Stone Campbell Lectures

CBS.jpgRecently I flew down to Cincinnati to Cincinnati Biblical Seminary to participate in the annual Stone-Campbell lectures. Must say this again: I contend that the Restoration Movement, or the Stone-Campbell movement, made up of the Christian Church and the Churches of Christ, is American evangelicalism’s best-kept secret and, sadly, the most overlooked resource of thinking and praxis. These are Bible people; these are pious people; and there are lots and lots of them; and they are doing excellent work in Bible and theology and church ministry. And neglecting this movement has weakened the robustness of the evangelical voice in the USA. Now back to the lectures.

First, I want to thank Bill Baker, professor at CBS and a tireless worker for the Stone Campbell Journal, for the invitation and for wonderful hospitality, not the least of which was at the president’s home (on campus). Both Ron Heine and I were privileged to stay there, and I enjoyed hearing Ron’s paper on Origen’s spirituality and our chats together. I’m looking forward to his life and theology of Origen coming out this Fall from Oxford. It was great to see so many people — too many to name, but specially for me to see my seminary friend, Bill Custer, and chat with Jana Riess. I spent some time with Chris Keith, an excellent young NT scholar (at Lincoln Christian Seminary), and enjoyed hearing so many good papers — including listening to David Fleer preach. 
I gave two lectures: one on Spirituality and Postmodernity and one on Spiritual Disciplines Today. In brief, my contentions were that postmodernity spirituality emerges out of a soteriological incoherence (with traditional soteriology) and flows into a bricolage spirituality. This paper will be published next year in the Stone Campbell Journal. The second lecture argued for more focus on “direction” instead of “indirection” in our spiritual disciplines. By these terms I mean less focus on doing disciplines in order to grow in our relation to God or in our spirituality (indirection) and more on communicating directly with God (direction). If we directly connect to God, we will grow because divine fire transforms.
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  • As a reader of your blog who is part of the Stone-Campbell Movement, I was very encouraged by this post!

  • Scot,
    It was great to hear you speak at the Stone-Campbell Journal Conference this year.
    I was curious, however, if you would consider someone who uses different aspects of different traditions throughout Church history a bricoleur if they are basing their practices in Scripture first and then in tradition?

  • Scot McKnight

    David, for instance, if one uses the Jesus Prayer at the set three times of prayer in Judaism? I’d say that’s a case of bricolage more than Scripture. It depends entirely on what one is doing. A big part of this is where one gets the specific practices.

  • Trevor Lofton

    I hate to break it to you, but the picture on this post is not of one of Cincinnati Christian University’s campus, but rather a picture of my alma mater’s Richardson Hall at Johnson Bible College in Knoxville, TN. Thanks for the mention of the Restoration Movement.

  • Thanks so much, Scott, for these kind words.

  • Mike Cope

    And yes, I really do know there’s only one “t” in Scot!

  • Eric

    Would love to know who are some of the better theologians working in the Restoration Movement these days? I grew up and was baptized in the COC and left after my college years because there wasn’t any good theology being done – just biblical primitivism and A LOT of fundamentalism. Currently I’m be rejected by a number of family members because I no longer attend the COC and have people praying for my soul because I actually lead music at a church. So I find it intriguing to hear you speak so highly. Please direct me to some new theologians that are doing decent work. Would love to have my faith restored, so to speak.

  • Landis

    Eric, Mark Moore is a great NT Restoration theologian at Ozark Christian College. He has some lectures on his site

  • Scot McKnight

    I know Lee Camp at Lipscomb and he’s an excellent scholar-theologian. Others will no doubt mention others. And I know some of these issues about which you speak, and they are unlikely to disappear sometime soon, but I see some great signs of shifting while sustaining a historic commitment to Scriptures. Ron Heine out in Eugene is an excellent patristic scholar.

  • Scot McKnight

    And I met another theologian in Dallas — can’t remember school or his name — and he gave a solid paper on theosis and perichoresis at the lectures.

  • John M.

