Christianity Today published its first issue in October 1956 and first mentioned Martin Luther King Jr. 14 months later in December 1957. Here’s how the magazine covered the minister and civil rights leader during his lifetime.
Christianity Today first mentioned Martin Luther King Jr. 14 in its coverage of the Triennial General Assembly of the National Council of Churches of Christ.
After a student was expelled from Vanderbilt University Divinity School for organizing a sit-in, Martin Luther King, Jr. said he was especially “disappointed” at the university’s action because it came from “a Christian institution.”
“Christianity Today assigned four of us to cover the massive civil rights demonstration in Washington on August 28. Our job was to analyze the religious element of the march. An abundant sprinkling of piety was promised, and organized religion seemed eager to assume a major role in the day’s activities. But did the religious element have a genuine spiritual under-girding, or was it a mere form of godliness with the power thereof implicitly denied?”
In the midst of tension between the FBI and MLK, this editorial concluded, “No stable solution can be found to the vexing social problems of our age apart from a sustained dedication to the whole range of spiritual priorities—truth, righteousness, and love included.”
A look at the Christian leaders who joined in the Selma to Montgomery march
In “Flood Tide In Selma” (scroll down), this editorial opined, “The use of tear gas against unarmed men and women, the attack upon them with clubs, whips, and ropes, the scores of casualties seem like an episode out of Nazi Germany rather than news from an American city.”
In his write-up of the Selma to Montgomery march, the reporter noted, “The extent of evangelical involvement is believed to have been without precedent in the current civil rights movement. Never before have conservative Protestants identified themselves so demonstratively with the Negro struggle for liberty.”
A broad range of responses followed Christianity Today’s coverage of Selma.
Christianity Today responds to an intense April that saw “President Johnson’s withdrawal from the election campaign, his peace overture toward Hanoi, the brutal and outrageous murder of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the widespread rioting and destruction that swept scores of American cities.”
This is how Christianity Today remembered MLK after he was assassinated on April 4, 1968.
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