What happened between the first two days of Billy Graham’s Copenhagen crusade and the closing night could only be called a miracle. Graham himself described the crusade as “one of the most dramatic and exciting crusades we have ever conducted anywhere.”

The opening nights were marked by disturbances and near-violence. Despite the presence of thousands of Danish Christians in the Forum, the hostile spirit on the part of some could be felt. An activist leftist group—named “Group 61,” after the year of its founding, and composed largely of young beatniks—had announced it would break up the meetings.

On the second night, between fifty and one hundred of them created disturbances in several sections and tossed stench bombs throughout the Forum. One of them—later arrested—threw a bottle of the malodorous liquid in the eyes of a Forum guard, who had to be hospitalized. Doctors said his eyesight was not permanently damaged, however.

Sensing the threatening violence, Graham did not close the meeting with his usual public invitation to receive Christ. The demonstrators, poised for mischief, seemed stunned by the abrupt end of the meeting, and from the balcony came shouts of “Yank, go home!” Some members of the gang milled around in the hall after the meeting, but there was no further violence.

When a group of apparent troublemakers showed up for the third meeting, Forum officials refused to admit them. Graham himself went to the door, met the gang leaders, and appealed to officials to let them in as his personal guests. “These are the very people who need to hear what I am preaching,” he said.

Only when a Graham aide guaranteed their good behavior were they admitted. The aide sat with them during the meeting, and three members of the group went forward to make commitments. Others of them made decisions on subsequent nights, and there was no further disruption of the services.

From that night on there was a noticeable difference in the atmosphere of the meetings. As Graham said, “The devil overstepped himself.”

The 8,000-seat Forum was packed on all but two nights. Standing-room-only attendance on the final two nights reached 9,600. Officials said the crowds were the largest in the Forum’s forty-year history. Dr. Paul Brodersen, retired dean of the Copenhagen Cathedral, said: “We have seen nothing like this in Denmark since the revival of 1880–1900.”

The Rev. Richard Petersen, pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, said: “These days have brought with them a new faith, a new expectation, and a new confidence in God for thousands of people.”

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A free church pastor, the Rev. Kurt Mortensen of the Apostolic Church, commented: “The future looks very promising now that so many different denominations are able to cooperate and the Folkekirke [State Church] and free churches have shown they could stand together in this great evangelistic effort.”

Coverage by all of the public media was unprecedented in Denmark. Newspapers gave full pages, and the state radio and television took a special interest in the crusade. Danish television videotaped a meeting and showed it the next night to the entire country. The same program was later shown by Swedish and Norwegian television. In addition, Norwegian radio taped one of the meetings for broadcast.

Graham said he believed the Copenhagen meetings may “open up all of Scandinavia for crusades.” He said that he had received many invitations from Sweden, Norway, and Finland, and that he believes Scandinavia may be ripe for a spiritual revival.

Total attendance for the eight nights in Copenhagen was 65,700, and 681 inquirers were counseled.

The Gospel Via Tv

Evangelist Billy Graham will conduct another of his coast-to-coast television crusades this month. Four one-hour programs are scheduled on 200 or more stations. In most areas they will be seen on four consecutive evenings, June 7–10.

“It will be by far the most extensive television coverage that we have ever had—and the most expensive,” says Graham. Production, air time, and advertising costs are estimated at more than $900,000.

The four programs to be shown were videotaped during Graham’s February crusade at the International Center in Honolulu. The four sermon topics are, “Forgiveness,” “A World in Crisis,” “Teen-Age Rampage,” and “The Heart of Man.”

The Winners

The weekly Baptist Record of Mississippi won a merit award from the Associated Church Press last month for a crusading editorial that led to the rebuilding of burned Negro churches. The editorial, “Smoke over Mississippi,” written by the editor, Joe T. Odle, was instrumental in the formation of the interdenominational Committee of Concern, which raised funds for rebuilding projects.

Renewal, a weekly of the Chicago City Mission Society, also won a merit award for demonstrating “editorial courage through creative and crusading content.” Other award winners were The Lutheran, a biweekly of the Lutheran Church in America; Youth, a biweekly of the United Church of Christ; and Interaction, a monthly of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.

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Citations went to Motive, a monthly of the Methodist Division of Higher Education; Christianity and Crisis, a biweekly independent opinion journal; and Concern, a biweekly published by the Methodist Board of Christian Social Concerns. The latter two were cited for having given “superior treatment of the 1964 U. S. election campaign.”

