Dr. Timothy L. Smith, professor of history at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, is a noted authority on religious movements in America. His book “Revivalism and Social Reform” was among a select group chosen for the White House Library some years ago. He holds a doctorate from Harvard and is an ordained elder in the Church of the Nazarene. He is currently overseeing a major research effort supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities and dealing with “the mosaic of evangelical Protestantism in modern America,” which he believes will contribute to an emerging new model for American religious studies. Dr. Smith was interviewed in his Baltimore campus office by Senior Editor David Kucharsky.
Question. As one who is widely respected for insights into the life of the Christian community, would you say that we are in the midst of a religious revival at this time?
Answer. If by “at this time” you mean the period stretching back twenty or thirty years, I would say yes, very much so. There is an extensive surge toward faith in God.
Q. How can you tell?
A. Well, just look at the numerical and financial growth of evangelical churches and religious organizations. Those institutions based on biblical faith have experienced a decided upswing. I’m talking not only of evangelical congregations and denominations but of the seminaries and Christian colleges which share their commitment. Probably as many as fifty such colleges are flourishing despite all the talk of the financial crisis in higher education. And graduates of Gordon, Fuller, Trinity, and similar theological seminaries are beginning to fill the great pulpits of the old-line Protestant denominations. So what counts ...1
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