NAE PROTESTS SUNDAY SCHOOL MATERIAL FOR ARMED FORCES
According to United Evangelical Action. Dr. Robert A. Cook, president of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), has sent a vigorous protest to the chief of Air Force chaplains who is also the chairman of the Armed Forces Chaplains Board, because the chiefs of chaplains have recommended that the Protestant Sunday School curriculum should be used in preference to any other. Prior to the adoption of the unified curriculum chaplains were free to select their own literature. There is said to be wide dissatisfaction among the chaplains with the new material. One Air Force chaplain reported to his superiors that the quarterly The Story the Bible Tells “does more to tear down a young person’s confidence in the Bible as God’s Word than almost anything I have yet seen…This material is clearly written from a position which denies that the Bible in its entirety is the divinely inspired Word of God.”
Dr. Cook did not propose that an acceptable evangelical curriculum replace the present one. He wrote: “We are strongly opposed to the chief of chaplains recommending the use of any Sunday school literature above another regardless of its source or quality. This would inevitably violate the constitutional rights of others.”
We wonder about the reactions of our own chaplains to the new curriculum and would be glad to hear from them.
RESTRICTIONS ON MISSIONS ALSO IN THE SUDAN
It seems that the age of worldwide Christian missions may soon come to a close. One non-Christian land after another places severe restrictions on mission work due to an awakening paganism. In Ceylon the Christian schools have been seized by the government and manned by Buddhist teachers. Christian radio programs have been banned. In Africa a rapidly expanding Mohammedanism is raising more and more barriers against the advance of Christianity. An EP dispatch from Khartoum in the Sudan tells of “new restrictions on missionary activity in this country where the Christian community is a tiny minority of 95,000 persons in a total population of 11,300,000. First a new government ruling, which went into effect on November 15, stipulates that young people under the age of 19 will have to have their parents’ written consent and government approval before they can be baptized. They will also need similar approval before they can be enrolled in a seminary or other church-related educational institutions. Second, missionaries must re-apply annually for renewal of their residence permits and give the government the right to inspect mission property and to review sources of mission income.”
Religious liberty and freedom of worship may soon be known only in a few countries where the Christian tradition is still strong. The resurgence of pagan religions in Asia and the progress of Mohammedanism in Africa may be one of the means in God’s providence to hasten the day when the present binding of Satan will cease and to usher in the final tribulation of the Church climaxed by the appearance of the Christ of glory and his victory over all the hosts of Satan. All this does not mean that the faithful Church should cease doing foreign mission work but should rather persuade it to intensify its efforts to preach the gospel of the kingdom in all the lands where Christian missionaries can still preach, distribute Christian literature, and labor with individuals. The experience of our missionaries in Ceylon where a number of high placed persons, close to the fanatical Buddhist government, turned to Jesus Christ shows that God may still have many elect in such countries where persecution of the Church steadily increases.
A PRO-ECUMENICAL PRESS?
Christian Beacon, organ of the American Council of Christian Churches (outspoken opponent of the World Council), complains that the Protestant leaders who are attending the Vatican Council in Rome as observers for the World Council received what is called a “big play” from the United States press. It asks: “Will the press in the United States carry the other side? Will it give anyone a hearing who dares to raise a voice in behalf of historical Protestantism?” We are quite sure that the question will be answered in the negative. Our daily papers and well known commentators naturally favor movements that are popular, whether in church or state. We recall that when the World Council met at New Delhi one of the best known broadcasting companies featured an hour-long TV program extolling the virtues of that Council. And everyone knows how much attention is being given in newspaper reports to the meeting of the Vatican Council. A special television program on this meeting has already been announced for an early date. Orthodox Christianity can expect no such special favors from those who control our public means of communication.
ICCC PRESIDENT DOCUMENTS LETTER TO PRESIDENT KENNEDY
Under the above heading the following article appeared in the October 11 issue of Christian Beacon:
“Dr. Carl McIntire, president of the International Council of Christian Churches, on October 8, 1962, addressed a letter to the President of the United States as follows:
“We are deeply disturbed over the statement which you made in your letter written to Pope John XXIII in behalf of the Ecumenical Council. In the New York Times story, Saturday, October 6, 1962, you are reported to have said to the Pope in your letter that ‘we earnestly hope and pray that God…will give you the great joy and satisfaction of seeing the council fulfill all of your fondest hopes and dreams for a world-wide renewal of fellowship…’
“This world-wide renewal of fellowship which is the hope and dream of the Pope has been repeatedly stated by him to be the return of the ‘separated brethren’ to the Roman Catholic Church.”
