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This is a complete and accurate transcript of the tape of the third oral history interview of Miss Elizabeth Morrell Evans (CN 279, #T3) in the archives of the Billy Graham Center. No spoken words which were recorded have been omitted. In a very few cases, words were too unclear to be distinguished, in which cases "[unclear]" or "[?]" were inserted. Also, grunts and verbal hesitations such as "ah" or "um" were usually omitted. This is a transcription of spoken English, which of course follows a different rhythm and even rule than spoken English.
... Three dots indicate an interruption or break in the train of thought within the sentence on the part of the speaker.
.... Four dots indicate what the transcriber believes to be the end of an incomplete sentence.
() Words in parentheses are asides made by the speaker.
 Words in brackets are comments by the transcriber.
This transcription was by Robert Shuster, Elisabeth Browne, and Kerry Cox and was completed on February 1990.
Collection 279, Tape #T3, Interview of Miss Elizabeth Morrell Evans, Interviewed by Robert Shuster, August 26, 1985.
SHUSTER: This is the interview with Miss Elizabeth Evans by Robert Shuster for the Archives of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College. This interview took place at 9:30 on August the 26, 1985 at the offices of the Billy Graham Center. Miss Evans, I've got some of this material which you sent me. There's letters about people's memories of Dr. Wright. There's a quote here from Edward J. Hales [pastor of the First Baptist Church of Wheaton, IL in 1979, formerly promotional secretary of the National Association of Evangelicals and director of the Rumney Center]. He says, "If I have any great regret, it's that this man who was, after all, one of the most unique men of the Evangelical church in America, has been so little remembered in these latter years. He is literally the father of the National Association of Evangelicals [NAE] and the World Evangelical Fellowship [WEF]. And it seems obvious to me that neither of these organizations would have come into being or had any kind of life or vitality, which they have had, had it not been for his vision." Why does Reverend Hale call Dr. Wright the father of the NAE?
EVANS: Well, a good many people called him the father of the NAE. Clyde Taylor, Dr. Ockenga have both said that. And I have statements of Dr. Ockenga that say he believes they would not have been started had it not been for Dr. Wright. The reason was Dr. Wright had a tremendous sense of the unity of the body of Christ. He felt that we should all be one in spirit, all of us who believe in the great Evangelical truths of the Bible. And he started the New England Fellowship on that principle, of...that in the essential things, that there would be unity, and in non-essential things, there we would have charity for each other. And therefore, "We should be able to at least shake hands over the tops of the fences," he sometimes said, with all of our different brethren who love the Lord Jesus Christ. The criteria in the Bible itself is practically, if you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as the divine Son of God then you're a brother with everyone else. And on the differences, they are non-essential, more a matter of...of how you carry on your church worship than of doctrinal differences. I believe that many people who came to the New England Fellowship as speakers were very much interested in knowing the unity of the body of Christ. Do I stop?
SHUSTER: No, no, you're doing fine.
EVANS: And the Lord...and the Lord showed them tremendous spirit of fellowship and of love. Brothers would give each other [unclear] and talk about their personal problems and church problems with each other. Sometimes [unclear] what denomination they were. There was very little said about denomination at the conferences. We had them not only at Rumney, at our headquarters for summer conferences, but all over New England we had these speakers who went. And always it was de...interdenominational. And it was almost a love feast in all the different centers for we finally had four circuits going sending the very finest speakers all over New England each month so that the people could gather together for seventy miles around of all denominations. And so many times those who had not heard the real, true Gospel would be so tremendously impressed and say, "This is what we used to hear and we are so interested in it." These speakers would say, "We should have this all over the country and we should...we should organize in some way." Dr. Wri...Wright was impressed with this and the Board of Directors of the New England Fellowship asked that he go across the country and talk with leaders about it. His first trips were about in 1937.
SHUSTER: Do you recall some of the leaders he talked with?
EVANS: Yes. He talked with Dr. [H. A.] Ironside. He talked with Will Houghton. He talked with William Ward Ayer. He went out to the Church of the Open Door. He had a radio group that was very fine. A trio that was unexcelled, always some fine musician, a very fine tenor, or violinist or something of that sort. And he had prepared programs that would be very interesting and helpful. And he would take this group across the country. It would not only help them with the financing in New England, which was always very slim, but it would also give him this opportunity to talk with the leaders. And so he went to the major cities where there'd be Evangelical leaders. I remember Kadel[?] Tabernacle....
SHUSTER: Where's that?
EVANS: In Buffalo. Kadel Tabernacle I think is in Ohi...Toledo, Ohio, or was. Or, Sydney Corral [?]. He talked with the folks at Moody...Moody Church. He talked with the people in every major city in the...in the course of time.
SHUSTER: What were the reactions of these...?
EVANS: Oh, very favorable. They...they all felt that there should be a united movement in the country. The Evangelicals should get together. And there had been several things that had happened that enabled him to show how important it was.
SHUSTER: What were some of those things?
EVANS: Well, one of them was, Charlie Fuller was told he could not have his music. Petrillo wouldn't let him.
SHUSTER: Who was Petrillo?
EVANS: [James Caesar] Petrillo was the head of the largest union of musicians, I don't know just what it was called, but he was very, very powerful. And he said no music should be used on the radio at all unless there were the union members of his union.
EVANS: And he told.... Pardon me?
SHUSTER: Unless his union members were playing the music?
EVANS: Yes, unless they...playing or singing. And he told Charles Fuller that he had to have all union members, that he had to unionize. Charles Fuller said, "I can not do it. Conscientiously, I can not do it. These are all volunteers. Nobody is paid any salary, and they don't believe in the union and they can't afford to join the union just...(and pay dues) just to sing in...in my choir on a...on Sunday evening." And he refused to do it. So Petrillo said, "Alright, you won't have any music on Sunday night." He called Dr. Wright first thing Monday morning.
SHUSTER: Fuller called Dr. Wright?
EVANS: Dr. Fuller. He said, "Did you notice anything about the music last night?" and Dr. Wright said, "Yes, I noticed that there wasn't music. What happened?" And he told him. Now he said, "Would you please look after it?" and Dr. Wright said, "Yes." And he went immediately to Washington and he talked with the senators there. But especially with.... [Pauses] Dear, I'm so sorry, for the moment the name...I forget. Very...quite a well-known senator, and he said...he told him the story and the senator said, "We will get right at it in the Senate. You tell him that if he doesn't do differently, why we'll have a Senate investigation." He said, "He's too large with his britches now." And the President asked...the President said that the Marine Corp would play at a special benefit and Petrillo said, "No, you won't," and they didn't. He said, "He's gotten too big, and we've just been waiting for a good chance to put him down in his place. Well, we'll start an investigation if he doesn't permit this music." And then he also suggested that he go to the Guild, the Music Guild, in Brooklyn, and talk with them. Dr. Wright gave word to Petrillo that on the next Sunday if there was no music, these things would happen: there would be the investigation by the Senate, there would be pressure brought to bear by the Guild that was just waiting for such an opportunity, and there'd be large articles in all the major newspapers of the country that said, "Do you know why you didn't hear any music last night on Charles Fuller's program? Well, it was because Petrillo wouldn't let him. Now what are we going to do about it?" Well, the next Sunday night, Fuller had his music and he had it ever after.
SHUSTER: Do you...?
EVANS: That was....
SHUSTER: You don't recall the name of the Senator?
