Religion: A Challenge from Evangelicals

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The congress, however, heard Third World arguments for curbing the influence of American and European missionaries in developing countries. The covenant noted that "a reduction of for eign missionaries and money in an evan gelized country may sometimes be necessary to facilitate the national church's growth in self-reliance." Meanwhile, Third World churches, in areas that are still mission territory, now have 200 mis sion boards of their own and are sending 3,400 missionaries to other lands — mostly to neighboring countries.

Deep Gulf. The energy manifested at Lausanne may have given pause to the neighboring World Council of Churches.

According to Billy Graham, that was one of the intents. "There was tremen dous vision at the [World Council's] founding in 1948," Graham told TIME Correspondent Richard Ostling at the congress. "But the council gradually moved further and further from ortho dox ties. The gulf between it and the Evangelicals has deepened. I hope this congress will get the World Council to re-evaluate its theological position."

A strong post-congress "fellowship" could spur such a reevaluation. For now, the participants provided simply for a 30-member "Continuation Committee" to carry on the congress's work.

Yet similar modest efforts began the ecumenical movement that culminated in the World Council.

So far, Billy Graham and his key colleagues reject any suggestion that the Continuation Committee might build up an Evangelical organization to rival the council. For one thing, two-fifths of the Evangelicals who came to Lausanne belong to churches that are members of the World Council. Still, Graham warned that if the Geneva liberals did not "carefully and prayerfully" heed the message of Lausanne, a rival group is a "possibility in the distant future."

Old Curmudgeon and New Christian Malcolm Muggeridge (see BOOKS), one of the speakers at the congress, was more direct. Muggeridge, a nondenominational believer who thinks that many Christians have sacrificed the spiritual message of the Gospel in pursuit of temporal liberation, spoke feelingly about the inevitable disappointments that follow upon "fantasies of power." As for setting up a rival organization, he told TIME bluntly, "Anything that does damage to the World Council of Churches is a step in the right direction."

In any event, the World Council is hardly done with the question: evangelism will be a major topic of its big, once-every-seven-years assembly, scheduled to be held in Jakarta next summer. Evangelism is the single item on the agenda of a special World Methodist Council meeting in Jerusalem next fall, as well as for the triennial Synod of the world's Roman Catholic bishops convening in Rome in September.

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