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Volume 26 Issue 1

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Editor's Preface

This year's long, excessively hot summer is winding down here in Middle Tennessee. Brown and yellow leaves have started to fall into our yard. Next week's weather forecast remains in the 70's. It is the week after Labor Day. Football has begun. Baseball playoffs are near.

Summer's long past come to mind when my neighborhood group of kids would roam free outside, entertaining ourselves building treehouses, playing freeze tag or redlight-greenlight in a neighbor's backyard and occasionally pickup baseball at the nearby schoolyard. We did not remain inside much after lunch and did not return home for supper until we heard a parent call our name. We usually went back out after supper to play more, sometimes with a parent organizing something special but did not return until fireflies came out and porch lights started flickering.

Not much was on TV to draw us inside with only three network channels broadcasting game shows in the morning and soaps in the afternoon, and local station WGN (Chicago) broadcasting Cubs (and rarely White Sox) games in the afternoons. All of them ran reruns of the past year's regular programming on summer evenings.

Summers now for children seem to be characterized by captivity inside a series of boxes, no longer filled with vast hours to do whatever comes to mind outside. Hundreds of streaming sites and thousands of programs geared for every age make the big box in the family room easy to binge from one episode to the next. TikTok, Facebook, and texts lure older kids to keep their eyes glued to yet a smaller box. Parents monitor their kid's movements, TV and cell use, always. The attraction to remain inside the big box of the house looking at the other two boxes seems inevitable and entrenched.

Now days I spend my summers—and have for a long time—imprisoned inside my own box, my office, eyes geared to this monitor in a box. Summers are spent boxed in by a conference that needs to be planned, articles that needs to be edited, and many, many emails that need to be replied to or written. Perhaps the many of you who are professors or rising scholars see your summers as opportunities to work on research, articles, dissertations, or monographs—and read those books that call out to you expectantly from your shelves. You ministers are probably planning your preaching program for the next year that begins in the fall. Opportunities to exercise your freedom to function as a scholars and ministers can keep you imprisoned the whole summer.

Well, let's go outdoors! Get on a bike, take a walk--and take your kids with you. Sit in your yard, porch, even garage. Take your family camping, hiking, kayaking, fishing. Take some deep breaths, long looks, and listen to what God has made for us to enjoy. The boxes have their purposes for the summers these days I guess--but so does breaking out of them to the exhilaration that awaits--outside.

The three Stone-Campbell oriented articles that lead off this issue coincidentally all are coauthored. The first comes from SCJ assistant editor James Gorman and me in our effort to share with readers the highly deserved Stone-Campbell Journal Lifetime Achievement award presentation honoring Douglas Foster. Now retired and Emeritus Professor of History at Abilene Christian University, Doug continues to serve on the board of Stone-Cambell International which produces SCJ. His many list of honors and achievements are included in the article.

The second article is from James Estep of Lincoln Christian University and Richard Cherok of Ozark Christian University. Longtime friends and colleagues, these two teamed together to provide a valuable perspective for understanding Alexander Campbell's understanding of education. In our third article, Jason Zaiger of Exira, IA and John Young of Amridge University put together an article providing a unique slice of Stone-Campbell history featuring the state of Iowa.

The fourth article is from Aaron Monts, who graduated recently from the Johnson University Ph.D. program in leadership and resides in Seattle, WA. He narrates a compelling look at Critical Race Theory and its rise as a philosophy that provides a Black perspective on the history of America's racial heritage. Then he posits the benefit CRT could be to rebalance the history of the Stone-Campbell Movement. The article is an excellent step to answer my appeal in the Editor's Preface of SCJ 23.2 (Fall, 2020) to send articles that confront issues of race with depth and grace. Keep them coming!

The last three articles are deal with New Testament matters. Holly Carey, Point University, provides her plenary presentation from the 2022 SCJ Conference taking a closer look at the issues of discipleship that relate to Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38-42. Melvin Otey provides long-needed clarity on the vexing questing in John 18 on who does the text intend is the priest who interrogates Jesus. Finally, Ryan Harty, formerly a translator with Pioneer Translators now residing in Avon, IN, gives a compelling answer to the purpose of the angels who bring the messages to the seven churches.

Speaking of the SCJ conferences, the 23nd annual SCJ conference comes to Johnson University Tennessee in Knoxville, on April 12-13, 2024 (Friday, 8:00 AM-8:00 PM; Sat,8:00 AM-1:00 PM). Plenary and select study group sessions will be madeavailable via Zoom.

