Each time I enter my local library, I’m struck by the multitude of avid students of all ages poring over bulky reference works and stacks of magazines in their research for essays, theses, dissertations, articles. The age at which the young tackle world problems such as ecology, abortion, women’s lib, pornography, and evolution seems to become steadily lower.
My fervent wish—one could even call it a prayer—is that these young innocents especially may find study sources that “tell it like it is,” the way you and I know that it is.… This, of course, leads to my question: Is Christianity Today in your library?
We’re already in several thousand libraries—but we should be in thousands more: high school, junior and senior college, university, city, town, country libraries. C.T. has long been indexed in the Readers’ Guide to Periodical Literature, the standard researcher’s guide. “Guide” users find C.T.’s writings on the issues of the day cited along with secular ones. But are they then able to find our magazine in the same library where they’ve found the reference?
Librarians recognize the need to provide a balanced fare, but may be unaware of the subtle shadings among journals officially called “Protestant,” “Catholic,” or “Jewish.” You and I know the poles of opinion represented in these broad categories! We know that if C.T. hasn’t made your library’s periodical shelf, impressionable young minds are being deprived of
“… a trans-denominational Protestant magazine which is for conservatives and evangelicals what The Christian Century is for liberals.… Generally considered the most articulate, significant, and intellectual magazine of its type.… Affirms Biblical authority but not in a hyperliteral way. To offer readers a balanced fare, should be in any library which receives the Century.”
To this quote from our editor—in Bill Katz’s Magazines for Libraries, on which most librarians rely in ordering magazine subscriptions—Mr. Katz adds his own affirmation: “Agreed!”
Do you agree, too? In our effort to introduce the faith we represent into the nation’s libraries, you could be our most valuable asset! Librarians respond to patrons’ suggestions, and the personal approach tends to be more successful than, for instance, the donation of a subscription. Gift periodicals are often filed away among all sorts of eccentric and irregular giveaways.
If you care enough to approach your librarian on behalf of CHRISTIANITY TODAY, we’ll mail you as many copies as you can use of our new Library Folder. It’s an attractive brochure that incorporates C.T.’s rather impressive statistics, an excellent testimonial letter, and a letter to the librarian himself.
Who speaks for Christianity in your library? C.T. will—if you will!
Assistant Circulation Manager
1014 Washington Building
Washington, D.C. 20005
Regular Baptists: The Issues
The General Association of Regular Baptist Churches is a weather vane indicating what issues are being talked about in fundamentalist circles. At this year’s convention in Kansas City, Missouri, attended by more than 3,000 messengers (delegates) and visitors, resolutions were passed against abortion on demand, occult practices, universalist teachings on salvation, and the charismatic movement (glossolalia was a special sign in apostolic times and “not intended as a spiritual gift to be exercised regularly in the churches throughout this dispensation”). Noting America had reached a “new low in politics and government,” the body called for prayer for leaders, enlightenment in public affairs, honesty in government, and restraint from unjust criticism.
The 1,400-plus GARBC missionaries were urged to “stand true” in the face of pressure from governments to conform to liberal ways. With Key 73 abroad in the land, the anti-Key 73 Regular Baptists (they are separatists) resolved to conduct special evangelistic activities, “using Biblical methods”—amounting to fulfillment of Key 73’s intent.
The messengers expressed concern over criticism of the institutional church and accused evangelist Billy Graham of “discrediting a divinely established institution” by remarking at Explo ’72 in Dallas that young people had made “an end run around the church.” Such criticism, they said, has led to disenchantment of many believers with their own church and to the proliferation of Christian organizations “having no relationship to local churches.” Further, “participation in small, informal group meetings, home Bible study gatherings or home sessions around taped messages are no substitute for active participation in a Scripturally organized church,” they declared.
There are 1,473 churches in the GARBC, up forty-six over last year, with about 205,000 members. Last year they gave $9.6 million to missionary causes.
