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Volume 18 Issue 2

David Neff in his monthly Christianity Today (March 2013, 51) column recalls the tumult that occurred when the Webster's Third New International Dictionary was published in 1961. You see, in this edition the word "ain't" first appeared. This raised quite a ruckus at the time because it showed a change of philosophy. The publisher had chosen to return to the roots of Daniel Webster's own belief that dictionaries should reflect the language of the people rather than proscribe to the people how to use their own language.

The reality is that language change quickly outpaces the ability of those who write dictionaries to keep up. So, we have "Google" and "text" as verbs today among many internet terms that have emerged from the changing social and communication realities.

Neff applies all this to a premise that he creates about doctrine and theology: "Truth is eternal but the language of truth—precisely what people believe, how they summarize it, and what dimensions they emphasize—changes." Thus, one can look at how creeds were formed and changed in light of doctrinal heresy, but one can also look at the reaction of Thomas Campbell, Alexander Campbell, and Barton W. Stone to the creeds and devisive denominational statements of their time in the early 1800s. Once people had their own Bibles and could read them, the development of theology and doctrine need not lie exclusively in the hands of specially trained theologians but should be within reach of common people in the churches. Thus, a massive effort occurred to replace pristine theological language with language that could easily be seen as biblically derived.

And so today, a doctrine that once was the flagship of evangelicalism since its rise out of fundamentalism fifty years ago has lost its luster. Once the dominant term evangelicals used to encapsulate their view of Scripture, the term inerrancy no longer sits atop the evangelical spectrum. This downward trend of inerrancy is also reflected in the biblical vocabulary of teacher-scholars-students of biblical and theological studies associated with the Stone-Campbell Movement, particularly in colleges and graduate schools connected to the Christian churches (independent) and Churches of Christ (a cappella), institutions where this term also once ruled.

However, as Robert Kurka's article in this issue of SCJ so carefully explains, regardless of whether this is a good or bad change, the reality is that the term, despite its historical credentials, simply is not embraced as it once was. Perhaps, this was inevitable as research into the nature of Scripture and ways of expressing it has widened to find new and more accurate ways to express the truthfulness of Scripture. Perhaps it is the erosion of modernism and the shift to postmodernism, as Kurka notes, or the enormous search in recent decades in hermeneutics and numerous Editor's Preface Stone-Campbell Journal 18 (Fall, 2015) 161–162 methodologies that can help Scripture to be read in a variety of ways to produce valid, truthful ideas in addition to what might be regarded at face value, as literal (often associated with "inerrancy"). Regardless, this has impacted younger scholars, as Kurka notes, but it has affected to some degree anyone who has kept thinking and reading about this subject over the years. Perhaps, this was inevitable simply over the course of time. Ways of expressing the nature of Scripture may now be more nuanced, but the authority and truthfulness of the Bible continues, as it always has, to speak for itself. And that is a pretty sound Stone-Campbell perspective.

Other stimulating articles appear in this issue. One comes from one of our plenary at the 2015 SCJ Conference, Karen Jobes. She publishes her excellent presentation that seeks to reconsider how 1 Peter intends its quote of Psalm 33, and especially "crave pure spiritual milk" in 1 Pet 2:2, to be taken. Laura Locke Estes, the graduate student paper winner at the 2015 SCJ Conference, chronicles the interesting successes and failures of the American Christian Missionary Society's first supported missionary, James Barclay. Barclay's mission to Jerusalem from 1850 to 1862 was disappointing in most respects, though surprisingly had modest success with Muslims. Steven Hunter provides historical support for the important role a little known figure in Stone-Campbell history named John Mulkey had on Barton W. Stone. Tyler Stewart writes with helpful insights, with contemporary process theologians in full view, regarding the perennial conflict of accounting for the existence of evil in a world where God's power is supreme. Finally, Carl Sweatman takes a very close, exegetical look at meaning and application of "the mind of Christ" in 1 Cor 2:16.

