“Why is there so much bad news?” we ask. An easy answer is: “Because we humans are so bad.” We are a fallen race, fallen from the creative grace of God; fallen from life with God; fallen into our own wayward path of estrangement from God and each other.
A recent Canadian study brings bad news to evangelicals (see page 28). In the last 25 years, Canadian Christianity has suffered a dramatic setback. Hardest hit was the United Church of Canada, but evangelicals can take no comfort since all major groups reported serious losses.
Bad news can lead to despair, apathy, stagnation, and finally, death. But it can also lead to diagnosis, prescription, and renewed health. History records other days of spiritual retreat. In the eighteenth century, John Wesley and his band of “Methodists” responded to God’s call to meet an ebb tide of faith. We believe that the young people crowding our evangelical seminaries today are responding to a similar call. We must pray God for a similar revival—like those recurring movements of the Spirit of God that broke in successive waves across the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Chet Bitterman answered such a call—and laid down his life in Bogotá, Colombia (see page 20). But the blood of the martyr has always been the seed of the church. One Chet Bitterman dies, and thousands rise up to take his place. Today the church under 30 is answering God’s call. But where is the church over 50? Where, in today’s pew, is the disciplined belt tightening that prepares the church for the long, hard march?
We lament the reversal of the church in Canada; we rejoice in Chet Bitterman’s triumph in Colombia. But let each of us see to it that he tightens his belt one more notch for the kingdom battles of our day.1
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