1 Peter 4:7-11 — Communal Life in a Hostile World

August 29, 2015

Here is concluding counsel for a marginalized, victimized group. As exiles and aliens (1 Peter 2:11-12) within Roman society, Peter calls them to transcend their situation by living as an authentic community, which seeks only good for its surrounding culture. This section concludes the major exhortation section of 1 Peter. It opened with the vocative […]

When Shovels Break: A Review

August 18, 2015

Several weeks ago, Michael Shank asked—by email—if I would review his new book, When Shovels Break, on my blog. Since I reviewed his first book Muscle and a Shovel, I thought it brotherly to say “Yes” to his request, just as I have responded to all his communication with me in the wake of my […]

Reconciliation in the Gospel of John, Or Perichoretic Oneness

May 13, 2015

“I suggest that within the Farewell Discourse this ‘oneness’ is expressed in a Eucharistic love feast even where diversity continues. When believers gather together around the table with self-giving love, they experience in a concrete and sacramental way the common bond that unites them; that is, the perichoretic love of the Triune God. Unity, then, […]

David Lipscomb: South Nashville Churches of Christ (1906)

May 10, 2014

While doing some research in Nashville newspapers, I encountered this piece by David Lipscomb:  “South Nashville Church of Christ,” Daily American (January 17, 1906), p. 8. I thought it was interesting for several reasons. 1.  It illustrates that Lipscomb thought church planting was the way to grow the kingdom. 2. It illustrates the use of […]

Joel 2:28-32 — I Will Pour Out My Spirit On All Flesh

May 7, 2014

Joel’s lament liturgy in the first half of the book envisioned the devastation of Israel by a locust plague (or perhaps an invading army). That impending disaster also represented a future apocalyptic disaster. Joel is working at two levels–the immediate moment but also a future cataclysm. Israel’s response to such news, as with all other […]

Tolbert Fanning on Evangelists and the Lord’s Day

April 5, 2013

Brother “J. R. W.” of Kentucky tossed Tolbert Fanning a softball in the June 1858 issue of  the Gospel Advocate (pp. 170-171).  It was a subject he had constantly addressed as an editor and evangelist. It was one of the great themes of his life beginning with his time as an evangelist supported by the Nashville […]

Nashville Church Planting–Early Perspectives

March 26, 2013

David Lipscomb wrote a wonderful biography of Tolbert Fanning which was published in Franklin College and Its Influences (Nashville: McQuiddy Printing, 1906). There are many historical gems in this piece, especially concerning the history of the Nashville Church. One particular theme struck me as I read through it again. After Philip Slater Fall, who had led […]

Lipscomb on the Urban Poor II

May 28, 2012

Lipscomb’s response to the notice in the Apostolic Times did not go unchallenged. The Apostolic Times quickly replied and Lipscomb reprinted the article in the May 19, 1873 Gospel Advocate under the title “Preaching to the Poor” (pp. 508-509). However, the question is quickly diverted. Instead, it becomes a discussion of how best to send “preachers” among the […]

Lipscomb on the Poor V

April 26, 2012

The 1866 Gospel Advocate, the year its rebirth after the Civil War, is filled with notices about sharing resources with the poor and encouragement for churches both north and south to do so. Apparently, the Advocate was accused by some of controlling these resources as they came to Nashville for distribution as if the paper was a […]

New Testament Hymns

February 5, 2012

The early church, even as its Scripture was being written, expaned the Hebrew Psalter to include their own faith-hymns. Some (like Luke’s Canticles) are squarely rooted in the Hebrew traditions though with a Christological application and others reflect the new situation of the people of God in the church as the story of Israel is […]