January 10, 2007

New—And Old—Directions

1501 page5 cap 1 run a gauntlet every day, though not the kind I learned to fear from childhood storybooks. No blows rain down, no blunt instruments are raised. Just the stares—the solemn, inquisitive stares of the men who have preceded me.
One corridor of the Adventist Review’s modest office suite in the General Conference building leads by a well-lit wall on which hang pictures of all 10 of this journal’s senior editors who have served through its 157 years. I pass them half a dozen times each day, trying not to be intimidated by their collective gravity, by the strong, frank way they faced the camera—and the future. Each new editor through the decades has undoubtedly done his wrestling with them, learning how to differentiate himself even as he carefully accepts the legacy they left to this movement.
I note the far-off glint in J. N. Andrews’ eyes, the smile on Spicer’s lips that hints at healthy humor, the starched white collar on F. M. Wilcox’s shirt, the groomed mustache of F. D. Nichol. Kenneth Wood leans forward to the future; William Johnsson smiles easily in rare but well-deserved relaxation.
Taken altogether, they and what they represent can easily unnerve and overawe. Taken one by one, they and their stories offer guidance, inspiration, and sometimes—briefly—even hope. Through the last nine years, I’ve come to know them by the well-hewn words they chose, by the articles they wisely published, as well as by what they did not print. Five hundred hours spent combing through the opus of their efforts, now stretching to 184 bound volumes, have only deepened my respect.
1501 page5 intext 4Those hours have also deepened my commitment to produce a magazine that they would want to read, a lively journal of ideas and faith that celebrates the truths and ultimate destiny of Adventism. Those editors were—and in the last two cases, still are—bright, intelligent, witty men, full of passion for the cause they served so well. The journal that they edited with admirable grace and grit must exhibit these six qualities to be worthy of them—and worthy of the tens of thousands of men and women who invest their time and treasure in it.
The Adventist Review must be—and will be:
Timely. Readers rightly expect a weekly magazine to be related to that week of their lives. Look for news-driven cover stories, issue-oriented features, and late-breaking stories from around the world church in the months ahead.
Clear. The Adventist Review has a sacred responsibility to “cut to the chase,” to be forthright and positive about its commitment to the central verities of Adventist belief, and to its ongoing mission to prepare a people for the second coming of Jesus.
Welcoming. The warm heart of world Adventism beats in this journal. Whether you’re a fifth-generation Adventist or a brand-new believer, you’ll find the images and stories of a vibrant, inclusive, and international faith in these pages.
Informative. Expect expanded news coverage from this magazine, both in print and on the Web, along with thoughtful analysis of current issues, insightful news commentaries, and careful attention to our moment in the stream of Bible prophecy.
Inspiring. When you go looking for motivating mission stories, faith-building devotional articles, and solid Bible study, you’ll turn to this journal—and find them all.
Faithful. We’re not going to dance on the edge, stir up controversy to sell more subscriptions, or provoke readers just because we can. You’ll be glad you’re an Adventist—a clear-eyed, informed, grace-filled believer—each time you finish reading an issue. You’ll be better equipped to live out your faith with intelligence and love because you subscribe to the Adventist Review.
It will probably take me some months—or even years—to walk our hall of editors and never wince. But it should take you no time at all to adjust to the journal that remembers what they stood for by focusing on the qualities that have earned your trust and deserve your continued confidence.

Bill Knott is the editor of Adventist Review.