As expected, an evangelical will become archbishop of Canterbury, titular head of 64 million Anglicans worldwide, this fall. F. Donald Coggan, 64, currently archbishop of York and second ranking bishop in Anglicanism, was named to succeed Michael Ramsey, retiring when he becomes 70 in November (see January 12 issue, page 47).
Coggan, a brilliant scholar in Semitic languages who once gave a speech in Hebrew in honor of a Jewish mayor of London and who was a coordinator of the New English Bible translation, is recognized as a member of the evangelical “low church” wing of the Church of England, the parent body of Anglicanism. Ramsey, a noted ecumenist, was identified with the Anglo-Catholic “high church” wing.
The appointment was announced four days after the post was first offered to Coggan. He’d declined to give a quick reply, preferring, he told Prime Minister Harold Wilson, to pray about it and talk to his wife (her family was Plymouth Brethren). The appointment came in the midst of discussions among Anglicans who want more church control over the way their leaders are selected. The debate, however, did not affect Coggan’s appointment, which was made according to traditional procedures. After consultation with Anglican leaders around the world, the prime minister’s appointments secretary recommended Coggan. His name was then referred to Queen Elizabeth, who, as supreme head of the church, made the nomination known.
The choice was a popular and expected one. London bookmakers were giving odds of two to one that the friendly archbishop of York would be named to England’s oldest see, and English church leaders of all theological persuasions praised the appointment, as did American Episcopalians. (The 3.2-million member U. S. Episcopal Church is a member of the Anglican Communion.)
The new leader’s ecclesiastical history covers education and parish work and spans the Atlantic Ocean. He taught at Manchester, served a London parish, and taught New Testament from 1937 to 1944 at Wycliffe College, an evangelical Anglican school in Toronto. He was principal of London College of Divinity prior to becoming bishop of Bradford in 1956, and he succeeded Ramsey at York in 1961. He was the main speaker at the Canadian Congress on Evangelism in 1967. He has two daughters, one a medical missionary to Pakistan.
Coggan lays great emphasis on preaching and is the first evangelical to become primate in 126 years. Generally, Anglican evangelicals lean toward a moderately Calvinistic theology with an emphasis on biblical authority and individual conversion. When the Church of England severed its allegiance to the Vatican in the sixteenth century, it retained some elements of Catholicism but also adopted some of the characteristics of the Reformation. The low-church wing grew out of the revivals of the eighteenth century.
Coggan was the prime mover behind the recent year-long Call to the North ecumenical evangelistic effort (see February 2, 1973, issue, page 43, and May 25, 1973, issue, page 48). Leaders of many churches, from the Salvation Army to the Catholic Church, joined Coggan’s campaign and met regularly in his home to map strategy.
He expresses dismay at the spiritual and moral decay he sees in his native Britain. In press interviews following his appointment, Coggan described Britain as a “sick society” that would become healthy only when it began following moral rules again. He was part of a well publicized nationwide anti-pornography campaign. Nevertheless, he has advocated greater compassion for homosexuals and condemned South African apartheid as unchristian. He also is open to ordination of women, suggesting it might come “in the next five years.”
The timing of such a move—if it comes—would coincide with his departure, already being discussed in church circles. At 64 he is being dismissed in some quarters as a “caretaker” archbishop since he is expected to follow Ramsey’s precedent and step down at age 70. Coggan-backers, however, are warning that he should not be taken so lightly, and they point to Pope John XXIII—who was labeled a caretaker pope. John, they point out, called Vatican II and set in motion a massive rethinking of Catholicism and its relations to other systems of belief. The archbishop’s supporters imply that Coggan too can spark major changes in the Anglican Communion, and particularly in his own church. He has the ingredients, they say: a brilliant academic record at Cambridge University, backed by his career as an educator and author; a proven track record as administrator in his posts as bishop and archbishop; popularity with Anglicans of all stripes; and his support of ecumenical unity proposals.
