This article was first published in the July 17, 1981 25th anniversary edition of Christianity Today.
Christianity Today has been the prime agent in demarcating, informing providing morale for the neo-evangelical, now evangelical, movement, at least in North America. We who have awe for the printed word have to remind ourselves that Christianity Today is only a magazine and, as such, has limited power. But within those limits, it has in 25 years achieved something that is both gossamer and global. Gossamer, because the evangelical strands are wispy, tangled, and elusive. Global, because the evangelical net is covering ever more of the Christian world near the end of the second millennium Anno Domini.
A geographical image can illustrate the two main components. Picture the editors, first in Washington and now near Wheaton, looking out their windows in two directions. Northeasterly are the relics of evangelicaldom, where once their own spiritual ancestors thrived. Today they see valleys of dry bones, landscapes of empty cathedrals, eroding stones. Is a polar ice cap of the spirit to stretch from the steppes through secularized Scandinavia and reminiscently Christian Western Europe, through Canada and the American Frost Belt?
Christianity Today leadership 25 years ago began to aid conservative Christians who would try to witness new life in dry bones, try to rescue treasures on that landscape. From that world came ancient creeds that could still define truth. The Reformation evangel from that soil still held appeal. The editors, more at home with the "second-generation" movements that occur after passions and ambiguities diminish, found seventeenth-century Reform documents congenial. They also lived off the Pietism and Puritanism ...1
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