“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us.”—From “A Tale of Two Cities,” by Charles Dickens.
The present is the aperture through which the future rushes into the past. The present also is the aperture through which the past is focused into the future.
With these thoughts in mind, CHRISTIANITY TODAY’S news department takes an over-the-shoulder glance at the receding nineteen sixties and a telescopic squint into the nineteen seventies.
Admittedly, the topics for review both fore and aft of 1970 are somewhat arbitrary. Our review-preview isn’t exhaustive; it doesn’t attempt to be. But at least the summary covers some of the key issues that Christians and the churches wrestled with in the decade past—and doubtless will confront again in the seventies.
As for the risky business of prognosticating, we think there is reason to be optimistic, despite the pollsters’ grim finding that 70 per cent of adult Americans of this era believe religion is losing its influence on society. After all, California survived the predictions of mystics that last April the state would be split from the nation and slip into the sea.
Ten years ago, who could have dreamed that by decade’s end, man would walk on the moon, and live, at least temporarily, with a transplanted heart?
If we live another ten years—and the Lord tarries—we may look back and laugh at our imperfect wisdom and poor predicting power. But whether we’re right or wrong, the seventies are sure to ...1
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