The thought of being a caretaker archbishop doesn’t trouble Coggan. On the contrary, he told reporters, he thinks it is “a splendid title.” The New Testament, he said, commands Christians to take care of the church of God “and that is something which I am very proud to do.”
The naming of Coggan comes at a critical time for the Church of England. The new primate faces increasing debate in the church about its relation with the state (it is the official state church); there are loud demands for independence. He will also take over during the midst of Ramsey-instigated discussions with the Catholic Church; these have already led to significant agreements on the nature of the eucharist and on ministry and ordination in the two churches. Coggan must also face up to declining membership in the church. Although it claims 28 million members, only 2.6 million vote on parish affairs, and only 1.8 million attended Easter worship. To compound the problem, fewer men are entering the ministry: 373 last year compared to 636 in 1963. Clearly, the church needs someone who will take care of it.
British Evangelicals: Resurgent Social Concern
Like their American counterparts, British evangelicals are rediscovering the social dimensions of the Gospel. (Prior to the twentieth century, evangelicals in Britain and elsewhere were in the vanguard of social and political reform.) This reawakening has been stimulated in part by factors similar to those that affected American evangelicals. In addition, there has been the social and political stress caused by the tragedy of Northern Ireland and by the influx into Britain during the past fifteen years of tens of thousands of non-European immigrants from the West Indies, the Indian subcontinent, and Africa. And, as in America, the increasingly rapid secularization of society in general since World War II has alarmed most evangelicals.
One example of the response is the Nationwide Festival of Light (NFOL), largely staffed and supported by evangelicals. It was formed in 1971, partly with impetus from the Jesus movement, to halt the moral breakdown of British society. Its stand against pornographic films and literature has received extensive coverage from a largely hostile secular press. The NFOL, however, has taken a less publicized but equally vigorous stand against the commercial exploitation of violence and dishonesty, and for a more responsible portrayal of love, the family, and individual freedom by the media.
The NFOL’s new director, Raymond Johnston, has stated publicly that he hopes to move beyond the confines of pornography protest into a larger area of “Good Samaritan work.” He said that among other things he hoped his organization would be able to “encourage more care and compassion for social casualties of all kinds” and to work to “expose vested interests” in the current traffic in human degradation.
Evangelicals in the NFOL who support a broader program of social action were encouraged by the publication this year of a major new work calling for increased evangelical social involvement, Built as a City (Hodder and Stoughton) by David Sheppard, present bishop of Woolwich and former English cricket great. Sheppard bases his plea for a revival of evangelical Christian social activity largely upon biblical theology and his own experiences for a decade as a church worker in London’s notorious East End. He vigorously urges evangelicals to recover their heritage of social activism and to unleash God in modern urban society.
Equally important though not highly publicized is the work of the Shaftesbury Project (SP), sponsored by the Inter-Varsity Fellowship of Great Britain. The project was established in 1969 as “an evangelical initiative in the field of social involvement.” Under its first director, Alan Storkey, project members launched study groups on various social issues, built up a mailing list of key individuals and groups, and published a substantial amount of literature. Four eminent British Christians serve as trustees: former member of Parliament Donald Anderson; J. N. D. Anderson, director of the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies at the University of London; management executive Sir Frederick Catherwood; and Principal Gilbert Kirby of the London Bible College.
Storkey resigned in 1973; his place will be taken by clergyman Pat Dearnley of Leeds. Meanwhile, a full-time administrator, Miss Gillian F. Cooke, is heading up the work. SP leaders see their organization as a “think tank” for evangelical social renewal and not as a body that itself engages in direct social action. Among the SP’s stated aims are: (1) to find out the most suitable and effective means for evangelicals to involve themselves in society, taking into account varying denominational and political views; (2) to aid the flow of information among Christians involved in political and social action; and (3) to educate the evangelical Christian public in social responsibility. To go beyond this, leaders feel, would be to jeopardize the SP’s ministry, since there is among evangelicals in Britain—as in the United States—disagreement on how to resolve some of the country’s most pressing social problems. They see their present strategy as the one most likely to avoid polarizing evangelicals on social issues and dissipating limited resources. Nevertheless the leaders indicated that their commitment to provide a clear biblical understanding of social action in the context of the historic Christian faith remains undiminished.
