The arrival of Tanzanian and anti-Amin Ugandan forces at the Kenya border on May 1 marked another chapter in the saga of a changing Uganda. After supporters of deposed, self-proclaimed “president for life” Idi Amin were flushed out of the vicinity of the main highway from Nairobi and Mombassa, refugees and supplies, assembled on the border, began to flow into the nation’s liberated south.

Urgently required for resuscitating a collapsed country were gasoline to refuel the nation’s idled vehicles and medical supplies for hospitals and clinics whose stocks have been exhausted for five years.

Prominent among returning exiles were five bishops of the Church of Uganda who fled after the February 1977 death of Archbishop Janani Luwum (March 18, 1977, issue, page 49) and after hearing reports that their own names were on Amin’s hit list.

First to return was Yona Okoth, bishop of the diocese of Bukedi. Later, on May 11, Festo Kivengere and Melchizedek Otim, of the dioceses of Kigezi and Lango, respectively, flew into Entebbe. They were officially welcomed in Kampala. Kivengere returned to his diocese the next day, and was to speak at a Sunday, May 13, rally in the Kabale sports stadium—with some 40,000 expected to hail his triumphal return. Benoni Ogwal, bishop of Northern Uganda, who has been living in Toronto, and Brian Herd, diocese of Karmoja, were also expected to return soon.

The bishops already are planning country-wide clergy meetings for August, to be followed by area rallies in high schools.

(Fellow Bishop John Wasikye, diocese of Mbala, on the other hand, was shot and killed April 16 in Jinja by soldiers loyal to Amin.)

Ironically, official United States aid and trade initially were illegal because of a trade embargo against Uganda that had been sponsored by Senators Mark Hatfield (R-Ore.) and Lowell Weicker (R-Conn.) to hasten the downfall of Amin. But Hatfield introduced a bill on April 26 to repeal the embargo, and Senator Frank Church (D-Idaho) introduced another bill to restore aid; the latter bill cleared the Senate on May 7. Under the original Hatfield-Weicker legislation, President Carter had authority to rescind the embargo, but not to restore aid.

In the meantime, private agencies, who have no such limitations, were poised to act as soon as the border opened. The Church of Uganda (Anglican) and African Enterprise, which have been entrusted with a distribution and coordination role for Protestant relief agencies, report an unprecedented meshing in relief efforts on the scene. (Motivation to avoid another Guatemala debacle was strong. After the 1976 earthquake, uncoordinated aid poured into the capital, much of it only to rot on docks and in warehouses.) Rivalry among agencies in the donor countries, by contrast, appeared as keen as ever in the information and fund-raising spheres.

Article continues below
From Hesitant Bishop to Prime Minister

“The little man should go back to his pulpit.” This observation about Abel T. Muzorewa, 53, who will be installed as prime minister of Zimbabwe-Rhodesia next week, was made by his long-time rival, Joshua Nkomo, physically ponderous leader of one of the two external Patriotic Front fighting forces.

Muzorewa received a more positive evaluation at a rally on the night after election officials declared his party the winner. The man his followers call “Black Moses,” Muzorewa led 1,000 guests at a victory reception in singing his favorite “Rock of Ages.”

Muzorewa becomes the first black prime minister in Rhodesian history. (He also was its first black United Methodist bishop.) Under a system designed by Prime Minister Ian Smith to prevent the emergence of any one dominant black party, Muzorewa won 51 of the 100 seats in the new assembly. His impressive popular support was not gained by personal magnetism, some observers point out. Instead, many Rhodesian blacks, tired of the ruthless ambition that has marked the careers of many of Muzorewa’s nationalist opponents, endorse the bishop, who once described himself as a “reluctant politician,” as a harbinger of peace and reconciliation.

Born prematurely in Umtali, near the Mozambique border, Muzorewa says he owes his survival to “an exceptionally efficient Swedish nurse.” He is the eldest of nine children; his father was a poor farmer.

He was educated at Nyadiri Center, a Methodist mission school, and taught school for three years, from 1944–47. He resigned to become a lay evangelist.

As a result of his preaching missions and experiences, Muzorewa decided to become a minister. He enrolled in Hartzell Theological School at the Old Umtali Methodist Center. While there, he met and married Maggie Chigodora, the daughter of “a devout Christian widow.” The couple’s first son was born within a week of his 1952 graduation, and they named him Blessing.

Muzorewa was ordained in the United Methodist Church in 1953, and five years later he came to the United States to study at Central Methodist College in Fayette, Missouri, for his B.A. degree.

“Close friendship with faculty and students, most of whom were whites,” he writes in his autobiography, Rise Up and Walk (Abingdon, 1978), “could not shield me from the reality of racial bigotry as then practiced by many in Missouri.”

