IF IT BE OF GOD: The Story of the World Council of Churches by Paul Griswold Macy

IF IT BE OF GOD: The Story of the World Council of Churches

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A book of importance to all Christian laymen, and one that will provide most ministers of the Gospel with information about the most exciting movement in Christianity today. The second meeting of the World Council in Evanston in 1954 should have alerted church members to this vital movement towards unity, but unfortunately the kind of general reporting done and the rather dry-as-dust form in which reports were published failed to convey the immense significance. Only in Harold A. Bosley's What Did the World Council Say to You? (Abingdon-1955) was this material rescued to any extent and put into a frame of reference for the average reader. Now Paul Macy, Secretary for Education and Promotion, American Committee, World Council -- and a special lecturer in ecumenical studies at the Bethany Biblical Seminary, has done signal service in telling the history of the ecumenical movement, from the founding of the London Missionary Society back in 1795 to the Evanston meeting in 1954. The missionary movement and the first council of leaders in 1910, under Dr. John Mott, spearheaded the new drive. Subsequent streams of thought and action- ""Faith and Order"" and ""Life and Work""- gave added impetus, and the three converged towards unity in 1938, when the World Council of Churches was formed at a moment of world tension and division. 130 branches of the church universal formed a fellowship -- not a super-church -- and managed throughout the years of war to make a definite contribution in various channels -- chaplaincy to prisoners, an underground which reached behind the Iron Curtain and the barriers of war, a lively youth movement, the maintenance of mission stations, etc. Post-war years saw the work with displaced persons carried on against odds. Provisional councils and committees kept the links; a training center was established for leaders on Lake Geneva; the World's Sunday School Association became integral to the whole movement as The World's Council of Christian Education, and so on. The first assembly after the war was held in Amsterdam, united as to goal, but maintaining diversity of ways of worship. But it was a beginning and it did lay the groundwork for Evanston and the continuing work. An exceedingly interesting and revealing study, that should be widely read.

Pub Date: April 29th, 1960
Publisher: The Bethany Press-St. Louis