    Scot, here in central Ky, Christian Churches are major evangelical force with growing, thriving congregations and two mega churches within an hour or so of one another (one in Lexington and one in Louisville). I love the life and spiritual dynamic that they generate in the community.
    With that said, though, I’m a little surprised with your enthusiastic endorsement with no doctrinal qualifications or nuances. I wonder what you do with their doctrine of Baptism, commonly known as “baptismal generation”; which seems to be underplayed publicly but held to unflinchingly in private. There also seems to be quite a push (pull) for anyone joining their local churches to be rebaptized, regardless of their baptismal, confessional, experiential Christian history.
    Their credo that they “speak only where the Bible speaks” and are “silent where the Bible is silent” seems be a few yards afield of your “Blue Parakeet” approach to scripture. They also seem to have a rather low view of the Old Covenant.
    Their “no creed but Christ” is quite a departure from classical Christianity and some of your points of emphasis on creeds, set prayers, etc. They also seem to date Church History much of the time from 19th Century North America.
    This came off sounding more critical than I intended. So without re-writing the above, I will add this disclaimer. I am not a scholar of the movment. Much of what I’m saying here is anecdotal, from casual reading and from personal contact.
    Finally, they are wonderful brothers and sisters who are bearing incredible fruit. So, until I’m bearing at least as much, I can’t really say much about their praxis!

  • John M.

    Sorry, for some reason my post didn’t show up, when I refreshed the page, so I reposted and now it’s a double post! Also, I meant to say baptismal “regeneration”, not “generation”.

  • Scot,
    Although those present represented only Church of Christ and Christian Churches/Churches of Christ — the Stone-Campbell Movement also includes the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). We may be to the left of the others, but we’re part of the family!

  • Eric

    Great. I’ll look into these. Thank you.

  • Scot McKnight

    Let me say one word about theological differences and diversity. I’m a big tent evangelical, while I also believe some things that differ with other evangelicals.
    The Restoration Movement belongs, in my judgment, in the Big Tent even if it has its own theological distinctives (yes, baptism and sola/nuda scriptura etc). So also does the Vineyard and Presbyterians and Methodists/Wesleyans, etc. But, we’re truly a family …

  • Mike Cope

    Eric – I’m so sorry for your experience. As you know, Churches of Christ and Christian Churches take the whole autonomy concept pretty seriously. So there is a wide variety — just as I understand there are in other tribes.
    Here’s a place to start with some scholars in Churches of Christ (to say nothing of people like Fred Craddock, who is still part of the Restoration Movement):
    Darryl Tippens, Provost of Pepperdine (check out Pilgrim Heart)
    Lee Camp, professor at Lipscomb (try and read Mere Discipleship)
    James Walters, professor of NT at Boston University (check out his work on Rome and Corinth)
    Mark Hamilton, professor OT at Abilene Christian University (glance at the massive project he edited called The Transforming Word — a commentary on all 66 books of scripture)
    Jeff Childers, professor at ACU (Unveiling Glory)
    Google the works of Abe Malherbe, J. J. M. Roberts, Carl Holladay, Tom Olbricht, Rick Marrs, John Willis, Rick Oster, and Everett Ferguson.
    That’s of course, just a primer. Later I’ll wish I had included others. Thanks for asking.

  • JoanieD

    Scot wrote, “If we directly connect to God, we will grow because divine fire transforms.”
    That is the truth.

  • nathan

    fascinating article.
    there were a ton of DOC students at Vandy Div.
    Generally very nice and sharp thinkers with a clear sense of theological identity.
    At the same time i tend to think that “No Creed But Christ” really ends up functionally meaning “No Creed but Congregation”…and that’s an ecclesiology I find deeply problematic.

  • Phillip Camp

    To add to Mike Cope’s list, John Mark Hicks of Lipscomb University, Randy Harris of Abilene Christian U., and Ron Highfield of Pepperdine are also doing excellent work.

  • Scot McKnight

    Thanks Phillip. I’ve met all three of these folks, and have Highfield’s new book on God — which is quite the piece of theology. Good theologians.