ROBERT D. LINDER
The Army Gets A General
After ten days of deliberation the forty-one member High Council of the Salvation Army last month chose a Canadian as its tenth general, the third non-Englishman in a line dating back to 1865, when William Booth founded the army in the slums of east-end London. Representing 2.5 million Salvationists throughout the world, the council decided on Commissioner Clarence Dexter Wiseman, 67, of Toronto, who heads army operations in Canada and Bermuda. He replaces General Erik Wickberg, a Swede who retires one day before his seventieth birthday on July 5.
Wiseman, son of an army pastor in Ontario, started out as a French horn player in his local band. After becoming an officer he served as commander of the Army’s training college in Canada. As general, Wiseman will oversee 16,304 corps and 3,150 social centers in 83 different countries. These varied ministries are led by 17,196 officers. Wiseman says these are not enough; he intends to appoint additional ones soon after he takes over.
Next month, he and his wife Janet will move into modest “married quarters” at Beckenham, Kent, outside London. In addition to his annual salary of $3,600 he will have at his disposal a staff car.
Standing in front of an orange-juice dispenser during a press conference Wiseman pledged himself to “carry on God’s fight.” He said he will give special attention to work among alcoholics and young people.
Africa: ‘Sanctified Violence’
A rationale of “sanctified violence” was sounded as some 500 delegates and observers gathered last month in Lusaka, Zambia, for the third assembly of the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC). The AACC, with a constituency of 45 million members, represents about one-third of Africa’s Christian or church-related population and includes Anglican, Protestant, and Orthodox churches in thirty-three countries.
Zambian president Kenneth Kaunda, a member of the United Church of Zambia, broke down and wept openly during the keynote session as he reached the point in his speech dealing with apartheid policies in South Africa, according to a Lusaka radio report. The report said the assembly sat in utter silence as he wept for five minutes. His succeeding remarks were also punctuated by sobs, said the broadcast, quoting him as saying in part:
The capitalist system has as its concomitant feature the exploitation of one man by another, accompanied in South Africa by unbridled suppression and denial of civil liberties. We have had people in South Africa professing to be Christians but holding a Bible in one hand and a gun in the other. How can people be so brutal? And these people profess the same religion as we do. We in Zambia refuse to accept that. That is not Christianity. These are people who have been responsible for the human suffering which this continent has experienced since the days of the slave trade.
Kaunda went on to praise the liberation movements in southern Africa which aim to overthrow white regimes. Africans will eventually win majority rule, he declared. He insisted that the movements were not directed against the white man as such but against injustice, oppression, exploitation, and colonialism. “In many ways,” he affirmed, “the liberation movements are helping to create conditions in which aspirations expressed in the Christian Gospel can be fulfilled.”
He closed on a conciliatory note, calling for a Christian spirit of forgiveness. “African leaders, whether free or still oppressed, must be united more than ever before in developing a spirit of forgiveness,” he said. “This spirit must be promoted and nourished under the most tempting conditions, such as those now in this part of the world.” Anglican canon Burgess Carr, the Liberian-born general secretary of the AACC, was quoted in a Religious News Service story as asserting that God had “sanctified violence into an instrument of redemption” and that African Christians should support the liberation movements. He said a distinction between the “selective violence” of liberation movements and the “collective violence” of white-minority regimes against their black subjects was a valid one. “Thus, any outright rejection of violence is an untenable alternative for African Christians,” he concluded. “In accepting the violence of the cross, God in Jesus Christ sanctified violence into a redemptive instrument, bringing man into a fuller human life,” he stated. He closed with a call for the AACC to “throw the weight of the church on the side of liberation.”
Divorce, Italian Style
Florentines had never seen anything like it, but there it was: a gigantic “NO” filled one side of the cupola of the huge Florence cathedral. Dissident Catholics had pulled off one of the slickest coups to date in the referendum battle to repeal a parliament law allowing Italians the privilege of divorce. A “No” in the May 12 voting would uphold the law and parliament’s right to govern Italy’s internal affairs.
