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Volume 1 Issue 2

Editor's Preface

November 29th marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of C.S. Lewis in Belfast, Ireland. To honor this most quotable bard of allegorical children’s fiction, science fiction, apologetics, and theology, this issue includes both a review of one of the better encyclopedic guides to his thoughts and writings by his secretary and editor Walter Hooper and an article expounding Lewis’s inviting slant on morality. Both reviewer and author is Byron Lambert, retired Professor of Philosophy, Fairleigh Dickinson University. Professor Lambert, credentialed as a founding member of the C.S. Lewis Society in America, is both a knowledgeable fan and bona fide authority on C.S. Lewis. I am thrilled to have his expertise represented in this issue of SCJ.

A second notable event which has impact on this issue is the 1997 publication of M. Eugene Boring’s Disciples and the Bible: A History of Disciples Biblical Interpretation in America. This intriguing book receives a well-informed review by a leading scholar in the A Cappella Churches of Christ, Thomas Olbricht of Pepperdine University, who himself is historically significant enough to be evaluated in Boring’s book. It also motivates and informs Scott Caulley’s pioneering article which seeks to build a viable hermeneutical road for capable Stone-Campbell biblical scholars to travel without divorcing themselves from their restoration heritage.

Boring’s book should impact readers of SCJ in a number of ways. First, it documents the scholarly foundations of the Stone-Campbell Movement, particularly in men like Thomas and Alexander Campbell, Barton Stone, Walter Scott, Isaac Errett, and Robert Milligan. Alexander Campbell, in particular, he shows, led the way as a daring text critic, whose publication of The Living Oracles translation anticipated decisions of the much later RSV, including removing the long ending of the Lord’s Prayer in Matt 6:13 as well as the eunuch’s confession in Acts 8:37.

Second, it draws out what Boring calls the "populist" concerns that drove Campbell and the early movement. Campbell believed that ordinary folks deserved the best Bible possible. Thus, he put enormous personal and financial energy into producing a new translation that could be more easily understood and was better informed regarding reliable textual manuscripts. However, he also believed that such people could read and appreciate serious discussion of the Bible’s message. Such discussions left to scholars alone he believed to be fruitless.

One of the aims of SCJ is to make the scholarly work available to a church population that wants to dig deeper into the Bible. When we launched this journal six months ago, I expected excitement from professors and ministers. However, I have been taken aback by the enormous enthusiasm voiced by people in the churches. This was particularly noticeable in the days following the Stone-Campbell Journal Inaugural Lecture (ably presented by John Mark Hicks, Harding Graduate School of Religion), held at the North American Christian Convention in June. The nearly 200 attendees, mostly church folks, over and over came up to me to express their deep appreciation for being informed and challenged by the high level of the presentation. This desire to know about the Bible is also seen in the hundreds who continue to flock to the Archaeology and History presentations that Dennis Gaertner of Johnson Bible College steadfastly organizes for the North American.

Third, Boring quite rightly documents the trickle of scholarship coming from the independent Christian churches, clearly the least scholarly of the three branches of the movement. Unfortunately, he was unaware of the work being done to launch SCJ at the time of his writing. It is the aim of this journal to put this growing scholarship into print and to motivate scholarly pursuits. If he revisits his evaluation of independents ten years from now, I am convinced he will have a much more favorable report. A first in this regard just occurred when the May 18th issue of Christianity Today praised a unique book edited by Paul Blowers of Emmanuel School of Religion called The Bible in Greek Antiquity. The book contains articles by Fred Norris (also of Emmanuel) and Ron Heine, Director of the Institute for the Study of Christian Origins, Tübingen, Germany, whose article, "What Is Christian Doctrine?" appeared in the Spring, 1998 issue of SCJ.

Fourth, Boring documents the sizeable amount of scholarship within the A Cappella Churches of Christ (over 195 Ph.D’s from 1957-1982). In my associations with Church of Christ scholars, I have been impressed not only with the number of scholars but with how many have made important contributions, particularly in biblical research. I have long wondered why it is that they have produced so many top-notch biblical scholars compared to the independent Christian Churches. Boring supplies the answer.

