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The End of EmpathyWhy White Protestants Stopped Loving Their Neighbors$
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John W. Compton

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190069186

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190069186.001.0001

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Inventing the Old-Time Religion

Inventing the Old-Time Religion

(p.144) 6 Inventing the Old-Time Religion
The End of Empathy

John W. Compton

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the founding and rise to prominence of Christianity Today, the most important religious magazine of the 1960s and 1970s. It details the magazine’s founding by the revivalist Billy Graham and his father-in-law L. Nelson Bell, both of whom envisioned a periodical that would target ministers with a mix of theological content and conservative political commentary. With financial backing from J. Howard Pew and long list of conservative businessmen, the magazine soon outpaced its liberal rivals; and under the editorial guidance of Carl Henry, a noted theologian, it developed a novel critique of mainline religious authority that may well have exacerbated the divide between mainline elites and average churchgoers. Yet Henry’s insistence that evangelicals were obligated take notice of social problems such as racial discrimination ultimately created an inbridgable rift between the magazine’s editor and its financial backers, and in 1967 Henry was forced to relinquish his post.

Keywords:   Reinhold Niebuhr, Billy Graham, J. Howard Pew, Christianity Today, Carl Henry, welfare state, civil rights, communism, Cold War

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