesman, of its nickname, “Sun Devil Stadium”). He preached to a total of 104,000 persons, and counselors reported that 4,239 of them signed commitment cards. The largest crowd, 38,500, came on the closing Sunday afternoon service.
The evangelist continued to have a distinct appeal for young people, particularly teen-agers. In San Diego he laid down ten rules for them:
“1.—Avoid the wrong company.
“2.—Watch your eyes; you cannot help the first look but you can help the second look.
“3.—Watch your lips. Refrain from telling dirty or off-color stories.
“4.—Watch your heart. Don’t let evil thoughts stay in your mind long.
“5.—Watch your dress. I know a girl who always dressed provocatively until she was converted to Christ. Now she says, ‘I dress as though Christ were my escort each evening.’
“6.—Watch your recreation and amusements. Be careful about the films and TV shows you watch.
“7.—Be careful what you read. The newsstands are filled with pornographic literature; avoid them like a plague; they stimulate your emotions.
“8.—Watch your idleness. Too much leisure and idleness … is harmful in many ways.
“9.—Have Christ in your heart and life.
“10.—Take a delight in the Word of God. The Bible says, ‘Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against Thee.’ ”
Graham’s remaining schedule for 1964 calls for crusades in Columbus, Ohio, July 10–19; Omaha, Nebraska, September 4–13; and Boston, September 18–27.
The Tie With Missouri
A poll of the more than 300 congregations of the Lutheran Church—Canada failed to produce the necessary two-thirds vote to declare independence from the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod of the United States.
A spokesman said that Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan had voted for autonomy, but that the ballot in Ontario and other eastern areas showed a 50–50 result, dropping the overall total below the two-thirds requirement.
Whither The Becker Amendment?
A co-sponsor of the proposed constitutional amendment to allow public school devotions sees little hope for its passage in the present session of Congress.
Republican Representative Delbert L. Latta of Ohio said that it will have been “talked to death” if hearings on the amendment continue through the middle of June as scheduled.
Latta pointed out that it would take several more weeks for the House Judiciary Committee to agree on appropriate language after conclusion of the hearings. By that time lawmakers will be anxious to adjourn for the political conventions.
Another Washington observer noted that “even if the House should by the required two-thirds vote submit an amendment for ratification to the states, there is virtually no prospect of Senate action this session since that chamber has been tied up for weeks by the civil rights bill and has a big logjam of other legislation pending for summer action.”
Republican Representative Frank Becker of New York, chief sponsor of the amendment, has protested the length of the hearings (they began April 22). He has indicated he may press for a discharge petition, which would take the measure out of the committee’s hands and bring the debate to the House floor.
The chairman of the committee, Democratic Representative Emanuel Celler of New York, has repeatedly indicated his opposition to the amendment.
Reason To Support
Seven years ago, while he was minister of the New West End Synagogue in London, Rabbi Louis Jacobs wrote a book called We Have Reason to Believe. Although some of the views he there expressed reflected a “modernist” tendency by Jewish standards, he was appointed two years later as a lecturer and tutor at Jews’ College by Dr. Israel Brodie, the chief rabbi. Since then Manchester-born Dr. Jacobs has published several other books and is recognized as probably the foremost theological scholar among Britain’s 450,000 Jews. However, when the principalship of the college became vacant, the chief rabbi declined to appoint Dr. Jacobs but took the post himself in a temporary capacity.
This spring the fashionable New West End Synagogue, once more seeking a minister, sought no further than its former one and duly elected him. Dr. Brodie disagreed, and after an angry meeting at which eighty-one synagogues were represented, the Council of the United Synagogue upheld the chief rabbi and ordered the removal of the entire board of the offending congregation when they insisted on adhering to their choice.
Dr. Jacobs, 44-year-old Ph.D. of London University, attributes the decision to his acceptance of the findings of modern biblical scholarship, and adds: “As a rabbi in Israel, responsible by tradition to God alone and to no other rabbi, I shall of course continue to expound my views, confident that very many thinking Jews in this country and outside it have too much love and respect for Judaism to wish to see it tied to such a theory.”
Last month the question about where Dr. Jacobs would now expound his views was answered when his supporters, who include a number of nationally known figures, voted to constitute an independent, orthodox congregation, to be named the New London Synagogue. A member of the deposed board has asked Dr. Brodie: “Do you want to go down in history as the man who was responsible for splitting Anglo-Jewry from top to bottom?”
J. D. DOUGLAS
Day’S March Nearer Rome
Earl Alexander of Hillsborough, leader of the Opposition in the House of Lords, startled that august assembly a few weeks ago by asserting that the Church of England is moving steadily Rome-wards. The occasion was the presentation of a measure to clarify the present law that has been generally understood as requiring that the holy table in church be made of wood and be movable. The Bishop of Chester, Dr. G. E. Ellison, sought freedom for those who might wish the table to be of some substance other than wood and to be immovable.