The attraction of German higher criticism by leading Disciples scholars, particularly Edward Ames and Herbert Willett, the first Disciple to receive a Ph.D., led to blatant distrust of all scholarship by leaders like R.C. Foster. Most of this activity came well after the A Cappella churches separated from the Disciples. Independent colleges and seminaries came to put their trust in preaching the simple gospel, staying as far away as possible from encouraging any kind of biblical scholarship out of fear of liberalism. This fear is just now beginning to subside as scholars demonstrate the ability to do world-class biblical research and remain true to the Bible and the movement.

Fifth, Boring is genuinely distressed at how contemporary Disciples in the pew and in the pulpit have become so ignorant of the Bible, hinting that embracing liberal scholarship ultimately has robbed it of its authority for them. His urgent plea for Disciples’ ministers to read their Bibles every day will sound appallingly obvious to those in the A Cappella and independent churches.

Down deep, Boring seems to fear a total break from Disciples heritage as they melt into ecumenism. He, on the other hand, longs for a genuine resurgence in discovering and carrying forward the essential merits of Disciples’ thought into what he calls the sixth generation. It should be interesting to observe the impact his book has among the Disciples and if anyone else has similar concerns. It would seem to me that some intermingling with the rising scholarship among the independents and A Cappella churches would help Boring’s cause at this point. Perhaps, in the future even the pages of SCJ can provide a positive platform for such activity.

Finally, let me commend the other articles in this issue. Anyone interested in current discussions on the role of the Holy Spirit will find Steve Singleton’s well-documented, historical article on the early battles over the issue informative and fascinating. Brian Messner carefully marshals his considerable research of Roman history into the debate over the date of Jesus’ ministry and crucifixion. Walt Zorn skillfully harnesses the mountain of material regarding the meaning of "the faith of Christ" in Romans 1:17 and 3:21-26 into understandable form for people in the church. John Willis, another notable A Cappella Church of Christ scholar mentioned in Boring’s book, insightfully shares a very readable biblical study on the nature of humanity and suffering. I am confident each reader will find something here to engage an area of their interest and help them better understand the Bible.

 

William R. Baker, Editor

 

167
Manhattan Christian College

Abstract

Starting from three recent but seemingly unrelated events—the passing
of three prominent leaders, the publication of a book on Disciples
biblical interpretation, and the Jesus Seminar—this article asks some
key questions about the state of biblical studies within the independent
branch of Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement. This paper calls for
new discussions on the role of historical inquiry and the relationship
between history and tradition. It does so with a refusal to be limited to
choices between mutually exclusive extremes, critical studies or the
Restoration plea. The both/and approaches of some moderate scholars
are examined as possible models for a way forward for Restoration
biblical studies.

155
Southwest Baptist Theological Seminary

Abstract

Robert Richardson (1806-1876) urged Christians to understand spirituality as the mean between emotionalism and rationalism. This forced him into a debate concerning the Holy Spirit, first with Tolbert Fanning, and then briefly with Alexander Campbell himself. Richardson’s call still resonates: devotion must go deeper than external conformity while avoiding spiritualism’s excesses.

187
Fairleigh Dickinson University

Abstract

C.S. Lewis maintains that a universal moral law exists in which people
everywhere have believed. Using the historic concept of “natural law” to
explain this, Lewis goes on to show that no new moral principles can ever
be invented and that whatever appears to be novel in morality, if genuine,
is only a development from within the natural law itself. The superiority
of Christian morality consists in its accent on humility, agape-
love, and the spiritual power which identification with Christ can bring.
While most people behave themselves most of the time, they have
a weak sense of why they do so. This is true of Christians as well as non-
Christians.

201
Lincoln Christian College

Abstract

This study proposes that Luke’s reference to the fifteenth year of the reign
of Tiberius coincides with the year AD 29. Evidence for this comes from
two sources: Augustus’s memoirs and Velleius Paterculus. Those who
have suggested that Augustus and Tiberius had equal positions in Rome
prior to Augustus’s death have examined only the legal powers (potestas)
granted to Tiberius and not the status of Augustus and Tiberius.

213
Lincoln Christian College and Seminary

Abstract

Paul quotes Habakkuk 2:4a in Romans 1:17 as a “thematic” Scripture
passage for Romans. He uses this passage “messianically,” the “righteous
One” primarily referring to the Messiah who came and lived faithfully
to God, giving his life as an atonement for the sins of the world. This
understanding of Habakkuk 2:4a (LXX) in Romans 1:17 requires a
new reading of Romans, particularly Romans 1–5. A detailed look at
Romans 1:17 and 3:21-26 suggests the necessity of a subjective genitive
interpretation for the pivsti" Cristou' (pistis christou, “faith of Christ”)
phrases, including that same nuance for a number of other references
where the catch-phrase ejk pivstew" (ek pisteo¯s, “from faith”) is found in
Romans. Since Jesus is the only “righteous One” in a world of sinners
where “none are righteous” (Rom 3:10), he is able to make believers
“righteous” by virtue of his obedient faith (Rom 5:18-19).

