Billy Graham Center

Records of the Congress on the Church's Worldwide Mission - Collection 21

[Note: What follows is a description of the documents in this collection which are available for use at BGC Archives in Wheaton, Illinois, USA. The actual documents are not, in most cases, available online, only this description of them. Nor are they available for sale or rent.]

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Table of Contents

Brief Description of This Collection

Title Page and Restrictions

Historical Background of the Congress on the Church's Worldwide Mission

An Essay on the Contents of the Collection (Scope and Content)

List of Audio Tapes in This Collection (Location Records)

List of the Contents of Boxes of Paper Records in This Collection (Container List)

Brief Description

Materials relating to the Congress on the Church's Worldwide Mission which was held on the Wheaton College campus in 1966 and was jointly sponsored by the Evangelical Foreign Missions Association and the Interdenominational Foreign Mission Association. Included in this collection are audio tapes of the major addresses and public meetings, copies of study papers, and evaluations of the Congress by magazines, organizations, and individuals.

Collection 21
[April 27, 2001]
Congress on the Church's Worldwide Mission; 1966
Records; 1964-1967
1 Box (RC), Audio Tapes

Restrictions: None

Historical Background

In 1963, Ralph Odman, executive director of Unevangelized Fields Mission, suggested to the executives of the Interdenominational Foreign Mission Association (IFMA) that a congress on church missions be held for evangelical Christians. In 1964, the IFMA and the missions branch of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), the Evangelical Foreign Missions Association (EFMA), began planning to sponsor jointly a congress which would bring together representatives of the over 11,000 missionaries and 100 missions which the two associations represented to discuss common problems and issue a statement applying their evangelical faith to the contemporary world. A joint committee of the IFMA-EFMA prepared an agenda which established ten major topics for discussion.

The Congress on the Church's Worldwide Mission, as the meeting was called, convened on the Wheaton College Campus, Wheaton, Illinois, on April 9, 1966. Nine hundred and thirty-eight delegates from seventy-one countries were present. Delegates were overwhelmingly from the United States, although there were eight representatives from Africa, nineteen from Asia, one from Australia, twenty-eight from Latin America, six from Europe, and thirty-six from Canada. One hundred and fifty missions (two-thirds of them affiliated with either IFMA or EFMA), thirty-eight special mission interest groups, fourteen non-North American agencies, and fifty-five schools were represented. The attendance of observers from the National Council of Churches had been also somewhat grudgingly approved.

During the Congress, two major study papers were heard each day after which discussion groups were given a chance to suggest changes in the relevant segments of the proposed declaration. In addition, each day had a biblical exposition, a report on missions in a particular are of the world, a report on a particular ministry, and an inspirational address. The final meeting of the Congress on April 16 approved the final draft of the Declaration of the Congress, which had been finally reviewed by the Full Congress Committee, the Review Committee, the International Advisory Committee, and special consultants.

Scope and Content

Perhaps the most important records in this collection are the audio tapes in it of all the major addresses given at the Congress. These addresses include the keynote speech, the biblical expositions, the major study papers, the area briefs, the ministry briefs, and the evening inspirational addresses. In addition, there are tapes of the opening meeting (April 9), the Easter Morning worship service, the international rally (both April 10), and the adoption of the Congress' Declaration, the closing address, and the communion service (all April 16). There are no tape recordings of committee or discussion group meetings. Those tapes that are in the collection often fail to record prayers delivered, announcements made, and hymns sung during meetings. Tape #T17 of John Walvoord talking on "Mission--and the Church's Nature" is of very poor technical quality and barely understandable.

The other materials in this collection are fragments of the official records of the Congress and of reactions to it. Especially interesting are the booklets containing the full transcripts of the major study papers, the titles of which are: "Mission--and Syncretism," "Mission--and Neo-Universalism," "Mission--and Proselytization," "Mission--and a Hostile World"; some of the minutes of the congress's planning committee; reports, articles, and editorials evaluating the congress including a long report from an observer from the National Council of Churches; and various drafts of the Wheaton Declaration.

