Key Washington pulpits saw abandonment of traditional year-end sermons in deference to delegates of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which held its 125th annual meeting in Washington, December 26–31.
At Washington Cathedral—“In thinking be mature,” Dr. Paul Tillich counselled 500 scientists. “Such an admonition one would hardly expect in the context of apostolic writing. But here it is [1 Cor. 14:20], appearing in the same letter of Paul in which he contrasts sharply the wisdom of the world with that foolishness of God which is wiser than the wisdom of men.”
Tillich, eminent Harvard University theologian, centered his guest sermon on the topic of mature thinking and what he continually referred to in approving terms as “divine foolishness.”
His definition of a “mature man”: “One who has reached his natural power of life and thought and is able to use it freely. He who is mature in thinking has not reached the end of his thinking, but he has reached the state in which the human power of thought is at his disposal.”
Having thus intimated that maturity is divorced from moral connotation or dimension, Tillich continued:
“[Christians] often bury their power of thought because they believe that radical thought conflicts with the divine foolishness which underlies all wisdom. But this is not so, certainly not for biblical thinking. Radical thought conflicts with human foolishness, with spiritual infancy, with ignorance, superstition and intellectual dishonesty.”
“The decisive step to maturity,” he said, “is the risk to break away from spiritual infancy with its protective traditions and guiding authorities. Without a ‘no’ to authority, there is no maturity. This ‘no’ need not be rebellious, arrogant, destructive. As long as it is so, it indicates immaturity.
According to Tillich, “the way to maturity in thinking is the hard way. Much must be left behind: early dreams, poetic imaginations, cherished legends, favored doctrines, accustomed laws and ritual traditions. Some of them must be regained on a deeper level, some must be given up. But for this price, maturity can be gained, a manly, self-critical, convincing faith, not produced by reasoning, but reasonable and at the same time rooted in the message of the divine foolishness, the ultimate source of wisdom.
Tillich’s arguments, some observers noted, prompt such questions: What are the norms of a reasonable faith? Why not gain maturity by saying “no” to Tillich’s idea of maturity?
His concluding assertions: “The divine foolishness of thought and the divine foolishness of life are united in the symbol of Christmas: God in the infant, God as infant, anticipating and preparing the symbol of Good Friday—God in the condemned slave, God as the condemned slave.”
At National Presbyterian Church—Dr. Edward L. R. Elson, minister at the stately house of worship frequented by President Eisenhower, began his “Science Sunday” sermon with a reading:
What, though in solemn silence all
Move round this dark terrestrial ball?
And though no real voice nor sound
Amid the radiant orbs be found?
In reason’s ear they all rejoice
And utter forth a glorious voice:
Forever singing as they shine
The hand that made us is divine.
“Now we may have to revise that hymn—or reinterpret it,” said Elson. “During the past week an orb made not by divine hands but by American hands has been circling round this ‘terrestrial ball.’ And there was a ‘real voice’ and ‘sound’ emitted from the orb. It was the sound of a man’s voice—the voice of a man who last Sunday sat in this church.”
“Whatever else this fantastic phenomenon suggests,” Elson continued, “it surely underscores the dominant feature of our age—the spectacular triumph of applied science.”
With little more introduction, Elson was driving a point across: “All science is based ultimately upon faith. To suppose that science simply begins by inquiring, wholly without presuppositions, is to be naive indeed. For one thing, all scientific work, including all experimentation, rests upon moral foundations. Science, as we know it, would be quite impossible apart from a tremendous and overarching concern for honesty.”
“If all men need faith,” he added, “and if scientists need it with especial urgency, it is highly important to be selective in our faith.”
Echoing Elton Trueblood’s The Yoke of Christ, Elson suggested a faith which (1) produces genuine humility, (2) involves trust in what is permanent, (3) speaks to the whole man, and (4) meets the tests of intellectual integrity.
“The work of a scientist,” Elson said, “takes on a great new seriousness if he is a believer, because then he is not really inventing; he is discovering. The ideas are not merely the puny efforts of his own mind, but represent the thoughts which were before the world was made, and will be when the world is gone.”
At St. Matthew’s Cathedral—The Right Rev. Msgr. William J. McDonald, rector of Catholic University, said “the Christian” will welcome each scientific advance “because he knows that every spark of knowledge is an additional ray of light reflected in the mirror of creation.”
