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Volume 25 Issue 1

Editor's Preface

This week marks the first Autumn I have not turned from the freedom of Summer to the routine of school since kindergarten. With new pencils ready to go, off I went to Whittier Elementary School in 1956 to begin what would turn out to be my forever academic career that just ended this past Spring with my retirement from teaching online graduate courses at Hope International University. Little did I know then that I would love school so much that I would never want to stop, that after high school in 1969 I would seek new academic adventure outside the familiarity of my hometown in Waukegan, IL. As an ardent Christian from a Christian home, Bible college at Lincoln Christian College seemed the right place to go. There I would discover my love for studying the Bible deeply, and then sparked by academic success and one passing comment by Tom Ewald, Student Dean and Academic Professor, calling me “a theologian,” to take the step into graduate school.

Graduate school began at Lincoln but within a year continued in the wider Christian climate at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, IL, fortunately just thirty-five minutes from Waukegan. There I would find myself in the world of evangelicalism and come to appreciate what that means. I would grow to respect a wider swath of church affiliations other than my own. Being only the third person at TEDS from the Stone-Campbell tradition, I quickly learned to explain who we are and what we stand for to inquisitive classmates. I was challenged academically in classes like I had not been previously and took classes from people who were at the early stages of becoming world-class scholars in biblical studies like Walter Kaiser, Grant Osborne, and especially Murray J. Harris, who was not only the most exacting professor I ever had but who also offered the most humble and worshipful prayers before every class I have ever witnessed.

Academic success at TEDS led to my belief that a career in New Testament studies was what God wanted from me. So, away my wife Joni and I went to Aberdeen, Scotland, where for four years I worked with Howard Marshall and Robin Barbour to develop and complete a thesis on “Personal Speech-Ethics in the Epistle of James” for my Ph.D. in NT. Dr. Marshall was at the height of his recognition as the top New Testament scholar in the U.K. (on the shoulders of the eminent F. F. Bruce) at that time, and you could see why. Riding into the University from the outskirts of Aberdeen nearly every day on his plain bicycle, he chaired the Divinity department, taught classes, and worked on his research and writing. A small and humble man devoted to his family and his tiny Methodist church, to look at him one would never guess the tremendous impact of his many commentaries and other academic writings to students of the Bible around the world. But the time there was so much more than the University and my studies. The entire experience of being in a beautiful city built of all granite that glistened in the bright sun (when it was out) with the opportunity to tour stunning Scotland, but also England, France, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, and Yugoslavia was all amazingly enriching.

Back in America with twin boys for us to raise, my teaching career started at Mid-South Christian College, beginning in Senatobia, MS and later moving to Memphis, TN. A very small school, but it gave me the opportunity to teach nearly every New Testament book and also NT Greek to small classes of bright students who helped form my casual way of teaching in the style of a small group Bible study in the round. Saint Louis Christian College, a good school that to my delight brought in amazingly interesting students from Singapore, South Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Australia, and Russia, also had a faculty that worked together well. SLCC funded early lectureships I organized that eventually hatched into the Stone-Campbell Conference and Stone-Campbell Journal itself, to which my heart and soul have been attached for the last twenty-five years.

When our sons finished high school and went off to their respective colleges in Louisville and Pennsylvania, they followed my trek into the Eastern Time Zone where I had begun teaching for the Graduate School of historic Cincinnati Christian University. CCU was the first Bible College of our middling stream of the Stone-Campbell Movement and at its heart--together with Standard Publishing Company and the North American Christian Convention--both headquartered in the city. Now teaching graduate students only, I reveled in the opportunity to teach students completely at the level in which I was thinking. Challenged by their questions and pushed by our conversations, it was a period of noticeable growth in my own understanding and hopefully intellectually stimulation for them. Especially so was the third course in the New Testament Greek program. Required only for Biblical Studies majors, we exegeted the biblical text (Galatians, Ephesians, or James) together in Greek (using only established Greek syntax as interpretive parameters), each one of us representing the views of a different commentary. We learned together as collaborators on a project, seeking the riches of biblical study at its deepest level.

The last stop was a complete transmission and emersion into online teaching at Hope International University. The wonders of the internet and the advanced state of HIU's online program made this a fascinating and rewarding experience. With my speaking voice showing signs of weakening at this point, a dramatic shift in my teaching environment like this was career saving. With visits to Fullerton, CA, twice annually, I was welcomed into a faculty of ambitious teachers and scholars with whom I had the joy of administering two Faculty Forums a year. One of us would share a paper each time, a chapter in a thesis or book, or some aspect of our teaching that we would vigorously discuss. This is something I had always thought should happen with faculty in order to showcase and bolster the academic scholar part of faculty advancement. At HIU we did this well, and I felt satisfied to close out my teaching career with them. Plus, who can complain about getting to fly to Southern California from Ohio twice a year?

