Marcus Loane made the decision to invite Billy Graham for a three-week crusade in Sydney, Australia, while in the hills of Irian Jaya (Indonesian New Guinea) in 1976. As he walked along jungle trails where two Australian missionaries had been killed by headhunters not long before, Loane prayed about the spiritual state of Australia.

And from Loane’s perspective as Anglican archbishop of Sydney, with a nominal one million believers under his spiritual jurisdiction, he concluded that a Graham crusade was needed. As he explained several months later to a group of church leaders in the Chapter House of St. Andrew’s Cathedral in Sydney, Australia needed to experience a spiritual impact similar to the one made during a 1959 visit by Graham.

“That crusade,” he said, “had a most remarkable impact on the city of Sydney, on the churches of all denominations, and on an amazingly large number of totally uncommitted people. For the Church of England the benefits were felt right through to the late 1960s, and were evident in the number of men who offered themselves for theological training and missionary service, and in greatly increased numbers who offered themselves for adult confirmation.

“There was a rising tide of spiritual interest in the 1950s. We are now moving in the opposite direction towards an agnostic, humanistic and an a religious society.”

The decision to invite Graham, then revealed for the first time to other church leaders, was an almost totally personal decision by Loane. Some of his closest advisers were doubtful. Others thought that Graham would not consent to staying three weeks. But from that day the conviction spread that the invitation was right, and people got behind it in amazing numbers.

Loane stands tall in a historic evangelical succession. Few Anglican leaders outside “missionary posts” would give such strong support to mass evangelism in the Graham style. And yet Loane, now the primate (presiding bishop) of the Anglican Church of Australia, is no lover of America or things American. (He once went to the United States to give Bible studies—and stayed only two days.) He is an Anglophile, with a touch of a British accent acquired while a student in England. He is in fact a native Australian with roots in the early colonial days; but his sympathies are royalist, not republican.

Within this Anglophilia there is a deep respect for Reformation history, a love for the gospel, and a determination to encourage evangelism. In what is generally regarded as a most conservative diocese, there have been, since Loane became archbishop in 1966, some unique experiments in evangelism: an Italian evangelist worked for years with newly arrived migrants in the working class suburb of Leichhardt; an Aboriginal pastor was sponsored to start a congregation in the inner city; and, following cross-cultural discussions at the Lausanne Congress, a Turkish evangelist was brought out from Germany.

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To add authenticity to this primary evangelism, there has been built up over 100 years a very substantial diocesan social welfare network, described by Donald Coggan, archbishop of Canterbury, as “the most massive welfare work conducted by any diocese in the Anglican Communion.” All this helps to explain how a most conservative Australian archbishop came to invite a most outgoing American evangelist for a most massive one-million-dollar crusade in Randwick Racecourse, Sydney.

The archbishop welcomed Graham at a press conference before the Sydney crusade: “Mr. Graham has, since 1959, travelled the world on an even more extensive scale than before. His crusades have taken him into countries of exceptional interest for people in our own land of Australia.

“In some cases he has been where few others have been. He has conducted crusades in Hungary and Poland behind the Iron Curtain; and he has been to the hills of Nagaland on the northeast frontier of India, an area completely closed to all foreigners in normal circumstances and to most Indians as well.

“He comes to us with a lifetime of experience in this work. I look forward to this crusade because I believe that in the good providence of God it may be the means of a spiritual impact on the city of Sydney … not merely in 1979, but for the twenty years that remain in the twentieth century.”

At the opening crusade meeting, April 29, Archbishop Loane said to the 50,000 gathered: “The city of Sydney and indeed the Commonwealth of Australia stand in need of a proclamation of the gospel on the widest possible scale.

“God has answered our prayers in such a remarkable way in all that has preceded this gathering this afternoon, and we believe that the answers to prayer will exceed all that we ask or think. If one million people came to the Royal Easter Show recently, will there not be one million people who come to the Sydney Crusade?”

Safety after Grim Struggle to Survive

A young Cambodian family, staff members of a North American-based Christian organization, began a new life in the United States last month after surviving four years of constant peril in their homeland.

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Vek Huong Taing, 30, his wife Samoeun, 28, and their four-year-old son, Wiphousana, Cambodian staff members of Campus Crusade for Christ International (CCC) had dropped from sight in Phnom Penh in 1975.

Two weeks before they flew to California they had crossed the Thai border from Cambodia along with twenty-three other Cambodian Christians, after having lived in continuous danger, mostly in the forests, since April 1975.

Early this year they reached Sisophon, a Battambang Province town near the Thai border. There a woman who had become a Christian in 1975 through French-speaking missionaries of the Christian and Missionary Alliance paid $9,000 in gold to hire guides to lead the group to a place where they could cross into Thailand and at least temporary safety.

