With this issue CHRISTIANITY TODAY begins its fourth year of evangelical witness and ministry. Not only has CHRISTIANITY TODAY banded together an international, interdenominational scholarship dedicated to evangelical loyalties, but it is now widely recognized as the magazine with the largest circulation in the world to the Protestant ministry and lay leadership. As a venture in evangelical teamwork, we salute both our readers and our farflung staff of contributing editors and correspondents. Many influential coworkers in the mainstream of Protestant thought and life also have supplemented the magazine’s sturdy emphasis on biblical evangelism, theology, and ethics.

During the current year CHRISTIANITY TODAY presentation luncheons or banquets have been held in Boston, New York, and Los Angeles, and others are soon to be held elsewhere. Speaking at the Los Angeles banquet Dr. Wilbur M. Smith, editor of Peloubet’s Notes on the International Sunday School Lessons, and one of this magazine’s 50 contributing editors, optimistically sketched the mission and ministry of the magazine in prophetic words: “There is no reason why, in the next two decades if the Lord tarries, CHRISTIANITY TODAY cannot be the most powerful single agent in this critical hour for the defense of the faith and for the furtherance of the Gospel.” Dr. Smith’s larger comments in fact place upon all who share the opportunities of this enterprise a new and enlarging responsibility:

“Those of us who love Christ as Saviour and Lord hold three great truths which we must never compromise: 1. That there is a sovereign, omnipotent, holy and righteous God who created this world; 2. That he sent his only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus, to live and die and rise again that he might save men from sin and the wrath of God into salvation and eternal life; 3. That we have in the Bible a divinely inspired record that stands unique as the revelation of God.

“These great truths are finding enemies of increasing power in this epochal hour in which we live.

“The first is this fearful, brutal, bloody, godless thing called communism. One third of the population of this globe is under Communistic dominion. It is inevitable that the rest of the world and the Christian Church must increasingly deal with the satanic influence of 900 million people foresworn to atheism. We will feel this more keenly in days to come. The next generation will have a battle on its hands exceeding anything the world has yet experienced.

“The second is a power that is indifferent to our faith, swallowing up so many of our younger generation. I refer to naturalism. As the president of Princeton said in a recent message, ‘The explosion [I like that word] of knowledge which the past half century has brought about in science is obviously and inescapably a very important matter.’ Think what enormous areas have opened up for the first time since some of us were born: aeronautics, atomic energy, nuclear fission, the whole science of genetics, and now space exploration. But the tragedy is that 95 per cent of the leading scientists of the Western world are without the Lord Jesus Christ. Science is indifferent to our faith. We live in its atmosphere, and it is bound to have an effect upon our younger people.

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“The third enemy is within the Church: this subtle, gnawing thing called liberalism.

“These three things: the animosity of communism, the indifference of naturalism, and the undermining of faith by liberalism, are enemies which must be faced if we are to do what the Apostle Paul describes in Philippians as engaging in the advance of the faith. The word prokopto means ‘to cut your way through,’ as through a great forest, to reach the enemy. The furtherance of the Gospel! That is what you and I are interested in; not only in the defense of the faith against its enemies, but in the furtherance of the faith and the winning of multitudes for the Lord Jesus Christ.

“The Christian Church has many agencies available for the defense of the faith and for the furtherance of the Gospel. I simply name some: The church and its pulpit, although it is not always in defense of the faith and the furtherance of the Gospel. Ecclesiastical pronouncements, some good and some bad. Evangelism. Alongside these stand the great missionary organizations, like the American Bible Society and the British and Foreign Bible Society; the independent youth movements such as Inter-Varsity, Young Life, Campus Crusade, and Christian Endeavor; the institutions devoted to Christian education; Christian colleges, Bible institutes, sound theological seminaries; Christian books and other literature; Christian radio and television programs; and religious periodicals.

“Spurgeon said (and he should have known because he could preach with power) that in his mind a religious periodical devoted to the Christian faith could do more for the cause of Christ than any other one agency ordained of God on this earth. We are upon sad times in this sphere of religious periodicals. We have somehow come into a desert. We have about 1,100 religious periodicals in this country. They have a paid subscription list of about 15 million, very few with over 100,000. We have not had for a quarter of a century in this country a great, powerful, well-informed evangelical periodical that can meet the intellectual problems that are confronting intelligent men and women today—a resource in which they can have confidence, that can speak with authority. And we are desperately in need of it.