I guess this reads like the preface to a biography. However, it is intended at a glimpse into a very satisfying academic life that God has blessed, not unlike the path of many SCJ readers. I am sure that some of you are like me, nearly at the end of careers teaching biblical and theological studies at Christian educational institutions, and reflecting—on schools, on former students, on files of teaching notes. Some of you are at the beginning, preparing to teach college or graduate courses for the first time. Others at the middle, course notes all in place, just anticipating the students you will have for the Fall semester ahead after doing some writing over the summer. Still, some are still preparing, working toward advanced degrees. I sit here with a tinge of envy, missing the thrill of anticipating a new academic year. Missing going to school with my pencils. But I am happy for you. Have a great year! May God grant you a great teaching year that fulfills his special concern for strong and capable teachers (James 3:1).

We have many very important articles in this issue that touch on contemporary issues, certainly unusual for a scholarly, academic journal like SCJ. The first article takes a step in fulfilling a goal for SCJ that I wrote about in the preface to SCJ 23.2 (Fall, 2020) to encourage submissions that address issues of concern to issues of race. So, I am pleased that new consulting editor, Wes Crawford (Abilene Christian University) profiles James Fowler and the Central Church of Christ in downtown Birmingham and how they responded to being a target in the earliest days civil rights movements in 1963. This issue also features reviews of two books of interest to racial justice issues. Abby Gibson reviews Anthea Bulter, White Evangelical Racism: The Politics of Morality in America (University of North Carolina Press, 2021). I review a book that provides social and theological analysis of the current trend to remove Confederate statues, called Cut in Stone: Confederate Monuments and Theological Disruption (Baylor University Press, 2020) by Thomas Andrew Newson.

In our second article that addresses current concerns, Michael Strickland provides an historical glimpse at the debates about carrying guns among people of the Stone-Campbell Movement found in leading magazines like the Gospel Advocate, edited by J. W. McGarvey, in the decades following the Civil War, plus two shocking shooting incidents involving church members carrying guns.

Among other important articles, Zach Breitenbach tackles what he calls “emotional doubt” with an apologetic approach to help a person who admits the truth regarding the “facts” of Christianity but who struggles getting over an emotional impediment. Also, Mathew Hale draws upon theologian Bernard Lonergan and his student, Robert M. Doran, to provide the needed link between Christian theology and social-ecological recovery. Stan Helton meticulously analyzes a recently discovered manuscript of Origen's homilies on the Psalms to reveal that the Greek term yavllein, contrary to earlier, convincing conclusions of Everett Ferguson, did include singing with instruments. Finally, Amy Lindeman Allen reprises her refreshing look at familiar gospel texts from her 2022 SCJ Conference plenary address on Jesus' attitude toward the children who must have been among the crowds always around him and the disciples who travelled with him.

With the 2023 SCJ Conference coming again this Spring, take note of the following information:

The 22nd annual SCJ conference remains at Johnson University Tennessee in Knoxville, on April 14-15, 2023 (Friday, 8:00 AM-8:00 PM; Sat, 8:00 AM-1:00 PM). Plenary and study group sessions will be made available via Zoom.

The theme is Alexander Campbell and His Personal Relationships: Wife, African Americans, Friends, and Opponents. Featured speakers include: Douglas A. Foster, Scholar in Residence, Abilene Christian University, who will present: “Alexander Campbell and Barton W. Stone: Fellow Reformers and Theological Opponents,” and “A Catholic Bishop, an Atheist, and Alexander Campbell: Three Unlikely Companions in Reform”; Loretta Hunnicutt, Professor of History, Pepperdine University, who will present “Selina Campbell: Fellow Soldier in the Cause of Restoration” and Edward Robinson, Associate Professor of History and Religion, Texas College, who will present “Alexander Campbell and African Americans: His Attitude and His Movement.”

Related papers or 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 Jeff Painter, Conference Parallel Paper Coordinator, at absolutely no later than January 23, 2023. The first 35 paper topics submitted are guaranteed a slot. After that it will depend on rooms available and cancelled papers.

Study groups open for paper submissions include the followin

All Student Paper Competitions close on January 6, 2023. Student Paper Competitions occur in three categories: Junior/Senior; M.A./M.Div., and Restoration (Isaac Errett Award from the Disciples of Christ Historical Society). Contact Adam Bean ( to indicate your interest and to obtain the competition rules (also available on the SCJ website) for the undergrad and grad competition, and also receive information on the $2500 scholarship available to both undergrad and grad winners. For the Isaac Errett competition, contact new coordinator Lisa Barnett ( The winner receives a cash award of $250. Both undergrad and grad papers require a faculty sponsor, though the Isaac Errett does not.


