Four times a year, the CHRISTIANITY TODAY senior editors gather at Chicago’s O’Hare Hilton. The agenda is fairly consistent: we discuss theological trends, news from the Christian world, and article ideas. We evaluate the past three months’ issues of CT and preview the major articles scheduled for the coming quarter. We pray and enjoy one another’s company.

The meetings have all the good features of a family reunion. Our patriarch, Ken Kantzer, drives 20 miles from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School with a carload of wisdom born of years of service to both Trinity and CT (which he served as editor from 1978–82).

“Favorite Uncles” Jim Packer and Dennis Kinlaw come from opposite ends of the continent—Vancouver, British Columbia, and Wilmore, Kentucky—to act as good-natured advocates for their theological passions: Calvinism (“The purest form of theology,” purrs Jim) and Arminianism (“A too-often neglected perspective,” smiles Dennis).

Co-executive editor George Brushaber breaks away from his duties as president of Bethel College and Seminary to offer his extensive network of Christian contacts. And former CT editor Gil Beers (1982–85) brings meticulous lists of article ideas as fodder for the vigorous give-and-take of the day-long discussions to follow.

Ah yes, the discussions. Like all good family gatherings, we have “discussions.” Consensus on the fundamentals of the faith is the glue that holds us together; different opinions on the implementation of those fundamentals are the inlays that make this richly decorated design so fascinating.

Predictably, each of our senior editors brings a slightly different view. When the topic was the American Catholic Church, for example, systematic theologian Packer insisted on drawing the theological distinctives as clearly as possible, while philosopher Brushaber encouraged us to recognize the diversity of thought within the Catholic church itself. Homiletician Beers acted as advocate for an accurate portrayal of the “Catholic in the pew.” The result was a series of articles that won an Evangelical Press Association award for best single-theme issue.

Occasionally, however, the different perspectives do not mesh so well. One family member thinks a topic like women in the church should be approached one way, while another disagrees—with vigor. And periodic discussions over the place of investigative journalism in the news department reveal still other strong differences. Yet the good spirit of these family discussions invariably yields fruit as compromises and hard-won plans of attack are worked out.

It is that unity of purpose and diversity of attack we hope CT reflects. In order to achieve the diversity, our senior editors are arranged in rotating classes. With our summer meeting, Dennis Kinlaw and Gil Beers completed their terms. Both have served with distinction and have our loving thanks.

With our fall meeting, we welcome two new senior editors, Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen and John Akers. Mary is currently on leave from her post as professor of interdisciplinary studies at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Her Ph.D. is in social and cross-cultural psychology from Northwestern University, and she is author of numerous books, including The Sorcerer’s Apprentice: A Christian Looks at the Changing Face of Psychology and The Person in Psychology: A Contemporary Christian Appraisal.

John is special assistant to Billy Graham, working out of Montreat, North Carolina. A church historian by training, John did his Ph.D. at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and taught and served as dean of Montreat-Anderson College before joining the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in 1977. He has served on Christianity Today, Inc.’s board of directors since 1978.

We welcome both Mary and John to our senior editor family. 1 Timothy 5:4 tells us to practice taking care of the larger family of Christ by taking care of our smaller families. We have discovered it is a God-given joy to take care of the larger CT readership by interacting together with love in this smaller group.


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