SHUSTER: Vaukenberg? [Perhaps Senator Arthur Vandenberg]
EVANS: Yes. Then there was another thing. The war [World War II] was ending and Dr. Wright was sending a great deal of material calling on the churches to help. There was great need everywhere for help even though the war had not...not ended. There was poverty and distress in the countries where...where there...that had been overrun. And Dr. Wright wanted to help on that. There were...there were indications of trouble among the people of the radio. The Mutual Radio Company said, "Well, we've had a little complaint and I think, henceforth, we will not have any more paid programs. We will just select one speaker from each group, one Catholic, one Jewish, and one Protestant, and that will be the World Council of Churches, that is, the Amer...American branch of it, to...to give a program on Sunday." And that would be it. Now of course, Walter Maier had a tremendous audience at that time and Charles Fuller had a tremendous audience and there were several others. R. R. Brown was one of the very first (from Omaha, Nebraska) to have a program. And Sydney Corral had one and several others that had programs that had quite a coverage at that time. Dr. Wright immediately went to the Mutual Headquarters and he told them, "There are really four organizations, four great groups in this country." And he took plenty of time to show the man the Evangelicals were very different from those speakers that would be on the World Council of Churches. And they themselves believe more nearly like the Catholics, in fact, they would even be more in favor of the Jewish program than they would of the one that would be given by Modernist pastors on the program.
SHUSTER: You mean the Evangelicals would be more favorable...?
EVANS: Such as [Harry Emerson] Fosdick, they said....
SHUSTER: You mean the Evangelicals were more favorable to the Jewish program...
SHUSTER: ...than to a liberal Protestant program?
EVANS: Yes, yes. Dr. [Harry Emerson] Fosdick was to be the principle speaker to represent all of the Protestants. So he was able to explain this very carefully to this Mutual leader who had charge of it.
SHUSTER: Do you recall who that was?
EVANS: No, I don't that...if I ever was told the name. And so he...the man could really understand this problem and really sympathized with the fact that there are four groups of belief. So he said that he would give it consideration because all of the networks were saying that they would join together in this, not to have any more paid programs, and just these volunteer.... So there was a group that got together. You cou...you can see the importance of having ten thousand, eight..., ten million or eight million people behind the...the Evangelicals. It was a strong point in favor of starting a National Association of Evangelicals.
SHUSTER: Why did Charles Fuller and Walter Maier call J. Elwin Wright when they had this problem? Why did they go to him for help?
EVANS: They knew he was a go-getter. They knew he knew how...the ropes. He had been in politics in New Hampshire and he was very conversant with quite a few of the Senators and of the Representatives in Washington. He had been there. In fact, he was beginning to urge there to be an office of Evan...for the Evangelicals in Washington. When it...the time came, he had a person ready. He had selected Clyde Taylor as the one. He was pastoring a church in New England. Dr. Wright had his eye on him, and he said (after the NAE had been started) that, "We must have an office...." (Is that okay?)
EVANS: [Chuckles] Sorry.
SHUSTER: No, that's no problem.
EVANS: [Apparently Evans had gotten too close to the microphone.] "We must have an office in Washington and I have a man for it." But that was after the organization had already been founded. I don't think that Clyde Taylor was in on the very beginning. I don't see his name among those that had signed the original letter. And I believe he did not attend the original meeting.
SHUSTER: You mentioned that Dr. Wright talked with many leaders about the idea of starting a NAE, an Association of Evangelicals, I noticed in the letter from Harold Ockenga, which you showed me, which was a memorial to Dr. Wright, he said that at first he was not convinced of the need for a national Evangelical fellowship, but that he became convinced later. Do you recall what his hesitations or doubts were caused by?
EVANS: Dr. Ockenga at that time was a rather young man. He had been brought up in a Methodist church, if I remember correctly, and had become a Presbyterian. He had been at Westminster and graduated and had been the pastor of the Point Breeze Presbyterian Church at Pittsburgh when Dr. Wright first knew him. We had had him come to Rumney as a speaker while he was still pastor there. I think that he had not been around the country particularly or in circles other than Presbyterian before that time to realize the need tru...the fully of it. He was fairly new in New England, having come to take Dr. [A. Z.] Conrad's place at Park Street Church. Therefore, I think that he did not fully sense the, you might say, the disagreements, or the lack of unity, the lack of working together, or perhaps the need for it fully, being in a situation in one church that had not had it...trouble. He might not realize the value of speaking for eight million people. Whereas, for instance, Charles Fuller, fully realized, and Petrillo realized that there were about eight million people listening to Charles Fuller and that they could make a loud noise. Now, Dr. Wright felt that the loud noise was needed sometimes in many ways, For instance, chaplains were...were not getting in that were Evangelical. They were being...were being overlooked when they put in their application to a very large degree. Things of that sort were going on. There was this need of help for...for Europe because of the war. Dr. Wright was very cog...cognizant of these things and therefore, as he...he went around he talked with leaders all over the country who saw this perhaps a little more readily than Dr. Ockenga.
SHUSTER: Did Dr. Wright meet any opposition to the idea?
EVANS: Hardly anywhere. Everywhere he went the leaders of the...of the great Evangelical churches of the country were very very favorable to it. He went as far south as Atlanta and to some of the other states fairly well down through the south. Also, he had had speakers at Rumney from all these places, like Robert E. Lee and many...Robert G. Lee and others of the wide spectrum of the Christian church. And these leaders could see the need for it.
SHUSTER: Did he have...did Dr. Wright have any contact at all with the Federal Council churches?
EVANS: Yes, he often talked with the Council of Church leaders on various subjects. We had had a little trouble with the work that we were doing in New England in the...in the little public schools...the country schools...and we had met some opposition. I had met it, myself, as the one in charge of that program. I'd had a state superintendent that had gone to one of our superintendent of schools for an area and urged that he forbid the girls to come any more to his schools, and was roundly rebuked by that district superintendent for even suggesting it. He had tried to get me to say I would teach only Psalms and Proverbs, which I completely refused. So, we knew quite a bit about them and quite a bit about....
SHUSTER: And that opposition came from the Federal Council of Churches?
EVANS: Oh, yes, yes. This was a State Superintendent of Religious Education of the Council of Churches.
SHUSTER: What kind of reaction did members of the FCC or Federal Council of Churches have to the starting up of an Evangelical organization?
EVANS: Well, we didn't ask their permission. [laughs]
SHUSTER: I understand that, but did you get any feedback about how they thought about it?
EVANS: Oh, yes, they thought it's very unnecessary. And one thing that Dr. Wright realized fully was there were many fine men that were in the Council of Churches. And their churches were in the Council of Churches. Quite a good many of those men say, "We sent a minimum of money to the Federal Council or for missions." Some of them said, "We choose just missionaries that we know are Evangelical and we send money and say it's for the support of those missionaries." There were a good many that did not feel that they should get out of the Council of Churches and some of them felt they could not get out. That the...the church itself did not realize how difficult it was and probably would not back them if they tried to get it out. And therein was some of the trouble that they had in trying to...trying to see the viewpoint of the American Council of Churches, the American....
SHUSTER: Did the Council...the Federal Council leaders try to persuade Dr. Wright and others that it wasn't necessary to start...? That they...? Was there any...actual formal effort in that direction?
EVANS: I don't think that there was enough talk with them that would warrant them saying, "You should not start it." Individuals probably tried to persuade them, but the Council as a whole we had very little to do with. And we certainly weren't going to ask their permission.
SHUSTER: You mentioned Dr. Wright's trips around the country and the kind of consensus that this kind of organization was needed. How did the NAE actually get started? What got the ball rolling?
EVANS: Dr. Wright went around more or less officially in the spring of '42. And he talked with quite a few of the leaders and as a result they had a meeting of a number of them in Chicago, I think at Moody [Memorial] Church. And they talked together about this matter and they said they felt that there should be a call made. And if he didn't see personally every one of the men of that 147 that signed the letter, he wrote to them and they gave their consent and approval to signing the...the original call that would go out to call the first meeting in St. Louis.
