A New Venture Into Cyberspace!

Stan Cox

Welcome to the prospectus issue of Watchman Magazine. The magazine will be published monthly, with each issue coming on-line the first day of each month. Each issue will be available for the entire month, and then will be archived in our Past Issues index. That way, all issues of the magazine will always be easily accessible. The first full and official issue will be on-line January 1, 1998. This Prospectus has a great deal of worthy material to commend it, and is the borne fruit of many hours of planning, praying and development. No doubt the magazine will continue to develop, but we pray that as is it will be a blessing to those who read it.

On the front page of this issue you will find the Editorial Policy, as well as the Statement of Purpose of the magazine. I encourage you to read both, as they supply information needed to understand the vision the editors had in developing this magazine. Both of these will always be available in every issue of the magazine.

This editorial is intended to be an introduction to the various features of Watchman Magazine. The title hearkens to Ezekiel 33, where the word of the Lord came to Ezekiel the prophet instructing him, "So you, son of man: I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore you shall hear a word from My mouth and warn them for me." The editors and writers of the magazine take very seriously our obligation as Christians, elders, and evangelists to follow the example of Ezekiel, and "contend earnestly for the faith..." (cf. Jude 3). We are not making the claim to be the only voice for truth, nor the standard of truth to God's people. However, we make no apology in using this means to preach the glorious gospel, and defend it against all enemies within and without.

The magazine's intent is to declare the whole counsel of God. It is the editor's desire that it be balanced, and have items of interest and benefit to all readers. To that end, I would like to summarize for you the features of Watchman Magazine:

The Prospectus Theme: The Militancy of the Gospel

Five talented writers have agreed to contribute to this worthy theme, which serves to kick off our venture into cyberspace publishing. While we intend to be flexible in our format, it is our intention each month to have thematics of some kind, or some other special study materials for our readers.

In this issue:

Larry Ray Hafley discusses the place and value of debating in his article on the Miltant Defense of Truth. Debates have long held an important and respected position among brethren. Much good has been done through an honorable discussion of differences. Larry does a fine job of discussing debating, and giving a scriptural rationale for its practice. He examines the potential benefits, as well as describing various pitfalls which must be avoided.

Joe Price's article, entitled The Uncompromised Gospel, deals with the Gospel's place in convicting the world of sin. Joe does a thorough job of examining how first century preachers preached the gospel, and contrasts their methods with more modern attempts to soften and adapt the message to a modern world.

Dan Huddleston brings his unique perspective and experience in preaching the gospel in South Africa to bear in his article Fields White Unto Harvest. The need for militance in pressing the gospel is universal. The need for, and thirst for truth is evident in every nation on earth. As Dan clearly states, it is the gospel which is needed, and as such, there is a need for workers!

Harry Osborne does a tremendous job of defending the preaching of truth in his article, Set for the Defense of the Gospel. He rightly points out that the preaching of truth does not violate the autonomy of local churches. He also uses reason and scripture to prove our authority in emulating the examples of the apostles in convicting and exposing false teachers and their doctrine.

Jerry Fite rounds out our Thematic on the Militance of the Gospel with his article on the local church, the Pillar and Ground of the Truth. His effort concisely explains the place and work of the local church in Preaching, Practicing and Defending the truth of God.

Each issue of Watchman Magazine will have featured articles such as these. One of the advantages of publishing in this forum is the elasticity regarding article length. We intend the articles to be emminently readable, and counsel our writers not to take unfair advantage of this feature. However, from time to time it will be of benefit to publish extended studies upon a particular subject, or perhaps a written debate on an important topic. This forum will allow for such exchanges and efforts while at the same time enabling us to include all of the regular features of the magazine. This is something our paper bound cousins are not able to do.

In addition to the featured articles each month, our paper will include a number of other features designed to complement and round out its purpose.

Regular Features

Queries and Explications: A fancy name for a simple concept. Our question and answer page. The word "explication" gives some insight to what we intend the column to be. An explication is a "detailed, critical explanation or analysis." Larry Ray Hafley has graciously consented to undertake this rather formidable task. We believe him to be eminently qualified, as his analytical abilities and Bible scholarship are well known. This column is intended to be reader driven, and you are encouraged to submit your Bible questions to brother Hafley for this effort. Check out this month's column, as Larry answers questions raised by those who deny the existence of three Persons in God. Oneness Pentecostals, and others who deny the person of the Holy Spirit, and the separate Persons of the Father and the Son, are answered clearly and forcefully by brother Hafley.

The Distaff: This is our page for women, by women. Twilah Reeves has been kind enough to contribute to the Prospectus effort for this column. Sister Reeves is the wife of Bill Reeves. Many are familiar with Bill's efforts in preaching the gospel, especially with Spanish brethren. Twilah's submission this month indicates that she, like her husband has something important to say. In teaching our children, there is a danger of losing our focus on the Word of God as the object of our study and concentration. Sister Reeves will provoke you to think with her article entitled, Bible Class or Activities Class ~ Which Is It?

White Unto Harvest: Our International Page. Brother Steve Wallace, presently preaching in Germany, is the man in charge of material for this feature. It is intended to give encouragement to those who are spreading our Lord's gospel in foreign lands. Look for articles of interest to those works, as well as articles penned by men preaching the gospel in foreign lands. Reports of foreign efforts and needs will also be included. In this issue, Steve outlines what he hopes to accomplish as the feature editor. His plans will excite and encourage you.

