Two explosive issues to come before the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church U. S. on its final two days at Massanetta Springs, Virginia, last month were the Indochina war and the relation of an independent missions group to the denomination. Commissioners declared continuation of the Viet Nam conflict “cannot be morally justified” and called the Executive Commission on Overseas Evangelism (ECOE) a “grave departure” from normal church organizations likely to cause “grievous harm” to the life and health of the church.
Debate on these and other matters—there were a record forty-one resolutions introduced by commissioners—waxed even warmer than that generated earlier on main events like synod restructure and continuing membership in the National and World Councils of Churches (see July 2 issue, page 31).
The assembly praised President Nixon’s efforts to end the Indochina war. But the compromise statement of conservative and liberal positions added: “The continuation of this war cannot be morally justified. The killing must be stopped.”
This, the denomination’s strongest antiwar statement, wasn’t biting enough to suit the majority of the seventy youth delegates, appearing at an assembly for the first time. In protest (some were in tears), the youth entered a statement of “deepest disappointment” into the records. They had favored a deleted part of the resolution that called for an immediate ceasefire and concurrent withdrawal of all U. S. military forces from Indochina.
The independent mission agency, ECOE, an arm of the Presbyterian Evangelistic Fellowship, has been an increasingly sore point for denominational leaders because it siphons money from Southern Presbyterians contrary to Board of World Missions policy and sends ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 65+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more