The 15th annual SCJ Conference will take place April 1-2, 2016, at Johnson University. The theme is War and Peace: The Effect of War on Early American Religion. Featured speakers include: James Byrd, Associate Professor of Religious History, Vanderbilt University, who will present "The Bible and the American Revolution," and "The Bible and the Civil War;" Douglas Foster, Professor of Church History, Abilene Christian University, who will present "The Effect of Civil War on the Stone-Campbell Movement;" and John Nugent, Professor of Old Testament, Great Lakes Christian College, who will present "Christians and War." For more information on parallel sessions, study groups, registration, and accommodations, see our website.

William R. Baker, Editor

163
Abilene Christian University

Abstract

In 1850 the American Christian Missionary Society inaugurated its foreign work with a mission to Jerusalem under the direction of Dr. James T. Barclay. A staunch millennialist, Barclay’s initial priority was evangelizing Jews, however, lack of success and waning financial support led Barclay to rethink his mission strategy as he developed theological rationale for evangelizing Jerusalem’s Muslim majority by fitting Islam and the Ottoman Empire into his millennial and eschatological expectations.

175
Lehman Avenue Church of Christ, Bowling Green, KY

Abstract

John Mulkey was one of Barton Stone’s earliest pioneer preachers. Mulkey’s notoriety arose from the 1809 split that happened at the Mill Creek Church; however, Mulkey’s full impact within the Stone-Campbell Movement has not been fully examined. Noting Mulkey’s contribution to Stone’s reform will allow Mulkey recognition within Stone-Campbell Movement history.

187
Lincoln Christian University

Abstract

Biblical "inerrancy," was coined by a generation of scholars challenged by modernism to identify themselves as Bible believers set apart from their liberal colleagues. However, it has come to suggest a naive, unsophisticated understanding of Scripture that few conservative scholars actually hold and is threatening to deter reverent up-and-coming scholars from joining societies such as the Evangelical Theological Society. A traditional Christian understanding of Scripture’s complexity and infallibility as well as profession of the foundational beliefs set out in historic Christian creeds may serve as a better mark of identity for Bible-believing scholarship.

205
Marquette University

Abstract

Although it is currently popular to revise the doctrine of God to better accommodate the problem of evil, this essay argues that such revision is mistaken. Rather than modifying the doctrine of God to account for evil as seen in process theology, the traditional notion of evil as privation of the good is advocated here. This grammar of evil articulated by Augustine and worked out by Aquinas is supplemented in this essay with eschatology as the most compelling account of creation.

223
Montreat College and Johnson University

Abstract

The role and function of 1 Cor 2:14-16 are crucial not only to Paul’s overall argument in the letter but also for current discussions on ecclesiology and Christian identity. The deeper significance of this twofold connection is better grasped when we (1) examine the ways in which Paul relates “the mind of Christ”(2:16) with the role of the Holy Spirit, specifically how the Spirit is necessary for shaping and defining community life for those “in Christ,” and (2) understand this relationship in the light of Paul’s programmatic statement in 1 Cor 1:10—that there be no divisions among believers, especially in speech, mind, and judgment.

241
Wheaton College and Graduate School

Abstract

By exploring the intertextual context formed by quotations and allusions to the Greek Old Testament, this paper considers how to understand the referent of to; logiko;n a[dolon gavla ejpipoqhvsate (to logikon adolon gala epipothésate; "crave pure, spiritual milk") in 1 Pet 2:2. The understanding of the milk as the word of God is rejected in favor of a reading that refers to craving the moral transformation necessary to sustain life in Christ.

Download book reviews for this issue.

LIST OF BOOKS REVIEWED IN THIS ISSUE

Stephen M. Hildebrand, Basil of Caesarea, (J. Edward Walters, Rochester College)

Alistair C. Stewart, The Original Bishops: Office and Order in the First Christian Communities (K. C. Richardson, Hope International University)

Curtis Freeman, Contesting Catholicity: A Theology for Other Baptists (Alden Lee Bass, St. Louis University)

Beth Felker Jones, Practicing Christian Doctrine: An Introduction to Thinking and Living Theologically (Shaun C. Brown, Wycliffe College,

University of Toronto)

