Underground Evangelism duels with Jesus To The Communist World

Charges and countercharges of scandal, corruption, and conspiracy have been piling up in a bitter legal battle between two of the world’s largest organizations specializing in gospel outreach in Communist-ruled countries: Underground Evangelism (UE), based in Los Angeles, and Jesus to the Communist World (JTTCW) next door in Glendale. The multi-million-dollar defamation suit, initiated by UE leaders in Los Angeles Superior Court (Case C192860), in March, 1977, is the most serious confrontation between the two groups in more than a decade of feuding.

Over $250,000 has already been spent on the case, observers estimate, and the end is nowhere in sight. Both sides have filed an array of motions, and the case conceivably could drag on for years before going to trial. Leaders of other organizations, apparently fearful that the bad publicity may harm all Christian work, have been trying for months to arrange an out-of-court settlement. As of early February, no way had been found to permit an exit considered honorable by both sides.

More than honor is at stake. In its last published financial report, dated March 31, 1977, UE reported worldwide annual income of nearly $8.2 million, up from $6.6 million the preceding year. The JTTCW report of December 31, 1977, showed global income of more than $5.8 million, an increase of nearly $700,000 over 1976. The next reports, due out soon, also are expected to show increases. But there may be reason for concern in both camps. Increasingly, contributors are demanding assurance that their gifts are not being used to finance the lawsuit. In Britain, the Evangelical Missionary Alliance leadership last summer called on donors to withhold ...

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