Annual Report by Managing Editor

The following report by the managing editor of THE OUTLOOK was given at the annual meeting of the Reformed fellowship, Inc. on October 6, 1972.

It has been a great privilege as well as a real challenge to have served now for two years as the managing editor of THE OUTLOOK. In seeking by means of the pen to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered it is humbling to realize how little has been accomplished as well as overwhelming to think how much there is to be done.

I did not fully realize at the outset the amount of time required in this editorial capacity, but I am fortified and spurred on by the exhortation in Scripture that we are to be busy “redeeming the lime, because the days are evil” (Eph. 5:16). It is therefore without one iota of regret but rather with deep gratitude to the Reformed Fellowship and especially to our Lord that I may be permitted to carry on.

Circulation – Next to the Lord’s continued blessing and the loyal support, both moral and financial, of you the members of the Reformed Fellowship, the life blood of a journal is its circulation. Needless to say, however, the importance and value of a publication is not determined by the size of its circulation. For example, the tremendous circulation of best sellers like Playboy and Life, reveal much about the standards and tastes of those who subscribe to them but arc by no means an evidence of the worth of such magazines.

We are indeed grateful that THE OUTLOOK is maintaining and also slowly increasing its circulation. We would like to grow by leaps and bounds but unfortunately this is not the case. The publication of all journals, and especially those that are religious, is a highly competitive pursuit. A year ago we could report that THE OUTLOOK had reached a paid circulation of about 3300. The most recent figure is around slightly more than 4,000. Inducements for new subscriptions are special gift and group subscription rates, a three-month trial rate, and a free book offer with a subscription.

It is also a reason for gratitude that after operating in the red for I do not know just how long, THE OUTLOOK is now in the black even though the margin is not as great as we would like to have it be. But we are grateful to be out of debt and, with God’s blessing, we do hope to continue moving in this direction.

At times the opinion is voiced that THE OUTLOOK should become a twice-a-month publication. The copy constantly available together with more that could be solicited, as well as the purpose our publication serves, makes this highly desirable. However, in my judgment, it does not seem realistic to venture to do this until we have a paid circulation of at least 5,000.

Presently, the Reformed Fellowship Board is giving thought to an all-out push for 1,000 new subscribers during the coming year. I have the feeling that to date we have skimmed off the cream of our circulation potential and that from now on we will have to work harder to keep our circulation graph going in the right direction. A vigorous drive for more Reformed Fellowship members should do much to increase our circulation.

A word of special appreciation is due to the Reformed Fellowship of Canada for their untiring efforts to boost our publication. Of late, our circulation growth in Canada has been very encouraging. The propaganda carried on in Canada is most heartening and the results there should make the rest of us sit up and take notice.

New Departments – A recently added feature is the department edited by Miss Johanna Timmer and entitled Reformed Women Speak. Apparently there are a goodly number of talented and committed Reformed women among us to assist Miss Timmer in this venture. Another timely series now running deals with Reformed Evangelism under the heading So Send I You. Contributors to this series are Dr. Roger Greenway, Rev. Wm. Heynen, and our Reformed Fellowship president, Rev. Thomas Vanden Heuvel. Attempts are made from time to time to run youth features but as yet we have no regular youth page. Beginning in the November issue we are to have a series of prize-winning essays written by members of the First Pella CRC on the topic: “What’s ahead for the CRC?” It has been decided also to run a series of articles on “Guidance for Elders and Deacons.” Hopefully, Dr. P. Y. De Jong will assume responsibility for this department.

Issues Discussed -Also during the past year it has been evident that THE OUTLOOK is not averse to facing up to issues in the church. Our publication has never been intended to be neutral or to serve as an open forum but rather specifically as a position paper—and that position, of course, is what we truly believe to be Reformed. With this’ in mind, THE OUTLOOK is attempting to give leadership and guidance in the matter of Evangelism that is truly Reformed. It is our conviction, let it be said humbly and gratefully, that the Lord was pleased to use our publication to highlight what was wrong with Report 36 on the matter of the authority of Scripture. Definite positions were taken also on abortion, homosexuality, the erosion of the Reformed faith particularly in the Netherlands, and Theistic Evolution versus Creation. Our Policy – To be the voice of the opposition is often not the most pleasant assignment and neither is it conducive to popularity with those who are averse to having anyone rock the ecclesiastical boat. But the price of peace is too high when it is at the cost of the truth. Unavoidably then our policy must also be negative in as far as Scripture places this obligation upon us.

However, we are convinced that a merely negative stance will not avail. To be worthy sons and daughters of the Protestant Reformation we are to promote, propagate, and develop our faith and also to devise and pursue a positive program whenever possible. In line with this, it is especially gratifying that THE OUTLOOK has been giving enthusiastic support to the new Tiv Seminary or the Reformed Theological College of Nigeria. You will be interested to know that contributions for the Tiv Seminary Library Fund are already approaching the sum of $1500. This prompt and generous response on the part of our readers is greatly appreciated. Any suggestions concerning positive action for the promotion of our Reformed faith will indeed be welcome at any time. Surely, it is the genius of Calvinism or the historic Christian faith to be on the offensive as well as on the defensive.

Editorial planning – It has been urged that THE OUTLOOK should develop a wider vision in its editorial planning to serve the wider needs of the kingdom. This suggestion is well taken on the condition that we understand the kingdom of God aright and that we seek to achieve this purpose in keeping with the goal we have set for our publication.

Accordingly, plans are in the making for a series of articles on:

The Reformed Faith and Art
The Reformed Faith and Politics
The Reformed Faith and Labor
The Reformed Faith and Business
The Reformed Faith and Social Work
The Reformed Faith and Science
The Reformed Faith and Ecumenism

Permit me to append here that articles are also being planned on: Women in Church offices and An Evaluation of CRC Sunday School Material. We plan also to cover the CRC and RCA Conference on our mutual church relation. One more item: it has been decided also to seek to have correspondents from other Reformed Churches in the U.S.A., Canada, the Netherlands, Scotland, Great Britain, Australia, and New Zealand make occasional contributions to our publication.

Pray with us that all these efforts may be prospered richly by the indispensable blessing of our Lord whose we are and whom we serve.