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Christology in the Stone-Campbell Movement

CHRISTOLOGICAL REFLECTIONS IN THE LIGHT OF
DOUG FOSTER’S “CHRISTOLOGY IN THE STONE-CAMPBELL MOVEMENT” [1]


John Mark Hicks


The Stone-Campbell Movement has an interesting and diverse Christological tradition. Doug Foster’s survey provides a starting point for reflection on the person of Christ. He has introduced us to a landscape that I want to cultivate.

Introduction


Four general features are evident in our history which are roughly equivalent to four successive generations. These four features will provide the structure of my response to Doug’s paper.

First, the Stone-Campbell movement has had a general aversion to specific theological reflection on the person of Christ. We have valued biblical language and a minimalist Christology that is rooted in the factuality of Christ’s redemptive work.

Second, building on that minimalism, we have practiced a de facto Christological diversity. We have embraced vague Christologies because we sought unity in the light of the single fact that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Christological reflection was unnecessary except to establish this common ground and condemn speculations.

Third, our Christological minimalism has expanded in this century. While leaders in the first decades of the 19th century sought common ground in biblical facts rather than speculative theories (e.g., Unitarians vs. Trinitarians), early 20th century leaders reacted against modernist and cultic Christologies that threatened that common ground (e.g., modernist/fundamentalist controversy; the rise of the Jehovah’s Witnesses).

Fourth, we have shifted from an emphasis rooted on a common factual confession that Jesus is the Christ to a Trinitarian emphasis on his deity. Trinitarianism has been (re)born among us. An incarnational theology, represented by Max Lucado in particular, dominates the current climate in our churches. Interestingly, this renewal has primarily developed along ethical and devotional/spiritual lines.

Exploration


The First Generation

The relationship between Stone and Campbell fundamentally shaped our Christological attitudes. Doug has covered this ground in detail. However, I want to stress two significant points: (1) the importance of biblical terminology and (2) the confession of the one fact, i.e., Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.

While Campbell was never entirely comfortable with Stone’s Arian leanings [2], Campbell’s Christological test was whether people "supremely venerate, and unequivocally worship the King my Lord and Master, and are willing to obey him in all things."[3] Thus, while Campbell placed himself among the Protestant Reformers on Christological issues [4] (even willing to use the term “Trinitarian” to describe himself in 1846 [5]), he recognized that the basis of union was broader than that orthodoxy.

After the union in 1832, Campbell believed that the "Christians" had left their opinions behind and had come to affirm the substance of his Christological test.[6] While Stone had earlier flirted with Arianism,[7] he indicated that uniting with the Reformers meant that he laid aside all his former speculations and spoke only in the "words of inspiration."[8] Stone acknowledged his debt to Campbell for "expressing the faith of the gospel in the words of revelation.”[9] In his last decade, his Christological statements are replete with biblical phrases without extended speculation as to their ultimate ontology.[10]

Thus, biblical language was the test for acceptance in the new movement. The confession that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God was sufficient.[11] Campbell writes: “If [a Unitarian or Trinitarian] will ascribe to Jesus all Bible attributes, names, works, and worship, we will not fight with him about scholastic words.”[12] The “very soul, body and spirit of the gospel…is in the proper answer to the question, What think ye of Christ?” Christian union is found in the “declaration of our faith in the person, mission, and character of Jesus Christ.”[13] Thus, union rested on the fact of Jesus was the Christ, the son of God. In the context of swirling Trinitarian and Christological debates, Campbell called for the simplicity of biblical language. Walter Scott, as Foster points out, solidified this perspective.[14]

Second Generation

The second generation inherited an aversion to Christological speculation though there are some exceptions.[15] Doug noted at least two, C. L. Loos and W. K. Pendleton. I would add Hiram Christopher as a third.[16] These press beyond the simplicity of faith towards theological reflection, even speculation. They represent a move beyond Campbell himself though rooted in Campbell’s non-speculative anti-Unitarianism that became clear in the 1846 Millennial Harbinger.[17] One result was that the second generation increasingly distinguished itself from Unitarianism.

