While more than 14,000 Christian students gathered at Urbana, Illinois, at the turn of the year to discuss foreign missionary work (see January 18 issue, page 41), nearly 800 students and graduates from twenty-four nations assembled in Baguio City in the mountains north of Manila to do the same thing.

“Missions are no longer the monopoly of Western Christians. Asians have not sold their birthright,” declared Harvey T. Co Chien, general secretary of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship of the Philippines (IVCFP), to the delegates, three-fourths of them Filipinos.

The Urbana-style event—the first Asian Student Missionary Convention—was sponsored by the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students and IVCFP. It was called to challenge and recruit Asian students to become missionaries, especially to other Asians. By the end of the convention some 250 said they were willing to go—as full-time career missionaries—or at least to pray seriously about it. Volunteers were referred to sending agencies.

In addition to plenary sessions, there were thirty-six seminars that focused on individual Asian nations and how to reach them. They were led mostly by Asian graduates. Daily Bible-study sessions dealt with the biblical basis of missions, and the spiritual needs of Asian countries were prime topics at nightly prayer meetings.

Co Chien in his keynote address blamed Western missionary paternalism, colonial identity, and misconceptions for the scarcity of Asian missionaries. (He roughly estimated that only 1,125 Asian missionaries have been sent to work among the more than two billion Asians, a ratio of 1 to 1.9 million.) The church in the Third World is now acutely embarrassed by any past associations with Western colonialism and imperialism, he asserted, adding, “This reaction has an important backlash on Asians going forth confidently as Christ’s ambassadors.”

Further, Co Chien alleged, Western missionaries for the most part had not adequately encouraged and challenged Asian Christians to spread the Gospel abroad. He went on to suggest possible solutions to recruiting and to the financial, racial, and cultural tensions that exist.

Filipino pastor Jonathan E. Parreno called on the Asian church to adopt a system of theology that fits the East, especially in relation to materialism, Communism, and Asia’s syncretistic and pluralistic religions. He cautioned students about enrollment in a seminary in the West, implying they might suffer cultural disorientation as a result. The churches back home have different needs from those in the West, he suggested. Also, he warned, living for a time in an affluent society tends to cultivate a credibility gap among those one must face when he returns home.

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Despite all the emphasis on national identity, a warm sense of unity was evident as cables of greetings were exchanged with the students assembled at Urbana. Some 8,000 miles separated them, but they were clearly bound together in the reality behind the Baguio City convention theme—“One Lord, One People, One Task.”

South Korea: Church Crisis Coming?

South Korean church leaders face imprisonment if they persist with others in demanding restoration of former constitutional guarantees.

That is the message inherent in two “emergency measures” invoked by President Park Chung Hee. The measures provide for arrest, court-martial, and imprisonment of anyone criticizing the constitution or advocating its revision. (The old constitution was scrapped under martial law in 1972 and replaced by one giving President Park vast powers and enabling him to stay in office for life. It also curbed certain civil liberties.)

Prior to announcement of the new measures, Cardinal Stephen Sou Hwan Kim of Seoul, leader of South Korea’s Catholics, and General Secretary Kim Kwan Suk of the (Protestant) National Council of Churches had joined with thirteen other prominent national figures calling for constitutional reform and restoration of “genuine democracy” before “a grave national crisis” occurs. Also, many pastors had preached on the topic.

Clearly, a national crisis is shaping up that may severely affect the Church in an era of unprecedented growth and evangelistic outreach.

Mission To Big Business

Since last year some of this country’s major denominations have increased their activity in what has become—in the minds of some leaders—a new and growing part of the Church’s mission.

The Church Project on United States Investments in Southern Africa has asked twenty companies to disclose details of their activities in the apartheid-dominated area of Africa. Membership in the organization has increased to nine denominational agencies (American Baptist, United Presbyterian, United Church of Christ, United Methodist, Episcopal, Reformed Church in America, Christian Church [Disciples of Christ], Unitarian Universalist, and Roman Catholic), plus the National Council of Churches.

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The agencies own stock in the companies and therefore are able to introduce requests, resolutions, and even challenges at meetings of stockholders. While most corporations arrive at these meetings with a majority of proxy votes already in their pockets, United Presbyterian executive Donald Wilson, who chairs the project, thinks the effort nevertheless is making corporation executives more sensitive to the issues.

