Walker L. Knight (in The Struggle for the Soul of the SBC) recalls the day after Thanksgiving 1982, when he met near the Atlanta airport with theological educator Larry McSwain and other thoughtful Baptist leaders seeking to counter the rise of destructive fundamentalism (yes, that’s redundant).
Of that time, Walker wrote: “I outlined a publication of news and opinion directed toward a national audience of church and denominational leaders, laity and clergy…”
He further envisioned the new venture being “a nonprofit institution, governed by a board of directors, and operating as an autonomous unit, thus avoiding the pressures to report less than the truth either by distortion or by avoidance of the unpleasant…”
The scope, he said, would be “broad in subject treatment” with “a strong effort … to present news as fair and objective, and to label opinion as such.”
Certainly, times and technology have changed greatly over the last 37 years. So has the expanding publishing ministry — now branded as Nurturing Faith — that saw its first light on that post-Thanksgiving Day.
I doubt Walker, Larry, first Board chair David Sapp and others could have imagined just how “broad in subject treatment” their original publishing venture would eventually address. Yet throughout my editorship Walker has repeatedly and affirmingly spoken of Nurturing Faith in terms of a proud parent watching a child grow to maturity.
So, when we make our turkey sandwiches on the day after Thanksgiving, I’ll remember that meeting 37 years ago, and the vision that was cast and embraced.
My gratitude is deep for those early visionaries like Walker, Larry, David — and the many, many faithful supporters, subscribers and friends over the decades who keep this witness alive.
As I often say, “You are needed and appreciated!” And that sentiment is nothing less than the truth.
And, as we look ahead, may we be true to that faithful mission — of truth, relevance and freedom — that is more needed today than ever before. Again, thanks for keeping us going in that direction.
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