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The Truth Lives!

TimeWatch Editorial
March 24, 2017

Time Magazine published a rather significant article dated March 23, 2017. The title of that magazine has a parallel that was published on April 8, 1966. This is how the March 23, 2017 article begins.

“To illustrate this week’s cover story on President Trump and the truth, we took inspiration from one of the most iconic covers in TIME’s history. Set on a stark black field and inside the red border, is a typographical homage to our cover from April 8, 1966.” D.W. Pine, Time Magazine, March 23, 2017

That article entitled “Is God Dead?” was published on April 8, 1966. This was a time of questioning concerning the existence of God.  Lily Rothman, in discussing the original article of 1966 remembers the tension it created. Here is what she says:

“The story by TIME religion editor John Elson—and the gut-punch question on the cover, the magazine’s first to include only text—inspired countless angry sermons and 3,421 letters from readers. (For example: “Your ugly cover is a blasphemous outrage.”) The National Review responded by asking whether TIME were, in fact, the dead one. Bob Dylan even criticized it in a 1978 interview with Playboy: “If you were God, how would you like to see that written about yourself?” Fifty years later, it remains one of the most iconic TIME covers ever produced.” Lily Rothman, “Is God Dead At 50,”Time Magazine.

What is intriguing, however is the similarity of the design found on the cover of the March 23, 2017 article which is entitled “Is Truth Dead?” What is itself engrossing is the fact that the Time organization made the connection between the subject dealt with in 1966 and the March 23, 2017 article. Listen to how D. W, Pine introduces his 2017 article:

“To illustrate this week’s cover story on President Trump and the truth, we took inspiration from one of the most iconic covers in TIME’s history. Set on a stark black field and inside the red border, the headline "Is Truth Dead?" is a typographical homage to our "Is God Dead?" cover from April 8, 1966. That famous issue was the first TIME cover to appear without any image—a span of more than 40 years since TIME’s founding in 1923. Not that Time's editor Otto Fuerbringer didn’t have any visual options available—from classic works of religious art to contemporary paintings like Abraham Rattner’s Window Cleaner to a commissioned collage by pop artist Larry Rivers. But in the end as Time Inc. founder Henry Luce wrote in a letter to Fuerbringer, “the only artist who could paint a portrait of God is God;” So type only it was.” D.W. Pine, “Is Truth Dead? Behind Time Cover,” Time Magazine, March 23, 2017

Nancy Gibbs continues to write in Time Magazine, March 23, 2017 under the topic “When a President Can't Be Taken at His Word,”

“In April 1966, the streets of America were crime-ridden, Southeast Asia was threatened by "godless communists," and some radical theologians were weighing the heretical question that TIME asked on its cover: Is God dead? It was "a summons to reflect on the meaning of existence," and while the story was as much about the state of the church as the health of the deity, it nonetheless inspired angry sermons, heartfelt letters and a lively debate at a time when 97% of Americans told pollsters they believed in God.” Nancy Gibbs, “When a President Can't Be Taken at His Word, “Time Magazine, March 23, 2017

Time Magazine continues to make the serious point that we are living during a time when is apparent that truth has seriously been abandoned. There was a time when the covert adjustments of facts were the usual method, now we seem to have abandoned the covert for the shamelessly overt display of lies. Listen to how Nancy Gibbs continues.

“For Donald Trump, shamelessness is not just strength, it's a strategy, as Michael Scherer explores in his cover story. Whether it's the size of his inaugural crowds or voter fraud or NATO funding or the claim that he was wiretapped, Trump says a great many things that are demonstrably false. But indicting Trump as a serial liar risks missing a more disturbing question: What does he actually believe? Does it count as lying if he believes what he says? After a visibly awkward meeting, he tweets, "Despite what you have heard from the Fake news, I had a Great meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel." Where is the line between lie, spin and delusion? Or, as his adviser Kellyanne Conway memorably put it, between facts and alternative facts, the conclusions that he wants the audience to reach vs. the conclusions warranted by the evidence at hand?” Nancy Gibbs, “When a President Can't Be Taken at His Word, “Time Magazine, March 23, 2017

But the source of truth, God, who has been referred to in the 1966 article in Time Magazine, will never allow for the complete obliteration of that which is truth. B.J. Wilkinson, in his book entitled “Truth Triumphant” in describing the time of greatest challenge to Truth, during the years of the Church in the wilderness makes the following statement.

“THE Church in the Wilderness is the connecting link between apostolic Christianity and God’s people today. The purpose of this volume is to show that there were Christian people in every country during this long period of history who possessed churches, colleges, mission stations, and theological schools; who followed closely and adhered steadfastly to the beliefs and practices delivered by the apostles to the saints; and who possessed and preserved the original Scriptures given to the church in the first century. These faithful believers held high the banner of truth, and withstood the encroachments of apostasy. Their fortunes varied, for at times they possessed many churches, famous schools, and distant mission stations, while in other ages they suffered from poverty and dire persecution.” B.J. Wilkinson, “Truth Triumphant,” page 6

As it did during the years in the wilderness, so it continues today. Amidst the lies that surround, the deceptions that attempt to drown, the seductions that immerse, truth lives and always will as long as the Source of Truth remains.

Cameron A. Bowen