The Canadian Congress on Evangelism is apt to be a non-evangelical happening, charge several of its critics. Most of the static revolves around the way the congress leaders have handled invitations to participants.
Two Toronto ministers, Dr. William Fitch of Knox Presbyterian Church and Dr. Paul Smith of the Peoples Church, believe the congress, to be held in Ottawa this August, has erred in asking Protestant denominations to designate their own delegates.
The crux of the criticism seems to be that such a procedure will weight the congress in favor of non-evangelicals. Smith has charged that the Ottawa gathering, like the Minneapolis congress (in his estimate), will be “90 per cent social gospel.”
Congress invitations chairman Kenn Opperman, a Toronto Christian and Missionary Alliance pastor and evangelical leader, staunchly defends the Canadian Congress procedure, which, he says, has been misunderstood or misrepresented.
Opperman maintains that the congress is a study gathering and not a deliberative legislative body. The desire, he states, is to penetrate all areas of Canadian life, and the organizers want the full spectrum represented. One third of the delegates, for instance, are to be under thirty, another third under fifty.
He further points out that the basic organizational committees are composed of men whose evangelical sympathies and position are well known and respected in Canada. The co-chairmen are Canon Leslie Hunt (of Wycliffe College, an evangelical Anglican training school in Toronto), and Wilbur Sutherland, Canadian secretary of Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship. The program chairman is Dr. Mariano DiGangi, North American director of the Bible and Medical Missionary Fellowship. Executive secretary ...1
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