  • Jim Martin

    Scot, thanks for the very gracious words regarding the Restoration Movement and Churches of Christ/Christian Churches. It is good to hear your perspective on our tribe. I think that more and more of us want to adopt a posture of humility, believing that we have much to learn. At the same time, it is good to hear that you think that we have much to offer.
    If I could add to Mike Cope’s (#16) excellent list of scholars, please allow me to include these two:
    1. James Thompson (ACU – Pastoral Ministry According to Paul, Hebrews)
    2. Rubel Shelly (President of Rochester College – Philosophy)

  • Wolf Paul

    Don’t know about America, but in German-speaking Europe the DoC are not really present, and the CoC still stress their old notion that any congregation not part of their tradition and using musical instruments in worship is part of the abomination of denominational Christianity rather than of the Body of Christ, and that any believer not baptized “for the forgiveness of sins” is hell-bound.
    That makes them not much of a resource but rather a thorn in the side of the Evangelical community: a group whose spirituality is so similar to our own but which nevertheless repudiates us absolutely.

  • Scot,
    I’m definitely “big tent”, and I seriously applaud any efforts to build unity in this regard – but I also think people should go in with their eyes open.
    I’ve been helped a lot by John Mark Hicks (in person, and in his writing), and there are some really good things happening in the RM. I also continue to visit churches and build friendships with people I know here.
    At the same time, there are some barriers that get erected from that side. I’ve got a friend who’s an elder in an RM church, and he tells me he will not call evangelicals “brother”. Another leader there told me he would fellowship with anyone with the same views on baptism and music. Lovely men, solid church, but “small tent” to the extreme. We had a CoC guest preacher once who mentioned a Baptist in his sermon and then pointed out that he wouldn’t consider him a true Christian. Quite a showstopper to inviting him back, and an uncomfortable moment!
    On the other hand, there are many in the movement who don’t have those views, and I think it’s important to continue to extend the hand of fellowship – just being aware that those on the other side often consider you an outsider to Christ. I guess since I had a CoC baptism I’m OK though 🙂

  • I appreciate your comments and know they flow from your experience and vantage point of Germany. One of the problems today is that various tribes wear the same label. Some of us tarnish the label and give it a bad name.
    Here in NZ, the CoC has a legalistic and contentious reputation, tainted further by the Boston crowd who were cultish. Hmm.
    I’m RM to my roots and have been thrilled to meet various flavours of the movement in my travels around the world. In various places the emphasis was on different things, whether baptism, instruments, structure or finances.
    Unfortunately, there are Judaizers in every movement or denomination; people who want to add to the hoops we need to jump through to get that seal of approval.
    In Southern Africa we didn’t argue about theological differences so much as there was too much work to be done. That was a good season. Baptist prayed with Methodist and filled in for each other when needs arose.
    In the university chaplaincy ministry I’m in now, it is very much that way. You should hear the jokes! Amazing humour in lovingly poking fun at traditions, knowing those traditions were only a shadow of the brother or sister with whom we serve.
    My travels have made me suspect in some quarters. I’ve HAD to cooperate with OTHERS/OUTSIDERS and . . . . have found many of them to look a lot like Jesus! I’ve learned much from people with whom I’ve disagreed.
    Labels are tidy ways of referring to groups, but do keep an open mind when you meet new CoC’s, or independent Christian Church folks, as we’re not all thorny in real life. I’ll pray you meet some terrific ones who look a lot like Jesus!
    God bless-