The theme is Exploring the Hermeneutics of Identity. Featured speakers include: Love Sechrist, Professor of Theology, Mount St. Mary's University, who will present: "Associative Hermeneutics: A Womanist Method for Biblical Ethics," and "Allies for Christ," A Womanist Theology of Solidarity in the Gospel of Matthew"; Miriam Perkins, Professor of History of Theology and Society, Emmanuel Christian Seminary at Milligan, who will present: "Fragrant Freedom: Calling Our BoundBrothers from Tomb to Table"; and Daniel Rodriguez, Professor of Religion andHispanic Studies, Pepperdine University, who will present: "Reading the New Testament in Hispanic/Immigrant Perspective."

Related papers or papers on other biblical, theological, or historical topics aresought for parallel sessions from experienced scholars as well as from student scholars(M.A./M.Div.). Send your paper title (no abstract needed) to Jeff Painter, ConferenceParallel Paper Coordinator, at absolutely no later than January 19, 2024. 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 following:
Acts and the Early Church (
Biblical Teaching on Women (
Christian Leadership (
Christian Spiritual Formation (
Ecclesiology & Social Ethics (
History and Theology of the Stone-Campbell Movement (
Life, Letters, and Legacy of Paul (
Old Testament in Ancient Near Eastern Context (
Pastoral Theology and Leadership (Replaces Christian Education) (
Patristics (
Synoptic Gospels (
To Ph.D. or Not: A Panel of Predecessors (

All Student Paper Competitions close on January 5, 2024. 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 win-ners. For the Isaac Errett competition, contact new coordinator Lisa Barnett ( The winner receives a cash award of $500. Both undergrad and gradpapers require a faculty sponsor; The Isaac Errett does not. If not ready yet, encourage a student and plan ahead for 2025!

This issue, expected to be out in the Spring was held up — again — I am sorry to say, by the very effort to catch up. We worked so hard on articles we ran past having enough book reviews ready and could do nothing else but wait for them to provide readers a full issue. We are diligently working to fix this but could certainly use the help of SCJ readers to send us articles and/or their interest in doing book reviews. Send articles or ideas for articles to me and book review interest to SCJ book review coordinator, James Sedlacek Be sure to include your email, phone, school or location, general area of interest (like NT), and special area of inter-est/research (like Paul or even Romans). He will get that information to our Book Review Selection Team who assign a quota of books each year in December/January.

William R. Baker, Editor



The fourth Stone-Campbell Journal Lifetime Achievement Award was presented at the 2023 SCJ Conference on Friday, April 14, following the second plenary session. The presentation was introduced by William Baker and followed by reflections from former student James Gorman about the recipient, Douglas A. Foster. The remarks are presented below, followed by selected portions of Dr. Foster’s c.v.



Alexander Campbell is widely recognized as an early-American advocate of educational reform, and many scholars have explored various aspects of his educational philosophy. Nearly everyone recognizes Campbell’s theology as one of the many aspects of his educational philosophy, but this paper contends that his theological ideas were not merely another influence upon his philosophy of education but the predominate influence upon both his educational objectives and his philosophy of education.



The history of the Stone-Campbell Movement in Iowa, especially that of the Disciples of Christ, has been chronicled previously in a few instances; yet there is room for a more up-to-date overview. Accordingly, this article outlines the movement’s origins in the state before spotlighting the role that Iowa’s institutions of higher education have played and closing with a short discussion of the state’s most notable contribution to the wider history of the movement: the twentieth-century reform effort known as the "Ottumwa Brethren."

Seattle, Washington


Critical Race Theory is exposing unreconciled racial wounds in the culture and churches of the United States. Villainized for revealing these wounds, an inquiring look at Critical Race Theory reveals a prophetic voice that calls upon the U.S. church to initiate an era of healing and restoration. The Stone-Campbell Movement, while not innocent, can lead the way forward through the words of notable, historical-thinking Alexander Campbell and stand on the side of "truth, intelligence, liberty, religion, and humanity."

Point University


Luke 10:38-42 explores the theme of female discipleship through the lens of Mary and Martha's encounter with Jesus. Rather than follow the common interpretation, which sees the passage as a critique of Martha’s busyness and an endorsement of Mary’s listening, Jesus’ response is understood as not prioritizing one expression of discipleship over the other. The problem is that Martha's question is wrongly put, forcing comparison and prioritization when a choice is not needed. The actions of the two women are both hallmarks of discipleship, and both of them model faithful discipleship in their hospitality and engagement with Jesus.

