The death of Bob Jones, Sr., at age 84 last month closed the era of hard-hitting evangelists of the Billy Sunday ilk, which reached its peak between the two world wars. During the height of his career, Jones preached an estimated 12,000 down-to-earth gospel messages, laced with folksy maxims, to more than 15 million people. He bridged the gap between old-time fundamentalism and the post-war evangelical resurgence.
This was the era when Jones founded his most memorable monument, Bob Jones University. From a small start in Florida, the school moved to Tennessee, then Greenville, South Carolina. It is the world’s largest fundamentalist college, with an enrollment of 4,000 and a modern campus valued at $50 million.
Jones was born in southeast Alabama, the eleventh child of a farmer and Confederate army veteran. As a youth he tried out preaching in the barn and by age 14 had held his first evangelistic meeting. The next year he was licensed to preach by The Methodist Church, which he left years later, charging theological liberalism.
One of the converts during those early years in Alabama was an old blind man who turned out to be the physician who had brought him into the world. Both of Jones’s parents died when he was a teen-ager, and his first wife died of tuberculosis ten months after the wedding. Two years later he courted and married the former Mary Gaston Stollenwerck, who is still living. He attended college in Alabama.
Three years after he received an honorary D.D. from Muskingum College (United Presbyterian) in Ohio, Jones decided to start a college to promote unflinching fundamentalism. Bob Jones University is well known today not only for its conservative, biblical theology but also for its strict discipline and student turnover, a “six-inch rule” to keep the sexes apart, strictly monitored dating, plus the sort of smoking-drinking-dancing ban still common at many conservative Protestant schools.
The school has also supported right-wing politics and segregation of Negroes. In his pamphlet, “Is Segregation Scriptural?,” Jones answered yes. Although the booklet spoke often of “colored friends,” in everyday speech Jones slipped easily into common stereotypes.
Jones also believed in what has been called “second-degree separation,” that is, separation from fellow conservatives who are friendly with more liberal Christians and Roman Catholics. This led to a famous split with Billy Graham, who went one year to Jones’s school and later got an honorary doctorate from it, but who then carried the Jones-type message into an ecumenical era.
The school has earned a good reputation for film teaching and Shakespearean drama productions and has amassed one of the finest collections of religious paintings in North America. Each year a large group of Jones’s “preacher boys” graduate, and many have moved into good pulpits and important missionary jobs. Other graduates have earned good-paying positions in education and industry, even though the school has never been accredited.
Jones died quietly at the hospital on campus. His death followed several years of declining health, which had led him to resign as university board chairman in 1964. His only son, Bob Jones, Jr., succeeded him as chairman and has been president since 1946. Jones is also survived by his grandson, Bob Jones III, who is university vice-president, and by two other grandchildren. After a January 17 funeral attended by more than 5,000 persons, Jones was buried in a small plot in front of the campus auditorium.
YALE CHAPLAIN FACES TRIAL
The life of William Sloane Coffin, Jr., seemed till recently a circuitous quest for a cause. But at 43 Coffin has found a cause, one big enough to win him national distinction. And now his indictment by a federal grand jury promises to make him the first prominent American clergyman in decades to face public trial.
Coffin, the chaplain of Yale University, is accused of conspiring to encourage violations of the draft laws. Named with him were four non-clergy including Benjamin Spock, well-known baby doctor. They were to be arraigned in Boston this week. If convicted, they could receive maximum penalties of five years in prison and $10,000 fines.
Coffin has been a leading critic of the Viet Nam war and has urged resistance to the draft laws. His participation in numerous peace demonstrations last year marked an abrupt reversal of the promilitary outlook of his earlier days. Coffin was an Army captain and paratrooper during World War II and worked for the Central Intelligence Agency as a specialist in Soviet affairs during the Korean War.
He was born in New York City of a well-to-do family. His father was an executive of a firm that retails fine furniture. Young Coffin studied music briefly at Yale after his graduation from Phillips Academy and before his service stint. Between his Army and CIA days he put in some study at Union Theological Seminary, New York, and got a B.A. from Yale. But he didn’t get his B.D. until 1956. Also in that year he was ordained a United Presbyterian minister and married a daughter of pianist Artur Rubinstein.
Coffin’s first chaplaincy job was at Phillips, the second at Williams College; then in 1958 he was named to the Yale post. In 1961 he became a social activist in joining the Freedom Riders, who were demonstrating for integration in Alabama. As the civil-rights campaign lost its steam, Coffin became increasingly interested in Viet Nam. Last October he urged Yale undergraduates to turn in their draft cards and was criticized for that by Yale President Kingman Brewster, Jr.
