Holy Week, 1968, both began and ended with the pall of Good Friday as the nation mourned the assassination of its greatest Negro leader and the civil-rights movement received its greatest martyr. Rarely had a clergyman so shaken a nation.

“I have seen the promised land,” said the gifted orator Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the night before he was shot. But his death carried no promise, only ironic dramatization of the impasse between races in America today, for a paroxysm of rioting, looting, arson, and murder in dozens of cities constituted a violent aftermath as senseless as the slaying in Memphis. A machine gun on the steps of the Capitol in Washington, D. C., symbolized the nation’s barely concealed terror over what the coming weeks—and years—would bring.

The death of King and the ensuing violence had at least one positive effect, however. Congress on April 10 passed the first federal open housing law.

Although he was in the public eye only a dozen years, the 39-year-old Baptist minister at his death was probably the American most admired in many other nations. At home his power and glory were on the wane. The 1966 Chicago drive failed to yield lasting results. Newsmen saw his Washington Poor People’s Campaign as a last lunge to outflank militant black separatists, reaffirm the philosophy of effective nonviolence, and reassert King’s civil-rights leadership.

What that campaign, scheduled to begin this week, would have done to King’s movement is impossible to guess now. But friends and foes alike were edgy when a King-led march in the Memphis garbagemen’s strike degenerated into lawlessness, just days before the murder.

King lived daily with the knowledge that he was marked for death. When it came, its violence set in bold relief the tragic predicament of the nation. Race relations has moved into another, more savage, era.

Not so long ago whites and blacks joined hands to look in buoyant faith toward King’s promised land. In Southern, often small-town battles, the target was obvious: legal obstacles against Negroes. The tactics were marches and other non-violent protests. And the victories came fast. King and his movement won by stirring the conscience and shame of white America. The spirit was that of an often joyous camp meeting, with sermons for soul food. The anthem was “Deep in my heart, I do believe, we shall overcome some day.”

From the Montgomery bus boycott of December, 1955, through the Selma march and the passage of the 1965 Voting Act, the civil-rights movement was King’s kingdom. The golden age came in the massive, integrated March on Washington in the summer of 1963 and the far-reaching Civil Rights Act of 1964. King’s personal peak came that year with his trip to Oslo to accept the Nobel Peace Prize.

But when Watts erupted in August, 1965, the battle moved out of the South. Now the challenges were more subtle, enmeshed in all the larger complexities of urban economic and social problems. And King did not transplant successfully from Southern soil to the urban ghettos.

The optimism of the late 1950s and early 1960s faded as it became obvious that the deeper issues of housing, education, and employment had been left largely untouched by the legal progress of the decade. Whites protested “too fast.” Young Negroes reacted bitterly: posthumous opportunities held no charm. King’s leadership over young Negroes waned as Malcolm X, Rap Brown, and Stokely Carmichael moved onto center stage. Although polls consistently showed King the leader most admired by Negroes, the new tribe of front-flank youths even derided him as “Uncle Tom.”

Once the bridge between white and black worlds, King now risked isolation from both. Militant blacks regarded him as too passive for the tumbling events of the late 1960s; reactionary whites saw’ him as an anarchist.

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Cool it, King advised black youths. Violence is in the end self-defeating, a nihilistic philosophy that “carries the seed of its own doom,” a philosophy “born of the conviction that the Negroes can’t win,” because it fails in the long run to be effective. And any method that fails is ultimately “an expression of weakness, not of strength.” Furthermore, violence does not appeal to the conscience. At a rally in Memphis that last night before his death, King seemed to be succeeding. The young hotbloods sat in unity with the moderates.

Dealing with disenchanted whites proved no easier than handling new-breed Negroes. In happier days, civil-rights aims had seemed lofty, religious, with a churchy power base. Now the movement was material, and some of the sergeants were crass and foul-mouthed. After riots firecrackered through scores of cities, even Northern liberals were becoming confused. There were no buttons to push. The moderate center eroded. Conservatives asserted that turmoil was the inevitable result of King’s civil disobedience and demanded an immediate return to law and order.

King had to spend more and more time defending non-violent civil disobedience as an effective means of social protest. Law and order without a concern for justice is, he said, no more than crude, Hobbesian defense of vested interests. The United States, declared King, must be forced to confront its conscience.