‘In The Beginning God’
The convening of the 86th Congress was reverently marked by a 45-minute communion service at National Presbyterian Church and chaplains’ invocations in the Senate and House.
President Eisenhower and Vice President Nixon led a party of government dignitaries present for the 8 a.m. service at the church, which was nearly filled.
After the benediction Eisenhower, walking briskly and nodding smilingly to worshipers in aisle seats, went to the door with Dr. Theophilus M. Taylor, moderator of the United Presbyterian General Assembly, who was among clergymen officiating at the communion table.
In the Senate, Dr. Frederick Brown Harris prayed God “to give humility, understanding, and the grace of receptivity to those who in thy name and for the nation’s sake in this hallowed chamber are entrusted by the people with the solemn responsibility of governance.”
Dr. Bernard Braskamp began the House session by quoting Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning God.” He then asked God to grant that “all our citizens may invoke the blessings of thy grace and favor upon our chosen representatives” and concluded with recitation of the Lord’s Prayer.
Methodist Bishop G. Bromley Oxnam was reported recuperating early this month at his apartment in the Methodist Building, in the shadow of the Capitol. Oxnam suffered a concussion and a broken left arm in a traffic mishap in New York on the day before Christmas. He was confined to a New York hospital for five days and cancelled all January engagements.
Oxnam was hurt as he and his wife alighted from a cab. His overcoat was caught in the cab door and the vehicle pulled away, throwing him to the pavement and dragging him 10 feet before the driver realized what had happened.
The Oxnams had planned a family reunion Christmas. The Oxnam children, their wives and husband, and seven grandchildren were present in the home of their son, Robert, president of Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.
Illegitimacy In Washington
Unwed mothers account for nearly one out of every five live births in the District of Columbia!
Negroes are responsible for some 75 per cent of illegitimate babies, a Washington Health Department doctor notes. He adds, however, that latest available statistics also show illegitimate pregnancies among the Washington white population to be the highest of any comparable city in the nation.
And of 185 pregnancies reported in the District of Columbia public school system recently, 129 were in junior high schools!
All figures given are based on firsthand evidence, but they present the problem conservatively. Officials are certain that there are many more illegitimate babies born who are not reported as such. The rate of abortions is also high.
The illegitimacy statistics for the District of Columbia were publicized last month as the result of a report prepared by Dr. John R. Pate, director of the city’s Southwest Health Center.
Pate said the most current statistics indicate that about 37 per cent of unwed mothers are teen-agers. Most pregnancies occur among girls in the lowest socioeconomic group.
Federal figures point up Washington’s problem even more sharply. According to the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, out of 34 states reporting the legitimacy status on the birth record, the city of Washington totals surpassed 20 of them.
Among whites in Washington, most recent totals reveal 48.7 illegitimate pregnancies per 1,000 live births or 4.9 per cent, twice the rate for this group on a nation-wide basis. In the non-white group, while not the highest, the illegitimate birth ratio was 268.7 per 1,000 live births or 26.9 per cent. This makes a combined average for both race groupings of 185.7 per 1,000.
“A clinic setting doesn’t seem to be the right environment nor clinic personnel the proper individuals to moralize, sermonize or sit in judgment in these problems,” Pate said. “But surely there must be some way to reach these young people and we must find it.”
The doctor added:
“It must be emphasized that creating life is a right but that every right implies a responsibility, every opportunity an obligation and every possession a duty.
“In some areas of the nation, for example, cities in the Far West and Far Northeast, the statistics are not nearly so staggering as those we find here in this area and especially in cities in the South and along the Middle Atlantic seacoast. It may be that social patterns in other areas are different or their opportunities and interests have different goals and different methods of expression.” (Since government jobs attract many from distant places, Washington is a city of lonely women exposed to special temptations.)
Pate did not pin down proposed solutions, but he did emphasize the need for clergy cooperation if the “deplorable situation” is to be alleviated.
While Pate did not criticize the work of churches, his report represents an implicit indictment of clergy and laity alike in the Washington area. Many Christians will see that the widespread immorality indicates lack of adequate propagation of Gospel principles.
Formally unrelated to the Washington report but indirectly akin are statements by two national leaders of the Evangelical Lutheran Church last month.
Dr. Conrad M. Thompson, evangelism director, charged that many congregations are concerned only with their “beautiful sanctuaries” instead of the souls of men outside the church.
