As part of our agreement with Mind & Media, I am reviewing the SCP Journal, in exchange for a year’s subscription. Of course, I still intend to be honest, but we gotta have these disclosures :D.
Effectiveness compared to mission statement
I can testify, first of all, that their quarterly journal is in line with their stated purpose on their web site:
Since 1973, the SCP has been a frontline ministry confronting the occult, the cults, and the New Age movement and explaining why they are making an impact on our society.
The SCP journal provides four semi-scholarly articles per quarterly edition, usually detailing the history and long term impact of various religious and philosophical movements on modern society.
I say "semi" both as a criticism and as a descriptor of the journal. What I mean by this is that it does not feel as objective as I would expect a scholarly journal to be. As an apologetic/polemic work, it does not even attempt to defend the movements it is critiquing, though it stops well short of being acerbic, and does not stoop to name-calling or pejorative language. Much of the historical material is delivered in a matter of fact and non-partisan way, but the analysis of these movements feels somewhat alarmist, with a slight "revealing the conspiracy" feel. It reminds me of a some of the last-days, apocalyptic writings we see, warning of a one-world government and the Antichrist – in fact, such things are discussed in many articles. However, they are not peddled in a more pedestrian Hal Lindsey way, which is good.
It does feel well researched and scholarly, like a journal should. Each 10-20 page article is usually followed by a couple of pages of footnotes (sometimes more than 100), which is an indicator of the depth to which the authors go in doing their research.
I must say, I am particularly enjoying the current series on Gnosticism and the new age, mostly because SCP does a convincing and detailed job of outlining the somewhat unknown movements in the history of the modern New Age movement. Many of these small unknown organizations are significant due to their foundational impacts on the larger movements that followed them.
Impact on Society
The SCP Journal shows the clear links between the various occult theologies, and those in power who follow them and influence public life and policy. My one small criticism is that the journal does not offer a solution, or the Christian world view about how we should view and address the issues that these movements attempt to address, or that they create by their occult views. The journal merely points the finger at what is "wrong" but does not spend much time helping us think Christianly about these items.
This Journal is for a niche market – Christians who are interested in history, anti-occult apologetics, and in-depth, scholarly analysis of religious trends underpinning the coming new world order and similar end-times interests. If that fits you, this is a pretty engaging, well done journal. However, if you want something simple and to the point, something that lacks the more scholarly, detailed approach, you might want to look to Hal Lindsey.