Religion and Morals in the News


An EP dispatch from Chicago tells that a survey by telephone was made to learn the religious affiliation of 205,000 residents of the suburban areas of that city. 550 people were employed to contact between 85 and 90 percent of the people in the areas surveyed. It was found that more than 50,000 people, or 26 per cent, were unchurched, with only 3 percent of those called refusing to give information and only 7 percent not at home. Of those who reported their church affiliation, 45 percent were Catholics, 11.5 percent Methodists, 13.4 percent Lutherans, and only 3.5 percent Baptists. Apparently no members of a church of Reformed persuasion were contacted.

We do not commit ourselves on the desirability of religious surveys by telephone though it must be admitted that in this way many can be contacted in a very short time. But the lesson to be learned from such a survey is that there are thousands of unchurched people in Chicago, and doubtless in other large cities as well. Perhaps a large percentage of these have never really heard the true gospel. What a challenge to our churches in the large cities! Truly, America is a huge mission field. And how few the laborers!


Leonard E. Hill, student of theology at the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, has been gathering information for his doctor of theology degree by sending a questionnaire to the pastor and a layman in a number of churches to discover whether churches calling a pastor make any effort to inquire about the man’s “conversion experience, whether he pays his debts, and if he can control his temper.” Mr. Hill found that 4 of 10 churches that are “vacant” make no effort to find out what the people in the church of the pastor whom they call think of him. Various methods were used to get information concerning those considered for a pastorate. Some “depended entirely on prayer.” One church even hired a private detective.