Italians had not been permitted to divorce until three years ago, when the lay parties passed the Fortuna-Baslini divorce law by a narrow margin. The Vatican took immediate offense and declared that the law was a vulnus (a wound) to the 1929 concordat. (Papal political power was overthrown in 1870; the concordat in 1929 gave the pope sovereignty over the Vatican.) Despite the risk of initiating a religious war, and despite cries of interference in the internal affairs of Italy, the Vatican backed a drive to gather 500,000 names favoring a national referendum on the matter. More than one million signatures were registered. The battle of the referendum was on.
Both sides sought to avoid a confrontation, hoping for a compromise that would save face for the Vatican and still permit a measure of autonomy for the Italian government to operate apart from the wishes of its neighbor across the Tiber. The vote was put off to the very latest minute possible under the Constitution.
When it was evident that a national vote was not to be avoided, Communist party secretary Berlinguer shocked the nation with his offer of a “historic compromise.” In return for admitting the Communists into power in a historic coalition between his party and the Catholic Christian Democrats, he promised backing for a revision of the divorce law and the concordat with the Vatican, in a way agreeable to the Vatican. But Vatican hard-liners prevailed, and the compromise was turned down.
As late as December, Vatican secretary of state Jean Villot advised Pope Paul VI to avoid taking the divorce question to the Italian public by means of the referendum. He was convinced that the referendum would gravely upset the religious peace in Italy and would open the Vatican to serious charges of interference in the internal affairs of a foreign state.
Although it seemed that Pope Paul would follow Villot’s advice, the majority of the Pope’s counselors, led by Monsignor Giovanni Benelli, insisted that the Vatican carry through on the referendum. They were convinced that this would be the most direct route to reestablishing the authority and the prestige of the church in Italy. In February the Italian conference of bishops issued a directive stating that the faithful should vote “Yes” (i.e., to repeal the divorce law) in the national referendum.
The religious crusade was launched. The lay parties united with the Communists to turn back what the major newspapers of Italy described as “an attempt by the Vatican to win the war it lost on the 20th of September, 1870.” Billions of lire were spent in propaganda for both sides. The Christian Democrats allied themselves with the Neo-Fascists and turned the moral issue of divorce into a political battle against the left.
“The faithful now know what they must do,” said Genoan cardinal Guiseppe Siri. “If they vote ‘no’ against the abolition of divorce, they cannot believe they are in agreement with God.” Siri was thought by many to be saying that the May 12 vote would indicate just how truly Roman Catholic Italy is.
Members of the Curia, American cardinal John Joseph Wright, and Dutch cardinal Johann Willebrands urged the Pope not to take a public position on what they saw to be strictly an internal national matter. Pope Paul turned a deaf ear to the appeal and spoke out in papal audiences in favor of “no divorce possible.” As the battle produced the deep wounds predicted, he publicly appealed for prayer to the Virgin Mary that religious peace be maintained in Italy.
Thirty of Italy’s 278 bishops openly defected, along with some 1,473 priests, to favor retention of the divorce law. The crisis came to a head when the highly regarded Abate Giovanni Franzoni, rector of Rome’s major basilica, St. Paul’s Outside the Gate, was suspended a divinis (i.e., prohibited from administering the sacraments) because he openly campaigned in favor of the divorce law. Turin cardinal Michele Pellegrino also publicly dissociated himself from the episcopal conference’s order to vote “yes.” Two of Italy’s best-known theologians (a Franciscan and a Jesuit) also broke ranks and joined the dissident movement.
Italy’s Protestants, meanwhile, were aligned against the politics of the Vatican and overwhelmingly supported the divorce law.
