Guest / Limited Access /

It was a typical e-mail from Asbury Seminary professor Ben Witherington. It simply said, "What do you think?" followed by a link to his blog. Ben has written many pieces for me over the years, for Christian History and Biography and Christianity Today, so of course I was intrigued.

Like other readers, I was stunned and impressed and inspired. Ben was blogging about his 32-year-old daughter, Christy, who had died a couple of weeks earlier. I immediately thought, So soon? Then again, we each have our own ways of working through grief, and Ben is a voluminous writer. It only made sense that he would grieve through blogging.

What impressed me was this: Ben's refusal to deny the pain and his refusal to deny his hope. I've read many accounts of grief, and some, like C. S. Lewis's A Grief Observed, are superb at exegeting the pain. Others wax eloquent about our hope in Christ. But here were reflections that both acknowledged the pain that will not be healed before our "glad heavenly reunion" and that refused to let go of God's promises.

To say the least, I never broach publishing ideas with someone who is in the immediate throes of grief! But Ben had contacted me and asked for this editor's thoughts, so I sensed he wanted to broaden his reach. Indeed, that was the case, and soon enough we were hammering out details of an article for CT and an eBook for Christianity Today Essentials.

The article, which starts on page 36, gives a taste of the longer eBook, now available at For the book, Ben and his wife, Ann, added personal reflections on Christy. We wanted to help readers get to know Christy, to deepen our sense of the contours of Ben and Ann's grief. I also asked Ben to add even more theological reflection.

The whole ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Also in this IssueSex Sect The Family Cleans House
Subscriber Access Only
Sex Sect The Family Cleans House
The former Children of God movement is leaving its sex cult history behind as it shifts from radical legalism to more biblical behavior.
RecommendedThe Future of the Church Is Analog, Not Digital
Subscriber Access Only The Future of the Church Is Analog, Not Digital
New communications technology lets us preach to millions. It’s time to unplug most of it.
TrendingWhy Max Lucado Broke His Political Silence for Trump
Why Max Lucado Broke His Political Silence for Trump
In the face of a candidate’s antics, ‘America’s Pastor’ speaks out.
Editor's PickI Found the Gospel in Communist Romania
I Found the Gospel in Communist Romania
And then I shared it with the man the government sent to kill me.
Christianity Today
Journaling Grief: How Web-Based Publishing Is Changing Everything
hide thisApril April

In the Magazine

April 2012

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.