The year was 1492, a mere 37 years after Johannes Gutenberg invented movable type. Already, the new technology of printing books was threatening old ways. The Benedictine abbot Johannes Trithemius published a book entitled In Praise of Scribes, in which he defended the use of pen, ink, and vellum. "Printed books will never be the equivalent of handwritten codices," he argued. Ironically, Trithemius took his book to a printer in Mainz and had it published for wider distribution.

Like Trithemius, evangelical Christians have been both media conservationists and media innovators. We love our leather-bound Bibles, yet eagerly use's full text-search capabilities to compare 20 English translations.

We were early adopters of radio when that technology began to draw American families together around furniture-sized receivers in their parlors. We were also early adopters of television. In the golden era of radio and television networks, these media were unifying and leveling influences for Americans.

Christianity Today was founded at a time when mass-circulation magazines like Life and Colliers played a similar function. Billy Graham, our founder, understood the power of magazines to build community and identity. He launched this journal to be a standard-bearer for the neo-evangelical movement. His vision included a lot of variety—but variety was the essence of magazines as a medium.

Fresh challenges

Today, we scribes face new challenges from digital technology and the internet. Like Johannes Trithemius, we traditional print journalists cherish the old values—in-depth reporting, objectivity, and a slower pace that allows us to chew on a topic until we understand it. In the new age of nonstop, live news coverage, ...

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