White-clad figures bearing flags of many nations moved in stately tread across the brilliant green turf of Miami’s Orange Bowl, marching and counter-marching to the tune of “Onward Christian Soldiers.” The bowl, which had been the locale of so many half-time marching units, was now the scene of the impressive opening ceremony of the eleventh Baptist World Congress (June 25–30), and the flags spoke eloquently of the far-flung global frontiers of Christian witness and penetration. At one end of the palm-ringed bowl was portrayed a huge open Bible with a printed theme preeminently dear to Baptists: “And the truth shall make you free.”

Former Presidential Assistant Brooks Hays brought greetings front Lyndon B. Johnson, who expressed gratitude for “the profound contribution” made by Baptists to his family’s religious experience: “My earliest impressions of spiritual and moral forces carry a Baptist identification. I have observed with pride the impact of Baptist devotion upon the life of my native state. These devotions have been influences for righteousness and peace in our beloved country and throughout the world.… Your missions of healing, of reconciliation, and of enlistment in vast programs of religious import give the Baptist World Alliance a deep significance in the life of our time.”

Sponsor of the congress, the alliance holds such meetings every five years. The Miami congress, the first in this country in fifteen years, drew a record 17,000 delegates from seventy-seven countries. Of the world’s some 26 million Baptists, more than 23 million are included in the eighty-three national conventions and unions holding membership in the alliance.

Peak attendance in Miami was 52,000, present for Billy Graham’s second sermon in as many nights in the Orange Bowl, where four of the sessions were held (other major sessions were convened in Miami Beach’s Convention Hall). Graham spoke on the “new theology,” the “new morality,” and the “new evangelism,” and was highly critical of all three. As dynamic as ever, he asserted the authority of the Scriptures, the reality of judgment and hell, the enduring validity of moral law, and the continuing necessity for the conversion of individuals to Christ.

The alliance is limited by its constitution from interference with the Baptist ideal of congregational polity; it exists “in order more fully to show the essential oneness of the Baptist people in the Lord Jesus Christ, to impart inspiration to the brotherhood, and to promote the spirit of fellowship, service, and cooperation among its members.”

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This year the alliance elected without opposition its first Negro president, Dr. William R. Tolbert, who is a Baptist preacher as well as Vice-President of the Republic of Liberia. He succeeds Brazil’s Dr. Joao F. Soren. Tolbert pledged to work to erase the idea of some Africans that Christianity is a white man’s religion. Chosen to serve with him as vice-presidents were: Paul Mbende of Doula, Cameroun; Lawrence Silcock of Lower Hutt, New Zealand; Shuichi Matsumura of Tokyo; Aleksander Kircun of Warsaw; Ernest Payne of London; Roberto Porras Maynes of Mexico City; Mrs. R. L. Mathis of Birmingham, Alabama; Herschel H. Hobbs of Oklahoma City; and John IV. Williams of Kansas City, Missouri. Both Mbende and Williams are Negroes.

The congress passed a resolution against racial discrimination and heard its Sunday morning preacher, Dr. Joseph H. Jackson, president of the National Baptist Convention, Inc., declare a racially exclusive church to be a cursed church perverting the Gospel. Press conferences with Jackson and Martin Luther King laid open the well-publicized differences of the two on civil rights processes. Jackson spoke against civil disobedience and said that the “man who tries to force himself into a segregated church is just as guilty as the segregated church.” He said also that it was time for the Negroes to quit protesting and take a positive approach to human rights. King called Jackson’s statement “unfortunate” and “ill-timed.” Some observers attributed the omission of King as a speaker to the influence of Jackson, a vice-president of the alliance.

At one session a corps of pickets recruited by Dr. Carl McIntire, president of the International Council of Christian Churches, paraded signs labeling the alliance as a liberal, Communist-infiltrated organization. At a protest rally, McIntire charged that five Russian Baptists attending the alliance were there to present “lying propaganda,” and that one of them, the Rev. Ivan Motorin, was a Russian K.G.B. (secret service) agent. In a subsequent press conference, Motorin said that there were no Communists among the membership of Russian Baptist churches.

The congress adopted a manifesto on religious liberty and human rights, which included an appeal to the governments of all countries “not only to preserve law and order, but also to recognize and guarantee religious and civil liberties, and the right of men to maintain or change religious allegiance and freedom to worship, witness, teach, and serve.”

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After 132 Years

Oberlin College plans to close its once-famous Graduate School of Theology for lack of students.

The interdenominational seminary, known in the nineteenth century as a great citadel of evangelical theology and social concern, will be phased out over a period of about three years. The college’s arts and science and music divisions will continue.

Spokesmen for Oberlin said trustees had noted that “high quality theological training at the graduate level today requires the kind of intellectual challenge and study opportunities that can only be found in the environment of a major university. Without the advantages of such an environment, to attempt to restore the Graduate School of Theology as a non-denominational institution to a position of distinguished usefulness in theological education would be a long and difficult—if not impossible—job.”

An Oberlin study showed that the graduate school had not had a balanced budget since 1917. Enrollment has declined steadily (there were 116 students studying on the campus this past year).

The Oberlin college and community, named after an Alsatian pastor, were founded in 1833 as a “definite line of effort which should produce the maximum of spiritual benefit to a ‘perishing world.’ ” The school won wide attention through the leadership of evangelist Charles G. Finney, who came in 1835 as a professor and later served as president.

Will Pope Visit America?

Religious News Service reported last month that airline personnel in Rome had told of plans for a visit of Pope Paul VI to the United States in October.

Staff aides of Alitalia, the Italian airline, reported they have been asked by the Vatican Secretariat of State to draw up plans for papal flights to the United States in October and to Poland in 1966.

