Winter 2000
Volume 4 Number 3

By Leslie Dobbs-Allsopp

It’s Saturday night and you’re writing a sermon and vaguely remember a pertinent article you read years ago in Theology Today. How to expeditiously find it? Why, look it up on Theology Today’s new web site, of course! Beginning in January 2000, back issues of the journal became available online at The volumes from 1984–1994 were the first years to go online; other decades will follow shortly.

The journal’s quarterly online venture has been funded with a generous grant of $100,000 from the Lilly Foundation, which supports (among other interests) theological institutions and endeavors in the United States. The Lilly Foundation had invited Theology Today to submit a proposal that would “strengthen the publication’s capacity to deepen and broaden readers’ understanding of the Christian faith.” The invitation inspired the editors (PTS professors Pat Miller and Ellen Charry) to propose the idea of an online journal. Former PTS president John A. Mackay, the journal’s founding editor, would certainly approve, for Theology Today was envisioned in large part to engage theology with modern culture.

Theology Today was first published in April 1944, and at that time Mackay explained the rationale for the new theology journal in these words: “Theology is never irrelevant to the affairs of men….In a period of confusion and crisis, when tomorrow is being born in the travailing womb of today, theology is the most important study in which men can engage as they make their pilgrimage from one era to another, and from this world to the world to come.” According to the first editorial, Theology Today was to be shaped by specific aims and assumptions. The journal would aim to restore theology to the forefront of contemporary life and thought. The contributors would “strive to interpret what God has said in an intelligible and lucid manner.” Theology Today would “explore afresh” the Reformed tradition and set forth its relevance to “contemporary problems of the church and society.” The journal would strive to provide a thoughtful Christian viewpoint and a place where Christians might “make a contribution out of their own experience, reflection, and professional background to a full-orbed Christian understanding of life.”

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