Faulkner University


The depiction of Jesus' inquisition before "the high priest" in John 18 is ambiguous. Scholars have long puzzled over the sequence of events and questioned whether Annas or Caiaphas is the examiner. They have sought to clarify the pericope by, among other approaches, rearranging the events grammatically or via textual emendation. This essay explores these approaches and concludes that a narrative-critical reading that preserves the traditional textual arrangement and credits John’s intended audience with a shared knowledge extending beyond the text, is preferable.

Pioneer Bible Translators


The letters to the seven churches in Revelation 2–3 are addressed to the churches’ respective angels. However, research into their identity or symbolic meaning has lacked clarity. The angels have been co-opted to support church hierarchy, guardian angels, church history epochs, or to take polemical jabs at the Greco-Roman gods. This article proposes that the angels point to the churches' heavenly identity, their heavenly ontology, and their continual existential presence before the throne of God. John’s Apocalypse is meant to pull back the veil on true reality, and the angels of the churches are an important piece of this unveiling. Rather than distractions of misfit epistolary genre, they are robust symbols meant to encourage a pressured first-century church.

Download book reviews for this issue.

Scott W. Sunquist, The Shape of Christian History: Continuity and Diversity in the Global Church
(James L. Gorman, Johnson University)

Andreas Wagner, God’s Body: The Anthropomorphic God in the Old Testament
(Joseph W. Mueller, Manhattan Christian College)

Jože Krašovec, God’s Righteousness and Justice in the Old Testament
(Walter D. Zorn, Lincoln Christian University)

Brad East, The Church’s Book: Theology of Scripture in Ecclesial Context
(Rob O’Lynn, Kentucky Christian University)

Lamar Hardwick, Disability and the Church: A Vision for Diversity and Inclusion
(Cana Moore, Hays, Kansas)

Rory Noland, Transforming Worship: Planning and Leading Sunday Services as if Spiritual Formation Matters
(Mark S. Krause, Papillion, Nebraska)

Michelle R. Loyd-Paige and Michelle D. Williams, Diversity Playbook: Recommendations and Guidance for Christian Organizations
(Tyson Chastain, Johnson University)

M. Daniel Carroll R., The Lord Roars: Recovering the Prophetic Voice for Today
(Samuel Guy, Emmanuel Christian Seminary)

Douglas A. Hill, Cultural Architecture: A Path to Creating Vitalized Congregations
(Mason Lee, Abilene Christian University)

Gregg R. Allison, 40 Questions about Roman Catholicism
(David W. Fletcher, Coffee County, Tennessee)

Kate Ott, Sex, Tech & Faith
(Heather L. Bunce, Great Lakes Christian College)

John D. Meade and Peter J. Gurry, Scribes and Scripture: The Amazing Story of How We Got the Bible
(Jeff Miller, Milligan University)

Richard E. Averbeck, The Old Testament Law for the Life of the Church: Reading the Torah in the Light of Christ
(Daryl L. Docterman, Southeastern University)

Gordon P. Hugenberger, with Nancy L. Erickson, Basics of Akkadian: A Grammar, Workbook, and Glossary
(Adam L. Bean, Emmanuel Christian Seminary)

Gregg Davidson and Kenneth J. Turner, The Manifold Beauty of Genesis One: A Multi-Layered Approach
(Ryan E. Eidson, Central Christian College of the Bible)

William A. Tooman with Marian Kelsey, (Re)reading Ruth
(Paavo N. Tucker, Lipscomb University)

Gary Holloway, Psalms: Hymns of God’s People
(Dave Bland, Harding School of Theology)

James K. Hoffmeier, The Prophets of Israel: Walking the Ancient Paths
(David W. Fletcher, Coffee County, Tennessee)

Alice Mathews, Gender Roles and the People of God: Rethinking What We Were Taught about Men and Women in the Church
(Dawn Gentry, Omaha, Nebraska)

Richard A. Wright, A Reader in Biblical Greek
(Carl Bridges, Johnson University)

Mair E. Lloyd and Steven Hunt, Communicative Approaches for Ancient Languages
(James E. Sedlacek, Israel Institute of Biblical Studies)

