After long and heated debate, ordination of women to the ministry of the Presbyterian Church in Canada was approved by the denomination’s 92nd annual General Assembly, held last month in Toronto. The vote was 133 to 72.
Some observers felt that the many vacant pulpits in the home mission field tipped the scales in favor of the action. The assembly also voted to ordain women as elders.
The place of women in the church has nagged Canadian Presbyterian assemblies for at least two generations. Many ministers saw it as the most important issue to face the church since 1925, when the church split—part joining with Methodists and Congregationalists to form the United Church of Canada and part continuing the Presbyterian denomination.
A spokesman said that from the seventy-two negative votes came thirty-six recorded dissents, the largest number since the 1925 schism. There were an undetermined number of abstentions.
Two women emerged as immediate prospects for ordination: Helen Louise Goggin, 33, Christian education director of a church in the Toronto suburb of Oakville, and Marion Webster, 40, assistant librarian at Knox College, Toronto. Neither announced any immediate decision to apply, but both indicated they would consider it seriously.
Miss Goggin was one of three women divinity graduates from Knox College last year. She is also a liberal arts graduate from Victoria College. Her own presbytery voted against ordination of women.
Miss Webster, a tall brunette from Saskatchewan, also came out of Knox. For the Canadian edition of Time she recalled that she always gave the men in her class “a good whiff of perfume and a pretty skirt.” The magazine quoted her as lamenting that in her diploma “they didn’t even change the ‘he’ in the damn thing to ‘she.’ ”
Only the war in Viet Nam produced debate comparable to that over female ordination. A resolution that could be taken as critical of American policy was defeated. Relief efforts and prayer were urged, and the Canadian government was asked to press the International Control Commission in seeking an immediate ceasefire and a plan for negotiation.
Tongues In Transition
The appeal of the charismatic revival to sophisticated suburban congregations defies explanation. Speaking in tongues repeatedly crops up in staid, liturgically inclined churches on the opposite end of the social and economic spectrum from the Pentecostalism with which glossolalia has traditionally been associated.
The more this has happened the more insistent has became the question whether the contrasting ecclesiastical blocs would find fellowship in their common religious experience. It now appears that the first effort at getting together has failed.
“We tried it for a while,” says Episcopalian Jean Stone, the trim prima donna of today’s tongues-speakers. “It was just too corny.”
Mrs. Stone and her disciples’ try at rapprochement consisted of worshiping regularly for a time at a Pentecostal church. “We gave up smoking, beer, wine, and the movies—like they wanted us to,” she says. “But the church did not turn out to be satisfying enough. So we quit.”
Mrs. Stone is founder and head of the Blessed Trinity Society, main organizational offshoot of the tongues movement of the sixties (see September 13, 1963, issue), which utilizes a chapel of its own in the headquarters building at Van Nuys, California. She is also editor of the society’s slick-paper, lavishly illustrated quarterly with a circulation of several thousand. After her recent divorce from a Lockheed executive, Mrs. Stone married Rick Willans, who had quit Dartmouth to join the society staff and became associate editor.
A second organization that promotes the tongues movement and that predates the Blessed Trinity Society by a decade or so is the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International, headed by cattleman Demos Shakarian. Although FGBMFI has its headquarters in adjacent Los Angeles, the two groups are somewhat cool toward each other. FGBMFI’s activity includes publication of a colorful, pocket-size monthly and the conducting of several fellowship conventions each year. Its annual international convention is being held this week at the Chase Park Plaza Hotel in St. Louis.
The FGBMFI is more outspoken and effervescent in its exaltation of the tongues phenomenon. The Blessed Trinity Society has been pitching itself on a progressively lower emotional key.
Mrs. Stone has broadened considerably her definition of a tongues experience. She now feels that if ought to be confined to private devotions, that it is not necessarily emotional, and that a person may speak in tongues without even knowing it.
Lament Of An Alumnus
“Wheaton College, for 100 years a stronghold of Conservatism and American ideals, now finds itself penetrated by the same insidious forces that are working throughout the world for the conquest of free men. The campus occurrences discussed in this report are interlocking evidences, to anyone who will use his eyes to see and his ears to hear, of the crumbling of Wheaton College’s resistance to the assault by the Left-wing-Socialist-Collectivist-One World Government camorra together with assorted sympathizers within the Communist Party and its allied organizations.”
This is the thesis of Wilhelm Ernst Schmitt, a 1954 graduate of Wheaton and professional anti-Communist. His unsparing indictment of the well-known evangelical school in suburban Chicago is unleashed in a 197-page paperback, Steps Toward Apostasy at Wheaton College. Schmidt is its author, publisher, and retailer.