Watts and black power were not the only factors eroding the movement. The Viet Nam war was costing the American economy nearly $30 billion a year, sapping dollars and energy from domestic effort. King jumped into the anti-war movement, seeing it as an extension of his non-violent ideal and realizing that the war was diverting attention and material resources from the problems at home.

King called America “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today” and transmitted half-absorbed Communist charges about poison water and slaughter of a million South Vietnamese civilians. His stand cost some white support and brought as much mainstream criticism as King had ever received. In one of this month’s many twists, negotiations to end the Viet Nam killing loomed on the horizon as King fell victim to an assassin’s bullet in Memphis.

‘Mine Eyes Have Seen The Glory’

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who lived under constant threat of death, rarely spoke about it. But the night before he was shot, King uttered these remarkable words in an emotional address at a Memphis rally:

I left Atlanta this morning and as we got started on the plane there were six of us. The pilot said over the public address system, “We’re sorry for the delay but we have Dr. Martin Luther King on the plane, and to be sure that all of the bags were checked and to be sure that nothing would be wrong on the plane, we had to check out everything properly and we’ve had the plane protected and guarded all night.”

And then I got into Memphis and some began to say the threats—talk about the threats that were out, of what would happen to me from some of our sick white brothers. Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I have been to the mountain top. I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life; longevity has its place. But I am not concerned about that now.

I just want to do God’s will. And he’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over, and I have seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we as a people will go to the promised land. So I am happy tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I am not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!

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FROM ATLANTA TO MEMPHIS

Two blocks from the nondescript Negro Masonic building in Atlanta where the Southern Christian Leadership Conference is based, Michael Luther King, Jr., was born on January 15, 1929, in a thirteen-room parsonage.

Michael Sr., who changed their names to Martin when his son was six, was pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church and a champion of equal pay for Negro teachers and integrated courthouse elevators. His father-in-law, the Rev. A. D. Williams, was an early NAACP leader who made Ebenezer a prominent Negro church. Some considered him one of the South’s great preachers of the day. When he led a boycott against an anti-Negro newspaper, it died.

College classmate Lerone Bennett, Jr., editor of Ebony, says Martin Jr. was a supersensitive child who attempted suicide twice before he was 13. He was also intelligent. He skipped two grades, graduating from high school at 15.

In his last year of high school, King won an Elks oratorical contest and went to Valdosta for the statewide Negro finals. On the trip back he and his teacher sat near the front of the bus, and the driver ordered them to the rear. The teacher complied. But “I ended up standing all the way to Atlanta. That was the beginning of my determination to lead a bus boycott,” King said later.

He had been dedicated and baptized at Ebenezer and while attending Morehouse College was ordained by the church, at the age of 19. His father wanted him to be a minister, but he leaned toward medicine or law. “I had doubts that religion was intellectually respectable. I revolted against the emotionalism of Negro religion, the shouting and the stamping. I didn’t understand it and it embarrassed me.” But he was captivated by Thoreau’s writings on civil disobedience, and decided the ministry was the only place from which to launch social protest.His younger brother, A. D. King, also decided on a clergy career and had his Birmingham parsonage bombed when he aided his brother’s drive there years later.

At Crozer Theological Seminary (American Baptist) in Chester, Pennsylvania, the enrollment was about 5 per cent Negro. King blazed through as first Negro senior-class president and top student. He won a fellowship for doctoral work wherever he wanted and chose Methodist Boston University. His Ph.D. dissertation compared the concepts of God in Paul Tillich and in neo-naturalist philosopher Henry Nelson Wieman.

After graduation he turned down offers of Northern pulpits and chose the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. When Mrs. Rosa Parks sparked the boycott of Jim Crow buses in December, 1955, King took the helm of the Montgomery Improvement Association, set up to guide the movement. By most accounts he was tapped because he was new and hadn’t had time to antagonize any of the city’s various Negro factions. One writer says he was reluctant to take the job.

The boycott lasted 381 days and by the time it succeeded, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was the first nationally known Negro activist. He organized the Southern Christian Leadership Conference as a base of operations.

In the early 1960s King was active in voter-registration drives and other desegregation efforts. A big showdown occurred in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1963, and later that year King pressed on to the March on Washington by 200,000 Negroes and whites. Many think these efforts led to the landmark 1964 civil-rights act. Also that year, King became the youngest person ever to win the Nobel Peace Prize. After the Nobel ceremony he got admitted to East Berlin without a pass, the first Westerner to do so since the erection of the Wall. On that European trip he and aide Ralph Abernathy had a private audience with Pope Paul.

