It is my privilege to welcome two new senior editors, Mark Noll and Tom Oden, whose writings are familiar to CT readers.

“Make it personal,” the editors suggested when I agreed to write this. So one evening not long ago, just before going to sleep, I read background materials on these outstanding educators, hoping my subconscious would help me focus my thoughts.

I awoke at 5:30 from a dream about Taylor University President Jay Kesler in a crowded hotel. In the dream, I was hurrying after him, carrying a bulky sheaf of papers. Everyone was reaching out to talk to Jay, and he was graciously greeting them but also cutting through the hotel like an old hand who knew how to protect his privacy. I darted after him through a washroom, down a corridor, past double swinging doors, and into an elevator. I jumped in with him, and as it went up, we discussed the papers.

During the dream, as I paced Jay moving efficiently through a busy life and swinging doors, I felt the humor of it. I woke up with the beginnings of a smile on my face and a light heart.

Perhaps my subconscious was telling me to write about my sense of camaraderie and respect toward CT colleagues like Jay and other board members—and like Tom and Mark. At a time when people express disillusionment with Christian leaders, that dream makes me think how wonderful it is to know Christian organizations have some marvelous people of high integrity in charge.

Exactly 30 years ago this fall, I joined the staff of YFC Magazine, which later became CAMPUS LIFE. During my three decades in Christian publishing, yes, I have witnessed plenty of “clay feet” and heard many tragic stories. Christian leaders are like characters in great literature: of all types, and all very human. We hear a lot about their failings, but I would emphasize how many I deeply respect.

They Get Respect

Mark Noll, professor of history at Wheaton College, has certainly been one of them. We attend the same church, and over the years I have marveled at his capacity to get so much done professionally while still being effective with church and family. His scholarly books, thoughtful articles—and poetry, as well!—have made strong contributions, and we are delighted to have this gracious scholar working closely with us.

Tom Oden, professor of theology and ethics at Drew University, is also known for being both gracious and productive. You’ve read of his journey from liberalism (CT, Sept. 24, 1990) and his visit to the former Department of Atheism at Moscow State University (CT, June 24, 1991). As I write this, Tom is in Moscow participating in more of the remarkable events there.

Tom and Mark join four other outstanding senior editors:

I first began working with Kenneth Kantzer in 1977, when CT was moving from Washington, D.C., to Illinois. That allowed plenty of time to see the man, and my respect and affection for him have simply grown and grown.

I have watched George Brushaber over the years face enormous pressures and opportunities with stamina, grace, and effectiveness.

Jim Packer, with brilliant abilities to analyze and exegete, also exudes compassion and concern.

Bob Cooley administers well, listens well, shares thoughtful insights.

Discussions among these men are lively, but always full of grace—even, for instance, when Ken and Jim are disagreeing about the ordination of women as presbyters.

Integrity. Compassion. Willingness to carry heavy loads. And a sense of humor. In this era of scandal and debunking, the dream reminded me of the many men and women associated with CT and other organizations who show these strengths—and who serve sacrificially.

Thomas à Kempis tells us, “A peaceful man is more useful than a very learned man.” Fortunately, the two are sometimes combined, which makes me grateful indeed.


Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.