SHUSTER: Did you attend that meeting at...in Chicago?
EVANS: No, I didn't attend that. That was a preliminary meeting and I was very, very busy with my work and I didn't feel that it was necessary nor advisable for me to do it at that time.
SHUSTER: I have a letter here from someone who attended the Chicago meeting in 1943...May 1943, it was. It's by Mr. D. Shelby Corlett who was head of the Nazarene...Church of the Nazarene. And this is his report to the general superintendents of the church. I'd like to read a couple paragraphs to you and get your reaction. "My first re...." He's talking about the meeting in Chicago. "My first...."
EVANS: Wait a minute, wait a minute. Was he talking about the orig...small, original meeting where some of the leaders got together before they called the...the St. Louis meeting or was this the Convention, the Con...constitutional convention?
SHUSTER: This is the Convention that was held in May of 1943. So I guess this is the constitutional convention. Well, maybe we should wait a little bit on that. Let me ask you, as long as we're talking about the preliminaries, what part did Ralph Davis play in getting NAE started? 'Cause his name is also mentioned. He's coupled with Dr. Wright as starting it.
EVANS: Yes. Ralph Davis of the Africa Inland Mission was very much interested in this same thing. Dr. Wright found that out very early. The...our board of directors met once or twice a year in large number but they met quarterly.
SHUSTER: You mean the board of the...
EVANS: The board of the...
SHUSTER: ...New England Fellowship?
EVANS: ...New England Fellowship. And they discussed this at their meetings. Dr. Ockenga was a member, also many other fine men of New England from each of the states. And they all felt the spirit of the New England Fellowship in sympathy and love and the encouragement of the weaker brothers, the more discouraged brothers, was so fine that it surely should be extended. And they asked Dr. Wright to make these trips, to go. I'm sure he was more than willing. And he found out that Ralph Davis had an interest in it also. And so they talked together about it. And I think Dr. Wright has always been inclined to encourage other people to do anything they will do. Often he would get them to do something that had been his thought, originally. That was true many times. And so he suggested that Ralph Davis write to this group of men and Ralph Davis did write originally to them. Then Dr. Wright himself also saw a great many of the men and talked with them personally. But he tried to work with Ralph Davis from the first because he realized he had an interest and that he was corresponding and he likes to get...he always liked to get everyone working that he could. So Ralph Davis showed quite a little interest up until the end of the St. Louis meeting. I don't know why, after that, he had no interest. I don't want to say that it was a matter of disappointment to him, that he was not made the executive secretary, but others have said that they were sure that was the reason, that he really wanted to be the executive secretary. But that the people realized Dr. Wright's qualities were just what were...was needed and that he was really the...he was really the one who had had this truly on his heart, so that he was made the executive secretary.
SHUSTER: So after St. Louis meeting Ralph Davis was not really...
EVANS: Dropped out.
EVANS: He dropped out entirely, yes.
SHUSTER: Did you attend the St. Louis meeting?
EVANS: No, that was a preliminary meeting. I attended every convention after that. But I was heartbroken over the thought of any disagreement. I couldn't bear the thought. In fact, as I would pray, I would be so disturbed and distressed that I would have nothing to do with it for a whole year.
SHUSTER: Nothing to do with what?
EVANS: The...the National Association of Evangelicals, as it was developing. Of course, this was the introductory meeting in St. Louis. They were just organizing and getting ready. Then the Lord spoke to me, "You know, Peter and Paul didn't always agree, and Peter and Barnabas had to separate. Now you stop this, and you get to work!" [laughs] So I went to the constitutional convention and took a very active part in...in the work of it. Especially at the convention time. The Commission on Education was my specialty and also the formation of the Women's Fellowship of the NAE.
SHUSTER: What was the cause...the source of disagreement at the St. Louis meeting?
EVANS: The American Council was being formed....
SHUSTER: That's the American Council of Christian Churches?
EVANS: Yes, that's right. Dr. Wright heard that they were forming and he went immediately to the leaders and talked with them. And he urged them, especially Dr. McIntyre, and he urged them to wait. We believe that they went ahead quickly, hearing that we were talking of having a national association. And they had already started and said it must be a whole denomination. All the churches must withdraw from the Federal Council of Churches and they must join as denominations. Dr. Wright knew this was not only impossible but impractical as well. That they would have to join as churches, or even pastors joining as individuals, if the church did not see the necessity of this fellowship. And they...they urged that we would all go together to St. Louis. He invited them and he did everything he could. They came with the, seemingly, with the expressed purpose of trying to make trouble so that it would never be formed.
SHUSTER: Now, why did they want to start their organization first? Why did....why were they worried about the NAE?
EVANS: Well, do you know Dr. McIntyre?
SHUSTER: I've never met him, no.
EVANS: [laughs] Dr. McIntyre was a man that had to be first. He had to. And they were very strong in their belief, some of them I believe sincerely, that there must be a cleavage, that there must be a coming out of all the Evangelicals from the Federal Council of Churches. That they just must have nothing to do with the Federal Council of Churches and that if they urged this upon the Evangelical people, that they would readily do this, I think. Whereas, Dr. Wright knew all too well that it would be impossible for many pastors to bring their churches out of the Federal Council and yet they themselves were very fine men. And there were those individual churches that would be glad to withdraw but the denomination wouldn't. Whereas, the American Council said the whole denomination must withdraw, not even just the individual church. They modified this a little later when they found they weren't getting anywhere, but this was their contention at the time. And they made a good deal of difficulty for those and brought considerable confusion by their tactics, if it's not unkind to speak of it in that way.
EVANS: As...asking for recall of a motion or consideration again or refusing to stop a debate or calling for a vote too early, there were various tactics. Dr. Nathan Wood, the President of Gordon College, told me all about what had gone on. And I know that there was a real effort made to have the failure of the St. Louis meeting. But God was in it and there was grea...a very loving spirit that was exhibited by the people at that conference. They loved these brethren and they longed to be one in Christ. Dr. Wright had gone to them and he had urged it, he had gone to them to try. "Just wait and come and let us all work this out together with prayer and thoughts and discussion among all these leaders." And there...it was a large conference for a preliminary conference. And it would have been.... And it was very representative of the Evangelical forces of the country. It could have been done if there hadn't been this very definite feeling on the part of the American Council that it must be done their way, that they must just all join them in the American Council and give up all idea of anything else.
SHUSTER: Was John R. Rice also involved in this debate?
EVANS: I don't think John R. Rice was there. I have never stopped to look at the roster just...specifically. I know the men...some of the men that were there. I don't re...remember him being too opposed. I think he may even have been favorable until the New York meeting of Billy Graham [in 1957].
SHUSTER: '57. Well, that brings us up to the first convention in Chicago in '43. Did you want to add something to that?
EVANS: Well, I would like...I think it would be profitable to add. Mention, I think, is made of a difference in views, for instance, of the.... It may have been at the Chicago meeting, yes, I know that it was, now that I think about it. So, perhaps you would like to read that article?
