by Terry M. Smith
Don’t enjoy theology? Don’t care about theology? Yet theology appears in most materials here:
Local, national, international, and wider news (Do beliefs come across in event descriptions, bits of messages and presentations, reporters’ comments?)
- Lead articles, regular columns, editorials, cartoons (Lots of theology here.)
- Weddings and births (Are marriages and children noteworthy?)
- Obituaries (Will loved ones be seen again?)
- Study tours, prayer teams, short-term mission trips (Are these events good stewardship?)
No one agrees with everything printed. And some materials are refused publication. Every editor makes decisions.
Teaching articles—editorials, lead articles, and regular columns—are in a different category than mission reports, news items, and obituaries.
No editor should control or correct all theology within this magazine (for example, in letters). Such control would interfere with the priesthood of all believers and our community hermeneutic. The magazine is the community’s. Members are to speak and the community must discern in response (1 Cor. 14:26-38).
Where, though, is the line between the conference’s positions being upheld and discussion being allowed? It’s an old question.
Early in this magazine’s history, minister and pioneer editor Dave K. Schellenberg was asked to correct a letter that appeared in print. He did not. Later, when he himself suggested that only materials upholding a conference position be published, someone objected (Rev. Ben D. Reimer, I suspect), saying this would limit change within the EMC. Schellenberg learned from this, I suspect.
At the same time, Schellenberg had lines that he would not cross. I do.