Free Will Baptists: No Sign
Nearly 3,500 delegates to the thirty-seventh annual convention of the National Association of Free Will Baptists, meeting at Macon, Georgia, spoke out sharply against the charismatic movement, rejecting “the erroneous teaching that speaking in tongues is a visible sign of the baptism of the Holy Spirit.” Executive Secretary Rufus Coffey and Moderator J. D. O’Donnell were reelected to their posts in the 2,250-church group, which has a membership nearing 200,000. Lieutenant Governor Lester Maddox gave a short Bible-laden message, and the delegates applauded him enthusiastically.
Our Own Little Watergate
Southern Baptists in Missouri are torn over the question of secret disbursements of funds, which some contend the executive committee of the Missouri Baptist Convention has tried to conceal.
One committee member, the Reverend James Hackney, who voiced opposition to committee practices, was, as a result, ousted promptly during recent committee meetings in Jefferson City.
Another, Pastor Marvin Hilton of the New Haven Baptist Church in suburban Kansas City, referred to the whole thing as “our own little Watergate.” Under question is $53,150, which is gone, and no one knows precisely where. At least, no one is telling. “The only reason we haven’t explained where all of the money went is that it might be embarrassing to some people,” said committee member Hilton. “For instance, some of the money was used to help buy groceries or things ministers had to have. They wouldn’t want everybody knowing about it.”
The committee has agreed to a public audit of the books for the past three years, asserting that it has not tried to cover up for Executive Secretary Earl C. Harding’s handling of funds. The amount under question represents but a fraction of the state convention’s budget of $5.6 million.
JAMES S. TINNEY
Navy Lieutenant Florence Dianna Pohlman, 32, is the military’s first commissioned woman chaplain. Her stated goal: “To serve the Lord Jesus Christ.”
After a brief Pentagon ceremony administered by Admiral E. R. Zumwalt, Jr., Chief of Naval Operations, Chaplain Pohlman reported to Newport, Rhode Island, for the eight-week indoctrination course required for all new chaplains. Her assignment for early September is at a naval training center in Orlando, Florida.
On the day before her commissioning, Miss Pohlman, a graduate of Occidental College (Los Angeles) and Princeton Seminary, became the 124th woman to be ordained in the United Presbyterian Church. The ordination sermon was preached by Dr. Louis H. Evans, Jr., of Washington’s National Presbyterian Church. Evans, who had been Miss Pohlman’s pastor for ten years at her home church in La Jolla, California, said the apostle Paul sowed the “radical seed of parity” in the Church with his statement that in Christ there is neither male nor female.
Big Switch In Big D
Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), based in Portsmouth, Virginia, plans a multi-million dollar switch of television stations in Dallas. Under terms of a preliminary agreement, CBN will pay Doubleday Broadcasting Company of Dallas $2.9 million for KDTV Channel 39, and certain program commitments, plus $1.6 million for a twenty-year lease on KDTV’s studios and transmitter. CBN’s present Dallas facility, KXTX Channel 33, which has been on the air only a few months, will have its call letters and programming transferred to the new station, and its license will be sold to another party, provided the FCC approves. The transaction will give CBN better production facilities and wide coverage, says 43-year-old CBN head Pat Robertson. (Channel 39 is carried by about fifty cable systems and serves scores of others in neighboring states.)
Program plans for the enlarged station include retention of current KDTV favorites such as “Gomer Pyle,” “Bonanza,” “Andy Griffith,” and “The Bold Ones” as well as late-night movies. The latter will be interspersed with Christian messages, according to a CBN spokesman. The station will also carry such CBN stalwarts as “The 700 Club,” “Right On,” and “The New Directions.”
The network owns and operates television stations in Portsmouth and Atlanta (see March 17, 1972, issue, page 40), and radio stations in New York and Virginia, and feeds programming to many others.
China In Scotland
While Scots denominations regularly report decreasing membership, there has been remarkable growth in the Chinese Church in Scotland. There are fellowships in the country’s four large cities, seeking to minister to 1,700 Chinese—chiefly students, nurses, doctors, and restaurant workers, from Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, and Sawab. In addition to church services, Bible-study groups are held in homes and hospitals. In Edinburgh the manager of a Chinese restaurant opened a community center for his fellow countrymen and others. “We do not have a bar,” he said, “Only tea is drunk, and the people are happy.”