Article continues below

He recalls being refused service in a St. Louis restaurant and of “unintentionally joining the civil rights movement” when he and his family entered a St. Louis church for worship and twenty church members promptly walked out.

In 1962 he moved to Nashville, where he began work toward a master’s degree at Scarritt College. Again, he tells of receiving warm love and support from some, but rejection from others. He and his family applied to become members of Belmont Methodist Church near the Scarritt campus. He recalls, however, “The committee on membership and evangelism supported our application, but the pastor refused to receive us. He feared repercussions from the third of the congregation who opposed having a black family as members. We were keenly disappointed, and decided not to present our son for Christian baptism lest we provoke a second conflict.”

Muzorewa returned to Rhodesia in 1963, and five years later he was consecrated as the first black bishop in the 50,000-constituent United Methodist Church in Rhodesia. (Ironically, the United Methodist Church hierarchy in the United States has joined the World Council of Churches in backing the radical external Patriotic Front and rejecting Muzorewa’s moderate internal solution.)

Muzorewa’s sermons on African rights led to his restriction in 1970 from visiting Rhodesia’s tribal reserves, his base of support.

In 1971, after Joshua Nkomo, Ndabaningi Sithole, and other nationalist leaders were jailed and their organizations banned, Muzorewa was tapped as first president of the African National Council—formed to fill the leadership void. Other groups joined in 1974 to form his current party, the United African National Council (UANC). After negotiations with the Smith regime at Victoria Falls in 1975 broke down, the UANC split into the Nkomo and Muzorewa factions. At the time, the Nkomo faction was regarded as more moderate than Muzorewa’s, though the situation since has reversed.

“He could not respect me with all my robes, all my clerical collars and my position as Episcopal leader,” Muzorewa later said of Smith. “When I cried and talked with Smith, and sat with him and pleaded with him, he laughed.”

A United Methodist Church official once called Muzorewa a case study in “the gradual and forced radicalization of a Christian moderate.” The failure of passive resistance persuaded him, after years of internal conflict, to advocate temporarily a policy of “righteous violence.”

Article continues below

In 1976 (his home was blasted the previous year by a hand grenade attack), Muzorewa sent his wife and three youngest children back to Nashville to live. His family remained there early this month, waiting for the nod to rejoin him.

In a recent interview in Salisbury, the dapper cleric with the awkward public manner said that he rises every morning at six o’clock for personal devotions. Some observers note, wryly, that he will need all the divine resources he can draw on.

“If Zimbabwe is to be truly free and liberated,” Muzorewa wrote in his autobiography, “the head of state must be a liberated person himself.… free from the shackles of evil deeds … liberated from the constraints of tribalism and racism … capable of love.

“The nation is going to need a great deal of loving after 100 years of burning hate.”

Christians Lose Face as War Leaders Gain

Many Japanese Christians were shocked last month when the name Hideki Tojo appeared in newspaper headlines across the nation: the bristle-mustached wartime prime minister, who was hanged in 1948 as a war criminal, had been secretly enshrined last fall by Shinto priests as a hero and a god, the newspapers revealed. But the Japanese churchmen were also shocked when their new prime minister, Masayoshi Ohira, a professing Christian, paid homage to the spirits of Tojo and other Japanese war dead at the Yasukuni (Shinto) Shrine in Tokyo.

It is political custom for the prime minister to visit Yasukuni during winter and spring rites. With one exception, every prime minister since World War II has done so. And Ohira, not one to make major policy changes, maintained that pattern. The Liberal-Democratic Party, of which he is president, is sympathetic with polytheistic traditions and has strongly insisted that Yasukuni again fall under state control. (The Japanese constitution dictates separation of religion and politics and, since World War II, the Yasukuni Shrine, which was to “enshrine, in principle, the war dead,” has existed as a religious corporation.)

The shrine has been the object of protests by Japanese churches for more than twenty years. Many churchmen participated in protest marches and hunger strikes in the early 1970s. But this year, controversy was particularly sharp.

Church leaders were upset by revelations of the enshrinement of Tojo and thirteen other “Class A” criminals of the war. One Christian told the Japan Times that the enshrinement “contributes to a revival of militarism and state Shintoism.”

Article continues below

And in spite of strong urgings by Christians that their prime minister refuse, in effect, to bow before other gods, Ohira, accompanied by white-robed and black-hatted priests, prayed for Japan’s 2.4 million war dead at the altar in the main worship hall, remaining in the shrine for at least twelve minutes.