  • Darryl

    Wolf Paul and John M. I am sorry you have evidently had some pretty negative experiences with Churches of Christ. My grandfather graduated from Potter’s Bible College in 1916, my father has served as a deacon and elder, and I have been a preacher in Churches of Christ for 30 years.
    Your experiences are limited and unfortunate. First of all, “Baptismal Regeneration” is an unfair charge by and large. No one in the restoration movement whom I know believes there is anything magic in the water that saves anyone (which is from my understanding the essence of baptismal regeneration). Most believe it is merely a faith response to Jesus–much like what many evangelicals believe about the “believer’s prayer.”
    Many in Churches of Christ believe God is a God of grace and that one is saved completely and solely by the grace of God. I would say that forms the majority.
    Personally, I and the congregation with whom I worship have no desire to sit in judgment on anyone’s baptism, nor do we ask others to be “re-baptized” to be a part of our community. We are an a capella fellowship but we see this as a matter of preference rather than a matter of doctrine or salvation.
    Are there churches of Christ out there that fit the description you have given? Unfortunately, yes. But I am certain there are many churches of other denominations that have discredited the movements to which they belong by their misunderstanding of God’s love, power, and grace. I ask you don’t judge an entire movement on limited experiences.

  • Darryl

    Oh, and btw, I will call any who follow Jesus, my brother or sister without checking their “pedigree”. I cannot read people’s hearts, so I will take them at their word.

  • Darryl

    Personally I find labeling in general a bit troublesome. We have been guilty of it, this is true. We do bear a tremendous amount of guilt from the past. But I see similar things being foisted by traditional denominations toward the emerging and emergent churches. It is interesting to me to see how those who have labeled CofC as negative and legalistic have been very harsh and condemning of those who are identified as emerging churches.
    I’m not suggesting any posters here are guilty of such negative views toward emerging or emergent churches. It’s merely an observation I’ve made.

  • Phillip

    If anyone is interested in reading on the history and thought of the American Restoration Movement and Churches of Christ in particular, two good, critically reflective works by authors within the COC are:
    Richard T. Hughs, Reviving the Ancient Faith
    Douglas Foster and Gary Holloway, Renewing God’s People

  • Thanks for your post, Scot. I grew up in the Church of Christ and am very grateful for the very good Bible teaching and love I experienced in many of the congregations in which I was raised.
    Unfortunately, many of the great teachers and theologians of which you speak are actually looked down upon in many Churches of Christ circles. My family were considered heretics when I was in high school because we read Rubel Shelley and Max Lucado. When I first attended Harding University I can remember being thrilled at hearing Mike Cope quote C.S. Lewis in his sermons at College Church. Of course there were also discouraging moments such as when other ministers and students argued vociferously on the evils of instrumental music, women teachers, gifts of the Spirit, etc.
    I have become more sacramental in my theology, so between that, being tired of silly arguments, such as can we have a kitchen in the church building, and a completely Biblical and liberating understanding of God’s use of women in the church, I could no longer remain in the Church of Christ. I will always be thankful for the foundation it gave me, to search the scriptures and to know Christ.

  • Darryl

    Excellent suggestion Phillip. Great books. Scot, I am sorry, but I did not thank you as have others. Your words were very kind. There is so much the RM offers evangelical Christianity: especially in regards to simplicity. It is unfortunately true we have too many who have become quite exclusive.
    I didn’t notice whether or not anyone mentioned Dr. Carrol Osborne as a great CofC resource. I’ve quickly read through some of the comments. I noticed Cope and Harris were mentioned. Osborne is very good–his work on women in the church is well worth reading.

  • Kenny Johnson

    I didn’t realize Lee Camp was part of the Restoration Movement. I love Tokens!
    I used to attend a Christian Church. Most of the people I know were solidly Evangelical. I differed with some of their doctrine, but I ultimately left because of a merger with another church that I had a problem with.

  • i grew up in the restoration movement, and am currently serving as a missionary in tanzania — an extension of a local congregation in tennessee. i was pleased to see a post that said some kind words about the RM; we are often labeled based on views of the most traditional among us. i’d also like to add that i appreciate a great deal the RM’s, churches of Christ in particular, commitment to foreign missions and their growing commitment to reproducibility and sustainability within those works.

