'Without fear and without favor ...'
August 7 2003 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

'Without fear and without favor ...' | Thursday, Aug. 7, 2003

Thursday, Aug. 7, 2003

'Without fear and without favor ...'

By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor

With this issue, the Biblical Recorder has thrown itself a birthday party in print, marking 170 years from its initial appearance as The North Carolina Baptist Interpreter, published by Thomas Meredith.

Some folks have wondered why we would make a big deal out of 170 years, rather than waiting for 175.

There are several reasons for that.

One is a simple reality with which anyone over 10 years old is familiar: any birthday divisible by 10 has the potential to be a big deal. We talk about "the big four-oh" as a life-changing event, and celebrate "the big five-oh" with black party hats. If any human should reach "the humongous one-seven-oh," it would no doubt be an event.

Another reason is that 175 years is five years away. With the uncertainties of life in general and Baptist life in particular, who knows where we will be in five years? "Carpe annum!," I say.

Speaking of Baptist life in particular, it's rarely inappropriate to highlight Baptist history, and this issue gives us an opportunity to reprise the Recorder's ongoing role in reporting that history and in upholding the freedom-loving ideals that have been dear to Baptists.

Finally, we're following a precedent set by then-editor Josiah Bailey, who saw fit to make a big to-do of the Recorder's 70th anniversary, though he waited until the year had ended to do it. In early 1904, Bailey distributed a commemorative cardboard poster depicting early editors (see p. 6), with an impressive statement of the paper's ideals on the back.

Bailey was widely respected for his work with the Recorder, and known for his piety. He also served as president of the "Anti-Saloon League" and went on to become a U.S. Senator.

A century later, Bailey's words still ring with power and vision. "Although far older than the average religious newspaper, the Biblical Recorder is yet in its youth," he wrote, "even as the Baptist cause and the Baptist mission to the race are yet only in the beginning of their glorious running.

"Editors have passed and editors will pass, one generation after another shall be gathered to the fathers; but this paper shall catch new strength from each generation, and so maintain its life in ever renewing power.

"It is ours to carry on as nobly as we may in our day and to hand it down at length as an heritage to the oncoming generation freighted with all the best qualities of the religious life and thought and work of our time."

Bailey went on to affirm his desire for the paper to maintain the best ideals of the past, to provide a "constant source of religious refreshment to the Baptists of North Carolina," and to promote unity by informing Baptists about "missions, education, the orphanage and the other recognized objects."

Bailey spoke of wanting the Recorder to be "a light in the homes of the people," encouraging both parents and children in faith and devotion to "the inner and higher life."

The concluding words of Bailey's designs for the Biblical Recorder toll as true in 2003 as they did in the opening years of the previous century. While informing and encouraging Baptists, he said, the Recorder should be "at the same time standing for public righteousness; treating all men justly and making record of events without prejudice and without fear and without favor; a paper to rely upon; a paper to trust; a paper to take to one's home, to one's heart; a paper to love and to cherish."

With this issue we renew our own commitment to upholding those sterling ideals through yet another generation.

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8/7/2003 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments
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