Two years ago Coffin got into a mild dispute with evangelistically minded Pentecostal students at Yale whose activities threatened to disrupt the interreligious status quo. At that time he was quoted as having decried the emotionalism of the student evangelists and the “devious methods” of another evangelical group on campus.
During 1967 Coffin came to Washington from time to time as part of various protests against the draft and the Viet Nam war. He has apparently been seeking a showdown arrest to dramatize his dissent and was visibly indignant last October 20 when Justice Department officials refused to arrest him. He had turned in a briefcase full of what he said were draft cards and said he wanted to be arrested to precipitate a “moral, legal confrontation” with the government over the draft.
The Justice Department did not act as quickly as Coffin desired, but the ax finally fell last month. Interestingly, the government cited, not the Washington incident, but one in Boston on October 16, a rally at the Arlington Street Church (Unitarian). A number of draft cards are said to have been collected there and several other acts of an alleged conspiracy perpetrated.
VIET NAM: AN URGE TO WORSHIP
This story was distributed recently by the public-relations office of The American Lutheran Church:
Fifty men “squatted in the chapel-of-the-bombed-out-bunker” and in a husky voice sang the Doxology, transforming the terror of artillery blasts into personal praise of God—and peace.
“One moment of time had been redeemed, and only God knows how many men.” So writes Chaplain Lt. Edward A. Olander in one of his regular reports to the Rev. Orlando Ingvoldstad, Jr., director of service to military personnel for The American Lutheran Church.
Twenty ALC chaplains serving with U. S. forces in the Viet Nam area fill Ingvoldstad’s mail regularly with vivid descriptions of the gospel ministry’s effect under the stresses of armed conflict.
Instead of vestments that day, Olander wore a flack vest and helmet. Exploding cannon near this perimeter camp provided a ghastly cadence, in perfect rhythm with the liturgy, he wrote. “Lord have mercy. BOOM! Christ have mercy. BOOM! Lord have mercy. BOOM!”
The lesson for the day spoke of “time running out.” There was a lull in the bombardment. “The eerie stillness of the pockmarked hills haunted our thoughts. Perhaps for us time had run out. As we lustily ‘off-keyed’ our vocal response, this thought became embroidered with terror.”
Olander’s stirring experience deep in the Viet Nam jungle was unusual. He serves in the U. S. Navy and is assigned to five destroyers on the Tonkin Gulf.
The call came by ship radio: “Can you send your chaplain to coordinate ‘Mustang’ by 1100 hours? Will send Holy Helo by 0930. Confirm.” The chaplain confirmed. “Holy Helo” is military lingo for a helicopter carrying a chaplain.
“The First Cavalry Air Mobile at Dong Song was now in this area and American boys on the perimeter, half dead with fatigue, wanted to worship. Mustang was the point farthest out and could be reached only by air,” the chaplain’s letter said.
“The morning liturgy for me began as we chattered over the river bed snaking up the valley heading due north. To my amazement I looked up at the trees for most of the trip.
“The pilot, from Tacoma, Washington, patiently explained this was for security reasons. Higher up we could be spotted, plotted and exterminated. Down here, moving at 100 miles per hour, we were ‘there’ and gone before even being seen.
“I confessed my sins as evil-looking ground rushed by.
“Later, as we climbed higher I saw the crater holes and rusting tank skeletons of several years ago, when death also ruled, but the blood name was French.”
Olander’s more normal routine puts him aboard one after another of the five destroyers, with an occasional call to conduct services on the U.S.S. “Oriskany,” an aircraft carrier.
Olander, a native of Chicago, attended high school and college in Minot, North Dakota, where his mother, Mrs. Alice Olander, still resides. The chaplain is a graduate of Luther Theological Seminary, St. Paul. He served five years as a missionary in Brazil, and was pastor of Crown Lutheran Church, Seattle, before being commissioned.
DIALOGUE IN THE CHILL
With the temperature reading zero along Chicago’s lakefront, the Rev. Francis A. Sohaeffer, head tutor at L’Abri Fellowship in Switzerland, met Bishop James A. Pike for a dialogue January 6 in the city’s newly renovated Auditorium Theater. Lake Michigan’s chill winds seeped into the opulent theater, and the dialogue never loosened up.