The churches want to ensure that corporate profits don’t support colonial regimes and that blacks are treated justly in employment practices. At least one company, International Harvester, voluntarily released the requested information. Other companies to receive resolutions include Bethlehem Steel, Getty Oil, Phillips Petroleum, Colgate Palmolive, Chrysler, and Gillette. Leaders of the movement say they will withdraw requests as companies fill them.

Making (Air) Waves

The Portsmouth, Virginia-based Christian Broadcasting Network has been making waves in recent weeks.

Since Christmas, CBN (see March 17, 1972, issue, page 40, and August 31, 1973, issue, page 46) has arranged to buy a television station in Seattle, Washington (its fifth owned and operated TV facility) and has added four affiliate stations. It is completing arrangements for a fifth affiliate. It is also constructing a station in Boston, with start-up time scheduled for this fall.

The Seattle purchase, subject to Federal Communications Commission approval, involves station KTVW, Channel 13, obtained by CBN for an estimated $3 million.

New affiliates are WDCA, Channel 20, in Washington, D. C., which will broadcast sixteen hours of CBN programming weekly; WPGH, Channel 13, in Pittsburgh, twenty-one hours; and also stations WSNS, Channel 44, in Chicago, and WANC, Channel 21, in Asheville, North Carolina, each with sixteen hours weekly, CBN affiliates now number eighteen. Negotiations are underway to service WOPC, Channel 38, in Altoona, Pennsylvania. Several other stations carry CBN’s programs also.

• In addition CBN operates five FM radio stations and provides programming for a number of others. Founder-director Pat Robertson is also interested in expanding internationally; he has been dickering with the government of Cyprus for permission to build a radio station that will beam programs into the Middle East.

Late last month at its annual meeting in Washington, D. C., the National Religious Broadcasters accorded CBN a “Best Stations of 1973” award for excellence of programming in its joint radio-television operation.

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Cocu: Test Patterns

Nearly two dozen local ecumenical church groups around the country have been identified by the Consultation on Church Union (COCU) as possible candidates for living together COCU style. As many as ten of them are expected to enter into a three-year “covenant” with COCU by April 1. What is learned from the experiences of these test “generating communities” may then contribute significantly to the final structural form of union that COCU proposes to its member denominations (there are nine at present).

The decision to study was made at COCU’s plenary meeting last year (see April 27, 1973, issue, page 40), when COCU tabled its controversial plan of union in response to grass-roots fears and disagreement.

COCU says the groups it has found, ranging from Hawaii to Massachusetts, are engaged in deeper than usual interchurch cooperation. Some hold common worship services or share staff, facilities, or Communion, or conduct joint social projects.

COCU hopes to elicit from participating groups an agreement to emphasize such “key elements” as regular joint communion; preservation of “some of the richness” of the denominational heritages with openness to the heritages of others; inclusiveness in race, age, sex, culture, and economic class; flexibility; affirmation of ministry of the laity as well as clergy; and foundation on historic faith and Scriptures “but encouragement of contemporary expressions as well.”

The next plenary meeting will be held in November in Cincinnati. Meanwhile, COCU’s executive committee has okayed a 1974 budget of $140,800 for its operations.


Jenison, Michigan (population: 20,000, largely of Dutch stock), is on the map at last. Of the more than 3,500 McDonald’s hamburger establishments in the world, Jenison’s is the only one that is closed on Sunday, according to hamburger officialdom.

During construction of the restaurant last year, area ministers of several denominations (but principally Christian Reformed and Reformed Church in America) petitioned McDonald’s Chicago headquarters people, requesting that they conform to Jenison’s closed-on-Sundays tradition. McDonald’s agreed to go along with the you-deserve-a-break-today idea.

The restaurant opened its doors at year’s end with a special breakfast for area pastors and local government officials—a sort of Egg McMuffin prayer breakfast.

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Victory In Victoria

Playboy magazine ran into religious snags both at home and abroad last month.

In Victoria, Texas (population: 50,000), a citizens-for-decency movement led by Church of Christ minister-turned-writer Neil Gallagher, 32, succeeded in removing Playboy and a number of “offensive” magazines from most of the sales racks in town. The campaign included meetings with city officials, newspaper ads, handbills, and—perhaps most tellingly—a threatened boycott against merchants who sold the magazines. Gallagher, who is working toward a doctorate in philosophy, said in an interview that the bare minimum for blacklisting of magazines is the depiction of frontal nudity. At last word, a Playboy lawyer was looking into the situation. (A few months ago Gallagher’s 250-member group successfully rid its city of X-rated movies.)

