After many months of preparation, the inaugural issue of the Journal of Christian Studies has been released and mailed to new subscribers. The Center for Christian Studies is making this first issue freely available online on our website. If you have not subscribed to the journal, I invite you to click the link, read the articles, and spread the word and the link to others who may be interested.
We started this new journal to fill a void—a journal that builds bridges between the academy and the church, with articles written by experts who write for the church at large, addressing topics relevant to churches. The theme of this first issue is the “Church and the Pandemic,” a topic of obvious relevance to churches and Christian leaders everywhere. The first article (by Ed Gallagher) explores how we might see the pandemic as an opportunity to refocus our efforts to be the kind of loving community God calls us to be. The second article (by Keith Stanglin) considers how emergency situations have been handled in ancient and recent church history and the lessons we might draw from them. The third article (by Todd Rester) examines how early modern Lutheran and Reformed theologians dealt with the plague and the pastoral questions it raised. The fourth article (by Todd Hall) takes a hard look at how Christian habits of spiritual formation have been affected by the pandemic. The issue also includes an interview of six ministers who have worked in churches and with other ministers during these challenging times. Readers also will not want to miss the thought provoking quotations gathered by the editors in the final section, “In Other Words.”
We invite readers not only to read and learn from these articles but also to engage others by posting questions and comments (respectful, of course!) in the “Comments” section below. This Comments section can serve as a real-time “letters to the editor” feature and expand the community of learners and teachers on this important topic of “Church and the Pandemic.”
Finally, be looking for the next two issues set to be published later this year. The next one will be on the topic of marriage and human sexuality, and the third issue will be on the theology of dying and death. These subjects are eminently practical and relevant to Christian witness and the life of the church. But, unlike this first issue, they will not be available online. You must subscribe to the journal to receive these issues in the mail.