Arizona Republic from Phoenix, Arizona on April 5, 1969 · Page 34
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Arizona Republic from Phoenix, Arizona · Page 34

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Phoenix, Arizona
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Saturday, April 5, 1969
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KhPlM: ; ITV Billy Graham says Eisenhower believed in life after death By GEORGE W. CORNELL AP Religion Writer NEW YORK-Evangelist Billy Graham has drawn an intimate portrait of Dwight D. Eisenhower's religious impulses and ideals, including his firm faith in life after death. Describing his last conversation with the former president at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, where he spent his long, final illness, Graham said: "It was quite evident from the conversation that he not only believed in an afterlife, but he was looking forward to it. He had a growing concept which he had developed that there was a literal existence after death." Graham, interviewed for a Columbia Broadcasting System radio network program, "The World of Religion," by producer Larry Nathan, also brought out numerous other facets of Eisenhower's religious be- liefs and of his close, 20-year relationship with the evangelist. Noting that Eisenhower did not attend church up to the time of his presidency, Graham recalled: "About a month after he was nominated for president, I spoke with the general and told him that I thought he ought to go to church. He said, 'No, I'm not going to go to church now because people will think I'm doing it for political reasons'. "But then he added, 'After the election—win or lose —I'm going to start going to church'... He felt that he himself must set an example." Graham said Eisenhower sought his advice about what church he should join, but the evangelist asked in reply, "Which one would you like to go to?" "Well," the general was quoted, "maybe since my wife was reared a Presbyterian.. ." So he was baptized into that denomination two weeks after his inauguration. iiiiioiiinniiiiiiiiiiiiMiiiiiiDHiiiii "I never really heard him say why he didn't go to church up to that point," Graham related. "I supposed it might have been, perhaps, a little bit of reaction, and even rebellion, against the very strict rearing that he had religiously." He was named for the famed evangelist Dwight L. Moody, of the turn of the century, Graham noted, and his "father was a student of the Bible and his mother was called a fundamentalist. He came from that background." Although he shunned church activity during his military career, Graham said: "Afterward, and toward the end of his life, all of the teaching of his mother and father came back to him very strongly. I had several talks with him during the past few years on this very subject." Of his particular convictions, Graham added, "Mr. Eisenhower believed in the Bible and he believed in Christ. He believed in what we would call 'evangelical Christianity.' His precise theology, I don't believe he really worked it out." It was two weeks before Eisenhower's first heart attack in 1955 that he brought up the subject of life after death with Graham, after summoning him to the presidential retreat at Gettysburg. Graham related: "I arrived at 11 in the morning and he kept me 'til 3 o'clock. I was the only guest there, and wasn't sure why I was invited. The president talked about many things. Then, suddenly, he looked me right in the eye and said: " 'Billy, I want you to tell me why you believe in heaven, and why you believe in the afterlife.' " "Of course, I gave him my reasons. And then two weeks later he had this heart attack and I could not help but wonder whether he had some premonition at that time." Since then, Graham talked with him many times about the subject, including their final conversation in the hospital. Youth at First Congregational give Easter dance Orthodox How to believe Resurrection By THE REV. PAUL URBANO Rector, All Saints' Episcopal Church In the teaching of Christianity, one comes up, sooner or later, against the Resurrection of Christ. Then the teacher finds himself saying, "this, at first, you will find very hard to believe. But until you believe it, you are not really a Christian." At least, I think the teacher should say something like that, because both parts of the statement are true: the beginner in Christianity will find the Resurrection hard to believe; and until he believes in it, he is not yet really a Christian. I have never been able to understand how some people can reject all the Christian mysteries and yet retain the Christian ethics. Of course, it is perfectly possible to lead a decent life without being a Christian at all. Many unbelievers are highly ethical, indeed exemplary. But for a Christian, ethics derive principally from the teaching and example of Christ. And if the Resurrection never happened, the obvious meaning of the life of Christ is that it does not pay to be good! After all, Christ was crucified. How, then, can we come to believe in the Resurrection? First of all, I would suggest, by ceasing