A Seminary By The Seine

Paris, whose familiar landmarks include the University of the Sorbonne, monument to left-bank intellectualism; the Eiffel Tower, monument to an old world’s fair; and Charles De Gaulle, monument-at-large, is not known as a thriving center of evangelicalism. But leading European evangelicals plan to start a seminary there in the fall of 1966.

The institution was officially incorporated last year by forty-two representatives of evangelical church groups, missions, and Bible institutes throughout continental French-speaking Europe. The founders are presently looking for a site in the Paris area.

Although only a dozen or so students are expected to attend the first year, interest on the part of other students and their advisors extends beyond French-speaking Europe to Africa, Canada, and Haiti, and even to some circles in Holland and Germany.

Representation on the board has been broadened to include members of missionary societies working in Europe, such as The Evangelical Alliance Mission, Greater Europe Mission, Belgian Gospel Mission, Bible Christian Union, Christian and Missionary Alliance, and the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students.

The seminary’s statement of faith closely resembles that of other evangelical bodies. The paragraph on “The Holy Scriptures” reads: “The divine inspiration and sovereign authority of the Bible which is the Word of God free from error as originally given.”

The seminary plans were not approved until every effort to revitalize the seminary at Aix-en-Provence, which the late Dr. Donald G. Barnhouse helped to launch, had come to a standstill.

Directors plan to open the seminary next year with two resident professors and a small staff. Short distances between cities will permit a wide number of evangelical professors to come in periodically for lectures.

The founders hope that the new seminary will help alleviate the acute shortage of seminary-trained men. It is feared that if this need is not met soon, existing church groups and institutions may shrivel or drift into the control of theologically liberal leaders.

The Rev. John C. Winston, Jr., of the Belgian Gospel Mission and the Brussels Bible Institute, will move to Paris to become dean of students and administration.

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Closing By Decree

Soviet authorities have ordered the closing of a Russian Orthodox seminary near Lwow in the Soviet Ukraine, according to reports from Moscow. Confirmation of the order was received from the Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church.

With the closing of the seminary, located in the town of Lutsk, the Russian church now has only three seminaries—in Moscow, Leningrad, and Odessa. The Lutsk seminary is the fifth to be closed since 1959.

A Perspective On Doctrine
Holding fast the faithful word (Titus 1:9) … Holding forth the word of life (Phil. 2:16).

In the stuffy ballroom of a Minneapolis hotel last month, the Christian and Missionary Alliance arrived at an eleven-point doctrinal consensus. It was the first comprehensive creed in the seventy-eight-year history of the society, and it reflected traditional evangelical views. A record turnout of 1,138 delegates shared in the adoption process at the sixty-eighth General Council of the CMA. The 553-word creed is subject to ratification by next year’s delegates.

Will it be “sign up or get out,” as one delegate feared, for the society’s 2,807 clergymen and missionaries and 73,629 North American laymen? The twenty-eight-member CMA Board of Managers will wrestle with the question in coming months. Whatever the outcome, the CMA now has for itself an official perspective on doctrine and an articulate summary of what its constituency preaches and teaches.

Most distinctive of the approved tenets are those suggesting healing in the atonement and a post-salvation “crisis.” The closest vote of the council came on a motion that deleted a definition of sanctification as “an experience.” A subsequent motion introduced a description of sanctification as “both a crisis and a progressive experience” wrought in the life after conversion. It passed easily.

Inclusion of a reference to scriptural inerrancy climaxed a see-saw floor battle. A committee refused to insert a definitive inerrancy clause, and delegates followed suit. Later, in a resounding reversal, delegates approved a simpler change recognizing the Old and New Testaments “inerrant as originally given.”

Will the statement guarantee the CMA against apostasy? Few in the society would be so naïve as to think so. Most would place their hope in the “holding fast—holding forth” link that was the theme of the six-day council. As one program participant put it, “The only way to hold fast is to hold forth.”

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In the vital matter of growth, it is nip and tuck for the CMA. Delegates were cheered by the report that forty-five new churches were added during 1964. But twenty-four were lost through closing, termination of affiliation, and consolidation.

A slight decline in Sunday school enrollment caused widespread concern. Even more alarming was the acute shortage of pastoral and missionary candidates the CMA faces. Yet despite the adverse elements. CMA work is forging ahead on a number of foreign fronts.

Viet Nam continues to be the priority CMA mission field, with 126 missionaries assigned there. Escalation of the war prompted removal of a missionary dependents’ school from Dalat. Viet Nam, to Bangkok, Thailand.

Deteriorating relations between the United States and Cambodia have forced the evacuation of all but three of the CMA missionaries assigned to Cambodia. One American missionary woman was reissued a visa by the Cambodian government in gratitude for past services. The other two remaining missionaries are Canadians.

