Launches and Expectations
New endeavors start best that end well.
Welcome to the newsletter of Sola Ecclesia, the online theological journal of Grimké Seminary. Introductions are in order. I serve Grimké Seminary and Sola Ecclesia as managing editor. Aside from two decades of pastoral ministry, I’ve been working in the area of theological editing for the past six years—first as an author and then as an editor. For the past few months, I’ve had the opportunity to work on the development team that is now pleased to launch Sola Ecclesia.
This particular newsletter is the equivalent of what would be an editor’s column at the beginning of a print or digital magazine-style publication. So you’ll find here what would normally be published in that kind of column: updates on the current essays in the journal, some overview of the work of the journal, and my own missives on how I hope this publication will serve our readers. In addition to this content, I’ll also be publishing some behind-the-scenes looks at online theological publishing1 and, more generally, updates on the mission and ministry of Grimké Seminary.
I hope you’ll take the opportunity to sign up to receive this newsletter to your email inbox. For all the good of social media, email is still king. We’d be honored if you read this newsletter as it is published periodically.
Launch Day Articles
We’re launching Sola Ecclesia with an announcement to our students as they begin their first Intensive of the 2022 spring semester. Our inaugural article is an interview I conducted with Bryan Laughlin, the CEO of and professor of theology and missions at Grimké Seminary. Bryan is an old friend of mine. This interview is illustrative of our long friendship—I was reminded of how much I appreciate God’s work in Bryan and surprised by aspects of his story I had never heard before. The interview ends with Bryan offering his hopes for this new online journal. Make sure you read to the end.
We also wanted to launch with some posts in the archive. You’ll find a few posts from professor Mark Becton, professor of spiritual formation at Grimké Seminary. It is hard to be around professor Becton in any setting and not be encouraged in your faith. His posts are no different. We are also grateful for the opportunity to repost two articles from Dr. Carl Ellis, visiting professor of urban ministry at Grimké Seminary. Dr. Ellis’s keen insights and long thoughtfulness on the issues of biblical ethics and ethnicity have been gifts to our students each semester. I’ve also written two posts reflecting on my own church planting experience through the lens of Thessalonica, both from Acts 17 and 1 Thessalonians.
I hope these articles are helpful to you as you take Peter’s advice to grow in the knowledge and grace of Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18).
Would you pray for our students as they participate in our first intensive of 2022 on February 22–24? During those three days, students will attend up to twenty-four hours of lectures in addition to the opportunities they’ll have to connect with fellow students and professors outside of the classroom. Intensives are life-giving and exhausting, refreshing and draining. Pray that our students would study diligently, apply specifically, and invest relationally during those three days.
Stay tuned for part two of my interview with Bryan Laughlin, which will be published soon at Sola Ecclesia. In addition to that interview, we’ll be publishing weekly posts from our faculty and friends designed to reaffirm the primacy of the local church in Christian living and seminary education, while encouraging you as you follow Christ.
“Who is not a son of the Church, so as that he should have God as his Father, before he has had the Church for his Mother?”2 —Cyprian of Carthage
Let’s be honest that what used to be the Wild West of personal theological blogs has now become the territory of editorial teams and organization-level theological publishing. I don’t think this is necessarily bad. For more on this topic, read Tim Challies’s musings on the state of blogging in his post titled “Is There Still a Place for Blogs in 2020?” But I do think that the local church pastor would be encouraged by understanding better the place and practices of theological editing and publishing.
Cyprian of Carthage, “The Epistles of Cyprian,” in Fathers of the Third Century: Hippolytus, Cyprian, Novatian, Appendix, ed. Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe, trans. Robert Ernest Wallis, vol. 5, The Ante-Nicene Fathers (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Company, 1886), 388–394.