Southern Baptist political infighting has taken a new twist with some fundamentalists' offer of $1,000 to any student of the denomination's Golden Gate Seminary willing to single out professors at the suburban San Francisco school who make liberal statements in their classrooms.
The offer, made by a Los Angeles group in an ad in the San Rafael, Calif., newspaper, reflects the continuing battle for control between fundamentalists and moderates in the 13.5 million-member denomination.
Dubbed by critics as a "snitch prize," the money was offered bythe ad to seminarians submitting essays beginning "I heard Dr. --------say . . . " and continuing with "liberal quotations" from the professor. Winning essays were to be published anonymously.
Not all in the biblically literalist faction, which has been struggling for control of the denomination, approve the contest. Paige Patterson of Dallas, one of the leaders of the movement, has dissociated himself from it, saying, "I deeply regret. . . the rather worldly approach to securing information."
Church historian Martin Marty of the University of Chicago called the contest an attempt "to poison the Southern Baptist air just before annual convention time with anonymous charges of heresy on the part of professors."
With less than a month left for politicking before the Southern Baptists' annual convention in New Orleans opens June 15, Dr. Duke McCall, president of the World Baptist Alliance, has entered the lists as candidate for president of the nation's largest Protestant denomination.
The New Orleans convention must choose a successor to conservative Dr. Bailey Smith of Del City, Okla. Leading conservative candidates to succeed Smith include Dr. Jimmy Draper Jr., of the Euless, Tex., Baptist Church, the Rev. Edwin Young of Second Baptist Church in Houston, the Rev. John Sullivan of Broadmoor Baptist Church in Shreveport and the Rev. Perry Sanders of First Baptist Church in Lafayette, La.
While a Southern Baptist Convention president may hold office for only two years, he wields great power because he controls appointments to pivotal committees that run the annual convention and much of the church's business between conventions.
The religious education director of the Los Angeles Roman Catholic Archdiocese has used the authority of his office to create a substantial marketing advantage for a religious publisher which has paid the priest at least half a million dollars in royalties and other fees over the years, the National Catholic Reporter reports.
Msgr. John F. Barry has denied the charges and said the newspaper report contained "vicious accusations" and "distortions."
In its May 21 issue, the independent Catholic weekly reported that Barry, 45, established his own corporation, Kellbar Publications Inc., which received the payments from W.H. Sadlier Inc.
Kellbar, of which Kelly is president and chief financial officer, pays him a $6,000 monthly salary--in addition to his diocesan salary--makes investments and has established a substantial retirement fund for him, the Reporter article said.
The Jewish Publication Society of America has just published a new translation of the Hebrew Bible into contemporary English. The 25-year project drew on the latest findings of modern archeology and biblical scholarship to transmit the ancient meanings into the language of today.
The "valley of the shadow of death" in the 23rd Psalm is rendered as "valley of deepest darkness." The traditional version of the beginning of Ecclesiastes, "Vanity of vanities. . . all is vanity," is translated in the new version: "Utter futility . . . all is futility."
A spokesman for the society said that the new translation, the first in 23 centuries by scholars representing the Jewish community, said the new version "retains the imagery of the Hebrew rather than rendering it by English equivalents and approximations alien to the biblical world."
Winnie Mandela, the South African black leader whose husband, Nelson, is serving a life sentence for sabotage charges, was awarded an honorary degree by Haverford College, a Quaker institution outside Philadephia. The South African government refused to let Mrs. Mandela, who is under a banning order, leave to receive the honor.
Archbishop James A. Hickey of Washington will go to the Vatican next week to receive the pallium, a vestment consisting of a circular band of white wool, which is worn only by popes and archbishops of metropolitan jurisdictions of the church.