History

Celebrating God’s Faithfulness and Glory

A Passion to Proclaim the Gospel

In 1938 America was still struggling from the Great Depression and the winds of war were stirring in Europe. It didn’t seem like a favorable time to start a new publishing ministry.

Clyde Dennis, a young Christian printer, had a passion to proclaim the gospel and the faith to take a step. That initial ambition has grown into a multi-faceted publishing ministry that, by God’s grace, continues to impact millions around the world.

A Simple Beginning

In 1938 Clyde and Muriel began Good News Publishers working out of their spare bedroom in Minneapolis, MN.

Clyde had often participated in street meetings, speaking and passing out tracts. But most Christian literature at that time was poorly printed, poorly designed—and often poorly received. Because the gospel is God’s greatest message, Clyde reasoned, the good news should be published in a manner worthy of the message, with beauty and creativity as well as fidelity to God’s Word. Clyde promised God that he would dedicate his life to this end if God gave him the opportunity.

That opportunity came to Clyde and his new bride, Muriel, in 1938. Trusting God’s leading, they set aside part of their income for a new ministry. With his savings of $20, Clyde bought 200 pounds of paper to write and design the first few tracts. He then persuaded the printing company where he worked to let him use their presses after hours. He began by printing 40,000 tracts, sending samples to a list of 600 Christian workers.

The response was immediate and remarkable. Within a few days, orders and letters of encouragement came flowing in. Within six months, the tract ministry had grown to the point that Clyde and Muriel’s back bedroom could no longer serve as office, shipping room, and warehouse. Believing God had brought them this far, Clyde quit his full-time job and dedicated his time to writing, designing, and publishing tracts and other Christian literature. Muriel became assistant and shipping clerk, folding thousands of tracts by hand.

The ministry of Good News Publishers grew. Within the first five years, Good News was distributing more than 50 million tracts each year.

Walking by Faith

Although the 1950s presented serious health challenges for Clyde and Muriel, the ministry continued to expand in God’s kindness. After Clyde’s homegoing in 1962, Muriel stepped in as president and remained active in the ministry until her own death in 1993. Paul Benson—who had been with the publishing company from the beginning—accepted responsibility as vice president and general manager. Under their leadership, the passion for proclaiming the gospel stayed at the center of the ministry.

Crossway Books

In 1979, another major step of faith was taken to expand the ministry of Good News by starting a book publishing division—Crossway Books.

Under the leadership of Dr. Lane Dennis, Clyde and Muriel's son, Crossway has become one of today’s leading publishers of evangelical Christian books focused on proclaiming the gospel and applying God’s Word to every area of life.

Since the inception of the book division in 1979, Crossway has been privileged to publish more than 1,500 different titles, including books by Francis A. Schaeffer, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, John Piper, John MacArthur, J. I. Packer, Chuck Colson, Frank Peretti, Max Lucado, Joni Eareckson Tada, and D. A. Carson.

The ESV Bible

A significant new step of faith for Crossway was the publication of The Holy Bible, English Standard Version in the fall of 2001.

The vision for the ESV Bible began in the early 1990s as many evangelical Christian leaders saw a need for a new “word-for-word” Bible translation—one that would be characterized by precision and literary excellence, in the classic stream of the Tyndale New Testament and the King James Version Bible.

The ESV was created by a sixty-member team of the finest evangelical Bible scholars from around the world, with additional review and input provided by the sixty-member ESV Advisory Council. A twelve-member Translation Oversight Committee, with Dr. J. I. Packer as the General Editor, carried out the overall work of revision, review, and final approval.

In the years since its initial publication, the ESV has become the translation choice for many churches, denominations, ministries, and families around the world. It is one of the fastest growing English translations and continues to be published in new editions both in the United States and internationally.

The fall of 2008 marked the next significant step in the development of the ESV with the publication of the ESV Study Bible. Created by a team of ninety-five evangelical Bible scholars and teachers, the Study Bible includes twenty thousand notes and two million words in over 2,700 pages. It became a bestselling Bible and was the first Bible to be named the “Christian Book of the Year” by the ECPA.

Digital Publishing

Crossway has been at the forefront of digital media and technology in Christian publishing. When the ESV Bible was launched in 2001, it was the first Bible published simultaneously in both print and digital formats, and is widely recognized today for its ongoing mobile app development and availability worldwide via ESVBible.org.

Our goal for the ESV Bible is to provide it free through digital media everywhere and at any time throughout the world—free online and via every major tablet and smartphone device.

Pressing on for God’s Glory

As we look to the future, our aim at Crossway is to remain faithful to the “gospel-centered” vision that the Lord has entrusted to us—via the printed page but equally by means of every new digital medium.

Additionally, opportunities for international partnerships continue to grow. Through partnerships with Bible Societies and ministry partners like The Gideons and Awana, new ESV Bible versions are being developed and distributed to tens of millions worldwide.

Crossway’s goal is to continue seeking the glory of God in everything we do—to proclaim his truth in power; to reflect his glory in content and design; and to express something of his holiness and grace to a fallen world.