To many it looks boring. To others it seems it would wreck our faith. Why are some of us, like readers of SCJ, drawn to deep study of the Bible and theology? Almost everyone else we know seems mystified by our devotion to extensive reading, research, and thought in matters related to the Bible. How would you answer? What has drawn you in and keeps you coming back to the fount of scholarship to drink?
A recent, fascinating collection of autobiographical testimonials from eighteen noteworthy biblical scholars about their faith and their academic lives (John Byron and Joel Lohr, eds., I (Still) Believe, Zondervan: 2015) includes Beverly Roberts Gaventa’s unequivocal answer (90) that probably speaks for most of us: “For the sheer joy of it!”
However much we want to talk about deep study benefiting our teaching, our students, and the church—all of which is true—the true payoff first and foremost is personal, isn’t it? Perhaps it’s our own personal histories, natural inquisitiveness, or devotion to extensive reading, but we need to dig and discover answers for ourselves, for our faith. Getting a handle on a perplexing exegetical matter or grasping a fuller understanding of God and the world gives us a positive feeling, and joy is as good a word as any for it. And when this happens early in our student life, we can be hooked and enter the academic path that leads to providing us more tools and methods to experience more of that “sheer joy.” Our life can become a quest for more of that joy, driving our academic pursuits throughout our careers. And, you know, maybe God just delights in providing us that window into understanding too.
Makes me wonder what each of us is working on discovering currently that is providing these moments of "sheer joy."
Our goal in this issue, as well as every issue, is to offer up some joy of discovery for every reader through the various articles and book reviews we publish. What is in this issue will do so again.
Gary Holloway leads off by providing a comprehensive history of the World Convention, the regular gathering of all those affiliated with the Stone-Campbell Movement that is not as widely known as it should be. John Kern analyzes the skirmishes over the rise and influence of the charismatic movement in the 1960s. Though gleaned from Churches of Christ (a cappella) resources, the debate depicted also mirrors what occurred in other streams of the movement. Stacy Abernathy argues for a backdrop of formal skepticism helping to explain the post-resurrection concerns of Thomas in John 20. John Nugent in his plenary address from the 2016 SCJ Conference in April, at Johnson University, Knoxville, wishes to make the case for pacifism with a full canonical approach that is more convincing than current approaches. J. David Stark presents a philosophical perspective in understanding how Old Testament scripture is Christian. Carl Bridges and Steve Cook provide a fascinating study comparing Old Testament Sabbath-day instructions with current, traditional rest-day observances in select African tribal groups.
The 16th annual SCJ Conference will take place April 7-8, 2017, at Johnson University, Knoxville, Tennessee (Friday, 8:00 AM–8:00 PM; Sat, 8:00 AM–1:00 PM). The theme, Communicating the Old Testament. Featured speakers include: Ellen Davis, Amos Ragan Kearns Distinguished Professor of Bible and Practical Theology (Duke Divinity School) who will present "The Old Testament—Does It Preach? . . . and How?" and "Reading the Old Testament as Christians"; Chris Heard, Associate Professor of Religion (Pepperdine University) who will present "Drowning in Cuteness: How the Flood Became a Children’s Story," and "The Lord Chooses How the Dice Fall: Using Games to Teach Old Testament"; and Jason Bembry, Professor of Old Testament (Emmanuel Christian Seminary) who will present "The Old Testament Prophetic Tradition—Wide A-'woke' in America." The conference will also be a celebration of the 20th anniversary of SCJ. For more information on parallel sessions, student paper competitions, study groups, registration, and accommodations, see our website: stone-campbelljounal.
Finally, I am pleased to introduce John Nugent (Great Lakes Christian College) and James Gorman (Johnson University) as Assistant Editors of Stone-Campbell Journal. John will begin handling the editorial process for Old Testament and also for theology submissions. James (Jamey) will be handling submission in Stone-Campbell history and theology. I am look forward to working with them. All article submissions should continue to be directed to me as the initial contact point.
