Ten years ago a few men had a dream that resulted in the 1966 World Congress on Evangelism, held in Berlin. This was followed by regional congresses around the world. Two years ago, in the midst of the European Congress on Evangelism, another dream was born that went far beyond Berlin or any regional congress. It was an enlargement of the original vision, an expansion from evangelism to evangelization. This seemingly minor change of the original word altered the whole concept. Evangelism and missions were now linked inextricably, and missionary agencies as well as evangelists were drawn into the plans for the International Congress on World Evangelization, which opens in Lausanne, Switzerland, on July 16.

A splendid theological foundation was laid in Berlin, and this work on the theology of evangelism will not need to be redone. The achievement of Berlin will be the starting point from which the Lausanne congress approaches the ultimate objective embraced in the Great Commission of our Lord Jesus Christ: worldwide evangelization. Lausanne is intended not to be an end in itself. As Berlin was the theological launching pad for Lausanne, now Lausanne must be the launching pad from which the people of God go on to finish the work of proclaiming the Gospel to every creature.

It is not liberal and nonbiblical ideologies that are the greatest hindrance to world evangelization. Resolving the confusion over the mission of the Church, universal salvation, syncretism, and social action would not guarantee the evangelization of the world. For the greatest threat to the fulfillment of this vision is sheer indifference. One would expect evangelistic indifference among those who believe that all men will ultimately be saved or that the mission of the Church is to work for justice on earth by changing economic and political structures. The central problem is the indifference of evangelicals themselves. They say they believe that men who die without Christ are everlastingly separated from God. But many of them do not support this contention with their bodies, their money, and their prayers.

Lausanne should face realistically the changing missionary situation around the world. Evangelicals must see that missions must be divorced from any kind of imperialism, even spiritual imperialism, which after all is nothing less than imposing one’s own will and life style in spiritual matters on others. They must see that while the Gospel has to be proclaimed within a cultural context it is at the same time trans-cultural. When churches are planted they will take on a variety of forms; in non-essential ways they will differ from the churches of the missionaries themselves. In these times of great flux, changes may be needed in missionary methodology, in evangelistic techniques, in sending and receiving agencies, in the relations between older and younger churches. These matters must be discussed frankly and openly. More humility, more integrity, and a willingness to play second or third fiddle in the light of the larger goal are greatly needed qualities in the movement toward world evangelization.

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We hope that Lausanne will make available to many, many people models for proclaiming the good news; that all participants will see that God works in different ways and with different tools and approaches; and that all will find at Lausanne the tools and approaches needed for the task in their own parts of the world.

There are many varying approaches to evangelization. There is Evangelism-in-Depth, church growth a la McGavran, the Wycliffe vision, mass evangelism, student work like that of Inter-Varsity, Campus Crusade, and Young Life. We hope that Lausanne will be the time for cross-fertilization, for an appreciation of what others are doing, and for the development of a pattern that will bring all the divergent outreaches into focus.

If Lausanne succeeds it will be nothing more than the opening gun in what we hope will be the final battle for the salvation of men. And whatever is needed to secure this result we hope to see developed at this congress. But most of all we pray for the dominant presence of the Holy Spirit and the commitment of all the participants in subjection to the Spirit so that he may have his way, do his work, and exhalt Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world.

Grace Vs. Grunt

Box lacrosse, called by some “the game for muggers,” is the most obscure of a number of professional sports that have recently enjoyed a burst of new popularity. With much bodily contact built in, box lacrosse seems to be just the sport for our violence-prone society. Despite inflation, other kinds of professional play have been expansion-minded of late and apparently have access to much investment money.

