Foundations for Change -- By: R. G. LeTourneau

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 125:499 (Jul 1968)
Article: Foundations for Change
Author: R. G. LeTourneau

Foundations for Change

R. G. LeTourneau

[R. G. LeTourneau, President and Chairman of the Board, R. G. LeTourneau, Inc., Until recently, also President of LeTourneau College, Longview, Texas.]

[Editor’s note: This article is the substance of an address by the author to the Founder’s Banquet of Dallas Theological Seminary, February 23, 1968.]

Change is probably one of the most talked-about and exciting subjects in our day and age. It is something that is ever present with us, but is more evident today than ever before in the history of man. Change is inevitable. There are many astounding statistics. Let me review just a few samples:

Kenneth Boulding, economist and writer, states: “Half of all the energy consumed by man in the past two thousand years has been consumed in the last one hundred years.” He also says: “Man has extracted as much metal and materials from mines since 1910 as in all history before that time.” Fortune Magazine has printed the following statements: “Within a decade or two the main challenge to U.S. society will not be production of goods, but around difficulties and opportunities in a world of accelerating change and ever-widening choices. The break between rapid change and radical change is not sharp, but can be pegged at about 1950. The movement is so swift, so wide, and the prospect of acceleration so great that an imaginative leap into the future cannot find a point of rest, a still picture of social order.” We are also told that twenty-five per cent of all people who ever lived are alive today; that the amount of technical information available doubles every ten years; that in the world today one hundred thousand journals are published in over sixty languages, and the number doubles every fifteen years.

If I were to draw a graph describing change in any area that you might suggest, such as travel speed, utilization of resources, frequency of technological breakthroughs, etc., this graph would show a relatively flat line for the several thousand years of existence of mankind up to the nineteenth century. During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries this line would begin to rise slightly and begin to curve. It would

by that time be moving perhaps at close to a forty-five degree angle. A third of the way through the twentieth century there would be a sharp rise and then within the last ten to twenty years this rate of change would appear to be traveling almost vertically. I say almost because the graph could not actually go straight up, but would be changing relatively rapidly with respect to time, and as time progressed we would find it necessary to change the scale of the graph. This change could...

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