Religion And Culture: Challenges And Prospects In The Next Generation -- By: George Van Pelt Campbell

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 43:2 (Jun 2000)
Article: Religion And Culture: Challenges And Prospects In The Next Generation
Author: George Van Pelt Campbell


Religion And Culture: Challenges And Prospects In The Next Generation

George Van Pelt Campbella

Every generation of Christians faces its own challenges and prospects in God’s providence. The last generation of evangelicals, lead by such people as Carl F. H. Henry, Kenneth S. Kantzer, and Billy Graham, sponsored numerous initiatives intended to address the urgencies of their day. These included the founding of the National Association of Evangelicals (1942), the Evangelical Theological Society (1949), and the journal Christianity Today (1956), all of which accomplished positions of their founders’ visions.

As we look forward to the next generation, what are the challenges and the prospects which stand before evangelical scholars? The purpose of this article is to assess those challenges which are most urgent for the integrity and effectiveness of evangelicalism in, and in relation to, American culture in the next generation.

While there are certainly many things evangelical scholars can and must do which are here assumed, my distinctive proposals can be summarized under three headings. We must address issues related to the common good, the common man, and a common voice.

I. The Common Good

1. We must face the common issues raised by globalization. If we as evangelical scholars are going to speak to our world and to our culture in the future, rather than just to ourselves, we must concern ourselves with facing and giving Christian responses to common problems which affect the common good. One such set of problems is raised by globalization.

There are two broad ways in which we can and should address issues raised by globalization (or globality, as it is more and more commonly called). The first is by addressing the major challenges which globality poses for the world at large, offering Christian solutions for the common good and at the same time an apologetic for the value of Christian faith. The second way we must face globality is by understanding and addressing the challenges it poses for the integrity and effectiveness of the Christian faith. After defining globality, we will give an example of each sort of problem and response.

In 1995, sociologist Malcolm Waters made clear how recent is the development of consciousness of globality when he wrote, “Social change is now proceeding so rapidly that if a sociologist had proposed as recently as ten years ago to write a book about globalization they would have had to overcome a wall of stony and bemused incomprehension. But now, just as postmodern was the concept of the 1980s, globalization may be the...

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