Evangelical eyes are opening toward America’s inner cities.

Stirred by the 1966 Berlin and Wheaton congresses, struck in the solar plexus by galling ghetto cries of physical and spiritual want, some Christians are seeing human needs in America in a startling new light.

As the blinders fall off, like the veil that drops from the spiritual eyes of the new believer, these Christians are asking themselves and others painful questions about their racial attitudes, and looking for new ways to evangelize and minister to inner-city residents in the face of the churches’ flight to the suburbs.

A good indicator of the new concern is Eternity magazine’s naming of Dr. Sherwood E. Wirt’s The Social Conscience of the Evangelical as most significant book of the year for laymen. The choice was based on a poll of writers and reviewers. Last year not one book on social concern made the top twenty-five.

Last month the National Association of Evangelicals held a seminar on problems and programs in the inner city—its first ever. NAE recognition of the need for such a meeting was more significant than what was said during the three days of speeches and workshops in a Chicago suburb. NAE social-concerns chairman Peter Pascoe expressed “utter amazement that in NAE we’ve reached this place of dialogue,” though some representatives of inner-city ministries said the sessions were on a “third-grade Sunday-school level.” Chicago religion-and-race director Monroe E. Sullivan said participants represented a group fifty years late in relating to inner-city needs.

But Professor Glen Barker of Gordon Divinity School said “the majority of delegates wanted to think in new ways. They will not be as indifferent to the inner city as previously. And if we are able ...

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