The letter then quotes from various sources to prove that the only ecumenicalism which the Church of Rome countenances is the return of Protestants to that Church.
Then the letter continues: “Your greeting at this point, we believe, has gone too far and involves commendation of the Pope’s plan to bring Protestants back to Rome.
“I respectfully state that we do not believe that as President of the United States of America you should make any such statements. You should not be a party in any way to an effort to lead the Protestants to come back to the Roman Catholic fold.”
We believe this letter of Dr. McIntire has not received the attention which it deserved in the conservative Protestant press of our country.
NAE STATEMENT ON CHRISTIAN UNITY
The National Association of Evangelicals released a statement on Christian unity at the opening of the Vatican Council which in part reads as follows:
“Protestants should remember that the true basis of Christian unity is found only in the Holy Scriptures and in the apostolic heritage carried forward by the Reformation. We do not regard the Reformation simply as a revolt against the evil practices in the church, but as a historic return to true evangelical principles of the New Testament. While the abuses of the medieval church may have precipitated the conflict, the principal issues were—and still are—spiritual and theological
“Despite the confused thinking of some Protestants, the major issues of the Reformation are still valid and cannot be glossed over without completely repudiating the basic principles of Christianity which it restored to the world the Lordship of Christ as sole head of the Church, the authority of the Scriptures, justification by faith alone, and the priesthood of every believer…“Christian unity is spiritual oneness in Christ and does not rely on external organization. Indeed, undue emphasis on organic union can obscure the spiritual nature of our oneness in Christ and hinder the expression of true Christian unity.”
BRAZILIAN MOB ATTACKS PROTESTANT GROUP
While the Pope seeks to woo apostate Protestant churches back into its fold and speaks with a soft voice about “the separated brethren,” instead of denouncing them as “heretics,” and while the Vatican Council now in session may make a few superficial concessions to satisfy the leaders of the ecumenical movement, Rome continues its ruthless policy of persecuting Protestants in Roman Catholic lands. The following report from Carmo Do Rio Claro in Brazil is an instance of such persecution: “Jesuit priests must face legal action for leading a mob attack on Assemblies of God missionaries and national believers here. The unruly mob reportedly attacked the evangelicals while they were laying the cornerstone for a new church. Many were injured, including the Rev. John Lemos, director of a Bible Institute near San Paulo, and six national pastors. Approximately 80 persons were forced to flee the city after being severely beaten, the report states. The home of one Assemblies of God pastor was ransacked. Sleeping children were thrown to the Boor and furniture was tossed into the street and demolished. Local police had to be called to break up the mob.”
GROWTH OF THE CHURCH IN CHINA IN SPITE OF PERSECUTION
According to an EP report from Hong Kong, refugees from Red China have told Assemblies of God missionaries in that city that only “Holy Ghost” or Pentecostal churches are allowed to remain open in China. No names or locations were given and the reasons why Communists allow the continued operation only of these churches are not known. Recently published reports in Communist newspapers of Red China indicate that 160 new believers had joined one Assemblies of God church.
How reliable the above report is we do not know. But this we know from the history of the Christian Church since the days of the apostles that the fires of persecution cannot destroy the true church. There is much truth in the adage that the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church. Let us confess that we too often forget to pray, in private and in public, for our fellow-believers who must endure official persecution.
INDIA CLAPS BAN ON BOOK BY “RED DEAN”
England’s Dean of Canterbury, Dr. Hewlett Johnson, is known for his Communist sympathies. According to a report from New Delhi (EP) the government of India has proscribed his book The Upsurge of China. Written after the Dean’s tour of China in 1959 and highly commended by the Soviets, it contains two maps which show practically the whole of the northeast frontier of India as part of China and the state of Jammu and Kashmir as not belonging to India.
One wonders whether the Dean made his mistakes be· cause of an indiscriminate use of Chinese maps or whether he is afflicted with the ingrained Communist habit of perverting the truth to serve the cause of Communism. There is no place for morality in its philosophy. Lying and deceit are its favorite weapons. A fresh example was the deliberate falsifying by Russia’s representative in Washington of the build-up of offensive nuclear weapons in Cuba.