Now it can be told: Goliath, as many giants, probably had “tunnel vision,” enabling young David to have more going for him than his trusty slingshot. That’s what Atlanta physician Robert Greenblatt says in the Internal Medicine News. He theorizes that David could have outmaneuvered Goliath as the ten-footer struggled to keep his adversary in view. Far from acting impulsively, says Greenblatt, “perhaps David suspected what we know today: Giants are prone to suffer from lateral blindness. Giantism is frequently caused by a tumor of the pituitary gland … which can affect nerves of the visual process to produce tunnel vision.”
The campaign came to a startling close with the revelation that Rome’s largest newspaper, the Messaggero,noted for its anti-clerical stance, had been bought by the Christian Democrat party. The newspaper had been in the forefront of the battle to sustain the divorce law. The entire editorial staff went on strike, declaring that the Catholic far right had purchased control of the paper in order to silence its anticlerical voice.
Voting ensued without incident as 88.1 per cent of the nation’s voters registered their opinion. If the vote reveals how truly Catholic Italy is, as Cardinal Siri seemed to declare it would, then 59.1 per cent of the Italians are non-Catholic. The anti-divorcists were resoundingly beaten. Pope Paul’s own bishopric, Rome, turned against him, with 68.06 per cent of the populace voting to maintain the divorce law. Curiously, southern Italy, which Vatican circles confess has never been truly Christianized, voted 52.1 per cent in favor of repealing the divorce law. Vatican analysts can take small comfort from the few areas in which it carried its view to a majority. Pietro Nenni, a pillar of the Social party, declared, “The church has lost.… The victory of ‘no’ is a great historical fact that will still be inscribed positively on our national life a century from now. It is not only a victory of a law on divorce, but more so of the spirit of laicism over that of confessionalism, with consequences that will be felt for a long time.”
ROYAL L. PECK
Bulgaria: Breaking The Baptists
The Bulgarian government continues to exert pressure against the churches. In one of the latest moves, the Baptist church in Russe was closed down when church leaders failed to give authorities a “satisfactory” list of members’ names. The government said a church with so small a membership cannot be allowed to continue. The pastor was ousted (he reportedly is forbidden to move to another city), and the building and all books were confiscated. There were reports that the building may be converted into a center of atheism.
Message To Moscow
A petition signed by 9,000 supporters of an organization called Aid to the Russian Church (ARC) was presented recently to Prime Minister Harold Wilson of Great Britain. It called on the British government “to use every available means to improve the position of Christians in the Soviet Union in view of the legal restrictions on religious freedom and the illegal persecution of practicing Christians in that country.” Copies were sent to the Soviet Embassy, the World Council of Churches, and the United Nations. The petition was part of ARC’s “Russia in Focus” program, aimed at helping Christians to “learn about their brothers and sisters in the U.S.S.R., to pray for them, and actively protest about their treatment.”
About 150 ARC backers met in St. Peter’s Church, Vere Street, London, for a film, prayer, and a “prison meal” consisting of black bread, cabbage soup, and salted herring. Afterwards they marched down Oxford Street to the Intourist Office at Oxford Circus, where they sang and distributed hundreds of leaflets. Among other things, the leaflets contained a quote by a Christian girl, Aida Skripnikova, who at her trial in the Soviet Union in 1968 said, “Russia could be the most beautiful country in the world if there were no persecution here.”
“We are not anti-Communist, scared of reds under the beds, or anything like that,” said ARC director Jean Ellis. “We simply want religious liberty for the unjustly imprisoned Christians in Russia.”
ARC was formed last October with the principal aim of sending direct relief, especially books and clothing, to Russian Orthodox Christians in the Soviet Union.
Farewell, Father Dmitri
Father Dmitri Dudko on May 18 said farewell to his congregation at the St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church in northeast Moscow where he had served for nearly fifteen years. He said he was resigning because of “the interference by the godless in the internal affairs of the church.”
For months the popular 54-year-old bearded, baldish priest had held informal question-answer sessions following the regular two-hour-long Saturday night worship services. Many hundreds, including throngs of young people, jammed into the little church for these discussions. Alexander Solzhenitsyn sometimes stopped in to listen before he was deported.
