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What to know before you go

Head shot of Jim PopeIf you read issues of Forward in Christ like a Hebrew Bible—from back to front—the title of this column will not make much sense. On the other hand, if you read through an issue like this from front to back, “Before you go” will have its intended meaning.

At this point in an issue, readers are ready to turn to the back cover, read the final article, and put down the magazine. “Before you go” is an opportunity for me to pass along some final thoughts to readers. Those thoughts will sometimes follow up on content presented earlier in the issue. Other times those thoughts will introduce new content.

One of the areas of new content I wish to pass along periodically concerns the Lutheran Reformation. In 2017, Lutherans worldwide celebrated the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s posting of the Ninety-five Theses. The publication of that document gave birth to the Lutheran Reformation, but after the birth came crawling, baby steps, and eventually full strides. That theological development from birth to adulthood consists of noteworthy events in the 16th century that still impact our lives today. Recalling and remembering those events can give us a greater appreciation of the struggles Christians in the past endured and the legacy they handed down to us. Remembering those Christians is a way of carrying out the instruction of the inspired writer: “Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith” (Hebrews 13:7).

Before I go, I wish to express my appreciation for a small group of Forward in Christ staff members, past and present. While I could identify and acknowledge numerous individuals for their work, I will limit my comments to three people. John Braun very recently retired as executive editor. John was generous in giving time and resources to help me transition into this new position. As a feature editor of this publication for six years, I was familiar with the responsibility of writing accurately and meeting deadlines. This new position holds that same responsibility for me but now also includes the writing of all the authors in every issue. In addition, there is a level of organization and administration to understand and guide. Thank you, John, for sharing your expertise with me as I face these new challenges.

That was the past, now for the present. Julie Wietzke (managing editor) and Nicole Balza (staff editor) are invaluable staff members. Their contributions and responsibilities are too numerous to list but very much appreciated. Their published work, along with other writers, often goes unacknowledged, as they write countless news stories in each issue without a byline. I am blessed to share their work and join a well-functioning team.

A new executive editor of Forward in Christ means that there will be some minor changes along the way. The mission of this publication, however, will remain the same. As in the past, you can expect stories and columns and articles to feed your faith, encourage you in your Christian living, and inform you about the work of your church body.

“May the LORD our God be with us as he was with our ancestors; may he never leave us nor forsake us” (1 Kings 8:57). That has long been the guiding prayer of our synod’s official magazine. It is a prayer that this new executive editor will continue to offer. I invite you to do the same.

Thanks for stopping by. Do so again.

Before you go.

Author: James Pope
Volume 110, Number 01
Issue: January 2023

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  • James F. Pope

    James Pope brings a variety of experiences to his ministry at Forward in Christ, including serving parishes in Wisconsin and Florida; teaching history, theology, and staff ministry courses at Martin Luther College, New Ulm, Minn.; serving as the “Light for our path” columnist for FIC from 2014–2019; and answering theological questions submitted to the WELS website from 2014–2021.

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This entry is part 1 of 17 in the series before-you-go

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