Contemporary Evangelism Potpourri Part I -- By: Earl D. Radmacher

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 123:489 (Jan 1966)
Article: Contemporary Evangelism Potpourri Part I
Author: Earl D. Radmacher

Contemporary Evangelism Potpourri
Part I

Earl D. Radmacher

[Earl D. Radmacher, President, Western Baptist Seminary, Portland, Oregon.]

“Today is actually yesterday; tomorrow is today.” With these words a writer recently attempted to characterize the phenomenal social, economic, and religious upheaval which is shaking the crust of America, changing the face of our land, upsetting the status quo, and molding new attitudes. In space exploration, for example, the Friendship 7 which carried John Glenn to world renown in the United States’ space program is now considered a museum piece in the light of the latest space conquests, which include flights to the moon and multimanned orbital flights.

This rapid-fire change, however, becomes most alarming when it is viewed in the perspective of the present population explosion which is beginning to displace the hydrogen bomb as a cause of anxiety. Karl Sax states: “Poverty and ignorance are greater threats to our modern civilization than the hydrogen bomb.”1 Most of us in the United States cannot realize the seriousness of the situation, because the greatest rate of growth is in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, where people are already living at or near bare subsistence level. It is estimated that there were 250 million persons in the world at the beginning of the Christian era. By the sixteenth century, that figure had doubled, and it took until 1850 for the world’s population to reach the one billion mark. However, by 1930, only 80 years later, an added billion began to appear in the totals. The third billion was added in the 30 years that brought us to 1960, and now a fourth billion is expected to be accumulated by 1975, the short space of 15

years. By the year A.D. 2000 (that is, within the lifetime of many of us), this world will probably have the complicated task of caring for nearly seven billion people. It is little wonder that Professor Heinz von Foerster of the University of Illinois stated that by the year 2026, our great, great, great grandchildren will not starve; they will be squeezed to death.2 Thus, for the first time in history the establishment of a family has become a major social and moral issue.

From all avenues of living, therefore, specialists in their areas are about to press the panic button as they are fighting the battle for continued existence. “The need for more food,” says Karl Sax, “is the most urgent problem facing the world today. More than half of the world’s people do not get enough to eat.”3 Thus, the botanist works fever...

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