According to the airline informants, the Pope was expected to spend six days in the United States—from October 18 through October 23.

No confirmation was available from official sources. However, the reports tended to confirm recurring reports that Pope Paul would visit the United States this year and very likely speak before the United Nations in New York.

The Devil-Rousers

One Sunday evening in July, 1865, a former pawnbroker’s assistant was supervising preparations for his first evangelistic service in London’s Mile End Road. As a boy was attaching to a length of rope the naphtha lamps that were to illumine the big tent, William Booth murmured: “One of these days they will be stringing lights like that round the world.”

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What began as a rescue operation by a handful going “straight for these sinking classes” spread to New York in 1880, reached India two years later, and even penetrated China in 1917. In its early days the Salvation Army was shunned by the establishment and roughly handled by the submerged tenth of humanity that was Booth’s special concern. Mobs jeered, threw stones, broke windows, but the Army has never mistaken its chief adversary. It not only deprived him of some good times but attacked him at his most vulnerable spot by singing such disrespectful words as:

The old devil’s crown has got to come down,

And that with a hullabaloo!

Last month London’s Royal Albert Hall was crammed to capacity with 5,500 Salvationists (nearly half of them from overseas) at the meeting to inaugurate the centenary celebrations. The speakers, all of whom testified warmly to the Army’s splendid record of service through many an arduous campaign, were Queen Elizabeth II, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Home Secretary. The many distinguished guests included the Cardinal-Archbishop of Westminster, whose entry was the signal for a remarkable standing ovation. A solitary “Hallelujah” from the balcony startled the august company when Dr. Ramsey admitted he had never met a gloomy Salvationist.

William Booth’s Salvation Army, now more than two million strong, had marched a long way from those early days, but one thing remained the same. Undaunted by the presence of rulers temporal and spiritual, the big drum was still up to its old game of deafening the devil.

Describing The Massacre

The horrifying story of the massacres of some thirty Dutch and Belgian Catholic priests in May and a group of Protestant missionaries last October by Congo rebels was reported from Leopoldville by a British missionary nurse.

The witness was Miss Margaret Hayes, 41, of London, who twice escaped being killed and who had been reported missing. Miss Hayes was held captive by rebels for six months but was rescued by government forces in June. Sixteen other women and two children also were rescued.

Miss Hayes confirmed the death of Mary Baker, 51, last fall. Miss Baker, a missionary nurse for the Unevangelized Fields Mission, was slain at a mission station in northern Congo.

Miss Hayes recalled that in May she and fifty others were herded together in a Catholic mission in Buta. She said the group, including the priests, other men, and women, were stripped and inspected under a scorching sun. They had no food or water.

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“The fathers were tied,” she said “arms crossed in back and elbows pressed together. Then the feet were bound and the body arched. The arm ropes and the foot ropes were tied together.

“It was the only time we heard them crying. They were untied and stripped and tied again. Then the thirty-one fathers were marched to the banks of the river and one by one the Simbas [rebels] slashed them with knives and threw them in the river.

“A little while later a Simba came up with a leg from one of the fathers. He put it on a spear and forced each one of us, including the children, to hold it.”

No Offense

Turkish laws are theoretically liberal toward non-Muslims, even though Islam claims the overwhelming majority of the citizenry. Local law enforcement officers, however, seem to have their doubts about religious liberty. They continually resort to drastic measures against any signs of evangelistic activity.

Last month, an agent of the British and Foreign Bible Society was arrested while selling Bibles in a railroad station at Smyrna. Police detained him over a weekend and, according to one report, subjected him to “cruel pressure and violence.” The agent was finally released under threat of prosecution.

On June 18, a U.S. sailor was apprehended by a Turkish plainclothesman while distributing tracts in the Taksim, main square of Istanbul. He was questioned and released to the custody of U. S. military police.

In April, Turkish police seized four U.S. airmen who were distributing gospel literature at Orhangazi, a town of about 5,000. The men, stationed at a NATO base near Istanbul, were held overnight for questioning and returned to the base pending further investigation. A prosecutor’s report subsequently cleared them, declaring that no offense had been committed.

The four were identified as Patrick P. Clark, of Owensboro, Kentucky; Robert M. Brock, of Cols, Ohio; Eugent S. Usechck, of Carnegie, Pennsylvania; and Jerry Williams, of Heath Springs, South Carolina.

A Question Of Interference

A joint statement of the Roman Catholic hierarchy in the Philippines urged passage of a bill authorizing public school teachers to teach religion in Philippine public schools. The constitution of the country prohibits public school teachers from serving as agents of any religion “directly or indirectly” in the public schools.

In a rejoinder, Dr. Enrique C. Sobrepena, general secretary of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines, said that the Roman Catholic hierarchy desire to “interfere with the affairs of the state.” Their statement, he charged, betrays their real goal of trying to “direct and control government institutions, such as the public schools.”

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Sobrepena issued his criticism as the Senate of the Philippines studied the bill, which already had approval of the House of Representatives. Sobrepena, a member of the World Council of Churches’ Central Committee, has suggested as an alternative the establishment of a Board of Character Education to be composed of representatives of all church groups in the country.

The current controversy recalls the issuance of a pastoral letter by Roman Catholic prelates back in 1938. At that time they urged passage of a bill which sought to have the teaching of religion “within public school time.” The bill was approved by the then Philippine National Assembly but vetoed by the late President Manuel L. Quezon. It is noteworthy that while the late President Quezon castigated the Catholic hierarchy for officially urging the National Assembly to pass the measure, the incumbent President Diosdado Macapagal labels the current religion bill as an “urgent measure.”


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