Last night I watched the “great debate,” and on the very day this issue went to press, you pulled a lever, or marked a ballot to determine our next President. The debate didn’t help me much: I didn’t learn anything new and I have serious misgivings about this method of trying to decide elections. After all, we are selecting the chief executive for our nation, not a debater. Yet, as I penned this note, I breathed a prayer of gratitude to God—gratitude because I live in a democracy where I can cast my vote freely and where it counts. Democracy isn’t perfect; it’s just better than possible alternatives. But it is no better than the people and the rulers they choose. Therefore, I also pray for my country—that its freedom continue, its justice increase, its moral heritage be revived, and its Christian citizens bring salt and light to every dark corner. I also pray for our newly elected President. He needs our prayers. And, as Sara Killian Cooke points out (see p. 15), we have not always dealt wisely or kindly with our presidents.

We also conclude our study of pacifism and the just war. On this extremely divisive question, we do not expect all Christians to agree. However, because of the critical importance of this issue—both to the cause of justice and to our own personal lives—it is imperative that we bend every effort to search the Scriptures for the mind of God and honestly walk in that light.

This is another full issue. Larry Richards tells us what kind of people show up in our churches on a typical Sunday morning. Peter Wagner analyzes prospects for church growth in the eighties; Dan Baumann provides suggestions for more meaningful worship; and David Myers raises some searching questions about the degree to which right beliefs lead to right conduct.

An unusual item for CHRISTIANITY TODAY is a piece of fiction, “The Moon of First Harvest,” by Robert Siegel. To complement this excerpt from Siegel’s new fantasy novel, Alpha Centauri, Refiner’s Fire interviews the author.

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