Davidson: ‘Not Wise To Catechize’

If a proposal that easily cleared the spring meeting of Davidson (North Carolina) College trustees gets final approval, the way will be clear to add Roman Catholics to the faculty of the “Oxford of Southern Presbyterians.”

Under faculty pressure for several years, the board has been debating teacher qualifications and a controversial faculty oath. Until the trustees began to change the vow gradually a few years ago, full professors were required to subscribe to the Westminster standards that Presbyterian pastors and lay officers agree to accept. Last year, still another change required teachers (all on tenure) to pledge allegiance only to “evangelical Christianity.”

But the trustees agreed this spring to abolish the vow completely. If they give second reading approval next fall, they will charge the administration with certifying that faculty nominees (1) are committed to the Christian faith and members of a Christian church, and (2) comprehend the Davidson statement of purpose and intend to promote it.

President J. McDowell Richards of Columbia Seminary, Decatur, Georgia, who is also president of the Davidson trustees, said the spring action is “recognition of the broad fellowship of Christians that’s being recognized today.” He added that the board does not “feel it academically wise to catechize.”

Help For College Applicants

What happens to the student who applies to the one or two Christian colleges he knows about and is rejected?

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According to Dr. Charles Schoenherr, director of admissions at Wheaton College, he is likely to give up the idea of Christian higher education and turn to the state-supported school. As a countermeasure Schoenherr suggests a national clearinghouse and counseling service for applicants to Christian colleges.

Since he presented the idea last fall to the newly formed Coordinating Committee of Christian Colleges, and this spring at the convention of the National Association of Evangelicals, it has received “a lot of support,” Schoenherr says. He hopes the service will be operating by the fall of 1966.

“My office is astonished by the number of young people who know of only one or two Christian schools,” he says. “I believe a clearinghouse could help students become more aware of other Christian colleges and would hold more young people to their commitment to Christian higher education because of the accessibility and convenience of being admitted into another Christian college.”

Another advantage, says Schoenherr, is that a student would be able to apply to a number of schools with only one application form.

Melvin Leon Steakley

Houston police are investigating the mysterious death of Melvin Leon Steakley, 37, religious news editor of the Houston Chronicle. Steakley was killed about 1:20 A.M. Saturday, May 1, when he returned to his car after working some three hours making up the Chronicle’s Saturday church page. A 32-caliber pistol had been wired to the steering column of the editor’s Volkswagen sedan with a wire leading from the trigger to the clutch pedal. The gun discharged, firing a bullet into Steakley’s chest, apparently as he depressed the pedal in preparing to drive away.

Authorities have been unsuccessful in tracing the source of crank letters that had been mailed to Steakley and seventeen other religious figures, apparently from a religious fanatic. The letters were signed “Amicus Dei” and “The Voice of Truth.” They led to speculation that the death device may have been wired for Steakley by someone who opposed his views on racial integration, since they attempted to use Bible quotations to support segregation. Steakley resided in a Houston sector in which both white and Negro families live, and he had chided churches in the area for practicing segregation.

Another possibility being considered by investigators was that the editor may have been the victim of a mistake slaying. Two other Chronicle reporters drive Volkswagens almost identical to Steakley’s.

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Officers have been unable to locate any evidence that Steakley, described as pleasant and easy-going by acquaintances, had been involved in any personal quarrels or that he was aware he had enemies who might have wanted to kill him.

Police were not discounting the possibility of suicide. Hairs found on tape used to attach the pistol to the steering column have been shown by chemical and neutron-activation tests to have been from Steakley’s body. Traces of red grease pencil such as the editor used in his work were found on the tape and on a knife that was in his pocket at the time of his death. Steakley carried $85,000 life insurance.

However, Mrs. Steakley reported that her husband was happy when he left for work and that she could conceive of no reason why he should kill himself. All friends and acquaintances questioned by police have confirmed this.

In addition to his wife, Steakley is survived by two sons, ages fifteen and four, and three daughters, ages thirteen, nine, and two.

Steakley was born in Godley, Texas. He attended Texas Christian University for two years, transferred to Baylor University (Southern Baptist), and was graduated from Baylor with an A.B. degree in journalism and English in 1948. Before becoming religious news editor of the Chronicle in January, 1961, he had edited several West Texas weekly newspapers and a daily newspaper at Pasadena, near Houston. He was a Baptist and was active in Baptist churches in every locality in which he lived.

When the police department has completed its investigation, it will submit all evidence to the Harris County Medical Examiner, who will then issue a ruling on the circumstances of the death.


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