News sources say the main themes of Dudko’s answers to parishioners’ questions were that the loss of belief in life after death had contributed to a breakdown of Soviet society’s spiritual values and that nevertheless a religious revival is under way in the Soviet Union, especially among young people. He openly discussed such taboo issues as state interference in church affairs (in defending Patriarch Pimen, the Russian Orthodox primate, he implied the prelate is surrounded by informers), the use of prison camps and psychiatric hospitals to punish believers, the “cross” imposed on believers by the state, how his faith sustained him in prison. (He is a Red army war veteran who spent more than eight years in Stalinist labor camps without trial.) One sample of his remarks:
People are tired of atheistic propaganda. Books on atheism lie unsold in the bookshops in piles, but I think we all know what scenes there would be if they ever put Bibles on sale. Young people keep asking me, “Where can I get a Bible?” There just aren’t any.… In old Russia you could get all the books you wanted, churches were open, but faith was not so deep. In the West they have all these things, all they want, but religion is still only a superficial thing there. Here we have nothing, but religion is growing stronger and stronger. It is only strong when it must bear a cross.
Nearly 1,000 were crammed together on May 4 when Dudko announced that Patriarch Pimen had forbidden further discussions. A church source later told a reporter Dudko had been silenced because “he had used his pulpit not for religious purposes.” Other sources said pressure had been brought by the Komsomol, the Communist youth organization charged with combating belief in God and church attendance among young people.
Pimen then ordered Dudko transferred to a church outside Moscow, but the priest maintained the order was really a state-inflicted penalty, and he announced he would instead quit in protest rather than be moved. (There are fears he may lose his Moscow residence permit and have difficulty in getting a job. If he does not find a job within four months, he can be arrested for “parasitism.” He has a wife and two children.)
At the conclusion of the May 18 service when Dudko announced his decision the congregation gathered in the courtyard and cemetery outside. When he emerged, the parishioners surged forward, said a reporter, some in tears, wishing him well. Several news accounts said he was then led away by plainclothes police.
Albania: Vanishing Species
The head of the Eastern Orthodox Church in Albania, Archbishop Damian, died in prison at age 80, according to Austrian news sources. His death occurred in November but news reached Orthodox leaders only recently. Damian had been imprisoned about six years ago. (Religion is banned in Albania, the world’s first avowed atheist state.)
Last year there were reports that a Catholic priest had been executed by an Albanian firing squad for baptizing a baby. Authorities admitted the execution but claimed the priest had been an agent for the West.
Clyde Taylor: Our Man In Washington
Clyde Taylor, then 37, was settling in as pastor of Central Baptist Church in Quincy, Massachusetts, when the National Association of Evangelicals was born in Chicago in 1942. He had a radio broadcast that reached most of New England. His church was full on Sundays. On the side he taught Spanish at Gordon College (earlier, he’d been a Christian and Missionary Alliance missionary in Peru and Colombia).
Two of the main concerns that led to the establishment of the NAE were broadcasting and foreign missions. The Federal (now National) Council of Churches had proposed that stations grant sustaining (free) time to major religious bodies, a proposal that discriminated against smaller groups and jeopardized the paid broadcasts of many evangelicals. (Indeed, a large number of stations today refuse to sell time to religious broadcasters; some meet the public-interest requirement by airing selected programs on a sustaining basis.) In foreign mission work, many evangelical agencies were often working alone on common problems. The NAE leaders asked Taylor, who had experience in both areas, to set up an office in Washington to represent the evangelical constituencies.
Taylor and his wife arrived in Washington in 1944 and have been there ever since. Now 69, still energetic, and an impressive figure at 6′4½ʺ, Taylor plans to retire this year from his posts as general director of the NAE, its director of public affairs, and executive secretary of the Evangelical Foreign Missions Association (EFMA). He will continue, at least for the time being, as international secretary of the World Evangelical Fellowship (WEF). (The NAE represents thirty-three member denominations with 2.5 million members plus individual churches with about one million members. EFMA is an affiliate organization of sixty-eight denominational and non-denominational mission agencies and 8,400 members. Taylor also unofficially represents the International Foreign Missions Association, an organization of forty-six independent groups with 7,000 missionaries. Together the two bodies have a third of the nation’s overseas missionaries.)
