When the first issue of Christianity Today appeared 40 years ago, none of us could have imagined what the future held. Small in number and insignificant in influence, evangelicals then were an ignored minority in most ecclesiastical circles. Those who claimed to take the Bible seriously were often labeled hopelessly obscurantist or unloving and insensitive to a world in need.

And yet God was at work, sometimes in surprising ways. After the Second World War, new evangelical organizations and a new generation of leaders began to emerge. Spiritual hunger became evident among large numbers of people.

Repeatedly in those days I came across men and women in virtually every denomination who were committed to the historic biblical faith, believing it was not only spiritually vital, but socially relevant and intellectually defensible. And yet they had no standard around which they could rally, and no place they could look for spiritual encouragement and intellectual challenge. Christianity Today came into being to help fill that vacuum.

As Christianity Today enters its forty-first year, our first response should be one of great gratitude for all God has done. Who could have envisioned the almost explosive growth of evangelicals during the last four decades? Who could have foreseen the impact this magazine would have, not only in evangelical circles but far beyond? God alone must get the credit.

But what of the future? Where will evangelicalism be in another 40 years-or even four years from now, when we stand on the brink of a new century?

Only God knows the future, and thankfully, God is the God of the future. Try as we might, our speculations about the future will be only that-speculations. If we went back a hundred years we would be ...

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In the Magazine

September 16, 1996

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