Footnote 41 – David Edwin Harrell, Jr., “B.C. Goodpasture: Leader of Institutional Thought,” in Melvin D. Curry, ed., They Being Dead Yet Speak (Florida College Lectures, 1981), pp. 249-250. (Excerpt from a section entitled “The Emergence of Denominational Leadership”).

The stages of development often seen in religious fellowships, related here by historian David Edwin Harrell, Jr., are well worth contemplating in these times.

1. From truth-oriented to group-oriented.

2. From open controversy to closed controversy.

3. From self-conscious rejection of society to self-conscious acceptance of society.

4. From builders to preservers.

B. C. Goodpasture fits neatly into a sociological model of second generation religious leaders. One can pretty well trace the evolution of a religious group by the changes in skills from first to second generation leaders.

1. From truth-oriented to group-oriented. First generation religious leaders are committed to ideas, often being forced to abandon their parent groups because of that commitment. Like the evangelists of New Testament days they preach their message regardless of the consequences. The second generation shows a growing concern about the good of the group, though ostensibly doctrine must still be measured by truth. But the emphasis changes. Instead of the church growing out of the truth, the truth becomes the possession of the church. The type of man demanded for the first work is a preacher, a Bible student, a defender of the truth; what is needed for the second is a conciliator and manager.

2. From open controversy to closed controversy. The method used to spread the message in a young religious movement, including the New Testament church, is open confrontation. Both in the first century and in more recent times the spread of the gospel has been marked by open discussion and debate. When one is truth-oriented, he has nothing to defend except his teachings and he has no tools for fighting except his ideas. When one’s religion becomes institutional other forces come into play. Open debate (even limited debate) may no longer seem wise if it disturbs the peace of the group and threatens the health of institutions. Furthermore, the institutions, capable of exerting pressure in indirect ways, exercise leadership which can be totally divorced from ideology. In short, B. C. Goodpasture’s leadership, it seems to me, begins a second period of religious controversy in the churches of Christ in the twentieth century, a period marked by the use of new techniques. Foy Wallace scorched heretics; Goodpasture warned them that they would lose their position in the brotherhood.

3. From self-conscious rejection of the society to self-conscious acceptance of the society. First generation religious leaders generally disdain the society they live in and openly attack the dominant religious institutions of that society. This sense of world-separation and its accompanying call for conversion is clearly present in the New Testament and in the early history of the restoration movement. Christians knew that the world considered them fanatics; they were not ashamed to be thought strange; they forged no truces with the dominant religions of their time. Second generation leaders are more apt self-consciously to seek peace with their society as the churches come to crave respectability…. “Plain” preachers and those of the next generation who are no longer “plain” generally do not say the same things.

4. From builders to preservers. There comes a time in the life of all religious groups when evangelists become confused with pastors, when evangelistic fervor turns to revivalistic concern, when debaters and polemicists turn to brotherhood managers, and when local churches become little more than sources of money for promoters. Such changes call for a shift to managerial leadership.

In the 1950s the preserving of the churches of Christ empire became central in the thought of many people. There was still a will to work, but it was directed toward preserving and improving the image of what had been hewn out of the society by the previous generation. There is a vast difference, though not always an apparent one, between preaching the gospel and converting sinners and in promoting the church of Christ.

Seeing Ourselves in Our Leaders

In every time some men have been widely visible to the Christians of their day. It has always been treacherous to view such men as “brotherhood leaders,” since such thinking almost inevitably conjures up a “brotherhood” to lead. But it also assigns a distorted weight of importance to such men; we tend to overestimate their influence; to see things in terms of what they have done to us.

Actually, these highly visible men are more like speedometers than steering wheels. They are not so much taking us some place as they are telling us where we are. B. C. Goodpasture did not make the churches of Christ what they were in the 1950s. He was a product of what they had become, perhaps the ablest product. And he led the people in the way that they had determined to go.

Footnote 40 – James H. Garrison, “Another Sin,” Gospel Echo (June, 1869), pp. 228-229.

In the process of refreshing some older material for an upcoming series on the Quest for Undenominational Christianity, I came across this reference from an article I wrote a half-century ago.

“I presume to say that it has not escaped the notice of the careful reader of our religious periodicals, that there is, among our brethren, an increasing tendency to mercilessly criticize each other for any supposed error that they may harbor… Our religious papers are full of such controversies. One brother sets forth his views upon a certain subject, in all good conscience. Another objects to the reasoning and proof, and severely flogs him for advocating an absurd position. The first brother, finding his logic assailed, and even his motives sometimes impugned, is incensed and replies accordingly. ‘Like begets like,’ and so the controversy continues, increasing in virulence, abounding in sarcastic thrusts and personal allusions, until the ‘brother’ is lost sight of in the ‘antagonist.’ But little attention is paid now to the original matter of difference, but the greater portion of the replies are occupied in discussing ‘false issues,’ ‘exposing fallacies,’ ‘exposing non sequiturs,’ correcting ‘false impressions,’ etc.”

