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Don Hinkle, longtime conservative Missouri Baptist editor, has died

(RNS) — Don Hinkle, a longtime Southern Baptist newspaper editor recognized for his conservative politics and colourful bowties, has died at age 68.

“With nice sorrow we discovered that Don Hinkle, founding editor of the Missouri Baptist Conference’s Pathway newspaper, has gone to be dwelling with the Lord Jesus,” the Missouri Baptist information journal announced on social media Thursday (Sept. 22). “He will probably be missed.”

Shannon Baker, president of the Affiliation of State Baptist Papers, in an electronic mail, known as Hinkle “such an asset to Southern Baptists,” and stated, “I’ll actually miss his expressive conversations and mind in addition to his real kindness to me.”

For 20 years, Hinkle was editor of The Pathway, the official publication of the Missouri Baptist Conference, based in 2002 amid a feud between conservatives and moderates within the state. Conservative leaders employed Hinkle, a former newspaper editor turned seminarian and Christian journalist, to steer the brand new publication—meant to rival Phrase&Means, a longtime Missouri Baptist publication.

Hinkle had not too long ago announced plans to step down on the finish of the yr to give attention to public coverage work for the state conference.

“Each time we’d go to we’d speak about all the things from Jesus, politics, sports activities, bowties and the state of journalism amongst different issues,” stated the Rev. Jon Nelson, president of the Missouri Baptist Conference, in an electronic mail.

However Nelson remembered Hinkle mainly as somebody who cared deeply in regards to the conference’s church buildings. In saying his personal retirement, according to a Pathway report, Hinkle stated, “It has been a privilege to function editor of your state newspaper. It doesn’t belong to me. It doesn’t belong to anybody right here on this constructing. It belongs to you. It belongs to the church buildings of the Missouri Baptist Conference.”

Born September 14, 1954, Hinkle grew up in Springfield, Tennessee, exterior Nashville. He went to work in 1975 at his hometown radio station, then as a reporter and editor within the Air Drive for 10 years earlier than working at a number of metropolitan newspapers, together with the Tennessean in Nashville.

Earlier than changing into editor of The Pathway, he was the editor of the Columbia Journal, south of Nashville, and a nationwide correspondent for Baptist Press, the SBC’s official information outlet.

He earned grasp’s levels in Christian schooling and theology from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, in accordance with his on-line biography.


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Don Hinkle. Picture courtesy of The Pathway

The early years as editor of The Pathway had been troublesome, because the state conference was concerned in a long-running authorized battle over management of a significant convention middle, Phrase&Means, a Baptist basis, and different entities. These lawsuits and controversy within the Missouri conference led to employees restructuring and management turnover, Hinkle recalled in reflecting on his 20 years as editor.

“There have been many nights I went dwelling, shedding tears in frustration. It felt just like the MBC was on the brink,” Hinkle wrote.

The Pathway finally grew to about 30,000 in circulation, Hinkle added.

Hinkle was no stranger to controversy. In 1997, he wrote “Embattled Banner,” a defense of the Accomplice battle flag as a Christian image. Extra not too long ago, he warned of the risks of vital race principle within the Southern Baptist Conference and criticized the SBC’s Nashville-based Government Committee for hiring a legislation agency that was LGBT affirming and for waiving attorney-client privilege in an abuse investigation.

The SBC’s Government Committee and several other different SBC entities cut ties with Guidepost Options, which investigated how SBC leaders had handled the difficulty of abuse, after Baptist leaders, together with Hinkle, condemned Guidepost for a Pleasure Month tweet. 

He was additionally outspoken in politics. Individuals United for Separation of Church and State filed a complaint towards Hinkle in 2012 after he endorsed a number of candidates in his Pathway column and shared his assist for a candidate on social media.

Hinkle was additionally a champion of Christian journalism, saying there was a necessity for journalists who pursue fact due to their religion.

“They don’t lie or play ‘gotcha’ journalism, however relentlessly seek for fact and report it with the aim of glorifying Jesus,” he wrote.

Southern Baptist Conference president Bart Barber stated he first acquired to know Hinkle when the editor printed a bit he had written about SBC historical past—one of many first instances his writings had appeared in a denominational publication. The 2 additionally shared a dedication to spiritual liberty.

Hinkle, he stated, was a profitable editor of a Baptist newspaper at a time when spiritual journalism, like all journalism, faces steep obstacles. That’s no small matter, he stated.

“What Don was making an attempt to do was not simply make his newspaper go—however to enhance the well being of Southern Baptists in Missouri and throughout the nation,” Barber stated.  “I by no means doubted that he was making an attempt to do what he thought was the suitable factor.”

His colleagues on the Missouri Baptist Conference praised Hinkle’s devotion to his calling.

“Don fought the great struggle, saved the religion and completed the race,” The Pathway stated in a social media put up. “With hope in Christ, we heartily consider he has now obtained the Lord’s commendation, ‘Properly, completed, good and trustworthy servant.’”

He was preceded in dying by his spouse, Bernadette, who died in 2016. 


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