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editors of The Chicago-Bladet

Former editors of the Chicago-Bladet: John Martenson, J.C. Olson, and Nathaniel Carlson. On right: Editor John Martenson and others outside of the Chicago-Bladet building.

 

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The Chicago-Bladet was begun as a Swedish Christian newspaper edited and published by the layman, John Martenson. The first issue was dated February 16, 1877 as a weekly 8-page paper, providing "Christian and Political News for Swedes in America." Nonetheless it quickly became the unofficial organ of the Swedish Evangelical Free Church. It was in 1926 that the paper was purchased and adopted as the official organ of the SEFC. (The SEFC, now known as the Evangelical Free Church of America is the church denomination of which Trinity International University is one of its institutions of higher learning.) The emphasis of the Chicago-Bladet moved to serving as a way of strengthening the faithful of the Free Church and offering news and perspective from a distinctly Evangelical Free Church perspective.

Roy Thompson, first Editor of the Evangelical Beacon, wrote in "The Dynamic of the Printed Page" (Free Church Press, 1981), "The editor and publisher made it clear … that his position was firmly based on nothing but God's Word-not on any certain church denomination, but only by belonging to Jesus and having forgiveness through faith in Him." He promised never to encourage or foster any kind of division among God's children on the basis of their belonging to one or another of the denominations.

In The Diamond Jubilee Story, (p. 128, Free Church Publications, 1959) Thompson wrote "The Swedish Evangelical Free Church is a striking example of the power of the printed page. It is inconceivable that any such movement as The Evangelical Free Church could have existed apart from the influence of Chicago-Bladet, the Swedish Christian newspaper edited and published by John Martenson of Chicago. This influential paper, from the very beginning of its publication, was the voice and champion and unofficial organ of those who eventually associated themselves in the work of the Swedish Evangelical Free Church of America. The spirit of independence so vigorously advocated and promoted by Chicago-Bladet became the spirit of those Christians and those Christian churches that looked to Chicago-Bladet for spiritual guidance. The constituency of Chicago-Bladet became the constituency of The Swedish Evangelical Free Church. The beliefs and convictions that dominated the thinking of our Free Church people were the result, to a large extent, of the molding influence of John Martenson's Chicago-Bladet."

After Martenson, Rev. J.C. Olson served as Editor 1926 to 1949, and Rev. Nathaniel Carlson from 1950 to 1952 when the paper ended publication.

About 6500 issues were published over the years. We will continue to upload copies of the Chicago-Bladet to this webpage as time and resources permit.

Our point of contact is either at archives@efca.org or by phone at 1-800-745-2202 asking for the archivist.

Chicago-Bladet front page

 
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