Church publishing group sets out on its new Third Way

By staff writers
20 Jul 2007

Third Way magazine, a Christian current affairs, culture and commentary magazine, has joined the publishing group which puts out the leading independent Church of England weekly paper, the Church Times. But it intends to retain its radical edge.

G. J. Palmer & Sons, the company that publishes the Church Times, and which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hymns Ancient & Modern, said this week that it had acquired Third Way from the Third Way Trust, which founded the magazine in 1977.

Third Way began its life as an initiative to encourage a maturing of social thought and responsibility in the evangelical Christian world, under the influence of the global Lausanne Covenant of 1974.

It is widely regarded as having been highly successful in that venture.

While it has remained faithful to its biblical roots, it has also acquired a broader range of contributors and readers, encouraging a dialogue not just between Christians, but between Christians and those of other convictions.

Paul Handley, the Church Times editor, said this week: “I’ve admired Third Way for many years. I like the way it has managed to keep its radical edge, and I think it has the potential to become a much more significant magazine.”

Third Way's title - which has nothing to do with the philosophy later espoused by ex-British PM Tony Blair, derived from LSE academic Anthony Giddens - comes from a quotation of Os Guinness, he US vangelical theologian and commentator.

In his book The Dust of Death, Guiness declared: “How often in the contemporary discussion a sensitive modern man [sic] knows that he cannot accept either of the polarised alternatives offered to him. In Christianity, however, there can be a Third Way, a true middle ground which has a basis, is never compromise, and is far from silent.”

Alongside political commentary, Third Way reviews film, music, books, and television. It also focuses on social and cultural issues, such as the environment, sexual identity or economics, and interviews high-profile people from those fields.

The magazine has interviewed Tony Blair, Gerry Adams, George Galloway, Max Clifford, Ian Hislop, John Peel, Maya Angelou, Mark Thompson, Anita Roddick, Jonathon Porritt, Richard Dawkins, and many more.

Both co-directors of the Christian think tank Ekklesia have contributed to Third Way. Jonathan Bartley is on its advisory board, and Simon Barrow currently writes the regular 'Westminster Column' commenting on parliamentary-related issues.

Third Way editor Simon Jones said: “Perhaps it sounds too much like the sort of thing people say on these occasions, but we’re genuinely excited to be working with an organisation that has such professionalism and scope. I believe that Third Way will benefit considerably as a result.”

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