Gary Burge, & David Lauber, eds., Theology Questions Everyone Asks: Christian Faith in Plain Language (Joseph C. Grana II, Hope International University)

Marvin R. Wilson, Our Hebraic Heritage: A Christian Theology of Roots and Renewal (Gary Hall, Lincoln Christian Seminary)

Khaled Anatolios, ed., The Holy Trinity in the Life of the Church (David Russell Mosley, University of Nottingham)

Amos Yong, The Future of Evangelical Theology: Soundings from the Asian-American Diaspora (Robert C. Kurka, Lincoln Christian University)

Stanley Hauerwas, The Work of Theology (Thomas J. Millay, Baylor University)

Daniel I. Block, For the Glory of God: Recovering a Biblical Theology of Worship (Dinelle Frankland, Lincoln Christian University)

Daniel I. Block, For the Glory of God: Recovering a Biblical Theology of Worship (Craig D. Bowman, Rochester College)

J. Ellsworth Kalas, Preaching in an Age of Distraction (Bill Thompson, Gosshen, Ohio)

Michael Brothers, Distance in Preaching: Room to Speak, Space to Listen (John D. Webb, Hope International University)

Gordon T. Smith, Called to Be Saints: An Invitation to Christian Maturity (Don Sanders, Harvester Christian Church)

Paul Heintzman, Leisure and Spirituality: Biblical, Historical, and Contemporary Perspectives (Philip D. Kenneson, Milligan College)

Walter Kasper, Pope Francis’ Revolution of Tenderness and Love (Paul R. McCuiston, Potchefstroom, South Africa)

Craig Harline, Way below the Angels: The Pretty Clearly Troubled but Not Even Close to Tragic Confessions of a Real Live Mormon Missionary (Calvin (Wes) Harrison, Ohio Valley University)

Fouad Masri, Connecting with Muslims: A Guide to Communicating Effectively (Calvin (Wes) Harrison, Ohio Valley University)

Kenneth E. Bailey, The Good Shepherd: A Thousand-Year Journey from Psalm 23 to the New Testament (Carl Bridges, Johnson University)

Craig Blomberg, Can We Still Believe the Bible? (Joseph C. Grana II, Hope International University)

Michael Joseph Brown, What They Don’t Tell You: A Survivor’s Guide to Biblical Studies (Trevor B. Williams, Pepperdine University)

Andrew E. Arterbury, W. H. Bellinger, Jr., and Derek S. Dodson, Engaging the Christian Scriptures: An Introduction to the Bible (Gary D. Collier, An Institute for the Art of Biblical Conversation)

R. W. L. Moberly, Old Testament Theology: Reading the Hebrew Bible as Christian Scripture (John C. Poirier, Franklin, Ohio)

Tremper Longman III, Old Testament Essentials: Creation, Conquest, and Return (Phillip G. Camp, Lipscomb University)

Joel B. Green and Jacqueline E. Lapsley, eds., The Old Testament and Ethics: A Book-by-Book Survey (Mark Hahlen, Dallas Christian College)

Bill T. Arnold and Richard S. Hess, eds., Ancient Israel’s History: An Introduction to Issues and Sources (Dale W. Manor, Harding University)

Daniel E. Fleming, The Legacy of Israel in Judah’s Bible: History, Politics, and the Reinscribing of Tradition (Tad Blacketer, Lincoln Christian College)

Patricia Dutcher-Walls, Reading the Historical Books: A Student’s Guide to Engaging the Biblical Text (Jonathan Huddleston, Hobbs, New Mexico)

Bruce K. Waltke, James M. Houston, and Erika Moore, The Psalms as Christian Lament: A Historical Commentary (Glenn Pemberton, Abilene Christian University)

Bernd Janowski, Arguing with God: A Theological Anthropology of the Psalms (Glenn Pemberton, Abilene Christian University)

Gary V. Smith, Interpreting the Prophetic Books: An Exegetical Handbook (Ryan J. Cook, Moody Theological Seminary)

John Goldingay, The Theology of the Book of Isaiah (Daryl Docterman, Cincinnati Christian University)