Mrs. Merrill C. Tenney's participant folder (folder 1-7) contains many of the items generated by the Congress, including a printed program; an outline for the procedure for adopting the Declaration; information on the arrangements of the meeting; copies of the talks given by Eric Fife, Louis King, Arthur Glasser, and Philip Teng; news sheets; and a list of all the delegates.


The audio tapes in this collection were given to the Center by Dr. Clyde Taylor in July 1976. The other materials were given by Dr. John Gration in March 1977 and by Dr. Merrill Tenney in March 1978.

Accession #76-14, 77-11, 78-10
March 29, 1977
Robert Shuster

Revised, April 6, 1978
Retyped, September 29, 1989
J. Nasgowitz

Accession: 76-14, 77-11, 78-10, 79-106, 81-129
Type of Material: Audio Tapes
The following items are located in the AUDIO TAPE FILE:
All of the tapes are reel-to-reel.

T1 - Introductory Meeting; April 9, 1966.
T2 - Epp (Easter Service); April 10, 1966.
T3 - Afternoon International Rally; April 10, 1966.
T4 - King (Keynote Service); April 10, 1966.
T5 - Kantzer (Biblical Exposition); April 11, 1966.
T6 - Shepard (Major Study Paper); April 11, 1966.
T7 - Climenhaga (Major Study Paper); April 11, 1966.
T8 - Bolarin (Area Brief); Johnson (Ministry Brief); Hillis (Inspirational Address); April 11, 1966.
T9 - Glasser (Biblical Exposition); April 12, 1966.
T10 - Blocher (Major Study Paper); April 12, 1966.
T11 - Grounds (Major Study Paper); April 12, 1966.
T11a - Grounds: Paper in French; April 12, 1966.
T11b - Grounds: Paper in Spanish; April 12, 1966
T12 - Evans (Area Brief); Thiessen (Ministry Brief); Kamau (Inspirational Address); April 12,1966
T13 - Teng (Biblical Exposition); April 13, 1966.
T14 - Hodge (Major Study Paper); April 13, 1966.
T15 - Chavan (Major Study Paper); April 13, 1966.
T16 - Isais (Area Brief); Kuehl (Ministry Brief); Lores (Inspirational Address); April 13, 1966.
T17 - Walvoord (Biblical Exposition); April 14, 1966.
T18 - Mortenson (Major Study Paper); April 14, 1966.
T19 - Norton (Major Study Paper); April 14, 1966.
T20 - Le (Area Brief); Gieser (Ministry Brief); Brill (Inspirational Address); April 14, 1966.
T21 - Fife (Biblical Exposition); April 15, 1966.
T22 - Fenton (Major Study Paper); April 15, 1966.
T23 - Larson (Major Study Paper); April 15, 1966.
T24 - Isidor (Area Brief); Vangioni (Ministry Brief); Taylor (Inspirational Address); April 15, 1996.
T25 - Final Business Meeting/Declaration; April 16, 1966.
T25a - Continuation of T25; April 16, 1966.
T26 - Kirby (Concluding Address); Communion Service
T26a - Continuation of T26; April 16, 1966.

Box Folder Item
Congress on the Church's Worldwide Mission:
1 1 Area and Ministry Briefs; 1966
1 2 Committee Minutes; 1964-1965
1 3 Evaluations of the Congress; 1966-1967
1 4 Memos; 1966
1 5 Miscellaneous Items; 1965-1966
1 6 "Missions--and Foreign Missions" Draft; 1966
1 7 Participant's Folder; 1966
1 8 Press Releases; 1966
1 9 Study Papers; 1966
1 10 Study Papers; 1966
1 11 Wheaton Declaration Drafts; 1966

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Last Revised: 6/5/02
Expiration: indefinite