231
Abilene Christian University

Abstract

The Hebrew Bible teaches that human beings are creatures of dignity.
As a gift of God, this should determine how one feels and acts toward
others, sets human beings apart from the rest of creation, and is
shared equally by male and female. The Hebrew Bible also acknowledges
the universality of human suffering. An individual or a group
may suffer as divine punishment for sin, as God’s discipline to
improve character, as a work of the devil to try to destroy trust in God,
as a result of the violence of others, as persecution for faithful service to
God, as voluntary vicarious activity in behalf of others, or as experience
lying beyond human comprehension and explanation.

Download book reviews for this issue.

M. Eugene Boring, Disciples and the Bible: A History of Disciples Biblical Interpretation in North America

Thomas Olbricht, Pepperdine University

Dale R. Stoffer, The Lord’s Supper: Believers Church Perspective

L. Thomas Smith, Johnson Bible College

Millard J. Erickson, Postmodernizing the Faith

Robert Kurka, Lincoln Christian College

James Gilbert, Redeeming Culture: American Religion in an Age of Science

Robert Randolph, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Mark A. Noll, Turning Points

Gary Holloway, David Lipscomb University

Kathryn Tanner, Theories of Culture

John Castelein, Lincoln Christian Seminary

Daniel Blazer, Freud vs. God

Thomas Ewald, Lincoln Christian Seminary

James O. Duke and Anthony L. Dunnavant, eds., Faith Seeking Historical Understanding: Essays in Honor of H. Jack Forstman

Robert Cornwall, First Christian Church, Santa Barbara, CA

Walter Hooper, C.S. Lewis: A Companion and Guide

Byron Lambert, Fairleigh Dickinson University

Wolfhart Pannenberg, Systematic Theology, Volume Three

Fred Thompson, Emmanuel School of Religion

James B. Torrance, Worship, Community & the Triune God of Grace

Virgil Warren, Manhattan, KS

J.P. Moreland, Loving God with All Your Mind

Richard Knopp, Lincoln Christian College & Seminary

Alyce M. McKenzie, Preaching Proverbs: Wisdom for the Pulpit

David Beavers, San Jose Christian College

Daniel I. Block, The Book of Ezekiel

Walter Zorn, Lincoln Christian College and Seminary

Choon-Leong Seow, Ecclesiastes

Michael Pabarcus, Saint Louis Christian College

Richard Bauckham, ed., The Gospel for All Christians

Brian Johnson, University of Aberdeen

Craig A. Evans and Peter W. Flint, eds., Eschatology, Messianism and the Dead Sea Scrolls

David Fiensy, Kentucky Christian College

Jack D. Kingsbury, ed., Gospel Interpretation: Narrative-Critical And Social-Scientific Approaches

James Smith, Cincinnati Bible Seminary

Walter A. Elwell and Robert W. Yarbrough, Encountering the New Testament

Kevin Larson, Lincoln Christian College-East Coast

David A. Fiensy, The Message and Ministry of Jesus

Mark Krause, Puget Sound Christian College

Morna D. Hooker, The Signs of a Prophet: The Prophetic Actions of Jesus

Kenneth Neller, Harding University

Howard Clark Kee, To Every Nation under Heaven: The Acts of the Apostles

Jon Weatherly, Cincinnati Bible College & Seminary

James D.G. Dunn, The Theology of Paul the Apostle

R. Barry Matlock, University of Sheffield

J. Louis Martyn, Galatians

Rollin Ramsaran, Emmanuel School of Religion

Ralph P. Martin and Peter H. Davids, eds., Dictionary of the Later New Testament & Its Developments

Thomas Scott Caulley, Manhattan Christian College

Todd C. Penner, The Epistle of James and Eschatology

William R. Baker, Saint Louis Christian College

J. Ramsey Michaels, Revelation

Robert Lowery, Lincoln Christian Seminary
 
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Volume 20 Issue 2

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VOLUME 20, No. 2
Fall 2017

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