How is unity among Christians to be attained? Does the pressing concern of Alexander Campbell and Barton W. Stone have legs that carry it to the 21st century? How does a so-called unity movement have credibility without unifying itself first? Questions like these have been addressed in recent years in a variety of unity forums. The Restoration Forum, principally involving voices representing Christian Churches (independent) and Churches of Christ (a cappella), has been very successful in helping these two bodies move into the present, new era of cooperation between congregations. Ending in 2007 after 25 years, this discussion continues on in One Body magazine. Less in the limelight has been the Stone-Campbell Dialogue that brings together the first two streams along with the Disciples of Christ, from which in different eras, both streams separated.
In an attempt to move this discussion from just voices talking to congregations gathering and sharing, a fairly unique occasion occurred on July 11-12, 2008, in which I had the opportunity to participate. In Austin, TX, congregations from all three streams met and participated in the first of what is hoped to be many years of the Austin Forum on Christian Unity that involved panel discussions followed by interaction with attendees led by two individuals from each stream. Bruce Shields (Emmanuel School of Religion) and I represented Christian Churches (Independent), Gary Holloway (Lipscomb University), and Allan McNicol (Austin Graduate School of Theology) represented Churches of Christ (a cappella), and Robert Welsh (Disciples of Christ National Council on Christian Unity) and Newell Williams (Brite Divinity School) represented Disciples of Christ. We discussed two issues: the nature of the church and the nature and function of Scripture. One delight was to see that one of each streams participants was an SCJ editor (me, Holloway, and Williams).
The occasion produced thought-provoking words and warm fellowship, but what I have kept thinking about since is what Gary Holloway brought forward from the insight of Barton W. Stone at the worship service on Saturday evening. In the Christian Messenger of October, 1833 (7:314-316), Stone pondered four kinds of unionbook, head, water, and fireonly one of which he believed had any hope of securing unity among believers. Book union as formulated in creeds and confessions become tests of fellowship that divide. Head union based on common understanding of the Bible becomes captive to the whims of individual opinion that breeds sectarianism. Water union based on all immersing believers is simply not possible. However, fire union, Stones way of depicting work of the Holy Spirit among believers, when allowed to hold sway, always will be the true bond of unity between Christians that can overcome every manner of human impediment. While Stone-Campbell Journal 11 (Fall, 2008) 161163 Editors Preface the goal of SCJ and Stone-Campbell International to foster scholarship may sound like head union, in fact it is fire union. It is the Holy Spirit who unites in the bond to understand Gods word thoroughly, to express it thoughtfully, and to come together in these pages, on our website, and in our annual conference in the spiritual act of Christian fellowship.
In light of this, I am very pleased to tell about the eighth annual SCJ Conference, hosted by Cincinnati Bible SeminaryGraduate Division of Cincinnati Christian University, April 17-18, 2009 (8:30 AM, FriNoon, Sat). The theme: Dirt, Sex, and Scandal: Digging Up the Old Testament, features Guest Lecturers J.J.M. Roberts (William Henry Green Professor of Old Testament Literature, Princeton Theological Seminary), who will present God and the Gods and Isaiahs View of Justice and Security; Tremper Longman III (Robert H. Gundry Professor of Biblical Studies at Westmont College) who will present The Rewards of Embracing Woman Wisdom and Wisdom Only Goes So Far; and Mark Ziese (Professor of Old Testament, Cincinnati Christian University), who will present Excavations at Tell Jalul, Jordan: The First Decade. The conference will include a special event: Celebrating 200 Years: A Symposium on Thomas Campbells Declaration and Address. This will feature panelists drawn from the publication of One Church: A Bicentennial Celebration of Thomas Campbells Declaration and Address (Abilene, TX: Leafwood, 2008), including Doug Foster (Director of the Center for Restoration Studies and Associate Dean of the Graduate School, Abilene Christian University), Clint Holloway (Assistant Director, World Convention), Rick Grover (Journey Christian Church, Metairie, LA), and Daniel Rodriguez (Associate Professor of Religion and Hispanic Studies, Pepperdine University). Papers on other biblical, theological, or historical topics are sought for parallel sessions, from experienced scholars as well as from student scholars. Send your paper title (no abstract needed) to William Baker, SCJ Editor, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Two study groups welcome submissions. Continuing from past years is the Christian Education group (contact email@example.com). New this year is the Biblical Teaching on Women group (contact firstname.lastname@example.org). A formal student paper competition is also being organized for students at two levels (junior/ senior; M.A./M.Div). Those interested should contact Rick Cherok (rick.cherok@ ccuniversity.edu) for details. Parallel paper submissions, group submissions, and contact regarding student papers are all due December 1, 2008. Information on conference registration is available at the SCJ website (stone-campbelljournal.com) or from conference registrar, Susan Fisher (email@example.com; phone: 513- 284-5853.
