Celebrating the Biblical Recorder, warts and all
August 7 2003 by Jim Royston , BSC Executive Director-Treasurer

Celebrating the Biblical Recorder, warts and all | Thursday, Aug. 7, 2003

Thursday, Aug. 7, 2003

Celebrating the Biblical Recorder, warts and all

By Jim Royston BSC Executive Director-Treasurer

I literally cannot remember a time when we didn't receive a Baptist state paper at our house. Growing up in the 1950's and 1960's in Johnson City, Tenn., it was the Baptist and Reflector, the state paper for the Tennessee Baptist Convention. We were always regular subscribers. My mother and father made sure of that. Without the state paper, they reasoned, how else could we know what was going on in our denomination?

I first "met" the Biblical Recorder as a seminary student at Southeastern in 1976. I remember being impressed with its in-depth approach and willingness to cover Baptist news, including the controversies. Some readers, both then and now, would have preferred only to read the good news stories. But that was not the mission of the Recorder.

Telling Baptist stories, both the ones we like as well as the others, must always be the business of Baptist state papers. It is important, in my opinion, to report both the good and the bad. The Bible never sugar-coated its characters. The adventures of King David, for example, include the story about Goliath as well as the one about Bathsheba. The Apostle Peter is portrayed as one of Jesus' favored disciples as well as someone who denies his Lord at the time of the crucifixion.

Telling the Baptist story in proper balance seems to be the concern of many readers today. When we were "all more of one mind" the task of balance was a great deal easier. Of course, balance to some means telling my side favorably and the other side in a negative light. I'm always surprised by those who believe that telling only one side will make the other side simply go away. It's almost like: If we don't talk about it, it's not really there.

The Biblical Recorder has an obligation to tell us as much of our Baptist story as possible. All of our other institutions and agencies - colleges, children's homes, etc. - are not under a similar mandate. They only tell their story. The Recorder does not exist to promote itself but rather to report on what others are doing. In our Baptist world today, sometimes those reports are less than enjoyable.

The role of state papers today is undergoing definite changes and challenges. Subscriptions have dramatically declined while production costs have risen. The price of postage today is more than what printing and postage costs together only a few decades ago. Newspaper circulation of all kinds has suffered over the past 25 years.

People today obtain their news from many different sources - radio, television and the Internet. State Baptist papers must resist staying too closely aligned with one method of news distribution - a regular printed publication. We need to get the news out to the people, by whatever means.

It cost a lot to tell Baptists about their denomination, both financially and politically. I personally give several paid subscriptions each year. How about you? Do you have a friend who would like a gift subscription to the Biblical Recorder?

Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
8/7/2003 12:00:00 AM by Jim Royston , BSC Executive Director-Treasurer | with 0 comments
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