The Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement began as a challenge to both the heart and the mind. Heartfelt allegiance to Christ combined with unswerving commitment to study and obey Scripture grounded the movement from its beginning in early 19th century America with Thomas and Alexander Campbell, Barton W. Stone, and Walter Scott. The very fact that the movement today tends to define itself by combining the last names of Alexander Campbell and Barton W. Stone honors this continuing heritage of both heart and mind, Campbell serving as he has from the beginning as the mind of the movement and Stone as its heart. Together, they bond the hope of uniting the church around Christ and Scripture.
A crack which began to sever mind from heart occurred in the 1920's with the onslaught of modernism and its effects particularly on the Disciples of Christ branch of the movement, from which the A Cappella Churches of Christ had separated previously. Propelled into modernism by the liberal scholarship of the Disciples' educational institutions, what is now often designated the independent Christian churches gradually withdrew from Disciples of Christ membership. They formed instead a fellowship of independent congregations held together by the annual preaching rally of the North American Christian Convention, Standard Publishing, and what would become over thirty-five regionally-based Bible colleges.
At considerable financial sacrifice to churches and individuals, one-by-one the Bible colleges were opened, with a clear mandate to train preachers in order to fill pulpits, plant churches, and foster world-wide missionary efforts. All of this they did and continue to do well.
The A Cappella Churches of Christ maintained solid, biblically conservative scholarship in their growing colleges and universities. At the time, these were not seen as viable alternatives for the independent Christian Churches. Instead, the formation of the Bible colleges was viewed as essential to fill the educational vacuum created by the severed relationship with the Disciples who had positioned themselves solidly in higher education through the development of liberal arts colleges and underwriting biblical "chairs" at major universities.
The Bible colleges viewed themselves as more than just replacement institutions. Rather, they postured themselves as a new and necessary alternative, really the antithesis of the liberal educational institutions of the Disciples. Here, the Bible was the center of the curriculum. Here, one could attend without fear of being drawn into the modernist, biblical skepticism so characteristic of biblical scholarship of the day. Here, there would be no "chairs," no tenure, no Ph.D.'s. These new institutions would not be lost to liberalism like the last ones were, nor would they threaten the Bible commitment so dear to the movement.
Such a mind set was necessary at the time for survival, but it fostered along with it an unfortunate fear and bias against scholarship of any sort which encouraged a kind of intellectual isolationism within the independent Christian Churches.
Evangelicalism, whether Presbyterian, Lutheran, Methodist, or Baptist, traveled a similar route, with fine Bible institutions, like Princeton, being ravaged by liberal scholarship, replaced by new, more wary institutions, like Westminster Theological Seminary.
By the 1950's and 60's a new wave of evangelicalism (distinct from fundamentalism) began to emerge, sparked by Billy Graham revival campaigns. This new wave saw the emergence of Christianity Today along with the rise of evangelical seminaries, initially Fuller, then Trinity, Dallas, and Gordon-Conwell. In these new seminaries, a new brand of evangelical scholarship was nurtured that eagerly engaged liberal scholarship on its own turf while holding firmly to the authority and inspiration of the Bible. Evangelical scholarship of this sort continues to flourish in rooms of both Evangelical Theological Society Meetings and Society of Biblical Literature Meetings, and is disseminated through both evangelical and non-evangelical publishers.
This new wave of evangelical scholarship has reached the shores of the independent Christian Churches through classroom textbooks, journals, and lectureships. It has helped replace fear of biblical scholarship with the desire to learn and develop intellectually for the sake of understanding the Bible better. This new wave has also given impetus to hire Ph.D.'s, not only at the seminary level but at the college level as well. In all this, development of the Christian mind is regaining its rightful place in this centrist branch of the Stone-Campbell Movement.
Launching the Stone-Campbell Journal, a new, academic journal intended to showcase the scholarship of the Stone-Campbell Movement, rides the crest of this new wave in the independent Christian churches. This inaugural edition of SCJ signifies a new beginning. It embodies the restoration of mind to heart within this part of the movement. It's not just that we want to do this at this time but that we can. We have a growing pool of capable and ambitious scholars, more seminary-educated ministers than ever before, and thoughtful people in our churches who will expend great effort to understand the Bible. Also, those outside the Stone-Campbell Movement are interested in our unique heritage of ideas which offer a valuable perspective for many areas of study.
Thanks to College Press, we also have the means to publish this journal. In recent years, they have dared to do what no one has done for generations: publish scholarly books from those of the Stone-Campbell Movement, and they have worked hard to market them beyond our movement. In doing so, they have grown in their expertise to be able to develop and market something like SCJ. Chris DeWelt, President of College Press, recognizes and has said emphatically that this is something that just has to be done because it is needed for the health and development of the movement. Graciously, he has put the muscle of College Press behind it.
In their publishing efforts, College Press has forged a merger of the scholarship of both the independent Christian Churches and the A Cappella Churches of Christ together in an historic commentary series on the New Testament and even now are developing a similar effort on the Old Testament. These efforts have paved the way for the editorial board of SCJ to include both those from the independent Christian Churches and from the A Cappella Churches of Christ. The depth of scholarship in the A Cappella branch of the movement is enthusiastically welcomed in the pages of SCJ. We join hands together to make a make a quality Stone-Campbell perspective available to the public.
Warm thanks must also be offered to the editorial board who have responded with helpful advice over the past two years of development and have played no small role in establishing the quality of this first issue. They have regularly bolstered me with prayer and much-needed expertise.
