In Chicago, August is a lazy, sleepy month tor winding up vacations. We hope this issue of CHRISTIANITY TODAY wakes you up—gently, of course. At Camp-of-the-Woods in Speculator, New York, they celebrate “Christmas in August” for that purpose.
Our fare is a little different. We have selected a focus on church architecture—which is less romantic but more controversial. In addition to the introductory piece by Robert Webber (Episcopalian), we carry lively responses from a Southern Baptist, a Presbyterian, a Methodist, and a Christian (Plymouth) Brother. As in most items other than fundamentals of the faith, they don’t agree—and, thereby prove they are typical evangelicals. They don’t even agree that architecture is all that important in building a place of worship. But they are all against some things, even though they cannot agree on what they are against.
It’s a funny thing about us evangelicals. Have you ever noticed how much more excited we get about the things we are against than the things we are for? Even the great creeds of the ancient church, honored by all of us, never rose simply out of the positive thrust of biblical faith, but always out of opposition to error (though I would argue to my last breath against the charge that they were not ultimately faithful to the biblical revelation).
Something deeply human lies at the root of all this. Wasn’t it Oswald Spangler who held that civilization flourished in the temperate zones because only a difficult environment would challenge the human species to stir itself into creative action? And the Book of Romans teaches us that out of evil God works his good. Christian character develops from conquest of evil, and Christian truth takes shape out of opposition to error.
But there ...1
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