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magazines-in-a-bunchOne of the best ways to keep a finger on the pulse of evangelical culture and the wider world is to subscribe to a variety of magazines. Yes, I recognize that magazines seem to be on their way out. Newsweek went online only. US News and World Report fell away. Time is holding on, but who knows for how long?

You might be thinking, “Why should I subscribe to any magazines?” My answer to that is two-fold. Most magazines are relatively cheap (their revenue comes from ad sales, not subscriptions). Also, magazines provide a quick and easy way of seeing what’s going on in different segments of our culture.

Here are a few magazines I subscribe to, and some reasons why you might consider taking out a subscription as well.

TimeTIME

This is perhaps the best place to get a quick overview of American news and culture viewed through the lens of a left-of-center editorial staff.

The cover stories are usually well-written. The columnists are a mixed bag, sometimes insightful, other times not so much. Despite the shortcomings, if I had one secular magazine I would subscribe to, it would be Time.

Entertainment Weekly

EWI don’t pay for this one. It’s one of the selections I get as a perk for collecting Sky Miles. I doubt I would pay for it if it came otherwise. Still, you can flip through this in about 10 minutes and be aware of upcoming films, TV shows, music, etc. You see what the Hollywood glitterati are talking about.

Don’t expect any in-depth treatment here. The feel of Entertainment Weekly is that of a giddy fan base that can’t wait for the next big thing from the entertainment industry.

FastCompanyFortune & Fast Company

These are two different magazines, but they blend together for me. They are magazines about business practices, innovation, and changes in economics and industry. If I had to pick just one, I’d go with Fast Company

Flipping through these, I usually find two or three items of particular interest and at least one stellar article that I read from start to finish.

ChristianityTodayChristianity Today

When I lived in Romania, I was subscribed to only two magazines: Christianity Today and World. They arrived weeks later than their release date, but it didn’t matter. I gobbled them up when they arrived, reading them cover to cover, generally the same day they came in the mail.

Christianity Today is the magazine begun by Billy Graham, now under the leadership of Mark Galli and Andy Crouch. It’s the flagship publication for big-tent evangelicalism. I’ve contributed occasionally to CT both online and in print for the past few years now, and I always consider it an honor to write for such a respected journal of evangelicalism. In the past few months, they’ve overhauled their design and they’ve also added N. D. Wilson as a contributor, so now you’ve got additional reasons to subscribe.

WorldWorld

As I mentioned above, World was my other lifeline in Romania. It’s more conservative than Christianity Today and tends to be more politically focused. The contributors analyze current events and trends in light of a conservative, Christian worldview.

World magazine comes out bimonthly instead of weekly, which gives TIME an edge on being “current.” But I find that I don’t read World to discover the big news, but to see the magazine’s analysis of the news. Also, they introduce stories that I may have missed elsewhere. Their annual Roe v. Wade edition in January and their annual recap in December are “cover-to-cover” reads for me. Then there are Marvin Olasky’s “treadmill books,” the Daniel of the Year, and the always refreshing Andree Seu Peterson.

FTWin2014-coverFacts & Trends

A 60-year-old quarterly magazine for evangelical leaders, Facts & Trends covers the intersection of church and culture with relevant stories and practical information. Recently redesigned, it features award-winning journalism from writers that include one of the nation’s top religion reporters (Bob Smietana), the latest church-related research from LifeWay Research, and columns from Ed Stetzer and Thom Rainer. Even with all that, the magazine is free. You have nothing to lose and a lot to gain from subscribing.

ModernReformationModern Reformation

With Modern Reformation, we are moving on to some magazines that cost a little more to subscribe to because their circulation numbers are lower. Still, they’ve been helpful to me. Modern Reformation takes a current event, theological issue, evangelical trend, or biblical doctrine and examines it from a conservative, Reformed perspective.

The analysis is always insightful, with helpful book reviews. The most recent edition dealt with God’s judgment on the Canaanites and was a thoughtful presentation of various issues related to God’s judgment and mercy. Michael Horton is the brains behind this outfit, and he has assembled a number of good contributors to make this a must-read.

TouchstoneTouchstone

I’m a new subscriber to Touchstone, a journal of “mere Christianity.” With contributions from Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant leaders, this is the most ecumenical magazine in my reading stack.

What I like about Touchstone is that the “mere Christianity” on display here doesn’t water down the distinctives between these confessional commitments. The Catholics don’t pretend to be Protestants, and the Protestants don’t pretend to be Catholics. But in issues related to religious liberty, the sanctity of life, and the distaste for watering down doctrine, the contributors all share a similar tone. Russ Moore’s involvement with Touchstone was one of the reasons I subscribed.

ChristianHistoryChristian History

I have a box full of Christian History and Biography magazines. It’s one of the most helpful resources out there. I don’t know how many times when I’ve needed to know something about either a movement or a figure from Christian history that instead of going to my books, I’ve gone to this box.

The quarterly magazine shut down a few years ago and then relaunched through donations. This is an underrated gem.

Your Recommendations?

What magazines do you subscribe to? What magazines should I add to this list? I’m all ears.


