For reporters, last month’s International Congress on World Evangelization (ICOWE) at Lausanne, Switzerland (see August 16 issue, page 35), was a special challenge: story possibilities abounded, time to collect them and space to report them did not.

A digital population clock was activated as part of the opening ceremonies. At the end of the Congress ten days later it registered a net population gain of 1,852,837. It also noted a world population gain of 590,193,076 since the Congress on Evangelism in Berlin in 1966. An “Unreached Peoples Directory” released at the ICOWE listed thirty-five groups of people totaling more than 12 million population as having no Christian witness.

There were striking incidents of international and cross-cultural pollination. For example, in a seminar on youth outreach, Uganda pastor Stephen Mung’Oma told of a problem: In a crusade he’d conducted in a neighboring village weeks earlier 800 young people had professed Christ; what could he do to disciple them? In quick order youth workers from Egypt, Nigeria, and Argentina offered advice based on how they had handled similar situations.

Interviews with nationals revealed striking growth and spiritual activity among large numbers of Christian young people in many lands, including Norway, Holland, the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, Romania, northern Egypt, much of black Africa, Cambodia, South Viet Nam, and South Korea.

Similarly, one of the main points that kept coming through in both plenary and small-group sessions was that evangelical Christianity is growing all over the globe. Samples: Based on current growth rates, projections show that more than half of black Africa will have embraced Christianity (mostly the evangelical variety) within the next thirty years. Evangelical Christianity in Latin America is growing faster than the birth rate. Prior to 1967, seventy years of mission work among the Quichua Indians of Ecuador had resulted in only a handful of believers in a few churches; today there are more than 8,000 baptized members in some 100 churches. Of the estimated 11,000 Stieng tribespeople in the western mountains of South Viet Nam, fewer than 1,500 were Christians at the time of the North Vietnamese invasion in 1972; now there are more than 6,000 baptized believers. More than 190,000 of the 230,000 in a North Borneo tribe have professed Christ—mainly under the ministry of missionaries from the mountain people of Taiwan.

In another sidelight, radio preacher Carl McIntire, complaining that evangelicals are too inclusivist, announced several months before the ICOWE that his International Council of Christian Churches would hold a simultaneous opposition congress on evangelism. It did, but only two dozen or so people showed up, advertised speaker Ian Paisley of Northern Ireland failed to appear, and McIntire left town several days early. But before leaving, having been denied ICOWE press credentials and admittance to the ICOWE meetings for not applying in advance, he and several followers picketed and passed out leaflets outside the ICOWE meeting hall.

Article continues below

Other problems added to the corporate headache of the ICOWE executive staff.

Four Catholic officials, including Vatican evangelism coordinator Benjamin Tonna, were invited to attend the congress as visitors. This upset some ICOWE convenors and several of them resigned, said Anglican bishop Jack Dain of Australia, the ICOWE’s executive chairman, in an interview. He declined to disclose their names. The Catholics meanwhile said they were favorably surprised by the faith and sincerity of the participants but wished there had been more emphasis on the sacraments. They also said that Catholics do not feel threatened by the growth of evangelical Christianity, say, in Latin America, so long as Christ is being preached. Furthermore, they added, evangelical Christianity is to be favored over the “Christo-paganism” embraced by many Latin American Catholics.

At one time plenary speaker Francis Schaeffer of L’Abri threatened to drop out because British journalist and social critic Malcolm Muggeridge had been invited to participate. Muggeridge is moving, explained Schaeffer, but he’s not yet entirely in the evangelical camp. As it turned out, Muggeridge’s address (see August 16 issue, page 4) was one of the best received of the conference, and he was one of the few to get a standing ovation.

The South Koreans fretted over a North Korean flag outside among the scores of others left over from a preceding convention. At the ICOWE staff’s request, the management of the hall removed it. (The Koreans, in keeping with practice back home, held 5 A.M. devotional periods daily, rousing others in dorms and hotels to join them.)

A worse problem was the food situation. Most participants on the basis of advance payment were required to eat lunch and dinner at the congress hall, where a Lausanne caterer, M. Rene Jaquier, holds a monopoly on food service. The fare was miserably below Swiss standards, served poorly, and outrageously priced ($5 for a dish of baloney and applesauce). Complaints poured in, and hundreds forfeited their payments (many included in scholarship fees) to eat elsewhere. During a visit of ICOWE executives to Jaquier, Dain exploded and Jaquier broke into tears. The food quality improved somewhat over the last few days, but the price gouging continued to the end.

