Patterns, Legalism and Grace: J. D. Thomas

February 9, 2009

 Patternism and a healthy theology of grace are not mutually exclusive.  A previous post noted that Alexander Campbell did not make his particular understanding of the apostolic pattern a test of fellowship. The “ancient order” was not a soteriological category for him. Rather, it was a  matter of communal sanctification, a matter of growth, development and […]


Controversies over Hands–Forgotten Debates

January 4, 2009

David Lipscomb (1831-1917) and James A. Harding (1848-1922) belonged to the same theological orbit. They started the Nashville Bible School (now Lipscomb University) together in 1891. Harding, for a time, was an associate editor of the Gospel Advocate in the 1880s. They agreed on a host of theological issues, including opposition to rebaptism, renewed earth eschatology, […]


“It Ain’t that Complicated” — Applied Theological Hermeneutics VI

August 13, 2008

Do we need “authority” for what we believe and practice in the kingdom of God? I think so.  It seems that Jesus was concerned about that very question when he raised it with his inquisitors regarding the baptism of John.  “By what authority” seems to be a legitimate question (Matthew 23:23-27).  [Perhaps someone might quibble […]


“It Ain’t That Complicated” — Applied Theological Hermeneutics III

August 7, 2008

Fortunately for us, Paul’s instructions in 1 Corinthians 16:1-4 do not stand alone. In another letter to the Corinthians, chapters 8 & 9 of what we call 2 Corinthians, Paul felt compelled to further encourage the Corinthians to follow through on their commitment to the poor saints in Jerusalem. This is fortunate because we have a wonderful opportunity […]


“It Ain’t That Complicated” — Applied Theological Hermeneutics II

August 6, 2008

In this post I will consider the use of 1 Corinthians 16:1-4 among Churches of Christ as a legal prescription or pattern for weekly giving as an act of worship in the Sunday assembly. My purpose is to illustrate the use of the CEI hermeneutic to establish biblical authority. In my next few posts I will […]


“It Ain’t That Complicated” — Applied Theological Hermeneutics I –

August 1, 2008

“It ain’t that complicated.” My recent series on “theological hermeneutics” may seem complicated. I may have made it look complicated. But I don’t think it is complicated at all. The method for which I argued does call for inductive Bible study, reflection, contemplation, holistic thinking, attention to the plot (metanarrative) in the theodrama, prayer, communal dialogue, […]


Theological Hermeneutics X — “Texas Two-Step” or What?

July 4, 2008

Is the hermeneutical move from Scripture to application a “Texas Two-Step” or something else? Two or Three? By “Texas Two-Step” I do not mean the country/western dance that moves in sync with 4/4 time.   I am referring to the basic hermeneutical practice of moving from Scripture to application in “two steps.” Step One:  The text […]


Theological Hermeneutics IX — Outline of a Method

July 3, 2008

Okay, maybe I’m not ready to go with the intensely practical as yet….my bad!  But I think the following methodological outline of a theological hermeneutic is a fairly simple one.   I will wait for the “rubber-meets-the-road” kind of ecclesiological discussions of the theological hermeneutic (which is, historically, what really interests the heirs of the Stone-Campbell […]


Stone-Campbell Hermeneutics VI — Appreciation and Critique

June 1, 2008

In this last post for this series (link to the first post here) I attempt to offer a balanced–both appreciative and critical–perspective on the hermeneutic that has dominated Churches of Christ for most of their history. It was only in the 1960s that this dominance began to crack as journals like Restoration Quarterly and Mission […]


Stone-Campbell Hermeneutics IV — Regulative Principle and Churches of Christ

May 30, 2008

My first two posts in this series focused on the Baconian and Reformed character of Alexander Campbell’s hermeneutic. My last post described how Churches of Christ have utilized the Baconian method. In this post I describe how Churches of Christ have embraced the Reformed regulative principle and applied it with a Reformed understanding of command, example and […]