Frontline Israeli troops will also have to get along without the magazine. The wife of Israeli president Ephraim Katzir, with the assistance of U. S. ambassador Kenneth B. Keating, had made arrangements to send 3,000 copies to the troops. But the Union of Immigrant Rabbis of Western Countries halted the plan. Said Rabbi Alexander Carlebach, the union’s chairman: “[Playboy] is not the appropriate gift for Jewish soldiers on Hanukkah, the festival which commemorates Jewish triumph over heathen practices.”

Nixon And The Church

Some Quakers are campaigning to strip President Nixon of his church membership. But the California “meeting” to which he has belonged for many years apparently has no intention of dropping him from its roll.

“We feel he has been convicted in the minds of many before the evidence is all in,” said T. Eugene Coffin, minister of East Whittier Friends Church.

The issue was brought to a head following appearance of an article by Milton Mayer in the Christian Century last October. Mayer listed some grounds on which “Friend Nixon might be had up.”

A reply from Coffin, also published by the Century, maintained that “the Christian fellowship is not an exclusive club trying to maintain a certain status by its own effort, but is a caring community which refuses to abandon those in trouble and seeks to restore rather than destroy, heal rather than hurt, reconcile rather than divide, and accepts the risks involved. It is in this spirit that we regard the membership of Richard M. Nixon, President of the United States, and all other members of East Whittier Friends Church.”

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Coffin said Nixon’s membership was questioned at the time of the “Cambodian Incursion.” The Ministry and Counsel Committee considered the concerns prayerfully, he reported, “and replied that it would be an un-Christian act to drop his membership and that the role of a Meeting should be one of prayerful support and counsel.”

Some Friends are also working to get Nixon out of the White House. At least twenty meetings are reported to have formally acted to call for impeachment or resignation of the President.

Nixon has not visited the Whittier church for some time. During his stay in San Clemente at the turn of the year he attended a worship service at a Presbyterian church.

Nevertheless, said Coffin in an interview, Nixon has “regularly communicated” with the 500-member East Whittier church (the communications include contributions that were not listed in the President’s financial statement made public recently), thereby maintaining his status as an active non-resident member. Coffin has also preached at the White House. Nixon, in one of his latest letters to Coffin, expressed appreciation for his response to the Century article. As for the Quaker meetings that want Nixon out, “they are only twenty out of 1,000,” says Coffin. The latest tape-erasure charges and other developments have not changed Coffin’s mind about his or the church’s pastoral attitude and responsibility to the President: “It remains the same as it would toward any of our members in trouble.”

When in Florida, Nixon sometimes attends the Key Biscayne Presbyterian Church, where the Reverend Stephen Brown recently succeeded the Reverend John Huffman as pastor. Huffman now is pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh. Brown, from Quincy, Massachusetts, birthplace of the second and sixth American Presidents, says he preaches expository sermons in a systematic sequence and won’t direct his messages at the President.

Religion In Transit

Ohio’s oldest woman, Mary E. “Mother” Silver, pastor of Little Zion Holiness Church in Springfield, died last month at age 116. She reputedly began preaching at age 7 to sharecroppers in North Carolina, going on to preach in every state and Canada over the next century.

Are they married or not? Hundreds of marriages performed in New York City were conducted by bogus clergy, say authorities after months of investigation. City clerk Herman Katz, whose office processes some 80,000 marriage licenses yearly, has “remarried” some of the couples involved (the courts may have to decide the legality of others) and ordered the phonies to stop.

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Under a recently signed agreement the U. S. Navy will use the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s “Five-Day Plan to Stop Smoking” in offering help to personnel who want to kick the habit. Adventists say the plan, consisting of five consecutive group-therapy sessions, has been used in more than 100 countries and has proved effective for 75 per cent of the smokers who enrolled.

The American Board of Missions to the Jews dropped its impending law suit against WPIX-TV in New York after the station agreed to air a thirty-minute debate between a rabbi and an ABMJ spokesman. The legal action grew out of the station’s cancellation last April of the ABMJ-sponsored special, “Les Crane Reports on Jews for Jesus.”

