By the mid-1950s, Charles B. Templeton had been Canada’s leading evangelist for 20 years. Impassioned and eloquent at the pulpit, the Torontonian delivered his message with a marketer’s flair, presenting Christianity as the path to achieving happiness—an approach that had great appeal for the broad masses. His audiences regularly numbered in the tens of thousands; and many thousands more watched his regular CBS television program, or read his numerous books.
Though he presented the picture of success and confidence to the world, inwardly Templeton was quietly suffering a crisis of faith. Doubts that had plagued him for a decade or more returned and redoubled, and he feared the hypocrisy of preaching doctrine he no longer believed. So, in 1957, at the peak of his career, he did the only thing he thought a man of conviction and integrity could: he abandoned religion as suddenly as he’d once found it, and returned home to Canada.