A 20-foot chart displayed on a decorative brick wall greeted the Key 73 Central Committee as it convened in a motel near the St. Louis airport last month. The chart depicted the program calendar for the first joint evangelistic effort ever undertaken by North America’s leading churches. Its subsequent adoption in principle by a unanimous vote of the committee cleared a major hurdle.
“Calling Our Continent to Christ” is the theme of Key 73. The theme Scripture verse is Hebrews 13:8 (“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today and forever”).
Debut of the multi-colored chart, jokingly compared to a dispensational diagram, was preceded by four years of planning and discussion. The 16-member Key 73 Executive Committee, responsible for programming, recommended it to the Central Committee.
Key 73, a year-long effort slated for 1973, includes most of North America’s leading communions (over 100 denominations and evangelistic agencies). Latest to join are the United Church of Canada and the Church of the Brethren. Each group has one representative on the Central Committee.
Although the program calendar lists some special cooperative events and allots times for simultaneous activities, no participant is bound to them. Dr. Theodore A. Raedeke, executive director of Key 73, reminded the Central Committee that “one of the outstanding features of this effort is that it enables all Christian denominations and groups to participate without violating or compromising their doctrinal position or practice.” Every denomination, he emphasized, “is charged with developing its own program or thrust.”
One new participant at the two-day St. Louis meeting commented that he was glad to see that the size of the participating groups did not seem to ...1
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