William R. Baker, Editor

Abilene Christian University


James Fowler served as Preaching Minister for the Central Church of Christ in Birmingham, Alabama, during the pivotal years of the American Civil Rights Movement. Described as a champion of equality by some and as a white racist by others, Fowler’s legacy remains ambiguous and complex. This study, which arises from a thorough investigation of Fowler’s personal papers, offers a fresh look at one of the quintessential silent white leaders of mid-twentieth-century Churches of Christ.

Amridge University


Much has been written about the anti-war stances of David Lipscomb and the Gospel Advocate in the post-Civil-War-era, but the position of the man and the periodical regarding the carrying of weapons has yet to be studied. This essay explores the position of the Gospel Advocate in the David Lipscomb era vis-à-vis the use of guns by Christians. Lipscomb’s fundamental objections to the use of “carnal weapons” by Christians were scripturally based, related to his views on Christians and war, and ultimately an issue of faith.

Connection Pointe Christian Church, Brownsburg, Indiana


The most common type of religious doubt experienced by Christian believers is emotional doubt, which has to do with how one feels about what is being doubt- ed. Such doubts often involve one admitting that the factual evidence for the truth of Christianity is strong and yet still struggling with intense anxiety over the mere possibility that Christianity may be false. A two-pronged method that is both biblical and rational can treat this sort of doubt.

Abilene Christian University


This article outlines a theology of social grace drawn from the work of Bernard Lonergan and Robert M. Doran, which provides an interlocking set of categories with which to interpret theologically the historical data of social-ecological recovery. Central categories are drawn from Lonergan’s four-point hypothesis, the scale of preference, and the structure of the human good, which are then used to suggest ways to understand the history of social-ecological recovery

Alberta Bible College


Churches of Christ have long found confirmation for their non-instrumental approach to music for gathered worship in the belief that the early church took the term yavllein (psallein) to mean “to sing.” This view, chiefly supported by the work of patristic scholar Everett Ferguson, is being tested by Joseph Trigg’s new translation of a recently rediscovered manuscript containing twenty-nine of Origen’s psalm homilies. This article, in examining Origen’s use of the word, particularly in his homilies on Pss 67 and 80 (Ps 81 in the Hebrew and English) demonstrates Origen assumed the range of meaning for yavllein included the use of musical instruments. In fact, he expected his audience to share this understanding to pick up on points he made in his homilies, includ- ing his analogy between instruments in the hands of musicians and the church in God’s hands.

Christian Theological Seminary


Christian theologies often take for granted that Jesus is unique within his cul- tural context in his caring for young children. This paper challenges that he was unique in his attitude by demonstrating that affection for children was common in first-century Roman and Jewish contexts. Arguing that children were present among Jesus’ disciples, this paper focuses on the experiences of actu- al children in the Jesus movement as it re-reads the familiar passages associated with Jesus’ teachings about children: Jesus calling little children unto him (Matt 19:13-15 // Mark 10:13-16 // Luke 18:15-17) and the child in the midst (Matt 18:1-7 // Mark 9:33-37 // Luke 9:46-48). This examination of these texts shows that the teachings of Jesus on children and the realm of God are both about children, and also for children.

Download book reviews for this issue.

Jack R. Reese, At the Blue Hole: Elegy for a Church on the Edge
(David Duncan, Houston Texas)

Filipp Nikitin, V. A Pashkov (1831–1902: Zhizn' i Sluzhenie [V. A.Pashkov (1831–1902): Life and Ministry]
(Sharyl Corrado, Pepperdine University)

Katherine Carté, Religion and the American Revolution: An Imperial History
(John Young, Amridge University)

Anthea Butler, White Evangelical Racism: The Politics of Morality in America
(Abby M. Gibson, University of Southern California–Huntington)

Thomas Andrew Newson, Cut in Stone: Confederate Monuments and Theological Disruption
(William Baker, Editor, Stone Campbell Journal)

Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen, An Introduction to Ecclesiology: Historical, Global, and Interreligious Perspectives
(Rob O'Lynn, Kentucky Christian University)

David McLachlan, Accessible Atonement: Disability, Theology, and the Cross of Christ
(Shaun C. Brown, Garland, Texas)

Norman Wirzba, This Sacred Life: Humanity's Place in a Wounded World
(Wade Casey, Loyola University Chicago)

