Editorial -- By: Anonymous
JETS 43:1 (March 00) p. 1
“Millennium’’—few words have stirred people’s imagination more in recent history than this hard-to-spell Latin term. Evangelicals naturally associate it with eschatology, the topic of our 1999 annual meeting. For others, the expression has evoked the notion of closing one chapter in human history and of starting another, or perhaps simply the sheer excitement of seeing all four digits of the number 1999 turn to 2000.
But the turn of the millennium marks changes much more profound than the mere adjustment of calendar. We live in an age of rapid, unprecedented change on a global scale, brought about by an astounding technological revolution. There are many indicators of this. As a sign of the times, Jeff Bezos, founder of amazon.com, the first global internet company, was chosen TIME magazine’s “man of the year.’’ A jury of experts voted “internet’’ “word of the century.’’ And in the recent AOL/Time-Warner merger, it was the internet giant buying Time-Warner, not vice versa. As the series of images of millennial celebrations from around the globe impressively demonstrated, the world has indeed become a “global village.’’ In fact, many suggest that globalization, not postmodernism, best describes our age.
Yet perhaps nothing illustrates the pace of change better than the fact that, shortly after the “irrational exuberance’’ (to use Alan Greenspan’s famous phrase) of worldwide millennium celebrations on the eve of December 31, 1999, the world woke up the next morning to find that the arrival of the new millennium was already old news, having fallen under the bane of Andy Warhol’s well-known dictum, “famous for fifteen minutes.” Y2K? Long forgotten. Paying an exorbitant amount for the web address year2000.com? Utter folly. Yet even this “millennial fatigue” has not quenched the prevailing enthusiasm and unbounded optimism with which many are greeting the onset of this era of apparently limitless opportunity.
The accelerating pace of change at the turn of the millennium presents evangelical Christians with unique challenges as well. With regard to the Evangelical Theological Society, the question arises how we should conceive of its role in this rapidly changing world. Is our task merely that of remaining faithful to our charge of preserving orthodoxy? Or must we also work to find ever new ways of exploring and communicating the relevance of the timeless Christian message of redemption and forgiveness in Christ to an ever-changing world? Some of us—myself included—may feel uncomfortable, even overwhelmed, in the face of the unknown and unfamiliar future ahead. As Jim Lehrer recently concluded in his “News Hour,” writers are certainly not exempt from being afraid of technological change.
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