Article continues below

There were complaints that not all the invited participants were evangelicals, that most of the Rhodesian and South African blacks had been assigned to segregated housing, that too few women and young people had been chosen as participants, and that despite the use of transistorized receivers enabling participants to listen to the predominantly English-language proceedings in French, German, Spanish, Indonesian, Japanese, and Chinese, some who had been invited could understand none of those languages and were adrift.

But the overall consensus of those at Lausanne was that the blessings and benefits far exceeded the shortcomings and annoyances.

One of the blessings, say ICOWE organizers, was that several dozen eastern Europeans were able to participate. (Many others, however, were unable to obtain exit visas, a situation not confined to Communist lands. There were no representatives from the U.S.S.R. or Bulgaria—but none from Burma or Bhutan either.) The eastern Europeans met jointly part of the time during national strategy sessions, and evangelist Billy Graham addressed them one day, offering encouragement and stating his desire to visit the eastern European churches some day. Discussion among these participants was restrained, but the Poles (ten had come to the congress) issued an appeal for greater religious freedom in the totalitarian camps, especially the U.S.S.R. It was agreed that Christian literature was a priority need in most of the countries.

In a number of instances participants brought to Lausanne the divisions that exist back home, and the national strategy periods were often tense and stormy. Some groups were able to resolve their differences and returned home with a new spirit of unity; others went home as they had come, divided.

The seventeen Italian participants came from eight denominations and independent churches. Antagonism toward Elio Milazzo, the ICOWE Italian convenor, surfaced when the group at its first national session elected Pastor Mario Affuso of the Apostolic Church as chairman. Affuso proceeded to direct the discussion in an attack on the formation of an Italian evangelical alliance, which Milazzo had proposed. Wrangling ensued, and when the group decided to turn its attention away from the alliance to evangelistic strategy for Italy, Affuso resigned and sulked in a corner. But the ice melted quickly amid laughter when a member quipped: “We Italians have broken another record; our government has lasted only three days.” A new chairman was elected and a committee appointed to study the feasibility of proposing to the evangelicals of Italy a national congress on evangelism. It was noted that university students are among the most receptive to the Gospel.

Article continues below

The Greece strategy group discussed the difficult legal and ecclesiastical conditions in that land. Several participants conceded, however, that an even greater need was to overcome the disharmony that exists between denominations and individuals. Differences erupted within the group itself over the issue of glossolalia; elder Thanos Karbonis of the Athens Free Evangelical Church declared there could be no working relationship between the Pentecostal and Athenian Free churches. Not so in northern Greece, said several delegates, pointing to prayer meetings in Thessaloníki attended by evangelicals of all stripes.


One of the potentially significant accomplishments of last month’s International Congress on World Evangelization at Lausanne was that black evangelicals from America and the Caribbean got together with blacks from Africa. More than 100 in a rump session organized an as yet unnamed organization to mobilize Christians of African descent for worldwide evangelization, especially of “brethren of African origin wherever found.”

An executive committee of fifteen was selected. Officers include co-chairmen Howard Jones of the United States and David Gitari of Kenya. Clarence Hilliard of the United States and Kwame Bebiako of Ghana are administrative co-secretaries.

Correspondent Billy Hall of Jamaica reports that a quarterly newsletter will be launched in January.

The Greeks discussed missions and missionaries also. Some felt the Greek church needs to place more emphasis on cross-cultural missions (most Greek missionaries work among Greeks). Others cautioned incoming missionaries against using methods incompatible with Greek culture or doing things that damage existing evangelical work—as some foreign workers allegedly have done in the past.

The Turkish invasion of Cyprus threw a sense of urgency into the sessions. At one point, following a radio newscast of the situation, associate pastor Apostolos Bliates of the Greek Evangelical Church of Katerini embraced a Turkish Christian leader who happened to be standing nearby, saying, “It doesn’t matter what our national background is; we are brothers in Christ.”

Article continues below

Correspondent Johan Bos says little was accomplished in the Netherlands group. There were no representatives of the traditional churches (such as the Dutch Reformed Church) or of several important evangelistic movements (Youth for Christ, for example) among the twenty participants and observers. A committee was formed to draft a plan to stimulate cooperation among the evangelical movements back home.