The two dialecticians, perhaps having skidded about in Chicago’s first heavy snow of the season, preferred to stay on safe ground. Their topic was, “What Relevance Has Historic Christianity for Modern Man?” They agreed about the relevance but disagreed about “historic.”
Schaeffer referred to his experience at L’Abri, a mission he founded to reach intellectuals and twentieth-century dropouts. The relevant part of Christianity for these people, he says, is its insistence on a personal triune God who cares, and who makes loving and communicating possible. This God has spoken through the Bible and—in a way that Schaeffer did not elaborate—became particularly involved with the Reformation culture in Western Europe.
Pike was more concerned with the future: “We are called to make things come to pass with God in history.… I do not believe in faith in faith, but faith in a living God, and faith which of course changes with culture and history.”
Although the moderator advised the audience at the outset to pay attention to what was said rather than who was saying it, there was no doubt that Pike was cast in the role of antagonist to “historic Christianity.” Schaeffer took pains to avoid direct debate, confining himself to philosophical lecturing. The moderator said he was “inspired and confused” by Schaeffer.
Pike, on the other hand, digressed freely about his own involvement in current theological and social issues. He warmed to his work when discussing demonstrations against government war policies. “Christians have a reputation for being sore thumbs,” he said. “But when we sprinkle holy water on the status quo we nauseate people.… It is man and God who are forever; nations come and go.”
A scattering of applause greeted this last statement. The audience, however, was weighted in favor of the evangelical “side” and sat politely quiet through most of the three hours of talk. Schaeffer, despite his modish riding boots and long hair, does not excite his listeners; yet most of those present did not care to be seen publicly clapping for Pike.
The only overt sign of enthusiasm was reserved for Schaeffer’s definition of a Christian: “To be a true Christian, a man must bow twice. Once metaphysically, to acknowledge he is a creature, and again morally, to acknowledge that he has sinned and must cast himself on Christ.”
Both speakers said modern man can “affirm life,” because God is there. But while Pike stressed the transcendence of God over culture, including modern European and American culture, for the purpose of confronting it with its sins and changing it, Schaeffer warned against using Christian concepts such as transcendence to mask potential idolatries and dictatorships. This issue was not pursued.
The dialogue was sponsored by a three-man corporation named Christian Communications, or ChrisCom, which operates in Chicago. Its purpose: “to promote a better understanding of evangelical Christianity among the general public, and particularly among members of scholarly intellectual circles.” While in Chicago, Schaeffer had a chance to carry ChrisCom’s appeal to the area’s major radio talk show and Irv Kupcinet’s TV conversational.
TREK FOR PEACE
A move “to bring temple, church, mosque and synagogue in meaningful support of the United Nations and other regional structures for peace” took a group of churchmen to major religious capitals last month. Fifteen American clergy were in the group, which made stops at Geneva, Rome, Jerusalem, and Istanbul. They ended up in New Delhi, India, for the International Inter-Religious Symposium on Peace, where it was announced that a world conference on religion and peace was being planned for 1969.
THE NEW MALCOLM MUGGERIDGE
The renowned Malcolm Muggeridge, for eleven months the rector of Edinburgh University, Scotland, resigned last month in protest of a student demand for contraceptive pills. Muggeridge has been a leading British journalist and articulate social critic.
The 64-year-old former editor of Punch, who ten years ago would have been considered something of a skeptic, now looks more and more like an exponent of orthodoxy. His resignation came while he was speaking from the pulpit of John Knox in the High Kirk of St. Giles, Edinburgh. He spoke to more than 2,000 at a university beginning-of-term service.
Muggeridge said that “there is practically nothing [students] could do in a mood of rebelliousness in fighting against our run-down way of life which I would not sympathize with—including the blowing up of this edifice we are in. How sad, how macabre and funny it is, that all they put forward should be a demand for pot and pills.”
The view of the Edinburgh Students’ Representative Council, according to Muggeridge, was that the rector and his assessor had to pass on to the university court whatever the SRC decided. This, he said, was an unacceptable tenet, so he tendered the resignations of himself and of the assessor, Edinburgh barrister Allan Frazer. It was believed to be the first resignation of an Edinburgh rector since the university was founded nearly four centuries ago.
“I have no wish to check any fulfillment of your life,” said Muggeridge. “But whatever life is or is not about, it must not be expressed in terms of drugs, stupefaction, or casual sexual relationships. The road to the future is not on the plastic wings of Playboy magazine or in psychedelic fantasies.” He commended to his listeners the beatitude, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
Other parts of the address reflected how far Muggeridge has traveled along the path to Christian orthodoxy. Although he specifically disclaimed “any puritanical attitude,” he said some things that no thundering puritan could have disagreed with or improved upon.
