The trend of the world's masses is cityward. And with modern industrial problems creating great economic challenges, earth's cities must be carefully studied for both urban and suburban evangelism. Strangely enough, as we begin to analyze a city, we find that it begins to assume a definite personality. Cities are not built of mere wood and stone, mortar and metal. Cities have life, and the type of life each city represents has affected its cultural influences and its utilitarian opportunities. As we study this idea we realize why the Master Evangelist varied His upbraidings of the cities, with which He Himself was well acquainted because of close contact.
Jesus really knew the cities of His time. When He spoke of Jerusalem, for instance, He spoke in the language of a wooer. Her spurning of His love was not immaterial to Him in His plans to save a whole world. Over and over again He tried to win her inhabitants, exhausting every method. The cities of His native land continued to present a tremendous challenge to His mission.
Likewise observe the apostle Paul at work as a city evangelist. How cautiously he tried the various approaches to enter these strongholds of a degraded Judaism and a fast-growing heathenism. How varied the length of his stay in these centers, and what a variety of factors entered into the location of his evangelistic headquarters. Next we observe the diversified talents of his working force. But let us also study well the contrast of techniques used in presenting the same message of a resurrected Saviour to the Romans, Corinthians, Athenians, Philippians, Thessalonians, Bereans, and to other cities that might be mentioned. Cities of his day would in our times be hardly classified with metropolitan centers, but still they presented the same mighty challenge—that of the cities ! It required special skill to reach the multitudes.
We here begin a series of analyses of various types of cities of modern times. These findings are typical of what might be done to gain a better understanding of the personality of a city, its background, people, problems, physical features, public buildings, history, geography, education, church life, etc., in order to make a more intelligent approach in evangelistic endeavor. As illustrative of what might be done, we are here starting off with the case history of Birmingham, Alabama. Studies of Osaka, Japan; Boston, Massachusetts ; San Francisco, California; and Las Vegas, Nevada, are in hand and will appear soon. This research is a by-product of R. A. Anderson's evangelistic-leadership and practical theology classes at the Theological Seminary. We believe that the field' will be helped by sharing this practical type of evaluation through THE MINISTRY.
L. C. K.