Correspondent Wolfgang Müller says that “the typically German weakness of discussing ‘basic issues’ endlessly without reaching practical conclusions” afflicted the German group. Many had come to Lausanne anticipating the establishment of a broad German evangelical fellowship for the evangelization of their country. But they got bogged down in trying to frame a doctrinal basis for the fellowship. One bone of contention was whether the “Frankfurt Declaration” should be included. The fellowship remained unfounded, but the saddened participants pledged to stay together and to work more closely with one another in the days ahead.

Arab groups called on the churches to step up efforts to evangelize Israel; also, they want to sponsor an Arab congress on evangelism. The Ethiopians rapped Western missionary life-style and alleged paternalistic practices, and asked mission boards to tool up for Ethiopian leadership in the churches. The Liberians set as a five-year goal the establishment of an evangelistic witness to all groups in Liberia. The Canadians groused about not having a Canadian address a plenary session, then went on to issue a call for spiritual renewal of Canadian Christians and for greater involvement in missionary outreach. Apartheid kept the blacks and whites of South Africa and Rhodesia from getting anywhere; the whites said they wanted to discuss evangelism, but the blacks insisted that renunciation of racism is a necessary prelude to evangelism.

The U. S. contingent chose Fuller Seminary’s David Hubbard as chairman, discussed the need for a pre-bicentennial evangelistic campaign, especially through the mass media, and explored the idea of a national movement of evangelism, linking the majority of the nation’s evangelical churches in a common cause.

Jakarta Jettisoned

Plagued by money problems and by increasing protests from Indonesian Muslims, who form the majority in that island nation, the World Council of Churches dropped plans to hold its 1975 Assembly in Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital.

Article continues below

The decision was made at a meeting of the WCC Central Committee in Berlin earlier this month. The committee instructed WCC staff to search for another site.

Indonesia officially has a policy of pluralism, but the Muslim community makes up 85 per cent of the 121 million population. Christian-Muslim tensions are not unknown on the island, and have picked up as Christian revival has swept into some areas. Muslim pressure on the Indonesian government has been reportedly growing, and while the government declared itself in favor of the meeting it warned it did not want the WCC to upset national unity.

With the ball tossed back in their court, committee members opted out of Jakarta, although General Secretary Phillip Potter said he thought there’d been a misunderstanding by “some sections of the Indonesian community” of the nature and purpose of the ecumenical movement and therefore of the WCC meeting.

The decision was aided by the fact that the council has been having difficulty raising funds for the gathering. At a joint breakfast meeting of the United Presbyterian Church and the Presbyterian Church in the U. S. in Louisville, Kentucky, in June, Paul Verghese, an Indian who is chairman of the Jakarta program committee, warned that the projected $3 million budget might be difficult to meet.

Opposition In Israel

C. Douglas Young, president of the American Institute of Holy Land Studies in Jerusalem and one of Israel’s staunchest supporters, was accused last month of desecrating holy Scriptures and of carrying on missionary activities. The charges were made by a “public committee” headed by a former member of the Jewish Defense League. The controversy began over a property dispute on Mt. Zion, where Young’s institute is located.

At a press conference called by Young, several prominent Israeli officials declared that the “smear campaign” against him was a “disservice to Israel and the Jews.” Among those present were Bernard Resnikoff of the American Jewish Committee in Israel and Yosef Emmanuel, secretary of the Israel Interfaith Committee. Jerusalem’s mayor, Teddy Kollek, said in a letter that “I am disgusted at the slanderous accusations … made.”

Meanwhile, two American Jewish tourists were sentenced to a three-month prison term for posing nude in front of the traditional site of Christ’s tomb at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. The judge told the defendants they needed to learn “the hard way” to respect another religion.

Article continues below
Election Returns

In the recent Canadian general election the Reverend Andy Hogan became the first Roman Catholic priest to be elected to the Canadian House of Commons. He will represent a Nova Scotia constituency and will be the only New Democratic party member elected east of Ontario.

Hogan will join two Protestant clergymen of his socialist party who were re-elected to the House of Commons. They are Stanley Knowles, a United Church minister re-elected in Manitoba, and Tommy Douglas, a Baptist minister re-elected in British Columbia—both long-time members of parliament.

The election, which returned the Liberal party and Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau to power, saw the return of two clergymen on the Conservative side of the House. They were David MacDonald, a United Church minister from Prince Edward Island, and Alex Patterson, a Nazarene minister from British Columbia.

Two other Conservatives who were handily re-elected have been closely identified with church activity. They are Douglas Roche, former editor of the Western Catholic Reporter, elected in Alberta, and Walter Dinsdale, a prominent Salvation Army member, elected in Manitoba.

