Americans rarely mark their fortieth birthdays with enthusiasm. The idea of singing "Happy Birthday" to ourselves sounded pretty unexciting-and a little hollow. None of us now on staff was here in the beginning, and today's CT reads and looks much different than it did in the early years. And the magazine's longevity, in itself, does not necessarily mean honor and glory for God's kingdom. Some could argue that our longevity means, simply, that we were shrewd enough to live and prosper by market forces.
Still, CT turning 40 does feel like a significant milestone-a sign that something has succeeded. And we decided that that something was evangelicalism itself.
What needed to be celebrated, we felt, was what God has achieved through a handful of people who wanted to honor him. Evangelicalism is the story of a remnant who swam against the currents of the age, who knew that the old stories were more than simply wise, heroic, or helpful-they were also true and indispensable. They clung to their knowledge that God is just as active now as he has been throughout history, that to be named "Christian" means one has a relationship with a living person, God himself. In an age of scientific empiricism, rationalism, social engineering, and the pursuit of human "progress," these were brave stands.
In just one issue of this magazine, even an expanded one, we could not begin to tell the whole story of modern evangelicalism. What we present here is a sampling of the "Movers and Shapers" who have inspired and led this movement:
- Carl Henry and Kenneth Kantzer. Our interview with these former CT editors comes closest to telling this magazine's story.
- The Ecuador martyrs. The deaths of these five young evangelicals occurred ten months before CT's first issue, and their story informed two of the most memorable articles of the first year (both by the newly widowed Elisabeth Howard Elliot) and established the seriousness of purpose evangelicals had in taking literally Christ's command to make disciples of all nations.
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 60+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more