In a lecture on “The Renewal of the Inner City Church,” Jim Wallis told a group of pastors true stories of declining inner-city churches that had, by the grace of God, rediscovered their mission and begun to thrive. I was inspired, but in the conversation afterwards one pastor after another criticized Wallis’s speech. They accused him of looking at the church through rose-colored glasses. One even implied that he had lied.
That evening I told Wallis that I was appalled by the group’s reaction. “I wasn’t,” he said. “That’s the reaction I always get from mainline, liberal pastors. They are amazed when God wins. Scared to death that Easter just might, after all, be true.”