There’s hope! The editor wants it to die.

There are tenth anniversaries and there are tenth anniversaries. One of the most unusual has to be the recent anniversary of a magazine that has been called “ants in the pants of the faithful,” has invented and employed the technique of “necro-interviewing” in a talk with the late theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, and that named comedian Steve Martin 1980 Theologian of the Year.

The Wittenburg Door is a small magazine (circulation 16,000) with a widespread reputation. It is an answer to critics who say conservative Christians take themselves too seriously: an evangelical satire magazine. No evangelical celebrity is immune from Door treatment. Jerry Falwell, Billy Graham, Oral Roberts, and Robert Schuller have all been spoofed. The periodical has probably offended as many people as it has entertained.

Its most controversial issue, one of its latest, was the Wittenburg Door “sex issue.” Many readers were offended, starting with their reactions to the cover, which pictured a man and woman in bed beneath a portrait of Christ with a black bar across his eyes to blind him from the activity in the bed.

More than 200 readers promptly cancelled their subscriptions, said editor Mike Yaconelli. Ninety letters poured into the Door offices. Two contributing editors were embarrassed and asked to be dropped from the roster. Finally, one individual interviewed for a later issue demanded that the interview not be printed in such a magazine.

“On the positive side,” said Yaconelli, “we had almost as many new subscriptions” as were lost. To Yaconelli and his small staff of four (not including contributing editors), “sex is not sacred.”

“We would never want to do anything that would make Christ less than God,” ...

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