That dispute between Rabbi Irving J. Block and United Presbyterian pastor William Glenesk, whose congregations have shared the same Presbyterian-owned building in New York’s Greenwich Village since 1954, is still on. Block accuses Glenesk of bigotry, and now he wants the New York Presbytery to take action against its man. As matters stand, if Glenesk stays, Block’s flock will not.


RALPH FREED, 81, veteran Christian and Missionary Alliance missionary and general director of Trans World Radio, the international Christian broadcasting organization; in Monte Carlo, of a heart attack.

C. HUGH WHITTEKER, 73, Canadian Lutheran who served as the first president of the Lutheran Church in America-Canada Section (1963–1969); in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, of a heart attack.

Wisconsin governor Patrick J. Lucey approved legislation to permit bingo games for charitable, non-profit organizations in the state.

Free-lance Detroit reporter Patrick T. Halley, 23, is suing Guru Maharaj Jifor $1 million. Halley was beaten up and his skull fractured by several of the teenage guru’s followers after he threw a pie in the guru’s face.

Concordia College, a 2,500-student American Lutheran Church school in Moorhead, Minnesota, is the scene of a bitter collision between urban black students (there are seventy-five blacks on campus) and many rural and small-town whites, according to a Minneapolis Star story. Intramural touch football and basketball games between black and white teams ended in slugging matches. President Joseph Knutson and student-body president Eric Fontaine, 21, a black senior from Washington, D. C., are trying to cool it.

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New: The Disciple, bi-weekly successor to The Christian (a weekly) and World Call (a monthly) of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

In response to queries from reporter Edward B. Fiske of the New York Times,evangelist Billy Graham said he gives between 10 and 15 per cent of his gross income to non-profit organizations. On another front, Graham and his beliefs were treated rather favorably in a new book, A Catholic Looks at Billy Graham, by Jesuit Charles W. Dullea, former president of the University of San Francisco who is now superior of the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome.

Catholic University of America in Washington, D. C., sold a thirty-six-acre tract of land, described as the city’s largest privately owned parcel, to a housing developer “to pay off debts and pay back salaries [and] to stave off bankruptcy,” according to school officials.

Isn’t It Good to Know, the latest color film from World Wide Pictures, took top honors among religious theme entries in the annual International Film and Television Festival of New York.

Mrs. Joyce Stedge, 47, a mother of six who graduated from New York’s Union Seminary, was ordained as the first woman minister in the Reformed Church in America. She is pastor of an RCA church in Accord, New York.

Southern Baptists have launched a $20 million fund-raising drive to help finance their denomination’s $42.6 million foreign missions budget for 1974.

Birth: The Southern Baptist Journal, described by its sponsor—the Baptist Faith and Message Fellowship—as the first national news journal of Southern Baptists. Former Southern Baptist Convention evangelism staffer William A. Powell is editor. The Fellowship was organized a few months ago to stress biblical infallibility, missions, and evangelism in the denomination, and to provide “a conventionwide free press.”

Southern Baptist membership is estimated to have reached 12,274,000 in 1973, with total receipts pegged at $1.2 billion.

The predominantly black Church of God in Christ is organizing a system of Bible schools (to be known as the C. H. Mason Bible colleges) to train its ministers. Schools already operating in Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, and other cities offer graduate-level studies even for those without high school diplomas.

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Catholic bishop James W. Malone of Youngstown, Ohio, was elected president of the Ohio Council of Churches by the council’s 181-member assembly.

Almost $20 million in three years has been given by the Catholic Church’s domestic anti-poverty program to more than 500 self-help projects.

The Hymn Society of America (475 Riverside Drive, New York City 10027) is seeking new hymns by this June to commemorate the nation’s bicentennial anniversary in 1976.


Theologian Clark H. Pinnock of Trinity seminary (Deerfield, Illinois) has been named to head Theological Students Fellowship, a new branch of Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship, as a member of IVCF’s associate staff.

Physics professor Thomas G. Barnes of the University of Texas at El Paso was elected president of the ten-year-old Creation Society, a group of 400 scientists with master’s or doctor’s degrees who advocate that the biblical version of creation is correct. Barnes, citing the rate of decay of Earth’s magnetic field, believes the world may be less than 10,000 years old.

After Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger, evangelist Billy Graham is the man the American people admire most in the world today, according to the latest annual Gallup Poll. Kissinger superseded President Nixon, who dropped to third. Graham has placed second several years in a row.

Among the new board members of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association: Dr. John Wesley Williams, black Kansas City pastor, a leader in state and national units of the National Baptist Convention of America, host for the first national Black Congress on Evangelism (1970), a past vice-president of the National Council of Churches, and a civil-rights marcher.

Little Rock, Arkansas, native Thomas Lee York, 33, now a United Church of Canada clergyman studying and teaching at Tulane University in New Orleans, was sentenced to three years in prison for failing to tell his draft board where he was after he left for Canada in 1963. Maintaining his innocence, he surrendered last summer.

World Scene

An international charismatic conference on the Holy Spirit will be held in Jerusalem in March. Organizers say nearly 3,000 have signed up for the event, sponsored by Logos magazine.

Polish authorities have ordered Verum, a Catholic publishing house, to close within three months. No reason was given. The firm, founded less than two years ago by lay leader Andrezej Micewski, has sold some 80,000 copies of history and religious-education books. Another Catholic publisher was ordered to cease its publication of religious news for priests.

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Diplomatic sources say the Soviet Union permitted 34,750 Jews to emigrate to Israel in 1973, 3,200 more than in 1972.

The world’s Jewish population stands at 14.3 million, according to the American Jewish Year Book. Most live in the United States (6.1 million), Israel (2.7 million), and the Soviet Union (2.6 million). The largest communities are found in the New York area (2.3 million), Los Angeles (535,000), Tel Aviv

(394,000), Philadelphia (325,000), Paris (300,000), and Moscow (285,000).

Date: Japan Congress on Evangelism, June 3–7 in Kyoto. Chairman: Nakaichi Ando, president, Japan Evangelical Association. Attendance: 1,000-plus.

Missionary sources report that South Vietnamese Bible-school students recently engaged in a week of intensive evangelism among the 1,000 Stieng (Montagnard) tribesmen who have been resettled midway between Saigon and Dalat. Some 1,400 professed Christ, they say, bringing the Stieng Christian population to 5,000. Most have been converted since the North Vietnamese invasion in April, 1972.

It was a bleak year for Catholics in France. Enrollments in Catholic seminaries dropped from 289 to 210, and only five priests were ordained in the Paris area in all of 1973. A dozen parishes are experimenting with lay-led but sometimes clergy-opposed religious assemblies dubbed “The Celebration of the Message.” Serious dissension exists between traditionalists and reformists in clergy ranks. (Traditionalist priest Georges de Nantes, leader of the Catholic counter-reform movement, even lodged charges of heresy and schism against Pope Paul.)

A new Protestant-produced translation of the Bible, twenty years in the making, will soon roll off the presses in Hungary, if all goes according to schedule. Meanwhile, a 1,200-page expository and introductory guide, written by twenty-six scholars and billed as “the first complete commentary based on agreed principles that has ever been published in the Reformed Church of Hungary,” was completed and printed.

Cover-up: Anglican dean Harold Circh-low of St. Michael’s Cathedral in Bridgeton, Barbados, has banned halter-style dresses from services and is keeping a supply of capes on hand for women who show up with bare backs.

Catholic influence in Spain’s government was dealt a blow when new prime minister Carlos Arias last month excluded long-dominant Opus Dei figures from his cabinet. Opus Dei is a secretive Catholic lay society whose members have been highly prominent in politics and business for years. Most of the Catholic hierarchy endorsed the move, however, because of Opus Dei’s involvement in recent financial scandals.

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Emmaus Bible Correspondence School of Oak Park, Illinois, unofficially related to the Plymouth Brethren assemblies, circulates correspondence courses in 120 languages. They are administered by 160 regional directors in 95 countries. Last year more than 122,000 courses were completed. More than 1.8 million courses have been completed out of 6 million initiated since the school was founded about 30 years ago.

More than 400 religious sects are registered in Indonesia, a predominantly Muslim country that officially recognizes only the Muslim, Catholic, Protestant, Hindu, and Confucian faiths.

The small Baptist congregation in the Mexican village of Miahuatlan, near Oaxaca, has launched thirty-six missions and is baptizing scores of villagers. The missions are in area villages where reportedly at least one member of every family has been baptized. Many of the missions will become churches.

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