SHUSTER: Yes, this is a letter dated May 12, 1943 by D. Shelby Corlett of the Nazarene...the Church of the Nazarene to the general superintendents. [A copy of the letter can be found in the BGC Archives' Collection 20, Box 65, Folder 16] Mr. Corlett attended the convention and this is his reactions. I'm just going to read a couple paragraphs from the first page. "My first reaction was somewhat unfavorable, for my first contacts included a few malcontents, who were there was an axe to grind, a number of independent tabernacle and radio preachers with representatives of independent publishing outfits, and only a minority of the most substantial men of the Evangelical world. However, as the convention finally concluded, my first reaction was tempered considerably, for though these parasites on the church were present in quite a number, the final forming of a policy and plans were moulded [sic] by the more serious and substantial elements of the group. There were in the group many of the true leaders of the Evangelical group and the large denominations as well as leaders in the Holiness Church and in two Pentecostal groups. The adoption of a statement of belief which was acceptable to the extreme Calvinist on the one hand and those Pentecostal and Holiness groups on the other was nothing short of a miracle. It was done with ease and with the unanimity that was beyond our expectations. The messages given to the group were of a high spiritual order, much emphasis upon having and keeping the leadership of the Holy Spirit." As another person who attended the convention, how do you react to that description of it?
EVANS: I remember that convention very definitely. The evening before it started everyone had been called to an evening of prayer. They spent a whole evening on their faces before God, praying that God would have his way in that convention. Therefore, I believe that they were ready to listen to the Holy Spirit speaking to them as to how to proceed. I remember they were working on the statement of faith. They worked out a statement that was acceptable to everyone who really believes a true gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. And yet, without those particular differences of doctrine or deportment that might hinder some from...from joining. These...these Pentecostal groups suggested that they would like to join as charter members, and there was considerable discussion about it, and quite a few instantly said, "Oh no, of course not! We...we would not have fellowship with these brothers." But Dr. Wright and Clyde Taylor talked with them considerably about it and many of us were in earnest prayer because we believed that the church should not be divided. There were differences that many had, some even on the...the Sabbath day. There were differences of law, the obedience of the Mosaic Law. There were...there were certainly wide differences of methods of worship. Therefore, they urged that people accept those who, without any reservation, would accept the whole statement of faith that had been drawn up. It had already been drawn up before this question came up, and I think had been accepted. This was a matter of acc...accepting these denominations. I believe the brothers saw that point. You cannot divide the body. Those who believe that Jesus Christ is the divine Son of God, the Bible definitely says we should accept as brothers. I believe that it was of great importance that at that time that matter was solved in that way, that they were to be accepted, if they could pass the requirements, the financial, and other requirements of decency, of order, of good financial methods, and things of that sort. But they carefully screened each one of the organizations to see if they were really in order and did not have peculiar beliefs of practice, for instance, such as [pauses] picking up deadly snakes, or drinking poison, or positions of that sort. Those people of that sort would not be accepted. These men were...were fine, deeply spiritual businessmen, excellent businessmen, and they were accepted on the board of directors and administration and highly respected for their sound advice many, many times.
SHUSTER: Who...who were these men?
EVANS: In the Assemblies of God it was Dr. [J. Rosewell] Flower and it was Noel Perkin. One was a treasurer of the Assemblies of God denomination, if I remember correctly, and then Dr. Flower was the executive secretary, whatever his position would be. And they were men of deep spiritual life and of real ability.
SHUSTER: What were you doing during the first convention? What were you actively involved in during the convention?
EVANS: I was quite active in the education committee. At first, it was all educators, all those interested in education. Then....
SHUSTER: The committee was all educators?
EVANS: Yes, a commission was formed, but then it was advisable to divide it into the colleges, and seminaries, the Bible schools, that sort, then, on the other hand, the Sunday School was another branch, you might say, and the Christian school. They...
SHUSTER: Why was that decided?
EVANS: ...developed a National Association of Christian Schools, a National Association of Sunday School, and a commission of it...colleges and seminaries, Christian colleges and seminaries, and so forth.
SHUSTER: Why was that division made?
EVANS: Because those interests are different. Their...their methods are different and it would be better to have each group discussing those...the problems of their...their particular group. For instance, the National Association for Christian Schools had to do with primary schools and high schools, whereas, the others with college and seminary and Bible school. They made criteria: you could not belong to the commission as a member if you did not maintain a certain level of efficiency of...the number of full-time faculty members that you had and things of that sort. Now you can see how all of those that were of the college group would be different than those of the Bible school, for instance, in that, or different from the high school. So after the first meetings, then they began to have their separate, private, meetings even though it was all in the...under the basis of education. I was in...secretary for the whole thing and then for the division of the.... I guess I worked with both the Sunday School...both the the Christian school and the...and the college and seminary.
SHUSTER: What...what work were they doing?
EVANS: It was largely defining what...what ones should be accepted in...as in membership in the National Association of Evangelicals. After they had decided that, these...then these people that were accepted as members would work together on the problems that had to do with their particular level of education.
SHUSTER: What were some of the problems discussed for say Christian schools, Christian primary schools and secondary schools?
EVANS: How...how to organize them, how to get interest, what kind of school, should it be a parent-controlled or should it be a church school? Or should it be the lower grades or should it be high school? How to finance it, how to interest the public, what...what should be the rule for the number of teachers per pupil. Many many points.
SHUSTER: How effective do you think the educational commission was?
EVANS: Very helpful. It...fairly early in the...fairly early with that commission. If not, the first year, the constitutional convention, soon afterwards there began to be a lively discussion of the Bible, the making of the Bible. And printing a Bible that would be adequate for the needs of a modern world. And it was out of that discussion, along with members of the Christian Reformed Church, that a committee was formed that began to study for the translation of the Bible that resulted in the NIV [New International Version of the Bible].
SHUSTER: You mentioned earlier you were also involved in the starting of the Women's Fellowship?
SHUSTER: What was the purpose of that? How did that get started?
EVANS: I think one thing that especially interested the women, and the men were glad to have them have an interest, was the need of clothing and of finances also for relief in Europe. They were very deeply concerned as soon as the war was over. Dr. Wright was over there and saw the dire poverty. And Park Street Church was sending a good deal of clothing over even before the Commission was formed for it. Dr. Wright himself had heard of two things that were of a good deal of interest, in his very first visit. The pastors couldn't read the Bible because their glasses had been taken away by Hitler. They were steel frames and he wanted that steel. And therefore they were stumbling around needing so much to be able to read their good books and their Bible, and it...finding it impossible. The other people were having their difficulties, all older people especially. And then the women complained they had great holes in their sweaters and they said, "If only we could have knitting needles. Hitler took all our knitting needles because they were steel. "And we could unravel these sweaters and re-knit them for sweaters for our children to go to school." They were in dire poverty. Dr. Wright went right back, we had a daily program there in Boston that was heard throughout most of New England, in fact, went up into Nova Scotia. And he immediately made an appeal for kni...needles, the knitting needles, and for eyeglasses. And he had trunks full. [Laughs] Some people donated trunks which were...old time trunks, which were very good, you know, for sending over with those glasses. And he got whole trunks full that he sent right over. And it made a tremendous difference in those churches. The churches were at a very low ebb. Hitler didn't want the churches even to exist. Women told me, right there in Germany (I was in Germany very soon after the war), they told me that they had to turn over their Christian picture...Bible picture calendars to the wall.
SHUSTER: So the...?
EVANS: That they had...they discouraged church attendance. It was so feeble that it was very hard for the pastors to...to do their work with dignity. But the result of having these glasses that could be fitted as best possible to first the pastors, and then to everybody in the community, not just the church people, gave real standing to the church. And the knitting needles helped a great deal too. And the people began to think, "Well, this church is alive. This church cares about us." And there was a real resurgence of respect for the church, and for the people themselves, the Christian people.
SHUSTER: So the Women's Fellowship was concerned solely with...
EVANS: Not solely...
EVANS: ...not solely, but that was what first made them feel that they should...they should get together and push this. So some of the women met together to talk it over and decided that they would welcome women.
SHUSTER: Do you recall...?
EVANS: You see, NAE was for the men, but some of the men wanted to bring their wives. And some of us single girls were there to help them out...the business of carrying on the convention.
