April 14, 2006

Adventist News 3

Johnsson to Retire as Adventist Review Editor 

capWilliam G. Johnsson, editor-in-chief of the Adventist Review and Adventist World magazines, announced Wednesday that he will retire by the end of the year after 24 years at the helm of the church’s flagship journal. Johnsson, 71, is the third longest serving editor in the 157 years of the Adventist Review, the first editor from outside North America, and the first to hold a doctoral degree. The magazine was founded by James White in 1849 as Present Truth, and popularly known for more than 125 years as the Review and Herald. Today the Adventist Review is believed to be the oldest American religious magazine still in continuous publication since its founding.           

1510 springmeeting“We certainly want to record our appreciation for [Johnsson’s] outstanding service that has been provided to our church,” said General Conference president Jan Paulsen to the delegates at the church’s Spring Meeting held in Loma Linda, California, April 12, 13. 

Raised in Australia, Johnsson served for 15 years as a missionary teacher for the church in India at Vincent Hill School and Spicer College. From 1975 to 1980, he was a professor of New Testament and associate dean of the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary in Berrien Springs, Michigan. He accepted the post of associate editor of the Adventist Review in August 1980, and became the editor-in-chief upon the retirement of Kenneth Wood in December 1982. Johnsson has written about 20 books and more than 900 articles, traveled extensively on behalf of the magazine, and represented the Adventist Church in numerous theological conversations with leaders of other faiths.

Johnsson’s tenure at the Adventist Review has been marked by his commitments to increasing dialogue in the church and to building an editorial staff that reflects the church’s diversity. A specialist in the biblical book of Hebrews, Johnsson joined the editorial staff as the denomination was wrestling with the crisis initiated by the teachings of Desmond Ford, an Adventist theology professor who had challenged major church doctrines. The magazine under Johnsson also featured forthright news coverage of the Davenport financial debacle in the early 1980s, the 1995 decision by the church’s world session to not ordain women as pastors, and the resignation of church president Robert Folkenberg in 1999.

A design makeover of the journal in 1996 produced the “new Review,” which broadened the journal’s appeal to young adult and minority readers. In 2005, Johnsson helped to launch Adventist World, a major new international journal for the church now circulating with more than 1.2 million copies a month in 11 of the church’s 13 world divisions.