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King’s career crested in 1965 with the voter-registration drive in Selma, Alabama, which won unprecedented support from white clergymen. They came from all over the country to march. But Roman Catholic Archbishop Thomas Toolen accused King of “trying to divide the people.” After the tangles with Sheriff Jim Clark and the march to the state capital, Congress passed the voting-rights act, and some feel there was a connection.

But all too fast came the inner-city riots, the black-power movement, and the costly U. S. buildup in Viet Nam—problems King was still trying to confront when he was murdered.

Harry S. Truman called King a troublemaker, and J. Edgar Hoover once said he was “the most notorious liar in the country.” But other big names lent support. In 1960, presidential candidate John F. Kennedy made a celebrated phone call to a Georgia jail to express his concern for King’s welfare. Some thought this sewed up the Negro wards, and the election.

The Kings lived with their four children—Yolanda, Martin III, Dexter, and Bernice—in a comfortable house in a middle-class Negro section of Atlanta. King drew no salary from SCLC, $4,000 plus $2,000 parsonage allowance from the church, and about $6,000 a year from speaking. Profit from his writings was poured back into the movement.

King was the first man to apply the philosophy of Thoreau and the strategy of Gandhi to problems of the U. S. Negro. The emphasis of his thought was on philosophy, not theology.

In 1962, the Rev. John Morris of the Episcopal Society for Cultural and Racial Unity criticized King’s “departure from orthodox Christian tradition” and said that Christ, not Gandhi, should be “Lord of even the sit-in and the freedom-ride.”

One of the few reporters to interview King on his religious thought was Presbyterian layman Lee Dirks of the National Observer. Dirks found few traces of the “hard” fundamentalism in which King was reared.

King rejected the idea of original sin, though he believed men inevitably sin anyway. Jesus was divine in the sense that “he was one with God in purpose. He so submitted his will to God’s will that God revealed his divine plan to man through Jesus.” Reflecting his liberal instruction, he considered the virgin birth a mythological story to explain Jesus’ moral uniqueness, rather than literal fact.

Liberalism was the first major theological influence on King, but after studying Niebuhr he decided it is “all too sentimental in its analysis of man, and doesn’t grapple sufficiently with the problem of evil.” Yet Niebuhr went too far in the other direction, he thought. Though not a fundamentalist, King took Christ’s teachings on love literally. In speeches he appealed to biblical motifs repeatedly.

King applied non-violence to the extent that he refused to travel with a bodyguard and owned no guns, despite constant threats on his life by phone and letter.

In St. Augustine, King had said that “if physical death is the price that I must pay to free my white brothers and sisters from a permanent death of the spirit, then nothing can be more redemptive.”

Just before heading for supper on April 4, King was leaning over the balcony rail at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis to ask Chicago Gospel singer Ben Branch to sing one of his favorites, “Precious Lord,” at a rally that night. (The song goes, “Precious Lord, take my hand. Lead me on. Let me stand. I am tired. I am weak. I am worn. Through the storm, through the night, lead me on to the light. Take my hand, precious Lord, lead me on.”)

At that moment a single shot cracked, and the bullet passed through King’s neck, cutting his spinal cord. Less than an hour later he was pronounced dead, the twelfth and transcendent martyr of his own movement.

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Key Points In Career

1929—Born on January 15 in Atlanta, Georgia, to the Rev. Michael Luther King of Ebenezer Baptist Church (who later changed his and his son’s first name to Martin) and Alberta Williams King, a former schoolteacher.

1948—Receives B.A. from Morehouse College, Atlanta, and enters Crozer Theological Seminary, an American Baptist school in Chester, Pennsylvania.

1953—Marries the former Coretta Scott, a graduate voice student at the New England Conservatory of Music.

1954—Accepts pastorate of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, Montgomery, Alabama.

1955—Receives Ph.D. in theology from Boston University. Assumes leadership of Negro boycott of segregated city buses.

1957—Organizes Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

1960—Becomes co-pastor with his father in Atlanta.

1963—Leads protest for integrated public accommodations and employment in Birmingham, Alabama. The “I have a dream” speech at the massive March on Washington.