SHUSTER: So there were no women who were official delegates to the convention?
EVANS: Not at first. I wouldn't say there were no women, but I heard of none that were official delegates.
SHUSTER: So you yourself were not an official delegate to the convention?
EVANS: Oh, I presume I was because I had to do...I took the minutes.[laughs]
SHUSTER: But you would be the only one then that you recall.
SHUSTER: What were some of the other....
EVANS: Well, I remember that Dr. [Theodore] Elsner brought his wife from the very first. And Bishop [Leslie] Marsten brought his wife from the first.
SHUSTER: They were delegates to the Convention?
EVANS: No, they weren't delegates, they were observers.
SHUSTER: I see, but....
EVANS: Delegates were official.
SHUSTER: Right, that's what I mean.
EVANS: Of course, the very first, the very first convention, everybody had a right to vote and so forth, but the women wouldn't feel very free to because there were only very few of them. But as the years went by, more and more women came, and especially when we formed a Women's Fellowship and had meetings for the Women's Fellowship.
SHUSTER: Who were the...?
EVANS: And had activities that the...would be...appeal to the local churches.
SHUSTER: Who were the leaders in forming Women's Fellowship?
EVANS: Well, I would say the Dr. Tenney's wife, Helen Tenney, and Bishop Marsten's wife [Lila L. Marsten], and Mrs. Elsner, and I, and Mrs. Petticord, Dr. Paul Petticord....
SHUSTER: Do you recall her first name?
EVANS: ...his wife. Grace, yes, she's quite a friend of mine. I heard from her the other day. [laughs]
SHUSTER: And Mrs. Elsner's first name was...?
EVANS: I don't know. I don't remember. I don't know why I don't, but.... [laughs] She was the...she was always, "Mrs. Elsner". The rest of us, I guess, went by our first names. I could find out, of course. In fact, I have material here that would tell. But, we took the initiative in calling the women together and we talked over what would be advisable. And...and by 1946, why, we had been formed into a Women's Fellowship and were accepted as a commission of the NAE.
SHUSTER: Besides the relief work, what were the other activities of the Fellowship...of the Commission, rather?
EVANS: They took a very great interest in the establishment of homes for girls who would choose to carry their babies rather than have abortions. And then have homes where...then have agencies, offices, where they could...the children could be adopted into Christian families. That was an early project that was developed very well in the state of Illinois. Then we were interested in encouraging the young men to study to be chaplains. The chaplains were almost always men that were not trained as Evangelical preachers and they had boys in the service, they wanted those boys to have an opportunity to have the Gospel. So they were interested in things of that sort.
SHUSTER: Now wasn't there another commission of the NAE in concerned with chaplains?
EVANS: Yes, eventually, there was a chaplain's commission, but once in a while the women would help to promote it.
SHUSTER: You mentioned the work in Illinois of getting homes for unwed mothers. Who was in charge of that work? Do you recall?
EVANS: No, it was a local affair. I don't remember that any one name was at all prominent.
SHUSTER: What kind of support or work did the Women's Commission do for activities such as you mentioned?
EVANS: Well, from the very first they encouraged the local women to...to give offerings to be sent to Mr. [Frank D.] Lombar, who was in charge of getting the relief material. They needed the money as well as the clothing and they were very energetic in helping to round up as much clothing as possible and forward that, from the very first meeting that they had. And a great deal was needed.
SHUSTER: You mentioned Europe. Was any relief work done in Asia?
EVANS: Not at that time, in those early years. I have...I had the figures of how many...how many bales of clothing went and how many...what...its equivalency in money and things of that sort.
SHUSTER: Why was the relief work restricted to Europe?
EVANS: Well, because the war was still going on in Asia and....
SHUSTER: When the war ended, then there was relief in both areas?
EVANS: Oh, yes, immediately after...after the war. Taiwan, for instance, was very very much in need and received a good deal. Especially for the tribespeople up in the mountains who were...who were so greatly in need.
SHUSTER: You mentioned that you yourself went to Europe very shortly after the war. Was that as a representative of NAE or of the Women's Fellowship or....
SHUSTER: How did that come about?
EVANS: As secretary of the World Evangelical Fellowship.
SHUSTER: How did the.... And what year would that have been?
EVANS: Well, Dr. Wright began making trips to Europe right after the war. His first was in 1946. And he was asked.... See, immediately after the formation of the National Association he was the executive secretary. But he began to...to take an interest in Europe and its needs as that secretary, but soon gave that up to be in charge of the Commission on International Relations, as it was called.
SHUSTER: And you were assisting him?
EVANS: And, as such, he went...we...he went to Europe, before, while I was still with the New England Fellowship. He spent part of his time with the New England Fellowship and part of his time with the World Evangelical Fellowship. But the World Evangelical Fellowship had not yet been formed, as such. He went first in '46 and he talked with leaders there. It was the anni...it was the...the one hundredth anniversary of the founding of the Evangelical Alliance of England and he went to meet the leaders and to participate in their annual...their net...centennial. But also to talk with the leaders of quite a few countries of Europe. He was very much concerned about the spiritual life of Europe, the low ebb of, even of the Alliance.
SHUSTER: Why do you think he had this particular concern?
EVANS: [Pauses] Didn't we all?
SHUSTER: Well, people...I suppose people...some people would be more concerned about missions in China or more concerned about work in the States. Why...
EVANS: Well, ...
SHUSTER: ...why do think he had this particular...?
EVANS: ...when he would go...he would go at the end of the war, he was deeply concerned to help the people and immediately began, not only to give relief, but also to take promising young...young people, both men and women, to bring them to America for the training to be leaders, spiritual leaders. Spiritual life was at such a very low ebb in most of the countries of Europe and in...in England itself. For instance, Sir Arthur Smith was the acting executive secretary, or whatever was his official position, of...of the Alliance of England and of Europe. Although it was at a low ebb, I mean the countries of Europe, like Germany and Norway, Sweden, perhaps Denmark and so forth. He realized that many of the men on the board were liberals and....
SHUSTER: The board of the British Evangelical Alliance?
EVANS: ...very low ebb, very little being done at the time.
SHUSTER: Do you mean the board of the British Evangelicals?
EVANS: Yes, the British Evangelicals, which was true also in the other countries. He went to nine countries. And, of course, he did everything he could to encourage Sir Arthur Smith to make a radical change. He himself was a godly man, and didn't particularly approve of having liberals, but they were there and he didn't know how to do anything about it, or, he hadn't figured that out, at least. And Dr. Wright said, "The thing to do is when your next election comes, you must just see to it that you have some good Evangelical men to suggest in the place of these other men and have them elected." It was just the very early years, you might say, of John...John Stott and of his effort to...to educate young men. There was a Bible college that was begun and he was trying to put some of those young men into that Bible college for their education so that they would train out some good Evangelical men in the...in the churches.
SHUSTER: What was the name of that college?
EVANS: Well, I don't know if I ever saw a name for it. I just heard "The Bible college". It was a wonderful change that came about in the course of the years, from that point at least, that they began to have good Evangelical pastors in their churches. And Sir Arthur, while successful in getting Evangelicals.... Dr. Wright said, "We couldn't fellowship with you folks. If you have all of these modernists, they wouldn't be interested in the kind of program that we're interested in." And he talked with him right from the beginning about how it would be so helpful to have a World Fellowship. And he had had people coming from different countries, from Greece and Egypt and so forth to...to get higher degrees in Boston. And they would hear about the NAE and the New England Fellowship and they'd say, "Well, we ought to have something of this sort in our country." And....
