Nine years ago, The Pathway’s late founding editor Don Hinkle (1954-2022) invited me into a friendship I’ll always treasure and into the adventure of Southern Baptist state newspaper work.
Despite appearances, producing any single edition of The Pathway since that time has involved us in an escapade. Writing a century ago about newspaper work, author and journalist G.K. Chesterton depicted humorously the excitement and daring of the task:
“Nothing looks more neat and regular than a newspaper, with its parallel columns, its mechanical printing, its detailed facts and figures, its responsible, polysyllabic leading articles,” Chesterton wrote. “Nothing, as a matter of fact, goes … through more agonies of adventure, more hairbreadth escapes, desperate expedients, crucial councils, random compromises, or barely averted catastrophes.
“Seen from the outside, it seems to come round as automatically as the clock and as silently as the dawn,” he added. “Seen from the inside, it gives all its organisers a gasp of relief … to see that it has come out at all; that it has come out without the leading article upside down or the Pope congratulated on discovering the North Pole.”
With a gasp of relief (and a chuckle), I can say The Pathway hasn’t yet broken news about the Pope’s discovery of the North Pole.
In any case, amid the journalistic escapades of the past nine years, The Pathway team has been committed to the ministry of Christian worldview journalism. Don and I discovered our shared vision for this ministry in our first phone conversation nine years ago, and my commitment for Christian worldview journalism only grew under his mentorship.
According to Marvin Olasky, former editor-in-chief of WORLD Magazine, Christian journalists tell the big story of sin and redemption as it plays out in the minutiae of life in our world today.
In pursuing Christian worldview journalism, The Pathway doesn’t turn its head to the reality of sin – just as the book of Judges doesn’t ignore the cycle of depravity in ancient Israel. At the same time, we report how, in big ways and small, God continues to save sinners through the ministry of Missouri Southern Baptists – just as the book of Ruth shows God’s redemptive work even “in the days when the judges ruled” (Ruth 1:1).
In keeping with The Pathway’s founding verse (Jeremiah 6:16), we want to point people back to the ancient paths marked out for us in Scripture: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.”
In short, we want to tell the good news of what God is doing in a world gone wrong.
What, specifically, does this look like? Take a few random examples from previous issues of The Pathway:
• Nearly 4,000 people groups across the globe have little or no access to Scripture in their own languages. That’s reality in a world gone wrong. But Southern Baptist missionaries like Stephen and Tricia Stringer have labored to change this reality. As a result, after one group finally heard Scripture in their own language, they told the Stringers, “We now know that God cares about us. He speaks our language.” That is good news.
• Until recently, in both Maine and Missouri, state governments have discriminated against Christian families and churches. That is reality in a world gone wrong. But, because of the work of Missouri Baptist attorneys Michael and Jonathan Whitehead, two United States Supreme Court rulings have blocked such discrimination. This is good news.
• In this world gone wrong, thousands of men and women fill Missouri’s jails and prisons. But there is good news here, as well: In the first half of 2013, for example, then 80-year-old pastor Samuel Price of Lebanon led 104 inmates in the Laclede County Jail to embrace the best news of all – the Good News of Christ’s redemptive death and resurrection.
This list could go on and on, without scratching the surface of all God has done. As an old hymn says,
“Could we with ink the ocean fill,
and were the skies of parchment made;
were every stalk on earth a quill,
and every man a scribe by trade;
to write the love of God above
would drain the ocean dry;
nor could the scroll contain the whole,
though stretched from sky to sky.”
Much remains to be shared of God’s abundant love toward sinners. So The Pathway remains committed to sharing good news in a world gone wrong. Indeed, few tasks could be more adventurous. Soli Deo Gloria.