Response to “Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry”

June 6, 2013

The 2013 Christian Scholars Conference is currently in progress. Gary Holloway asked me to present a paper that would respond to the ecumenical 1982 Lima “Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry.” I have uploaded the paper on my Academic page and it is now available here. The paper suggests that the great strength of the document is […]


Antebellum Middle Tennessee and the “Lord’s Day” I

March 27, 2013

During the summer of 1858 Tolbert Fanning, President of Franklin College and a leader in Middle Tennessee for over twenty-five years, toured the congregations surrounding Nashville. He recounts this tour in the September 1858 edition of the Gospel Advocate (“Prospects in Middle Tennessee,” pp. 257-263). He visited Hartsville and Bledsoe’s Creek congregations in Sumner county; Lebanon […]


J. D. Tant on the Firm Foundation and Rebaptism

March 11, 2013

While reading parts of the Firm Foundation for a research project, I rediscovered the following article by J. D. Tant (“Looking Back Fifty Years,” Firm Foundation 50.3 [17 January 1933] 2). In this article he highlights how the Firm Foundation had served the church over the past fifty years. In his view, the periodical saved the church from extremes–the extreme […]


Antebellum Gospel Advocate on Rebaptism: Tolbert Fanning and William Lipscomb

March 8, 2013

While David Lipscomb, editor the Gospel Advocate after the Civil War (beginning in 1866), opposed rebaptizing those who were immersed to obey God though they did not understand its design for the remission of sins, the original editors of the GA thought differently.  While reading through the 1855-1861 GA, I  ran across the following two statements from […]


19th Century Middle Ground: Women in the Assembly

February 11, 2013

Benjamin Franklin (1812-1878) was the leader of northern conservatives in the mid-19th century within the Stone-Campbell Movement. His American Christian Review was the most widely read periodical of the movement after the Civil War. He led the fight, for example, against the introduction of instrumental music into worship assemblies and grounded the argument for an exclusive ”five public […]


David Lipscomb on Voting

November 5, 2012

David Lipscomb’s opposition to participation in civil government is perhaps well-known. He is, in some ways, a Christian anarchist. This arises both from his experience in the Civil War but also out of his kingdom theology which envisions the kingdom of God destroying all human ruling authorities through Jesus Christ. Consequently, Lipscomb was a pacifist […]


Baptists and Disciples: David Lipscomb Appeals for Unity in 1866

May 10, 2012

In 1866 Lipscomb called for a representative meeting of Baptists and Disciples–whom he characterized as “brethren”–to seek a way to foster unity between the two groups. He identified their common theology (including a common baptism), but also stressed their common heritage which, he claimed, stretched back through “eighteen centuries of persecution and martyrdom.” For Lipscomb, […]


The Nashville Establishment?

February 29, 2012

My friend, Chris Cotten, along with Mac Ice, have a significant interest in the history of Nashville Churches of Christ. Both of their blogs have wonderful pieces on that history. Yesterday I read Chris’s piece on the “Nashville Establishment,” which identifies one aspect of the institutional growth of Churches of Christ in the middle of the 20th […]


R. C. Bell, Divine Dynamics, and the Holy Spirit

February 28, 2012

R. C. Bell (1877-1964) attended the Nashville Bible School from 1896-1901. James A. Harding took Bell with him as a faculty member at the newly founded Potter Bible College in 1901. Later Bell would teach at several different colleges among Churches of Christ and eventually ended up at Abilene Christian College as a beloved teacher. In 1959, […]


McGary on Rebaptism: Reason to Divide

March 15, 2011

In 1898, Willam K. Homan in the Texas Christian Courier noted how relationships between the Gospel Advocate and Firm Foundation were deteriorating. This elicited a strong comment from Austin McGary, the editor of the Firm Foundation. I find this particular comment quite revealing as it parallels the instrumental music and missionary society controversies with the rebaptism […]