In SCJ 10.2 the article "Coming Full Circle: Biblical Scholarship in Christian Churches" attempted to highlight the over 65 current people with Ph.D.s in Bible, theology, and history in this stream of the Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement. An addendum in SCJ 11.1 listed 20 more. One more to add to that list has come to my attention: Melinda Thompson, a graduate of Crossroads College, currently on the faculty of the University of Dubuque Seminary, who completed a Ph.D. in Old Testament from Luther Seminary in 2005 with a thesis entitled "A Literary Investigation of Relationship in Leviticus 19."
Finally, this current issue of SCJ features a slate of very high caliber articles you have come to expect. Richard Hughes provides a written reprise of his wellreceived, autobiographical interaction with Barton W. Stone that formed the backdrop for his 1996 (Eerdmans) volume Reviving the Ancient Faith presented at the 2008 SCJ Conference and at the SCJ Lectureship for the 2008 North American Christian Convention. Lee Blackburn makes available for the first time published translations from Hilary of Poitiers Commentary on the Psalms (the original Latin has been placed in the footnotes). Daniel Rodriguez presents compelling evidence for marshalling evangelistic resources toward second and third generation, Englishspeaking Hispanics. Carl Bridges gives wise council on how to view one of the most puzzling cases of noncanonical yet historically likely biblical material found in everyones Bible. Bonnie Bowman Thurston asks readers to ponder the mystery of the Spirit in their lives. Jerry Sumney (an SCJ consulting editor) offers alternative thinking about Paul from that of Eckhart Schnabel (10.2), originally presented at the 2007 SCJ Conference. William R. Baker, Editor
This essay explores the authors encounter with the biblical vision of the kingdom of God as embodied in the sixteenth-century Anabaptist movement; how he later discovered that same vision in his own tradition, the Churches of Christ (a cappella); and how that discovery reclaimed him for the Stone-Campbell tradition, converted him anew to the gospel of Christ, and shaped his published history of the Churches of Christ, Reviving the Ancient Faith: The Story of Churches of Christ in America.
Perhaps best known for his staunch opposition to the Arians, Hilary of Poitiers was also a notable biblical commentator. This study examines the account of the Mosaic law Hilary develops in the course of his twenty-two tractates on Psalm 119. Using an ensemble of Pauline texts as his interpretive framework, Hilary elaborates on how particular precepts of the Mosaic law adumbrate not only the redemptive work of Christs first advent but also the eschatological consummation of salvation. Ultimately, Hilary presents the psalmists meditation on the law as a model for Christian readers, insofar as it transformed his desires and directed them toward the very eschatological goods that Hilarys Christian readers also await.
This study explores the nature of two church-planting movements that successfully target U.S.-born Hispanics. Findings reveal that each movement came into being as a response to the linguistic and cultural distance between U.S.- born Hispanics and immigrants from Latin America. The data also reveal that a commitment to evangelize U.S.-born Hispanics obliged church leaders to reject the Spanish-speaking immigrant-church model in favor of more contextually appropriate approaches to ministry among English-dominant Hispanics who are reluctant to assimilate into dominant group churches.
The story of the woman caught in adultery represents a real event in the life of
Jesus but came into the manuscript tradition too late to earn canonical status.
Considering its use as canon by Catholics, Orthodox, and some Protestants,
and considering that it displays a theology consistent with the rest of the NT, it
appears as a benign expansion of the Gospels.
Based on exegesis of 2 Cor 12:1-10 and Rom 8:26-27, this study explores the Apostle Pauls mysterious experiences of prayer. The case is made for those in the Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement to be open to similar experiences should God grant them.
In response to Eckhard Schnabels reconstruction of the earliest churchs understanding of Torah observance in the church, this essay argues that Paul and the Jerusalem church came to recognize multiple ways to embody faith in Christ. Their discussions of Scripture and their experience of the Spirit led them to discern that different observances were appropriate for different ethnic groups. Paul argued for this diversity by insisting that the central and dominant identity of all must be their membership in Christ.
John Mark Hicks and Bobby Valentine, Kingdom Come: Embracing the Spiritual Legacy of David Lipscomb and James Harding
Gary Best, Charles Wesley: A Biography
Robert D. Linder, The Reformation Era
James Hudnut-Beumler, In Pursuit of the Almighty?s Dollar: A History of Money and American Protestantism
Tom P.S. Angier, Either Kierkegaard or Nietzsche: Moral Philosophy in a New Key
Denis Alexander and Robert S. White, Science, Faith, and Ethics: Grid or Gridlock?
