Jesus Creed

Thumbnail image for Wheaton.jpgAndrew Chignell wrote recently about the future of Wheaton, but his piece went through some editorial issues… I clip a bit here:

The topic is obviously a delicate one, and though I grew up in Wheaton, Illinois and graduated from the College in 1996, I had been away for a while, and so I wanted to be sure to do the research required to make it a solid piece. In the end I consulted around forty people, only some of whom were willing to be quoted by name.

When I submitted a draft to Books and Culture in mid-September 2009, Wilson accepted it enthusiastically. We made some revisions together, and he mentioned that he’d decided to put in on the cover of the November/December issue. His in-house artist designed a beautiful cover for the issue: it depicts a nautical device of some sort, I think (does anyone know what this is called? a strange sort of sextant, maybe?) that was once used (in addition to a compass, obviously) for navigational purposes. The design was inspired (I think) by the talk of Wheaton in the article as the “flagship” evangelical institution.  [CORRECTION: John Wilson just wrote and told me that it’s a plumb line!  Philosophers obviously cannot be expected to tell their plumb lines from their sextants.]

The article made it all the way to the proofs stage (here it is in Books and Cultureformat). But a day or so before the issue went to the press, Harold Smith, the CEO of Christianity Today International (which owns Books and Cultureunexpectedly stepped in and told Wilson that he would not let it run. Wilson had to scramble to change the contents of the issue, though the original cover art remained (minus “Whither Wheaton?”). In his phone call to me, Wilson said that this sort of editorial control had never been exercised in the fourteen-year history of Books and Culture.

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