There was here something of a parallel with the vestments controversy, where Parliament is due to be asked to pronounce legal something hitherto done illegally. Both issues had been passed through the Church Assembly against strong evangelical opposition. “The only real thing behind a stone table,” argued Lord Alexander, “is to turn it into an altar, the kind of structure on which, according to the Old Testament, sacrifices were being made.” Despite the shaking of the mover’s episcopal head, the noble lord suggested this was merely another stage in the surrender by the state church to those who were gradually returning to Roman Catholic doctrine and practice.
“It is a sad sight,” he concluded, “to see prelates hurrying to see this sort of measure through, and I am equally shocked to find some of the prelates we had regarded as well grounded in evangelical faith and practice beginning to vote for measures of this kind.” Prelatical eagerness was not apparent, for only five bishops out of twenty-six had bothered to attend, and they listened to the outburst in silence. The measure was approved.
J. D. DOUGLAS
How can churches get started in new housing developments? Where may congregations meet until there are enough resources to erect a permanent building?
In the United States, congregations often begin by meeting in a school. In Denmark, the Diocese of Aalborg of the state Lutheran church is using portable buildings. They follow a similar pattern and are prefabricated of wood with seats for 100 persons, a vestry, and a room for baptisms. The architect was inspired by an early Scandinavian form.
The diocese erects these churches quickly in new housing developments. When the community becomes more established and a permanent building is constructed, the portable church is moved on to a new location.
One of Africa’s youngest communions, the Association of Evangelical Churches of West Africa, celebrated its tenth anniversary last month by setting aside a Sunday for prayer and thanksgiving.
Ten years ago the Sudan Interior Mission, conscious of the need for their churches in Africa to be responsible for their own affairs in an independence-minded continent, encouraged formation of the new church organization.
Conservative in theology and strongly evangelistic, the AECWA has a baptistic structure, with individual autonomy for churches but coordination in the hands of a General Assembly. A secretariat in the Northern Nigerian city of Jos handles the office work and provides liaison between church and government. The SIM does not exercise any authority in the AECWA’s affairs, although church executives work in close harmony with the mission.
The AECWA started with some 400 churches. Now it has more than 900, with an attendance of more than 300,000 and with 650 pastors and evangelists. The AECWA missionary arm has a total of eighty-five missionaries, some going to remote tribes where they must learn “foreign” languages.
W. HAROLD FULLER
Breakthrough On The Pill?
Medical science is on the brink of discovering a pill for family planning that would be acceptable to the Vatican hierarchy. So predicted the Roman Catholic Primate of Belgium, Leo Josef Cardinal Suenens, at a press conference last month in Boston.
He said that the Roman Catholic Church cannot be expected to change its teachings on contraception but that “unchanging doctrine must be applied to new situations” in modern times.
“There are really two questions involved,” he declared, in the birth control pill.
“One is medical, the other moral,” he said. Medically, the question is whether the pill in question is a direct sterilizing agent or whether it merely regularizes natural functions so that a woman will know, three or four days in advance, when she is able to conceive a child.
“The moral answer depends on the medical answer. Naturally, we cannot accept direct sterilization, but I am told that a pill will be available very soon that avoids this.”
The cardinal was asked about a controversial article on birth control pills written by Father Louis Janssens in the primate’s own archdiocese of Malines-Brussels. Cardinal Suenens replied he has given the priest “liberty of research in order to clarify the problem.”
Father Janssens, a professor at the Catholic University of Louvain, has given qualified endorsement of the pill as a morally legitimate means of spacing children. The pill in question is being promoted by Dr. John Rock of Harvard University, a Catholic physician whose views have stirred considerable controversy.
A Growing Gap
A record total distribution of 34 million Scripture portions during 1963 was reported by the American Bible Society at its 148th annual meeting in New York last month. The figure represented an increase of nearly three million over the previous year.
The society plans intensive effort to increase its output inasmuch as “the gap has been growing between the number of the world’s people who can read but for whom Holy Scriptures are not available,” according to the convention report.
Pay Now, Die Later
A U. S. Senate subcommittee investigating frauds through the mails in land sales was told last month of a racket that uses “religious overtones” in defrauding the aged to purchase misrepresented burial plans.
The president and general manager of the Denver Area Better Business Bureau, W. Dan Bell, and New Mexico Special Attorney General Richard N. Carpenter told the subcommittee of “pay now—die later” schemes.
One case cited involved a Denver organization that sold Texas burial plans, using such names as “Our Chapel of Memories—Praying Hands Division,” the “Order of Praying Hands,” and “Lawn Haven Memorial Gardens.”
The Better Business Bureau representatives said the names were deliberately used to cover up illicit and misleading practices. The religious association led buyers to believe the transactions were honest, they said.
Part of the program was selling caskets, which originally cost $96.50 on the installment plan, promising that a price that ballooned to $637.50 included complete cost of the buyer’s funeral, the subcommittee was told.