  • I’m part of an Australian Church of Christ and most of the negative stories in here are completely foreign to me.
    Our church has very little in the way of doctrinal or traditional distinctives. The only thing our denomination has as a fairly solid tradition is that our churches share in communion every single Sunday (in contrast to those once a month or less Baptists down the road – lol)
    My church is in favour of music and I’m part of a music team that is heading in a very contemporary, youth oriented style. We don’t have a big list of theological beliefs but I would consider us broadly evangelical in theology – but within our congregation you would find a broad range of beliefs – armininians, calvinists, dispensationalists, amillenialists, pentecostals, creationists and theistic evolutionalists, even perhaps the odd universalist. (in fact even within my small group you’d probably find all of those I think..)
    We don’t frown on alcohol or dancing or cards (in fact we’ve had all of those in our small group as well – lol) and people with other sins are treated with grace. We don’t slavishly follow one political party or the other. We except other denominations as genuine Christians, despite our differences of opinion at times. Baptism is just an important outward symbol of a person’s commitment to Christ.
    Certainly some churches in our movement here would be a little more conservative than my church, but I don’t think you’d find many instances of that legalistic fundamentalism described by some commenters above. It saddens my that churches within our broad movement are of this nature, but I think our Australian denomination has diverged quite widely from some of the original denominations in the USA.

  • Nate Gilmour

    I’m also pleased to see Scot’s favorable words towards the CC/CoC.
    I looked at the program and was even more pleased to see Dr. Fred Norris was on the program. I worked as his research assistant for two of my three years in seminary, and one would be hard pressed to find a more generous or a more rigorous scholar.

  • Scot,
    Thanks for coming to Cincinnati. I’m sorry that we didn’t get a chance to chat more than in passing. Thanks, too, for everyone’s reading suggestions.
    As a member of an RM Christian Church, I would agree with most of the critical comments above, but only SOME of the time. Since CoC and CC emphasize local autonomy, it’s hard to generalize. For example, check out Cincinnati’s University Christian Church ( and Indianapolis’s Englewood Christian Church (, which publishes the Englewood Review of Books ( Both are members of the North American Christian Convention, but don’t fit very many of the stereotypes of CC churches mentioned above.
    Or take my own church (, also a member of the North American, but a member as well of the Willow Creek Association, and an avid user of resources produced by Beth Moore, Max Lucado, Rick Warren, Ravi Zacharias, John Stott, and we’ve even been known to watch a Rob Bell video or two. I’ve found that very few regular attenders even know what the “Restoration Movement” is, unless they grew up in the RM or went to an RM college. Without question, we have teachers and members who have a narrower view of who we ought to have fellowship with, but they’re in the minority.
    The tendency to work within mainly tradition/movement/denomination lines is nearly universal among human beings, as far as I can tell, even among ecumenical or interdenominational groups, which tend to work with “their” people more than others. Partly this is fueled by theology, partly by trust, and largely by pure bandwidth issues – it’s hard to know everything about everything!
    Finally, my understanding for the Stone-Campbell Conference is that their vision includes Disciples, though I’m not sure what their actual involvement has been. I did see a table from the Disciples of Christ Historical Society

  • Thanks Scot,
    I think each comment from those of us….especially some names I recognize from the COC vocal music tradition, indicates that many of us are reading your blog, your books and have benefited tremendously from your work. Increasingly I am finding my fellow ministers in the RM are tapped in to mainstream evangelical scholarly works to learn, to grow and to expand our efforts. Just last night my wife and I drove to Milwaukee to hear N.T. Wright at Elmbrook Church. I was not surprised at all to run into several of my RM colleagues at the event. Last year when I attended the Wheaton Conference, I also ran into numerous colleagues. (And we weren’t there to gather ammunition) ☺
    Sadly, I don’t speak for all in our movement….but as Jim Woodroof once said, “we are a movement, not a monument”. There is a great and significant thing going on in the COC and it will result, unfortunately in increasing the distance between the more progressive and the traditional of our movement.
    More and more of us are seeking to expand fellowship and collaboration with those of other traditions. What folks don’t always understand is that one can do such a thing and still maintain convictions.
    I’m in my late 50’s and things which used to threaten my faith are now enlivening my understanding of God’s expanding kingdom. Years ago I began lamenting that we so often refer to ourselves more as church members rather than Kingdom People. As soon as you say I’m a church member the next question is which one? Oh, how I yearn for the day……..
    Thanks again.