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Comments:


26 thoughts on “9 Magazines Worth Subscribing To”

  1. Justin Terrell says:

    I currently subscribe to or read about half of the magazines you recommend, and would say that each of your nine are beneficial in their own way. Modern Reformation is my favorite, followed by World.

    Another magazine I enjoy is Creedo Magazine. It only comes in digital format, but it’s free. However, it reads more like a theological journal (JETS, BibSac, etc) and takes the reader a little deeper. It’s very relevant and interesting.

    1. Trevin Wax says:

      Yes, I love Credo too! I didn’t put Digital mags on this list, but that one would make my list otherwise.

  2. CyndaP says:

    As a Christmas gift, my husband received Wired from our adult son. We teach a college Sunday school class and our son thought that the magazine would help us stay current with items that are relevant for the students. We have found it to be a tremendous help.

    We have subscribed to World for a couple of years and, like you, read several of the issues from cover to cover.

  3. Josh Bishop says:

    I’d add First Things to the list. I’d say it’s similar to Touchstone in its widely ecumenical base of contributors, but it hits heavier on policy issues and philosophy. Another costly one, but more than worth the price.

    Also, The City Magazine (free) from HBU.

    1. Trevin Wax says:

      Is First Things much different than what I get on their website?

      1. Josh Bishop says:

        Not all of their magazine content is available online. If you like their website, it’s definitely worth paying for the print edition.

  4. Petar Nenadov says:

    I would recommend Books & Culture and The Hedgehog Review.

  5. Alan Noble says:

    At the risk of being a shill, I’ll say Christ and Pop Culture Magazine is a good subscribe: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/christ-and-pop-culture/id638861103?ls=1&mt=8

  6. Brian Gass says:

    Deacon Magazine is of course one of my faves these days. :-) It’s perhaps the deacon’s best tool and certainly the pastor’s best friend. Helps these guys grow spiritually, builds strong families at church and at home, as well as giving positive models of servant leadership.

  7. DanO says:

    I suggest Biblical Archaeology Review. One is pushed to look at biblical archaeology in a less sensational way than the popular media offers.

  8. JB says:

    I’d recommend the New Yorker and the Atlantic (possibly as replacements for some of the other mainstream publications at the top of your list). The New Yorker produces deeply-reported, well-written stories that consistently surpass the quality of anything else out there. Yes, it’s embedded in a particular liberal/cosmopolitan view of the world, but this is the perspective of many of the opinion leaders and tastemakers who shape the broader culture, so it’s worth understanding. And again, the quality of the writing and reporting is top-notch and worth aspiring to. Much of this also applies to the Atlantic, though it covers topics of interest to a broader audience and is more “of the moment” than the New Yorker.

    I’d also second the plug for Books and Culture!

    1. dwightk says:

      I second the Atlantic. I can’t compare it to time very well since I don’t have a Time subscription, but I got an extremely inexpensive subscription and have been impressed by many of its articles.

      The Week is another good one. It compiles news from many sources.

  9. Orochi says:

    I second the New Yorker!

    Also want to add Ligonier Ministries’ Tabletalk. Similar to Modern Reformation, Tabletalk also provides quality Reformed insight into various topics.

  10. Ken Koch says:

    I would Recommend The Week. It gives a quick overview of major stories by sampling various articles written on the topic.

  11. Angela says:

    I would add Tabletalk by Ligonier Ministries to

  12. Allen Jerkins says:

    I’ve never subscribed to it, but I always enjoy Mental Floss.

    I subscribed to Reason for a time, and it had ups and downs.

  13. Dan says:

    I really liked MR but dropped it after the redesign. With time enough for a thorough read of only one magazine, I kept Tabletalk. I still read it daily.

  14. Andrew T says:

    I’ve subscribed to the (newer) Christian ecumenical journal Fare Forward and HBU’s The City for several months now and really enjoy them. The thoughtful quality of the content is very stimulating. And Ligonier’s Tabletalk is a daily staple for devotional material. And although I’m not yet a subscriber, I’ve heard good things about Books & Culture and IMAGE journal.

  15. Paul says:

    Print: World, Time, Sports Illustrated, The Weekly Standard, The Atlantic, Afar, Newsmax, Consumer Reports
    Digital: Credo, Themelios

  16. Karen says:

    National Review and Christian Science Monitor – both recommended by Francis and Edith Schaeffer at a conference many years ago. I still subscribe to NR, and read CSM on internet.

  17. Lisa V. says:

    I’d never heard of Touchstone and look forward to checking it out. I have a kindle digitial subscription to Time.

  18. Scott says:

    “Comment” magazine edited by James K.A. Smith (Desiring The Kingdom) is awfully good. Their byline is “public theology for the common good”. Always a stimulating read.

    http://www.cardus.ca/comment/

  19. Pierre Queripel says:

    Hi Trevor.

    Please do a similar post on podcasts. Thanks.

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Trevin Wax


​Trevin Wax is managing editor of The Gospel Project at LifeWay Christian Resources, husband to Corina, father to Timothy, Julia, and David. You can follow him on Twitter or receive blog posts via email. Click here for Trevin’s full bio.

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