A controversial book published this month and a conference slated for next spring highlight the new momentum.

Mushroom clouds have billowed on the covers of news magazines and, increasingly, in the imaginations of millions of ordinary citizens worldwide. The “wars and rumors of wars” Christ prophesied have always been fearful, but the fear and rumor of nuclear war eclipses any foreboding about “conventional” warfare.

The Fate of the Earth, an examination of nuclear war’s horror by a New Yorker editor, is one of the year’s most debated books. Antinuclear peace demonstrations have occurred internationally. In America, churches have taken an active role in the nuclear disarmament movement. Roman Catholic bishops have denounced the arms race. Several major Protestant denominations have endorsed a nuclear arms freeze.

Until now, however, evangelical participation has been spotty and indistinct. That may be changing in upcoming months. Sure to provoke discussion is a book to be published late this month by a respected evangelical publisher, InterVarsity Press. Ronald Sider’s and Richard Taylor’s Nuclear Holocaust and Christian Hope is biblically grounded, something evangelicals like. But the authors’ conclusions—calling, among other things, for nuclear disarmament and the building of a nonmilitary defense system—will not be so agreeable.

Less provocative, but equally indicative of growing evangelical concern, is a conference planned for May, “The Church and Peacemaking in the Nuclear Age—a Biblical Conference.” The conference, which was sparked by two Fuller Theological Seminary graduates, enjoys a broadly based convening board. It includes the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), Evangelicals for Social Action, Eternity ...

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