By contrast, the performing arts are suffering. The National Ballet, the capital’s only dance company, folded last month because of inflation, a $300,000 deficit, and lack of community support. Throughout its twelve years of life the founder, Mrs. Richard J. Riddell, had poured over $2 million into the troupe. But her money alone could not support eighty dancers and administrators. Three months ago the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, facing a half-million-dollar deficit, ceased operation midseason. Only an intensive fund drive enabled the symphony to begin plans for next season. Last season the deficit of the world-renowned Metropolitan Opera Company reached $7.8 million. Even with consistently sold-out houses, the Met loses $30,000 each time the curtain rises. Private and in some cases public money is unable to keep our symphonies, ballets, and opera houses out of debt. Rising ticket prices—sometimes as much as $15 per seat—prohibit many from attending concerts.

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Meanwhile the World Football League backers found enough investors to begin operation this summer. The World Hockey Association is in its third season. World Team Tennis just started, as did professional track, and the National Football League is planning to start a European league. Last year the average club in the NFL made a profit of $472,500 after taxes. Soccer, once ignored in this country, is gaining in popularity, perhaps in part because of Boys Club soccer programs.

Football, hockey, and soccer exploit the violent competitiveness in man, and to a certain extent this may be good. It is certainly better for fallen man to release his aggression through sports than to do it through wars, public or private. The arts, on the other hand, explore the beauty and harmony of God’s creation, and direct man away from himself. The disparity between the financial state of sports and that of the performing arts says something about where our values lie.

Followers of Christ are commanded to spend their minds on beauty, holiness, and purity. Perhaps that applies to their time and money as well.

The Gospel In Creole

Official Haiti has clung tenaciously to French since its independence from France in 1804 even though 90 per cent of its five million people can but poorly understand French. But recently there has been a greater use of Creole, the universal language of Haiti. This trend now is boosted with the publication of a new Creole New Testament and Psalms. This latest translation by the United Bible Societies will improve considerably upon earlier ones, which adhered idiomatically to French.

Tender Loving Need

Anyone looking for a good nursing home is likely to assume that more money will buy better care. Right? And that if nursing homes aren’t run well, the government should step in and straighten things out. Right?

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More money and more regulations are two of the false panaceas cited in a new and shocking exposé called Tender Loving Greed: How the Incredibly Lucrative Nursing Home “Industry” Is Exploiting America’s Old People and Defrauding Us All (Knopf, 245 pp., $6.95). More money is what the “industry” grafters would have us believe is the key to a comfortable old age, says author Mary Adelaide Mendelson. And “more and better laws” is the cry of well-meaning would-be reformers. But ten years of working around nursing homes, uncovering case after case of horrible and dehumanizing treatment of patients, and discovering graft in every aspect of nursing home operation led Mendelson to reject the idea that more money or more laws can solve the problems. What is needed is better use of what presently exists: billions in public monies—approximately $3.5 last year—and many unenforced laws.

In a 1972 article, consumer advocate Ralph Nader cited a fifteen-state survey of nursing-home inspection reports collated by the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. Deficiencies were common in the areas of fire safety, medical records, diet, housekeeping, and sanitation. There were reports of food poisoning and of frequent drug experimentation upon patients. More recently, the New York Times Magazine quoted a Government Accounting Office audit of nursing homes showing that in over half of the homes inspected administrators were ignoring the requirement that patients be visited by a doctor every thirty days. Since the GAO report, the situation has changed: the homes have not mended their ways; instead, the new HEW guidelines dropped the requirement.

All these reports distinguish between profit-making and non-profit nursing homes. In general, the non-profit homes are far better. And of these, the ones connected to religious groups (and they are in the majority) are, for the most part, the very best. The waiting lists for these homes are long.

There are no easy solutions to the problems, but consumer pressure is one effective tool. Nursing homes are dependent upon consumers and afraid of adverse publicity. Information about what the consumer can expect from a good nursing home and how to get it can be obtained from the American Nursing Home Association, Box C, 1200 15th Street, N.W., Washington, D. C. 20005. But in future days, compassionate, patient Christians must consider and respond to the need in our society for excellent, honoring care for the aged or leave a vacuum that invites grafters.