Prosiguiendo a la meta (Spanish Page): For our Spanish deficient readers, the title means, "Pressing on to the mark" (from Phil 3:14). Steve Houchen is given the rather formidable task of preparing our Spanish feature each month. I say formidable because of this editor/publisher's lack of ability when it comes to any foreign language. Steve will be responsible for all material submitted, and will work closely with me to ensure that it is both presented in a readable attractive format, and is true to the Word of God. We need a man in this position who is grounded in the truth of God's Word. While yet a young man, Steve has shown a diligence in his study, and seems destined to follow in his grandfather's (Hoyt), and father's (Ron) footsteps. We are very excited about his efforts in this forum. For those able to to read the Spanish language, be sure to visit our Spanish page where this month Steve outlines the wonderful plans he has for this feature.

Voices From the Past: Steven F. Deaton rounds out our trio of "Steves" by focusing his efforts each month to this interesting feature. Much of what was written in the past by giants of faith is as relevant to our problems and issues today as when it was penned many years ago. Look for the submission Steve has uncovered each month for wisdom and instruction from the past. This month, Steve has found for us a gem of an article, entitled, The Right Kind of Preaching, written by Cled E. Wallace, and originally appearing in the Bible Banner in 1939. Steven has included some sage editorial comments at the end of the column.

Solid Food: I am especially excited about the possibilities this feature holds for our readers. We intend to solicit an article each month from various authors which deals with an especially difficult passage of scripture. If you are looking for meat, this is the place to go. Feel free to check it out every month. In our Prospectus, brother Dan Vess has written an excellent article on 1 Samuel 16:2 which asks the question, Does God Authorize Deception? In light of troubling sounds we are hearing among some brethren which seem to indicate an acceptance of a situational ethic, this is one article you will certainly want to read.

Link of the Month: The Internet is a wonderful, new tool for the Christian. It is fraught with pitfalls, but there are gems to be found for our faith amidst all of the trash. (Sounds a bit like television, doesn't it?) Each month we intend to showcase one site which will be especially beneficial to our readers. We do not intend to throw links up indiscriminately. Rather, we want to offer information and summary of sites that have unique, helpful information for the Christians who read this magazine. A great example of this type of site is featured in this issue. David Padfield has submitted to WEB denizens the entire McPherson-Bogard Debate on the cessation of miracles. You need the Adobe Acrobat Reader or some other program that can read PDF files to be able to utilize this downloadable information. Padfield provides a link to download the Reader. You are encouraged to do so, and while at the site download other Bible materials submitted by brother Padfield.

Other features will be included in future issues of the magazine. No doubt the magazine will change and improve as the months progress. We intend to include articles written by youth for youth, articles written by the "Christian in the pew", articles written by elders of the church, and perhaps other ideas will follow.

Our Unique Advantages

One exciting and unique aspect of the magazine is that it is available on the internet. There are disadvantages, the primary among them being that readers must have computers, and internet access. As computers continue to proliferate, and more people connect on-line, this will become less a problem. In fact, the time has come for an effort such as this. We are confident that readership levels will rapidly increase, with Christians and non-Christians alike accessing our site from all over the world.

The internet forum allows for certain advantages not available to our paper bound cousins. We already mentioned the capability of our magazine to allow more lengthy detailed studies without having to curtail regular features. Papers such as Guardian of Truth or Christianity Magazine are limited to a certain number of pages. Due to publishing costs and postage there is also a subscription price which must be charged to those interested in reading the paper. These problems are not present with Watchman Magazine. As our overhead is much lower, we are able to offer a great deal of wonderful material for your study at no cost to you. You are encouraged to save the material, or print it up and give it to others. If you reprint the articles we only ask that you give appropriate credit to the author and this magazine.

Also of great benefit is our ability to archive and index all of the material that is published in the magazine. As the months pass, you will find more and more articles and past issues that are available at your fingertips (or at your mouse click). We will have indexes by Subject, and Author. We also will have an index of all the Links we feature in the magazine. All past issues will remain on site, and will be available in their entirety. All reader responses to the magazine will be linked to the article being commented upon, that our readers may see firsthand the basis of criticisms and accolades received.

Church Listings Page!

Our church listings page has its advantages as well. As our overhead is small, we do not have to charge nearly as much as other papers to allow churches to advertise in our magazine. $10 for a year's appearance on the page is a very cost effective way to let Christians all over the world know about your congregation. This small amount of revenue should allow us to cover the costs we incur in publishing the magazine each year, and provide a valuable service to churches all over the world. In addition to the traditional listings of address, service times, etc., we will also supply e-mail links to a contact person in your congregation. That way individuals who will be visiting in your area can contact you directly for directions, or if they have questions about your group. If your church has a WEB site, we will be glad to supply a direct link to it as well. If your congregation is interested in taking advantage of this opportunity, use the form on our listings page to submit your information. We will add your church to the listings as soon as possible, and bill you later. Please understand that our stereotypical reader is a member of the non-institutional church of Christ. As this is a service to our readers, we request that only non-institutional congregations of the Lord's church submit listings. We reserve the right to refuse any listing, that our readers might have the confidence to use our listings in their travels. Your cooperation is appreciated in this matter.

Join Our Mailing List!

Finally, be sure to join our mailing list! Any information about the magazine, special studies, upcoming debates, and items of interest to our readers will be sent directly to you via the magic of e-mail. Again, there is no cost to joining the list, and it will keep you apprised of any important developments with the magazine.

Well, that's about it! We encourage you to write us with any comments, suggestions or criticisms you may have about Watchman Magazine. We look forward to a long and beneficial relationship with you the reader.


e-mail Stan Cox at stancox@watchmanmag.com

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