SHUSTER: Now, these people who were coming to Boston, were they...was he with some kind of scholarship from NAE or from...?
EVANS: No, they...no, they were sent, perhaps by the Council of Churches, I don't know just how they got....
SHUSTER: The British Council of Churches?
EVANS: But I think that also the universities and the colleges were quite favorable immediately after the war, or very soon after, to make it quite easy for scholarships to be given to some of these leaders.
SHUSTER: Do you recall the names of some of them?
EVANS: Yes, I remember one, at least. [laughs] Dr. [George A.] Hadjiantoniou was in charge of all of the Evangelical churches of Greece, and he was there for a degree.
SHUSTER: How do you spell that?
EVANS: H-A-D-J-A-N-T-O-U-N-I-O, I think is the spelling. [The correct spelling is Hadjiantoniou. Dr. Hadjiantoniou was moderator of the Greek Evangelical Church and pastor of a congregation in Athens.] It's about that. A very, very fine man. He's the one that tried to persuade me to go eventually.
SHUSTER: To Greece?
EVANS: Yes, to help them. At any rate, Dr. Wright had a good measure of success and he was determined to...to do everything to put forward the leaders of other countries in the World Evangelical Fellowship. To have it representative not only of America, which was the birthplace of the World Evangelical Fellowship, but of these Evangelical Alliances in as much as they were willing and desirous of joining.
SHUSTER: Who were some of the other Evangelical leaders in England that he had contact with? You mentioned Sir Arthur Smith....
EVANS: Yes, well, Mr. [F. Roy] Cattell was his right-hand man, you might say. And then A. J. Dain, who now is Archbishop in Australia, was a young man and was doing very well. At first, Mr. Cattell helped to...with the clerical work, you might say, the expertise of...of the things that had to be done. But Sir Arthur Smith was the one that Dr. Wright used as the promoter, officially, rather than himself, because he wanted so much that it would be inter...international.
SHUSTER: What was Mr. Cattell's first name, do you recall?
EVANS: A. L.
SHUSTER: A. L. Cattell. [He is listed in WEF documents as F. Roy Cattell]
EVANS: A. L., E. L., I think it was E. L. Cattell.
SHUSTER: Back in the United States, wasn't Herbert J. Taylor also a member of the International Commission?
EVANS: Well, there was...there were quite a group of people that were...that were on that. Dr. Wright had at least nineteen to twenty-one leading men of the United States that were members of the NAE that formed his commission. Billy Graham was on from the beginning and men of that caliber. He also had John Bolten because of his financial ability too, as well. I think that Herbert Taylor helped quite a bit with the financing but I think more with NAE financing than with World Evangelical Fellowship.
SHUSTER: Did you have much contact with Herbert Taylor?
EVANS: Yes, I liked him very much.
SHUSTER: How would you describe him? How would you describe his personality?
EVANS: A sweet man, a godly man, a man of real ability. He was...he was a deep thinker but he was quiet about it. And spiritual. He was a man that would want to pray over things. But he was a man also that could give good financial advice.
SHUSTER: Can you think of an example of his desire to pray...pray over things?
EVANS: I just know that when Dr. Wright would visit him, talk with him about things in which he was deeply interested, Herbert Taylor would pray with him about it.
SHUSTER: What kind of...?
EVANS: He used Mr. Walker a great deal as his front man.
SHUSTER: That would be Robert Walker?
SHUSTER: What kind of things was Mr. Taylor interested in?
EVANS: Well, for instance, if there was to be an evangelistic campaign, Dr. Wright, for instance, had a...he had Charles Fuller, for instance, come to...come to Boston for a campaign and then he arranged campaigns in four major...four or five major cities. He had single meetings in these cities and then later had some short campaigns. Herbert Taylor would be very interested in anything like that. Then he would be interested, for instance, in...in financing the expenses of a meeting. If...if the commission was going to meet, they would need to pay the fare of the men to get together and their hotel bills. And Herbert Taylor in a quiet way might pick up the bill. I think that you probably have heard plenty about the World Evangelical Fellowship lacking financial backing because people aren't incl...just inclined to give their money that way. And it's very difficult to expect these foreign places to be able to finance the nation...international work very well.
SHUSTER: Was that also true at the beginning?
EVANS: It was true from the very beginning. Dr. Wright was blessed with people who had confidence in him. And sometimes one person would say, "I will give you a thousand," or, "I'll give you three thousand for this trip that you are taking around the world to meet with these people," He went several years, you know, to talk with the leaders in the different places and encourage them, help them with their organization.
SHUSTER: I know in 1950, he went around the world with Clyde Taylor. They went to Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Tibet, not Tibet, Taiwan, Thailand, India, Lebanon, Palestine, Cyprus, Egypt, Greece, Italy, France, Holland and England. What was the purpose of that trip?
EVANS: Well, it was always to see the leaders of the country and to encourage them to get together on things. For instance, in one country, there might be two different publishing companies by different missions and they might both publish the same book in their language. Such a waste. There might be radio programs that overlapped. It might be that ther...that the people in nearby towns wouldn't even know each other. He wanted so much that all would work together and that the missionaries and the nationals would work together. He was especially desirous that there would be these...this interaction of missionaries and nationals so that nationals would be trained to take...take leadership in many things. Before that time there was a great inclination on the part of the maj...major denominations that were working on the mission fields to have full charge of the supervision of all the work and just use the nationals as their helpers in promoting the different things that they felt should be done. This was not true of the [Christian and Missionary] Alliance in some of the countries, like Vietnam, for instance. Nor was it true of the CIM [China Inland Mission], but of many of the denominations that was the way of it. In fact, I had a TEAM [The Evangelical Alliamce Mission] missionary say, "I am the boss! And they will do just as I say." And another whole mission said, "No, we do not want to join because we are in charge. We're not going to turn over any responsibility to any nationals."
SHUSTER: They don't want to join what? The WEF?
EVANS: Yes, the World Evangelical Fellowship, which was supposed to be nationals and missionaries working together on these various things, and the development of the national leadership.
SHUSTER: Why do you think Dr. Wright felt so strongly about that?
EVANS: Well, he felt it was very important for the outgoing of the work, and that there should be unity. He was a man that believed in the unity of the Body of Christ and that one fellowship would encourage another. If one were succeeding in a certain project, another might...might profit from doing it.
SHUSTER: Did he meet any opposition on these trips from...to the idea of WEF?
EVANS: Oh, I presume he did. He wasn't inclined to tell so much about opposition as he was success. But I think in most countries he had a good measure of success. He had some difficulty because the American Council would try to go in there and be first with things and they didn't succeed, largely. Dr. Wright had been first. But it was very interesting to see what they did in places. Do you want this sort of thing to be...
EVANS: ...open to the public? Well...
SHUSTER: What were some of the things they did?
EVANS: ...Dr. Wright would go to a country and he would go right to the leaders. And in making...in trying to make a temporary committee to begin the effort of joining all the groups together, he would ask advice as to what men would make good leaders and should be accepted. He was especially interested in the nationals taking an active part, probably being chairmen. And he would ask and they would tell him, "Now, such-and-such a man you had better not take, better not have anything to do with because he has been put out of his denomination because of his handling of money," or it might be adultery or some other thing. And in country after country there were certain people that he was warned, you see, when he asked and so he didn't put them on his committee. And he had these committee...he had stationery that gave who was the chairman and the secretary of all these different countries. Then the American Council went around and they were forming committees and he looked at their letterhead and saw in almost every case they were...they had listed people that he had been warned not to have.
SHUSTER: Why do you think that was?
EVANS: Because they didn't ask advice of the leaders there. They...they would see the loudest talker perhaps or the man that made the biggest puff.