Dr. Philip S. Dybvig, home missions director, described Americans as “largely ignorant” of the meaning of true Christian righteousness. He blamed the situation on a “do-goodism stemming from a humanistic unchristian zeal for religion.”
Both leaders made their observations in reports to the Home Missions Board of their church in Minneapolis.
Thompson said emphasis on organization and activities in local congregations tend to make people satisfied that “all is well with our souls.”
Too many pastors, he claimed, lack the proper urgency in their preaching with the result that “the line of demarcation between the lost and the saved is rubbed out.”
He called for a clear interpretation by pastors to laymen of the theology and meaning of “the priesthood of believers—the role of the layman in person-to-person witnessing and in his vocation.”
Dr. Dybvig urged increased emphasis on a cardinal Lutheran tenet, the doctrine of “justification by faith, without the works of the law.”
To stem the “contrary winds of humanism,” he challenged pastors to “delineate more clearly between law and Gospel, and thus help our people to that true and abiding peace which comes only when we know Christ as our Saviour.”
Views In The News
Retiring president Warren C. Young told delegates to the 10th annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society that they “will best be fulfilling its (the society’s) function when the sincere efforts of others are evaluated in an atmosphere unclouded by theological witch hunting.”
“Let us strive as brethren in Christ,” said Young, professor at Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in Chicago, “to judge the efforts of others in the spirit of love which should motivate all the work of Jesus Christ.”
Delegates to the meeting voted to extend the scope of the professional society of evangelical scholars and theologians by establishing a new “section” to cover Middle Atlantic States. Prior to the society’s meeting December 30–31 at Nyack Missionary College, 25 miles north of New York City on the Hudson River, the group had “sections” in New England, the Midwest, South, and Far West. The new regional division will be known as the “Eastern Section.”
In addition to a national convention held annually by the society, which now includes 495 active members, each regional division sponsors yearly meetings. Membership is open “to all evangelicals who subscribe annually to the doctrinal basis: ‘The Bible alone, and the Bible in its entirety, is the Word of God written and therefore inerrant in the autographs.’ ”
Young’s address, entitled “Whither Evangelicalism?” noted that “if, as we search for truth, we do err, let others be ready to point out the nature of the error and so lead one another back to the center of our evangelical faith. If we shall aid one another in this way we shall make real advances for the cause of Christ and we shall not deviate far, nor long, from that normative center which should always be our goal. Let us strive to know as best we can the truth that is found in the Christian gospel and to relate it to a constantly changing world.”
Delegates voted to dress up the ETS quarterly bulletin, and it was announced that the third in the society’s “Monograph Series” would soon be released—a volume entitled Darius the Mede, by John C. Whitcomb, Jr.
Highlighting the sessions was a panel discussion with four papers on “Early Chapters of Genesis.” Other papers presented at the convention included these titles: “An Excursion with Ginomai,” “Communism and Religion in the United States,” “The Coptic Gnostic Texts from Nag Hammudi,” “The Imminent Appearing of Christ,” “Rudolf Bultmann’s Concept of Myth,” “Moses Amyraldus and His Hypothetical Universalism,” “Justification and Regeneration in the Theology of John Witherspoon,” and “The Soteriology of Karl Barth.”
A Missionary’S Indignation
“The Inn of the Sixth Happiness” caught imaginations of many a U. S. movie-goer this month, but the courageous woman missionary whose adventuresome life the film depicts was still indignant.
Miss Gladys Aylward, who is in Formosa and has yet to see the film, protests (1) failure of 20th Century-Fox to show her the script, (2) selection of Ingrid Bergman for the leading role, and (3) producers’ use of romance in the story.
Miss Aylward says she has received detailed reports of the picture from friends. She says the reports indicate that the film story has inaccuracies.
There is evidence that with gross distortion of facts, U. S. Communists may be exploiting the Cleveland World Order Study Conference’s recommendation that Red China be recognized by the United States and admitted to the U. N.
The Communist Worker, published every Sunday in New York, came out in its November 30 edition with this headline: 38 MILLION PROTESTANTS TELL IKE: RECOGNIZE CHINA. The text beneath referred to 600 Cleveland conferees as “spokesmen for 38,000,000 church-goers.”