“No doubt,” he declared, “we shall go on raising the school age, multiplying and enlarging our universities, increasing public expenditure on education until juvenile delinquency, beats and drug addicts, and general intimations of illiteracy, multiply so alarmingly that, at last, the whole process is called into question. In the same sort of way, the so-called permissive morality of our time will, I am sure, reach its apogee. When birth pills are handed out with the free orange juice and consenting adults wear special ties and blazers, and abortion and divorce … are freely available on the public health, then at last, with the suicide rate up to Scandinavian proportions and the psychiatric wards bursting at the seams, it will be realized that this path … is a disastrous cul-de-sac.”
STRIDES AMID ADVERSITY
Christian witness is bearing fruit in places where opportunities are limited, according to a series of reports from European Baptist Press Service. In Poland, Baptist churches are said to have baptized 120 converts during the past year. In Madrid, the city’s fifth Baptist church was organized on New Year’s Day with thirty-four charter members. In Lisbon, Baptists were getting ready to inaugurate a new bookstore on one of the main thoroughfares.
EBPS quoted Wort and Werk, an East German Baptist newspaper, as reporting that eight young people came forward for public commitment of their lives to Christ’s leadership at the final service of an interdenominational youth week in Lichtenstein.
MORE GREEK UNREST
Under a ruling from the Greek military government, two leading Orthodox Church figures face indictment before a church court and possible expulsion. The newly constituted Holy Synod decided last month to try former Greek Primate Iakovos (no relation to the North American primate) and Archbishop Panteleimon of Salonika.
Charges were not revealed, but the action stems from a law passed in December that calls for dismissal of priests who have “lost their good reputation and necessary prestige.” Informed sources told newsmen the pair had refused to resign, thus necessitating the trials.
Conwell Names New Board
Philadelphia’s old Conwell School of Theology is taking a new lease on life these days. It promises to make a strong bid for a major role on the academic frontier. That the new thrust will be biblically oriented seems assured with an announcement of a new slate of trustees. The eleven-member Conwell board now includes evangelist Billy Graham and several associates, “Bible Study Hour” preacher Ben Haden, pastor Stephen Olford, and author Walter Martin. Conwell’s president, appointed last fall, is Stuart Barton Babbage, also a well-known evangelical.
QUAKERS IN LEGAL BATTLES
Quaker groups took to the courts last month in an effort to strike down U. S. government restrictions against relief shipments to Communist-ruled areas of Viet Nam. The first suit was filed in Washington, and related litigation was to be initiated in Baltimore and Philadelphia. The American Friends Service Committee is also initiating court action to relieve religious organizations from having to withhold tax from employee earnings. The committee’s objection is that much of the money is used for military purposes.
ODDS ON MIXED MARRIAGE
Yeshiva University sociologist Victor Sanua advises parents and religions to encourage their young people to marry persons of their own faith, a decreasing practice among young people.
Basing his opinions on thirty-five years of observation, Sanua says that “the intermarried have a high risk of divorce” but that “those unwilling to identify with any religion had the highest divorce rate.”
Sanua says pledges made by non-Catholic marriage partners that children will be raised Catholic are ignored in half the cases, which often produces interference from in-laws.
Among Jews, only 17 per cent marry outside the faith. The percentages come from a study in Iowa, where religious preference is requested on marriage and divorce forms.
WHERE CHRISTIANITY VANISHED
Remains of an ancient Christian civilization in the Nubian region of the Nile Valley have recently been found but will soon be flooded by Aswan Dam waters. Religious News Service says pioneer archaeologists from the African Missionaries of Verona (Roman Catholic) found an entire cathedral with frescoes, in excellent condition.
The find supports the theory that a Christian civilization flourished in the area from the fifth century on—100 years earlier than previously thought. Islam and Christianity apparently lived side by side for many centuries. The archaeologists think Christianity disappeared from the area not because of Muslim pressure but for internal reasons.
The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel is looking for an Anglican to serve as chaplain in Tristan da Cunha, often called “the world’s loneliest island.” The Rev. W. P. S. Davies, a Welshman who has been at Tristan for two years, is returning to England. There are about 200 people to be ministered to on the island, which lies in the Atlantic about midway between southern Africa and South America.
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