  • Kevin Crooks

    Though from the more “liberal” wing of the SC movement (a notion I challenge one to find in Oklahoma churches) I treasure both the independent and CoC churches for their rigorous scholarship and commitment to the principles of the RM. Thanks Scot, for sharing this with us. Us Restorationists sometimes feel a little left out amidst all the goings on theologically.
    Another theologian I would recommend, though lesser known, is Joe Jones. His “Grammar of Christian Faith” is as robust a confessional theology as one will find.

  • BKC

    As a life-long member of the SC movement I owe a great debt to those in the movement before me. The criticisms in this thread are accurate if understood within the strongly autonomous nature of the movement. In other words, the diversity within the SC movement is significant and growing larger.
    I am thankful to this tribe for instilling in me a strong commitment to Christ with a heavy focus on the Bible. I considered leaving this movement for many of the criticisms listed above, but decided that the pros out-weighed the cons for me and my family.
    Thanks all for the honest evaluation and to Scot for bringing up our small tribe.

  • Laura Flanders

    I have one family member who was a part of the ICOC (International Church of Christ) led by Kip McKeen. He was a pastor in the COC and started a movement of his own. This was in the late 70’s and 80’s. I was a Christ follower and strong evangelical working in an evangelical college. I still am a Christ follower, strong evangelical and now work in a seminary. Back in the early 80’s, she wanted to convert me to their church. She said I needed to be discipled, then be baptized (in their church even though I was already baptized) so that I could be saved. She wouldn’t call me saved. I stood firm in my position that she was saved and a Christ follower, however misguided. Although she remains in the now broken ICOC movement, we have a much better understanding of one another. It’s been difficult along the way.
    Labels sometimes really hurt unity. Yet they are a part of how we organize ourselves and how we make sense out of life. We just need to figure out how to better respond to them and manage them.

  • Craig

    If I may suggest a book that I used in college (Milligan College) that was the least bias of any that I have studied (I have read books from CCDC 4C and 2C historians):
    In Search for Christian Unity: A History of the Restoration Movement
    – Dr. Henry Webb
    Also Phillip mentioned one by Doug Foster and Gary Holloway which has a new edition/revision under the name Renewal for Mission and they have added another co-author W. Dennis Helsabeck Jr. (who happened to be my RM history professor so I may be a bit bias) which is also great!
    There is also the Encyclopedia of the Restoration Movement which is a great resource for understanding the movement, its key persons and Documents.

  • Norm Voss

    Having many generations of the churches of Christ in mine and my wife’s genealogies I find Scot’s kindness refreshing. However as we read some of these other responses we also note the problems that some or many have incurred with our movement. It is however an American Frontier movement created out of the westward sojourn. I trace my roots back to the Revolutionary War in North Carolina, the settlement of Tennessee, Texas and Oklahoma as each state was opened up. There are many varied episodes that historically are not becoming to our movement but there are also some very fundamental characteristics that we imbue that I wish were more predominant. I now attend a church and serve in its leadership in which we have fused back the split 100 years ago concerning the use of instruments. We are very different in many congregations than we have been in the past and sometimes that has been good and sometimes time may only tell. We are a movement that is still evolving through the ages.
    I do want to address the scholarship issue though. We have tended to focus upon the NT side often at the expense of the OT view and so I do not consider our OT scholarship to be as robust as it could have been. This presents problems for us that are interested in the Genesis origins debate as we typically have to look elsewhere for vigorous and extensive research. I wish that wasn’t the case but many of my commentaries are from the Reformed side of the spectrum whom tend to have ventured there much more extensively. There are a many reasons for this neglect but I also find that many in our movement are sometimes less encumbered traditionally than some of the other movements so there seems to be trade offs. Of course this cannot be taken dogmatically as I can surely point to our sectarian nature at times as well.
    If you want to find what I call a healthier Christian or church of Christ contrasted to the past they are out there in our varying communities dealing with the issues that we all are encountering.
    In Brotherly love
    Norm Voss
    PS. Scot, isn’t David Fleer a treat to hear. And I might add so is Mike Cope 