Actually, the 600 conferees were not spokesmen for constituent churches of the National Council of Churches, under whose sponsorship the meeting was held, and have never claimed to be!
The Worker also used the situation to observe, with no basis in fact, that conference speakers reflected “the growing will of our populace to achieve a genuine policy of peaceful co-existence with the socialist orbit of the world.”
Meanwhile in Formosa, representatives of 57 Christian churches and missionary organizations throughout Free China, in a special meeting at Taipei last month, voiced opposition to the conference’s recommendations. Those who attended the meeting voted to send cables to the National Council of Churches in New York, the United Nations, and to President Eisenhower. Text of the cables:
“With very deep sorrow we have learned of the recommendations of the World Order Study Conference advocating the recognition of Red China and its admission into the United Nations. This we believe to be terribly misguided judgment which the church of Christ throughout the world should reject.
“We, the responsible leaders of the Christian churches of the Republic of China, hold to the divine commission for the preservation of truth and righteousness. We unitedly oppose atheistic communism and pray for the recovery of the Christian churches on the mainland of China.
“We present to you the following requests: Immediate rejection of the recommendation that America recognize Red China and allow its entrance into the United Nations and further that you repudiate the entire letter of the World Order Study Conference; that you hold fast our Christian truth and faith and refuse absolutely to compromise with atheistic communism which is persecuting believers and destroying churches. We should realize that world communism under the leadership of Soviet Russia will not stop with the conquest of the mainland of China and this area of the world. Their final objective is the communizing of the entire world including the United States. Unless we immediately stop this evil we will be lost beyond remedy.
“In the spirit of Christian love, we solemnly warn you not to compromise with godless communism nor to cooperate or seek to co-exist with it. The will of God is clearly revealed in the Bible, 2 Cor. 6:14–17. We look forward to your reply and count on you to reject the resolution of the World Order Study Conference.”
The cables were signed by Hou Tien-Ming, acting president of the Chinese Christian Association.
[In Washington, a deluge of mail flooded CHRISTIANITY TODAY offices in response to a request that readers voice their views on (1) whether the United States should recognize Red China, and (2) whether the United Nations should admit the Peking regime. (See December 22 issue.)—ED.]
Calvin Memorial Year
A number of significant books are scheduled for publication this year in connection with the 450th anniversary of the birth of John Calvin and the 400th anniversary of the final edition of his epoch-making Institutes of the Christian Religion. These are among volumes which are to appear in 1959, now being called “Calvin Memorial Year”:
Thine Is My Heart, devotional readings from the writings of Calvin, compiled by John H. Kromminga. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.
Life and Teachings of John Calvin, by John H. Bratt. Grand Rapids: Baker.
John Calvin—Contemporary Prophet, edited by Jacob T. Hoogstra. Grand Rapids: Baker.
Tracts and Treatises on the Reformation of the Church, The Henry Beveridge Edition, with historical notes and introduction by T. F. Torrance. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.
Calvin’s Doctrine of the Knowledge of God, by T. H. Parker. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.
The Rise and Development of Calvinism, edited by John H. Bratt. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.
John Calvin, by Albert-Marie Schmidt. New York: Harpers.
S. C. M. Press of London will offer a new translation of the Institutes edited by John T. McNeill. The same translation will be made available in the United States by The Westminster Press of Philadelphia in 1960.
Doubleday is scheduling for 1960 a volume by Edward A. Dowey, Jr. representing a translation of key extracts from Calvin’s work. The book’s introduction will tell of Calvin’s life and work.
Publication of two recently-discovered ancient manuscripts of the Gospel of John, one in Greek and the other in Coptic, were reported last month at the “American Textual Criticism Seminar,” held in New York in connection with the annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature.
One of the manuscripts contains the latter portion of John in Greek and dates from about 200 A.D. The other, with most of the Gospel in the Bohairic dialect of the Coptic language, was believed to have been written in the fourth century.
Their publication was announced by Dr. Bruce M. Metzger, professor of New Testament language and literature at Princeton Theological Seminary. He said the Greek fragments of John’s Gospel were published by the Bodmer Library of Geneva after it had acquired them from an antiquities dealer in Egypt. The text of the Bohairic Gospel of John, he reported, was published recently in Louvain, Belgium.
