The origins of the Christian Century, 1884-1914

A climate of optimism

The Christian Century emerged from rather humble origins. It started as just another local denominational publication speaking for the Disciples of Christ in Des Moines, Iowa, and surrounding regions. Those connected with its founding chose the name Christian Oracle for the journal and adopted the motto “Speak as the Oracles of God.”

True to Disciples beliefs, the first editorial expressed a desire to use the journal to encourage Protestantism’s “return to . . . the Apostolic confession of ‘Jesus the Christ, the son of the Living God’” as the “only test of fellowship, and bond of union, among those who profess to follow Him.” However high their initial hopes, the editors had to struggle mightily just to keep publishing on a regular basis. In desperate straits financially, and looking for a way to find more readers, they moved the journal to Chicago in 1891.


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