William R. Baker, Editor
Since 1930, the World Convention of Churches of Christ has sought to embody and encourage fellowship, understanding, and common purpose within the Christian–Churches of Christ–Disciples of Christ global family of churches and relate them to the whole church for the sake of unity in Christ Jesus. World Convention does this daily in many ways but is best known for Global Gatherings every few years and for its ecumenical work. This article briefly tells the story of that work.
The growth of the Charismatic Movement of the 1960s sparked a period of intense debate in Churches of Christ concerning how the Holy Spirit was involved in the Christian life. Some argued that the Spirit worked only through Scripture while others argued that the Spirit worked in some nonmiraculous ways apart from Scripture. This essay will focus on the debate as it played out in the Firm Foundation and will explore how the different interpretations of the Charismatic Movement’s significance for Churches of Christ shaped the debate.
The depiction of the reaction of Thomas to the resurrection in chapter 20 of the Fourth Gospel satisfies the major criteria demanded by skeptics in connection with coming to belief. This article identifies these criteria from Sextus Empiricus’s second-century compilation of Pyrrhonean tendencies.1 Its parallels with the Gospel suggest the Fourth Evangelist knew and engaged early formulations of skeptical tendencies. Interpreting elements of narrative episodes traditionally designated as “misunderstandings” in light of the Pyrrhonean connections supports the thesis that the evangelist intended to satisfy a skeptic’s criteria for belief.
A canonical approach to warfare pushes beyond the stalemate between pacifism and just-war theory. This approach takes seriously the place of sword-bearing powers in Scripture, the specific calling of God’s people, and the central work of Jesus. After surveying the Bible story with these emphases in mind, this study suggests how we may move beyond the legacies of Reinhold and Richard Niebuhr in order to assume a truly canonical and more ecumenical posture.
Christian theological engagement with Israel’s Scriptures has had a checkered history. A neglected factor in many contemporary discussions of this engagement, however, is the rule of faith, which shapes the standpoint from which the church engages Israel’s Scriptures. Within this rule, the church has received a tradition of maintaining two testaments in one body of sacred Scripture. This one body stands in its fullest relief in light of the rule of the Messiah toward whom the whole of both testaments tend.
A comparison and contrast between the Israelite tradition of Sabbath-keeping and known traditional African rest days observed among various groups today reveals that the biblical Sabbath differs from modern tribal sabbaths in its broader scope and humanitarian motives.
LIST OF BOOKS REVIEWED IN THIS ISSUE
Randy Petersen, The Printer and the Preacher: Ben Franklin, George Whitefield, and the Surprising Friendship that Invented America (Rick Cherok, Cincinnati
Elisabeth T. Vasko, Beyond Apathy: A Theology for Bystanders (J. Tyler Campbell, University of Dayton)
Kelly D. Carter, The Trinity in the Stone-Campbell Movement: Restoring the Heart of Christian Faith (Shawn C. Smith, Lincoln Christian University)
Thomas Jay Oord, The Uncontrolling Love of God: An Open and Relational Account of Providence (Wm. Curtis Holtzen, Hope International University)
David Vandrunen, God’s Glory Alone: The Majestic Heart of Christian Faith and Life. What the Reformers Taught . . . and Why It Still Matters (Carl Toney, Hope International University)
John L. Drury, The Resurrected God: Karl Barth’s Trinitarian Theology of Easter (Shaun C. Brown, Wycliffe College, University of Toronto)
Eric J. Trozzo, Rupturing Eschatology: Divine Glory and the Silence of the Cross (J. Robert Ross, Central Christian Church, St. Petersburg, Florida)
Simon Gathercole, Defending Substitution: An Essay on Atonement in Paul (Margaryta Teslina, Fuller Theological Seminary)
Mark J. Boda, "Return to Me": A Biblical Theology of Repentance (Craig D. Bowman, Rochester College)
Ronald J. Sider, Nonviolent Action: What Christian Ethics Demands but Most Christians Have Never Really Tried (Joel Stephen Williams, Amridge University)
Gary Tyra, Pursuing Moral Faithfulness: Ethics and Christian Discipleship (Joel Stephen Williams, Amridge University)
