The Times Are Ripe

While the “western Canadian revival” was surging through evangelical churches last year, Canadian mainstream denominations were quietly experiencing a new awareness of evangelism. That opinion came from Mariano Di Gangi during a recent interview. He is past president of the Evangelical

Fellowship of Canada, and one of six designated evangelists in the Presbyterian Church in Canada.

One reason for the increased interest in evangelism is the “proliferation of small neighborhood Bible-study groups” in Canada during the past year or two, Di Gangi suggested. He said the most vigorous groups have generally not been directly related to local congregations, but their participants have usually been from Anglican, Presbyterian, and United churches.

Citing Don Mills, a Toronto suburb, as an example of a community where Bible studies have sprung up, Di Gangi noted that people in the “gospel churches” have generally not been involved. One reason why, he suggested, is the “openness” of the groups. “People there generally wear makeup, smoke, or show signs of affluence not present in usual evangelical circles,” he said, and such trappings make “gospel church” people uncomfortable.

A second factor in the increasing mainstream interest in evangelism is the greater denominational use of preaching missions—complete with appeals to commitment, said Di Gangi. He cited his own denomination as an example: in 1971 the Canadian Presbyterian General Assembly appointed six denominational evangelists. All six are receiving more and more congregational requests for various types of services, he said. And most of the major denominations in Canada also have evangelically oriented subgroups that are growing in influence.

A third factor, said Di Gangi, is the “fascination of many ministers with the Coral Ridge program.” He said many Canadian ministers go to James Kennedy’s Presbyterian church in Coral Ridge, Florida, to study the growth program of that church. While not all attempt to practice what they learn there, some of those who try it find it works, even in the more staid Canadian scene.

The number of young evangelical ministers within mainstream churches is growing too, he said, and many of the younger men are “not content with mere orthodoxy”; with them it is a case of “evangelize or die.”

While hesitant to appear critical of the western Canada revival and its results, Di Gangi said that evangelism within the mainstream churches could in the long run be as effective as revival, or perhaps more effective, “provided it is sustained by the unfolding of biblical truth.” And he suggested that people in the purely evangelical traditions could learn much about hymnology from their mainstream counterparts. Di Gangi said much of evangelical hymnology is basically “nature worship based on experience and worship of the ‘God of nature’ and containing little of the facts of redemption.”

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All things considered, the times seem ripe in Canada for Key 73’s evangelistic thrust.


Roman Catholics:Keyed Up For Key 73

They have no national coordination at present and participation is purely on a parish-by-parish, diocese-by-diocese basis, but Roman Catholics are getting involved in Key 73. So far, participation has extended into forty dioceses in the United States and several in Canada.

Most Catholics, while agreeing on the evangelism aim of Key 73, prefer to look on the program as a chance to renew their own church. Monsignor Joseph Baker, Key 73 coordinator for all four dioceses in Missouri, said Key “is primarily an opportunity for spiritual renewal in the Roman Catholic Church. We need to preach the Gospel to ourselves.” Following the inner-renewal emphasis, he said, the church would then involve itself in outreach.

All four Missouri dioceses—St. Louis, Kansas City-St. Joseph, Jefferson City, and Springfield-Cape Girardeau—are involved in the program. Among other dioceses participating are Los Angeles; Dubuque, Iowa; Albany, New York; Philadelphia; Orlando, Florida; Toledo, Cincinnati, and Columbus, Ohio; and Salt Lake City, Utah.

High church officials supporting Key 73 include Cardinal Joseph Carberry of St. Louis, who officiated at a special Key 73 prayer service at the St. Louis Cathedral last November. Cardinal Carberry and other Missouri bishops plugged Key 73 in a pastoral letter distributed and read to their churches the same month. The letter called for church renewal through the mass, other sacraments, personal prayer, family and group prayer, the rosary, and Scripture reading. Said Carberry: “In order to carry out the goals of Key 73, programs will be developed on the parish level.… Let us make the year 1973 a year of renewal and faith with Christ as our center and source.”

Missouri Catholics will conduct a state-wide ecumenical census of religious affiliation as one of their major Key 73 efforts, Baker said. The census, slated for March, will be done parish by parish in cooperation with area Protestant churches. Baker said the census should show each denomination where its members are and also show members that the churches are interested in them.

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In Los Angeles, Archbishop Timothy Manning appealed to California Catholics to participate in Key 73 by making “a fresh and intense effort to reflect Christ in our daily lives.” He said any local participation would take place “within the framework and context of our own Catholic teachings and traditions.” (Denominations and organizations participating in Key 73 are free to work within their own denominational beliefs.)

Other dioceses and parishes are using such Key 73 material as the Congregational Resource Book to plan their programs. Some parishes will distribute New Testament portions in cooperation with Protestant denominations.