Anglican minister Reg Stackhouse did not try for re-election in Toronto and Evangelical Free churchman Robert Thompson (a former leader of the splinter Social Credit party and later a Conservative strategist) didn’t attempt a comeback in British Columbia.

Another interesting development was the continuing emergence of Mennonite Brethren church members as politicians. Two, Jake Epp and Dean Whiteway, were elected as Conservatives in Manitoba. Just a few years ago many Mennonites were opposed to political involvement of any kind. The election ended eighteen months of minority government for the country and assured Trudeau of a majority, guaranteeing no elections for at least four years.


Bangladesh Update

An abandoned brick-field was recently the site of the largest Protestant Christian meetings ever to be conducted in Dacca, Bangladesh. “Brother” Ray Jennings, an independent American Pentecostal preacher, attracted crowds of as many of 20,000; they stood shoulder to shoulder in rapt attention. After each service, Muslims, Hindus, and Christians rushed to the microphone to tell the lingering audience of their bodily healing.

On the fifth night, the police moved in and arrested Jennings and his party of five along with their Assembly of God Bengali translator. Their plight was dealt with quite sympathetically on the front page of several national newspapers. However, after ten days in jail the group, which included a pregnant German woman and her husband, were all declared persona non grata and expelled from the country. Their translator remained in the Dacca central jail for two weeks before being released.

Article continues below

Other recent developments in Bangladesh include the open profession of faith in Christ by a teacher at the University of Dacca, Dr. Khondokar Rahman, who earned his doctorate from Colorado State University. He plans to enroll in the Wheaton College (Illinois) Graduate School this fall, aiming to tool up for witnessing for Christ among the university faculty and students.

An evangelical interdenominational committee has been formed to give guidance to the nation’s first Christian “Ashram.” This outreach to win and disciple Muslims is spearheaded by Andrew Akand, an M.A. graduate who is himself a convert from Islam.

Other encouragements include continued conversions of groups in rural Hindu areas, a new direction of functional unity among the country’s evangelical missionaries, and plans for a church-growth seminar directed by Fuller Seminary missiologist Donald Mc-Gavran.

The blessings have been accompanied by some setbacks, including a large number of ailments and injuries among missionaries.


Spain: A Devastating Precedent?

Two recent actions by the Catholic Church in Spain have caused deep concern among Spanish Protestants. Both cases, involving marriage partners in Huelva and Bilbao, stem from the conversion of the wives to a non-Catholic religion (Jehovah’s Witnesses). Citing “mixed religion,” the church subsequently dissolved the marriages. Civil courts upheld the decisions and deprived the wives of their children, rights of subsistence by the husband, and all possessions.

There is a fear among Protestants that these cases may set a devastating precedent. In a country where there are many mixed marriages, they point out, the ability of the Catholic partner to deprive the other of all rights is a severe blow to religious liberty.

It is the first time that the church has used this power, which was granted by Article XXIV of the Concordat of 1953. The actions, however, clearly violate the Law of Religious Liberty of 1967 and the spirit expressed by Vatican II, say Protestant leaders. Therefore, what assurance exists, they ask, that the church will not again use its “right” to destroy marriages?

Article continues below



GEORGE R. WARNER, 73, retired president of the World Gospel Mission and former missionary to China; in Duarte, California; of cancer.

CANON LESLIE GEORGE MANNERING, 90, founder of the Bible Reading Fellowship to promote devotional Bible reading throughout the British Commonwealth; in Malvern, England.

L. H. APPEL, 52, president of Lincoln Christian College and Seminary, Lincoln, Illinois; on vacation near Park Rapids, Minnesota, of a heart attack.

Religion In Transit

Rabbis Judah Nadich and Robert I. Kahn, heads respectively of the nation’s major Conservative and Reform rabbinic bodies, urged the Israeli government to resist demands for an exclusive Orthodox interpretation concerning conversion to Judaism. Currently, any person converted to Judaism by a rabbi can enter Israel and be recognized as a Jew, but the politically powerful Orthodox rabbinate in Israel wants to restrict recognition to those converted by an Orthodox rabbi.

Prime beneficiary in the will of actress Agnes Moorehead (she played a witch in the long-running TV series “Bewitched”) is John Brown University, Siloam Springs, Arkansas. JBU gets the actress’s Bibles and biblical research items and a 310-acre farm in Ohio, and is to receive the rest of the estate after the death of the actress’s mother. Miss Moorehead was the daughter of a Presbyterian minister. John Brown is an interdenominational Christian college.