Carol A. Newsom with Brendon W. Breed, Daniel: A Commentary (Joe M. Sprinkle, Crossroads College)

Kevin Youngblood, Jonah: God's Scandalous Mercy (Paavo Tucker, Asbury Theological Seminary)

Craig A Evans, From Jesus to the Church: The First Christian Generation (Matthew Crowe, Faulkner University)

Sandra Bingham, The Praetorian Guard: A History of Rome's Elite Special Forces (Shane J. Wood, Ozark Christian College)

Paul A. Rainbow, Johannine Theology: the Gospel, the Epistles and the Apocalypse (Ronald D. Peters, Great Lakes Christian College)

John T. Carroll, Luke: A Commentary (Heather M. Gorman, Johnson University Tennessee)

Charles L. Quarles, Illustrated Life of Paul (Carl S. Sweatman, Montreat College & Johnson University)

Bruce W. Longenecker and Todd D. Still, Thinking through Paul: A Survey of His Life, Letters, and Theology (Gary D. Collier, An Institute for the Art of Biblical Conversation)

SCJ 18.2 Quotables
Chosen by Sarah Dannemiller
Abilene Christian University Graduate School of Theology

Featured Quote

"Only by 'ingesting' Christ can the Christian experience the moral transformation necessary to live the new life."

Karen H. Jobes, "'O Taste and See': Septuagint Psalm 33 in 1 Peter" (SCJ 18.2:250)  

"In contrast to his treatment by fellow Christians and Jews, Barclay reported to the ACMS that 'from the Mohammedans [Muslims], by whom I had expected to be denounced and persecuted, I have received the kindest and most respectful treatment.'”

Laura Locke Estes, “'The Signs of the Times': Islam and Millennial Expectations in the Barclay Mission” (SCJ 18.2:165)

"Rather than abandon his millennialism, Barclay chose to adapt it, expanding and fine-tuning his core eschatology to reflect both his own missionary experience and the contemporary trend of interpreting biblical prophecy in light of the religio-political realities of nineteenth-century Palestine."

Laura Locke Estes, “'The Signs of the Times': Islam and Millennial Expectations in the Barclay Mission” (SCJ 18.2:173)

"These articles indicate that the editors of the Millennial Harbinger wanted to educate their readers on Islam, and a desire by their readers to consume such content."

Laura Locke Estes, “'The Signs of the Times': Islam and Millennial Expectations in the Barclay Mission” (SCJ 18.2:171)

"'The present Reformation cannot escape History; that its history is destined to future generations, all must see.'"

Steven C. Hunter, “Barton Stone’s “Impetus”: The Pioneer Preacher, John Mulkey” (SCJ 18.2:175)

"John Mulkey was one of the earliest pioneer preachers to join Barton Stone’s reform, and because of Mulkey’s abilities, scholars have labeled him “an impetus” to Stone’s reform."

Steven C. Hunter, “Barton Stone’s “Impetus”: The Pioneer Preacher, John Mulkey” (SCJ 18.2:175)

"Walter Shurden wrote, 'The earliest associational records from . . . America suggest that the association was made for the churches, not the churches for the association.'”

Steven C. Hunter, “Barton Stone’s “Impetus”: The Pioneer Preacher, John Mulkey” (SCJ 18.2:177)

"What is actually in jeopardy is the term itself, which conjures images of a fundamentalist past to which very few ETS and/or Stone-Campbell scholars would subscribe today."

Robert C. Kurka, “Has 'Inerrancy' Outlived Its Usefulness?” (SCJ 18.2:188)

"An “inerrant Bible” became the faithful’s counterpart to an “inerrant science,” which was certainly a losing proposition."

Robert C. Kurka, “Has 'Inerrancy' Outlived Its Usefulness?” (SCJ 18.2:192)

"The Bible is much bigger than a book that needs to be defended over its supernatural claims; rather, it is nothing less than an entire way of thinking and living that in turn, sets Christians apart from the intellectual hubris and narcissistic behavior of their culture."