SHUSTER: Were you at the beginning meeting of WEF in Holland in 1951 [The meeting was held August 5-11, 1951 at a retreat center called Woudschoten, near Zeist in the Netherlands]?
EVANS: Yes. Yes, I was there.
SHUSTER: Who were some of the other attendees at that meeting?
EVANS: Well, I can remember...I can remember it was...the majority, in a way.... We...we had earlier meetings than that too. So I was acquainted with some of the leaders.
SHUSTER: Tell me about some of those earlier meetings.
EVANS: Well, we had a meeting in...in Brooklyn, Brookline, Massachusetts at the Gordon Seminary Building before that [September 4-8, 1950]. And we had representatives of quite a few different nationalities. I remember Dr. Rene Pache of Emmaus Bible College in Switzerland as one of them. He was so good. And then there was [Dr. A. P.] Guruswamy from Ceylon and, I think, Dr. Hadjiantoniou was one of those at the early meetings. I...I know that Mr. [F. Roy] Cattell and Dr...and Sir Arthur Smith were always there. I know Lady Smith came to that meeting. I know, then, that Dr. Wright arranged for meetings around the country [the United States], not a...a full-scale program, for Sir Arthur Smith. But the next year he ranged...arranged thirty-seven areas covered, which made a wide coverage, to explain and to use Osward Smith to...to tell about the tremendous mission program of the world, the evangelization of the world.
EVANS: This conference resulted...had good results and it's on record about what was accomplished. Then we went to Woudschoten and had an interesting meeting there, in Holland, with quite a few of the Holland. And then most of these same people that had been at the Boston one, I think probably this was a preliminary meeting on the whole, and the first official international meeting was in Holland. We had a very interesting time being understood by the Dutch waitresses that knew no English at all. It was surprising how little English there was in Germany or in Holland or in these other countries that so readily speak English today. We...we saw a great bowl of corn flakes in the middle of the table for our breakfast, but no containers for us, or dishes of any sort. We had had soup the night before with it in these soup dishes, that are rather flat. And so I turned to a waitress after vainly asking in any way I could for something for the corn flakes. I said, "Sssup, sssup." [makes sipping noise] and motioned with my hand and she immediately realized and went and got a few of those. Well, we helped ourselves, Clyde Taylor and I and two or three of those from America. There were five official representatives and then the Dutch caught on by the next day and they wanted some. And, of course, they...we had hot milk. We put it on, even sparingly there wasn't enough to go around. And in no time, that corn flake box that they had bought, thinking it would last the whole meeting, was all gone, because they thought it would be like popcorn and we'd eat a little bit, you know, with our hands. [laughs] We had a lot of fun and I think that it was helpful in getting acquainted in that way, with these brothers from Holland at the table and at odd times. Because it was a rather solemn conference on the whole, serious, and it was a new idea that was being promoted, especially as far as Holland was concerned. And we had good spiritual time and good results. They were pleased.
SHUSTER: What were those results?
EVANS: Well, they...they were pleased with the interest that was being shown in the different countries. You should let me look at notes if you're going to ask me too many particulars. They told what countries had been visited and had shown real interest and what countries had already wanted to have fellowships. India was one of those that they had had instant success in. Several of the other countries had...were asking to join. Japan was one of the very earliest. When Clyde and Dr. Wright had first gone over there they had instantly desired to have it and had succeeded in getting a Dr. Bishop to go there as their secretary to serve the...the nationals and the missionaries working together. And it seemed to be a success for a while, but then there was enough division of thought due to the American Council that it seemed better to have the...the missionaries have a fellowship and the nationals have a fellowship, which was never an ideal thing.
SHUSTER: Why not?
EVANS: Because the purpose of it was to have a unity. And the missionaries were the ones that had always had the ideas and the money to make it possible to fulfill things and were in charge of most of the institutions and so forth. But it was the nationals that needed to be trained and the nationals that needed to feel they were brothers, equal, and that the missionaries cared about their churches, and that the...there would be more autonomy in the churches. You see, the Christian Missionary Alliance and the CIM had encouraged the churches to become self-supporting and self-promulgating as early as possible. But most of the others had not. And the...and the authority from the top was frustrating to many of these more ambitious young men that were coming along. And sometimes now we're beginning to have men in their audience that were Ph.D.'s and the local pastors had graduated from third grade or fifth grade in the mission schools. You see the position. Now those most promising ones were getting an education and were coming back even with a master's degree. They needed to be encouraged. They needed to be helped to have a wider vision than just their own church and to be working on things that would help the whole body of Christ in their country.
SHUSTER: How did Dr. Wright come to be elected the first executive secretary of WEF?
EVANS: Well, he was the one that had the interest in doing it. And he's the one that had been going to these different countries from 1946 on. Every year or two, he made these trips and then he took the leaders. The first time he took Clyde Taylor, then he took.... He got very well acquainted in India and their Marthoma organi...Marthoma Church at the south...the south India and the bishop of south India had a tremendous, Akola conferences of perhaps four or five thousand. And they were having liberal speakers. And Dr. Wright said, "This will never do." And he talked with the bishops of South Africa...south India, and they were very much interested. And he said, "Well, I can supply you with some good speakers." He got Dr. [Paul] Rees over there, you see, one year, he got Dr. [Harold J.] Ockenga over there one year. And then finally, why, they had gotten even.... Oh, dear, I know him so well, he started out as just a young boy preacher, you might say. Can God? He's my best.... He's one of my good friends.
SHUSTER: Ken...Ken Godd, was it?
EVANS: No, no...
SHUSTER: Oh, Can God?
EVANS: ...he wrote that and a lot of other books. And he was a speaker there after the third or fourth year. By that time he had graduate degrees in this country and was speaking all around, very helpful. And these speakers had audiences of six and seven thousand people down there, which were very, very beneficial you see, to be getting in these Evangelical men giving them messages.
SHUSTER: This was in the Madras church, or...?
EVANS: It was all of south India at Akola they had this Marthoma conference.
SHUSTER: How is that spelled?
EVANS: M-A-R-T-H-O-M-A, I think. I think it is an H in it. It was the huge united church of south India.
SHUSTER: So Dr. Wright was more or less the unanimous choice for first....
EVANS: Oh yes. Oh yes.
SHUSTER: ...executive secretary?
EVANS: Yes. He insisted on a to...he insisted on a representative from England. So almost from the first, you see, they divided it and had two secretaries. Dr. Wright was the secretary doing certain duties on the American scene, which was more reaching all the different countries of the world. And then the English one was more for sending out letters about...about various subjects and helping more from the standpoint of certain particular things that the...the local fellowships would be interested in developing.
SHUSTER: So the British executive secretary just corresponded with British members or did he also correspond with members around the world?
EVANS: More with the European ones.
SHUSTER: Was there also a secretary for the Asian...?
SHUSTER: ...or African...?
EVANS: At first Dr. Wright was the only one. Then he asked...he asked that there be one in England. And between them they would work out different phases. And they worked together on it. And some had prod...produced English reports and some produced the reports...American. But both of them told of what was going on under their general supervision.
SHUSTER: What was Dr. Wright's relationship with Bob Pierce?
EVANS: Bob Pierce was very much interested in all of this from the very beginning. He...he was a...he was a one-man show.
SHUSTER: Bob Pierce was?
EVANS: Yes. He...he didn't care much about organizations. He was very much interested and he was on the committee and...and encouraging and all of that, but he had his own program that he was working on and...and it didn't interfere in any way. His was largely having a...for instance, a campaign, or a big pastor's conference. He began having one in...in Japan each year. I went to the one that he had. The first one that he had in Japan I attended. And he had about 900 pastors at that Osaka and was very successful in it. And then he went and had one in the Philippines. He liked to do that sort of thing. Whereas, Dr. Wright was more on the organizational and more getting everybody doing something. Bob Pierce work was more evangelism effort in one country or another.
