Several months ago, editor-in-chief Mark Galli and I were invited to Houghton College in western New York, just a few days after we were in Manhattan presenting the ministry of Christianity Today to an enthusiastic group of prospective partners and one very receptive foundation. It was now our privilege to do the same with students on this tranquil Wesleyan campus. First at a dinner with theology majors. (Very stimulating!) Then at the college’s chapel gathering. (Very receptive.) And lastly over a lunch with students where any question about this ministry was fair game. (Just plain fun!)
President Shirley Mullen graciously welcomed us over pie and coffee and passionately underscored the “bottom line” of our visit: to make Houghton students aware of trustworthy resources like CT that will thoughtfully engage both heart and mind for the further equipping of a vibrant faith post-graduation. Not surprisingly, Mullen’s godly concern for her students (and what great students they are!) was that they not find themselves unwittingly tossed about by every wind of doctrine or miscast tweet once outside the “safety” of the tight-knit Houghton community. Or inadvertently falling victim to stereotypes that have falsely been laid on Christians, notably those of the evangelical variety.
The ongoing renewing of the mind—the Christian mind—was clearly the overarching context for our visit. And I was reminded in that moment that it was this same objective that catalyzed our founder Billy Graham to set CT in motion. As a response to both the attractive heresies of liberalism and the ugly orthodoxy of ’50s fundamentalism, Graham wanted CT to showcase the best of evangelical thinking and writing. Biblical, thoughtful, well-researched, balanced. Addressing theological, cultural, and social issues head-on. Yet always in a tone of conviction and love. A tone of Beautiful Orthodoxy.
Per Mullen’s request, I shared all this with her students during the first half of chapel. Afterward, a few of them told me they were grateful—perhaps even surprised—that a standard like CT existed to counter the current Christian caricature. “Tomorrow’s readers of CT,” I thought. Or so I hope.
As we enter our 63rd year of ministry, our ongoing effectiveness will depend upon convincing these next generations that there are alternatives to the caustic rhetoric and just plain noise so prevalent outside and inside the church today. And that CT, anchored firmly to God’s Word, is fully committed to modeling how to winsomely navigate life’s complexities with all our mind, body, soul, and strength. Your continuing commitment to thoughtful Christian journalism through subscription dollars and tax-deductible gifts will help us do just that. And all to the glory of God.
Harold Smith is president and CEO of Christianity Today.