A reader of Billy Graham’s Peace with God sat down a few days ago to write the evangelist that she had “found the answer” in chapter nine. A Miami University student said his commitment had come as the result of listening to a radio broadcast. Another new believer, in a letter dated February 29, told of her experience and a subsequent desire to start a Bible class in her home.

In countless ways, men and women every day are finding new life in Christ. Some call it conversion, some regeneration, some commitment, some something else, and some don’t know what to call it. But the person who has it readily identifies it. And when it really happens, its all the same thing—the appropriation of God’s grace through saving faith in a way that imparts spiritual life.

Robert Harris is executive director of Choice ’68, an unofficial presidential primary among college students scheduled for April 24 and sponsored by Time magazine (he expects some 2,000000 votes to be cast on 1,200 campuses). Harris thought he had attained the ultimate when he was chosen student body president at Michigan State University in 1964. “I thought I was something special,” he says. “I got a Triumph convertible and went through the whole bit. Then there was nothing left.”

Out of his disillusionment with success, Harris attended a prayer breakfast sponsored by International Christian Leadership. Later he heard a Christian challenge from Mark Hatfield, then governor of Oregon, “and that probably decided it for me.” Harris made a commitment to Christ. Now 24, he looks ahead to a career in public service—undergirded with a Christian perspective.

Raymond Berry has been called pro football’s “living legend.” He’s retiring this year after more than a decade on the receiving end of passes thrown by the Baltimore Colts’ Johnny Unitas, surely one of the all-time greats of the gridiron. Despite poor eyesight and the need to wear a back brace, Berry makes seemingly impossible catches and holds the National Football League record for most pass receptions and most yards gained on pass receptions.

Berry came to the place of spiritual decision as the result of the counsel of a Christian teammate, Don Shinnick. Berry tells it this way:

“One evening we were talking about Christ and Don said, ‘Raymond, I don’t believe you have ever accepted Christ as your Saviour’ … I didn’t understand what he meant by ‘accept.’ I just assumed that believing Jesus was God’s Son made me a Christian. About a week later we talked about Christ again. I’m still not sure just why I prayed that night. Somehow I just felt that this was what God wanted me to do and at that stage in my life I wanted to do what He wanted. I asked Don to help me pray, then I told God I wanted to put my complete faith and trust in His Son as my Saviour. I asked Him to forgive my sins, and to help me understand what I was doing.”

Article continues below

Berry tells his story in Looking Ahead, a weekly of the David C. Cook Publishing Company. The changes were gradual after that prayer, but Berry now looks back upon it as the time of his salvation.

An impressive number of individuals have been touched by Graham’s ministry. For David Williams, a Florida motel operator, the “hour of decision” came in 1961 when he attended a Graham rally in Miami Beach. Williams, then 50 years old, said he had given his life to material things and had begun to realize the folly of it all. “I had started to try to improve myself by my own doing,” he says. “It didn’t do any good.” At the close of the service Graham invited those with spiritual needs to step forward. Williams was sitting in the back row. “It seemed like two hands pushed the back of my ribs,” he recalls. “The aisle seemed a mile long. But that experience changed everything.”

Varieties of religious experience abound. Occasionally a person’s spiritual victory will come in what seems to be an unprecedented way, and this may even cause the person to doubt its validity. But the Bible itself describes many ways in which human beings find faith; no two are just alike.

It was a quiet talk on the deity of Jesus Christ that persuaded George Bird to give his mind and heart to God. Dr. Bird was for seventeen years the graduate dean of the Syracuse University School of Journalism, and for most of his adult years his doubt of the deity of Christ was a major barrier to belief. A campus lecture by a clergyman cleared that up, and Bird afterward in a simple act of faith accepted Christ as Saviour. An important corollary factor was the faithful witness of evangelical students.

A much more unusual spiritual pilgrimage was that of Keith Miller, whose two recent autobiographical books, The Taste of New Wine and A Second Touch, have been the means of getting the message to hundreds of thousands. Miller was a rising oil executive in the Southwest when, beset by inner turmoil, he sought unsuccessfully to find fulfillment in life by enrolling in a seminary. He left after four terms, more disillusioned than ever, and took back his old job.