On April 25 the Taings were discovered in the Taphraya camp, a refugee concentration area near the Thai-Cambodian border, by Reuters reporter Michael Battye. He included their names and CCC affiliation in an April 26 dispatch. A Trans World Radio staffer in Guam noticed the story in a pile of wire copy and notified CCC staff in Guam, setting off urgent moves to secure the Taings’ release from the camp.

The urgency of the effort came from the fact that Thai policy for several months had been to repatriate the Cambodians crossing into Thailand. As many as eighty thousand Cambodians were reported to be in the border area. A return to Cambodia was regarded by knowledgeable observers in Bangkok as virtually guaranteeing the Taings’ death, especially since they had been identified as Christians.

After several days of all-out effort involving CCC staff, the Thai government, and U.S. State Department officials in Bangkok and Washington, the young family was released from the temporary refugee camp on May 1. In accordance with conditions set by the Thai government, United States visas were arranged on a priority basis, and the Taings boarded a plane for the United States on May 5.

In a press conference at Ontario International Airport, near the CCC San Bernardino headquarters, the family expressed deep gratitude to God for their deliverance. “We did not think we could see any of you again on this earth,” Taing told CCC staff, “but God showed his mercy on us.” Composed and looking rested, he spoke of the frustration that he and his wife had felt about being unable to have a more open ministry during the four years they were living in Cambodia under the Pol Pot regime.

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They said that intercessory prayer had been their chief ministry during that period, impressing on them the crucial importance of living by faith.

Despite the obstacles to ministry, they explained, they had seen twenty Cambodians come to profess Christ as Savior during the four years, even though the people realized that making that decision meant they might well be killed.

Taing said that he had become known in Cambodia as a Christian and had been marked for execution by the Khmer Rouge before the Vietnamese invaded Cambodia earlier this year. Nonetheless, Taing said, the couple had made up their minds to die for their faith if need be and had resolved, despite the danger, not to lie about their names, their Christian faith, or their mission affiliation.

Speaking in distinct English while his wife and son sat nearby, Taing told a story of apparent miracles, including what he said was God’s miraculous provision of food to ward off the constant threat of starvation.

He spoke of being able at one place they stayed in Pursat Province to catch one fish a day, even though fish were sparse and he had no particular skill as a fisherman. “It was only one a day, and it was about the same size,” he recalled, but it helped keep the family going at that stage.

At another location he was given the difficult skill of climbing coconut palm trees, enabling him to obtain a small number of coconuts to supplement his family’s meager diet.

He told of being befriended again and again by other Cambodians, even, on occasion, by local Khmer Rouge officials. At one village, he said, the local Khmer Rouge leader liked the family so well that he would take them to his house at night, turn off the lights, and cook rice to keep them from starving.

Despite such instances, however, he spoke grimly of mass killing by the Khmer Rouge and of widespread starvation throughout Cambodia. Taing said it was a common sight to see dead bodies everywhere. At one village in which they stayed, the population went from 388 to less than 50 in four or five months as a result of killings and starvation.

Is Religion a Deadly Weapon?

Christians from all over Kerala and from every walk of life rallied by the thousands in April in the city of Trivandrum to protest the religious discrimination they saw behind the Freedom of Religions Bill now before the Indian Parliament.

Ignoring the heat of the tropical sun and forgetting their doctrinal differences, Roman Catholics, Protestants, Syrian Orthodox, and other religious groups in this state with India’s highest concentration of Christians stood as one to fight the bill they believe would violate fundamental rights guaranteed them in the Indian constitution: freedom to practice, preach, and propagate their religious faith.

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Similar unprecedented, large-scale Christian demonstrations were occurring in many parts of India (the Christian community numbers 15 million out of a total population of 650 million). The Christians denounced the controversial bill and appealed to the members of Parliament to withdraw it.

The bill was introduced by Om Prakesh Tyagi, a member of Parliament belonging to the former Hindu nationalist Jana Sangh, a party merged into India’s ruling Janata Party. He is also a member of the Arya Samaj, a militant Hindu organization known for its antimissionary and anti-Christian stance.

His bill seeks to “prohibit conversions from one religion to another by the use of force or inducement or by fraudulent means.” It also prohibits converting persons under eighteen years of age. The bill recommends one- to two-year prison terms and a fine of from 3,000 to 5,000 rupees ($400 to $600) for those who violate its requirements.

In answer to the question of a reporter from Himmat, an Indian weekly, Tyagi gave the following explanation for his bill: “The government has now given economic protection to the socially and educationally backward. But what about protection of their culture? There is danger to it because foreign money is coming into the country on a large scale, legally and illegally, and particularly to foreign missions.” He conceded that the missions were performing significant service by operating schools and hospitals but, in so doing, “if they deprive someone of his religion or culture, then it is not right.”