Mormon membership reached a record 3.32 million last year, an increase of nearly 84,000. President Spencer W. Kimball said 17,500 full-time missionaries now serve the church.

A new poll shows that religion is of decreasing importance to American youth. Pollster Daniel Yankelovich surveyed 3,522 youths between 16 and 25 and found only 28 per cent of college students and 42 per cent of non-college youths find religion very important. The figures are down from 38 per cent and 64 per cent in 1969.

A textbook that teaches creation was turned down as a science text by the Atlanta School Board recently because it was biologically inaccurate and biased. Atlanta educators said that they didn’t object to the teaching of different theories of creation but that the book—Biology: A Search For Order in Complexity—was poorly written and out of date.

North American Lutheran membershipdipped by 44,279 in 1973—the fifth successive drop. The report was compiled by the Lutheran Council in the U.S.A. and covered Lutheran denominations in Canada and the U.S.

Article continues below

A survey by the Institute of Life Insurance shows that 80 per cent of Americans over 18 choose “a happy family life” as their Number One goal. Only 3 per cent chose “making a lot of money” and 4 per cent voted for “a fulfilling career.”

The Mormon Church is currently under pressure to drop its policy that prevents blacks from taking leadership roles in church-sponsored Boy Scout troops. A civil-rights suit has been threatened by the Utah branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

The Baptist Bible Fellowship has moved into Canada, electing Gary Lawrence of Winnipeg Baptist Temple as its president during the first Canadian convention recently.

The Carillon News, a weekly newspaper published in Steinbach, Manitoba, has refused all movie-theater advertising. Said publisher Eugene Derksen, the policy is in effect because of increasing numbers of adults-only movies. Reaction in the largely Mennonite community has been favorable.

A Canadian stamp will be issued this fall to commemorate the Mennonite centennial in Canada.


Presidential resignations: Robert F. Oxnam from Drew University in New Jersey, a United Methodist school, for health reasons; Paul Hardin from Southern Methodist University, under pressure amid conflict over his policies; C. Adrian Heaton from the American Baptist Seminary of the West.

Leon E. Fanniel, executive director of the United Presbyterian Church’s General Assembly Mission Council, has quit his post, one of the top two in the denomination. The black cleric charged there is a crisis in UPC leadership caused by financial problems, membership drops, and proposed staff cuts.

M. Jean Perry, pastor of the Sunnyside Free Methodist Church in Monongahela, Pennsylvania, is the first woman ordained in the Free Methodist Church. Her full ordination to Elder’s Orders took place in mid-July.

Don Luce, an investigative reporter who helped expose South Viet Nam’s “tiger cages,” where political prisoners were held, was named executive director of Clergy and Laity Concerned, an inter-religious peace organization.

The new general secretary of the Lutheran World Federation is 52-year-old American Lutheran Church pastor Carl H. Mau. The eighty-seven LWF member denominations have some 55 million members.

Leonard E. LeSourd resigned as editor of Guideposts to devote full time with his wife, writer Catherine Marshall, to developing a “creative Christian center” in Lincoln, Virginia. Part of the project will involve a magazine that will “pick up where Guideposts leaves off,” says LeSourd.

Article continues below

W. Barnett Blakemore, an American seminary dean, is the new president of the World Convention of Churches of Christ (Disciples). He was selected during the organization’s world convention, held earlier this month at Mexico City. Blakemore is dean of Disciples Divinity House at the University of Chicago.

World Scene

British Methodists are no longer officially teetotalers. Their annual conference this summer, reversing a 1933 decision, decided that personal conscience should now determine attitudes toward alcohol.

The Full Gospel Assembly of God Church in South Korea recently raised $53,000 in one service as part of its first annual missionary convention. (The average wage for Korean industrial workers is about $55 per month.)

A total of 127,326 persons were baptized through the overseas ministries of the Christian and Missionary Alliance between 1963 and 1972, or thirty-five baptisms per day.

A spokesman for Overseas Missionary Fellowship says he believes two women missionaries kidnapped April 30 and held by bandits in southern Thailand are “alive and well” (a letter from them acknowledged receipt of Bibles and packages sent them). It was thought that the women, British and New Zealand subjects, were kidnapped to administer medical assistance. Their captors recently demanded $500,000 ransom.

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.