to idolize science in its present state and once again regarding it as a method of investigation. Relatively few people seem to understand that science, no less than religion, tends always to freeze into an orthodoxy based upon its own present condition, an orthodoxy singularly impenetrable to any new ideas or approaches or perceptions. Louis Pauwels, for example, points out two kinds of tacts: "cursed" facts and the Chinese to hold Easter revival An Easter youth revival will start at 8 p.m. today and at 11 a.m. tomorrow at First Chinese Baptist Church, 122 E. Culver, with emphasis on Chinese youth of the community. Youth of the church will help present the revival. Wendy Wong, student at Northern Arizoona University, will seek to enlist those Chinese youth who are away from the city at school or jobs. Special music will be provided. Mike Baird, a student at Grand Canyon College, will conduct and lead the services. Fellowship hours will follow tomorrow's services. others. A "cursed" fact is simply one which does not coincide with current prejudices or is not explainable by current understanding of the universe. To illustrate, he reminds us of descriptions of flying machines in ancient texts, the 'Church' offers draft immunity Associated Press ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. Advertisements in college newspapers throughout the nation are offering draft-free status to students accepted as ministers in the Church of the Humanitarian God. But Ronald Liborg, 38- year-old founder of the church, says it is not a haven for draft dodgers. Instead, he says it will be a sort of "religious Peace Corps." Liborg said he has received hundreds of inquiries in the month that the advertisement has been running. But he admits that the draft-free status is wide open to legal interpretation. "We're looking forward to a court test," he said. "There are so many questions to be answered. The question, 'What is a church,' is quite vague. About the only thing really down in black and white is the Selective Service Law." Brig. Gen. Harold C. Wall, director of the Selective Service System in Florida, said he knew of the church only through the college newspaper advertisment. A source in the U.S. Justice Department said the church was being investigated but that no legal action had been initiated. Liborg said he organized the church "to offer an alternative to disenchanted young people who feel they would do more good serving among the people of this nation than in military service." The church has no building and holds no services, but Li- borg said a church would be opened in St. Petersburg in about two months. "I think a church is a lot more than a building," he said. "It is its ministers, working among the people." Liborg, who says he is a Korean War veteran, claimed to have active members in about 35 states, carrying out their church duties without pay while holding down regular jobs. presence of great parapsy- chological powers among primitive people, and the appearance of nickel in corns dating from 235 B.C. These are "cursed" facts. Nobody "believes" in them. Everybody agrees to ignore them. But still they are there. So is the Resurrection. The fact, cursed or not, that the Resurrection is there should of itself show us how to believe in it. For if the Resurrection is a fact, then Christ is still alive, much more alive, in fact, than when he lived on earth as man, no longer subject to time or space, glorified but not indifferent, still loving us, still seeking us. He is someone we can meet! How does one meet him? First of all, by obeying him. I do not mean he will not come before there is perfect obedience. I mean there must be some evidence of love and effort on our part, some desire to please him by obedience. As Augustine said, we please God the very first day that we really intend to. Or as Tom Powers says, if you want God to visit you, you must clean up the living room. The only ones who really believe in the Resurrection are the ones who have in some real way met Christ, and who therefore do not just believe, but know, he is not dead. ERHARD TOUR BONN (AP) - Former West German Chancellor Ludwig Erhard is scheduled to leave Tuesday on a lecture tour of Latin America. His office said Erhard may meet with President Nixon on his way back. Erhard's four- week tour takes him to Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru and Uruguay. Schedule of services for Easter Valley Christians will observe the Resurrection of Jesus, the highest holy day in the Christian calendar, with many special services tomorrow. —At North Mountain Park, 10060 N. Seventh St., the 14th annual Living Easter Pageant will be presented by Trinity Lutheran Church, Sunnyslope, State Adventists go to conclave The 16th biennial meeting of the Arizona Conference of Seventh-day Adventists will be tomorrow at Thunderbird Academy, 13401 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, to review Adventist church activities in Arizona over the past two years, and to elect officers. More than 350 delegates will represent 3,800 members in 31 churches in the state, studying