Some firms also sold crypts and mausoleums that did not exist, the witnesses testified. They said trading stamps were offered to those who would permit the salesman an opportunity to present his sales talk.
The peddlers would emphasize to the elderly the fact that prices for funerals would be substantially higher at the time of the person’s need, the witnesses told the committee.
The buyers were said to have been led to believe that the funerals would be conducted by a mortuary of their choice, but when the need arose, the requested funeral homes had not been apprised of the transaction.
Senators were informed that the buyers’ money was to be held in escrow but that investigations on local levels failed to turn up the funds.
A Protest Fast
A 37-year-old Protestant Episcopal clergyman conducted an eighteen-day hunger strike after being arrested while protesting de facto racial segregation in Chester, Pennsylvania, public schools.
The Rev. Clayton K. Hewett, rector of the Church of the Atonement at Morton. Pennsylvania, was jailed for ten days, then hospitalized after three days of “complete fasting” without liquids. He remained under detention and continued the fast, taking only water, juices, and vitamins in the hospital.
Hewett called off the fast, according to Episcopal Bishop Robert L. DeWitt, after Pennsylvania Governor William Scranton intervened in the Chester school situation. DeWitt said the minister would receive special training to continue work in the field of civil rights.
Hewett’s wife voiced support publicly of her husband’s actions. Asked about her own well-being, she said: “I’m doing fine. I think he’s 100 per cent correct—and so do our children. His beliefs are based completely on Scripture.”
The Hewetts are parents of six children, three boys and three girls ranging in age from six months to sixteen years.
Hewett began his fast weighing 180 pounds and dropped to 150.
Dr. Bob Pierce is taking a year’s leave of absence from his post as president of World Vision, Inc., in an effort to regain his health. Pierce has been suffering from diabetes and, as a spokesman put it, “sheer exhaustion.”
Dr. Richard C. Halverson, minister of Fourth Presbyterian Church, Washington. D. C., was named acting president of the missionary relief organization.
The World Vision radio broadcast will be temporarily discontinued, but all other activities are scheduled to continue without interruption. Ground will be broken within a few weeks for a new headquarters building in Arcadia, California.
Film And Record Laurels
A Civil War film drama produced at Bob Jones University took top honors in a competition sponsored by the National Evangelical Film Foundation.
The film, Red Runs the River, was chosen as the best of the year. Dr. Bob Jones, Jr., university president who played the leading role, was named best actor, and Katherine Stenholm, who directed, was cited as best director. The school’s cinema arm, Unusual Films, won recognition for best camera work.
About 600 students, faculty, and staff members participated in the making of the film. It tells of the Christian conversion of General Richard S. Ewell, hero of the Confederacy, through the influence of Stonewall Jackson.
This is the thirteenth year that “Christian Oscars” have been given by the NEFF. Other winners this year were Fernanda Mistral in Lucia (World Wide Pictures), best actress; City of the Bees (Moody), best documentary; Where Jesus Walked (World Wide Pictures), best musical; “The Story” (Ford Philpot—Good News), best television program; I Saw the Aucas Pray (Kent Films), best missionary film; Nehemiah (Broadman Films), best Bible story; Parables of Nature (Cathedral Films), best filmstrip series; and Born to Witness (Family Films), best youth film.
Record awards were given Norman Nelson (World), best male vocalist; Doris Akers (RCA), best female vocalist; 16 Singing Men (Zondervan), best choir; Nelson Brothers (Supreme), best quartet; Dean McNichols (Christian Faith), best organist; Constantine Kartsonakis (Diadem), best pianist; Howard and Dorothy Marsh (Zondervan), best duet; Salvation Army (World), best instrumental; and “Songs for Children” (Christian Faith), best children’s record.
Winners In Religious Journalism
Each spring a shower of citations descends upon religious journalistic enterprises from assorted organizations interested in communicating faith more effectively. The honor roll this year includes:
—Lee E. Dirks, staff writer for the National Observer, chosen to receive the 1964 James O. Supple Award of the Religious Newswriters Association “for excellence in reporting the news of religion in the secular press.”
—The Detroit News (Harold Schachern, religion editor), the Hamilton (Ont.) Spectator (Charles Wilkinson, religion editor), the Northern Virginia Sun (Mrs. Beryl Dill Kneen, religion editor), television station WCCO-TV of Minneapolis, television station WBBM-TV of Chicago, and radio station WINS of New York City; given Religious Public Relations Council Awards of Merit.
—Eternity (“Periodical of the Year”), Advent Christian Witness, Latin America Evangelist, Leader, His, Team, The Park Street Spire, Today, selected as “Magazines of the Year” by Evangelical Press Association. United Evangelical Action, The War Cry (Chicago edition), Team, Decision, Light and Life Evangel, Gospel Banner, Trails, His, The Banner, and The Evangelical Beacon won awards for content and graphic appeal.
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 65+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more