Observations:

(1) It has not escaped the notice of careful readers that this phenomenon is not limited these days to religious periodicals, but often is featured in social-media disputes and other venues regarding sports, politics, health issues, entertainment, and nearly any other topic one can name.

(2) Even when “another objects to the reasoning and proof” but, rather than “severely flogging” the “antagonist” for his “absurd position,” merely offers a reasoned dissent from the original, the discussion often devolves into a melee when the original proponent is the one who begets the flogging of “absurdities” which oppose her/his viewpoint. Others then join the fray.

(3) It is possible to speak truth in an unseemly, and ungracious manner which may deter some from seeing the truths thus disguised or obscured. It is also possible to lead some astray with a winsome, seemingly gracious manner that disguises the ugly truths of an unbiblical message.

(4) Historically, James H. Garrison was a “moderate” or “middle-of-the-road” voice in the late 19th-century division which produced the Disciples of Christ in the controversy over instrumental music, missionary/evangelistic societies, and other emerging denominational agencies. As “moderate” as he may have been, Garrison served as a bridge to ever more radical views and positions in the next generation of younger preachers and scholars – including his own son, W.E Garrison, a religious modernist who was long associated with the Disciples Divinity House at the University of Chicago, and helped produce the full-grown Disciples denomination.

James H. Garrison’s “moderate” views, expressed in the Christian-Evangelist, of which he was a founding editor, and his 1891 book, The Old Faith Re-Stated, attempted to convince readers that the leftward drift into modernist viewpoints of late-19th century Disciples were really no different from the positions of prior generations of believers, including Alexander Campbell, Barton W. Stone, and many others who left various denominations in their quest to become “Christians only.”

While James H. Garrison’s views may have seemed, to some, compatible with more “conservative” or Biblical views, in hindsight it becomes clear that his influence lay with those who walked a much more liberal/modernistic path back into some of the denominational structures which prior generations had left in their attempts to be independent of any denomination.

Biblical inscription from Mt. Ebal, but a note of caution

Mind the Gap, indeed!

Bible, Archaeology, and Travel with Luke Chandler

Archaeologists have revealed a small, ancient lead amulet with an inscription that was discovered on Mt. Ebal in the rubbish pile of a previous excavation. Back in the 1980s, Dr. Adam Zertal uncovered a stone structure atop Mt. Ebal that some interpret as an altar built by Joshua in the Bible (Josh 8:30-31) Mt. Ebal is also one of the mountains of blessing & cursing in Deut. 27 and Josh. 8. These types of amulets are known from the ancient world and contained inscriptions folded and sealed inside thin sheets of lead. The lead folds on this amulet couldn’t be opened without breakage so researchers employed tomographic scans of the exterior and interior to try and discern the hidden inscription.

Images of the folded lead tablet found on Mt. Ebal. The object is small, roughly 1 inch square.
Photo by Michael C. Luddeni. (Courtesy of Associates for Biblical Research)

Dr…

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Grace, Faith, and Obedience

Footnote 42 — Christopher JH Wright, Knowing Jesus Through the Old Testament (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1992), p68 LOGOS edition

“The promise to Abraham was effective because he believed it and acted upon it, continuing to do so long after it had become humanly impossible. The exodus was promised by God, but it would not have happened if the Israelites had not responded to the leading of Moses, and even then some of them did so reluctantly. The same people received the promise of the land, but because their faith and obedience failed at the crucial point, they never received it and perished in the wilderness. And so it goes on all the way through scripture. The promise comes as the initiative of God’s grace and always depends on his grace. But that grace has to be accepted and responded to by faith and obedience.”

Prohibition Mythologies

Footnote 41 — Michael Lewis and Richard F. Hamm, eds., Prohibition’s Greatest Myths: The Distilled Truth About America’s Anti-Alcohol Campaign (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2020).

This is an intriguing scholarly volume of essays marking the centennial of Prohibition in the United States. From the Preface: “This volume began at a conference in the Netherlands when a few prohibition scholars were collectively bemoaning the gap between what historians know about prohibition and what much of the public believes about it…

“As the contributors to the volume were finishing their essays, potent signs of how disruptive alcohol is in our society gave this topic renewed urgency. In a public hearing before a vast audience connected to the scene electronically, a US senator and a nominee for the US Supreme Court questioned each other about whether they drank to the point of memory loss or blackout. Just a week earlier, the World Health Organization had released a massive report on the ill effects of alcohol. It declared that more than 3 million people died because of harmful use of alcohol in 2016. Further, the WHO concluded, “alcohol caused more than 5% of the global disease burden.” Yet, in response to the manifest problems caused by alcohol today, there is no movement seeking to ban alcohol in the United States or throughout much of the world.