Last month eighty-six Chinese Christians gathered at Crieff for a three-day conference to discuss further outreach and (perhaps symbolically) climb some of the surrounding hills. The Scottish group is part of the Chinese Overseas Christian Mission, which works among 70,000 Chinese in a dozen British and four continental cities. Some 1,600 conversions have been reported since work began in 1950.
J. D. DOUGLAS
Snakes And The Law
Snake-handling preachers Liston Pack and Alfred Ball of the Holiness Church of God in Jesus’ Name were fined $150 and $100 respectively and given suspended jail sentences for violating an injunction against engaging in dangerous practices in church. The action was in connection with a church meeting in Newport, Tennessee, in which Murl Bass, 35, of Chattanooga, was bitten by a rattler, an incident caught by a TV news cameraman and viewed by millions. Bass’s arm was saved by last-minute surgery. Despite jail threats, the men say they will continue their flirting with danger as a matter of faith. Earlier, Pack’s brother and another minister died after drinking strychnine, apparently flunking their test of faith.
The Church In Court
The dissident minority filed suit for possession of the church property after Pastor C. L. Walker of the Little Mountain (North Carolina) Baptist Church and his backers pulled the church out of the Southern Baptist Convention. Walker had preached that the SBC had become “infested with modernism.” A county jury ruled in favor of the minority, whose chief argument was that Walker and the majority were guilty of doctrinal deviation in changing the church’s character to that of an independent Baptist church. But the North Carolina Court of Appeals returned the case for retrial. Civil courts that handle church property disputes must not inquire into underlying doctrinal controversies or base their decisions on such doctrinal consideration, it ruled.
Religion In Transit
Hundreds of Jesuits and sisters soaked up the suds at Fog’n’Grog pub during a symposium on spirituality at the Jesuit-run University of San Francisco, billed as having opened California’s first public beer hall on a college campus. “Some of those nuns looked real cute hefting those big steins of beer,” said a spokesman for the 6,000-student coed school.
Win some, lose some. Dozens of CBS television affiliates bowed to protests and declined to show two “Maude” reruns with an abortion theme. The Federal Communications Commission, however, refused to grant equal time to religious groups opposed to abortion to state their case on offending stations.
More than 3,000 attended the annual Christian Booksellers Association convention in Dallas recently, largest in CBA history (about 800 were dealers). Books on Bible prophecy seemed to command most interest, with books on the charismatic movement and new versions of the Bible close behind. Also noted: the burgeoning growth of small independent paperback publishers.
Trinity Evangelical Divinity School was granted accreditation by the North Central Association of colleges and universities following admission earlier this year as a full member in the American Association of Theological Schools.
Things have settled down at the Creation House publishing firm with the return of executive Cliff Dudley. Dudley had resigned and taken a number of staffers and manuscripts with him to start another company. Creation House president Robert Walker, editor of Christian Life, bought out the new company and gave Dudley greater control over policy.
Jesus is making a visibly lasting impression on some people. Veteran tattoo artist Doc Webb of San Diego says the most popular tattoo today is Jesus Christ.
That much-photographed white, high-spired Catholic church which became a symbol of the seventy-one-day occupation of Wounded Knee burned to the ground, apparently a case of arson. Meanwhile, $85,000 of Iowa Methodist money was promised toward the $105,000 bail for Dennis Banks, the American Indian Movement leader arrested in connection with the Wounded Knee occupation.
Key 73 executive director Ted Raedeke says more than 11 million American homes have received scripture portions in the Key 73 outreach.
For two summers, using films and videotape, Cinco Baptist Church of Fort Walton Beach, Florida, has beamed its Vacation Bible School to the entire community by cable television.
New Federal Bureau of Investigation head Clarence M. Kelley, police chief of Kansas City, Missouri, for twelve years, has an outstanding record as a churchman, says Pastor Lawrence W. Bash of Kansas City’s Country Club Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), where Kelley has served as deacon and elder.