One Japanese language newspaper said that “the Christian prime minister went through the ritual of washing his hands [a Shinto purification ceremony], was conducted by a Shinto priest through the oratory, worshiped at the main shrine building, and offered a sprig of the sacred tree at the altar.”

Some forty representatives of various Christian groups assembled on the shrine grounds and handed out leaflets protesting Ohira’s visit. They were kept away from the prime minister by lines of policemen. But their banners remained visible: “Don’t praise Class A war criminals” and “Prime Minister’s visit to the Shrine violates the Constitution.”

To many Christians, Ohira’s presence at the shrine indicated a betrayal of his faith: his wife is a Roman Catholic, and he refers to himself as a Protestant Christian from youth. The following day, some pastors prayed from their pulpits for forgiveness for their nation. Some wept. “We don’t know what else to do,” one pastor said, “except ask again, and give thanks for mercy on Japan.”

The Shinto sanctuary was established in 1869 by Emperor Meiji as a place where the nation could revere those who died for their country. The shrine differs from Arlington National Cemetary in the U.S.: syncretistic Buddhist-Shinto teaching deifies deceased persons, encouraging their worship by sharing patrons.

Prime ministers have claimed they visited the shrine in a private capacity (while they signed the register as prime minister) in order to sidestep the constitutional ban. Ohira said the same—a political plus, no doubt, but also a minus in the religious realm.

Until the end of World War II, Yasukuni Shrine was controlled by the Imperial Army and Navy to strengthen Japanese militarism, since enshrinement at Yasukuni was the greatest honor servicemen could receive.


Black Evangelicals
Moving from Protesting On to Producing

A new national magazine aimed at black evangelical Christians may soon be a reality, according to John Perkins, president of Voice of Calvary Ministries (VOC) in Jackson, Mississippi. Speaking at the sixteenth annual meeting of the National Black Evangelical Association (NBEA) in Atlanta, Perkins said such a magazine is “long overdue” because white Christian magazines give “limited” coverage to activities in the black community. “We need a magazine that tells the story of our people, that speaks to their needs, and that will draw us together in the unity of our faith.”

Article continues below

Perkins said such a high-quality magazine would provide a Christian perspective on issues that affect the black community, profile dynamic black Christian laypersons and leaders, and call people to be faithful to the Word of God.

Though the proposed magazine is intended for a black audience, Perkins emphasized that its uniqueness would attract white Christians who are interested in racial reconciliation and understanding.

Perkins met privately earlier at the convention with a group of leaders, most of them black. Some of those leaders in the past had made proposals of their own for a black general interest Christian magazine—only to see their hopes dashed because of limited financial support.

This group decided to create an ad hoc committee and task force that will draw up plans for developing a magazine format, raising finances, forming a board, and doing market research. The magazine is expected to be launched next year.

Perkins’s proposal was particularly appropriate since it underscored pragmatically the second prong of a three-pronged NBEA convention theme—“Mandate ’79, To the Masses: Proclamation, Communication, Liberation.”

A few weeks before the delegates arrived in Atlanta, a fire swept through the original convention site, forcing a last-minute switch to another facility. But this didn’t reduce the attendance. More than 600 conferees (400 delegates) heard major addresses by evangelist Tom Skinner; George McKinney, a San Diego pastor; and James Massey, voice of the Church of God (Anderson, Indiana) weekly radio broadcast.

Skinner challenged the delegates to get a “clear-cut vision of what God’s agenda is for black people,” and to rid themselves of the “survivalist” mentality—a mentality that fails to do any long-range planning. “We must be people of longevity … and people of excellence,” he said. McKinney said evangelism must be a priority for the church. “The Great Commission is not the Great Suggestion,”he said. Massey presented ideas on how to communicate effectively.

Women, a number of whom sit on the NBEA board, played a prominent role in this year’s conference. Two of them, Ruth Bentley, director of support systems at the University of Illinois Medical Center, and Etta Ladson, head of the African Christian Teachers Association in Long Island, New York, were featured speakers. Bentley urged the delegates to stay in the inner city and work for the holistic liberation of the black community.

Article continues below

Charging that the dominant culture used Scripture to oppress blacks, Ladson, the closing night banquet speaker, called on blacks to develop “a biblical theology that frees everybody and oppresses no one”—a theology that includes females as well as males. “God’s messengers must be both males and females,” she added.

Ladson’s remarks ruffled some of the more conservative delegates who feel women should not be preachers. They privately criticized her speech, but apparently were in the minority: the banquet audience gave her a standing ovation.