“One reason for the lack of such a movement today is that prohibition, especially the American experience of national prohibition, is widely perceived to have been a colossal failure.”

Some of the chapter headings, and myths exploded, in this volume:

“Religious Conservatives Spearheaded the Prohibition Movement”

“Alcohol Consumption Increased During the Prohibition Era”

“Repeal Happened Because Prohibition Was a Failure”

“Prohibition Was Uniquely American”

“Prohibition Changed Little About American Drinking Habits”

“The Current Debates About Marijuana Legalization Are the Same as Those That Ended Prohibition”

And more.

Oblivion Shuns Its Pages

Footnote 40 — Abraham Heschel, God in Search of Man (New York: Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux, 1983), 242.

“Irrefutably, indestructibly, never wearied by time, the Bible wanders through the ages … as if it belonged to every soul on earth. It speaks in every language and in every age … We all draw upon it, and it remains pure, inexhaustible, and complete. In three thousand years it has not aged a day. It is a book that cannot die. Oblivion shuns its pages. Its power is not subsiding. In fact, it is still at the very beginning of its career.”

“How Archaeology Works” webinar!

Bible, Archaeology, and Travel with Luke Chandler

There is a special opportunity to see and learn how archaeology really works this Sunday evening, August 9, at 8pm Eastern Time. For just $10 (only $5 for ASOR members) you can attend a live webinar from the Biblical Archaeology Society on “Digging Deeper: How Archaeology Works.”

This affordable webinar is hosted by Dr. Eric Cline, an internationally renowned archaeologist with more than thirty seasons of excavation experience. His archaeological work ranges from Greece and Crete to Egypt, Israel, and Jordan. Dr. Cline is also a Pulitzer-nominated author and is currently co-directing a new dig at biblical Hazor with Yossi Garfinkel, the archaeologist with whom I have worked for years.

Your $10 (or $5) registration includes several benefits:

  • Get a firsthand look at how archaeology really does work. Break through media misconceptions and see how archaeologists perform their craft. How do they know where to dig? What is it like…

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Footnote 39 – Safed the Sage

Footnote 39 — William E. Barton, The Parables of Safed the Sage (Chicago: Advance Publishing Company, 1917).

THE UNOPENED WINDOW

I LOVE the work of William Eleazer Barton (father of Bruce Barton of Jesus-as-salesman genre of books). WE Barton was an Illinois native (and Lincoln scholar, particularly of Lincoln’s religion) who preached in the Chicago area before affiliating with Oberlin and then migrating to Vanderbilt when Oberlin’s School of Theology merged with Vandy’s Divinity School. Late in life he became a mentor to a young Vanderbilt grad student, Henry Lee Saint, who late in his life became my major professor at Vanderbilt. Barton was also Editor of Bib Sac for several years. His Safed & Keturah sagas are a hoot (but often with a serious kick). I especially like the Parable of the Potato Bug, among others. Here’s another good one:

THE UNOPENED WINDOW

“Now there came to me a man with a Sad Countenance, and he said, O Safed, thy words of wisdom are known to all men, and thy virtue exceedeth even thy wisdom; may thy days be long among men.

And I heard him, and I answered not; for the man who cometh unto me with a Little Too Much Taffy and Then Some hath an Axe to Grind. And I said, If thou hast Business, say on; for Time Passeth.

And he said, O Safed, I have a neighbor, and he is an Undesirable Citizen. His house joineth hard unto mine upon the North, and he annoyeth me continually. He and his Kids keep up a continual Rough House, which greatly annoyeth us. And he hath Daughters, and there come to see them Young Men, who sit with them on the Porch till Any Old Time at Night, and they Laugh and Raise Ned so that sleep is driven from our eyes, and slumber from our eyelids. Yea, and when we look that way we see things that Vex our Righteous Souls.

And I said, Are they Immoral? If so thou mayest call the Police.

And he said, They are not what you might call Immoral, for my wife hath watched them much through the Window; she hath a place where she sitteth and watcheth while she Darneth Stockings; yet are they noisy; yea, they are the Limit.

And I said unto him, How many windows hath thy house?

And he said, My house standeth Foursquare, and it hath windows toward the North, the South, the East and the West.

And I said unto him, Move thou over to the South side of thy House; thou shalt have more Sleep and Sunshine. Yea, moreover, speak thou unto thy wife that she Darn her Stockings where she hath less to see.

