It is time for another “Stone-Campbell Web Notes” post. [I actually have no schedule–it is my whim based on what I find interesting. And I am the sole determiner of what is interesting in terms of these Web Notes. ]
If you are interested in some spirited discussion on traditional issues among Churches of Christ and some other matters, you might want to follow a few of the threads at “No Creed but Christ–Restoration Movement” on the website Christian Forums. The one with the largest traffic (over 2,000 posts) is about some Churches of Christ adding instrumental music to their assemblies.
DisciplesToday reports on Eurasian Missions. One photograph captures a baptismal pool cut out of ice. Now that is dedication, my friends. It is wonderful to hear how the kingdom is advancing throughout the world.
A home church group, and corresponding website, have adopted the title “The New Restoration Movement.” This community of faith seeks to practice the forms and principles present in Acts 2:41-47.
Mac Lyon answers the question “Churches of Christ–Who Are These People?” on YouTube.
Harding University Graduate School of Religion celebrates 50 years of advanced theological training this year.
Doug Foster published an article in Kairos on unity in the Stone-Campbell Movement.
2009 is the 200th anniversary of the Declaration and Address and the 100th anniversary of the Great Communion in 1909. A website, sponsored by the Disciples of Christ Historical Society, is dedicated to some worship materials, articles and promotion of the October 4, 2009 anniversary. It is worth a good read.
In line with some recent hermeneutical posts and my future intent to post on Stone-Campbell hermeneutics, I would like to suggest some of the following online reading. Tolbert Fanning’s The True Method of Searching the Scriptures (1854). In the first part, Fanning opposes any empirical (natural) theology where true knowledge of God arises from nature (creation) or any kind of intuitive or direclty revelatory knowledge of God within the individual’s soul. Rather, the Bible is the “only safe guide” to the knowledge of God. The second part details the “rules for studying the Bible.” These include (1) the Bible is “sufficiently plain for all to read marked advantage,” (2) the words of Scripture have a singular meaning which we can discern through reading, (3) study the Bible to learn the truth rather than prove a system, (4) “God is his own interpreter and he has made it plain,” (5) read specific texts in Scripture in relation to their canonical connections, (6) pay attention as to who is addressed, and (7) distinguish the dispensations embedded in the text. The third part examines the Bible itself. It is the inspired word of God originally written in ancient languages but now translated for English readers. It is divided into Old and New Testaments which are themselves subdivided into different genres (the NT is divided into (a) gospels; (b) book of conversions; (c) book of discipline and (d) book of revelations. Fanning then surveys the content of the Bible. His description is laced with polemical applications to summarize the content of his preaching for the Restoration Plea. His understanding of Revelation is continuous-historical (like Alexander Campbell) where Babylon is the apostate Roman Catholic Church. Fanning’s purpose to lay out a “proper plan” for reading and understanding the Bible so that if everyone followed it then there would be unity among professed believers. Fanning is almost pure Campbellian, that is, a Reformed Protestant Dispensationalist (Campbellian sense of the term) Baconian inductivist. It is a classic example of this approach to Scripture and Fanning heavily influenced the reading of Scripture among southern Stone-Campbell churches in antebellum America.
Enough for now….I think.