In our continuing look at the advancements of the Reformed faith in America, we cannot only talk about denominations and ministries. We should also look at magazines, which in addition to The Outlook, have a widespread influence.
First, there is Tabletalk Magazine, published by Ligionier Ministries, and edited by R.C. Sproul Jr. I know many of you are familiar with this publication. Tabletalk is a devotional magazine that has substantive, meaty articles, as well as daily devotions and a yearly Bible reading plan. Do you know how many magazines they put out? They distribute 60,000 devotional magazines a month.
God’s Word Today, which the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals puts out (largely containing the work of Dr. James Boice who recently went to be with the Lord), publishes 7,000 devotional magazines a month. Modern Reformation another publication of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals edited by Dr. Michael Horton, of Westminster Theological Seminary in California, publishes 11,000 issues.
Viewpoints, which is a periodical of Reformation and Revival Ministries by John Armstrong in Wheaton, Illinois, publishes 8,000 copies. They have a quarterly journal, which is more theologically substantive. Every quarter they publish 2,200 copies.
World Magazine, Joel Belz’s work out of Asheville, North Carolina, has a circulation of 110,000 a week! A week! It is a news weekly magazine that is Reformed in nature and unashamedly so. And they are promoting the Reformed faith and propagating a world and life view, seeing all of life through the spectacles of Scripture.
Credenda/Agenda Magazine, published out of Moscow, Idaho, has a circulation of 25,000. And that is not to mention former publications such as Antithesis Magazine. Contramundum Magazine
comes from the Athenesian inscription “unumcontramundum,” one man against the world which was said of Athienasias. Antithesis has gone out of publication and has combined its efforts with Contramundum. Contramundum sought to overcome the cost of publishing print magazines by now putting out electronic magazines, and they now publish only electronically.
This of course is not to mention all the electronic, or e-zines, that are to be obtained on the web. Multitudes of websites that are Reformed in nature get thousands of hits every week. I went through a list of Reformed Faith links on the web just recently. It was interesting to see that the links numbered easily in the hundreds. Just Reformed links. I like to spend time on the Internet in a concentrated and focused fashion to do research and preparation for studies or lectures or even for sermons, but I tell you I don’t have the time to look at all those sites. But they are out there and they are getting hits. People are seeing them.
Denominations, ministries, magazines, books that are being published propagating the reformed faith. Canon Press, again out of Moscow, Idaho, publishes at least a dozen new books every year. Soli Deo Gloria, Don Kistler’s work, out of western Pennsylvania, began in 1988. In the last 12 years, they have published 200 titles. And in 12 years they have sold 500,000 copies in the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Singapore, Korea, and the Philippines. And shocking, but most definitely encouraging, no one less than Moody Press now publishes books by Mike Horton and George Grant. Even Joseph Stohl of Moody Church in Chicago, claims to be a five-point Calvinist. When Moody Press starts publishing things that are Reformed, I tell you brothers and sisters, there is great reason to be encouraged by what God is doing!
There are also conferences to be considered. The Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology begun at 10th Presbyterian Church some 20 years ago in Philadelphia has gone national, multiplying the number of conferences that they have with attendance in the thousands. Ligionier Ministries holds nine conferences a year with attendance exceeding 12,000 people. Reformation and Revival Ministries has one conference in October in Wheaton Church in Wheaton, Illinois, which has attendance of 1,000. In Toledo, there are two conferences. One is a Toledo Conference on Reformed Theology on the east side of Toledo, and the other is a conference on Reformed theology on the west side of Toledo. Soli Deo Gloria has had conferences in Pennsylvania, down south, and also in Toledo. The Banner of Truth conference has now gone bi-coastal, not only meeting in Pennsylvania but also in California.
In Moscow, Idaho, I attended a conference last year in February, the middle of winter, northern Idaho, in a very small town. A conference on American history, and to make matters worse, it was on a Friday night and a Saturday. Do you know how many people were at this conference I attended? 900! For a conference on history! It consisted of biographies of great Christian Americans. It was absolutely inspiring. As I walked into the conference, you know what astounded, impressed, and encouraged me most? Do you know that 1/3 to ••• of those 900 people were either high school or college age kids? They were there because they were interested. I tell you, I came back home with my socks blessed off. I just couldn’t believe it! Nine hundred people, 1/3 to ••• of which were young people, would turn out for a conference on American history. I tell you there are great things going on!
Closer to home, they are talking about having to multiply our own Kyrie Conference. In addition, there is also the Christian World View conference, which takes place in Hampton, Virginia and is organized by Byron Snaap, a PCA pastor. They are now in the process of beginning another conference on the west coast. And yet another one here in Michigan this summer. For the Virginia Conference, young people traveled from around the country to attend a conference where they would have thirty hours of lectures in five days. And they loved it! They could not get enough. They are thrilled. And that conference has gone from a handful when it began less than five years ago to now exceeding two hundred.
Great things are going on!
Rev. Paul Murphy is the pastor of the United Reformed Church in Dutton, Michigan.