Schmitt calls attention to the fact that publication of a campus literary magazine was suspended by Wheaton officials after its fall, 1962, issue came out “studded with profanity.” In the spring of 1963 the editor of the campus newspaper, which had pleaded in behalf of the suspended magazine, was removed. Schmitt also recalls a campus “riot” in 1961 when three students were arrested for setting off firecrackers and resisting policemen.
The bulk of Schmitt’s volume, however, is an attempt to document what he sees as a leftist political drift among Wheaton’s faculty members and administration. He upbraids college officials for allowing students to hear on campus such speakers as the British historian Arnold Toynbee, the noted Jewish author Harry Golden, literacy expert Frank Laubach, and Arthur Glasser, Overseas Missionary Fellowship official—who have been identified with questionable causes. He chides faculty members who have expressed liberal convictions in social and economic matters.
Wheaton officials regard the book as a type of journalism that speaks for itself, relying on guilt by association and innuendo. “It falls into the same category as calling Eisenhower a Communist,” said a spokesman.
Schmitt says his research took place while he worked for the Church League of America, an anti-Communist organization with headquarters near the Wheaton campus. During this time his application for admission to the Wheaton College Graduate School was rejected. Schmitt says that prior to this he worked with the Lockheed Missiles and Space Division, Sunnyvale, California, as a senior research engineer on the Polaris submarine-launched missile. He regards himself as an expert on Communism, though he misspells Khrushchev as “Khruschev” throughout the book.
Last summer, Schmitt was divorced from his wife. She was given custody of their two children.
Schmitt contends that one or more Wheaton officials intimidated a prospective publisher of his report and that “the blackmail worked.” An official spokesman for Wheaton flatly denies the charge, declaring that no member of the school administration made any attempt to discourage publication.
On The Links, A Mormon Victory
Golfer Billy Casper said it after the Masters tournament this year and repeated it after his astonishing victory in the U. S. Open at San Francisco: “Golf used to be the most important thing in my life. It isn’t now.”
Casper and his family now are devout Mormons. After overcoming a seven-stroke deficit to tie Arnold Palmer at the end of regulation play in the U. S. Open, Casper traveled with his wife some sixty miles up the California coast to attend a Sunday evening fireside service. He didn’t get to bed until the wee small hours of the day in which he was to meet Palmer in the championship playoff. He won it nevertheless, by an easy four-stroke margin, and immediately earmarked 10 per cent of the $25,000 prize for the Mormon church.
Casper’s conversion is attributable to the efforts of the Mormon sports editor of a Salt Lake City newspaper, Hack Miller, who became a close acquaintance over the years. Miller arranged for Mormon missionaries to visit the Caspers. The couple was baptized last New Year’s Day.
Casper is a native of San Diego. His parents were divorced when he was twelve. He spent a term at Notre Dame, then four years in the Navy before becoming a golf professional. He has been troubled with a weight problem and an assortment of allergies but now seems to have conquered both. He planned to pass up the British Open this week to play in Salt Lake City.
On The Diamond, A Diagnosis
Last year the Minneapolis Twins won the American League pennant. This year they are losing as many games as they win. The Rev. C. Philip Hinerman of Park Avenue Methodist Church in Minneapolis thinks the reason is that the team got rid of devout second-baseman Jerry Kindall.
“Last year,” Hinerman wrote to a Minneapolis newspaper, “Jerry led a daily Bible study group and prayer meeting while the team was on the road.… The whole team was influenced by this Christian spirit and atmosphere—and Somebody kept helping.”
Now, with Kindall gone, the prayer meetings and Bible studies have stopped, and “the Lord has withdrawn his blessing,” says the minister.
Hinerman’s thesis falls apart, however, when one considers that Kindall’s replacement at second, Bernie Allen, also is an outspoken Christian believer, as are at least two other Twins.
Carl Tiller ‘On Vacation’
Next week when the Executive Committee of the American Baptist Convention meets in Chicago, President Carl Tiller will be on vacation. That is, on vacation from his government post as chief of the U. S. Bureau of Budget Methods.
From his job in a political enterprise with an annual $110 billion budget, he will turn to the concerns of a religious enterprise with a budget of $13 million.
Tiller, 50-year-old newly elected president of the American Baptist Convention, in his seventeenth year with the Executive Committee, has long been using vacations to attend Baptist meetings “with no time to relax.”
Tiller has held places of responsibility in the convention since 1947. For his term as top convention official, he has initiated a four-fold program.
“We would like to get the local Baptist people to engage in a study as to the biblical basis of our faith not only with other Baptists of the community but with other Protestants and Catholics. We want to encourage dialogue on the local level,” Tiller explained.
His second proposal involves establishment of a 1967 pre-Easter evangelism project for the convention’s churches.
The third is an appeal to make the Church more relevant to present-day circumstances.