There is something peculiarly Satanic about Russia’s deliberate perversion of the truth in its dealings with the nations of the West. Jesus said of Satan: “When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own; for he is a liar and the father thereof.” But let us turn to ourselves and ask: Do we as Christians have an unfailing passion for speaking the truth?
COMMENTS BY PROMINENT CHURCHMEN ON THE CUBAN CRISIS
According to an EP dispatch from Washington, officers of the Methodist Board of Christian Social Concerns have appealed to President Kennedy to refrain from any aggressive invasion of Cuba in the current tense international situation. They stated that they were opposed to any military invasion of Cuba, saying it would label the United States as an “aggressor nation.” They also said that such an invasion would violate the sovereignty of Cuba and the provisions of the United Nations charter.
We too believe that everything possible should be done for a peaceful solution of the present crisis, provided the safety of this country is not jeopardized. This might well have been included in the statement by the Methodist bishops. The same applies to a statement by the Rt. Rev. Arthur Lichenberger, presiding bishop of the American Protestant Episcopal Church, that the United States should not invade Cuba to get rid of the missile bases there. Suppose no opportunity is given for on-the-spot inspection of the missile bases in Cuba. Invasion of Cuba would cost many precious lives; but a treacherous nuclear attack on the United States would cost many more.
We and ourselves in more hearty agreement with the utterance of the American Council of Christian Churches (ACOC) on the subject of our relations with Cuba. We quote: “We heartily concur in the opinion expressed [by the U.S.] that we can no longer tolerate the arming of Cuba by the Soviets so that the safety of this nation and the nations of this hemisphere would be constantly threatened.” This organization also expressed opposition to summit conferences with the Russians because “the records of the past indicate that nothing has ever been gained by such meetings with Soviet leaders.” And to this the following was added: “This position [taking a firmer attitude toward the Soviets] should be implemented by strengthening our internal security. We believe we have too many men in high places who are soft toward Communism; consequently there have been too many men in strategic positions who have betrayed secrets vital to our national security.”
HOW MANY PUBLIC SCHOOLS PERMIT BIBLE READINGS?
We were surprised to read in an EP dispatch from St. Paul, Minnesota, that “Bible reading is practised regularly in about 42 percent of this country’s public schools.” This was the finding published in a book by Dr. Richard B. Dierenfeld of Macalester College of St. Paul. Of these schools, 77 percent are in the South, 01 percent in the East, 18 percent in the Midwest, and only 11 percent in Western schools.
However, it is quite certain that in many of these same schools scientific theories are taught which are contrary to the teachings of the Bible. Mere Bible reading, and even lessons from Bible history (which of course are out of the question in a public school, except in very rare instances where all the parents in a public school district are in favor of such teaching) would not make any public school Christian. A real Christian school is one in which all the instruction, discipline, and administration are based on Christian principles.
FOUR STUDENTS DROP COLLEGE GEOLOGY COURSE
A report from San Francisco relates that four students, described only as “fundamentalists,” have withdrawn from a geology course on the ground that the teachings conflicted with their religious beliefs. These students, unidentified, left a class conducted by Dr. York Mandra, but did not withdraw from the college. They stated that the instructor taught that the earth could never have been covered completely with water as the Bible story of Noah relates.
If these students were attending one of the many Christian colleges in this country they might have heard their science professor make the same statementl
Any one who has doubts about a world-wide flood in the days of Noah should give due consideration to what the Bible teaches about the extent of the Deluge and then read the book The Genesis Flood, by Drs. Morris and Whitcomb, to get a satisfying answer to the objections which scientists raise against this teaching.
FAVORABLE TO GOVERNMENT SUPPORT OF OUR CHRISTIAN SCHOOLS
A release just received from the office of the National Union of Christian Schools (NUCS) contains the significant item that the 1962 House of Delegates made a “historic decision with respect to the right of Christian School constituents to accept government support” and added that the reactions received were “mostly in hearty agreement” with that decision. Just what the wording of that decision is we do not know. We have no doubts concerning the right of our Christian schools to part of the tax money for public schools, but the important question is whether the acceptance of such money would place restrictions on the instruction given in our Christian schools. We hope these schools will never make such a sacrifice of principle for the sake of easing their financial load.
However, it looks as if much water will have to flow over the dam before non-public schools will ever receive financial aid from our state or federal government.