As we enter a new year, what should Americans expect in the areas of religion, social ethics, and public policy? Recent developments in many of these areas promise further change in 1988. CHRISTIANITY TODAY asked a number of experts to assess these trends and forecast their impact on the year ahead.

Overseas Missions

Trends such as an increase in “tent-making” and short-term missionaries will continue in 1988, said Wade Coggins, executive director of the Evangelical Foreign Missions Association. But he says these new missionaries have not replaced career missionaries, who continue their work with national churches overseas.

“The most significant new development,” Coggins added, “is the growth of missionary endeavors originating in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.” He cited as an example the COMIBAM movement, a major missions-related thrust involving churches throughout Latin America. The movement exists primarily to introduce and develop the concept of cross-cultural missions among Latin American Christians.

The Black Church

Black Christians are assuming leadership in a number of areas. The prolife organization Black Americans for Life celebrated its first anniversary this year. The group, formed primarily to enlist blacks in the prolife movement, grew to 3,000 members in 40 states. In 1988, an expected 1,500 black Christians will gather for Atlanta ’88, a major conference on evangelizing black America.

Social Justice

James Skillen, head of the Washington, D.C. based Association for Public Justice, believes little will happen next year in the area of social justice, at least on the legislative front. One reason for this, he said, is that the Reagan administration is entering its final year. ...

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