“Part four involves an undergirding stewardship program. American Baptists plan a special 20-million-dollar extra mission campaign which we would like to see well on its way,” he said.
Tiller is a native of Battle Lake, Minnesota. He has worked actively in his boyhood church home in Battle Lake and in Baptist churches in St. Paul and Chicago, and (for the past twenty-four years) in the Calvary Baptist Church, Washington, D. C.
He holds a B.A. degree from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, and an M.A. in public administration from the University of Minnesota.
A soft-spoken man with graying hair, Tiller has a prodigious memory and has been described as “almost a human computer.”
“He is a genius in organization with a tremendous flair for details. He follows through. When he takes a job, he does it well,” observed Tiller’s pastor, Dr. Clarence Cranford.
Cranford described Tiller as “a man of great loyalty to Christ, his denomination, and his church” who comes up with creative ideas for the church.
The Tillers live in Cheverly, Maryland. Their daughter, Jean, was graduated with the B.A. degree in June from Kalamazoo College, and their son, Bob, received the B.D. from Yale Divinity School the same week.
Tiller and his wife, Olive, one of the vice-presidents of the American Baptist women, live a church-related schedule that requires a datebook of its own.
When Tiller is not “vacationing” at some Baptist meeting, his chief responsibility is his government job.
“We are not concerned with the content of the federal budget,” Tiller explained, “only with the method, systems, and procedures by which it is prepared.”
Tiller also finds time to teach as an adjunct professor of public administration at American University and to serve as the unofficial historian of his church.
Tiller sees the evangelism portion of his four-point program as exceeding the traditional definition of evangelism as “telling the Good News.” He stresses that Jesus Christ is “not just Saviour but Lord of all life.”
Tiller views the Church of today as probably stronger than the Church of a generation ago.
“The religiosity element that makes it now popular to belong to the Church is unfortunate and tends to cheapen the Church.
“As a balance to this weakness, I see the Church as more willing than ever before to grapple with the problems of the nation and the world.… Questions of race, poverty … are being dealt with better than by the earlier Church,” he said.
He considers the recent contention of some that God is dead as more philosophical than theological. But he feels that others have the right to question and to search for their own understanding of truth.
“I obviously don’t think God is dead.… We wish everyone would feel the way we do, but if everyone thought the same, the world would be pretty dull.”
“Just as God has allowed us freedom to choose him or reject, we must grant to those who say that ‘God is dead’ the chance to find their own insight.”
Billy Graham In Soho
A good-humored crowd greeted Billy Graham when he visited London’s Soho district last month. In this “square mile of sin” where Friday night is never exactly uneventful, Graham and his colleagues saw few of the alleged incidents reported the next morning by that section of the press whose success depends on “ugly scenes” and “brawling masses.”
The evangelist climbed on to the roof of a car and told several hundred listeners he had come to condemn no one. But he assured them of God’s love and invited them to Earls Court. He stressed the biblical question about the ultimate folly of a world gained and a soul lost. Although the sermon lasted only 200 seconds, it lacked nothing of the essential Gospel.
On police advice, the visit was cut short, and the evangelist, not without difficulty, was conveyed back to his car by an enthusiastic crowd. Some were too enthusiastic. A female performer from a local club, in working attire, was particularly persistent. The agility with which she passed through the dense crowd from one vantage point to another caught the imagination of the crowd and cameramen. Though she loudly announced she had a problem concerning the mini-skirt about which she wanted to consult the evangelist, she was adroitly warded off.
Other onlookers got courteous replies to questions such as when was he going back to Bonnie Scotland and what did he think about Viet Nam. A boy shouted exultantly to his girl, “Billy Graham shook hands with me.”
Graham said he hoped to shake a few more hands in Soho before leaving Great Britain.
Meanwhile, by the end of the third week of the month-long crusade 378,381 had come to Earls Court, of whom 15,119 had gone forward (comparable to 1954 London crusade figures of 190,000 and 4,602 respectively). In addition, services were being relayed to other cities. About 65 per cent of the nightly audience was under twenty-five.
Graham had tea at Lambeth Palace with Michael Ramsey, Archbishop of Canterbury, and dinner with the controversial John A. T. Robinson, Bishop of Woolwich, who came to Earls Court. The evangelist was warmly sponsored by the Archbishop of York, F. D. Coggan, who appeared on the platform.
Associates are each involved in two or three meetings a day. One held a service at Boys Detention Center, where boys have a code about not singing. The associate found himself singing a duet with the superintendent, but seventy boys stayed behind to indicate their interest and concern.
The most systematically organized followup ever is planned, for Graham is concerned that there should be none of the post-1954-crusade complaints that followup was a weak spot.
J. D. DOUGLAS
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