Golden anniversaries are occasions for celebration, reflection, and transition. The advent of the fiftieth volume of Christian Scholar’s Review marks such a moment. The staying power of CSR is a testament to Christian academic communities which have provided it support but more substantively to the subtle but important, even necessary, mission which it pursues. CSR is not first-order reading for many people; however, for those with interest in the broadly interdisciplinary engagement across disciplines, and those who wish to listen in on and look over the shoulder of colleagues and thinkers who engage the perennial questions and challenges of the integration of faith and scholarship or teaching, CSR is a singular voice. Quietly, the journal has uniquely served several generations of Christian teachers and scholars in honing their craft. This alone is sufficient a mandate for the continuing value for CSR. Furthermore, the events of 2020 underscore, deeply so, the perennial need for such a venue and platform for deep Christian reasoning together.
This moment is also a transition. The leadership of CSR has been reflecting for several years on how to undertake new creative publishing projects, while remaining faithful to its mission, in the light of both the challenges and opportunities that the reality of new digital publishing present and afford. The advent of the new website (christianscholars.com) is the necessary first step. This is an exciting new venture, and those of us who have been working quietly behind the scenes for several years are confident that it is a substantial step into this brave new world.
Another important step in the pursuit of these new ventures is a reconfiguration of the editorial structures and processes. Having completed 12 years of service, and a 5-year term as General Editor, accompanied by a strong sense of the needs of the moment for creative new engagement with its mission, I have decided not to sign on for another 5-year term but to pass the baton to a new editorial leadership team.
I have served CSR for over 12 years and the combination of a strong sense of accomplishment I have from looking back at that period, the achievement of the goals I had set for the journal, and the possibilities of several new personal vocational opportunities have given me a strong sense of peace about this decision. We have maintained our carefully defined publishing goals, including the careful vetting that double blind evaluations require. We have kept a perfect on-time production schedule and we have built and maintained a roughly 1-year queue for publication, which are all important personal goals achieved. CSR is in a good and stable place, an ideal state from which to hand it to new management.
Reflection at this juncture also suggests offering thanks. In 2007, when the initial opportunity presented itself to serve CSR as an associate editor I was uniquely supported and encouraged firstly by my V.P.A. at the time, Dr. Jacob Ellens, of Redeemer University College in Ancaster, Ontario. He was joined in support by President Justin Cooper and Dr. Doug Loney, then Dean of Arts and Foundations. At CSR I found warm and generous support from the then General Editor, Dr. Don King; Publisher, Dr. David Hoekema; and Managing Editor, Dr. Todd Steen.
The opportunity to succeed Don King as the General Editor was singularly a decision made out of the enjoyable prospect of continuing to work with David and Todd. David Hoekema is that rare combination of exceptional scholar, competent administrator, and consummate statesman. David’s winsome yet persistent voice was centrally at work in the recruitment of editors and maintaining institutional support. David could convince a bird to contribute its feathers. Todd Steen is a shining exemplar and credit to the efficiency and persistence of which our shared Frisian heritage is renowned. I literally cannot imagine the business and printing production side of CSR being managed any better. It was a unique pleasure to work with them as a leadership team. Lastly, it has been a humbling privilege to work with all the variety of Christian scholars who labored as co-editors with the journal over these years. Our work together has been marked by a consistent generosity and willingness. It has been an honor to work with you all.
It is my earnest and optimistic hope and prayer that CSR continues to pursue its necessary and unique mission with intention and aplomb. The coming generations of Christian scholars will require the same space, the same voices, the same guidance, examples and advice, in the faith-full pursuit of those most fundamental, and most human of vocations: scholarship, education, teaching.