1964—Receives the Nobel Peace Prize for non-violent civil-rights efforts. U.S. Civil Rights Act passed.

1965—Voter registration drive in Selma, Alabama, climaxing in the march from Selma to the state capitol in Montgomery. U.S. Voting Rights Act passed. Watts riot.

1966—Chicago campaign on housing, schools, employment.

1967—Joins protest movement against U. S. war policy in Viet Nam.

1968—Calls Poor People’s Campaign to begin April 22 in Washington, D. C. Shot to death in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4 while supporting garbage-men’s strike.

HOW THE CHURCH REACTED

Church leaders around the world joined others in speculating on the underlying causes of the murder of Martin Luther King and voicing sympathy and tributes.

“To the Church,” said a statement from Geneva, “he was the leading American minister of Christ.” The statement was signed by the heads of the World Council of Churches, the Lutheran World Federation, and the World Alliance of Reformed Churches. They said King was to have opened this summer’s Fourth Assembly of the WCC.

Dr. Clyde W. Taylor, general director of the National Association of Evangelicals, declared, “We have been grateful for the moderation which has characterized the work of Dr. King in his efforts to redress our society’s wrongs against his people. We express profound sympathy for Mrs. King and Dr. King’s family.”

Pope Paul VI paid tribute to King in a cable to Archbishop Luigi Raimondi, apostolic delegate to the United States, transmitted by Amleto Cardinal Cicognani, Vatican secretary of state. The pontiff expressed sorrow and sympathy and said he was praying that the virtues for which King labored “may be everywhere respected.”

Dr. R. H. Edwin Espy, general secretary of the National Council of Churches, expressed hope that the “wanton murder of our great prophet of justice will smite the conscience of the nation.”

Baptist leaders in the Soviet Union were quoted as saying that “a bullet sent by the evil hand of a racist closed the lips and stopped his blessed life devoted to the service of Christ and man.”

Radio preacher Joel Nederhood of the Christian Reformed Church showed a special sensitivity to King’s death by scrapping his prepared sermon and writing another that spoke to the issues. Nederhood paid tribute to King and said his murder “underscores the fact that every human effort to achieve salvation will ultimately be futile.” But he chided “the steadfast refusal of many so-called evangelicals to take their stand on the forefront of the greatest social problem of all times.” He said that ignorance may have explained it until now but that hereafter “the problem of equal rights for all citizens of our land must receive the attention of everyone who claims the name of Christian.”

LEAVING THE SCENE OF THE CRIME?

Candid self-examination sparked a citizenship seminar for 250 Southern Baptists in Washington, D. C., last month. The Church is guilty of “leaving the scene of the crime—the inner city,” said former Southern Baptist pastor William H. Crook, now executive director of VISTA. And Lewis E. Rhodes, a Knoxville, Tennessee, minister, charges that Southern Baptists are “more committed to culture than to Christian values.” The meeting took place the week before Martin Luther King was murdered.

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Stetson University President Paul Geren suggested two realms for Christian action: theology and peacemaking. The realization that world disorder demonstrates original sin “is cold comfort without a doctrine of redemption,” the Florida Baptist said. Christians can “pursue the special vocation of peacemaker” at the polls, through support of relief agencies, mission programs, Bible translation, and literacy campaigns, by sponsoring foreign students in this country, and in college-level studies of war and peace.

In the White House rose garden, President Johnson commended the Baptists for “all you are doing to support compassion and understanding in our society.… Because much of the American problem began in the region you and I call home, I would like to see the solutions begin there, too.”

The three-day seminar was not intended to supply “simplistic answers,” said its aggressive organizer, Foy Valentine, executive of the denomination’s Christian Life Commission. Its aim, rather, was to “expose Southern Baptist leadership to the moral dimensions” of crime, poverty, racism, and war. Participants indicated they had been confronted with serious questions, though they did not always agree with the answers. Valentine hopes it will produce “more relevant” sermons and Sunday-school lessons.

JANET ROHLER

Moltmann: The Future Of Hope

For some years now modern theology has been as adrift as Noah’s ark, and not many theologians seem to feel that a firmer existence is in sight. Not so Jurgen Moltmann. In recent months Moltmann’s Theology of Hope has captured considerable attention in the theological world and has been hailed by many as the first evidence of solid new horizons. Early this month nearly 500 professors and students gathered at Duke University to assess Moltmann’s green branch of theology, but after considerable discussion most of the theological menagerie chose to remain in the ark.

