The last AP: FarewellThe Preacher (Qoheleth) observed that “of making many books there is no end” (Eccles. 12:12), but the same cannot often be said of printed journals. They seem to belong with the grass that withers in contrast to the word of God (Isa. 40:6-8). In 2012 there was a valiant attempt to rescue Australian Presbyterian by making it a free quarterly which piggy-backed the book catalogue from Reformers Bookshop in Stanmore.
With limited income from subscriptions, it has depended on advertisements in an age where there are fewer printed advertisements and an increased reliance on the online variety. To mangle T. S. Eliot, we found ourselves ending with a whimper, not a bang, as our losses appeared, albeit rather suddenly. As a result, this will be the last printed edition of AP, barring an unexpected, and at this stage unknown, source of income.
In the 19th century, the pulpit, press and parliament were often seen as the three drivers of public opinion. That has changed over time. C. S. Lewis played on the KJV’s rendering of the paralytic’s four friends being unable to get near Jesus because of the “press” (Mark 2:4), meaning the crowd. We have reached the point where just about all news now is fake news. And parliaments are not proving any more impressive.
God will surely revive the pulpit and the vigorous proclamation of His word. One suspects that social media, while disreputable for the most part, will nevertheless play some part in this. Certainly, it is our hope at AP that the journal will go online, and still be used.
To some of us, paper is next to wisdom, and we would presumably have felt the same way about papyrus. For now, however, thank you, and pray that whatever takes the place of the printed AP will be used to echo, however faintly, the message that God has entrusted to His people.
Peter Barnes, editor of AP