The season of inventories is with us again. And seldom was spiritual assessment more urgent than in our day. The conclusion, or exhaustion, of 1958 raises traditional questions. What were the year’s significant events? Do they augur well or ill for Christianity? What trends may be traced? How fares the Church in its struggle to stem the swift-moving currents of competing ideological options? Where are we drifting? In an atomic age, answers are not always as traditional as the questions.
CHRISTIANITY TODAY’S 50 contributing editors have transmitted their reading of the times, seeking to weigh evangelical gains and losses and cautioning that generalizations are not to be absolutized.
Signs of hope are not lacking. The Billy Graham Crusades in San Francisco and Charlotte again demonstrated, says Dr. Faris D. Whitesell, “the possibility of effective organized mass evangelism in large cities. Would to God that he would raise up a few more Spirit-anointed leaders to lead the assault on our metropolitan areas of sin and corruption!” Dr. J. Theodore Mueller points to “the proclamation of the gospel over numerous radio networks, the general interest in religion and religious publications, the rapid gain of membership by Christian groups preaching the atoning death of Christ …, the increase of family worship: all these and other manifestations of divine grace remind the believer that now is the gospel age which our Lord predicted in Matthew 24:14.”
But the “overall impression” of Professor Ned B. Stonehouse is that 1958 produced “no spectacular developments or evidences of marked turning points in ecclesiastical and religious life.… Quite possibly the most significant events have been those which have seemed to have been done in a corner, ...1
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