INTERVIEW BY TIMOTHY K. JONES
Down a narrow street, not far from the posh shops of historic Nassau Street in Princeton, New Jersey, stands the modern brick office building that houses the Gallup Organization. This impressive structure serves as a center for America’s most recognized public-opinion research organization. Since joining his father’s organization in the midfifties, George Gallup, Jr., has helped lead the Gallup Poll to international prominence.
But George Gallup is not just a household name. He is also a committed Christian eager to see the church respond intelligently to the forces of social change. In his 1979 interview with CHRISTIANITY TODAY (CT, Dec. 21, 1979, p. 10), Gallup predicted that the eighties would be “the decade of the evangelical.” Now, ten years later, he reflects on that crucial time, and looks ahead to the challenges facing the church in the last decade of this century. A newly named CT research fellow, Gallup has also coauthored with Jim Castelli The People’s Religion: American Faith in the 90s, published this month by Macmillan.
You went on record ten years ago to say that you felt evangelicals would profoundly shape religion and public life in the eighties. With the benefit of hindsight, would you say that the eighties were indeed “the decade of the evangelical”?
Yes. People were listening to the evangelical voice in a way they never had before. The numbers of evangelicals did not increase dramatically, but their influence was felt much more. It was certainly felt across the mainline denominations. You see it in the renewal movements in the Episcopal, Presbyterian, and other mainline churches.
And while predictions are hard to make, I think this momentum will continue. Demographics alone would ...1
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