Jason Byassee, former editor of Christian Century, shares his thoughts on Elesha Coffman's new book Christian Century and the Rise of the Protestant Mainline.
Byassee's comments reminded me that I need to move this book to the top of my summer reading list. I first had a taste of Elesha's work when she agreed to be a contributor to my edited book Evangelicals and the Early Church. Her chapter explored the development of and responses to "The Chicago Call: An Appeal to Evangelicals" statement, the result of a 1977 conference aimed at the recovery of historic Christianity. It was well researched and a delight to read.
Byassee also reminded me that there is an interesting story to tell about the Century's rival magazine, Christianity Today. Some years ago I embarked on a side project (my main project has been the completion of my phd on modernist evangelicalism c. 1880-1914) to investigate the evolution of (mainly midwestern) evangelicalism in the 70s and 80s, particularly as it related to three of the flagship evangelical institutions during that period, CT, Wheaton College and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. The three institutions were closely linked to one another, both formally and informally (Ken Kantzer, for instance, had been a Wheaton College faculty member then Dean of TEDS before accepting the editorship of CT), and were keen to defend, define, and direct the future of evangelicalism. Since embarking on my phd this project has lain dormant. I hope to pick it up again in the near future.