James M. Boice, well-known pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, has replaced William J. Petersen as operational head of Evangelical Ministries, Inc. The organization publishes Eternity magazine and three newsletters.

Petersen had served as editor of Eternity and executive director of Evangelical Ministries since 1975. He joined the organization in 1957 as Eternity’s managing editor. He will continue to serve Evangelical Ministries as a part-time consultant.

Late last year Boice assumed the position of president of Evangelical Ministries. At press time, it had not been determined whether he will also hold the title of editor of Eternity.

Jeff Comment, Evangelical Ministries’ board chairman, could not be reached for a statement. However, several sources close to the organization’s leadership said financial problems led to the change. Eternity, with a circulation slightly under 40,000, has lost money during each of the last five years. Evangelical Ministries is trying to sell its three newsletters, which also have been losing money.

Boice’s ascendancy marks a return of sorts to Evangelical Ministries’ roots. Originally called The Evangelical Foundation, the organization was formed in 1949 as an outgrowth of the ministry of the late Donald Grey Barnhouse, then pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church and host of “The Bible Study Hour” radio program. Boice, who has pastored Tenth Presbyterian since 1968, has hosted “The Bible Study Hour” since 1969.

Russell T. Hitt, a board member and former executive director of Evangelical Ministries, said Eternity has been a victim of a changing marketplace. “There are a lot of new magazines,” he said, “and some of the old ones have changed. Many of them are doing what only Eternity used to do.” Hitt said the magazine also has been hurt by sharp increases in production costs and postal rates.

In recent years, Eternity has sought to carve out a niche in the marketplace by specializing in comprehensive analysis of contemporary events. Boice said he intends to broaden the magazine’s appeal by including “theologically reflective pieces and expositional articles by writers who are better known.”

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