Paging through 40 years of Christianity Today, one notices the advertisements for books in every issue. Mark Noll and David Wells might be right in chastising evangelicals for not thinking well (The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, 1994; and No Place for Truth, 1993; respectively), but evangelicals apparently do read. And what they have read over the last four decades tells us a lot about them.
Evangelicals, of course, care about evangelism. D. James Kennedy's Evangelism Explosion (1970) is probably the most widely used single guide, beyond Bill Bright's little tract on The Four Spiritual Laws. For those who sought to respond to the intellectual challenges posed to the faith, Josh McDowell offered Evidence that Demands a Verdict (1972), doubtless the most popular apologetics handbook of our time. And for those who needed inspiration as much as information, Elisabeth Elliot's powerful missionary books, preeminently her account of the Ecuador martyrs, Through Gates of Splendor (1957), motivated many to join in the evangelistic enterprise. A recipient of evangelism, Charles Colson told of his becoming Born Again (1976) and soon took his place as a leading figure in American evangelicalism. Evangelist Billy Graham, of course, has been the leading figure among American evangelicals, and he has served them with many books through the years. His study of Angels: God's Secret Agents (1977) has been, to his own surprise, the biggest seller.
The receptive response to Graham's angelology may have presaged the astonishing success of This Present Darkness (1976) and subsequent novels by Frank Peretti, whose tales of supernatural conflict revived a long-dormant evangelical interest in spiritual warfare. Such warfare also was guided and ...1
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