Francis Watson, What Is a Gospel?
(Frank E. Dicken, Lincoln Christian University)

Stanley E. Porter and Ron C. Fay, eds., Luke-Acts in Modern Interpretation
(Melvin L. Otey, Faulkner University)

Stephen Westerholm, Romans: Text, Readers, and the History of Interpretation
(Rafael Rodriguez, Johnson University)

William S. Campbell, Romans: A Social Identity Commentary
(Jerry L. Sumney, Lexington Theological Seminay)

Dean Flemming, Foretaste of the Future: Reading Revelation in Light of God’s Mission
(Les Hardin, Johnson University)


Chosen by Anna Konstantopoulos
Emmanuel Christian Seminary at Milligan
26.1 Quotables
View Quotables from Other Issues Here

Featured Quote:

"For Campbell, education’s ultimate aim was focused on humanity — not a student-centered philosophy, but one focused on transformation of the individual, and ultimately society."

James Riley Estep, Jr. and Richard Cherok, "The Theological Foundations of Alexander Campbell’s Educational Philosophy" (SCJ 26.1:25)

"Campbell consistently insists that the Bible, God’s revelation to humanity, must be an essential component of all education and not merely within the framework of theological schools."

James Riley Estep, Jr. and Richard Cherok, "The Theological Foundations of Alexander Campbell’s Educational Philosophy" (SCJ 26.1:20)

"Though their efforts are not as thoroughly documented in the historical sources, Black members of the Stone-Campbell Movement played important roles in Iowa’s religious history."

Jason Zaiger and John Young, "The History of the Stone-Campbell Movement in Iowa" (SCJ 26.1:37)

"The historical account demonstrates that the Stone-Campbell Movement in Iowa thrived as its early foothold expanded from growing congregations to vibrant places of higher education."

Jason Zaiger and John Young, "The History of the Stone-Campbell Movement in Iowa" (SCJ 26.1:39)

"While Stone recognized the biblical and moral evils of slavery, Campbell equivocated as he attempted to stake a middle ground on slavery, focusing more on appeasement as he pursued his greater goal of Christian unity in preparation for Christ’s return."

Aaron Monts, "Critical Race Theory: A Prophetic Voice for the Church and the Stone-Campbell Movement" (SCJ 26.1:51)

"The sin of complacency perpetuates the wrong whereby responsibility for the original offense is transferred to any who happen upon the plight of the suffering."

Aaron Monts, "Critical Race Theory: A Prophetic Voice for the Church and the Stone-Campbell Movement" (SCJ 26.1:62)

"Once again, Jesus is looking at the heart rather than the kind of outward piety that can so easily lead to legalism, action that is merely performative, and even an outright rejection of him."

Holly J Carey, "Discipleship as Action in Luke 10:38-42: Be a Mary and a Martha" (SCJ 26.1:76)

"And for those who might be dealing with clinical anxiety, what a relief it is to know that Jesus values their service to him and that he has compassion toward them when anxieties threaten their relationships to God and others."

Holly J Carey, "Discipleship as Action in Luke 10:38-42: Be a Mary and a Martha" (SCJ 26.1:78)

"But if John reports a preliminary examination by Annas, then John potentially references a third Jewish hearing prior to Jesus’ Roman trial and ultimate execution."

Melvin L. Otey, "Jesus’ High Priestly Inquisitor in John Eighteen" (SCJ 26.1:84)

"One is immediately confronted with difficulties in chronologically reconstructing the legal proceedings against Jesus, in part, because the Fourth Gospel presents the first data point—an appearance before Caiaphas’s father-in-law, Annas—and the passage is ambiguous regarding the precise identity of the inquisitor John discusses."

Melvin L. Otey, "Jesus’ High Priestly Inquisitor in John Eighteen" (SCJ 26.1:95)

"If the throne of God is the anchor of all reality, and the church existentially surrounds God’s throne, then the church manifested on earth is indeed more firmly rooted in reality than the surrounding culture."

Ryan James Harty, "The Dilemma of Angelic Addresses in Revelation 2–3" (SCJ 26.1:104)

"Jesus through John addresses his church via angels to remind his people that they are existentially seated with him in glory already, though they endure patiently in their respective corporeal realities."

Ryan James Harty, "The Dilemma of Angelic Addresses in Revelation 2–3" (SCJ 26.1:104)

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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
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Jeff Painter
Conference Paper Coordinator & Copyeditor
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