Also, thanks to Tim and Sandy Kenczewicz of Flemington, NJ, who have provided important initial financial help.
Finally, I thank the authors and reviewers who have demonstrated their faith in the unknown, sacrificing time and effort to write for this very first issue. They have established the bench mark by which all future issues will be measured.
William R. Baker, Editor
Alexander Campbell developed a baptismal theology which responded to the "mourner's bench" theology of the Second Great Awakening. In contrast to seeking a "saving experience" through prayer, Campbell proclaimed baptism as God's objective offer of assurance to the believer. Instead of seeking assurance in an individualist subjective experience, Campbell argued that God offered assurance in a "sensible" (empirical) pledge through which one entered the community of faith. Baptism, then, became the communal and empirical seal of assurance for the believers based upon the promises of God. Campbell called believers to the waters of baptism instead of to the mourner's bench. This became an identifying mark of the historical tradition known as the "Churches of Christ."
The Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement originates in a plea for Christians to submit all religious beliefs and practices to those basic New Testament truths which transcend denominational interests and creeds. This article examines the nature of "objective" truth and to what degree these biblical truths require objective truth. It invites readers to reflect on whether the Restoration Movement plea can survive today if Christians abandon the belief that humans can unite on objective truth.
Christian doctrine is that system of teachings by which the church defines what it means to be a Christian. It is grounded in the life of Jesus of Nazareth and is derived from the information concerning him in the Bible. Doctrine is affected by devotion in both formation and understanding, but they are not identical. Christian doctrine is also shaped and refined by challenges to it arising both from within the church and from outside it.
This essay deals with two scriptures often overlooked: Jesus' response to the so-called strange exorcist (Mark 9:38-41; Luke 9:49-50) and Paul's curious remark to believers who might hold views different from his (Phil 3:15-16). The meaning of Jesus' "soft" statement that "he who is not against you is for you" becomes clearer when placed alongside the "hard" saying: "The one not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters" (Matt 12:30; Luke 11:23). In the Philippians passage we find that when people disagree with him personally, Paul can put up with it; but when they attack his gospel, he fights back. We find both in Jesus and in Paul a surprising tolerance for people who differ from the norm in thinking or in group allegiance. Loyalty to Christ and the core of the gospel makes all the difference.
The title Son of Man has received less attention in relation to the Gospel of John than to the Synoptic Gospels. In the fourth Gospel, the phrase functions as a self-designation of some kind for Jesus. It draws upon the use and imagery associated with the Son of Man in Ezekiel, Daniel, and 1 Enoch. Differing from the synoptic presentations, the title in the Gospel of John describes the origin, authority, and exaltation of Jesus.
Publication of the Encyclopedia of the Stone-Campbell Movement,
edited by Douglas A Foster, Paul M. Blowers, Anthony L. Dunnavant,
and D. Newell Williams, by William B. Eerdmans (800 pp. $50.00)
in fall, 2004, for good reasons has been one the most anticipated books
in the history of the Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement. In the
making from its inception in the minds eye of both Foster and
Dunnavant almost fifteen years ago, it is an unprecedented achievement
of unity, combining the knowledge and academic excellence of an
army of people from all three streams of the Movement, that will stand
as the touchstone for understanding the Movement for centuries to
come. For this reason SCJ has developed an article that brings together
numerous voices to critique and comment on it: a proud supporter
and advocate, three reviewers, and two of its editors.
Barry L. Callen and James B. North, Coming Together in Christ: Pioneering a New Testament Way to Christian Unity
Michael Casey, Saddlebags, City Streets, & Cyberspace: A History of the Preaching in Churches of Christ
Richard T. Hughes, Reviving the Ancient Faith: The Story of Churches of Christ in America
Thomas H. Olbricht, Hearing God's Voice: My Life with Scripture in the Churches of Christ
Jerry Rushford, Christians on the Oregon Trail: Churches of Christ and Christian Churches in Early Oregon
Phillip E. Johnson, Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds
Douglas R. Geivett and Gary R. Habermas, eds., In Defense of Miracles: A Comprehensive Case for God's Action in History
Richard A. Knopp and John D. Castelein, Taking Every Thought Captive: Essays in Honor of James D. Strauss
Everett Ferguson, The Church of Christ: A Biblical Ecclesiology for Today
Ray Bakke, A Theology as Big as the City
Gailyn Van Rheenen, Missions: Biblical Foundations & Contemporary Strategies
Charles Van Engen, Mission on the Way: Issues in Mission Theology
R. T. France, Women in the Church's Ministry: A Test Case for Biblical Interpretation
Willem A. VenGemeren, ed., New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology and Exegesis
John H. Walton and Victor H. Matthews, IVP Bible Background Commentary: Genesis-Deuteronomy
Robert Alter, Genesis: Translation and Commentary
Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics
Craig Blomberg, Jesus and the Gospels: An Introduction and Survey
N. T. Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God, Vol. 2
Ben Witherington, III., History, Literature & Society in the Book of Acts
Douglas Moo, The Epistle to the Romans, NICNT
Luke Timothy Johnson, Letters to Paul?s Delegates: 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus
Gordon Fee D., Paul, the Spirit, and the People of God
Terence L. Donaldson, Paul and the Gentiles
Jim Girdwood and Peter Verkruyse, Hebrews, College Press NIV Commentary
Robert Wall, Community of the Wise: The Letter of James, New Testament in Context
Paul J. Achtemeier, 1 Peter, Hermeneia