Craig G. Bartholomew, Introducing Biblical Hermeneutics: A Comprehensive Framework for Hearing God in Scripture (Matthew Crowe, Faulkner University)
Brian E. Daley and Paul R. Kolbet, eds., The Harp of Prophecy: Early Christian Interpretation of the Psalms (Keith D. Stanglin, Austin Graduate School of Theology)
Robert D. Cornwall, Freedom in Covenant: Reflections on the Distinctive Values and Practices of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) (Thomas Scott Caulley, Kentucky Christian University)
Todd M. Johnson and Cindy M. Wu, Our Global Families: Christians Embracing Common Identity (Laura McKillip Wood, Nebraska Christian College of Hope International University)
Glenn Pemberton, The God Who Saves: An Introduction to the Message of the Old Testament (Trevor B. Williams, Pepperdine University)
Phillip Camp and Tremper Longman III, eds., Praying with Ancient Israel: Exploring the Theology of Prayer in the Old Testament (Ryan J. Cook, Moody Theological Seminary)
Paul Copan and Matthew Flannagan, Did God Really Command Genocide? Coming to Terms with the Justice of God (Justin Singleton, Andrews University)
David T. Lamb, Prostitutes and Polygamists: A Look at Love, Old Testament Style (J. Blair Wilgus, Hope International University)
Joe M. Sprinkle, Leviticus and Numbers (Paavo Tucker, Asbury Theological Seminary)
Ernest C. Lucas, Proverbs (Glenn D. Pemberton, Abilene Christian University)
Daniel L. Smith-Christopher, Micah (Jason T. LeCureux, Trinity College Queensland)
Philip Wesley Comfort, A Commentary on the Manuscripts and Text of the New Testament (Danny Yencich, The University of Denver & Iliff School of Theology)
Craig A. Evans, Jesus and the Remains of His Day: Studies in Jesus and the Evidence of Material Culture (Jeff Miller, Milligan College)
Geza Vermes, The True Herod (Judith A. Odor, Asbury Theological Seminary)
David A. Fiensy and James Riley Strange, eds., Galilee in the Late Second Temple and Mishnaic Periods: Life, Culture, and Society (K. C. Richardson, Hope International University)
James A. Kelhoffer, Conceptions of "Gospel" and Legitimacy in Early Christianity (Chris Keith, St Mary’s University, Twickenham)
Stanley E. Porter, Linguistic Analysis of the Greek New Testament: Studies in Tools, Methods, and Practice (Randall K. J. Tan, Global Bible Initiative)
Rodney A. Whitacre, Using and Enjoying Biblical Greek: Reading the New Testament with Fluency and Devotion (Jeff Miller, Milligan College)
Annamaria Bartolotta, ed. The Greek Verb, Morphology, Syntax, and Semantics (James E. Sedlacek, University of Manchester, UK)
Constantine R. Campbell, Advances in the Study of Greek: New Insights for Reading the New Testament (James E. Sedlacek, University of Manchester, UK)
John C. Poirier and Jeffrey Peterson, eds., Marcan Priority without Q: Explorations in the Farrer Hypothesis (John C. Nugent, Great Lakes Christian College)
Andreas J. Köstenberger, & Justin Taylor, The Final Days of Jesus: The Most Important Week of the Most Important Person Who Ever Lived (David W. Hester, Faulkner University)
David E. Garland, A Theology of Mark’s Gospel: Good News about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God (Rob O’Lynn, Kentucky Christian University)
Robert H. Stein, Jesus, The Temple, and the Coming Son of Man: A Commentary on Mark 13 (Matthew Crowe, Kearley Graduate School of Theology, Faulkner University)
David W. Hester, Does Mark 16:9-20 Belong in the New Testament? (Carl Bridges, Johnson University)
Heather M. Gorman, Interweaving Innocence: A Rhetorical Analysis of Luke’s Passion Narrative (Luke 22:66–23:49) (Dawn Gentry, Nebraska Christian College/Milligan College)
Heather M. Gorman, Interweaving Innocence: A Rhetorical Analysis of Luke’s Passion Narrative (Luke 22:66–23:49) (Barry L. Blackburn, Point University and Emmanuel Christian Seminary)
Marianne Meye Thompson, John: A Commentary (Danny Yencich, The University of Denver & Iliff School of Theology)
Richard Bauckham, Gospel of Glory: Major Themes of Johannine Theology (David W. Wead, Kentucky Christian University)
James W. Barker, John’s Use of Matthew (John C. Poirier, Kingswell Theological Seminary)
Rafael Rodríguez, If You Call Yourself a Jew: Reappraising Paul’s Letter to the Romans (J. David Stark, Faulkner University Online)
SCJ 19.2 Quotables
Chosen by Ryan Shirck
Emmanuel Christian Seminary
"The notion that the Sabbath was a day of worship in OT times is a common misconception."
