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Willem Adolf Visser 'T Hooft

1900- . Dutch ecumenical leader. Born in Haarlem, he studied theology at Leyden and was successively secretary of the World Alliance of YMCAs, general secretary of the World Student Christian Federation,* and general secretary of the World Council of Churches* (not formally constituted as such until 1948). He was the author of numerous publications that distinguished him as one of the foremost ecumenical statesmen of modern times. A multilinguist with sound Dutch common sense, he was associated with many aspects of the WCC which raised doubts in evangelical circles. Nevertheless he never succumbed to the aridity often encountered in professional ecumenists, and just before his retirement in 1966, answering a question from Christianity Today, he expressed three convictions: “that it is the duty of every Christian to proclaim the divine lordship of Jesus Christ; that this Gospel is to be addressed to every man, whatever his religious or cultural background may be; that it is to be given in its purest form, that is, in accordance with the biblical witness and unmixed with extraneous or cultural elements.”