In November 2014, the directors and editors of Evangelical Times adopted the ‘Code of conduct’ set out in this comment column.
This voluntary code was agreed on after fruitful discussion involving a number of editors of Christian journals, under the helpful chairmanship of Peter Milsom of Affinity. It does not impinge on ET’s editorial freedom (ET is independent of all other organisations, including Affinity).
Many of the code’s principles should characterise the wider discourse of Christians in churches and the world. We request readers’ prayers that what ET publishes will reflect a high standard of integrity.
For the sake of completeness, we include ET’s mission statement in this column.
Code of conduct
Our society is fast being deprived of upright, honest and fair reporting from its media. At the same time, it has become open season for any with a grudge to make accusations that will smear others, regardless of the truth.
In this context, we want to make it clear that we are committed to Christian values, even as we seek to maintain editorial freedom.
No code of conduct, of itself, can guarantee perfect practice or ensure that no mistakes will be made. However, we aspire to keep this code and invite our readers, and those who supply information to us — by press releases or other means — to evaluate our conduct and theirs by the same ethical principles.
We are committed to: Communicating the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ in a spirit of truth and love, without unnecessary and gratuitous polemic.
Ensuring, as far as reasonable, that we disseminate accurate information, with fair conclusions.
Differentiating, as relevant, between facts and their interpretation, and between circumstantial and direct evidence.
Unless circumstances make it impossible (for example, public issues where full disclosure of facts cannot be obtained), avoiding the negative characterisation of others based on circumstantial evidence alone.
Avoiding language that is demeaning or calculated to stir up prejudice or hatred towards those with whose teaching or practices we disagree.
Where appropriate and/or possible, engaging in advance with evangelical persons or organisations being significantly criticised, so as to clarify issues and comment accurately.
Encouraging persons or organisations critiqued to exercise a reasonable right of reply (unless this undermines our mission statement).
Resisting threats, inducements or bias to influence, distort or suppress information.
Reporting on overseas issues, for situations where Christians are being persecuted, in a way that does not place particular Christians in further danger.
Avoiding plagiarism, breach of copyright, defamation and other dishonest practices.
Seeking the consent of an appropriate adult when including photographic or other material about an identifiable child or vulnerable adult (unless the consent is already covered by another responsible organisation).
Making our statement of faith and mission statement accessible to others, so that there is openness concerning our aims, with no hidden agenda.
Respecting church discipline and the due process of civil law, where each is conducted in good faith and honesty.
ET’s mission statement
Evangelical Times is a Christian publishing company and charitable trust committed to the dissemination of biblical Christianity throughout the world, particularly through its hard copy and online English language newspapers.
Biblical Christianity centres upon the glorious redeeming work of Jesus Christ, the Son of God and only mediator between God and man, as expounded by the doctrines of grace. True Christianity proclaims that the only way to God is through Jesus Christ. It is unique, distinct and different from all other religious systems, including unbiblical ecumenism and multifaith.
ET is committed, as a matter of primary importance, to disseminating this biblical gospel, both evangelistically for the salvation of non-Christians and didactically for the edification of Christian believers.
ET also aims to impart a biblical world view to enable Christians to live and witness effectively for Christ and to promote their compassionate action for all humankind in a fallen and suffering world.
ET is committed to promoting true biblical ecumenism. It, therefore, avoids the unnecessary polemicising of secondary differences between Reformed evangelical believers.
In all its activities, ET’s objective is to support and not supplant the role of local gospel churches.
ET’s basis of faith, mission statement and ET’s code of conduct are on the ET website.