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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 14, No. 12. September 20, 1951



His own life has not been eventful: his fame will rest in his ideas. Dr. Frank Buchman is an American, horn about sixty years ago in Pennsylvania. Like many other Americans, he went to college and later, because he was a Lutheran of Dutch stock, he became a Lutheran pastor. The other positions he held tell us little about him: he was for some time a YMCA secretary in Pennsylvania, and later a teacher in a Lutheran seminary.

What was significant was that, about the beginning of the first war he went to China as a missionary. For Buchman has always been the true missionary: the man with a tierce conviction that he is right, and that his beliefs should be known to America, his message was clear. Where was he to sew the seeds of his ideas? Well, Buchman was a wise man not for him the highways of tomorrow. This was fertile ground, because in a few years, Buchmanism was raging through Princeton and Harvard and Yale: later Oxford and Cambridge fell to his missionary onslaughts.

Why was it so successful? In the twenties, Frank Buchman gained his first popular title. He was called "'Hie Soul Surgeon." And a soul surgeon was just what Buchman aimed to be. Because he knew that in our day, men's souls are sick because they carry a cancerous growth of sin and guilt. Like other surgeons, Frank Buchman had to invent his own instruments for surgery, but they were ready at hand. For by happily mixing Freud and Catholicism, he produced the Group Confessional. They certainly were not haphazard, because the technique was perfected. Seen, in house parties all over America, students in their thousands were led to confess away their sins, to the greater glory of Frank Buchman.