In June, 2002, InterVarsity Press will publish Evangelicalism & the Stone- Campbell Movement. This is an event that gives me immense personal satisfaction but also has significance for all of us who are involved in the Stone- Campbell Restoration Movement. As editor of SCJ and as editor of this new volume, I have watched both take shape in tandem over the last six years.
SCJs first publication appeared Spring, 1998, but we began getting organized a couple of years earlier as a joint effort of scholars in Christian Churches (independent) and Churches of Christ (a cappella). The articles in this new IVP book begin in the same time period and also from Christian Church and Churches of Christ scholars. It represents five years of presentations made at the Stone-Campbell Adherents Study Group, which first met at the 1996 Evangelical Theological Society Annual Meeting in Jackson, MS. Paul Pollard, Harding University, an editor of SCJ, and I were co-conveners of these sessions for the first few years until we expanded to a board which now includes Ed Myers, Harding University, and Bob Kurka, Lincoln Christian College.
Evangelicalism & the Stone-Campbell Movement contains fourteen articles, covering the early and current historical relationship with evangelicalism, issues of difference surrounding conversion theology, and perspectives on the church. Ed Myers (Harding University) and I analyze the historical situations from the vantage point of Churches of Christ and Christian Churches respectively. Jack Cottrell (Cincinnati Bible Seminary) and John Mark Hicks (Lipscomb University) deal with the role of faith in conversion. Tom Alexander (Harding University), Bob Kurka (Lincoln Christian College), and an evangelical responder, Craig Blomberg (Denver Seminary), tackle the role of the Holy Spirit in conversion. Jim Baird (Oklahoma Christian University), Jon Weatherly (Cincinnati Bible College and Seminary), and evangelical responder H. Wayne House develop the role of baptism in conversion. Finally, Everett Ferguson (Abilene Christian University), Bob Lowery (Lincoln Christian Seminary), Gary Holloway (Lipscomb University), and evangelical responder Stan Grenz (Carey Theological College and Regent College) reflect on models of the church.
I encourage you to check out the ad later in this issue and look for this book in your local or college bookstore or order from IVP online (ivpress.com). This book is unique in its careful analysis on issues of importance to those in the Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement. It could fill a niche as a supplementary text in Restoration History and Restoration Theology courses.
I am also excited about the articles in this issue of SCJ. Robert Hull, respected NT Professor, Emmanuel School of Religion, leads off with an article that challenges readers to take seriously the human ingredient embedded in the Bible as we have it today. Gary Hall, Professor of OT, Lincoln Christian Seminary, provides a much-needed critique from an authority on the OT of the at times perplexing treatment of the OT by Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement leaders of the 19th century. Ralph Hawkins, Calhoun Community College, presents a moderate proposal for viewing those who practice infant baptism, a vexing issue in the Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement since the days of Campbell. Ron Highfield, Professor of Religion, Pepperdine University, critiques the argumentation of a growing, evangelical perspective on God, called open theism. SCJ has reviewed key books published in this area, including Greg Boyd, God of the Possible (4.1), John Cobb and Clark Pinnock, Searching for an Adequate God (4.1), John Sanders, The God Who Risks (2.2), Greg Boyd, God at War (2.1). Jon Weatherly, an SCJ editor and Professor of NT, Cincinnati Bible College and Seminary, follows up with an in-depth look at the Jewish background of baptism and offers an intriguing framework for interpreting baptism in Acts.
Gary Halls article will be featured at a special SCJ-sponsored event at the North American Christian Convention in Columbus, OH. On Wednesday afternoon, June 26, 3:15-4:30, Gary, along with Paul Kissling (Great Lakes Christian College), will present The Old Testament in the Stone-Campbell Movement: A Questionable Past but a Promising Future. If you are coming to NACC, be sure to attend.
Some of you may have noticed renewal and subscription information in the past year coming from Pam Ralls. If you receive a phone call from her, it means you have not returned either the renewal letter sent directly to you or the one in your last issue. Please give her the opportunity to renew you over the phone, so you dont miss the next issue. Subscriptions are nearing 600, but we want to keep you all as loyal subscribers.
Finally, I am pleased to announce that as of January 1, 2002, I have joined the faculty of Cincinnati Bible Seminary as Professor of New Testament. I remain living in St. Louis for a while. Until further notice, correspondence should be sent to 15668 94th Avenue, Florissant, MO, 63034. I will be gradually shifting my e-mail over from firstname.lastname@example.org to email@example.com. Phone contact should be at 314-837-5061.
William R. Baker, Editor
The founders and heirs of the Stone-Campbell movement have strenuously insisted that the Bible is their only authority for faith and practice, often coupling this claim with an explicit rejection of man-made creeds and opinions. This essay argues that the formation of the canon, the reconstruction of critical Hebrew and Greek Bible texts, and the interpretation of the Bible all depend on fallible human decisions. We would have no closed canon, no critical texts, no Bible translations, and no way of making important decisions about congregational practice without the aid of human tradition.
The Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement traditionally does not hold the OT in high esteem, for the church is a NT church. A survey of the attitudes of the nineteenth-century founding fathers reveals the genesis of this perspective. Alexander Campbell set the tone by his Sermon on the Law and other writings. His emphasis on three dispensations and eight covenants put the OT into a salvation-historical, progressive revelation perspective. Christ was the interpretative key to the OT and typology was a key hermeneutical principle. All the other nineteenth-century leaders followed Campbell in this approach. The OT was very important and full of valuable insights for understanding the NT but it had no authority on its own. This position became further hardened in the controversy over instrumental music near the close of the nineteenth century.
Those within Churches of Christ (a cappella) and Christian Churches (independent) who want to widen their circle of fellowship must cope with the issue of infant baptism. Opening the discussion involves how believers baptism came to be practiced in the early Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement, noting that the introduction of adult immersion was, to some degree, a culturally conditioned response, a sensible pledge, in the face of the mourners bench theology of conversion that abounded in the nineteenth century. Adult, believers baptism, which became the point of salvation, has caused most within Churches of Christ (a cappella) and Christian Church (independent) who hold this view to be uncomfortable with the idea of considering people who practice infant baptism fellow Christians. Some of the arguments for the practice of infant baptism, such as the concept of prevenient grace, the baptism of households, the meaning of baptizo, and baptisms analogy to the rite of circumcision, deserve honest consideration. The two views of baptism are not so exclusive as often thought, sharing the same purpose and similar dangers.
In common with most Protestant groups, the Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement has read Acts with the assumption that what the book narrates, it asserts as normative. Such an approach neglects consideration of the author's purpose. Acts in fact presents Jesus as the fulfillment of God's promises to Israel for universal redemption and Jesus' followers as those through whom God continues that redemptive work in the world. Within this purpose, conversion narratives appear less to indicate how one becomes a Christian and more to suggest that the Christian gospel fulfills God's universal saving purpose, despite constant opposition. In this light, what Acts assumes about the meaning of baptism remains apparent while the immediate purposes of conversion narratives explain the irregularities in the presentation of baptism in relation to conversion and reception of the Spirit.
Open theism offers at least six types of argument in its support: arguments from biblical texts, christological arguments, arguments from the idea of persons in loving relation, arguments from the anthropological analogy, arguments from evil, and arguments from the concept of freedom. It defends itself from the charge of making God essentially finite by appealing to a theory of divine self-limitation. This study concludes that open theists criticisms of the traditional doctrine are based on caricatures and superficial analyses, its six argument types suffer from serious flaws, and its divine self-limitation theory fails to protect it from the charge that open theism makes God essentially finite.
Richard Hughes, Nathan O. Hatch, and David Edwin Harrell, Jr., American Origins of Churches of Christ: Three Essays on Restoration History
Brevard Childs, Isaiah
Bernard Cottrett, Calvin: A Biography
Thomas Rausch, Catholics and Evangelicals: Do They Share a Common Future?
Bryan P. Stone, Faith and Film: Theological Themes at the Cinema
Scott A. Moreau, ed., Evangelical Dictionary of World Missions
Garth Rosell, Commending the Faith: The Preaching of D. L. Moody
Graeme Goldsworth, Preaching the Whole Bible as Christian Scripture
Marva Dawn and Eugene Peterson, The Unnecessary Pastor: Rediscovering the Call
Kenneth Boa and Gail Burness, Wisdom at Work: A Biblical Approach to the Workplace
James William McClendon, Jr., Witness, vol. 3
Trevor Hart, ed. Dictionary of Historiical Theology
David Noel Freedman, ed., Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible
Aron Dotan, ed., Biblica Hebraica Leningradensia
Jack Sasson, ed., Civiliations of the Ancient Near East
Philip Yancey, The Bible Jesus Read
John E. Hartley, Genesis, New International Biblical Commentary
Michael V. Fox, Proverbs 1-9, Anchor Bible
Rikki Watts, Isaiah's New Exodus in Mark
Anthony J. Saldarini. Pharisees, Scribes and Sadducees in Palestinian Society
Jonathan L. Reed, Archaelogy and the Galilean Jesus
Hans-Josef Klauck, The Religious Context of Early Christianity: A Guide to Graeco-Roman Religions
Marianne Meye Thompson, The Promise of the Father
David E. Aune, ed., The Gospel of Matthew in Current Study: Studies in Memory of William G. Thompson, S.J.
Gary M. Burge, John, NIV Application Commentary
Edwin Walhout, Revelation Down to Earth: Making Sense of the Apocalypse of John
William R. Baker
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