The thousands of people who attended and underwrote the congress in Minneapolis have gone home. The booths have been dismantled, the displays pulled down, the typewriters sent back. The tired staff members whose labors made possible a beautifully organized and executed program despite immense logistical problems now find they can spend some nights at home. One question remains to be answered: What was the impact and the effect of the U. S. Congress on Evangelism?
The congress brought together Christians from almost a hundred denominations, some of whom (e.g., the Southern Baptists and the Missouri Synod Lutherans) have generally avoided involvement in ecumenical activities and have been inclined to go it alone. Barriers were broken down at Minneapolis. Christians from divergent traditions got to know one another personally, and a spirit of unity prevailed. No one was asked to sacrifice his convictions or change his opinions. The presence and power of the Holy Spirit were manifest.
Most religious gatherings must elect officers, pass resolutions, and adopt legislation. There was none of this at Minneapolis. Consequently there was no politicking, no behind-the-scenes maneuvering, no acrid debates. No votes were called for and no resolutions were adopted. The thrust of the congress centered on the evangelistic task of the Church of Jesus Christ in its many different forms.
Program participants were free to speak as they pleased, and some things were said about which there rightly was vigorous disagreement. Evangelicals often are stereotyped as thoughtless supporters of the status quo, whatever that may mean. At Minneapolis it was eye-opening for some to discover the spirit of openness and honesty among the delegates. There was ...1
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