  • Chris Criminger

    Hi Scot,
    What a great job you did at the Stone-Campbell Journal Conference. I would also add William (Bill) Baker’s two edited works “Evangelicalism and the Stone-Campbell Movement” to survy views and scholarship.
    I as an ecumenical RM minister, when I was at Wheaton College at their Early Church Conference (yes, Stone-Campbell people care about creeds, the ot, and early church history—-and ys, some don’t), I was with a whole bunch of people from various Evangelical traditions and the first question asked me was “Why do you Campbellites believe in baptismal regeneration?” All I can say is get to know us, talk to us, study our writers but it seems to me if I greeted my fellow Evangelicals in similar ways, thre would be more wall building than bridge building.

  • Your Name

    You are right that historically the OT hasn’t been a focus for us and has affected our scholarship in that area. It is one of the reasons some of my colleagues and I pursued OT degrees and now teach OT.
    We do have some fine OT scholars that are known outside our tribe, including John Willis, J.J.M. Roberts, Rick Marrs, and Mark Hamilton. I don’t count myself on the same level as these, though if you know of anyone who would want to publish a fine little volume I’ve written on Deuteronomy, maybe I can start in that direction. 🙂

  • Phillip

    I did post #43. The thing timed out, and I forgot to retype my name.

  • Your Name

    Thanks for responding. I suppose I’m coming at this as a Church Historian. I see practices from throughout Church History that help me in my dialogue with God. Most of them include heavy Scripture reading (like the Divine Hours). I see these practices of the Church as beneficial to my understanding of God and how I comunicate with him. I suppose that makes me a bricoleur.

  • Norm Voss

    The type of fresh material I’m looking for concerns understanding Genesis through Second Temple Judaism literature. More along the line of what John Walton and Peter Enns have been pursuing. I just haven’t encountered any of our guys seeming interested in that line of inquiry. I feel that if some of our OT scholars would take it on as a challenge that there could be some uncharted territory awaiting them in which they might bring a fresh perspective. Maybe in the same manner recently as Dr. Waltke and Dr. Enns unfortunately and that may be the reason not to. LOL
    My nephew teaches at ACU in the Bible dept and I’ve visited with him some on who might be deep into that subject matter but I don’t get the impression its yet to be a priority. Your work on Deuteronomy of course would have important implications but I’m thinking that Genesis, Ezekiel and Revelation are central to the current origins discussion revolving around Evolution and its ramifications for the contemporary church. Do you know of anyone in our brotherhood that delves into Genesis from these perspectives?
    Would love to hear more about your work on Deuteronomy and you are welcome to contact me via email.

  • Thanks Scot, for getting this conversation going.
    Never know what’ll spark comment and what won’t!
    Another resource to check out is James B North’s Union in Truth: An Interpretive History of the Restoration Movement available via Amazon.
    Dr. North taught the Restoration Movement class I took t Cincinnati Christian University and his generosity of spirit was refreshing. He’s been involved in many of the unity talks, keen to find common ground and celebrating the fellowship.
    I have to go prepare for a Bible study tonight where we’re discussing Jesus’s view of the Sabbath in Luke 6.
    SDA’s attend my CC/CoC Bible study. I reckon that’s the Restoration Movement being a “movement” not a “monument” as was mentioned by a previous commenter, finding common ground in Scripture.
    Should be interesting!

  • Scot,
    Thanks for responding. I suppose I’m coming at this as a Church Historian. I see practices from throughout Church History that help me in my dialogue with God. Most of them include heavy Scripture reading (like the Divine Hours). I see these practices of the Church as beneficial to my understanding of God and how I comunicate with him. I suppose that makes me a bricoleur.