Moltmann’s 342-page work has been called “an important step beyond the social-action Christianity of the day,” and at Duke the young professor from Tübingen, Germany, was anxious to anchor that step in history. We live in an age when “two experiences” have brought a new challenge to theology, Moltmann told delegates. One experience lies in the fact that the Church has abandoned a genuine hope for the future of the world to atheists. “This must be reversed.” The other experience lies in the present turning point of history. For the first time we see “something like one world emerging.” He argued that the survival of mankind is possible only in “a new community, not a continuation of the past.”

In light of these experiences, Moltmann called on theologians to erect a theology of the future in which the resurrection of Christ can be viewed as “a history-making event in the light of which all other history is illuminated … and transformed.” In subsequent discussion the German theologian emphasized the necessity for preserving a genuine Christology, over against the criticism of secular theologian Harvey Cox, and seemed to endorse faith in the bodily resurrection.

Cox was not alone in voicing a critique, however, and no one showed signs of following Moltmann. In fact, the lecturers seemed to use the symposium more as a forum for advancing their own highly subjective restructurings of theology than as a chance for genuine interaction and debate. It was less a judgment on Moltmann and more a judgment on his opponents, therefore, when Methodist theologian Van A. Harvey deplored the “faddist character” of much Protestant theology in the United States and abroad, while picturing modern theological history as a “series of salvage operations” to keep the ark from sinking.

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In one of the conference’s most lucid moments, Harvey called for a return to basic questions: What is truth? How do we analyze doubt? What is responsible belief? But Harvey yielded the case for any certain knowledge of truth by endorsing “theological pluralism” and attacking Moltmann’s position on the resurrection of Jesus. He argued that a non-analogous event, such as the resurrection, is not believable in terms of “truth-warrants.”

Has Moltmann actually made a valuable contribution to theology? Paul Lehmann, professor of systematic theology at Union Seminary in New York, thought so. He pointed out that Moltmann was the only biblical exegete among the lecturers and that references to Scripture were strikingly absent in the conference presentations. On the other side of the scale, Harvey asked if Moltmann was now “going back to the drawing boards” as a result of the symposium, an arrogant question that justifiably drew hisses from the audience. Not a few wondered whether the faddists should not go back to Scripture.

JAMES M.BOICE

STAFF NOTE

News Editor Richard Ostling, a member of the Delaware National Guard, was activated and assigned to duty in Wilmington following an outbreak of violence there. Much of the material of this news section was prepared by him prior to the call-up.

TINKER, TINKER

Soon there will be manipulation of “the behavior and the intellectual functioning of all people through environmental and biochemical manipulation of the brain,” University of California psychologist David Krech predicted before a U. S. Senate subcommittee last month.

The same week, in Houston, German ethicist Helmut Thielicke said medical experiments to strengthen spacemen could “turn men into machines.” Paul Ramsey, who is pondering genetic ethics at Georgetown University, said it will be technically possible within fifteen years to tinker with genes of unborn babies.

Evangelicals have made few dramatic bids in the growing debate on the ethics of life control, and Christian Medical Society and CHRISTIANITY TODAY hope to correct the imbalance August 28–31. The organizations will sponsor a symposium to discuss not only such futuristic concerns but, more particularly, birth control, sterilization, and abortion. Conferees will seek to establish medical, moral, and legal guidelines for clinical management that will be medically sound, rooted in a biblical ethic, and of value to the practicing physician and clergyman. The guidelines will then be compiled and given wide distribution in printed form.

Harold John Ockenga, chairman of the magazine’s board, will be chairman of the meetings, to be held in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and Editor-designate Harold Lindsell will attend. Papers will be presented by theologians John Warwick Montgomery, Bruce Waltke, and Paul K. Jewett; retired Supreme court Justice Tom Clark; surgeon C. Gordon Scorer; gynecologist Eugene Linton; psychiatrist Orville S. Walters; and sociologist John Scanzoni. Discussion groups will provide a chance for informal, interdisciplinary exchange of views.