Makoto Fujimura, Art and Faith: A Theology of Making
(Jennifer Allen Craft, Point University)

Brad East, The Doctrine of Scripture
(C. Leonard Allen, Lipscomb University; Lauren S. White, Lipscomb University)

John J. Collins, What Are Biblical Values? What the Bible Says on Key Ethical Issues
(Dave Bland, Harding School of Theology)

Nancy Wang Yuen and Deshonna Collier-Goubil, eds., Power Women: Stories of Motherhood, Faith & the Academy
(Nadya Williams, University of West Georgia)

Chad R. Abbott and Teresa Blythe, Incline Your Ear: Cultivating Spiritual Awakening in Congregations
(Paul D. Potter, Kentucky Christian University, Emmanuel Christian Seminary)

Khalia J. Williams and Mark A. Lamport, Theological Foundations of Worship: Biblical, Systematic, and Practical Perspectives
(Cana Moore, Hays, Kansas)

Andrew Root, The Congregation in the Secular Age: Keeping Sacred Time against the Speed of Modern Life
(Gary S. Selby, Emmanuel Christian Seminary)

Felicia Wu Song, Restless Devices: Recovering Personhood, Presence, and Place in the Digital Age
(Mason Lee, Abilene Christian University)

Richard Briggs, The Lord Is My Shepherd: Psalm 23 for the Life of the Church
(Dave Bland, Harding School of Theology)

Sunggu A. Yang, Arts and Preaching: An Aesthetic Homiletic for the Twenty-First Century
(Rob O'Lynn, Kentucky Christian University)

Charles L. Campbell, The Scandal of the Gospel: Preaching and the Grotesque
(Justin Butler, Highland Christian Church, Kentucky Christian University)

Jack Levison, A Boundless God: The Spirit according to the Old Testament
(John C. Nugent, Great Lakes Christian College)

Gilbert Meilaender, Thy Will Be Done: The Ten Commandments and the Christian Life
(Don Sanders, St. Charles, Missouri)

Konrad Schmid, A Historical Theology of the Hebrew Bible
(J. Blair Wilgus, Hope International University)

Sung Jin Park, The Fundamentals of Hebrew Accents: Divisions and Exegetical Roles beyond Syntax
(Daryl Docterman, Southeastern University)

Gary D. Pratico and Miles V. Van Pelt. The Vocabulary Guide to Biblical Hebrew and Aramaic: 2nd Ed.
(Michael Kolby Pinkston, Emmanuel Christian Seminary)

Walter Brueggemann, Delivered into Covenant: Pivotal Moments in the Book of Exodus
(Part Two)
(Joe M. Sprinkle, Johnson University)

Gregg Davidson and Kenneth J. Turner, The Manifold Beauty of Genesis One: A Multi-Layered Approach
(Joseph W. Mueller, Manhattan Christian College)

L. Juliana Claasens and Irmtraud Fischer, eds., Prophecy and Gender in the Hebrew Bible
(John C. Poirier, Germantown, Ohio)

Isabelle Hamley, God of Justice and Mercy: A Theological Commentary on Judges
(Jennifer M. Matheny, Nazarene Theological Seminary)

James K. Hoffmeier, The Prophets of Israel: Walking in the Ancient Paths
(Dale W. Manor, Harding University)

John Goldingay, The Book of Jeremiah
(Phillip G. Camp, Lipscomb University)

Stuart Weeks, Ecclesiastes 5–12: A Critical and Exegetical Commentary
(Paavo Tucker, Lipscomb University)

Peter Oakes, Empire, Economics, and the New Testament
(Tyler Hallstrom, Central Christian College of the Bible)

Nijay K. Gupta and Scot McKnight, eds., The State of New Testament Studies: A Survey of Recent Research
(Rollin A. Ramsaran, Emmanuel Christian Seminary)

Catherine Conybeare and Simon Goldhill, eds., Classical Philology and Theology: Entanglement, Disavowal, and the Godlike Scholar
(James E. Sedlacek, Israel Institute of Biblical Studies)

Klaas Bentein and Mark Janse, eds., Varieties of Postclassical and Byzantine Greek
(James E. Sedlacek, Israel Institute of Biblical Studies)

Dorothy A. Lee, The Ministry of Women in the New Testament: Reclaiming the Biblical Vision for Church Leadership
(Jeff Miller, Milligan University)

Alicia D. Myers, An Introduction to the Gospels and Acts
(Tyler Hallstrom, Central Christian College of the Bible)

Martha Moore-Keish, James
(William Baker, Editor, Stone Campbell Journal)


Chosen by Kelly Tyrrell
First Congregational Church UCC, Crete, NE
25.1 Quotables
View Quotables from Other Issues Here

Featured Quote:

"He not only took the middle path, he "baptized" the middle path."

