There are at least 1,111 ways of viewing the World Congress on Evangelism, for at last count that was the total number of delegates and observers. Each obviously had a different way of looking at what happened during those eleven days from October 25, when Editor Carl F. H. Henry delivered the opening address, to November 4, when evangelist Billy Graham conducted a service of prayer and consecration just before the closing recessional.
In the most sobering sense, CHRISTIANITY TODAY’S tenth-anniversary project was a council of war. Participants from some 100 countries vowed to battle evil with unprecedented intensity and to defend the Scriptures against snowballing traditions as well as new speculations. There was a substantial degree of truth in one analyst’s observation that the meeting represented a legitimate “backlash” against secularist theologies emerging from contemporary worship of intellect.
From another perspective, the congress brought a major breakthrough for evangelicals in news-media exposure. Congress developments won front-page display in scores of American newspapers. America’s most distinguished daily, the New York Times, carried interpretative on-the-spot stories daily. Religious News Service said its coverage matched what it had given Vatican Council II and last summer’s Geneva meeting on Church and Society. Even Vatican Radio took sympathetic notice. All this spells encouragement for Protestant conservatives, especially those from areas where they are few and far between.
Evangelicals found new confidence, not only in such global attention, but also in the spirit of togetherness that characterized the congress in prayer, praise, and fellowship. As perhaps never before there seemed to be a willingness to ...1
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