Not even the cool, wet, cloudy New England spring weather could dampen spirits at the annual convention of the National Association of Evangelicals in Boston last month. National troubles were largely bypassed as participants exulted over evangelical progress in the last decade and honored retirement-bound general director Clyde W. Taylor.
Setting the tone, Illinois congressman John B. Anderson—fresh from the Watergate-charged atmosphere of Capitol Hill—stressed evangelical church and mission growth with only passing references to Watergate and its ilk. Anderson, an Evangelical Free Church member, delighted the nearly 750 delegates with his tongue-in-cheek assessment of the contrasting positions of evangelicals and liberals today. Once, he said, “they [the liberals] were the beautiful people and we—you will recall—were the kooks.” Changing times, however, find evangelical seminaries and churches growing while liberal institutions are declining, he said.
Picking up the theme was outgoing NAE president Myron C. Boyd, a Free Methodist, who reported that more than 25,000 evangelically oriented missionaries are active worldwide, nearly 7,000 hours of evangelical radio and TV programs are broadcast to North Americans weekly, and more than seventy-five evangelical missionary broadcast stations operate around the world. Most people, he said, “are unaware of all that is being done in the world by evangelicals.”
The delegates did approve a five-page statement of concerns, and former president Harold J. Ockenga said publicly and privately that Watergate had weakened the American image. After pinpointing problem areas, including corruption on national, local, and personal levels, the delegates warned against dissipation of “evangelistic ...1