There was a wide array of workshops geared to provide resources and information to enhance the ministries and services of NBEA members. In the theology workshop, chaired by NBEA vice-president Anthony Evans, NBEA board chairman William Bentley delivered a position paper that provoked spirited, though not rancorous, debate. Bentley contended that black evangelical theology is “as grounded in the Scriptures and as valid as any of the Euro-American versions of theology.” A workshop dealing with creative prison ministries featured Calvin and Mary Lucas, the first husband and wife chaplaincy team at Cook County Jail in Chicago.

As was the case last year, a number of predominately white parachurch and educational organizations sent staff members, both black and white, to the convention. Black staff members of at least three of these organizations were program participants. Crawford Loritts, an Atlanta Campus Crusade for Christ evangelist, was a featured speaker. Glandion Carney, national director for urban development for Youth For Christ, and Nadine Smith, Wheaton College assistant dean for minority affairs, were workshop leaders.

At a special seminar for ministers, Joseph Lowery, president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), spoke on the implications of the Jonestown tragedy. Lowery had visited Guyana to investigate the mass murder suicides.

In at least one respect, the fire proved beneficial to the NBEA—the change in location enabled NBEA officials to establish dialogue and relationships with those attending the National Conference of Black Mayors (NCBM) at the same hotel. Officials of the NBEA and the NCBM attended each other’s luncheons. President Jimmy Carter sent a special assistant, Jack H. Watson, to speak to the mayors and their guests.

Article continues below

According to NBEA’s national field director, Aaron Hamlin, the NBEA (originally called National Negro Evangelical Association) was formed in 1963 in Los Angeles by black evangelicals who wanted “a national medium of fellowship among themselves.” The need for fellowship was intensified because of the “ambiguous and uncertain acceptance of the white evangelical community.” Through its annual convention and local chapters, NBEA seeks to provide a forum where Christians—both blacks and whites—holding differing theological, social and political views, can find common biblical ground for fellowship and service.

Hamlin maintains that this year’s convention was “the best ever,” and comments from delegates confirmed that opinion. One said that the NBEA has now gone from “protest to production.”


White House Staff
Spirited Sermons to Ghosted Speeches

Other U.S. Presidents have prayed with clergymen—even asked them for moral and spiritual advice. But President Jimmy Carter has brought one on staff: R. L. “Bob” Maddox, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Calhoun, Georgia, began duties this month as a White House speechwriter.

“I can say right now that I won’t be writing sermons,” said Maddox in a telephone interview prior to leaving for Washington (perhaps to allay the fears of sleepy-eyed churchgoers who get enough preaching from the pulpit, let alone from their President). Instead, Maddox joins five others who write speeches, proclamations, and formal correspondence for Carter and the First Lady. His boss is Gerald Rafshoon, Carter’s director of communication and image-maker, who invited Maddox to accept the $37,000 a year post.

Maddox is a Carter acquaintance of many years. During the middle 1960s, Carter traveled on several occasions from nearby Plains to preach at Maddox’s Vienna, Georgia, Baptist Church. Later, Carter led a “rap session” for teen-agers who attended an Atlanta Baptist Church where Maddox was pastor.

There are other links. Carter’s press secretary Jody Powell is a Vienna native. And the President’s son Jack is a good friend of Maddox and regularly attends the 850-member Calhoun church; the two men’s wives spent a week together on the campaign trail for Carter in 1976.

More relevant to Maddox’s selection, however, was his writing experience. At Powell’s request, Maddox had drafted a speech given by President Carter in Atlanta to the Brotherhood Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). Later he wrote a speech Rosalynn Carter gave to delegates attending a family seminar held under the auspices of the SBC. At his own initiative, Maddox had submitted a draft for Carter’s speech on the signing last March of the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty. Maddox said Carter “drew heavily from my draft” for this speech on the White House lawn.

Article continues below

Maddox and his wife Linda both are graduates of Baylor University, and he has degrees from Southwestern Baptist Seminary and the Candler School of Theology in Atlanta. He has written three quarterlies for the Baptist Sunday School Board and a commentary on the Book of Acts.

The forty-two-year-old Georgian enjoys the transition from pulpit to politics: “It doesn’t take much of a reading of the Old Testament to see how much of the Lord’s activity was done in the political arena,” he said. “In my preaching and style of ministry, I have always had that kind of a marketplace, political arena flavor.”


More than 1,200 persons attended a testimonial dinner honoring Harold J. Ockenga in anticipation of his July retirement as president of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Speaker Billy Graham paid tribute to Ockenga, who is board chairman of CHRISTIANITY TODAY and a founder of the National Association of Evangelicals. The dinner also marked the fiftieth anniversary of Ockenga’s ordination; he was pastor for thirty-five years of Park Street Congregational Church in Boston prior to accepting the Gordon post in 1969.