Metzger also disclosed acquisition of another ancient Coptic manuscript—the First Epistle of Peter in the Sahidic dialect-believed to date from the third century; and three-fourths of the Commentary of St. Ephraem on an Harmony of the Gospels which weaves together into one narrative the four separate gospels. The commentary is in the Syriac language and dates from about 500 A.D.
The epistle was obtained by the University of Mississippi and the commentary by Sir Chester Beatty, British collector of antiquities.
Harpers is adding an epilogue to its best-selling missionary volume, Through Gates of Splendor, by Elisabeth Elliot. The epilogue will consist of a brief chapter added in a new printing of the book.
Since writing the volume, Mrs. Elliot has made successful contacts with the Auca Indians of eastern Ecuador who killed her husband and four other young missionary men three years ago.
Toward A Billion
After five years of upturn, expenditures for construction of churches “and related facilities” leveled off, according to official government statistics.
But the prediction is for about a 10 per cent increase in 1959, which would send the total toward the billion-dollar mark. Last year an estimated 865 million dollars went into the construction category which the Departments of Commerce and Labor label “religious.” The total thus fell slightly short of 1957, when a record of 868 million dollars was set. The government figures generally are recognized as the best available, though federal statisticians admit they cannot be precise about construction of churches. Totals given for church construction actually include funds expended for specially-constructed cemetery vaults, mausoleums, crematories and funeral parlors, as well as for churches, Sunday Schools, seminaries, mission houses, and novitiate buildings. Government spokesmen say, however, that the costs added by the burial-related statistics are “virtually infinitesimal.”
The figures do not represent the sum of completed construction projects. They are based on contract awards as reported to the government by the F. W. Dodge Corporation. Experts judge how long individual jobs will take, then estimate accordingly. Predictions are based on current trends.
Despite qualifications, church construction expenditure totals as released by the government do provide year-by-year indications of the amount of religious building, especially when adjusted against rising costs (see chart below).
In 1959, church construction is expected to take about a dollar out of every 55, or slightly less than 2 per cent of the total U. S. outlay for new biuldings. Over-all U. S. construction this year may reach one billion dollars a week, a total of $52,300,000,000.
Construction by nonpublic schools and private colleges, many of which are church-related, will also set a record in 1959, the government forecasts. New buildings valued at $600,000,000 will be built by these educational institutions, the forecast says, compared with $565,000,000 last year and $525,000,000 in 1957.
Construction by private hospitals, homes for the aged, and other institutions, many of which are also church-related, will maintain about the same record level in 1959, according to the government. Building activities in this field were estimated at $605,000,000 for 1958, compared with $525,000,000 in 1957.
Cathedral Of Tomorrow
With World War II and its travel difficulties past, the Humbard evangelistic party looked to increased opportunities of service. But the touring musical family had hardly realized their new beginning when fire swept a public auditorium in Daytona Beach, Florida, where they were holding meetings. Virtually all possessions were lost, including $20,000 in musical instruments and a truck used to haul them.
But from that setback came a determination to preach the “old-fashioned Gospel” as never before. And within a decade, the oldest of the Humbard children was heading up one of the most ambitious church building programs in U. S. history. The result was one of the world’s largest and most modern church buildings, completed last year at a cost of some $2,500,000. The church, called the Cathedral of Tomorrow, draws in three Sunday services an aggregate of 12,000 worshippers. Two other buildings are planned for the site in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, a suburb of Akron. Plans also include regular national network telecasts from the cathedral’s built-in studio-type facilities.
It all started with a 17-day evangelistic campaign in Akron little more than six years ago. It was a campaign much like hundreds of others the Rev. Rex Humbard had led in 17 years of touring America. But after the meetings were over, Humbard recalls that “the Lord began to speak to me about staying in Akron to start a permanent work.” A state charter was obtained for an interdenominational assembly, and attendance at temporary quarters soared.
The talented Humbards are known for selections of the “country music” variety. A brother still tours with a musical party. The father now pastors a church in Hot Springs, Arkansas.
Some churchmen criticize the interdenominational approach of the Humbards, while others (e.g. American and Southern Baptist, Nazarene, and Assembly of God) have at times sponsored their campaigns.
Still to be built on the 21-acre Humbard tract in Akron are a chapel and a library. The Cathedral of Tomorrow, which took two and a half years to complete, was dedicated last May 26.
Almost a million dollars of the $2,500,000 spent on the cathedral’s construction has been paid.
