Breaking News : Twelve Issues Up!

Christianity Today, Volume 1, May 1930 – April 1931

I’m pleased to announced that the PCA Historical Center has been given permission from Mr. Bryce Craig, president of Presbyterian & Reformed Publishing Company, to post the content of Christianity Today [original series, 1930-1949] to the Historical Center’s web site.  Mr. Craig’s grandfather, Samuel G. Craig, was the founder of P&R, and Christianity Today was his first publication. The magazine was arguably the journal of record for documenting the modernist controversy through the 1930’s, particularly as Carl McIntire’s newspaper The Christian Beacon did not start up until 1936.

In May of 1930, the first issue of Christianity Today appeared, a publication seeking to serve as a voice for conservatives within the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. Its masthead declared its mission: “A Presbyterian journal devoted to stating, defending and furthering the Gospel in the modern world.” The magazine was the first publication issued by the newly formed Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, founded by Samuel G. Craig. Later the company easily turned to the publication of books, with works by Loraine Boettner anchoring the growing list of publications.

From its inception, the magazine was issued monthly until the Spring of 1938, thereafter appearing three times a year. The final change in the magazine began with the Spring 1941 issue (Vol. 11, No. 3), when it was announced that the magazine would be discontinued as a periodical. The War had cut substantially into a strong base of foreign subscribers, and a bequest from Dr. Walter D. Buchanan had been largely exhausted. From that Spring 1941 issue, the magazine was published only on occasion, generally focusing on reports and critiques of the several Presbyterian General Assemblies each year. As it was issued only on occasion, the publisher discontinued volume and number designations. From October 1941 through November 1946, the magazine was published annually, and the final issue was published in May 1949. In 1956, another publishing group, with no connection to Mr. Craig or P&R, began a new magazine under this same title, with their magazine initially based in Washington, D.C.

H. McAllister Griffiths served as Managing Editor from May 1930 until August 1935, when he resigned his position, leaving over presumed differences with the views of Samuel G. Craig concerning the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions [IBPFM], with which Griffiths was heavily involved. By November of 1935, Griffiths had a new post as editor of the newly formed Presbyterian Guardian, initially a publication of the Presbyterian Constitutional Covenant Union, based in Philadelphia. Then in June of 1936, the publication became the denominational magazine for the Presbyterian Church of America [renamed as the Orthodox Presbyterian Church in 1938]. Griffiths served as editor of The Presbyterian Guardian, from November 1935 through September 1936, at which time he was appointed “ecclesiastical counsel” for the trial involving the name of the newly formed Presbyterian Church of America. Griffiths had previously served as counsel for J. Gresham Machen at the latter’s ecclesiastical trial over his involvement with the IBPFM.

Image scans of the twelve issues comprising Volume One of Christianity Today, May 1930-April 1931, have now been posted to the Center’s web site and links to each issue can be found on an index page set up for that volume, here. This index page also provides a table of contents for each issue, plus links to specific articles that have previously been posted on either the Center’s web site or as part of The Continuing Story.

Additional volumes will be scanned and posted as funds permit. The cost of preparation for each volume is approximately $30.00 in materials expense, not counting staff time and wages. Donors who would like to sponsor a portion of this work, so that the project can move along quickly, are encouraged to write to me privately [wsparkman AT pcanet DOT org]. Donations are tax deductible.