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Good Morning Nanty Glo!

       Wednesday, October 6 2004 

Jon Kennedy, webmaster

Stumble in haste, repent in leisure

I owe Robert S. Ellwood and his book, The Sixties Spiritual Awakening, an apology for a partially inaccurate statement I made in Monday's post. Based on the fact that I was then in the penultimate chapter of the book, I wrote that Ellwood, "barely mentions the evangelical religious movement, I suspect because his bias just won't allow him to give it its due. But if he had been either more astute or more academically honest, he could have made the same prediction [I had made about hippies turning to Christian faith]. But his biases seem to have blinded him to the meaning and significance of evangelicalism and how the youth revolution grounded in psychedelic experiences flooded into Campus Crusade for Christ and InterVarsity chapters on campuses all over North America and beyond, and from there infiltrated and became leaders in everything from the 700 Club to Billy Graham's organization to the evangelical denominations, colleges, and mission agencies."

Francis SchaefferThere is still some truth in this statement, but it was exaggerated because I've now discovered that Ellwood does have a two-and-a-half-page sidebar about evangelicalism later in the chapter I was reading. He even closely approximates my statement above: "Evangelical preachers who could relate to hippies and talk their argot were quite successful in leading some of them from drug and Eastern highs to those of Jesus. They laid the foundation for the Jesus movement of the early Sevenites and pioneered a new churchly style...." But he hardly gives the rising tide in American religion of the time its due, however, by not even mentioning Francis Schaeffer, for example, who, by the end of the '60's which he was writing about, had become one of the most important popular theologians in evangelicalism, if not Protestantism as a whole. By contrast, Ellwood elaborately reviews books of dozens of other "theologians" most of us have never heard of or don't recall. This is, of course, the typical elitism of the liberal establishment, considering anything not part of its own clique substandard if not subcultural.

Ellwood's two and a half pages shortchange the evangelicals looking to Schaeffer (pictured above), who was already wearing long hair, analyzing books by Sartre and Camus and movies by Antonioni and Fellini, when he says, "Most of what was new in the Sixties...sent out all the wrong signals to the evangelical subculture. From long hair to antiwar protests to meditation and occultism, not to mention drugs, it seemed another planet from them, and one in serious rebellion against God."

Of course evangelicals generally and always consider their planet to be in serious rebellion against God, but that has never dissuaded them from following Jesus' example to lovingly minister to it and bring it the Gospel. It's hard to imagine that Ellwood was unaware of Schaeffer, whose following was mainly among the university students Ellwood, a professor of religion at the University of Southern California, was teaching; Schaeffer's publisher the InterVarsity Press, which was aimed directly at the campuses. I was working 100 miles north of USC at the time, at UC Santa Barbara, and certainly Schaeffer was by 1969 the best-known name among Christians on campus. Time magazine had described Schaeffer as "the apostle to Europe's intellectuals" in a 1960 issue. That one may be the only issue of the magazine Ellwood fails to consider in his survey of the '60's religious currents.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy 

Chuckles

Two Eskimos sitting in a kayak were chilly; but when they lit a fire in the craft, it sank, proving that you can't have your kayak and heat it too.

Sent by Mary Ann Losiewicz  

Thought for today

Exercise daily—walk with the Lord.

Sent by Trudy Myers  

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