Change and Decay In Eutychus

At a recent sale of used books I acquired a copy of Eutychus and His Pin, a collection of columns by my progenitor, Edmund P. Clowney (Eutychus I).

As I read these old columns, I was impressed with the changes wrought by a quarter-century. Of course, today’s columns are shorter; so are the editorials. But it’s not this sort of change that impresses me. I am rather struck by shifts in our evangelical subculture.

Then, platform recitations on Rally Day were out. Now Rally Day is out.

Then, big cars and small churches were in. Now small cars and big churches are in.

Then, conformity in style was in. Now anarchy in style is in.

Then, Eutychus could write, “Togetherness is confused with the Christian ideal.” Today togetherness has become the Christian ideal.

Then, “A man’s religious creed makes no difference if he’s a good American.” Today a good Christian is a good American.

Then, theological liberals were satirized for their textual criticism of the Bible (Humpty-Dumpty yielded “Humptyist” and “Dentero-Dumptyist”). Today fellow-believers are attacked for their theory of inspiration of the Bible.

Then, a satire of Christian books included Case of the Missing Xylophone (“a first in Sunday School fiction”), Dead Sea Treasures, Ghost Nations of the Bible, and MGKYTII Returns, a missionary story. Today such a satire would probably include God Led Me to Leave My Wife and Children (“a creative Christian divorce manual”), My Born Again Career (“from failure in the world’s stage to success as a Christian entertainer”), Jesus Christ Superstars (“all of whom have been on at least five Christian magazine covers and had two books ghosted for them”), and The New Trinity: I, Me, Mine. (I would add Proposition 13: Christ ...

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