Missouri coordinator Baker said many Catholics are not as well prepared for Key 73 as other groups “because the church was not officially invited to join Key 73 until early last year.” (The national Catholic bishops’ conference agreed last spring to allow bishops to decide the extent of participation on a local basis, but refrained from a complete endorsement of the program.) Baker believes all dioceses in the United States would have participated completely “if there had been enough time to study it properly.”

Not all Catholics agree with Key 73, however. Charles Angell, a priest and editor of the noted Roman Catholic publication The Lamp, takes issue with Bishop Joseph L. Hogan of Rochester, New York, who has said no doctrinal compromise is involved in Catholic participation. “With all due respect, bishop, I wonder,” said Angell in an editorial. He warned that Key 73 might “lull us into some kind of ‘my country right or wrong’ nostalgic jag” and added that Key 73 may unlock the lid of a Pandora’s box.

Angell also notes recent Jewish complaints that Key 73 may be a cover for anti-Semitism (see story, page 56, and December 22, 1971 issue, page 37). “I share in [Rabbi Marc Tanenbaum’s] concern that this effort at proclaiming the Gospel might somehow imply that only Christians are real Americans,” he said.


Alcoholism:A Matter Of Genetics?

Evidence that children of alcoholics may be born with genetic damage that produces a tendency toward alcoholism has been reported by Dr. George Winokur of the University of Iowa School of Medicine. He and two associates studied the children of alcoholic parents who were raised in homes where one or both parents were alcoholic and compared them with those removed from such an environment and raised in homes where alcohol was not present. The psychiatrists discovered that 48 per cent of the children of alcoholics raised in alcoholic homes themselves became addicted to liquor upon reaching adulthood. But they also found that 50 per cent of the children of alcoholics raised in non-alcoholic homes fell victim to the disease.

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Surprised by this finding that home environment did not seem to be as significant a factor as had been thought, they checked it by studying children of non-alcoholic parents who were raised in homes where alcoholism was present. They found that only 14 per cent had become alcoholics as adults. The rate for those raised in non-alcoholic homes is said to be 8 per cent.

Other studies, says Dr. Winokur, strongly indicate some kind of hereditary factor is present, raising serious questions about the long-standing belief that a bad home environment is a principal factor in alcoholism.


Muslim Rivalry

A mass slaying in Washington, D. C., last month suggests that tensions among some Muslim groups in North America may be approaching the “holy war” stage. Two adults and two youngsters were shot to death and three other children were drowned in a large stone house that headquartered an orthodox Islamic community.

The leader of the group, Hamaas Abdul Khaalis, charges that Black Muslims were responsible for the killing. He said his daughter, who was wounded in the shooting, told him the crimes were committed by men who identified themselves as Black Muslims and said they were acting in retaliation for a recent doctrinal challenge advanced by Hamaas.

Mainstream Islam regards the Black Muslims as heretical. Hamaas said he had written letters to Black Muslim leaders denouncing their beliefs and charging that they were not true followers of Islam. Black Muslim leaders denied that they had anything to do with the slayings.

Police speculated that there has also been some connection between the Washington killings and a forty-seven-hour siege in a Brooklyn sporting-goods store involving four men professing to be Sunni Muslims. No immediate link was discovered, however. The siege, in which a policeman was killed, followed an abortive robbery attempt. Some informed sources think the intruders wanted to steal arms with which to carry on the Muslim feud.

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The father of another woman wounded in the Washington massacre is Presbyterian clergyman Reginald Hawkins of Charlotte, North Carolina, who ran unsuccessfully for governor in 1971. He said that his home had been robbed the week before and that four guns were among the items taken.

The victimized Washington group are Hanafi Muslims and are regarded as part of the predominant Sunni strain in Islam.

Black Muslims are not recognized by any major Islamic school, but they claim to be an authentic body. Their origin goes back to 1931 and a Southern silk-peddler named W. D. Ford. Soon after, the leadership was taken over by the man who still reigns supreme, Elijah Muhammad, 75, who has made Chicago his headquarters. He is the son of a Georgia Baptist minister.

Black Muslims operated in relative obscurity until Americans of African ancestry began developing a much more intense racial consciousness in the early sixties. Now there are many thousands of highly-disciplined followers.

The movement has been increasingly plagued by internal dissent. There have been sporadic outbreaks of fatal violence and some significant splits, the most marked being that of the late Malcolm X. The tension with mainstream Islam had not been apparent until recently.

Hamaas is now calling on other Islamic groups to help overthrow the Black Muslims, who call themselves officially the Nation of Islam. “True believers in Islam do not murder children and women and old senile people,” he said. “They hate us because we are color blind.”

