With this issue of CHRISTIANITY TODAY, we conclude not only the year 1979 but also the decade of the seventies. And what a decade! For evangelicals, the seventies represented greater change than the sixties. Former associate editor H.O.J. Brown assesses the gains and losses of evangelicals during these swiftly moving years.
The pièce de résistance in this issue, however, is the CHRISTIANITY TODAY—Gallup poll, for which we have waited long and eagerly. The poll consists of four main parts: (1) the religious views of Americans; (2) the religious beliefs and attitudes of evangelicals; (3) the religious beliefs and attitudes of American clergy; and (4) the social, political, and ethical stance of evangelicals.
During the course of the coming year, CHRISTIANITY TODAY will bring to its readers the results of the poll in a series of articles, begun in this issue. The editors will seek to provide some interpretation of the data, but even more they will encourage readers to draw their own conclusions from the facts brought to light by the poll. The first article introduces the poll and provides an initial survey of religious views of the general populace and some significant findings about evangelicals. We expect highly divergent responses. Some will see the doughnut; others, the hole. For example, shall we rejoice because more than half of the evangelicals share their faith with others at least once a month—or shall we weep that 10 percent never share their faith with anyone who is not a fellow evangelical?
“Of what value will all these data be to me?” you may ask. Remember the very Christian words of a well known anti-Christian thinker: “The point is not to understand the world, but to change it.”
In a final article Donald Williams ...1
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