recommendations aimed at furthering the work of the church. The session will open at 10 a.m. with an address by W.J. Blacker, president of the Pacific Union Conference, followed by business sessions. at 5:30 a.m. A cast of 60 will present scenes depicting the final days of Jesus on earth. Although 1,500 attended last year, pageant chairmen declare there is ample parking available. The Rev. Jerome C. Trelstad will preach on "Convinced He Lives." —At First Congregational Church (United Church of Christ), 1407 "N. Second St., the high school youth fellowship will present a sunrise celebration at 6:30 a.m. in the church patio. Included will be a rhythmic dance choir with accompaniment by banjo, bass viol, flute and drums, and a sermon by the Rev. George Lacy on "Our Surprising Lord." Colorful banners will highlight the festival of joy, and friends may bring a flower to place "on a wire cross, symbolizing life bursting forth from death." Regular services will be at 8, 9:30 and 11 a.m. —At Grace Lutheran Church, 1124 N. Third St., holy communion will be given at 7 a.m. and special services will be held at 8:30, 9:45 and 11 a.m., with special instrumental and choral music. —At Cross Roads United Methodist Church, 7901 N. Central, a sunrise service will be conducted at 6 a.m. on the patio with the youth choir singing. Worship will be at 8, 9:30 and 11 a.m. with the Rev. William 0. Smith preaching on "He Would Not Stay Dead." Special music will be provided. —At Calvary Methodist Church, 7949 W. Indian School, a sunrise service will be conducted at 6:15 around three 26-foot crosses out of doors. Breakfast will be served at 7 a.m. —At Green Acres Memorial Gardens, 401 N. Hayden Road, Scottsdale, sunrise services will be at 6 a.m. beneath a 40-foot cross. Services will be conducted jointly by local ministers from the Valley, with the message by the Rev. Russell F. Haggerty, Valley Community Church. The Phoenix Oratorio Singers will provide music. —At the Church of the Beatitudes (United Church of Christ), 555 W. Glendale, an 8 a.m. children's service for families will be conducted, with no church school, but nursery care for children up to 2. At 9:30 and 11 a.m. regular worship will be held with church school through second grade only. — At Scottsdale Congregational Church (United Church of Christ), 4425 N. Granite Reef Road, services will be at 9:30 and 11 a.m. with no church school for children in third grade and up. — At Ascension Lutheran Church, 7100 N. Mockingbird Lane, Scottsdale, a sunrise service at 6 a.m. will be followed at 10 a.m. by a festival worship service. — At the Mountain View Memorial Gardens, 7900 E. Apache Trail, Mesa, an Easter sunrise service will be at 6 a.m. sponsored by the gardens and the Apache Trail Ministerial Fellowship. The Rev. David L. Mesa- rosh, Apache Junction Church of the Nazarene, will give a sermon on "The Three View- ings of Christ." Also participating will be the Rev. John J. Atwell, Church of the Transfiguration, Episcopal, Apache Junction; the Rev. Glenn E. Garr, Apache Junction Church of God; and the Rev. Clyde Backus, Velda Rose Methodist Church. — At the Church of All Christian Faiths, 4222 E. Lincoln Drive, a sunrise service will be at 6 a.m. in the memorial court. — At the Glass and Garden Drive In Church, 8620 E. McDonald Drive, Scottsdale, sunrise services will be held at 6:30 a.m. with the Rev. Larry Dean Grooters, associate pastor, speaking on "What Does It Mean to You?" Special music will be presented by the King's Men Quartet. At 9:30 and 11 a.m. the Rev. Floyd William Goulooze, pastor, will speak on the first of a new series of sermons on "How to Enjoy Life and Really Live." The Kings Men will sing. — At First Presbyterian Church, 402 W. Monroe, the Rev. Charles Ehrhardt will preach at 8, 9:30 and 11 a.m. on "The Man Who Transformed Death Into Life." Easter music will be provided by the First Church orchestra and the adult and high school choirs, including selections by Bach, Vaughn Williams, Cain and Rusch. A Continued On Page 24 Republic Photo by Vine* Kermlfi In North Mountain Park pageant, Don Schutt portrays risen Christ ,^THE ARIZONA REPUBLIC RELIGION Page 22 Saturday, April 5, 1969 Witnesses fast-growing sect Group shares passionate zeal for winning converts By LOUIS CASSELS UPI Religion Writer The world's fastest-growing religious body is a doomsday sect officially named the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society but better known as Jehovah's Witnesses. Although the movement dates back to 1884, its spectacular growth has taken place in the last 25 years. In 1943, there were only 100,000 Witnesses. Today, there are more than 1 million full-fledged members of the society, and another 2 million regularly buy its literature and seem to be generally sympathetic to its doctrines. Your Neighbor's Faith Polish Christians to bring symbolic foods for blessing Polish Christians in the Valley will bring a special observance to Easter celebrations this weekend. At 3 p.m. today in Brophy Chapel, 4701 N. Central* Polish families will bring symbolic foods, usually in baskets, to be blessed