Much happened during the five years Kenneth Kantzer served as editor of Christianity Today. In this interview, Dr. Kantzer reflected upon those years at the time of his retirement. This article originally appeared in the November 26, 1982 issue of Christianity Today.
During the five years you have been with Christianity Today, what have been the most important changes in American evangelicalism?
The single most startling change in evangelicalism is its shift toward political and social involvement. And specially noteworthy is the fact that the segment within evangelicalism most obdurate against such involvement came forward to take the lead.
Growing out of that, and probably in part a result of it, is the tendency for evangelicals and fundamentalists to join forces. Fundamentalists are sloughing off their extreme right wing. Bob Jones is asking whether he can continue to call himself a fundamentalist because the major body of fundamentalists has moved too far from his position. As a result, he distances himself from the large body of fundamentalists moving in the direction of other evangelicals.
In his book The Fundamentalist Phenomenon, Jerry Falwell invites evangelicals to sit down and discuss matters with the fundamentalists. He has made plain that he does not wish to attack evangelicals who hold to the traditional fundamentals of biblical faith.
Of course, most fundamentalists are strongly separatistic, holding not only that it is wrong to participate in religiously liberal organizations but also to cooperate with admitted evangelicals who retain membership in such bodies. For some, this separatist teaching is what divides fundamentalists from evangelicals.1