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Quick to Listen/Episode 31 | 33 min
Should Evangelical Intellectuals Despair 'Books and Culture's' Demise?

After 21 years, Books & Culture will cease publication after the release of its November/December 2016 issue.

"Publishing print in a digital age is hard. Publishing print that is thoughtful is even harder,” writes Christianity Today president and CEO Harold Smith in the last issue. “And as a result, all that red ink has sadly forced Christianity Today to end the exceptional run of this outstanding Christian thought journal with this issue."

When Christianity Today created B&C in 1995, “some people thought Books and Culture was going to be sort of a culture war vehicle, like Chuck Colson but a little more intellectual,” said John Wilson, the first and only editor of the publication.

“I honestly think that if it had been like that it would have been more financially viable, but that wasn’t the intention from the outset,” Wilson said. “We weren’t a movement magazine.”

B&C co-chair Mark Noll helped start the publication in 1994, the same year his book The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind was released.

“I’m quite depressed about the state of the world as is reflected in its closing,” said Noll, a history professor at Notre Dame University, who believes the magazine thrived because of Wilson’s vision and expertise.

“John’s singular ability in an age of polemics and partisanship and gotcha-journalism was to emphasize the long-term, to be thoughtful rather than reactive, to try to bring insight rather than onslaught,” Noll said.

Noll and Wilson join Mark and Morgan to discuss where B&C’s departure leaves the evangelical intellectual world, the specific conditions that made the publication possible, and how Noll’s Calvinist convictions inform his attitude towards the closure.

Additional Reading

The Dean of Christian Scholars: A conversation with Mark Noll

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