By Mark A. Taylor
“CHRISTIAN STANDARD sure isn’t what it used to be.”
The Facebook comment was meant as a critical jab, but it seems more like a compliment to me. With this issue, the magazine is 150 years old, and we’re proud of many ways it is different today than in the past.
We have a more attractive format today. In its earliest years, CHRISTIAN STANDARD was a dense, type-heavy newspaper filled with doctrinal essays crafted from long sentences and complex thoughts. Today’s readers, bombarded by media at every turn, need something different—more graphics, more color, shorter articles, and readable on their phone or tablet or computer. In a constantly evolving digital era, we’re continually working to stay current.
We have a more positive tone today. At one time, CHRISTIAN STANDARD led the battle against theological liberalism seeping into some Christian churches and mission outposts. Our pages offered not only biblical teaching but also rallied “loyal” congregations to unite against positions that did not lift up the authority of Scripture, the efficacy of baptism, and the truth of salvation through Christ alone.
We certainly have not wavered in our commitment to those foundational truths; we hope that commitment is reflected in every article we publish about growing churches or effective ministry. But today the liberal-conservative split is behind us, and the opponents on either side have died or congregated inside the territories secured by their rhetoric.
Meanwhile, today’s leaders are largely a positive lot. They’re passionate about bringing people closer to God and transforming culture in the process. They’re compelled by their vision of a troubled world redeemed by the gospel, and they don’t have much energy left for fighting.
They certainly don’t all agree with each other. Indeed, there are still doctrines to understand, positions to clarify, methods to evaluate, and philosophies to question. And this magazine is not shying away from controversy. In a way, this indicates how CHRISTIAN STANDARD is the same today as ever. But it also points to something different now.
We acknowledge—we encourage—differences of opinion. Today we urge Christians with different political, cultural, or even doctrinal opinions to recognize the shared commitment to Christ held by someone whose position contradicts their own. Along with truths like those mentioned above, unity in the midst of diversity is surely a hallmark of New Testament Christianity. And seeing the restoration of New Testament Christianity has been central to this magazine’s mission for 150 years.
As CHRISTIAN STANDARD celebrates its 150th anniversary, we make two affirmations: Our magazine must make changes to serve a world and a church far different from the one founding editor Isaac Errett knew. But his commitment to undenominational Christianity remains to motivate all we publish today. In that way CHRISTIAN STANDARD is exactly what it used to be.