Robert Walker, 90, Honored as Pioneer of Christian Journalism’

by | Jun 30, 2002 | Charisma Archive

In April, scholarships were awarded to further Walker’s legacy
He’s been hailed as a visionary, a pioneer of Christian journalism and a communicator of the gospel through the published word. But Robert Walker says
he is just someone who made himself available to obey God.

Walker is the founder and former chairman of Christian Life Missions (CLM), the nonprofit ministry partner of Charisma–whose readers have contributed more than $1 million in the past five years to ministries that were featured in the magazine.

For many years Walker was editor of Christian Life, which merged with Charisma in 1987. Today, publisher Stephen Strang says his organization continues Walker’s legacy not only through Charisma but also through Christian Retailing magazine, which was founded by Walker in 1955 as Christian Bookseller, and through Strang’s various publishing imprints that grew out of Creation House Books, founded by Walker in 1970.

In April, scholarships in Walker’s name were awarded by CLM to five winning applicants. The $1,000 grants were given to “help young people who are devoting their lives to proclaiming the gospel through the printed word, which is the legacy that Robert Walker gives,” said Strang, who noted that most younger readers don’t know Walker’s interesting story.

Celebrating his 90th birthday at a board meeting of CLM in Wheaton, Ill., in April, Walker said: “It’s really not what we do. It is what the Holy Spirit does in us to create the life of Christ so that when others see us, they don’t see us, they see what God does through us.”

Walker also told the CLM board: “I praise God for the privilege that is mine to see what God has done with you as a result of the vision God gave me.”

That vision inspired Walker to create in 1941 a magazine for Christians called Sunday. The publication was renamed Christian Life after Walker acquired the publication Christian Life & Times from friend Clyde Dennis.

Walker quickly became a mover and shaker in the budding Christian publishing industry. The Christian Booksellers Association sought him out in 1955 to start a Christian trade publication to cover that industry. Christian Bookseller was published twice monthly at that time.

In 1968, Christian Life did a profile on Hollywood star Pat Boone that described the entertainer’s experience with the Holy Spirit. From that article sprang Walker’s idea to form Creation House Books, which published Boone’s best seller A New Song. The book sold 2.5 million copies in six months–something unheard of in the Christian publishing industry in those days.

In 1986, Walker, then 74, met Strang, who had started Charisma 11 years before in 1975. Strang offered to buy Christian Life, and Walker agreed when Strang also agreed to take on Christian Bookseller and Creation House Books.

A celebration of Walker’s life followed the CLM board meeting, as old friends gathered to share anecdotes about this 90-year-old man who still goes to the gym three times a week to lift weights.

Many who were influenced by Walker’s professional life attended the celebration, including missionary Bruce Olsson, whose book Bruchko was published in 1973 by Creation House under Walker’s tenure. Walker had convinced Olsson to let him write a book about his efforts to evangelize the Stone Age Motilone Indians of Colombia. The book has sold more than 150,000 copies.

Pat Robertson sent a videotaped greeting to honor Walker, and Ken Taylor, founder of Tyndale House Publishers, came in person to honor his lifelong friendship with Walker. Taylor half jokingly thanked Walker for leaving his post as editor of HIS magazine in Chicago, opening up the opportunity for Taylor to take that position and relocate to Wheaton, where in 1962 he started Tyndale House.

“Bob, you and I have known each other since 1934,” Taylor said. “I remember the first time I saw you, which was on the campus at Beacon College. I saw you walking by, and I realized that this must be one of the ‘football’ guys. The other day I was over at the club–and there was Bob–still pumping iron.”

Jan Franzen, a former CLM board member who worked for Walker for 39 years, recalled a pep talk Walker once gave her when she was a rookie journalist just starting out at Christian Life.

Walker took Franzen aside one day and gave her a very “lively lecture” about why she was at Christian Life, how she could contribute and “what most likely would happen if I didn’t.”