Morning, afternoon, and evening services are held in the cathedral each Sunday. Average attendance at Sunday School and the other three meetings is about 4,000. Mid-week services draw about 2,000. Telecasts are now carried locally, but Humbard hopes eventually to extend coverages to a large network. On New Year’s eve, six stations carried more than seven hours of telecasts from the cathedral.
Humbard has four ministerial associates including a brother-in-law, the Rev. Wayne Jones. Others are the Rev. Jackie Burris, the Rev. Will Chandler, and the Rev. George Pryor.
The cathedral’s main sanctuary is built like an auditorium, and has seats for 5,400. Another 2,300 can be accommodated when the glass fronts of adjoining classrooms are opened. There are 154 Sunday School rooms in all.
The giant structure features a dome made of glued laminated arches which provide a main auditorium free of posts.
At one end of the auditorium is a 168-foot stage with mechanically operated curtains. A speaker’s stage, 25 feet wide, rises on a hydraulic lift, as does a television camera located in an aisle. The lectern-pulpit is equipped for radio and television broadcasting.
Upstairs there is a nursery with 200 beds, a toddlers’ room, and youth rooms.
A prayer room beneath the stage accommodates 750 worshippers, and a chapel for smaller congregations is open 24 hours a day.
Dominion Of Canada
Mission In Toronto
The United Church of Canada is planning a new $950,000 building to replace Toronto’s Fred Victor Mission.
The new building will house a church, a home for the aged, accommodations for transients, and a plant for good-will industries. It will occupy the space now taken up by the old building, which is being demolished, and an adjoining lot. Some $600,000 of the cost will be borne by the United Church Home Missions Council. Another $150,000 will be available from the present mission’s building fund, and the Province of Ontario will help to finance the home for the aged section.
The new Fred Victor Mission will accommodate 60 aged men and beds for 110 transients.
Anglicans And Union
Christian unity should be dear to the hearts of most Canadian Anglicans, but not at the price of division in another realm, the first edition of the new-format Canadian Churchman asserts.
“Of what advantage would it be,” the editorial asks, “to become part of a great national church if it should mean separation from a world-wide communion embracing customs and tradition of often wider divergence?”
Entitled “Time Is Not Yet,” the editorial was written by the Rev. A. Gordon Baker, editor and general manager of the monthly, official organ of the Anglican Church of Canada.
The clergyman asked why there seemed to be so much consternation over the apparent failure of union negotiations between the Anglican Church and the United Church of Canada. Merger discussions between the two bodies, initiated by the Anglicans about 15 years ago, have been at a standstill for some time.
The new Canadian Churchman is a semi-tabloid publication with 12 five-column pages. Inside are church news, book reviews and a children’s section.
Republic Of Korea
Faith Or Fraud?
Park Tae-sun, Korea’s best known faith-healing leader, was in a Seoul prison this month on charges of “fraud and intimidation.” He had been investigated by civil authorities for three months about fatalities allegedly connected with his “praying message.” Park’s chief accuser, Kim Sung-kon, charges the faith-healing leader with a real-estate swindle and with responsibility for seven deaths. Park allegedly advised against medical treatment.
Buddhism in Ceylon is realizing profit from last May’s communal riots between majority Buddhist Sinhalese and minority Hindu Tamils. The Tamils suffered much more property loss and probably the greater part of the fatalities (officially estimated at 158 but commonly believed to be much greater). Among relatively small property losses sustained by the Sinhalese was the destruction of two Buddhish temples in the northern part of Ceylon. One of the temples, located at Nagadeepa, was particularly sacred to Buddhists. Governor General Sir Oliver Goonetileke, fearful of Buddhist uprisings, had promptly ordered government workers to restore the Nagadeepa temple.
Observers report that not only has the temple compound been restored, but a new house for the priest and an electric generating plant have been thrown in for good measure by the government. Officials say that Ceylon should thus make up for the favoritism which they claim has been shown to other religions by foreign governments of the past.
The government of Ceylon regularly subsidizes Buddhism in various ways despite a small but respectable minority of priests who decry government aid and warn that such aid will bring more harm than good.
Ban Hit Again
A three-year-old national ban on commercial showing of the film Martin Luther was assailed anew last month by the Philippine Federation of Christian Churches, which urged President Carlos P. Garcia to lift the restraint.
