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Congress on the Church's Worldwide Mission Records

Identifier: CN 021

Scope and Contents

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. Audio tapes document various sessions of the Congress, including biblical expositions, study papers (on subjects like syncretism, church growth, cooperation, the Catholic Church and social issues), reports on missions on the world's continents, reports on specialized areas of ministry like literature and education, adoption of the Congress's declaration (known as the Wheaton Declaration), and worship services. Topics covered include evangelistic work and missions at the levels of theory and theology, and as practiced throughout the world. Fragmentary Congress records include committee minutes, evaluations, press releases, study papers and drafts of the Wheaton Declaration. Among those who addressed the Congress were Hudson Amerding, Jacques Blocher, Arthur Climenhaga, Theodore Epp, Horace Fenton, Arthur Glasser, Vernon Grounds, Don Hillis, Melvin Hodges, Kenneth Kantzer, Louis King, Gilbert Kirby, Ruben Lores, Vernon Mortenson, Wil Norton, Clyde Taylor, Philip Teng, and John Walvoord.

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 17 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.


  • Created: 1964-1967

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Historical Information

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.


1.00 box

26 Audio Tapes

Language of Materials


Accruals and Additions

The audio tapes in this collection were given to the Billy Graham Center Archives by Dr. Clyde Taylor in July 1976. The remaining 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

J. Nasgowitz

Accession 2022-001

January 2022

Robert Shuster

Collection 021 Records of the Congress on the Church's Worldwide Mission
Bob Shuster
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Evangelism & Missions Archives Repository

501 College Avenue
Wheaton IL 60187 US