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“I can say some things about CHRISTIANITY TODAY that I would not be able to say about any other religious journal in this country. It is important that the Editor be able to gather around him some of the leaders of evangelical thoughts on both sides of the Atlantic. If I know anything about the history of religious journalism, the list of 50 contributing editors of CHRISTIANITY TODAY has been unmatched by any religious journal in America. This achievement is in itself a guarantee of excellence and high attainment.”

The passing year has etched its sorrows and its joys upon the list of our dedicated associates: the removal by sudden death of correspondent Dr. T. Leonard Lewis, erstwhile president of Gordon College and Divinity School, and the happy addition as contributing editors of Dean S. Barton Babbage in Australia and Dr. Kenneth Strachan in Latin America.

During our fourth publication year, the popular “Review of Current Religious Thought” will be contributed in sequence by Dr. Addison H. Leitch, Dr. Philip E. Hughes, Dr. Frank E. Gaebelein, and Dr. G. C. Berkouwer. All are gifted and discerning interpreters of contemporary theological and social trends, and their contributions may be counted upon to carry forward the high merit of this fortnightly feature.

In an era of unparalleled problems and opportunities CHRISTIANITY TODAY will continue to minister to the life of the Church, believing that the historic evangelical faith has a vital message for the times. Theological liberalism has failed to meet the moral and spiritual needs of mankind. All too frequently it finds itself adrift in speculation and dissonance which neither solves the problem of the individual nor of the society of which he is a part. Sound theological doctrine, biblical preaching, and evangelism find renewed emphasis in our columns, and there is eager and wide acceptance throughout the churches. True ecumenicity is fostered by setting forth the New Testament teaching of the unity of believers in Jesus Christ and the spiritual oneness engendered by the Holy Spirit. Beyond the Church we believe that the basic needs of the social order must meet their solution first in the redemption of the individual; that the Church and the individual have a vital responsibility to be both salt and light in a decaying and darkening world.

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Concurrent with our anniversary is the observance of Protestant Press Month in America. CHRISTIANITY TODAY is happy that, along with its colleagues of the religious press, it has been able to reflect to the world a more balanced view of American life and the American vision. Beyond doubt, the original sense of national purpose and destiny has now worn thin, and in some respects it has even been frayed somewhat by the lust for material things and repatched by social changers addicted to welfare statism.

The people of the world who sample American literature in the bookstalls of airports and rail stations around the world are likely to get a blurred focus on the American ideal. “… If we are not careful and very, very selective,” cautions Carolyn Berntsen in The Australian Quarterly (June, 1959), “we may find ourselves envisioning the United States as a nation of psychopaths, sex-fiends, bored suburbanites, and juvenile delinquents. Violence, frustration, hysteria and … decay seem to be the melodies played over and over in the contemporary American novel.” The essayist urges Australian readers not to sketch the American outlook from current works “in the modern mood of earthly, cynical, often sordid realism, and written for the present commercial market which more often than not requires sex, sin, and cynicism as prerequisite to publication.

The Protestant press is doing its part to maintain the moral and spiritual heritage of “this nation under God.” The evangelical dedication of many of our early colonies survives at grass roots in the spiritual life of the nation, and although not now vitally manifested in the cultural realm, it is nonetheless being renewed and deepened by the evangelistic tide of our time. This heritage must be renewed and strengthened if national debacle is to be thwarted. We join with our fellow craftsmen in a renewed dedication to the task.


Now that President Eisenhower and Premier Khrushchev have had their exchange about the sure course of modern history, some further word about its inevitabilities may be appropriate. The modern debate is not reducible simply to the options of the triumph of Marxist socialism (based on the supposition of economic determinism) nor the triumph of free enterprise (on the supposition of the inherent superiority of the philosophy of individual worth and personal liberty). The serious discussion of divine predestination and election featured elsewhere in this issue of CHRISTIANITY TODAY is not without vital implications for the discussion of the ultimate destiny of the human race and of the inevitabilities of history.

