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Collection 358 Papers of Charles P. Wagner

Identifier: CN 358

Scope and Contents

Correspondence, memos, minutes, reports, promotional materials, news releases, clippings, article and address manuscripts, photographs and negatives. The materials document Wagner's activities as a member of the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization and its Executive Committee; as chairperson of its Strategy Working Group; as co-editor of the annual books, UNREACHED PEOPLES '79, '80, and '81; as a missionary educator and theologian in South America; and his appointment to Fuller Seminary's McGavran Chair of Church Growth. In these capacities, various regional and international meetings are also documented.


  • Created: 1965-1987

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Biographical or Historical Information

Rev. Charles Peter Wagner was born in 1930. His education included a BS degree from Rutgers University in 1952; an M.Div. degree from Fuller Theological Seminary in 1955; a Th.M. degree from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1962; an M.A. degree (missiology) from Fuller Seminary School of World Mission in 1968; and a Ph.D. (social ethics) from the University of Southern California. During his career, Wagner worked as: a missionary (1956-1971) in Bolivia with South America Mission and Andes Evangelical Mission; professor at Seminario Teologico Jorge Allan (George Allan Theological Seminary), Cochabamba, Bolivia (1962-1971); Associate General Director, Andes Evangelical Mission (1964-1971); editor of the magazine, Vision Evangelicas; Vice President, Fuller Evangelistic Association (1971-1979); Professor of Church Growth, Fuller Theological Seminary School of World Mission (1971- ). In addition, Wagner was the Founding President of the Bolivian Commission for Evangelical Social Action (COMBASE), conducted church growth workshops in Venezuela, Haiti and the United States, and was an advisor to the Hispanic Evangelical Theological Society of the USA. In 1984 Wagner was the first to be installed as Fuller Theological Seminary's Donald Mc Gavran Chair of Church Growth at Fuller Theological Seminary. He also authored numerous books and articles on church growth.

Wagner was involved in regional and international meetings during his career. He served as the press coordinator for the Primer Congreso Latinoamericano de Evangelizacion (First Latin American Congress on Evangelization, CLADE) in 1969, and participated in the 1969 La III Conferencia Evangelica Latinoamericana (Third Latin American Conference, CELA III) and the first (1970) and second (1972) consultations of the Fraternidad Teological Latinoamericana. In 1974 he conducted a demonstration workshop on evangelistic methods and church growth at the International Congress on World Evangelization, and was a member of the Lausanne Continuation Committee. With the formation of the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization (LCWE) in 1976, Wagner became a member of the LCWE Executive Committee. An integral part of Wagner's role within the Lausanne Committee was serving as chairman of its Strategy Working Group (SWG). The group's function was to compile information on distinct people groups throughout the world and facilitate the development of strategies to reach them with the Gospel. Wagner concluded his duties as chairman and member of the LCWE Executive Committee in 1981, but continued to serve as a member of the Lausanne Committee in 1988.

Wagner also worked as co-editor with Ed Dayton on the production of three of the annual volumes, Unreached Peoples, which provided information on numerous people groups yet to be exposed to the Gospel.

Wagner and his wife, Doris, have three children.


3.50 Cubic Feet (10 Boxes (DC), Negatives, Oversize Materials, Photographs)

Language of Materials


Arrangement of Materials

[Note: In the Arrangement description, the notation "folder 2-5" means box 2, folder 5.]

The materials in this collection consist of correspondence, memos, minutes, handwritten notes, executive and financial reports, promotional materials, news releases, magazine and newspaper clippings, article and address manuscripts, conference statements, program booklets, photographs and negatives, all related to Wagner's serving as: member of the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization (LCWE) and its Executive Committee; chairperson of the LCWE's Strategy Working Group; co-editor of three volumes of the annual Unreached Peoples series; missionary educator and theologian in South America; and first occupant of Fuller Theological Seminary's McGavran Chair of Church Growth. The paper records in this collection are comprised of four sub-series:

I. Lausanne Committee Files (Folders 1-1 to 7-1); 1973-1985

a. Administrative

b. Congresses & Consultations

II. Conferences Files (Folders 7-2 to 8-4); 1965-1974

III. Unreached Peoples Annuals Files (Folders 8-5 to 9-5); 1978-1983

IV. Fuller Theological Seminary (Folder 10-6); 1978, 1984-1985

Note on Arrangement. As the materials were received in numerous accessions, they have been arranged by the archivist. However, the folder titles have remained as they were received except for minor changes to provide uniformity. Congratulatory greetings on Wagners' appointment to the McGavran Chair of Church Growth were sampled. The photographs related to the CLADE meeting are included in the volume rather than refiled in the archives photo file.

I. Lausanne Committee Administrative Files

This series consists of materials relating to the high level operation and planning of the LCWE and various consultations it sponsored. The ADMINISTRATIVE SUBSERIES consists largely of Executive Committee materials, including correspondence, memos, minutes, hand written notes, executive and financial reports, and documents such as the LCWE constitution and bylaws (Folder 1-1), or a prospectus (Folder 1-2). Much of the correspondence is with Leighton Ford. Some of the documents include Wagner's annotations. Topics covered in the documents include upcoming meetings, activities of the LCWE, membership, and various aspects of evangelism throughout the world. While Folders 1-1 and 1-2 are titled "correspondence", they include documents from the Executive Committee's meetings in Wheaton (1982) and Arrowhead Springs, California (1983) respectively, and therefore extend the subseries documents from Executive Committee meetings beyond the time period suggested in the Container List of this guide. Folder 5-5 includes the agenda and minutes from the Executive Committee meeting held in Thailand during the 1980 Consultation on World Evangelism.

