Hermeneutics is Always Inferential

January 21, 2020

Below I summarize the point of Searching for the Pattern: My Journey in Interpreting the Bible.h Growing up in Churches of Christ, I embraced and practiced a hermeneutic that sought an implicit blueprint for the work and worship of the church in Acts and the Epistles. Through a filter of generic/specific distinctions, coordinate associations, the […]


Response to Dan Owen’s Article in the Gospel Advocate

January 16, 2020

In the December 2019 issue of the Gospel Advocate, Dan Owen offered a brief response, in part, to my recent book Searching for the Pattern. I thank Dan for reading the book, and I am grateful for his article as it calls attention to an important concern about how we read the Bible. I wish […]


Patternism, Division and Grace

April 19, 2009

Patternism does not entail division as long as it does not subvert grace and it graciously treats another believer with mercy. Rather, it is the attitudes, agendas and acidity of the people involved that generate division. Patternism itself is not to blame and neither is “restorationism’s” search for a pattern. When people are treated with gracious humility, patternism can be […]


When Patternism Subverts Grace

April 17, 2009

If the life and ministry of Jesus is our pattern, then we all fall woefully short. Consequently, whether it is conforming our character to the image of Jesus or embodying the ministry of Jesus through the church, we all–individuals and congregations–need divine mercy since we all fall woefully short of the image of God in Jesus. […]


Old JMH Articles: Five From the 1970s

March 13, 2009

This is quite daring, I must admit. Or, it might be rather idiotic. But in my quest to place my published writings on this webpage, I now turn to the 1970s.  It is rather chilling and sometimes quite illuminating to actually read what I wrote thirty years ago (wow! I really am that old). It […]


Patterns, Perfectionism, Grace and the Tennessee Tradition

February 14, 2009

If the life and ministry of Jesus is our pattern, then we all fall woefully short in every way. Moral Patternism. We rarely have a difficult time hearing that we are imperfect in terms of morality since we are well aware that we fail to image the character of Jesus in so  many ways–internally and […]


I am a Patternist; Yes, Really!

February 12, 2009

Jesus is the logos (word) of God; he is our pattern, the speech of God. His life is the word of God. He embodies all that God desires. Disciples of Jesus follow Jesus. They follow him into the water, and are thereby baptized. They follow him into the wilderness, and thus seek solitude with God […]


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 […]


Patterns, Legalism and Grace: Alexander Campbell

February 6, 2009

It is not legalism to seek patterns or to live by patterns.     It is legalism to use those patterns in such a way that they undermine salvation by grace through faith. That is my summary of what I thought was the sentiment of Cecil May, Jr.’s concluding comments in his February 3, 2009 Freed-Hardeman Lectureship […]


Patterns and Legalism: Commenting on an FHU Lecture

February 5, 2009

Cecil May, Jr.–Dean of the V. P. Black College of Biblical Studies at Faulkner University–is a kind, loving Christian gentlemen in the best sense of that term.  He was the first to ever interview me for an academic position just weeks before Sheila died as he was about to become President of Magnolia Bible College.  […]