This issue of CHRISTIANITY TODAY celebrates the magazine’s silver anniversary. While a 25-year span is but a brief moment when set against two millennia of church history, for evangelicalism, these years were filled with breath-taking movement.
In the wake of World War II, the U.S. Supreme Court could identify Americans as a Christian people. Now we are a pluralistic society, dominated intellectually by secular humanism. Then, Time magazine and other oracles of American culture snidely labeled all evangelicals as fundamentalists and couldn’t tell the difference between evangelicalism and evangelism; now, they speak of the “Year of the Evangelical,” and in our last election, the three best-known candidates all professed to be evangelicals. Then, evangelical seminaries were seen as tiny hold-outs for the faith; now they have so far outproduced the more liberal schools, that the under-30 group of ministers is today the most theologically conservative. Then, separatistic Covenant Seminary split off a split-off of a split-off; now, it is a focus of union for four Presbyterian and Reformed bodies. Then, charismatics were still “holy rollers” and unknown outside Pentecostal denominations; now, they represent a major force in evangelicalism, and every major denomination claims them.
For one who has lived his adult life through these years and participated actively in these events, it is difficult to appreciate the radical nature of changes on the American and world religious scenes. And it is nearly impossible to assess their permanent significance for evangelicalism.
For our twenty-fifth anniversary, we have drawn together articles that will help you to assess not only from where evangelicalism has come and where it is now, but also the direction in which it is headed for the immediate future. Some of these articles appear in this current issue; others will come in later issues.
One feature deserves special note: that king of humor, Edmund Clowney, president of Westminster Theological Seminary, reascends his throne as Eutychus I to poke us with his gentle jibes and rouse us from our stodgy ways. In spite of letters to the editor. I still have hopes that evangelicalism has matured, because I think I hear us laughing at ourselves more—as I am sure the good Lord does.
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 65+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more