MARY REICHARD, HOST: Coming up next, an excerpt from Listening In.
This week, a conversation with WORLD Editor in Chief Marvin Olasky. For more than a generation, he has trained hundreds of Christian writers to honor God through Biblically objective journalism.
NICK EICHER, HOST: In this excerpt of his conversation with Warren Smith, Marvin Olasky tells the story of how an informal conversation with a well-known theologian helped shape the mission of WORLD.
WARREN SMITH: You offer a raison d’être, shall we say, for Christian journalism. And one of the ways that you do that is to recount an encounter you had in a bathroom with J.I. Packer. Can you tell that story?
MARVIN OLASKY: Both he and I were speaking at a conference at Wheaton. We were both in the dorms. I had never met him. There was a bedroom on one side, a bedroom on the other side and a bathroom in the middle. Early one morning we met in the bathroom brushing teeth. And I was not so much intimidated by the toothbrushing, but intimidated by the fact that later that day he and I would be both speaking in rooms next to each other at the same time. And I thought this was a huge scheduling error by the Wheaton people because number one, I wanted to hear J.I. Packer and I wouldn’t be able to hear him. But number two, I really could not imagine anyone would want to go and listen to me about journalism when they could listen to J.I. Packer on theology. So I mentioned that to him in kind of apologetic, stumbling way.
And he said: “Nonsense. The work of journalism is so important.” Then he talked about how it’s both pre-evangelism and then an aid to sanctification. Pre-evangelism in the sense that people who think Christianity is just a nutty thing might be impressed that Christians actually have brains and therefore what we as Christians believe may be something worth thinking about.
And then an aid to sanctification in that when we have readers who are Christians, reading a magazine—or reading any journalism product by Christians—it helps us to think about the world God has made. It helps us to think about how we should be active following God’s directions in the Bible to try to do as best we can and are sinful and fallen away. What God would have us do. So he had it theologically well-described and that just stuck with me as basically our, our mission.