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That Roof Over Your Head

Poor people have all kinds of problems, and the poor in America face still another major difficulty: the dwindling volume of low-rent housing. One reason for the shortage is the back-to-the-city trend, which has been bolstered by the shortage and high price of gasoline. Old inner-city rowhouses that used to be rented to poor people are being renovated and turned into “town-houses” that they cannot afford.

Another factor is the trend toward condominiums: many older apartments are being sold off, forcing families who cannot afford to own property to look for somewhere else to live. There is irony here in that one reason for the popularity of condominiums among developers is that local governments have legislated rent-hike ceilings. And so an action intended to protect the poor is working against them.

Christian concern for the poor ought to be manifested in this situation, but how? The problem is too new to hazard specific corrective proposals. At the very least, however, community leaders ought to be prodded to confront it squarely and state their positions.

The Traveling ‘Tribe’

Evangelistic work among people of a different culture doesn’t require going to another country as a missionary. It can also be done at home, because citizens of other countries come to us. For example, special efforts have long been in existence to reach college students from abroad for Christ. And agencies have arisen to evangelize the many laborers from Turkey and southern Europe who have settled in northern Europe, leaving their families behind.

One group that may be overlooked is at the other end of the affluence scale: Japanese businessmen. In most major commercial centers in the Western world many energetic Japanese are minding their business. But probably in many if not most of these centers there is no Japanese-language Christian church witnessing to its compatriots. Even where there is, chances are the members will welcome cooperation in attempts to reach other Japanese for Christ. Opening one’s home and making Japanese Bibles and literature available in hotel lobbies are only two of many possible ways of evangelism. Let’s be alert to such opportunities to spread the Gospel globally.

Too Bad About Bonaventure

We’ll use the 700th anniversary of the death of St. Bonaventure to lament the fact that this great Christian thinker was overshadowed by St. Thomas Aquinas. They were contemporaries, and died the same year—Bonaventure on July 15 after participating in the Council of Lyons. Had Bonaventure lived at another time he might have more greatly influenced the history of thought.

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Bonaventure and Aquinas were adversaries. Aquinas, as the magnificent systematizer, repelled the attempt of Islamic philosophers to dominate Western thought (the supremacy had been held by Christians since Augustine). But in so doing he made drastic concessions that started a trend toward empiricism, and Christians today are still unable to cope with this trend adequately.

Bonaventure was much more in the Augustinian and neo-Platonic tradition. His emphasis is needed in a day when so many are swayed by empiricism and feel that only that which we can see, hear, feel, touch, or smell can be verified as real.

The End Of A Fiction?

Auri sacra fames, the accursed hunger for gold, has driven men and nations to deception, crime, and war throughout human history. During most of our history, gold and silver competed for the role of a universally acceptable medium of exchange and standard of value. By the outbreak of World War I, gold, the scarcer metal, had proved itself the more widely acceptable of the two. During World War I the gold standard, involving the ready convertibility of paper money in gold and free trading in gold, was abandoned by almost every country in the world. After the war it was temporarily restored. The Great Depression, however, caused it to be abandoned a second—and apparently final—time.

In the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt in effect nationalized all privately-owned gold. Citizens were forbidden to own it except for certain ornamental and numismatic purposes. At the same time the value of the United States dollar continued to be expressed in terms of a fixed weight of gold. America was therefore on the gold exchange standard for international transactions while obliging its citizens to be satisfied with paper money redeemable only in silver, or, more recently, not redeemable at all. The paper dollar, Americans were assured, remained as always “good as gold.”

Under such circumstances, the desire for individual ownership of gold might appear to be unpatriotic and anti-social. Indeed, as long as the paper dollar could be and was being exchanged for gold in international transactions, there was at least a certain reality behind the fiction. Unfortunately the declining value of the dollar led to an increasing drain on America’s gold reserves and ultimately to the effective abandonment of its convertibility even in international transactions. It remains illegal for United States citizens to own gold, a rather strange kind of law that seems to be intended to support that now abandoned fiction that the paper dollar is good as gold. Harsh reality makes it clear that in an inflation-ridden economy, paper money does not represent reliable value, and hence there is an increasing auri sacra fames, even among Americans, who previously placed unlimited confidence in the dollar.

