What are the attitudes toward Negro students at evangelical colleges and Bible schools in North America?

In a survey conducted by CHRISTIANITY TODAY, twenty-six such institutions in the United States and two in Canada were asked to describe their admission policy on North American Negroes.

Of the twenty-three that replied, seventeen chose to say, “We admit qualified Negroes if they apply to us.”

Three checked the answer: “We admit qualified Negroes and pursue an active program aimed at attracting both white and Negro students to our campus.”

Two schools wrote in their own answers, both indicating open policies, and one school checked the answer: “We admit qualified Negro students but heretofore have not done very much to attract them or encourage them. We are concerned about the general low Negro enrollment in Christian institutions and seek ways to meet the problem.”

The schools were also asked: “To what extent do Negro students mix with white students? Does an integrated student body create problems on campus?” Here are some of the answers:

“General socialization excellent. Mixed racial dating prohibited.” “Negro students say they feel accepted on our campus.” “There is free mingling. All participate in all activities.” “Dating is the biggest issue. Culturally, most whites are not ready to accept ‘mixed’ marriages.”

Other schools indicated that race problems were either minimal or non-existent. And, in general, the questionnaires give the impression of an evangelical academic world that is uniformly agreed on the main issue of accepting or not accepting the Negro on campus, though not unanimous on inter-racial dating, courtship, and marriage.

The survey also indicated that the Negro is welcomed on campus after admission, gets elected to important campus offices, and generally participates freely in campus life.

In this serene picture there is at least one major flaw: Only a handful of Negroes are enrolled in evangelical schools. CHRISTIANITY TODAY’S questionnaire revealed that at the twenty-three responding schools, some eighty-seven Negroes were enrolled last year. By way of contrast, the twenty-eight schools queried have an estimated enrollment of 22,000 students. Many schools also had dark-skinned students from other countries, but over half of the schools had no American Negroes at all.

These eighty-seven come from a total U. S. Negro population of twenty million, about ten million of whom are in racially separate denominations and conventions.

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What is the explanation for this paradox of a score of comparatively open-minded Christian schools on the one hand and a practically non-existent Negro constituency on the other?

CHRISTIANITY TODAY asked several American Negro Christians—a writer, a graduate student, and three ministers—for their views. Excerpts follow:

Many Negroes, it was said, cannot afford to go to private evangelical institutions. In the past many schools have had a “lily white” policy, and the Negro is not aware of the changes that have been made.

(One director of admissions says the problem is how to get the word out that qualified Negro students are wanted.)

The problem seems not to start or end with the schools; it goes back to America’s segregated churches, to the lack of communication between white and Negro Christions. “You start with the churches,” said one minister. “It’s going to take an actual New Testament revival among both white and Negro evangelicals.”

The Negro church has not been so much a place of redemptive ministry as a “social gathering,” said a Negro writer. “We’re not producing the kind of men we could channel into a Bible college.”

“The initial responsibility … belongs to the Negro applicant,” said a Negro minister. Another of those queried referred to a “vicious circle”: The Negro churches are not getting from the evangelical schools the leaders they need to educate and train the younger generation; the younger generation is thus left unprepared for post-high-school Bible training; the colleges are not getting qualified Negro applicants to train and send back to the churches; and so on.

Some concerned schools have taken steps to break this pattern. At one of the better-known colleges, a group of faculty members wrote an unofficial letter to last year’s graduating seniors, asking them to keep on the lookout for qualified Negro high school students.

Another school, which indicated it pursues an active white and Negro recruiting program, advertises in Christian periodicals, sponsors displays in churches and conventions, and sends out literature and representatives. This school had about twenty-five Negro students last year—the highest figure noted. Still another institution listed high school visitations as part of its active recruiting program for whites and Negroes.

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Other suggestions by the Negroes queried were: advertising in such Negro magazines as Ebony, including pictures of Negroes in promotional literature, recruiting by regional alumni groups, building up contacts between college representatives and Negro churches and ministers, and offering scholarships for Negro students.

One well-known school closed to Negroes is Bob Jones University, whose president, Bob Jones, Jr., publicly supports racial segregation. At another institution, a Negro girl reportedly was not allowed to sing in the choir because a Southern tour was planned. Another school simply suggested to a Negro applicant that he would feel more at home somewhere else.

However, the poll indicates that much of the issue today is not in the admissions office. The problem is perhaps most clearly expressed by the most popular answer to the multiple-choice question on the poll: “We admit qualified Negroes if they apply to us.” Thus the passive resistance movement on the part of the Negro in the sixties is matched with the passive acceptance attitude of the “white evangelical school,” a phrase used by the Negroes questioned without noticeable rancor—to them it is simply a descriptive term.

In situations where open-minded white people sit down with other open-minded white people to talk about “the race problem,” the Negro himself, as a person, seems almost unnecessary. The discussions need him only as an issue.

“We ought to initiate some real communication,” said one of the Negroes. “It’s not enough to have an open-door policy,” said another.

He mentioned a Negro married couple at one school he visited. The husband went to school, and the wife stayed in the apartment, knowing practically no one. They were “lonely, so lonely,” he said.

Reflections On Reformation

More than 200 ministers heard Premier Ernest Manning of Alberta and Editor Carl F. H. Henry of CHRISTIANITY TODAY in a Reformation Day program held in Toronto by Canadian Evangelical Fellowship.