While proponents of the bill say that its purpose is to protect the religious rights of the minorities, opponents respond that the bill’s definitions of force, fraud, and inducement are so broad as to be vulnerable to governmental abuse.

Force may include “a threat of injury of any kind including threat of divine displeasure,” fraud may include “misrepresentation,” and inducement may include “the grant of any benefit.”

No Christian, they say, can preach the gospel and obey the mandate of Christ without fully or partially violating the bill. Preaching of heaven or hell, of eternal life and death, can be interpreted as threat or force. Proclaiming Jesus Christ as the only Savior, in a country credited with being the cradle of many religions, could be construed as misrepresentation or fraud. Works of charity to the poor and sickly—even help to a convert in need—could be interpreted as an inducement.

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In its commentary, Mainstream, another Indian weekly, points out, “The apprehensions caused among religious minorities, especially Christians, by O. P. Tyagi’s bill, now before the Parliament, are easy to understand. The controversy has been started at a time when the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh [perhaps the most militant and anti-Christian Hindu sect in India, of which Tyagi is a member] believes that to be an Indian one has to be a Hindu.… The organs of the RSS have been making a log of noise about ‘indigenous’ and ‘alien’ religions. The aim is obviously to brand those who believe in or practice any religion other than Hinduism as either victims or agents of some aslien culture.”

I. Jesudason, bishop of the Church of South India for the diocese of South Korela, expressed the sentiments of most Christians when he said, “Even though Christianity is not mentioned in the bill, it is against Christianity.… A year ago, a similar bill was introduced in Arunachal Pradesh, and there it is against Christianity.

For years Christians in Arunachal Pradesh, many being converts from various primitive tribes, have been persecuted by non-Christians with the approval of anti-Christian government officials in the state. More than forty of their churches have been destroyed, homes have been burned, and members—including women and children—have been beaten up. There also have been reports of killing of Christians by non-Christians who think that Christians are destroying the primitive Hindu culture. Christian organizations are banned and Christians are not allowed to construct church buildings without government permission—permission that is often withheld. Christians from other parts of India are not allowed to visit Arunachal Pradesh.

While visiting Arunachel Pradesh just after passage of the Freedom of Religion Bill in that state, Indian Prime Minister Morarji R. Desai is reported to have said that similar bills should be introduced in all sixteen states. (Bills similar to the one now before the national Parliament have become law in Orissa and Madhya Pradesh in addition to Arunachal Pradesh.)

Opposition to the bill has also come from the other religious minority groups that fear a Janata party government bias in favor of the overwhelming Hindu majority. Many politicians, including some members of the Janata party, are also against the bill. Madhu Limaye, a prominent member of the Janata party, said that the bill is “needless and provocative.” He, like many others, feels that if there are unhealthy practices, clauses already in the penal code are adequate to deal with them.

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Because of mounting opposition to the bill, mainly spearheaded by the leaders of all sections of the Christian community, Desai has promised that the bill will not be considered in its present form.

A positive effect of the bill has been to unite Christians of all denominations and groups as never before. It has created an awareness among Christians in isolated areas that they are part of a strong national church. It has alerted a once complacent church that it can no longer take religious freedom for granted.


Authorities Move to Restrict Papal Visit

Although the Roman Catholic Church in Poland has been entrusted with organizing the Pope’s visit this month, the authorities have issued a number of directives in order to limit the impact of the event. According to information reaching Keston College, England, from a private source in Warsaw, all teachers and professors are to hold classes during the visit. Anyone absent from school may either be dismissed or incur a “disciplinary transfer.” School-leaving examinations, as well as university entrance examinations, were changed to coincide with his stay.

John Paul II will not be permitted to visit the two shrines at Kalwaria Zebrzydowska and Piekary near his former home in Krakow as planned, for fear of large crowds gathering. He will only be allowed to cover short stretches of his route by car and will mostly be flown by helicopter. The mass scheduled for Victory Square, Warsaw, is now to be held in front of the small church of St. Anne instead. People have been advised to stay at home and watch the proceedings on television.

There is fear that this pressure being exerted by the authorities may provoke an unmanageable situation. Great concern is being voiced among the Polish bishops.

Liberation Theology to Leftist Politics

No small stir has been created in Mexico by the announcement of a former Methodist minister that he seeks a seat in Mexico’s Chamber of Deputies under the Communist Party.

Raúl Macín, pastor of Methodist churches in Mexicali and Monterrey from 1960 to 1972, stated in an April interview published on the front page of Excelsior, Mexico’s most influential newspaper, that “even if it should become atheist, the Church cannot fulfill what the Gospel requires in our day without Marxism.”