That lecture drove Franzen throughout her career in Christian journalism and she thanked him “on behalf of all the others you have pushed, prodded and taught through the years, and realize they are better writers and craftspersons as a result.”

This year’s Robert Walker Scholarships were given to Jason Arthurs, University of North Carolina; Anita Harrison, University of Missouri; Jennifer Banks, Berry College; Tynisa Trapps, Regent University; and Yhanique Whitely, University of Florida. Strang said the scholarships will be given annually.

Walker, still vibrant at 90, continues to cast a huge shadow over the world of Christian publishing. The Evangelical Christian Publishers Association gave him a lifetime achievement award in 1994. But Walker mostly shrugs at taking any personal credit.

As he told one interviewer: “It’s not the goal of the Christian that counts. It’s their desire to be filled with the Holy Spirit, then allowing God to establish the goals.”
–Billy Bruce and Christine Allen


Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


How Believers Can Work Together to Restore Pre-COVID America

How Believers Can Work Together to Restore Pre-COVID America

On April 16, 2021, I traveled to Tulsa, Oklahoma, at the request of a local business leader, Clay Clark. He asked me to speak at a conference focused on ending the COVID lockdowns. Clay is a business coach and entrepreneur who'd seen his clients' businesses devastated...

What Is Your Prophetic Warning?

What Is Your Prophetic Warning?

God wants to anoint you with His grace through your unique prophetic wiring to impact the body of Christ in the place He has called you! He will do that in as many diverse ways as there are people, personalities, and gift mixes across the face of the earth. I cannot...

The Lord Says, ‘It’s Payback Time’

The Lord Says, ‘It’s Payback Time’

If you’ve been following any of my recent posts, you’re probably aware that my husband and I are selling the property we’ve lived on for the past 21 years and buying a ranch. Interestingly, we have also been led to engage in three other real estate transactions at...

Discerning False Prophets and Delusions with Mario Murillo

Discerning False Prophets and Delusions with Mario Murillo

My longtime friend Mario Murillo is providing a critical role in the body of Christ in speaking up against the wolves in sheep clothing. Matthew Henry said, "A traitor inside the camp is more dangerous than 1,000 persecutors outside the camp." Christians want to be...


Do You Need A Miracle? It’s In Your Mouth!

So many people are in need of a miracle these days. So many people are experiencing lack, illness and despair. So many of these people are Christian people that are bewildered as to why they are...
Is America Destined to Become Like Sodom and Gomorrah?

Is America Destined to Become Like Sodom and Gomorrah?

Sodom and Gomorrah were real cities and real people lived there. These were notoriously sinful cities that God warned but eventually destroyed because of their wickedness (Gen. 19:24). These cities, infamous for their debauchery and homosexuality, are mentioned 23...

How to Get Rid of Guilt Forever

How to Get Rid of Guilt Forever

Are you bugged by a guilty conscience … carrying around baggage from a certain mistake or decision that produces feelings of regret or even self-loathing? We’ve all said or done things that we wish we could take back. And while it’s completely natural to grieve over a...

4 Tips to Fix Your Christian Marriage Problems

4 Tips to Fix Your Christian Marriage Problems

Christian married couples, like everyone else in the world, can have their ups and downs. The pressures at work, home and family can mount a pile so high you barely see your spouse on the other side. God created marriage and He longs for you to have a healthy,...

Prophecy: The Isaiah 60 Church Will Arise

Prophecy: The Isaiah 60 Church Will Arise

I saw a movie several years ago about an Amish community. In the movie, when someone needed help (whether it was a crisis, a barn raising or help in harvesting their fields) they would ring a large bell. Within minutes, the community would appear in all directions,...

Did Mr. Rogers Warn Against Transgenderism?

Did Mr. Rogers Warn Against Transgenderism?

While he may not have realized it at the time, Fred Rogers, otherwise known as "Mr. Rogers" on the children's television program "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood," may have been anti-trans and also prophetic about the culture in America more than 40 years ago. A devoted...

Pin It on Pinterest