The two main concerns that brought Taylor to Washington were resolved. In 1945 the evangelical broadcasters met in Columbus, Ohio, and organized the National Religious Broadcasters. They hired a lawyer, blocked the Federal Council’s proposal, and set up their own self-enforcing code of behavior. Members of the NRB, an NAE affiliate, now are responsible for about 85 per cent of all Protestant religious broadcasting in the United States and 75 per cent in the world.
Taylor meanwhile had made up a list of all evangelical missions agencies and had written a letter offering to be of service to them in Washington. Much of the work of his office today relates to such ordinary but essential matters as passports and visas (last year Taylor’s office helped in the securing of fifteen passports and 521 visas). Some problems are more serious. On occasion a country has sought to expel missionaries for their religious activities. Taylor would go to the State Department, and, speaking carefully and unaccusingly, would suggest that it inquire through the U. S. embassy why American citizens there were being declared personae non gratae. Usually the word came back: there had been a mistake and the missionaries were not being asked to leave after all. Taylor knew what had actually happened: the country did not want to acknowledge it was guilty of religious persecution and so it permitted the missionaries to stay.
He has watchdogged U. S. treaties with other nations, insisting that they contain provisions for religious freedom for each other’s citizens, something only reluctantly agreed to by several countries.
In 1973 Taylor’s office was a command post for information about the Afghanistan government’s demolition of a Protestant church in Kabul. When a missions plane was forced down over Cuba in February (see March 29 issue, page 46), Taylor established liaison with the State Department to see that the fines and charges levied by Cuba as terms for releasing the plane and passengers were getting through the right channels to the right people.
Taylor also has organized annual conferences in Washington to brief ministers and students on the workings of government and to acquaint them with Christian leaders in government. Hundreds have attended over the years.
Another area in which he is involved is lobbying for or against legislation. He has two blue notebooks filled with NAE positions that form the basis for his testimony before congressional committees. He says the NAE takes positions on such issues as church and state separation and religious freedom but not, for instance, on foreign aid, “which is not the churches’ business, but a citizen’s concern.” It is at this point that some evangelicals, especially those identified with the so-called Chicago Declaration, challenge the NAE’s role in Washington. They want the NAE to speak out on a broader range of issues and not necessarily along traditional conservative lines.
Taylor, however, is convinced that “a lot of our people would take exception” to certain parts of the Chicago Declaration. Taylor’s own socio-political stance is closer to that of Senator Barry Goldwater than to that of, say, Senator Mark Hatfield or Senator Harold Hughes, both staunch evangelicals. But his stance probably reflects the general position of the majority of the people he represents. He believes Watergate is the product of the moral relativism rampant in the land, on the one hand, and merely the continuation of what has been going on in the top level of government for a long time, on the other hand. “What Watergate has revealed is simply the depths to which our nation has sunk,” he says. “The facts of Watergate not only would have happened but have been happening. Politics at the top level has been reprehensible for a long time.” In candid moments he acknowledges disappointment with President Nixon, a “product of our times.”
Taylor grew up in Phoenix, Arizona, where his parents were members of the Missionary Church. He graduated from the Christian and Missionary Alliance missionary training school in Nyack, New York, and between terms on the mission field got a bachelor’s degree in theology from Gordon Seminary and an M.A. in Spanish literature from Boston University. He was ordained in Tremont Temple, a Baptist church in Boston, and he attends a Baptist church in Washington when he’s not traveling.
Scuttlebutt has it that EFMA executive Wade Coggins will succeed Taylor as head of the EFMA and that NAE staffer Floyd Robertson, a specialist on the military chaplaincy and the prime mover behind the NAE’s Washington briefings, will become NAE’s secretary for public affairs.
WESLEY G. PIPPERT
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