Our First Editorial by The Editors

Our First Editorial

Since this is Touchstone’s first issue, no doubt something should be said in justification of its appearance. The purpose of this publication is implied in its name. In its literal sense, a “touchstone” is a type of smooth, dark rock used in assay work to test the quality of gold or silver, which is determined from the color made by rubbing a sample against it. Figuratively, it is that which serves to test the quality of value of a thing. In this respect, we feel that there is a particular need in our day for an assaying of values, ideas, and human experience by the critical standard of Christian orthodoxy.

Any idea of orthodoxy, of course, demands that such a standard exist and that it be knowable. Unfortunately, now amid so many different voices, so many competing claims and innovations—good, bad, indifferent—the very idea of such a standard has become suspect, and even Christians often seem to be adrift in the relativism and subjectivism of our times. As Christians we should take it as a matter of first importance that we have such a standard, a capital “T” Truth, a divine Truth, eternal and unchanging. It is supremely expressed in Jesus Christ and specifically defined in the verities of faith and order, which he and his apostles committed to the Church to be preserved to the end of the world. Here is the criterion by which the Christian mind should judge all things. Yet, to say we have the criteria to judge is not meant pretentiously. It is not that we are thinking too highly of our individual powers of judgment. Our confidence is in the standard, which we believe can be seen as a matter of objective record in the pages of the Scriptures and in the life and teachings of the undivided Church of the first centuries. For any individual or group to have such a conviction necessarily places the task of critical assessment in some form before them.

Now, to speak in this way is not to say that we believe in a simplistic, flat, hidebound orthodoxy. Nor are we speaking of mere traditionalism. Such views reduce and distort the very idea of divine truth. No, we are looking to a living orthodoxy—to discover its fuller dimension. It is a quest, a matter for painstaking pursuit, and not always easy.

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