Article continues below

“One day it was so bad,” Miller recalls, “that I got in my company car and took off on a field trip alone. As I was driving through the tall pine woods country of East Texas I suddenly pulled up beside the road and stopped. I remember sitting there in complete despair.… I began to weep like a little boy, which I suddenly realized I was inside. I looked up toward the sky. There was nothing I wanted to do with my life. And I said, ‘God, if there’s anything you want in this stinking soul, take it.’ ”

An altogether different and much more complicated search—and perhaps the most newsworthy—has been that of Britain’s venerable Malcolm Muggeridge (see Eutychus, page 21). He is still on undetermined distance from orthodox Christianity, and the theological analyst might yet label him a syncretist and/or universalist. But Muggeridge has come a long way. His current reflections show remarkable Christian insight. He recently said in an interview in The Christian and Christianity Today of London:

“Since I was very young I have always thought that the world offered nothing. That no worldly solution would work. That no worldly Utopia would come to pass. But that, for the most part, induced in me a sort of satirical or anarchistic attitude of mind. It was only as I continued to think about the Christian message that I saw concretely that being born again was not merely seeing through this world, but also recognizing in Christ an alternative way of life.”

Muggeridge, 64, respected as one of the world’s foremost journalists and social critics, says Christianity “has crystallized much more clearly for me. I see that unless our civilization returns to where it began—which is with Christ—it will come to an end.”

“Man needs to be born again,” Muggeridge declares. “By that I mean he must understand what Christ stood for and follow His way of life. Not only His teaching but the very way he lived. Which includes, of course, the Cross. People try to leave the Cross out of the Gospel, but they can’t because it’s the heart of the whole thing.

The Choice

Harold Lindsell was best man at Carl F. H. Henry’s wedding, his classmate at Wheaton College, and his colleague at Northern Baptist and Fuller seminaries and CHRISTIANITY TODAY. NOW Lindsell has been chosen to succeed Henry as editor of the magazine, a post Henry has held since its 1956 founding.

Henry, who plans to begin a six-month study break in September, has been asked to become editor-at-large and write regularly for the magazine. In January he had announced he would return to full-time theological research.

Article continues below

Lindsell, 54-year-old Bible professor at Wheaton College, Illinois, is a tall, lean, energetic Southern Baptist. After high school in the Bronx, New York, he went into insurance and worked up from office boy to underwriter in four years, then went to Wheaton and graduated summa cum laude in three years.

He chose an academic career after being turned down by several mission boards because of allergies. He holds an M.A. from Berkeley and a Ph.D. from New York University, both in history, but through personal interest and effort he is also an expert in Bible and missions. Most of his dozen books are in these fields. He is editor of the Harper Study Bible and a contributor to Abingdon’s Protestant Cross-Currents in Mission, set for April release.

Before the seminary teaching, Lindsell spent two years on the faculty of Columbia (South Carolina) Bible College, where he married one of the students, the former Marion Bolinder. They have three daughters and one son.

After three years at Northern, Lindsell joined Henry and two others on the founding faculty of Fuller, where he taught for seventeen years, holding such posts as dean of the faculty, vice-president, and professor of missions. His travels all over the world have included visits to many of his 250 former students now serving on the mission field. Just before he comes to CHRISTIANITY TODAY, he is to lead a Holy Land tour that was postponed in 1967 because of the June war.

“We need to be remade. We need to be born again not of this world. For if we belong to this world we share all its hopes and desires, and these are disastrous.”

He adds: “We live in a world of scientific achievement and gross materialism, a world where men are told by those in authority that the purpose of living is to increase the gross national product,” while persuasion machinery says “the one satisfaction in life is to eat, drink, and to fornicate.”

As Muggeridge sees it, “the Christian message fails to have any meaning for the man in the street because he never has time to think about it.” So Muggeridge wants to use his remaining years to communicate the Gospel: “I really am not interested in anything any more except Christianity. I want to use what little influence I may have to speak the truth.”


The outspoken president of the American Baptist Convention, Phoenix pastor L. Doward McBain, cast ecumenical nets toward both Roman Catholics and Southern Baptists recently. He chose the Nashville pulpit of Southern Baptist President H. Franklin Paschall to propose a union of all U. S. Baptists.

Article continues below

“Let’s unite. Let’s start it tonight,” rhymed the colorful Arizonian. “We’ve been apart too long—more than a century. We ought to be working together in one body.… The only time we Baptists seem to get together is over alcohol and Billy Graham.”

McBain used theology as a starting point with Roman Catholics in his Crusader column. Despite differences on the “how” and “why” of salvation, he said, Rome’s strong Christology “can only be good for contemporary Protestant theology, which frequently appears to be structureless and in need of recovering … classical Christianity.”