The membership of the Lausanne Committee was comprised of Christian leaders from around the world. While Wagner's nominations files (Folders 3-1 to 3) document in part the overall scope of the nomination process, their focus is primarily on the review and selection of members for theNorth American Lausanne Committee. A record of the deliberations of that Committee are also available (Folder 3-4).

Included in the LCWE development of its working group structure in 1976 was the Strategy Working Group (SWG), of which Wagner was chairman from 1976 to 1981. The SWG was responsible for "investigating the growth of evangelization worldwide; continuing to gather information about unreached peoples and making it available to church and mission leadership for study action and prayer; and the convening of consultations to develop and share strategies for evangelization among particular peoples or groups." (Folder 3-5, letter from Leighton Ford, October 11, 1976.)

Wagner's files document the development and activity of the group, touching on the themes noted above. The materials include correspondence with its members (Fouad Accad, Ed Dayton, Rev. David Gitari, Rev. Tom Houston, Harmon Johnson, Rev. John Y. Masuda, George Samuel, Dr. W. Douglas Smith, and Rev. James Wong) and Leighton Ford, reports, meeting minutes, clippings, and news releases. As the 1980 Consultation on World Evangelization was held in the midst of the time frame documented by the SWG files, the meeting and the group's contribution to it are major subjects of discussion in the files. One set of documents (in Folder 3-7) of particular interest provides background on the black Jews of Ethiopia. Also referred to is the development David Barrett's World Christian Encyclopedia (Folder 4-3), accompanied by correspondence with Barrett. The COWE file (Folder 5-5) also contains minutes which record the deliberations of the SWG during the Consultation in Thailand.

II. Lausanne Committee Consultation Files

The LCWE Consultations Subseries consists of correspondence regarding planning and follow-up, minutes, reports, information on participants, texts of addresses, promotional brochures, conference statements, news releases, clippings from magazines and newspapers, and program booklets.

III. Conferences Files

This series continues the documentation of Wagner's involvement in international conferences, those in this series falling outside and preceding the Lausanne Committee framework. Included are Wagner's files for meetings on various aspects of missions and evangelism. The conferences reflect both evangelical and ecumenical orientations to understanding and promoting world evangelization. Unlike the LCWE conferences which were either North American international in scope, the conferences in this series were focused for Asia and Latin America.

Two subseries relate to meetings in Latin America, La III Conferencia Evangelica Latinoamericana (CELA III, Third Latin American Evangelical Congress) and the first (1970) and second (1972) consultations of the Fraternidad Teological Latinoamericana. Due to CELA III's ecumenical nature, the documents provide information on cooperation between and relationships among Latin American Christians, particularly in Bolivia, Chile and Peru, as well as on Latin American Pentecostals. The Fraternidad Teological Latinoamericana files document its formation and two of its consultations. They also outline the controversy following Wagner's report in Christianity Today on the 1970 consultation; the issue of debate was the position taken by Samuel Escobar and Rene Padilla (staff with Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship and International Fellowship of Evangelical Students) on the inerrancy of the Bible. A second controversy developed in 1973 regarding Carl Henry's comments about Latin American theologians, socialism and liberation theology. A third Latin American meeting, Primer Congreso Latinoamericano de Evangelizacion (CLADE, 1969), grew out of the 1966 Berlin Congress on World Evangelism. Folder 10-7 contains a volume of gathered congress documentation, including press releases, photographs, memos, minutes, clippings, the congress declaration, and lists of the executive committee members and congress delegates. Among the individuals photographed in addition to Wagner are: Samuel Escobar, Emilio Nunez, and Clyde Taylor. Also included is information on the formation of the Hispanic Evangelical Theological Society of the USA. The CLADE, CELA III and Fraternidad file contain documents written in Spanish. The CELA III files (Folders 7-2 to 6) also include some information on the Bolivian Commission for Evangelical Social Action (COMBASE), of which Wagner was the founding president.

IV. Unreached Peoples Files

The folders in this series consist of both Wagner's correspondence regarding the issue of the "unreached" or "hidden peoples", and the correspondence and production files for the 1979, 1980 and 1981 volumes of the annual series, Unreached Peoples. Within the correspondence, the key agencies involved in the discussion were the Association for Church Missions Committees, Fuller Theological Seminary's School of World Mission, the Lausanne Committee, the US Center for World Mission, and World Vision International and its division, Missions Advanced Research and Communication Center (MARC). Included in the correspondence (Folder 8-5) are examples of ways the unreached peoples concept was being disseminated throughout the American church, and description of MARC's computerized unreached peoples file. The production files contain drafts of articles, correspondence soliciting articles or evaluating a particular volume, contracts with the publisher, and other documents related to the creation of the volumes.

V. Fuller Theological Seminary

Wagner's appointment to the McGavran Chair of Church Growth at Fuller Theological Seminary was marked by the development of the post and the ceremony celebrating his installation. This event is documented with press notices, a sampling of congratulatory letters, a draft of the initial proposal for the chair and photographs.

Accruals and Additions

The materials in this collection were received by the Billy Graham Center Archives in December 1981, October 1983, March and September 1985, September 1986, October 1987, and August 1988 from C. Peter Wagner.

Accession 81-149, 83-121, 85-38, 85-116, 86-109, 87-128, 88-90, 88-96 August 22, 1988

Paul A. Ericksen

K. Elwell

J. Nasgowtiz

J. Watson

Revised: January 8, 1990

P. Ericksen

Related Materials

The following items are located in the Billy Graham Center Museum. Accession: 83-121. Banner from Segunda Conulta, Fraternidad de Teologos Latinoamericanos, Lima, Peru, 1972. 6.5" x 10". Blue and red on yellow field with yellow fringe. From Folder 8-2.

Collection 358 Papers of Charles P. Wagner
Paul Ericksen
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Roman Script

Repository Details

Part of the Evangelism & Missions Archives Repository

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