And he went away angry. But I counted it among my Good Deeds.

And I meditated thereon, and I considered that there are many people who live on the North Side of their own Souls; yea, they curse God that they hear the racket and are sad; and behold, their South Windows are unopened.”

-from The Parables of Safed the Sage, by Wm. E. Barton, Advance Publishing, Chicago, 1917.

Footnote 38 — God and Einstein

Footnote 38 — George Sylvester Viereck, Glimpses of the Great (New York, Macauley, 1930).

GOD AND EINSTEIN

In an interview published in 1930, Albert Einstein responded to a question about whether he defined himself as a pantheist:

“Your question is the most difficult in the world. It is not a question I can answer simply with yes or no. I am not an Atheist. I do not know if I can define myself as a Pantheist. The problem involved is too vast for our limited minds.

“May I not reply with a parable? The human mind, no matter how highly trained, cannot grasp the universe. We are in the position of a little child, entering a huge library whose walls are covered to the ceiling with books in many different tongues. The child knows that someone must have written those books. It does not know who or how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child notes a definite plan in the arrangement of the books, a mysterious order, which it does not comprehend, but only dimly suspects. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of the human mind, even the greatest and most cultured, toward God. We see a universe marvelously arranged, obeying certain laws, but we understand the laws only dimly. Our limited minds cannot grasp the mysterious force that sways the constellations. I am fascinated by Spinoza’s Pantheism. I admire even more his contributions to modern thought. Spinoza is the greatest of modern philosophers, because he is the first philosopher who deals with the soul and the body as one, not as two separate things.”

ADVENTURES IN COOKING

ADVENTURES IN COOKING – Amaze Your Friends!

So, this happened during the Coronavirus shutdown: I am finally learning to cook.

One of the few things my Mom failed at was teaching her eldest son how to cook. Oh, there were some modest accomplishments: I learned to fry bacon and scramble eggs, grill burgers and hotdogs, mash potatoes, even bake a cake – all the basic food groups. I mean, after all, what more do you really need? I also learned to make a mean “Honeymoon Salad” (lettuce alone). Simple and uncomplicated is good.

True, we have done our fair share of ordering take-out during the shut-down, wanting to support local restaurants which stayed open and keep their employees on payroll. Chicago-style deep-dish pizza is just as tasty when eaten at home.

But along the way, we got a “teaser” offer from Sunbasket, a California firm which markets fresh-food ingredients, home-delivered each week. The first basket of 3 meal ingredients was half-off, with a free meal thrown in. So we selected a diabetic-friendly diet, and soon Sunbaskets started showing up on the porch, reliably delivered to the front door every week. We have discovered that while Instacart and the delivery services of Amazon and Walmart are impressive during “normal” times, they don’t always work well during a pandemic – even when items are in stock.

SOME THINGS I HAVE LEARNED

Cooking is waayy more time- and labor-intensive than I imagined.

Bette is an excellent cook. So was her mother. So was mine. (I knew that already).

Lentil sloppy joes are edible, when properly seasoned – but vastly improved with some beef!

There is a lovely, subtle yet profound intimacy in cooking together with a trusted partner who knows you well.

Still, you want to be pleasant and friendly when your cooking partner has a hand on a sharp utensil, blunt instrument, or pan of hot oil.

Spinach (and other rejected-in-childhood vegetables) CAN be prepared in ways that are downright tasty. But zucchini “noodles,” while nourishing, are still no substitute for pasta.

I have renewed appreciation for the bounty of God’s good earth, which He filled with food.

Props, kudos, and many thanks to the farmers who plant, grow, and harvest our foodstuffs. Many of us would starve if left to our own devices.

Blessings upon the memory of those who “discovered fire,” and the utility of heat which transforms many substances into more palatable forms.

And to those who invented refrigeration, and flash-freezing. (We are also supplementing with Schwan’s home delivery, which we had never used before – not bad for frozen).

I am impressed, and grateful for, the many devices (both manual and electric) which carve, slice & dice, mix, and otherwise manipulate and re-arrange ingredients.

Renewed respect to those professional chefs who not only make it look “easy,” but come up with unusual but delicious food combinations.

And, finally: many, many thanks to the good sisters who have cooked numerous meals for me and others during the various meetings and lectureships I’ve spoken on through the decades. For those who may not have had the experience, these are very nice, even elegant, guest-of-honor meals, with much forethought and advance preparation required. Even though I have tried to make it a point to be complimentary and express sincere thanks, I was likely not nearly as effusive over their efforts as I should have been. Despite my best intentions in expressing gratitude, I’m sure now that I did not comprehend the time, energy, and expertise required. So, thank you, Thank You, THANK YOU! Compliments to the chef!

Now, what’s for supper?