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The notion that communism must supplant capitalism is, of course, nothing but the fanciful notion of the inevitability of progress now misappropriated as a coverall for dictatorial despotism. Neither the final nor the temporary triumph of communism is inherently assured. Its fundamental contradiction of family instincts, of man’s natural desire for private property, and for freedom of religion, works against its spontaneous extension. Its effective survival, in fact, depends upon support by violence and barbarian power.

Mr. Khrushchev’s farewell address was a colossal propaganda sally for communism. By oblique appeals to the Bible and to the example of Christ, the self-professed atheist perversely asked religious people to recognize the socialist system as “most humane and just” vis-a-vis capitalism. Elsewhere he suggested that the Christian teachings of brotherly love and forgiveness imply a socialist world order. Whoever has read Hobbes’ Leviathan will recall how readily materialists can misuse holy things for corrupt ends.

Champions of the free world need not reach far into fact to unmask in the Premier’s argument (that Soviet society is best, its internal relations good and brotherly) many verbal distortions: that in Soviet society the people enjoy full freedom; that freedom of religious belief prevails; that Soviet government is democratic; that private ownership means exploitation of the worker.

Compromise in the free world commitment is patent, conspicuously its concessions to socialist philosophy and its basic revolt against biblical theology and ethics that deteriorates liberty to license. Khrushchev’s dramatic exploitation of these weaknesses lent force to criticism that his visit brought dignity to a dictator. (See remarks by Commander H. H. Lippincott in We Quote, page 18, this issue.) The economic virtues of free enterprise have been compromised in our era by expanding state controls and mounting taxation. Fortunately, American uneasiness increases over welfare state programs contradictive of free enterprise. Yet vote-hungry politicians approve many programs which, while not contradictive of free enterprise, nonetheless weaken it. Inflation is being slowed, but little determination exists to curtail nondefense spending and to reduce the national debt in order actually to halt erosion of the dollar. Meanwhile, Americans become less and less coherent in articulating a consistent alternative to socialism. Their confusion is in part due to ecclesiastical compoundings of Marxism and Christianity. Free men must understand why free enterprise allows scope for individual rights and guards human persons from enslavement to government, and why revealed religion is the fount of human rights and duties, or they will soon squander their birthright.

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Mr. K. emerged as international crusader for peace and disarmament. When faced by specific questions, he became evasive or abusive. He got his Big Two “summit” conference without progress at Geneva level. The West must range itself sincerely and aggressively on the side of peace rather than war in testing his proposals, and it can do so significantly only by giving international meaning to the concept of justice.

Some observers note three significant Khrushchev “changes”: his recognition of the unity of the American people with government policy; his admission that war can be averted without economic crisis; and his implicit concession (in proposing peaceful coexistence and competition) that capitalism is not evil. Yet Khrushchev clearly values only what is “useful” [favorable to the ultimate triumph of communism]. He does not repudiate the Marxian world revolution as heresy, but asks only for decreased tensions. Can Soviet “peaceful competition” in this context be anything but a propaganda interlude on the roadway to Communist hegemony—an interlude made tolerable only by the notion that the Communist system is still in transit to the final stage?

Mr. K. voiced his United Nations peace plea the same month that the National Council of Churches moved ahead its Cleveland World Order Conference peace education plan. Both call for U.S. recognition and U.N. admission of Red China, for cessation of atomic tests, for disarmament. Khrushchev shares the indifference to Christian evangelism and missions, disinterest in supernatural regeneration, and preoccupation with socio-political matters of some churchmen given to peace promotion. American churchgoers await clarification of what Khrushchev said that ecumenists repudiate, and what ecumenists say that Khrushchev rejects. What relation exists between the propagation of the Christian religion, and its extension in society, and peace in our times? What awareness survives that Christianity’s trumpet of peace to the world must distinctly sound the Saviour’s name: “… My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you” (John 14:27)? Where is the sense of divine providence that once shaped America strong in spirit, dedicated to fulfillment of God’s will? Where is the conviction of American destiny, sharing with the world the bold witness of faith in the Redeemer? Where is the warning that pagan nations are maneuvering to inherit a kingdom that God has already pledged to his Son Jesus Christ? Or is America, and American churchianity too, adrift in the world current of pagan aspirations?

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