KENTUCKY-IN-DEPTH

The Evangelism-in-Depth strategy of Latin America Mission is getting a cross-cultural test this year, as 250 congregations in Eastern Kentucky from three dozen denominations unite to proclaim the Gospel.

After more than three years of preparation and enlistment, action began with a “Visitation Phase,” in which thousands of churchmen called at 12,000 homes in fifteen counties. More than fifty Christian commitments were reported.

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This month, evangelistic meetings under the “Local Church Revival Phase” will be an attempt to capitalize on these visits, prayer, personal witness, and mass distribution of Scripture portions.

PIG TALE

In these days of emphasis on the urban crisis, some churchmen know a few problems remain back in the sticks. Last month the Lutheran Council in the U. S. A. assembled eighty-five of them from seven Midwest states to confer in Des Moines, as a reminder that the Church is interested in seeing that the farmer gets just reward for his efforts, too.

One way to get the reward is to limit the supply, and in Indiana’s Carroll County, farmers in a dispute with meat-packers had been killing off hogs in protest.

Whatever their goal, the Rev. J. C. Chinnock, Disciples of Christ pastor in Monticello, Indiana, criticized them for destroying food while people are starving. The farmers responded after the service by offering to donate feeder pigs if they wouldn’t have to pay processing costs as well.

So Chinnock contacted Heifer Project, Inc., an interfaith relief agency, which planned to ship the first 100 pigs to Prentiss, Mississippi, where jobless cotton-pickers are being retrained as butchers.

THE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH

Threats of schism and a racial dispute cast a cloud over the Uniting Conference of The Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church. The merger is being consummated April 23 at a special ceremony in Dallas. Out of it comes The United Methodist Church with some 11 million members, nearly three quarters of a million from the EUBs, the rest from the Methodists.

The Methodist Church had racial segregation built into its ecclesiastical structure back in 1939, and to the embarrassment of many constituents a measure of separation is being carried over into the new church. The Central (all-Negro) Jurisdiction is being abolished, but segregated annual conferences will continue. This nettles some Negro Methodists, because the jurisdiction gave them a power base. Now the power base will be gone, while racial inequities persist.

Methodists have a large Southern constituency, and this may account for the policy of gradualism. Any abrupt change would probably be met by major legal challenges and widespread defection. The problem is dramatized by the fact that Alabama’s George Wallace is a lay delegate to the two-week Dallas conference.

Another adverse note is that the EUB Church has been sharply divided over the merger question. In its Northwest Conference, at least forty-five out of seventy-nine congregations indicated at a special meeting last month that they wanted to withdraw from the denomination rather than become part of the merger. An undetermined number of local EUB churches around the country seem to be heading the same way, even though polity forbids the taking of property in the case of withdrawal. A new Evangelical Church of North America has been incorporated to make a home for parting congregations.

MORE ON ROBERTS

The week before Oral Roberts became a Methodist (April 12 issue, page 34) he had removed longtime colleague R. O. Corvin as dean of the theology school at Oral Roberts University.

Corvin is a minister in the Pentecostal Holiness Church, and he thinks his ouster may be a bid for more support from the charismatic movement within the large denominations. But in time sequence at least, the immediate cause appears to be a five-point protest he filed with Roberts nine days before he learned he would no longer be dean after June. Corvin won’t say what the protest was about, except “a shift in theology” and certain educational policies.

The problem is not that Roberts has gone liberal, Corvin explained, but that he is not an expert on theology, and Corvin fears possible inroads of existential theology at the university. However, he’s full of praise for the new dean, Howard Ervin, a Baptist who teaches Old Testament at the theology school. Corvin also complained to the Tulsa Tribune that Roberts’ control over administrative decisions at the school is harmful to its academic climate.

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Roberts’ supporters on the university faculty think the dangers are exaggerated, and the shift in deans an improvement. Corvin, who is 52, holds the M.A. and D.R.E. plus two theology degrees. He has not decided whether to accept an offer to stay at the school as New Testament teacher and director of theological research.

Meanwhile, Corvin says, the old-line Pentecostals are having a “violent reaction” against Roberts’ move to Methodism. The Pentecostal Holiness Church issued a press release saying members “will continue their loyalty to their own denomination and will not be affected by Mr. Roberts’ obvious move into ecumenical circles.” The statement noted that the denomination split from “official Methodism” six decades ago over “the present-day reality of the baptism with the Holy Spirit.”

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