Carl B. Bridges and L. Stephen Cook, Jr. "Tribal Sabbaths" (SCJ 19.2:243)
"Christian unity is both a gift and a calling from God."
Gary Holloway, "The World Convention of the Churches of Christ" (SCJ 19.2:174)
"The Word Convention is an inclusive circle, large enough to include all our members within its fellowship."
Gary Holloway, "The World Convention of the Churches of Christ" (SCJ 19.2:165)
"He argued that there was a spiritual deficiency in the churches largely because they only read Scripture for church or as a task rather than as spiritual food for the soul."
John Kern, "The Spirit Blows Where it Wills... but Only Through the Word of God?" (SCJ 19.2:184)
"For Smith, rejecting the importance of the Holy Spirit’s activity ignored the real spiritual thirst Christians have for the Spirit."
John Kern, "The Spirit Blows Where it Wills... but Only Through the Word of God?" (SCJ 19.2:183)
"Jesus could have, in every case, begun with explanations and moved to concise statements. Instead, he provokes interlocutors with ambiguous assertions. Thus, the misunderstanding provoke inquiry."
Stacy Abernathy, "Thomas as Sextus Empiricus’s Arch Skeptic" (SCJ 19.2:200)
"The Fourth Evangelist emphasized these commemorative signs while the other evangelists did not. He intended to speak to people with skeptical tendencies and, through Thomas’ experience and conclusions, bring other skeptics to belief."
Stacy Abernathy, "Thomas as Sextus Empiricus’s Arch Skeptic" (SCJ 19.2:197)
"Our respectful disentanglement from running our host nations frees us up to welcome and assimilate those who are a burden or a threat to our unbelieving neighbors."
John Nugent, "Beyond Liberal Pacifism and Justified Militarism" (SCJ 19.2:216)
"The present form of this world is passing away, but most people are oblivious to it (1 Cor 7:31). They still think the powers bear the meaning of world history. So God commissioned his people to serve as ambassadors: citizens of one kingdom who represent their government to citizens of other kingdoms."
John Nugent, "Beyond Liberal Pacifism and Justified Militarism" (SCJ 19.2:213)
"Orthodoxy and orthopraxy go hand in hand, and the rule of faith guides the church both in preserving proper belief and keeping faith by proper obedience. Thus to speak of a Christian "rule of faith" is to speak of a canon that applies both to doctrine and to practice."
J. David Stark, "What Makes Jewish Scripture Christian?" (SCJ 19.2:228)
"Canonical texts continuously come into new contacts with new groups of readers in new generations. These new readers must decide for themselves how they will regard the traditions they have inherited."
J. David Stark, "What Makes Jewish Scripture Christian?" (SCJ 19.2:220)
"The notion that the Sabbath was a day of worship in OT times is a common misconception."
Carl B. Bridges and L. Stephen Cook, Jr. "Tribal Sabbaths" (SCJ 19.2:243)
"Ritual motives are seen in Sabbath-keeping as a way to honor the God who created the world and rescued Israel from slavery.
Carl B. Bridges and L. Stephen Cook, Jr. "Tribal Sabbaths" (SCJ 19.2:249)