In a few days 1987 will end, much to the relief of many in the church. Indeed, we have taken our lumps this year, and unless we face up to our failure to impact society and our undermining the moral thrust of the gospel, 1988 will be another year of embarrassment and setbacks.

Entering The Public Square

Church history buffs will recall a previous period of turmoil early in the twentieth century. It was then that liberal Christianity took control of the mainline Protestant churches as well as many of the moral and religious leadership positions in our nation. Evangelicals licked their wounds and withdrew to focus on personal holiness and an exclusive concern for personal salvation. As a result, the evangelical movement as a whole (there were a few glorious exceptions) lost contact with the world it was trying to win.

Shortly after the Second World War many evangelicals came to see the futility of that kind of separation. They began once again to move back into the “public square.” Unfortunately, we have not yet fully learned how to break out of our minority pockets to become salt and light to a rapidly decaying culture. At times, it seems the more public we have become, the more ridiculous we have looked. Forays into the highly visible medium of television as well as evangelist M. G. “Pat” Robertson’s bid for the Republican nomination for President have led many evangelicals to question seriously whether or not it would be better to concentrate our moral and spiritual energies on personal holiness and a less-public profile.

Such fear-inspired questions must be met with a resounding No! It would seem perfectly obvious that if we hide from our culture and our society we will lose any opportunity to ...

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