by the Rev. Sebastian Dzielski, OFM. The foods include a lamb made of butter or pastry holding a tiny flag, symbolizing peace and resurrection, which will be used as a centerpiece during Easter dinner tomorrow; meat, usually pork, representing Christ's changing the old law forbidding certain meats; a relish of grated horseradish, vinegar and beets, symbolizing thi drink offered to Jesus on the cross; decorated eggs, symbolizing the rebirth of life; and bread as the staff of life. Immediately following tht blessing, confession! will be heard in Polish. About a third of the members and fellow-travelers live in the United States. The rest are spread through at least 90 other countries. The sect's phenomenal growth is the result of a zeal for evangelism which puts the mainline denominations to shame. Every Witness is regarded as an ordained minister, and is sent out to ring doorbells, pass out literature on street corners and preach the society's message to as many people as possible. Most of them devote an average of 15 hours a month to this work, and a stalwart minority—known as "pioneers"—give at least 100 hours a month. End of the world Their passion for winning converts stems from a firm conviction that the end of human history is hard at hand. Witnesses expect it at any hour, and almost certainly within the next few years. The end will come, they believe, with a titanic struggle between the forces of God and the forces of Satan, called the Battle of Armageddon. The awesome pyrotechnics of this clash "will make atomic explosions look like firecrackers." When it's all over, an elite group of exactly 144,000 Witnesses will be received into heaven. Other Witnesses will enjoy a blissful eternity right here on earth. Wicked people—that is, those who have not seen the light of Witness teaching—will be extinguished in the Battle of Armageddon. Witnesses do not believe in eternal punishment, and there Is no hell in their eschatology. Witnesses are indubitably the least ecumenical religious group functioning today. They regard all other religious bodies as "instruments of Satan," a doctrine which makes the old Roman Catholic teaching of "one true church" seem broadly tolerant by comparison. They also look upon all human governments as part of Satan's domain. That's why they refuse to pledge allegiance to any flag or to serve in any country's armed forces—a stand that has brought them into constant conflict with the law both in this country and elsewhere, Many Americans have the impression that Jehovah's Witnesses are an off-beat body of Protestants. But this is stretching the highly elastic term Protestant a bit farther than even it can go. Witness theology is an extraordinary melange of ancient Christian heresies and a literal reading of certain portions of the Bible, notably the apocalyptic passages which deal with the end of the world. 'Fundamentalist Unitarians' Prof. William J. Whalen of Purdue University has described Witnesses in a memorable phrase as "Fundamentalist Unitarians." "They regard the Bible as the infallible word of God, a word that must be taken literally and at face value," he says. "At the same time, they stoutly deny the divinity of Jesus Christ and the doctrine of the Trinity." Although they do not consider Jesus the incarnate son of God, Witnesses do accord him a position of high honor. They teach that Jesus, before becoming man, was known in heaven as the Archangel Michael. Following his execution (not on a cross, but on a torture stake, according to the Witnesses), he reverted to his heavenly status as an archangel. His second coming has already taken place—in 1914—but it was an invisible event, and he will not manifest himself to the world until he assumes field command of the forces of God in the Battle of Armageddon. The outside date for this battle, in the view of most Witnesses, is 1979. Ban on blood Witnesses adhere to their beliefs with great fidelity, even when doing so is very costly. For example, with characteristic literalism, they have interpreted the Old Testament prohibition of the eating of blood as a ban on blood transfusions. Devout Witnesses will not accept transfusions nor authorize them for their children, even when doctors say they are imperative to save the patient's life. Compassionate medical men sometimes go to court to get a judicial order permitting them to administer a transfusion to a Witness child who otherwise would die. One of the most distinctive (and strongly held) Witness beliefs is that the creator is wrathful at Christians who call him "God" instead of using his proper name, Jehovah. The society has published its own translation of the Bible, in which the word Jehovah has been substituted for God more than 6,000 times. , There has never been a hint of moral scandal or financial corruption in the society. Full-time workers, of whom there are about 5,000 all told, receive room, board and $14 a month spending money. Other Witnesses earn their own living in everyday jobs and carry on their house-to-hous» evangelism during evenings and weekends •*

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