Richard John Neuhaus, who died fairly suddenly on Jan. 8, 2009, was an inspiration for the NTJ, both as an editor and a critic of mainstream American Christianity (read: Protestantism). That is about where any comparison between this publication and his, First Things, begins and abruptly ends. Where Neuhaus rubbed shoulders with religious and political elites in New York City, Washington, D.C., and the Vatican, the editors of the NTJ occasionally run into faculty from other Reformed seminaries, mix with commissioners at the OPCâ€™s General Assembly, and occasionally give a paper at a professional learned society. Where Neuhaus used those connections to raise funds for an intellectual journal of remarkable substance, the editors of the NTJ subsidize the publication of their â€œjournalâ€ by smoking pipes more than cigars. (As they say, â€œpennies a bowl.â€) Where Neuhaus drew on a gifted set of writers and editors to produce a variety of strong articles and reviews, the editors of the NTJ rely on a handful of writers whose total is increased by sometimes employing pseudonyms.
If truth be told, the idea for the section of the NTJ called, â€œ39 Alexander Hall,â€ was one part Machen, the other part Neuhaus. We not only wanted to use the space to editorialize in the royal we, we hoped to replicate in a small way Neuhausâ€™ combination of wit, sarcasm, nay-saying, and clarity of conviction in â€œThe Public Square.â€
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