The evangelical community, in a sense, has been much better known for the matters it has opposed than for its positive perspectives and initiatives. In some quarters, this reputation is so bad that evangelicals are written off as reactionaries. They are thought to be contributing little or nothing to cultural development or the evolution of human thought.

The picture has been slowly changing for a generation but the pity is that too many evangelicals are content to carry this reputation. They prefer simply to react to the bad and thus accent the negative, rather than pressing for the good that will keep the bad from happening.

One of the results of reacting negatively rather than leading positively is that evangelicals talk more to themselves than to others. Even though theoretically they assign great priority to the Church’s evangelistic responsibility, true outreach to the unbeliever is in practice often subordinated to feeding the sheep.

John Conlan, a devout and eloquent evangelical congressman from Arizona, has been pleading with his fellow believers to get involved. His lament is that evangelical thought has lost out too many times out of simple default. He is a staunch Republican conservative who places great importance on the individual citizen’s responsibility. In a fiery speech last month to the joint convention of the National Association of Evangelicals and National Religious Broadcasters he urged believers to make their presence known and felt.

Some at the convention felt Conlan set a new tone and that there may be perceptible and positive outward movement by the evangelical community. One illustration of this was the rejection of an anti-obscenity resolution of a traditional sort by the NRB executive committee. ...

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