Robert C. Kurka, “Has 'Inerrancy' Outlived Its Usefulness?” (SCJ 18.2:200)

"On the other hand, if we recognize Scripture as fundamentally worldview, evangelicals are enabled to ask the right questions and more importantly, live the right life.”

Robert C. Kurka, “Has 'Inerrancy' Outlived Its Usefulness?” (SCJ 18.2:201)

“inerrancy,” the term, has ceased to be a useful handle to articulate the belief and practice of the thoughtful evangelical scholarship characteristic of members of the Stone Campbell Journal community and larger groups, such as the ETS."

Robert C. Kurka, “Has 'Inerrancy' Outlived Its Usefulness?” (SCJ 18.2:202)

"Failing to address the question of evil, however, in describing God’s relationship to his creation fails to account for the world as it actually is."

Tyler Stewart, “Creation and the Grammar of Evil” (SCJ 18.2:207)

"It is well-known that theology has been mobilized to serve imperial, colonial, patriarchal, and other oppressive social and political ends, among other evils."

Tyler Stewart, “Creation and the Grammar of Evil” (SCJ 18.2:211)

"Once it is understood that God and creation do not share the same space and time, we can begin to see evil as privation of good rather than a force in opposition to God."

Tyler Stewart, “Creation and the Grammar of Evil” (SCJ 18.2:214)

"evil is not something God creates but something that exists as a distortion of God’s creative will."

Tyler Stewart, “Creation and the Grammar of Evil” (SCJ 18.2:215)

"Maintaining a Christian eschatology gives believers the permission to condemn evil and the responsibility to work in anticipation of the day when the Sovereign Lord will eradicate evil."

Tyler Stewart, “Creation and the Grammar of Evil” (SCJ 18.2:221)

"Paul relies on and refers to a theological or soteriological dualism, one that separates those who are saved from those who are not: believers and unbelievers."

Carl S. Sweatman, “The Spirit and the Communal Mind of Christ: Looking Again at 1 Corinthians 2:16” (SCJ 18.2:227)

"since the “spiritual” person (by definition) has God’s Spirit, and since it is only by God’s Spirit that such things are made known and understood, he or she is able to discern the things of God."

Carl S. Sweatman, “The Spirit and the Communal Mind of Christ: Looking Again at 1 Corinthians 2:16” (SCJ 18.2:230)

"For Paul, the nature of the gospel is God’s wisdom displayed in the cross of Christ as a means for salvation, and one primary effect of this event is the complete reversal of ideas and how such ideas are judged."

Carl S. Sweatman, “The Spirit and the Communal Mind of Christ: Looking Again at 1 Corinthians 2:16” (SCJ 18.2:234)

"All inspired messages are formulated, proclaimed, and understood by the work of the Spirit, filtered through “the mind of Christ.”

Carl S. Sweatman, “The Spirit and the Communal Mind of Christ: Looking Again at 1 Corinthians 2:16” (SCJ 18.2:235)

"For Paul having the “mind of Christ” not only enables believers to know and rightly discern the wisdom of God (or the things of God) as revealed by the Spirit, it also operates as the new and distinctive framework for understanding life and knowing how to live according to God’s wisdom."

Carl S. Sweatman, “The Spirit and the Communal Mind of Christ: Looking Again at 1 Corinthians 2:16” (SCJ 18.2:238)

"Specifically, for Paul the cruciform life is one that is humble, self-sacrificing and others-focused."

Carl S. Sweatman, “The Spirit and the Communal Mind of Christ: Looking Again at 1 Corinthians 2:16” (SCJ 18.2:238)

"This cultural background on the quality and source of breast milk helps to explain the rather bizarre imagery in the later church of the Father as having breasts that are milked by the Holy Spirit and references to Christ as the “breast of life.”

Karen H. Jobes, “'O Taste and See': Septuagint Psalm 33 in 1 Peter” (SCJ 18.2:248)

"Peter writes to teach Christian believers a “fear of the LORD” that must be embodied in a transformation of their ethics."

Karen H. Jobes, “'O Taste and See': Septuagint Psalm 33 in 1 Peter” (SCJ 18.2:250)

 
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Volume 20 Issue 2

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Fall 2017

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