Wes Crawford, "James Fowler: The White Moderate and the American Civil Rights Movement" (SCJ 25.1:6)

"He not only took the middle path, he "baptized" the middle path. He described it as the most holy and NT-endorsed option between the two extremes: the violence perpetrated by the Ku Klux Klan and the peaceful agitations by King and others."

"Perhaps he ran out of time and cut his remarks short. Perhaps he mistakenly overlooked this example in his manuscript. Or, perhaps here we have a hallmark of white moderates: they know what needs to be said, but they cannot bring themselves to say it."

Wes Crawford, "James Fowler: The White Moderate and the American Civil Rights Movement" (SCJ 25.1:6)

"To Lipscomb, the principle of nonviolence applied to individual conflicts as well as wars between nations. To trust in carnal weapons for protection demonstrated a lack of faith in God."

Michael Strickland, "David Lipscomb, God, and Guns" (SCJ 25.1:19)

"Lipscomb agreed wholeheartedly with the sentiment against Christians carrying guns in public, though he rejected the call for legislation to solve the problem. His issue with the idea was not that laws are ineffective, per se, but that the very government of the United States was illegitimately based on power acquired through violence and bloodshed."

Michael Strickland, "David Lipscomb, God, and Guns" (SCJ 25.1:23)

"The Spirit is integral to ensuring the conditions are met that allow for belief in the gospel to be warranted"

Zachary Breitenbach, "Leveraging Pascal's Wager and Reformed Epistemology" (SCJ 25.1:37)

"But, so long as Christianity is true, one's belief in the gospel can be warranted even apart from one weighing out factual evidence because God designed humanity so that in our environment—when our cognitive faculties are working properly and are not impeded by sin—we are able to know that the gospel is true because of the Spirit's self-authenticating testimony."

Zachary Breitenbach, "Leveraging Pascal's Wager and Reformed Epistemology" (SCJ 25.1:37)

"Because human communities are implicated in vast interconnected ecological systems, a theology of social grace can be complete only if it takes these systems into account."

Matthew B. Hale, "Lonergan, Doran, Grace, and Ecology: Towards a Theological Historiography of Socio-Ecological Recovery" (SCJ 25.1:42)

"The point being, the downward movement of social grace, from the participation and imitation of the divine relations at the level of religious value all the way down the redistribution of vital values, will be mediated at crucial junctures by the creation, transformation, or dissolution of the institutions and/or their relations within the good of order."

Matthew B. Hale, "Lonergan, Doran, Grace, and Ecology: Towards a Theological Historiography of Socio-Ecological Recovery" (SCJ 25.1:49)

"Even though Origen is making a figurative, metaphorical, or spiritual point, for him, in this text, Ψαλλλειν means to play an instrument."

Stanley N. Helton, PhD, "Origen on the Meaning of Ψαλλλειν in Codex Monacensis Graecus 314" (SCJ 25.1:71)

"Wouldn't it be good to steer clear of violent verses especially when there are so many friendlier passages in the Bible emphasizing God's love, mercy, and grace? I think not. In fact, I believe it is terribly unwise to ignore these troubling texts."

Stanley N. Helton, PhD, "Origen on the Meaning of Ψαλλλειν in Codex Monacensis Graecus 314" (SCJ 25.1:73)

"This childist lens, by shifting the focus of reading from adults to children, ascribes agency and voice to children, fills in gaps around their experiences, and explores the interplay between the concomitant value and vulnerability of children in this first-century Mediterranean environment."

Amy Lindeman Allen, "Did Jesus Love the Little Children: An Exploration of Jesus' Teaching on Children in the Synoptic Gospel Accounts" (SCJ 25.1:85)

"Child-centered, or childist, interpretation seeks to learn equally from both the children and the adults in the biblical texts by paying attention to the presence and experience of all of the characters in the story, beginning with the children, who are too frequently forgotten or assumed to be adults."

Amy Lindeman Allen, "Did Jesus Love the Little Children: An Exploration of Jesus' Teaching on Children in the Synoptic Gospel Accounts" (SCJ 25.1:95)

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Volume 26 Issue 1

Current Issue:
VOLUME 26, No. 1
Spring 2023



William R. Baker
SCJ Editor 

James Sedlacek
Review Coordinator

Betsy Chastain
Conference Registration & Subscription Manager
(513) 284-5835

Joni Sullivan Baker
Director of Development and Communications

Jeff Painter
Conference Paper Coordinator & Copyeditor
Advertising Manager