Marching Orders

1997This article is part of CT's digital archives. Subscribers have access to all current and past issues, dating back to 1956.

In 1955, Billy Graham called a group of evangelical leaders to gather in Cincinnati "for prayer, for consultation, advice, to seek the will of God" over the possibility of starting a new magazine to be called CHRISTIANITY TODAY. "As evangelicals," he said, "I am convinced that we are in the majority among both clergy and church members. However, we have no rallying point, we have no flag or organization under which we can all gather. We are divided, confused, and in one sense defeated. We need a new strong vigorous voice to call us together."

The evangelist went on to present a nine-point editorial plan for the magazine. Point nine is the most relevant for our current issue: "Book reviews—these book reviews should be the very finest of any magazine in the United States, covering not only the religious, but many outstanding secular books."

While much has changed in the 40 years we have been publishing ct, book reviews are still a significant part of our marching orders. And the man doing much of the marching for point number nine is our book review editor, John Wilson. Trying to produce reviews that are "the finest of any magazine" is a heavy burden, but one that John relishes.

Since arriving here in 1994, John has been busy sharpening our review section, fine-tuning our now widely noticed book-awards program, and inaugurating our annual books issue. This is his third. Such special issues of CT remind us that we have always been a people of the Word, and since the sixteenth century, a people of many books.

But that is not all John has been up to.

Not only is there a much greater number of Christian books being published now than in 1955, the number of vital books from secular publishers has skyrocketed as well. We simply ...

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