SHUSTER: The reason I ask is one of the letters, here, you gave me, says that Dr. Wright helped Bob Pierce get involved in relief work and do you recall...?
EVANS: I presume he did. I presume he did.
SHUSTER: But you don't know anything too much about that?
EVANS: Then Bob Pierce, you see, got...yes, Bob Pierce became very much interested. So that when Dr. Wright wanted a large refrigerator to be sent to...to Taiwan for Mrs. [Lillian] Dickson who entertained so much and was using a little old icebox. Dr. Wright raised the money to purchase it but got Dr. Pierce to help get it sent abroad in the...in the household effects of a missionary that was going back.
SHUSTER: Another comment that's made in several letters is how Dr. Wright helped Billy Graham start his first European crusades. Do you know what...?
EVANS: [laughs] Do you want me to tell that?
EVANS: [Pauses] Well, the English people were very staid, and they hadn't had much evangelism in many, many years. That's one thing that was...gave Dr. Wright a good deal of concern because spiritual life was at such a low ebb, as I say, John Stott was just a very young man at that time. And Dr...Dr. Wright wanted to.... Billy Graham, who had begun to really make a dent in the cities and areas, to get to England and help with...there with the evangelism. He felt it was much needed, but when he broached the subject to Sir Arthur Smith he said, "Oh no, I'll have nothing to do with.... That is not the way of the English people." He had seen a flash picture that had been taken of Billy Graham and his group on the deck of the ship, praying, on their knees. It looked to him, very....
[End of side one of the reel]
SHUSTER: This is a continuation of the interview with Miss Evans. You were talking about Arthur Smith and his reactions to what he had seen of Billy Graham's evangelism.
EVANS: He had had a picture of Billy Graham on the ship going over to England, praying on the deck with some of his people. And of course Billy Graham had nothing to do with the making of that picture and putting it into the newspaper, but that's all that Sir Arthur really knew about Billy Graham so he said, "Of course he would not go...his methods would not go in England." Dr. Wright was the...the kind that would not say anything further. He wouldn't try to over-persuade a person or try to show them how wrong they were. But he would set about to see to it that they...that they did have a different idea. So immediately he began to talk of having Sir Arthur have some meetings in America. And so in 1950 and 1951 both, Sir Arthur was in America. First, in '50, for the conference that was held at...at Gordon Seminary. And Dr. Wright had some services. He arranged for a circuit of some services and left a free day when they would be down in the Atlanta area, where Billy Graham was having the meetings. Of course, he said nothing about this to Sir Arthur. So that they...they spoke in different places until they were near there. And then he said, "Well, it looks...we have a free night and we're near where Billy Graham is having a campaign. Wouldn't it be a good idea to go over and observe him?" And Sir Arthur thought that would be a good idea. In the meantime, Dr. Wright had told Billy Graham what he had in mind to do and so he passed the word to him that Sir Arthur was coming in and he was invited immediately to the program, to sit on the platform and to...to lead in prayer. So he was right there where he could see everything that went on all evening. And he was deeply impressed with the dignified way the whole service was conducted, the earnestness of the message and the lack of pleading for people to come forward. Simply announcing that...that now that they should come forward if they had a need and then Billy Graham just quietly praying while they came, with no urg...over urging. And so right away he was much taken with it and began to...to consider it. He went back to Brit...Britain and he finally had Billy come about in 1952 to talk with the people about coming. Well, in the meantime, a great many of them had become quite interested in Billy Graham because they had been getting all sorts of reports of the success of his meeting. And so they...it might have been the second time, but it was the first that they had large public meetings. And they had as many as six hundred or more that came together that were leaders of the country to talk with Billy Graham about a meeting and also had meetings in several different cities. I think about nine cities they had special meetings that were very, very well attended by the local people, so that gave them encouragement to start their first great meeting there.
SHUSTER: Did Dr. Wright...was Dr. Wright able to use his connections in any other parts of the world to help Graham hold crusades elsewhere?
EVANS: I don't know, he may have. But I think by that time that Billy Graham could pretty well look after himself. I remember that he was going to come to every country that you might say would be...would be good possibilities for future meetings, that would be profitable to the country. I presume that he had talked this over with Dr. Wright and he was on Dr. Wright's commission so he would know what Dr. Wright was doing in the different countries and what met...measure of success there had been. At any rate, he was going to go for a meeting to encourage the missionaries and have one public meeting in each place. So a man that was an American Council leader in Japan sent a letter to the different countries there in Asia, to all the missionaries of those land, as far I think as he had the names and warn them about Billy Graham coming. And Dr. Bob Sr. went to every place and said....
SHUSTER: Dr. Bob Jones?
EVANS: Dr. Bob Jones Sr.. And said he was going to have a Bible conference for the pastors, a one day conference for the pastors. I was teaching in...in Hong Kong at the time. I went there every two years and they called the church people together that were the Sunday School teachers and prospective teachers and so forth for me to give them teaching each two years. And it happened that I was in Hong Kong at the time....
SHUSTER: Do you recall what year that was?
EVANS: No, I don't think I do.
SHUSTER: Would it have been in the 1950s or...?
EVANS: Well, it was before...it was just at the time...yes, I would say it was...no it was in the '60s
SHUSTER: In the '60s.
EVANS: The '60s. So I heard Bob Jones had called us in Hong Kong and I was free in the morning, so I slipped in and sat on the back seat and I heard him talk against Billy Graham solidly for the whole period until about half past eleven and then get out his Bible and...and preach a little bit to the pastors between that and five minutes of twelve. And after everybody had left, I went up to him and held out...and said, "I'm Elizabeth Evans from New England Fellowship" and I had known him well because we had had him many times as a speaker and I had taken him personally to one or two of his appointments and he had called me [unclear] because of the way we had to drive, because we started late, so he knew. And he turned deep red. I said nothing further and walked out. But I thought it was well for him to know that somebody knew what he did there. He...his...his...the man that was in charge of American Council things that caused a good deal of difficulty in Japan had written to all the missionaries of the different countries a letter saying that at the New York meeting Billy Graham had had many many counselors that were not...that were from very liberal churches, that there was one liberal church that had one hundred counselors from it and so they would get so many cards that would...would go to that liberal church. Mr. Sanny, who succeeded [Dawson] Troutman [as president of the Navigators] came there afterwards...
SHUSTER: Came to Hong Kong?
EVANS: ...to...to Taiwan. He knew that this letter had gone to all around. And so...I don't know what his other business was, because there was Navigator work in all of these countries and this may not have been solely, but he did call the missionaries together and said, "I want to tell you something about that church and what really happened." He said, "There were one hundred that said...applied to become counselors from that church. We very, very carefully screened them and we accepted one couple. Very earnest Christians who were staying in that church because they were so burdened for it and wanted to be a testimony as long as they stayed there. These were the only ones that counseled. Now," he said, "Many of the thing...the statements that you here, are probably just about as groundless as that."
SHUSTER: Do you recall who it was who sent out this letter to all the missionaries?
EVANS: Oh yes. Oh, very well.
SHUSTER: Who was it?
EVANS: I don't think I want to say. [Chuckles]
SHUSTER: Okay. Why don't we....
EVANS: If anybody was very eager to know about it, they could find out from missionaries of Japan, the man that was often the thorn in the flesh for every united effort they might make.
SHUSTER: Okie-doke. We'll stop hear and take a little break while I change the tape and commence again in five, ten minutes.
END OF TAPE