The tidal wave of Christ’s sovereign rule has, does, and will wash over every principality and power, every king and nation, and every age and millennium, full stop. And while it may not sound as glorious, his rule also extends to those less prestigious entities—to the thumb that presses the space bar and the mind that exercises dominion over unruly font sizes. Yes, coming from all the way back in the bleachers, Christ is also over editing.
But exactly how? Here’s a thought experiment: what values distinguish Christ Over All from the New York Times? Is it excellence? Relevance? Thoroughness? Truthfulness? In order, the answers are no, no, no, and maybe; but the larger point is this: few of these values are distinctively Christian. Certainly, each one arises from distinctly Christian presuppositions about the universe and the nature of reality and so on, but when taken by themselves, these four common graces can be claimed by the L. A. Times, The Washington Post, and Christ Over All. The primary difference for the Christian editor—and you can swap out here any Christian working any honest job—lies in our motivations, accountabilities, and goals.
As the Managing Editor of Christ Over All, I do most of the same external tasks that non–Christian editors do, but by God’s grace my motivations reek of heaven. For example, I do not seek and destroy mis-spelled words merely because typos are embarrassing for a publication, but because I know that God has hard-wired order into creation (see all the creational distinctions in Gen. 1:1–2:3). My correction of “errers” to “errors” is a reflection of my orderly God. When the Christian editor receives articles for submission, he adds, subtracts, or reformulates not merely for his writers to have quality articles, but because in those articles truth is better understood when it’s clear. Lady Wisdom is more breathtaking when she is unencumbered by hanging modifiers and lame linking verbs. A non-Christian may promote a measure of truth and wisdom, but a Christian editor wants truth to sing clearly and wisdom to be shown as beautiful because these ultimately lead to God (Prov. 9:10). As editors for a Christian publication, we long for our work to bring more conquerors to the Wedding Supper of the Lamb (Rev. 21:7), because we long to glorify God. More on this later.
Beyond motivation, there are certainly obvious differences between the editing offices of Mr. Stoneheart and the Christian. Editors wield the pen, but they also wield a big iron gate—they get to choose what sorts of travelers go out from their little city into the world. To say it another way, editors have the final say over what gets published, and what they choose to publish shows what kingdom they are seeking. A Christian editor guards the truth and will not publish content that is obviously or implicitly heterodox; Mr. Stoneheart, on the other hand, is more concerned about monetizing the winds that blow to and fro than he is about guarding what an old religious book hath written. Christian editors—the good ones, at least!—shut the gate hard when a sociable serpent pokes his head in and starts asking some friendly questions. Christian editors guard their content from bad writers and bad ideas because they aim to glorify a good God. They do this because they are motivated by and accountable to him.
Matthew 12:36 is not an encouraging verse for those who deal in words, but it’s true. Every person—whether Christian or not—is accountable to the One who made them, and our words will testify on Judgment Day to whom we belong. (But thank God we don’t have to wait till then to find out!) I recognize that this is an article on editing, but bear with me a moment for an ecclesiology detour. Jesus commands local churches to exercise the “keys of the kingdom,” in part by identifying and keeping accountable those who belong to him (Matt. 18:18–20). So when a person becomes a member of a church, the church is not only saying “we affirm to our knowledge that this person is a Christian,” but the church is also saying, “we will keep this person accountable to their Christian profession.” What does all this mean for Christ Over All as a distinctively Christian publishing organization? It means that we all have one small but massively important little sentence at the bottom of every bio. It means that we are accountable. It means that all of our authors and editors are members of and answerable to a gospel-preaching local church under God. And it’s no accident that most of our writers happen to be elders in their local churches. Christ is over editing in part through the accountability local churches provide to their members who happen to be editors. Christian editors have different motivations, different accountabilities . . .
. . . And different goals. If you’ll allow me one more imperfect metaphor, every Christian editor runs an armory, and one of his jobs is to order the right equipment such that Christian soldiers are fully clad for battle. That is to say, if a Christian editor notices that his readership is weak in their understanding of God’s justice, he is going to solicit articles that explain the justice of God. In doing so, it is as if the editor is handing out a certain kind of shield to people who lacked them previously. So good Christian editors are always on the lookout to see what articles of armor and spiritual weapons the church militant is lacking—whether it’s a helmet, a sword, a buckler, or so forth. After seeing a need, the editor puts in an order to a master-craftsman, and then after a period of heating, smelting, and hammering, the article is given away and ready to be worn for battle.
One of the problems today is that in some areas, Christians have an abundance of spears but not enough swords, or an abundance of gauntlets but not enough helmets. The church’s theology is strong in some places, but weak in others—especially in those areas where our adversary employs new and creative weapons. One of the purposes of Christ Over All is to equip Christians with the biblical and theological equipment they most need in our cultural moment. On some fronts, Satan has declared a total victory, and many believe this lie. Therefore, in service to the truth of Christ’s victory, Christ Over All aims to help Christians see that his lordship extends to every field, hill, and valley, so we can “take that mountain” with faith in a mighty God (just like Caleb in Josh. 14:12).
In accordance with 1 Corinthians 10:31, the Westminster Catechism nailed it: the chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever. The triune God is the main character of this epic, and we are the extras. Our lives are all about highlighting the manifold excellencies of our great God. This desire to behold, delight in, and display God is the heart of true Christianity, and this change extends all the way from the ears to the toes to the mind to the fingertips. Christ is over everything—whether the stars that are orbiting, kingdoms that are raging, or ordinary churchmen that are writing. And with this conviction in mind, we edit for, by, and under our risen Lord.