  • Scot,
    Thanks for you comment on the RM. Though we “listen to him”(Jesus), and glory only in the cross, it is good to be grateful for scholars who help us to know the Scriptures. I read another post on the principles of the Anabaptist movement and their focus on being Jesus-centric. I like that. If we stay close to Him some will look down on us and the “cross-centric” life we desire to live out. It feels good to know God has given us some bro/sis with great minds. Jesus said the sign of his disciple was their love. I’m glad he gave that as the sign. Some have proven this love not only by truly caring for their family and church family, but have gone beyond to focus on scholarship and communication to all of us who are called into other ministries.

  • Kerry Grogan

    As a member and pastor of a Stone-Campbell church (Disciples) I thank you for the shout out!

  • Adam Legler

    My wife and I grew up in the CofC and recently just left it. We are still searching for where we belong and possibly returning to it is not out of the question. There are many good people in the C of C and the younger generation is either leaving or staying but does not hold to the same doctrinal beliefs the C of C has been horribly known for. The hard core members are driven by fear of doing something wrong based partly on a misunderstanding of what Jesus means when he says worshipping in truth and spirit. These members need to be prayed for as they unintentionally sabotage what the Lord is allowed to do in the C of C and harm all Christians reputations. Jay Guin at is someone who has tremendously helped me grow in all of this.

  • NORM: I have used Walton and Enns’ books in classes, and teach a historical approach to the OT (meaning that authors in the OT described the world as they experienced it, and expressed themselves in the terms and concepts that were a part of their culture). I would say most of us teaching OT in our colleges and seminaries agree in principle with this hermeneutical approach.
    I teach at a Christian College affiliated with the independent Christian churches.
    I would say a lot of people in my position would consider themselves “old earth creationists”–although we don’t want to alienate the “young earth creationists.”
    I went to see the Dawkins crusade in 2006 with a colleague. He came away convinced that we need to teach scientific creationism; I came away more agreeing with Francis Collins that young earth creationism is setting up our young people for failure–probably not, as we used to say “when the go away to college,” but when they go away to middle school.
    One problem that many of us in colleges similar to mine have is that we have a heavy teaching load and don’t have much time to write.
    The other issue is that we genuinely don’t want to be divisive or cause controversy over what we consider a matter of opinion. I’m am trying to find ways to speak out that are helpful.
    To ERIC: I second the endorsement of John Mark Hicks. Try his book (co-authored with Bobby Valentine) Kingdom Come. I told a friend “scales fell from my eyes” when I read that book.
    I had quite a bit of prejudice against the churches of Christ. My grandfather was an elder in a Christian church that was every bit as conservative as the churches of Christ–except that he didn’t see a problem with singing praises to God while someone played a piano. My aunt had been persuaded by a friend in high school to leave the Christian church and become a member of the church of Christ. The family all respected her following her conscience. But when my grandfather died she was distressed worrying about his salvation.
    On the other hand my aunt was the kindest, sweetest Christian woman you ever met. Before she died she came around to a broader view of who her brothers and sisters in Christ were. John Mark Hicks’ book showed me that there have always been people in the churches of Christ with a more generous orthodoxy (to coin a term!).
    Jack Cottrell at Cincinnati Christian University has done a lot to teach us in the Christian churches about the grace of God and to ween us from the legalism present in our heritage. Jack has also been an apologist and defender of the faith against what he considers dangerous trends–such as feminism. Now that some of us are open to a broader view of women’s roles in ministry, Jack is not quite as popular as he once was. But we still owe him a debt of gratitude for reminding us that we are saved by grace through faith (although some of our evangelical brethren won’t like the way he combines Col 2:12 with Eph 2:8, and adds “in baptism.”)
    I would say that the RM never taught baptismal regeneration, but it has taught baptism as a condition of salvation–it was not viewed as a sacrament but as an ordinance, almost a legal requirement. Old timers spoke of it as one of the “terms of pardon.”
    Personally, I think it is better to think of baptism as a sacrament, a means of grace, than as an ordinance (Eph 2:15).

  • BabySue

    Phil Kenneson of Milligan College is an exemplary theologian from the Christian Churches. See his “Life on the Vine” and “Beyond Sectarianism.”