Gerald R. McDermott, God?s Rivals: Why Has God Allowed Different Religions? Insights from the Bible and the Early Church
Kelly S. Johnson, The Fear of Beggars: Stewardship and Poverty in Christian Ethics
John D. Caputo, What Would Jesus Deconstruct?
Marie A. Conn, C.S. Lewis and Human Suffering: Light among the Scholars
Amos Yong, Theology and Down Syndrome: Reimagining Disability in Late Modernity
Jack Cottrell, Power from On High: What the Bible Says about the Holy Spirit
Sarah Coakley and Kay Kaufman Shelemay, eds., Pain and Its Transformations: The Interface of Biology and Culture
James K.A. Smith, Who?s Afraid of Postmodernism? Taking Derrida, Lyotard, and Foucault to Church
J. Andrew Kirk, Mission under Scrutiny: Confronting Contemporary Challenges
Robert E. Webber, Divine Embrace
Amy Laura Hall, Conceiving Parenthood: American Protestantism and the Spirit of Reproduction
Lynn S. Neal, Romancing God: Evangelical Women and Inspirational Fiction
David Crump, Knocking on Heaven?s Door: A New Testament Theology of Petitionary Prayer
David Crump, Knocking on Heaven?s Door: A New Testament Theology of Petitionary Prayer
Ronald J. Allen, Thinking Theologically: The Preacher as Theologian
Ben J. Katt, The Power of Persuasive Preaching
David Fleer and Dave Bland, eds., Preaching Mark?s Unsettling Messiah
Leland Ryken and Philip Graham Ryken, eds., The Literary Study Bible, ESV
Lee Martin McDonald, The Biblical Canon: Its Origin, Transmission, and Authority
Donald K. McKim, ed., Dictionary of Major Biblical Interpreters
Joseph A. Fitzmyer, S.J., The Interpretation of Scripture: In Defense of the Historical-Critical Method
Eugene Merrill, Everlasting Dominion: A Theology of the Old Testament
Timothy Pierce, Enthroned on Our Praise: An Old Testament Theology of Worship
Richard Hess, Israelite Religions
J.G. McConville and Karl Möller, eds., Reading the Law: Studies in Honour of Gordon J. Wenham
Mark Hahlen and Clay Ham, Minor Prophets, vol. 2: Nahum?Malachi
Mark A. Chancy, Greco-Roman Culture and the Galilee of Jesus
Jennifer A. Glancy, Slavery in Early Christianity
Alan P. Stanley, Did Jesus Teach Salvation by Works? The Role of Works in Salvation in the Synoptic Gospels
John Dominic Crossan, God and Empire: Jesus against Rome, Then and Now
Richard A. Horsley, Scribes, Visionaries, and the Politics of Second Temple Judaism
Matthew A. Elliott, Faithful Feelings: Rethinking Emotion in the New Testament
Kenneth E. Bailey, Jesus through Middle Eastern Eyes: Cultural Studies in the Gospels
Mark L. Strauss, Four Portraits, One Jesus: An Introduction to Jesus and the Gospels
Craig A. Evans, Fabricating Jesus: How Modern Scholars Distort the Gospels
Jan van der Watt, An Introduction to the Johannine Gospel and Letters
Richard J. Cassidy, Four Times Peter: Portrayals of Peter in the Four Gospels and at Philippi
Bruce J. Malina and John J. Pilch, Social-Science Commentary on the Book of Acts
Quotables for this issue were chosen by James Sedlacek, Graduate Student Cincinnati Christian University
"Stone chastised Christians who valued the form of baptism more highly that they valued justice for other human beings."
"I recalled the fact that the themes of nonviolence and peacemaking are central to the gospel itself."
"Through his preaching of the gospel Jesus simply made patent what was already latent in the Mosaic law."
"Hilary makes the further claim that the psalmist, by virtue of the charism of prophecy, grasped this christological dimension of the law and by meditation upon this was able to glimpse both the saving work of Christ and the eschatological rest that his second coming would usher in."
"People who want to reach Hispanics must move to the city, especially the inner-city."
"The cultural barrier between immigrant and native-born Hispanics is widened when second- and third- generation Latinos experience rejection at the hands of the immigrants."
"We may safely look on the pericope not as canonical, but as a benign expansion of the canon."
"Part of the mystery of prayer is that, in it, we are gifted with the divine assistance of the Second and Third person of the Trinity."
"What is really at issue between Paul and those who demanded that Jews eat separately from Gentiles in Antioch and who advocate Gentile circumcision (Philippians 3) is not Torah observance. Rather it is a question of which religious identity is definitive."
"Being 'in Christ' must include both Jews and Gentiles without either giving up those different identities."