This move was dictated by a decision of the federation’s executive committee to use the Luther movie to raise $5,000 for the 10th World Jamboree of Boy Scouts to be held in the Philippines next July. The amount was allocated by the Boy Scouts of the Philippines as the Protestants’ share in the drive for Jamboree expense funds.
In a letter to President Garcia, the Church group’s president, Dr. Gumersindo Garcia (no relation) said the request was made because exhibition of the feature-length film in Protestant churches “where facilities are very limited was never satisfactory.”
Charging that Protestants had been discriminated against by the ban, the federation head said, “We can find no reason whatsoever to allow pictures of banditry and gangsterism, and those which arouse the bestial passions of men, and disallow the showing of a film like this which portrays great strength of character and heroism.”
The ban was imposed in March 1955 by 11 members of the 12-man Philippine Board of Review for Motion Pictures, a government agency. All the reviewers are Roman Catholics. Because the twelfth member protested vigorously and appealed the order to the late President Ramon Magsaysay a compromise was reached whereby the film could be shown exclusively within the confines of Protestant churches.
Seven Americans were among 85 delegates and observers on hand last month for a week-long Asian conference sponsored by the World Student Christian Federation in Rangoon, Burma.
Purpose of the conference was to discuss the life and mission of the Church in the Asian countries. The countries and areas represented included Burma, Ceylon, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Okinawa, Malaya, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, Korea and Thailand.
Among countries which sent observers to the conference were the United States, Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Argentina, Cuba, Ethiopia, Iran, Kenya, Lebanon and Nigeria.
The delegates and observers were welcomed by Dr. Hla Bu, Cabinet Minister for Burma’s Kachin State and chairman of the Burma Christian Council.
The American participants in the conference were the Rev. Charles Long, WSCF secretary in Geneva, Switzerland; the Rev. John White, Disciples of Christ student worker; Delmar Wedel, YMCA Student Department Secretary in Japan; Robert Bates, WSCF Southeast Asia secretary, whose headquarters are in Ceylon; and two student delegates.
Top 10 Religion Stories
Religious Newswriters Association, made up of newspaper religion editors of many faiths, conducted a poll of members and came up with this version of the top 10 religion stories of 1958:
1. The death of Pope Pius XII and the election of Pope John XXIII.
2. New moves by the nation’s church bodies against segregation.
3. Death of Cardinal Mooney and Cardinal Stritch and the elevation of Cardinal Cushing and Cardinal O’Hara.
4. News in which birth control principles figured.
5. World Order Study Conference of the National Council of Churches.
6. Merger of the Presbyterian Church in the U. S. A. with the United Presbyterian Church of North America.
7. Election of Arthur C. Lichtenberger as presiding bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church.
8. Statement of bishops at last summer’s Lambeth Conference in London.
9. Demands of Protestants and Other Americans United that Catholic presidential candidates answer three questions on public schools and representation in the Vatican.
10. Dismissal of 13 professors at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky.
Selection of the story on segregation cited declarations by United Presbyterians, Episcopalians, and Roman Catholics.
On birth control, the Lambeth Conference view and the New York hospital controversy were specifically mentioned by the RNA poll.
Top item of interest to the World Order Conference was the recommendation for U. S. recognition of Red China and its admission to the United Nations.
Of the three questions referred to relative to the POAU demands, the editors said, the one which aroused the most interest was:
Do you approve or disapprove of your (Catholic) church’s directive (Canon 1374) to American Catholic parents to boycott our public schools unless they receive special permission from their bishops?
The other questions would ask (1) the candidate’s position on Catholic bishops’ denunciation of the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the religion clause of the First Amendment, and (2) his policy concerning appointment of an envoy to the Vatican.
• A $4,000,000 training school of Gospel radio and television technique will be established in Atlanta, Georgia, in honor of Dr. E. Stanley Jones, veteran Methodist missionary evangelist and author. The school, to be known as the E. Stanley Jones Institute of Communicative Arts, will serve as a teaching affiliate of the Protestant Radio and TV Center of Emory University.
• Sister Georgina, member of the Order of Notre Dame de Sion, is enrolled as a student at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, first nun ever to matriculate there.
• American religious and voluntary organizations contributed $128,769,000 worth of relief and rehabilitation supplies to needy persons overseas during the fiscal year 1958, according to the Department of State.
