Evangelism Debate Draws Crowed in Wheaton
Cookis, Judith, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Wheaton College set the stage Thursday night for an impassioned debate over the meaning of evangelism.
A crowd of 200 people greeted an interfaith panel of Chicago religious leaders who met at the college, which is the alma mater of Southern Baptist leader Billy Graham.
The topic: Does evangelism lead to hate?
The forum was organized by the college's Center for Applied Christian Ethics, in response to controversy about the Southern Baptists' plan to send thousands of evangelists to Chicago this summer.
Critics have accused Baptists of planning to target Jews, Hindus and Muslims for conversion. Such an effort, critics fear, could lead to violence against these groups.
Last night, Baptist leaders tried to clarify their mission.
"We're not strategizing how to corral certain kinds of people and make them into Baptists," said Rev. Phil Miglioratti, a local coordinator of the Southern Baptists' "Strategic Cities Initiative."
Miglioratti did say, however, that missionaries would not shy away from stopping to pray with people on the street. …