Catch Up On the Past (Part 3)
by Warren Wiersbe
Another excellent Baker publication is Seasons of Refreshing: Evangelism and Revival in America,by Keith J. Hardman. He begins with the Puritans, Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield, works his way through the “great awakenings” and the ministries of Finney and Moody, climaxing with the modern day evangelism of Billy Graham and Luis Palau. Along the way, he introduces us to evangelists we are prone to forget, such as Sam Jones, R. A. Torrey, J. Wilbur Chapman and Billy Sunday, all of whom helped to keep the revival fires burning between the ministries of Moody and Graham. The brief closing chapter declares that “the future of world Christianity has never looked better,” and he cites statistics to prove his claim. However, they focus primarily on continents other than North America.
If you want a larger book on the same theme, see American Evangelism: Its Theory and Practice by Darius Salter (Baker, 1996). More than a historical survey, the book deals primarily with the developing approaches to evangelism and how they are used in American churches today. His chapter on “Evangelism in a Technological Age” is especially relevant. This is an excellent complementary text to Dr. Sweeney’s volume.
Let’s turn from history to history in the making. In 1970, Alvin Toffler’s Future Shock hit the bookstores and started us thinking about “social futurism.” A dozen years later John Naisbitt’s Megatrends helped us understand how the world was changing (“ten new directions transforming our lives”) and how we could take advantage of these changes. Naisbitt’s latest book is Mind Set: Reset Your Thinking and See the Future (Collins, 2006). His thesis is that the world is changing rapidly (so what else is new?) and we have to understand these changes and adjust our thinking accordingly. As I read the book, I couldn’t help but see how such things as globalization, networking and decentralization apply to the ministry of the church today and fit right in with the biblical plan for ministry. His first two “mindsets” are: “While many things change, most things remain constant” and “The future is imbedded in the present.” These are obvious statements, but the way Naisbitt applies them is not so obvious. Happy reading!
by Michael Catt
U. S. Representative Pete Stark (D) from California is the highest elected official and first congressman to declare himself an atheist in a statement released to the Associated Press March 12, 2007. He wrote, “I look forward to working with the Secular Coalition to stop the promotion of narrow religious beliefs in science, marriage contracts, the military and the provision of social services.”
Apparently Representative Stark has not read the United States Constitution about the freedom of religion. Maybe he’s forgotten about the separation of church and state. I wonder, does he spend money that says, “In God We Trust?” Maybe he should refuse a salary so he doesn’t compromise his atheism. Did he swear on a Bible when he was sworn in?
One thing we do know, he has a day off every year–April 1st. “The fool has said in his heart there is no God” (Psalm 14:1).
2ProphetU is an online magazine/website, started by Warren Wiersbe and Michael Catt, to build up the church, seek revival, and encourage pastors.