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Letter from the Editor

I'm writing on a night early in December. Never has the hope we share as Christians seemed more preposterous—or more welcome—than it does right now. But when hasn't it been so?

Have you seen The City, the fine journal from Houston Baptist University, edited by Ben Domenech? The Fall 2013 issue arrived a couple of days ago, leading off with a section titled "The Nation in Crisis." That started me wondering when the nation hasn't been in crisis. Was that during World War II? The Great Depression? Or was it in some earlier halcyon days?

Talk of "crisis" reminds me of Molly Worthen's Apostles of Reason: The Crisis of Authority in American Evangelicalism, reviewed in this issue by John Schmalzbauer. A crisis of authority, huh? Can a crisis be continuous over a period of roughly 400 years? Maybe another word is needed. In The American Spectator of yore, there was a regular section called "The Continuing Crisis," the title of which allowed readers to savor the irony even as they tracked the latest evidence of folly, perfidy, and decline.

Then there's David Hollinger, whose After Cloven Tongues of Fire: Protestant Liberalism in Modern American History is reviewed in this issue by George Marsden. It was Hollinger who not long ago issued a stirring call to his fellow secular Americans to make common cause with "ecumenical" Protestants against the evangelical menace. Readers of Hollinger's book may be struck by a certain double-mindedness, since he takes pleasure in describing liberal Protestantism as a halfway house on the way to unbelief, adding that no one but "Christian survivalists" could be disturbed by that. (Thereby he casually writes out of existence the many liberal Protestants whose faith unites them with Catholic and Orthodox and Pentecostal and even … yes, evangelical Christians around the world, however much they may disagree on this, that, or the other point of contention.)

Crisis can galvanize people to acts of solidarity, generosity, and self-sacrifice. ...

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