Evangelical Education for the 21st Century -- By: Kenneth O. Gangel

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 149:596 (Oct 1992)
Article: Evangelical Education for the 21st Century
Author: Kenneth O. Gangel


Evangelical Education for the 21st Century

Kenneth O. Gangel

Vice-president for Academic Affairs,
Senior Professor of Christian Education
Dallas Theological Seminary, Dallas, Texas

World population now stands at over 5 billion, with growth expected to reach 8 billion in 12 years and possibly 16 billion before the year 2015. The church of Jesus Christ has always been “universal,” but now this has become realistic as well as theological. Today Christians number about one-third of all humanity and constitute more than half the population in two-thirds of the world’s 223 nations.1 Furthermore the church in historically “Christian” nations will be in the minority in A.D. 2000. The emerging global church will be much more diverse ethnically and culturally, increasingly urban, and significantly more poor, oppressed, and suffering.

In North America the 21st-century society will be older and dominated by minorities, notably Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans, and African Americans. Migration from the rust belt to the sun belt will continue in a society that opposes Christian values and ideals while experiencing such painful effects as the breakdown of the family, the public school system, and other societal structures. All this takes place against the now familiar backdrop of terrorism, pollution, drug abuse, and crime. Anderson argues that the church of present and future decades is marked by globalization, urbanization, and democratization.2

Significant national demographic trends mark the present culture. The 1990 census has shown that approximately 250 million people reside in the United States. “That is 23 million more people

than in 1980, representing a 10% increase.”3 Demographers use the term “Baby Boomers” to describe 76 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964 with 1957 the peak year.

The first Baby Boomers will turn 50 in the middle of this decade, and experts expect that as many as one million Boomers will reach age 100. They make up 43 percent of the United States population and are rapidly moving toward a position of dominant influence in national institutions. They are a true global-village generation marked by low loyalty to almost anything, high expectations from almost everyone, and a nagging unpredictability with respect to liberal or conservative orientation in politics or religion.

In this setting, this article explores six dimensions of evangelical education and how they might look over the next 10 years. It updates material p...

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