CARROLL, Colleen (Journalist with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch), The New Faithful: Why Young Adults Are Embracing Orthodoxy, to be published by Loyola Press, September 2002.

This review is based on the interview with Collen Carroll by Agnieszka Tennant, "Christianity Today August 5, 2002.
by Robert Brow  (

Tennant begins the report of her interview with "The Good News about Generations X and Y. Watch out, promiscuity! Out of the way, relativism. A wave of young Americans just want that old time religion." Colleen Carroll uses G.K.Chesterton's wonderful definition of the orthodoxy which I have lived by for fifty years. Orthodox Christianity is "the Apostles' Creed, as understood by everybody calling himself a Christian until a very short time ago and the general historic conduct of those who heed such a creed" (G. K.Chesterton, Orthodoxy, 1908). I like that because it does not include opinions about the millenium, the anti-Christ, being born again, baptism, speaking in tongues, the true church, or theories of the Bible's inspiration. I have opinions about each of those, but I am not prepared to excommunicate those who disagree with me. Chesterton was a devout Roman Catholic, but a hundred years ago he could not include in his definition the current opinions of the Pope in matters such as celibacy, ordination, or the overnight pill.

When the interviewer, Agnieszka Tennant, asked what was appealing about orthodoxy to young people, Carroll explained that there was a swing against the liberalism of the main line churches. But also "a feeling of being saturated by greed, sex, and all the decadent forces in our culture."

But it is not sociology or rebellion that made them "The New Faithful." Many of them say it was the work of the Holy Spirit in their hearts.

One result is the cross pollination that has enriched the many Catholics who "saw what they liked about evangelicalism and then brought it into their own parishes." And many Protestants have incorporated Catholic ritual into their previously colorless services. They admire Mother Theresa for her concern to serve the poor.

I am glad that Christianity Today now has Agnieszka Tennant as Associate Editor. But she will find it very hard to please denominations that expect young people to sign immutable statements of faith. Or those who say "we know that our young people sleep around like alley cats, but nobody is welcome who has a baby out of wedlock, had an abortion, or been divorced or gay." Most interdenominational missionary societies still insist that you have to be pre-millenial to serve the Lord. Others say you can be promiscuous before a legal marriage, but if you are divorced for any reason we won't consider you. And Roman Catholics are still stuck with the idea that a man with four children can have his marriage annulled as if it never happened.

For Carroll's next book it would be good to ask how "The New Faithful" will serve in congregations governed by such additions to orthodoxy.

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