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 […]


“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 VII – The Christ Event

July 1, 2008

After a “deserved” break (for you as well as me), I now return to my series on “theological hermeneutics.” (For the previous articles, see the heading “Hermeneutics” on my Serial Index page.) My last few posts in this series emphasized the redemptive-historical character of Scripture as a function of the narrative plot of God’s story. In […]


Luke on My Mind #2

August 1, 2006

I have been teaching for several years—and it is illustrated in my book Come to the Table—that the ministry of Jesus is the model for practicing the kingdom of God in the context of the church. The ministry of Jesus is the ministry of the church. Historically that has been questioned in the Stone-Campbell Movement. […]