Fiery fundamentalist Ian Paisley, leader of Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party and member of the British parliament, and his wife won seats in the election of the new Ulster home-rule Assembly. They represent different constituencies.
IN MEMORIAM: L. NELSON BELL
The evening before his death, CHRISTIANITY TODAY executive editor L. Nelson Bell—formerly a missionary surgeon in China—addressed the opening of his denomination’s annual world missions conference at Anderson Auditorium, Montreat, North Carolina. Four days later, on Sunday afternoon, a service of worship and praise to God was held in his memory in the same great stone hall on the Southern Presbyterian summer assembly grounds. There were no other public funeral rites. He was buried the day after his death in an old churchyard at Swannanoa, North Carolina.
The memorial service was conducted by the Reverend Calvin Thielman, pastor of Montreat Presbyterian Church. Two long-time associates, Dr. C. Grier Davis and Dr. Henry B. Dendy, read portions of Scripture. Evangelist Billy Graham, Bell’s son-in-law, read a tract Bell had written in 1961 in which he gave his spiritual testimony. Three members of Graham’s team, Cliff Barrows, George Beverly Shea, and Tedd Smith, presented music along with organist Thomas Stierwalt of Montreat-Anderson College.
Bell died in his sleep in his Montreat home the morning of August 2, three days after his seventy-ninth birthday.
Retired: CHRISTIANITY TODAY contributing editor Gordon H. Clark, from the philosophy department at Butler University, after a teaching career spanning nearly fifty years.
Sister Elizabeth M. Edmunds, 32, a medical student in Philadelphia, has become the first nun commissioned by the U. S. Navy. Ensign Edmunds plans to become a Navy doctor.
Union Seminary in New York bestowed this year’s $5,000 Reinhold Niebuhr Award on National Farm Workers Union president Cesar Chavez.
Lynchburg (Virginia) Baptist College vice-president and academic dean Elmer Towns, author of numerous articles and books on church and Sunday-school growth, has resigned to head up his Institute for Sunday School Research in Savannah.
Bolivian president Hugo Banzer Suarez and his wife are among the converts in the revival sweeping his country, according to missionaries. The revival was sparked by 20-year-old Catholic Pentecostal Julio Cesar Ruibal (see March 16 issue, page 40).
Five new churches have been organized among Hindu converts in the northwestern corner of Bangladesh. The country’s 12 per cent Hindu minority is reported to be unusually responsive to the Gospel, thanks in part to evangelical relief efforts.
Wycliffe Bible translation missionary Esther Matteson is in the Soviet Union, having obtained permission to do linguistic research among several of the language groups of the Caucasus.
The executive committee of the World Methodist Council, meeting in Mexico City as part of the 100th anniversary observances of the 50,000-member Methodist Church of Mexico, accepted six new member churches, bringing the total to fifty-nine denominations with about 20 million full members in eighty-seven nations.
At a joint synod of the three-million-member Netherlands Reformed Church and the 880,000-member Reformed Churches in the Netherlands, the first since the schism over liberal theology in 1886, delegates decided unanimously to move toward unity. Conservatives in both churches are opposing the effort because, they say, unity will only strengthen the entrenched liberals.
Evangelical victories in Greece: a three-judge court in Pyrgos acquitted American Mission to Greeks staffer George Constantinidis of charges that he violated laws against proselytizing; missionary Savvas Miltiadis was acquitted in Yannitsa of similar charges after he posted a tract, “What a Christian Believes,” on a town wall; and the nation’s highest tribunal overturned a government agency’s annulment of the right of the Free Evangelical Church to operate a youth camp.
The first-ever meeting of pan-Anglican and pan-Orthodox commissions took place recently in Oxford, England. The thirty-two members discussed doctrinal matters.
The Wheaton, Illinois-based Greater Europe Mission plans to open a seminary in Seeheim, Germany, in September. It will be Germany’s first evangelical interdenominational seminary, says GEM. Teachers will come from both state and free churches. Included will be Chairman Rudolph Bäumer of the No Other Gospel movement of evangelical concern within the state church.
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