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Autumn 2003 | Volume 26, Number 4 | Faculty
Professors Publish Cover Story in CT

faculty members collaborated on the cover story for the August 2003 issue of Christianity Today. The article, titled “Turning the Mainline Around,” combines the scholarly research of Assistant Professor of Sociology Jennifer McKinney with the popular writing style of Associate Professor of History Michael Hamilton. (Click here to read the article.) The article’s content stems from a survey McKinney conducted, with the preliminary results published by McKinney and Penn State University Professor Roger Finke in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.

The article explores how, for the past few decades, evangelicals in mainline denominations have been encouraging Protestant churches to come back to their roots, reclaiming their original statements of faith. Though newspapers report daily outrages in the Church, the article by McKinney and Hamilton describes a quieter pendulum swing toward biblical fundamentals.

Churches that decided in the 1960s to humanize the Bible, saying the Scriptures were “nevertheless the words of men,” are today experiencing renewal movements and urging their flocks to remember “the primacy of Scripture.” Surprisingly, say McKinney and Hamilton, it is the clergy under 40 who are promoting these conservative changes and the clergy nearing retirement who are least supportive. This gives rise to the idea that, as the article says, “The evangelical insurgents may simply outlive the liberals.”

An article containing this news, the two authors agreed, should not be squirreled away in academic journals. “It doesn’t do any good for just other sociologists to read it,” explains McKinney. “When we sent in our first draft, the editors said, ‘It sounds a little sociological,’ so we tried again. When the finished article came out in Christianity Today, my mother said she finally understood what my research was all about. That’s the whole reason we published the survey results in a popular magazine. We want this information to be understood by a lay audience.”

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From the President
“What is a college education really worth?” asks President Philip Eaton. With universities under scrutiny today, SPU must reflect about its influence and impact.

Closing the Gap
In the final year of The Campaign for SPU, the University has strong momentum heading into the stretch. [Campaign]

A Record-Setting Autumn
SPU welcomed its largest and most academically prepared freshman class in Autumn Quarter 2003. [Campus]

Creativity Takes Flight
Theatre graduate Sam Vance '96 is a man with the kind of vision needed by the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Washington. [Alumni]

Basketball Down Under
The men's basketball team took a journey to the other side of the world, and Assistant Coach Dan Barfoot shares his journal of the trip. [Athletics]

My Response
“Dear Time Capsule Openers,” wrote Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Bruce Congdon to SPU students, faculty and alumni in 2053. His letter is now in a time capsule in SPU's new Science Building.