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 […]


“Woman’s Privilege”: Two Views

March 14, 2011

James A. Harding began his publication The Way in 1899 in order to disseminate to a larger audience what he taught at the Nashville Bible School.  At the same time J. B. Briney, a longtime friend and now adversary of Harding, started his own monthly paper entitled Briney’s Monthly,  The two papers sparred back and […]


Two New E-Journals

March 11, 2011

Two new electronic journals, one named Kingdom and the other named Missio Dei, have published their inaugural issues. Kingdom is published by the Bible faculty of Freed-Hardeman University. Its masthead quotes Romans 14:17, “For the Kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.”   Ralph Gilmore, Distinguished Professor of Bible and Philosophy at FHU, […]


Daniel Sommer on the Public Religious “Duties and Privileges” of Women

March 10, 2011

Daniel Sommer (1850-1940), a graduate of Bethany College and the heralded successor of Benjamin Franklin among northern conservatives, lived and worked among congregations of Churches of Christ who were more open to the public voice of women than their southern counterparts.  In particular, at least in the article below, Sommer is quite explicit about the […]