• The executive committee of the Southern Baptist Convention has approved for submission to the next session a 1960 record budget of $18,500,000, an increase of $1,000,000 over the 1959 budget.
• The City Council of St. Thomas, Ontario, unanimously passed a resolution last month which called for provincial legislation to authorize physicians to order blood transfusions to save a child’s life “despite the objections of parents or guardians on religious grounds.” The action was instigated by the death of a Canadian youngster after his parents, Jehovah Witnesses, refused to permit blood transfusions to be given him.
• As the first step toward establishment of a Lutheran college in Toronto, the Canadian district of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod is sponsoring a 250-seat chapel on the campus of the University of Toronto, which already includes one United Church, one Presbyterian and two Anglican church colleges.
• The Protestant Council of the City of New York says non-whites comprise more than 55 per cent of the estimated 960,000 Protestants who are active church members in the five boroughs of New York City.
• A group of Protestant churchmen met in New York last month to plan a series of network television programs and to discuss what theological issues could and should be presented on TV. The meeting was sponsored by the United Church of Christ Office of Communication for the National Council of Churches’ Broadcasting and Film Commission. It was reportedly the first time that pastors and theologians took an active part in planning a TV network religious series. The programs will be televised on the NBC-TV’s “Frontiers of Faith.”
• Closed circuit television is helping a number of overcrowded churches across America. One such is the Brookdale Baptist Church in Bloomfield, New Jersey, where some 500 regularly attend the sanctuary service while another 200 take part via the TV screen in a downstairs auditorium.
• The Federal Communications Commission granted a construction permit last month to Moody Bible Institute of Chicago for a new standard broadcasting station to be operated at East Moline, Illinois, 150 miles west of Chicago.
• Some 23,000,000 Baptists in more than 100 countries were urged to offer prayers on February 1 for world peace, religious freedom, and evangelism in a special message issued in Washington by the Baptist World Alliance. The plea was made in connection with Baptist World Alliance Sunday, February 1, when the alliance marks its 54th anniversary as an international fellowship of Baptists.
• A twelfth century copy of the Hel-marshausen Latin Gospels and Eusebian Canons was purchased in London last month by a New York dealer. The price, highest sterling amount ever paid at auction for a rare manuscript, was $109,200.
• Mary Johnston Hospital in Manila, built in 1908 through a gift from a Methodist layman in the United States, marked its golden jubilee last month at ceremonies attended by church and civic leaders. It is the oldest Protestant hospital in the Philippines.
People: Words And Events
Deaths: Dr. Alvin W. Johnson, 63, retired world director of the Seventh-day Adventist Religious Liberty Association, in St. Helena, California … Dr. Tillman M. Sogge, 55, chairman of the Joint Lutheran Union Committee, in Northfield, Minnesota … Dr. R. L. M. Waugh, 65, former president of the Methodist Church in Ireland, in Belfast … Dr. William W. Sweet, 77, Methodist educator and church historian, in Dallas … Dr. W. Graham Scroggie, British Bible teacher.
Elections: As president of the Canadian Lutheran Council, Dr. Albert G. Jacobi … as Lutheran bishop of Harnosand, Sweden, Dr. Ruben Josef-son … as executive secretary of the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana, E. Harmon Moore … as president of the Evangelical Theological Society, Professor Gilbert H. Johnson; as vice president and program-arrangements chairman, Dr. Allen A. MacRae … as Bishop of the Eastern District of the Slovak Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Czechoslovakia, Dr. Stefan Katlovsky.
Appointments: As circulation manager of CHRISTIANITY TODAY, Roland E. Kuniholm … as secretary of the Commission on Theology of Mission (WCC-IMC), Dr. David H. Stowe … as president of the society of Biblical Literature and Exegesis, Robert M. Grant … as vice-president-at-large with World Vision, Inc., Dr. Paid S. Rees … as business manager of Youth for Christ International, Peter Quist.
Resignations: As president of the Danubian district of the Hungarian Reformed Church, Dr. Albert Bereczky … as executive secretary of the Southern Baptist Education Commission, R. Orin Cornett.
Retirement: From the Anglican primacy of Canada, Archbishop Walter Foster Barfoot.
Award: To Dr. Clarence Sherman Gillett, the Fifth Order of the Sacred Treasure by Japan, in recognition of 30 years service to the people of the Japanese nation.
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