John Gatu resigned as general secretary of the East African Presbyterian Church last month. Gatu, relatively young for retirement at age fifty-four, stepped down early, explaining that church leaders “should set an example by resigning their posts to give way to younger people instead of being forced to resign.” Gatu is chairman of the All Africa Conference of Churches; he stirred controversy in 1974 when he called for a temporary moratorium on Western missionaries going to Africa.

Everett Graffam last month resigned for health reasons as director of development for the World Evangelical Fellowship. Graffam accepted the post last fall, having resigned the previous June as executive director for eleven years of the World Relief Commission of the National Association of Evangelicals.

World Scene

A Caribbean accrediting association for theological schools was launched in Barbados in March by the six-year-old Caribbean Association of Bible Colleges. It will regulate standards and procedures for accreditation at both secondary and post-secondary levels. English, Spanish, and French language areas are represented.

Article continues below

A recent gathering of evangelical professional people was a first of its kind for Latin America. In Itaici, Brazil (outside Saõ Paulo), early this spring under International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (Inter-Varsity) sponsorship, some eighty-eight IFES alumni from ten Latin American countries grappled with the question of how to apply their faith to themselves and their families, their vocations, the church, and the state.

Conservative German evangelicals are again boycotting the Kirchentag, a bienniel day of Bible study, worship, discussions, and exhibitions, to be held next month in Nuremberg. Earlier it was thought that the “No Other Gospel” movement might cooperate this year, since the list of Kirchentag leaders includes more evangelicals than on the previous two occasions. But the movement backed off, expressing “great anxiety” about other participants who, it says, advocate radical biblical criticism, political socialism, group dynamics, and the antiracism program of the World Council of Churches. Conservatives in 1977 launched a kind of counter-Kirchentag—the annual “Church Days under the Word.”

Thousands of Muslims were killed in Chad amid rumors that the new government there would force conversion to Islam of the southern population—mostly animist and Christian. Rampaging tribal gangs, together with mutinous troops and police, killed Muslim merchants and moneylenders and their families in scattered areas of southern Chad. Estimates of the number of deaths ranged from 11,000 by Jesuit missionaries, to 1,000 by the United States State Department. Goukouni Oueddei, a Muslim tribal chief of northern Chad (mostly Muslim), became interim president.

New cracks in the Bamboo Curtain: several “showcase” churches in China are being reopened and repaired, according to Hong Kong newspapers. The Anglican Holy Trinity Cathedral in Shanghai, the old Roman Catholic Cathedral in Canton, and an unidentified church in Peking were mentioned.

New Zealanders finally have an evangelical radio station. After seventeen years of trying, Radio Rhema received permission to operate from Christchurch (“Rhema” is Greek for “word.”)

North American Scene

An admitted lesbian was dismissed from the staff of the United Methodist Women’s Division—but only after the division board voted to rescind its earlier decision that Joan Clark be retained. Clark, 32, a field staff worker in the Dallas region, initially had disclosed her homosexuality publicly as a way of fighting “homophobia” in the church, and had offered to resign. The women’s board refused by vote at their April convention to accept her resignation. But subsequent criticisms from various United Methodist officials caused the board to reconsider. The board voted days later in a special closed session to fire Clark.

Article continues below

The oldest Bible publishing firm in the United States—the A. J. Holman Company, founded in 1801—was purchased for $2.3 million earlier this month by the Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. The board is already heavily into book publishing through its Broadman Press imprint.

A bill that would have required Minnesota schools, including public colleges, to teach creation and evolution theories “with reasonably equal emphasis” was defeated in the state legislature. Representative Paul Aasness, Evangelical Free Church layman and author of the bill, blamed its defeat on “liberal theologians”: a dozen education and religious leaders testified against the bill—most cited its impracticality—before the House Education Committee.

Family Concern, a seventeen-year-old agency that conducts seminars and offers resource materials designed to strengthen the family unit, last month became a division of Youth For Christ International. YFC officials suggested the merger; YFC in recent years has broadened its outreach to include family, not just youth, programs.

An updated revision of the King James New Testament is to be published next month by Thomas Nelson. Over 100 evangelical scholars and churchmen spent four years on the project, substituting contemporary terms for words such as “thee,” and trying to preserve the original cadence of the King James. Project editor Arthur Farstad, a former teacher at Dallas Seminary, used the “majority text” concept. In his own words, he accepts the view of a small number of scholars that “the Greek text used for the 1611 King James Version [the Textus Receptus] is, with only minor changes, the most accurate compilation available.” He rejects using “the few different but older manuscripts which have heavily influenced recent translations,” such as the New American Standard and the New International versions.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.