30 April 2012


by Dr Philip Church

Like many Stimulus readers, we at Laidlaw College greeted the news with a tinge of sadness that Stimulus, the New Zealand Journal of Christian Thought and Practice was to cease publication at the end of 2010. We had thought that Stimulus was the journal to inform and challenge thoughtful readers for the indefinite future. Consequently, we were grateful when the opportunity arose for us to consider re-launching it. We are pleased that this has come about, and grateful for the opportunity “to be part of the gospel imperative to transform minds and put faith in God into practice.” We are planning to produce the first edition of the newly re-launched Stimulus this week.

Readers of the former Stimulus will recognise the words to be part of the gospel imperative to transform minds and put faith in God into practice.” They appear on the Stimulus website and have appeared in each issue of the journal for as long as I have been able to ascertain. I trust that it will give comfort to those readers, and to assure them that we aim to continue to do just that. We are not publishing Stimulus primarily for scholars, although we hope scholars will find it interesting, but for thinking and thoughtful Christians and Christian leaders. We do not aim to be the voice of Laidlaw College, although no doubt there will be contributions from Laidlaw College people, as indeed there have been in the past. We will welcome contributions from across the spectrum of the church in New Zealand, and when the opportunity arises, from outside NZ as well. We will continue to publish “provocative and challenging material,” and we will endeavour to uphold the standards set by the previous publishers, so that Stimulus will remain worthy of its description as “The New Zealand Journal of Christian Thought and Practice.”

We do think it appropriate that Stimulus should reappear around the Easter season, although the re-launch pales into utter insignificance alongside resurrection story so fundamental to the Easter celebration. Accordingly, you will find three articles with an Easter theme. Briar Harvey, a photographer who works in the Laidlaw College Library, has produced a photographic essay considering the emotions that Jesus might have experienced as he approached his death, and in his resurrection. Peter Carrell’s contributes an article on the resurrection narratives as a reminder of the reliability of the New Testament text, and Hugh Bowron has an essay on Holy Saturday, pondering the meaning of the enigmatic clause in the Apostles’ Creed, “he descended into hell.” The other article from Mark Keown departs from this theme, as he writes on evangelism in the church, a topic that is close to his heart.

In addition to these we have retained some familiar columns from the former Stimulus. Inside you will find “St Imulus” and “Models and Metaphors.” We have added “The Voice” that we hope will become a regular column seeking to apply the text of Scripture to life, “Freudian Slips” containing contributions from members of the staff of Laidlaw College’s School of Counselling and “Educated Guesses” from the School of Education. The issue is rounded off with a set of book reviews, a music review and a movie review.

We trust that readers will find the new Stimulus thought-provoking and interesting, and that we will be able to continue the high standards set by the former publishers for the foreseeable future.

To subscribe to Stimulus using our online form click here. To request a subscription form, email mkhan/laidlaw.ac.nz.

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