Love the Lord with All Your Mind

by University Relations

In 1825, Princeton Theological Seminary (PTS) professor Charles Hodge published the Princeton Theological Review, a new journal featuring the work of leading theologians that, over the next century, grew into the premier theological journal in the nation. However, in 1929, economic hardships forced the seminary to discontinue publication. Despite a short revitalization in the mid-1990s, the journal’s legacy seemed to have ended—until Christopher Waks ’13 gave it new life.

In 2014, Waks, recipient of the 2013 APU Servant Leadership Award and a student in the Master of Divinity program at PTS, saw the potential of this lost publication to impact today’s Church. He noticed that many churches excelled at guiding people through the initial stages of faith but lacked strong initiatives to disciple believers toward a deeper understanding of God and the Christian faith. “Often, the Church is suspicious of the academy, and academics lose sight of ministry’s importance,” said Waks. “The journal can help bridge that gap, providing a tool to deepen the mind of the Church and showing the inseparable nature of theological study and ministry.”

Along with four fellow Princeton seminarians, Waks secured funding and sent out a call to 40 institutions across the globe for graduate student papers centered on one theme: missional theology. In January 2015, the first volume launched with an online version and more than 450 copies offered as a free resource to students, professors, pastors, and libraries. “Most journals offer a platform for established theologians, while the quality papers of master’s students fall by the wayside,” he said. “We provide a global presence and larger sphere of influence for master’s and early doctoral students’ work.”

With his solid theological background and strong writing skills honed at APU, Waks took on the role of executive editor, continuing the journal’s legacy of academic excellence with a unique focus: making materials relevant and accessible to lay pastors and members of other disciplines as well as theologians. “The content focuses on the intersection of theology and ministry and encourages people in broader fields like sociology and anthropology to connect their work with service,” he said. “Ultimately, the journal serves the academy and the Church, and is used by scholars conducting research and pastors preparing sermons.”

In 2016, Waks and his editorial team printed 600 copies of the journal, distributing them internationally among libraries, seminaries, universities, and individuals. Following graduation from PTS this spring, Waks leaves behind a flourishing academic journal. Inspired by faculty at APU and PTS who led careers as both professors and pastors, he plans to work in ministry and teach theology. “The academy and the Church often appear separate,” he said. “But they can accomplish much more for the Kingdom of God when they work together.”