Religion: Amazing Achievement

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Two years ago. natives built a thatched chapel (capacity: 280) in the military cemetery on Guadalcanal. Then they gave it to the Americans in gratitude for driving out the Japanese. The presentation was made by a barefoot Christian native wearing a loincloth, who said: ''We have worked hard and we hope you like this church. And we pray that God will bless all of you and we hope you will pray for your friends who are lying in this cemetery. . . . Now we give this church to you. But this church no belong to you and me. This church belong God. . . ."

Last week Dr. Henry P. Van Dusen, president-elect of Manhattan's Union Theological Seminary, cited this and other solid evidence to show that foreign missions are "in some respects the most amazing achievement of Christianity in all its history." The evidence is in his new book, They Found the Church There (Scribner; $1.75). Chiefly it is a collection of personal stories and testimonies by scores of servicemen. Wrote a soldier stationed in New Guinea: "I had a few mental reservations as to the value of foreign missions. ... I have had all my doubts . . . erased. . . ." Wrote a Marine from Guadalcanal: "When we look at the simple life and the love of God these natives display, it makes you wonder just which race is ignorant or savage."

Wrote an officer stationed on another island: "The people [who] were headhunters not long ago . . . may have to come over and evangelize our civilized western world after a bit."