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He contended in the interview that God is a human creation, and argued that he has not defected from the faith, but has “found the faith in leftist political practice.” He noted that his political pilgrimage began while he was pastor, and was nourished by participation in the ecumenical movement Church and Society in Latin America (ISAL). He defined his political views during study visits with ISAL in Uruguay.

Macín seeks election July 1 to the second political district of Mexico City in the nation’s legislative body.

Just four days after the interview appeared, Gonzalo Baéz-Camargo, Mexican Methodism’s most visible figure, commented in his Excelsior editorial column on Macín’s leftist political stance and “congratulated” him for finally declaring himself. “For many years he tried to sail two currents and play two hands of cards. Now he has torn off the mask of what he pretended to be, and has revealed his true face.”

Added Baéz-Camargo, “Backed by the World Council of Churches and the Methodist Board of Missions, and supported by ‘imperialist’ dollars, he acted as an instrument of Marxist infiltration.” Baéz-Camargo further charged that Macín maliciously maligned the Mexican Methodist Church after withdrawing from it.

A high Mexican official in the Methodist Church stated that Macín has renounced biblical principles, that he influenced four other pastors to leave the church with him, and that he is dedicated to proclaiming the extreme leftist interpretations of the theology of liberation. This official revealed that upon leaving the church, Macín traveled to Geneva where, after stating his case, he was given a warm welcome by World Council of Churches officials. The Mexican Methodist Church, the only Mexican church that holds membership in the WCC, is not pleased with the council’s support of Macín. The official pointed out categorically that Macín has no present relations with the Methodist Church in Mexico.

Raúl Macín presently directs Mexico’s Coordinating Center for Ecumenical Projects, (CCEP) though he has asked for a six-month leave of duty for “personal reasons.” The CCEP is “directly related” to the WCC, according to one of its employees.


World Scene

Christian broadcasters to China report a dramatic upsurge in letter responses. Far Eastern Broadcasting Company reported receiving more than fifty-six hundred letters from the People’s Republic in its Hong Kong office this year through mid-April. This compares with fifty-eight letters received in all of 1978, and an average of eighteen letters received annually over the past ten years. In previous years it was obvious that the letters had been opened and censored; this year the envelopes are arriving intact. The Christian Broadcasting Association of Hong Kong also reports an upswing. Both groups say that 90 percent or more of the mail is coming from non-Christians.

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Turkey has expropriated five Greek Orthodox churches, charges Ecumenical Patriarch Demetrios. He named five church properties that he said had been “occupied” in April. The Orthodox primate urged Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit to “intercede” with the government department that oversees church properties, which, he charges, “is more oppressive than ever before,” including the rule of the Ottoman Empire. Demetrios appealed to Ecevit for “an immediate halt to abusive treatment” of Greek Orthodox Christians. “This is a time to heal existing wounds,” he said, “not to open new ones.”

Proposals to merge Britain’s Free Church Federal Council into the British Council of Churches were overwhelmingly repulsed at recent meetings of both bodies as “not immediately practical.” The Free Churches in Britain are all the Protestant denominations that are not “established”—the Churches of England, Wales, and Ireland (and the Scottish Episcopal Church), and the Church of Scotland (and the Presbyterian Church of Ireland). These established churches make pronouncements on their own behalf apart from the BCC; the Roman Catholic Church is not a member. This leads the Free Churches, most of whom also belong to the BCC, to feel a need for the separate FCFC to specially represent their interests.

Sexual relationships between Christians should be guided by ideals rather than by rules, according to a controversial report issued by British Methodists. The report is expected to create a furor at the denomination’s annual meeting later this month. “Rules …” the report maintains, “are inadequate if the aim is perfect love rather than formal virtue.” It recommends acceptance of homosexuality, does not rule out premarital sex, and says that masturbation may be “healthy and helpful.”

An Argentina evangelism crusade, Youth ’79, was climaxed in the Buenos Aires Luna Park stadium late last month. Samuel O. Libert, pastor of the fastest-growing Baptist church in Argentina, at Rosario, preached. Five area campaigns preceded the intensive five-day crusade in the capital.

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An evangelistic rally in Haiti drew what local observers believe to be the largest assembly ever gathered in that country. The estimated forty thousand were at the final service of a crusade held in the Port-au-Prince stadium by North Carolina evangelist Clyde Dupin in March under the auspices of the nation’s Council of Evangelical Churches.


The article on Romania in the May 25, 1979, issue (page 47) refers to and depicts Patriarch Justinian in error. It was actually Patriarch Justin, who succeeded Justinian after his death in 1977.

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