Hamaas has also been critical of the boxer Muhammad Ali and the singer Joe Tex for contributing large sums to the Black Muslims. He said they “are spreading this poison that only the white man is the devil.”

Perhaps the best known disciple of the Hanafi Muslims is Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the seven-foot two-inch professional basketball great formerly known as Lew Alcindor, who purchased the group’s Washington home. The building is located along Sixteenth Street, which has long been the capital’s main thoroughfare of big, prestigious churches and temples.

God On The Bench

A Christian law school? Well, not quite. But the new International School of Law (ISL) in Washington, D. C., was founded to “provide a quality legal education based on the principles of the Judeo-Christian ethic.” And its founder, its administrators, and most of its faculty members are Christians. While personal faith—or the lack of it—does not figure in admission policy, “character” does, and prospective students are informed of the school’s dedication to the ideal “law above the law”—God’s absolutes.

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ISL was founded last fall by John Brabner-Smith, 69, a nationally reputed man of the law who spends much of his spare time traveling with lay witness teams. While teaching at Northwestern University in the thirties he became involved in prosecution of the Capone gang. Then, as an assistant to the chairman of the U. S. Senate Judiciary Committee, he authored the bills that gave the Federal Bureau of Investigation much of its present-day bite in the realm of crime (the Lindbergh Act, the Machine Gun Act, and others), but he now regrets the resulting concentration of power in one man. Later, he helped to start the Federal Housing Administration and drafted most of its regulations.

Brabner-Smith is a member of the National Presbyterian Church in the nation’s capital (aptly enough, he wrote the church’s by-laws), but attends only infrequently because of his lay witness activities and involvement with a house-church movement (more than 100 persons were baptized on his farm near Leesburg, Virginia, last year). The son of a Methodist minister, Brabner-Smith says he discovered only recently what it means to be a true Christian.

The jurist insists that America’s system of jurisprudence and its great law schools were founded on theology, traceable back to Princeton’s early days, but that the law has gradually cut itself loose from these moorings and is now adrift in murky waters where little or nothing is absolute.

For his chief administrative officer, Brabner-Smith chose Daniel Smith, 28, a law graduate of the University of Virginia who was fresh out of the Marine Corps. Smith had law teaching experience but was contemplating enrollment in an evangelical seminary.

The school has twenty-four full-time and six part-time students its first year, says Smith, with 125 applications in for next fall. Classes are held in rented quarters that used to be the home of former Chief Justice Edward Douglas White of the U. S. Supreme Court; ISL has negotiations under way for its own property. Also in the works is accreditation. The biggest hassle is over library requirements. (“We have the most outstanding law libraries of the land within steps of our door,” he says, “but they want us to build our own.”)

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While Brabner-Smith is of the “old” school philosophically, he’s a liberal on academic policy. He believes that character, native ability, and other personal qualities are more important than good grades for sizing up prospective students. Many of the country’s most successful lawyers were not even “B” students, he asserts, adding, “There is just no correlation between grades and ability.”

The past two decades have seen some major shifts in the law. It all seems to bear out the concluding lines of an Encyclopedia Britannica article: “The history of jurisprudence has shown that the theories of law are mainly a reflection of the trends and requirements of each age. A theory to satisfy the needs of the present has still to be evolved.” For Brabner-Smith and his associates, the need is not for a new theory but rather for a return to the foundations.



The American Jewish Congress (AJC) hoisted battle flags last month and sailed into a fight with the U. S. Navy over Key 73. The AJC, which has declared war on the evangelism project (see December 22, 1971, issue, page 37), fired a broadside at a memorandum circulated among the chaplains by the Navy chief of chaplains, Rear Admiral F. L. Garrett, a United Methodist.
The memorandum, sent in October but only recently surfaced, urges chaplains to play “a strong role” in the year-long Key 73 program. Garrett called on chaplains to study Key 73 materials and commended the program as worthy of support “unless there should be denominational reasons for preventing your participating.”
Maneuvering in the wake behind Garrett, the AJC fired off a missile to Navy secretary John H. Chaffee. In it Rabbi Yaakov Rosenberg complained that the Garrett letter contradicts the function of a chaplaincy corps, which, he said, “is to supply the spiritual needs of those American citizens serving in the armed forces.” The memo, he claims, converts the chaplaincy from “a role of service to one of advocacy,” and amounts to government support for a missionary activity.
Unperturbed by the attack on his flank Garrett unleashed a salvo of his own. “The Chief of Chaplains is charged with the support of religious programming that crosses the entire spectrum of religious life in America,” he answered in a prepared statement. “Support of Key 73 flows from the same obligation as does his support of Passover observances and other religious emphases of Jewish personnel.” Since Key 73 involves the majority of Protestants and Roman Catholics, participation in Key 73 by Navy chaplains is within their ministries, he concluded.

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