The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


20, going on 178

Magazine changes with the times

With this issue, The Lutheran enters its third decade of publication. To honor the occasion, the magazine’s first two editors, Edgar R. Trexler and David L. Miller, offer reflections (see "20 years of the ELCA ") on their 18 years in office. We also selected one magazine cover from each of those 20 years to highlight major events in the life of the ELCA and to show how the magazine changed.

The Lutheran's first issue and its 20th anniversary issue
The Lutheran's January 1998 issue (left), and its January 2008 issue (right).
We’re mindful the current version of The Lutheran pales in comparison with The Atlantic magazine, which in November marked its 150th anniversary. Sage advice came to that publication’s first editor from a friend in 1857, who cautioned “such things are never permanent in our country. They burn brightly for a little while, and then burn out.”

But in various forms The Lutheran has been a beacon for American Lutheranism even longer, since 1831. That year saw the launch of the Lutheran Observer, one of 40 publications by Lutheran denominations that merged over the decades to eventually form the ELCA in 1987 and The Lutheran in 1988.

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