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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Tolbert Fanning — Advocate for Peace in 1861 (Part XIII)

April 9, 2012

In the last issue of the Gospel Advocate during the Civil War, December 1861, Fanning noted the death of an “old friend,” Pierce Butler Anderson. It is Fanning’s last comment on the Civil War until the Gospel Advocate was rebirthed in January 1866. Fanning is gracious in reporting his death knowing “the Lord of all the […]

Tolbert Fanning — Advocate for Peace in 1861 (Part XII)

April 7, 2012

The church in Murfreesboro was divided over the war. Previously Fanning had published a letter from Lillard, Harding and Ransome, and he had printed an article by “Disciple” who responded to that letter from within the same church. Fanning now feels compelled to comment on their exchange. He uses the occasion to clarify his position. […]

Tolbert Fanning — Advocate for Peace in 1861 (XI)

April 6, 2012

By November 1861 the Confederate States and the Union were well settled into their warring camps and bloody conflict was in full swing. By mid-February of 1862, Ft. Henry on the Tennessee River and Ft. Donelson on the Cumberland would fall to Federal forces. By the end of February, Nashville was in Union hands. Rather […]

Tolbert Fanning — Advocate For Peace in 1861 (Part X)

April 5, 2012

After printing the questions of some of his critics and then responding to them, Fanning counsels his readers about “suitable labor for Christians in these perilous times” (Gospel Advocate 7.9 [September 1861] 281-286). What is a Christian to do in these trying times? Fanning laments that the disciples who have long “maintained that the word […]

Tolbert Fanning — Advocate for Peace in 1861 (Part IX)

April 4, 2012

Fanning printed a critical response to his peacemaking articles in the September issue of the Gospel Advocate, but not without his own reply to their questions (“Reply to Brethren Lillard, Harding and Ransome,” Gospel Advocate 7.9 [September 1861] 265-276). Fanning characterized his previous articles for peacemaking as an attempt to be as “wise as serpents and […]

Tolbert Fanning — Advocate for Peace in 1861 (Part VIII)

April 3, 2012

Tennessee, a member of the Confederate States of America since July 1861, was now a full participant in an American bloody Civil War. Fanning had pursued every recourse to persuade disciples from joining the fight on either side. Three disciples from Murfreesboro in Rutherford County penned a response to Fanning’s several articles, particularly his three […]