In 1980 we celebrate 200 years of Sunday school. From Robert Raikes’s early efforts to teach underprivileged children the rudiments of reading and moral education, Sunday schools have grown to become a worldwide movement and the major instructional arm of the Christian church. Doris Freese sketches the history of Sunday schools, and in particular their less well-known development in America during the nineteenth century. Jo Berry addresses what most would agree is by all odds the greatest problem in operating an effective Sunday school: how to get and keep a capable staff. Our CHRISTIANITY TODAY-Gallup Poll continues with a study of the Pentecostals and charismatics.
Other features of this issue include a short piece describing an innovative “spiritual foster care” program for meeting the problems of delinquents through the church; an account of the remarkable ministry of Bakht Singh in India; a helpful word about tax benefits for pastors at a time when this is an existential issue; and a brief news item from Britain of dire developments for evangelicalism.
In spite of all we hear about the resurgence of evangelicalism, fewer and fewer Britons acknowledge the divinity of Christ. North American evangelicals, too, must note the drift of American churches away from solid commitment to orthodox doctrine and evangelical practice. The CHRISTIANITY TODAY-Gallup Poll has pinpointed the inability of American Christians in evangelical churches to distinguish an orthodox and biblical view of Jesus Christ from that of a Jehovah’s Witness or a Mormon or a traditional liberal. The task of the church grows larger.
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