Premier Manning said that while Canada cannot hope to lead the world in military power, political influence, or population totals, she could nonetheless make history’s supreme contribution as “one nation on earth transformed by spiritual and moral dedication” and giving a living witness to the world of “what Christ can do through a people redeemed by his blood and filled by God’s Spirit.”

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Speaking on the crisis in contemporary theology, Dr. Henry asked whether it is “perhaps a sign of God’s judgment that many Protestant theologians no longer know precisely what the word of God is; that the leadership of the churches is given over to so many spokesmen who prize truth less than merger; and that multitudes within the churches remain strangers to new life in Christ Jesus while purple politicians are seeking new ecclesiastical structures. Is it a judgment on contemporary Protestantism that the gains of the Reformation are now being erased—so that Protestant theologians reject or ignore the doctrines of the Reformers and Rome speaks well of them as persons, while Christendom is more and more insulated from their teaching and influence?”

Surveying The Offerings

Contributions to American churches continued a modest climb last year, according to compilations made public this month by the National Council of Churches’ Department of Stewardship and Benevolence. Per-member giving among the forty-one major denominations included in the report reached a record of $69.87.

The Free Methodist Church, with 53,601 members, topped the list among those denominations that submit their statistics to the NCC. Free Methodist per-capita giving reached $358.17. The Wesleyan Methodist Church was second with $264.20.

Seventh-day Adventists, who are not included in the NCC compilation, released their own figures last month showing a per-capita average of $250.28.

Flying Needle Ii

Five years ago the Protestant Episcopal Bishop of Olympia, Washington, relinquished his diocesan work to become the first executive officer of the Anglican Communion with its worldwide association of autonomous churches, now eighteen in number. “He has stitched them together with his person,” says a Westminster official source with unofficial imaginativeness, “a flying needle travelling over 120,000 miles a year.”

Last month, a few hours after clocking another few thousand miles from the United States, Bishop Stephen F. Bayne welcomed his successor at a press conference in London. He made it clear that the job was still in the pioneering category but hinted it was not without excitement by a striking if obscure reference to “a slight amount of blood running in the gutter ecclesiastically.” Bishop Bayne now becomes director of the overseas department of the American Protestant Episcopal Church.

He introduced as the new executive officer Dr. Ralph Stanley Dean, Bishop of Cariboo, whose rugged diocese in British Columbia is larger than England and Scotland combined. Born in London’s east end, Dr. Dean went to Canada in 1951 as principal of Emmanuel College, Saskatoon, a post he held until his consecration six years later.

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Chairman of the program committee that planned the Anglican Congress in Toronto last year, he was startled by an unscheduled item on the agenda when the fathers and brethren burst into song in acknowledgment of his fiftieth birthday. With the help of nine regional directors, the new executive officer will coordinate Anglican missionary activities and help men and money to find their way to the places where they are most needed. Bishop Dean has been given five years’ leave of absence from his diocese.

Another change announced from Westminster is the resignation, effective next spring, of Colonel Robert Hornby, chief information officer to the National Assembly of the Church of England since 1960.

Congo: The Rebel Arc

A second American Protestant missionary was reported to be among the known victims of rebel forces in the Congo.

William Scholten, 33, a missionary teacher working under the Unevangelized Fields Mission, is said to have died after repeated beatings by rebel troops. His wife and five children were still in rebel-controlled territory this month, along with an estimated forty-five other UFM missionaries and children. Mr. and Mrs. Scholten both graduated from Columbia Bible College in South Carolina.

The total of unevacuated Protestant missionaries is estimated at sixty to seventy persons, the others having fled to unaffected southern parts of the Congo or to neighboring countries such as Kenya and Uganda.

The rebel movement is reportedly assisted by Chinese Communist embassies in nearby countries. It began to affect mission activities last July and, after moving up from Katanga, had captured an estimated one-sixth of the entire country by November 1. The rebel-held territory roughly describes an arc beginning just above Bukavu on the east and extending through the northeast and northwest sections of the Congo, down to Coquilhatville on the west.

Congolese government forces have since recaptured some cities and have liberated several missionaries who had been under “house arrest.” These include five American Methodist missionaries in the Central Congo town of Wembo Nyama (where the Rev. Burleigh Law, also a Methodist missionary, was killed in August when rebel troops overran the mission station there).

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Previously, fourteen British Protestant missionaries, reportedly under a Pentecostal missionary society, were liberated by Congolese troops in North Katanga. The whole of Katanga has reportedly been cleared of rebel control; and in general, “the tide has turned in favor of the central government forces,” said a U. S. State Department official.

Missionaries have praised the State Department, which, said one, “did everything possible to be of help to us.”

“We sincerely hope that we shall be allowed back into the Congo,” said a mission report, “but should we not be, then the fledgling Church has found its wings and will fly until the Rapture … Pray for the Congolese Church and their noble band of patriots.”

Religious News Service, meanwhile, reported that Father Martin A. Bormann, 34-year-old son of Hitler’s right-hand man, was said to be one of forty Roman Catholic missionaries missing in the Congo.

The Sacred Heart of Jesus monastery in Eichstatt, Germany, disclosed that no word of the missionaries—twenty men and twenty women, all assigned to the Stanleyville area—had been received since August.

Father Bormann arrived in the Congo a little over three years ago after having completed post-graduate studies in Innsbruck, following his ordination there in 1958. He said then he was dedicating his life to bringing “the grace of God to all mankind.”

The elder Bormann, often called the No. 2 Nazi, disappeared at the end of World War II and has since been reported as either dead or in hiding.

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