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Now the secretary of the United States treasury is proposing that private ownership of gold once again be made legal in America. In view of its immensely high price—now nearing $200 an ounce—it seems unlikely that many Americans will be able to buy much gold. But the proposal at least represents a certain return from fantasy to realism, and perhaps it will be followed by greater realism in other economic areas.

How Not To Have A Garage Sale

The current popularity of the garage sale shows how quickly we outgrow “needs.” That aquarium and electric juicer and exercise bike that we absolutely had to have soon turned into white elephants. We can’t bear to throw them out, and thus concede that we didn’t need them after all, so we seek to sell them. If we can get a little something for them we’ll feel less uncomfortable about our mistakes. And besides, we’ll have something to apply toward our new-found needs.

Alas, the cycle is not easy to break in our affluent society. A place to start is to resist impulse buying, even at “50% OFF!” Christians particularly should set the example by concentrating their spending on things of more lasting value.

Playing With History

What do Roger Williams, Brigham Young, and Martin Luther King have in common? Caspar Nannes, who holds a Ph.D. in modern drama from the University of Pennsylvania and was for twenty years the religion editor of the Washington Star-News, provides a vivid answer in “Calvacade ’76,” which premiered at Washington’s National Presbyterian Church in May. “Our country,” he says, “has grown into greatness because religious bodies and their leaders have fought for what is right spiritually, politically, economically, socially.” Williams, Young, King, and a host of other religious men and women significantly influenced our nation’s development.

Using a tableau-like format with narration, organ, and soloists singing such well-known hymns as “Amazing Grace,” Nannes tells the story of America’s religious leaders during the early struggle for independence and expansion through the Civil War and this century’s attempts to finish what people like Harriet Beecher Stowe began. The original production suffered from weak staging and acting, and the National Presbyterian Church sanctuary lacked the needed stage. But the idea and script are good and the play is easy to produce, meriting further exposure. Nannes thinks one of its strengths is that local churches could mount their own productions.

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The American Revolution Bicentennial Administration should recognize the role religious leaders played in America’s history and make “Cavalcade ’76” part of the official celebration of our country’s two-hundredth anniversary.

Diversity, Unity, Differentiation

Christians are willing to acknowledge with the Apostle Paul that “by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:13). However, the visible outworkings of this profession are elusive. It is true that believers bring a diversity of backgrounds—religious, ethnic, cultural, economic—into the body of Christ. But are such factors irrelevant, as they ought to be, when it comes to recognizing and exhibiting the great truth of the unity of the people of God, not simply abstractly but in a concrete, visible way? Our Lord prayed for his people “that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that thou hast sent me” (John 17:23). But do we really think that when nonbelievers see typical Christian meetings they observe a diversity of backgrounds—black and white, middle-class and lower-class, well-educated and poorly educated? Or is the world more likely to discern basic similarities in background—much as in most country clubs, lodges, and sororities?

Unity does not mean sameness. We are not required to leave behind cultural distinctives, tastes in food, and the like when we become Christians. Paul objected to Jewish customs only when they appeared to compromise the one Gospel or the liberty of Christians under grace. Moreover, immediately after reminding the Corinthians of the unity of the body of Christ, he went on in verses 14–26 to talk about differences within that body. But observe that this differentiation is one of function, as in the differences between hands and feet, eyes and ears. They were not differences which reflect a person’s ancestry and over which he has no control, such as national origin or skin color, nor were they differences over his status in the world, such as the extremely crucial distinction (for secular purposes) between slave and non-slave.

In practice most congregations fall woefully short of both aspects of this Pauline teaching. They do not adequately reflect the diversity of background that makes up the body of Christ in almost every place. Neither do they have all of their members functioning in the various roles that God has intended. The result of both of these failures is a hindrance to the answering of our Lord’s prayer for a unity that the world can see while it hears the message of his love.

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