How Evangelical Christianity is Different…

Christians have to keep up with the times.

As a teacher of Church History I was intrigued by Holly Meyer’s Feb. 22 analysis of how evangelicalism is different since Billy Graham’s heyday. She is right; the pervasive diversification that characterizes early 21st century culture is making it hard for any one figure to dominate in almost any area. Growing up in the '50s we seemed we knew more where we were – Albert Einstein the greatest scientist, Albert Schweitzer the leading humanitarian, Jonas Salk the preeminent doctor and of course Billy Graham the leading preacher.

As Meyer intimated, “narrow-casting” rather than “broadcasting” has split the popular audience and it is hard for any one figure to cut through in the day of 150 TV channels. The book “No Sense of Place” outlines the dilemma. But we evangelicals also need to keep strategizing about four challenges if we are to even get a hearing as we seek to witness to the culture. These I have tabulated as sexuality/gender issues, religion and science tensions, and questions regarding Biblical inspiration and the crisis of authority. “Who speaks for the churches?” is a very moot point today even when signs are that America is still a very religious country. Thanks for raising the issue.

Neil Earle
Arlington, TN