He was probably Cardinal Spellman’s choice as seventh archbishop of New York, but apparently only Pope Paul VI seriously considered the Most Rev. Terence James Cooke as most likely to succeed the “kind father” who had ordained and consecrated him.

Cooke, lifelong resident of New York, accepted responsibility for the nation’s wealthiest archdiocese “with the deepest feeling of humility.” At a press conference after the March 8 announcement of his appointment, the 47-year-old bishop styled himself a progressive who is “moving ahead,” and indicated his special interest in the anti-poverty program and civil rights. He declined to comment on abortion, birth control, divorce, and “such a complicated matter” as Viet Nam without studying the situations, seeking advice, and being “a very good listener.”

Those who know Cooke consider him warm, open, and diplomatic. His diplomacy won an immediate challenge, as a group of his priests issued a 2,500-word memo demanding, among other things, open financial records.


Mass resignations are expected from the 1,000-member, middle-class West Ellesmere United Church in suburban Toronto because the local presbytery refused to support the church’s call to the Rev. J. Berkley Reynolds, who has been serving as interim minister.

Presbytery officials cited division in the congregation as the reason for their action. “It’s a liberal congregation and he’s a fundamentalist,” explained presbytery Chairman Carman E. Armstrong.

The matter now goes before the Toronto Conference’s settlement committee, which is unlikely to meet until May 13. Settlement committee Chairman Norman Pick said that in his twenty-five years in the ministry he had never heard of a call refusal in the United Church of Canada.

Article continues below

Reynolds is a member of the United Church Renewal Fellowship, started eighteen months ago by clergy and laymen who said the denomination was losing members to fundamentalist groups because it was not providing a proper spiritual dimension. The fellowship has a mailing list of 1,000 across Canada, and this is expected to increase quickly from among the million-plus United Church membership. A denominational official not sympathetic to the group said a year ago that its activities could eventually lead to a split.

Reynolds, claiming unanimous support of the congregation’s pastoral committee and majority support of the congregation, called the presbytery meeting “a kangaroo court.” He said he was refused permission to speak to the meeting and was expelled before the vote (reported to have carried by a large majority).

The Rev. Harold Frid, chairman of the presbytery’s pastoral relations committee, said the congregation would have to call someone else. Armstrong said that only one-tenth of West Ellesmere’s membership was at the meeting that voted to call Reynolds, and the vote was 63 to 39. Presbytery stalled the call, held a congregational meeting attended by about 250 members, and passed out a questionnaire asking for opinions of Reynolds.

As for Reynolds’s future, Armstrong said, “He’ll be settled somewhere. Maybe in the north, if he wants it.” But Reynolds said, “No presbytery across Canada will touch me now. It virtually means that I am being forced to leave the United Church.” He considers it a test case on democracy and whether an evangelical has a place in the United Church.

William Kosawan, a founding layman of the fourteen-year-old congregation, was appalled by the presbytery decision. He said bitterly, “There should be freedom for every kind of expression in the United Church of Canada.”

Reynolds, 39, has been a clergyman for thirteen years and served one mission and two churches in his native Newfoundland. He holds the B.D. from the denomination’s Pine Hill seminary and the Th.M. from Fuller Theological Seminary. He spent Canada’s centennial year in Toronto as editorial representative for CHRISTIANITY TODAY. Since last fall he has been the contracted supply preacher at West Ellesmere, while working on a doctorate from Toronto’s ecumenical Graduate School of Theology.


Outspoken Churchman Dies

The Rev. J. Ray Hord, 49, one of Canada’s most controversial church officials, died suddenly of a heart attack last month while waiting for a bus in Toronto.

Article continues below

Farm boy Hord hit the big time with his hardline pronouncements as head of the United Church of Canada’s Board of Evangelism and Social Service. He became the social conscience for liberal-minded members while incurring the ire of conservatives, who claimed evangelism was losing out to activism.

Hord supported U. S. draft-dodgers. Though a dove on Viet Nam, he was a hawk on inadequate housing and on restrictive divorce and abortion laws. He criticized the Canadian government for taking “blood money” from U. S. arms contracts, and called Prime Minister Lester Pearson “a puppydog on LBJ’s leash.” When church Moderator W. C. Lockhart apologized to Pearson and rebuked Hord, he repeated the remark a few days later.

Hord is survived by his wife and one daughter. His nine-year-old son drowned six years ago at a summer camp.


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.