Post-World War II “new evangelicalism” is commonly known to include figures like Billy Graham and Carl F. H. Henry, organizations like Youth for Christ and the National Association of Evangelicals, and publications like Christianity Today. These people, groups, and periodicals had a significant impact on American cultural life in the postwar years.
New evangelicalism, a movement with deep intellectual and theological roots in American Protestantism, emerged directly from early 20th century fundamentalism. Unlike their more cantankerous fundamentalist colleagues, new evangelicals took an irenic stance toward religious life and inter-denominational fellowship. Without discarding fundamentalism’s “doctrinal essentials,” like the divinity of Christ or the infallibility of the Bible, new evangelicals were willing to work with and embrace Bible-believing Christians from all denominations, including those condemned by fundamentalists as “liberal” (like Presbyterians) or “heretical” (like many Holiness churches). New evangelicals, on the whole, thought that using such separatism as a test of true faith was scandalous, and they urged like-minded Christians to rally behind any cause that might bring about a greater emphasis on world-wide revival and evangelism.
For more on fundamentalism and evangelicalism, check out George Marsden’s Understanding Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism and Joel A. Carpenter’s Revive Us Again: The Reawakening of American Fundamentalism.
Moreover, new evangelicals were also more attuned to the nuances of American popular culture, and willingly embrace its forms as means to promote revivalism. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, for instance, formed its own motion picture production company with Hollywood experts, and produced numerous Christian-themed films. Youth for Christ founders urged local chapter leaders to hold programs featuring jazzy gospel music, energetic preaching, and rehearsed testimonies — sanctified versions of the material young people might hear on “secular radio.” Evangelicals also encouraged the use of popular media such as print advertising and television to spread the Gospel. Altogether, new evangelicals demonstrated a willingness to accept the forms of American popular life — a stance that probably helped their movement to make a major impact on America.