In general, however, the second generation hated speculation, particularly “isms”—Unitarianism and Trinitarianism. They called for a simple confession of Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God. Multiple articles and sermons, based on Matthew 22:42, “What think ye of Christ?,” articulated this point.[18] From Benjamin Franklin to L. L. Pinkerton, they emphasized the mystery of the person rather than speculative theology.[19] Pinkerton, for example, wrote that the “essential truth lies on the surface. It has respect to a person, not to a doctrine.”[20]

Issac Errett’s “Our Position” illustrates the implementation of this Christological test. Errett finds agreement with evangelicalism when it affirms the "divine excellency and worthiness of Jesus as the Son of God; his perfect humanity as the Son of Man” and “the incarnation of the Logos—the eternal Word of God—in the person of Jesus of Nazareth.”[21] Although orthodox in theology, Errett continues, “we demand no other faith, in order to baptism and church membership, than the faith of the heart in Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the living God.”[22] All who trust “in the Son of God and obey him are our brethren.”[23]

Despite--as Doug noted--the lack of Christology in his Gospel Plan of Salvation, T. W. Brents reflects a typical second-generation Christology in his sermon “The Sonship of Christ.”[24] Brents positions himself between Trinitarianism and Unitarianism by affirming that “Jesus is the son of God.”[25] The Father and son are distinct eternal persons, but the son is subordinate to the Father and the Father is alone the “very and eternal God.”[26] Brents protects the monarchy of the Father, but also the divinity of the son who becomes incarnate. Beyond that he leaves it to the mystery of godliness.[27]

Another example consistent with Brents is Benjamin Franklin who also rejected both Unitarianism and Trinitarianism in favor of a simple confession that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. He cared nothing for the “theories about the Trinity” since “they wrote about a matter which they confessed they could not understand, explained a matter which they confessed could not be explained, and yet required men to believe their theories, on pain of damnation!”[28]

Third Generation

Christological discussions in the early and mid-twentieth century Churches of Christ were shaped by the modernist controversies on the one hand and the rise of various “heretical” cults on the other (e.g., Jehovah’s Witnesses). Early in the century, especially as the Fundamentalists set the tone in the 1910s and 20s and also as a way of distinguishing themselves from the increase of liberalism among the Disciples, the Churches of Christ emphasized the deity of Jesus.

One example of anti-modernist rhetoric is G. C. Brewer’s 1927 sermon series entitled Christ Crucified. (The climactic [and longest] sermon was on evolution.[29]) The “modernists” do not believe in the virgin birth, the vicarious death nor the resurrection of Jesus. Here the fundamentalist influence is unmistakable. “They do not believe that he was Immanuel, God with us. Or that he was ‘the Christ, the Son of the living God’.”[30]

In the 1950s Fred O. Blakely authored a lengthy essay entitled “Why I am Not a Unitarian.”[31] He accepts Nicea and argues for a classic Trinitarianism.[32] Nevertheless, he also maintains an emphasis found in the 19th century. While he rejects the opinions of Arians and modalists he insists that “in so doing” he does “not seek to impeach their faith in Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God, or to impugn the purity of the motives which prompt them.”[33]

Such examples could be multiplied (almost) ad infinitum in the periodical, lectureship and study book literature of this century.[34] Doug has given us some examples in his material.[35]

Fourth Generation

An emergent Trinitarianism is evident among us, not only among Churches of Christ, but also in other branches of the Stone-Campbell Movement.[36] Even though our biblical scholars are somewhat hesitant, this shift comes from several quarters. First, the previous generation’s defense of the deity of Christ forced some reflection along this line. Second, the renewal of Trinitarianism in this century (beginning with Karl Barth) has filtered down to our educators and trained ministers. Third, the stress on incarnational theology (particularly within missiology and ethics) has reaffirmed that God was really among us as Immanuel. Fourth, postmodern audiences yearn to hear about community, empathy and relationality which incarnational emphases address.

Trinitarianism is present in many quarters of contemporary Churches of Christ. It is regularly discussed at lectureships and conferences, and is given a place in contemporary theological works.[37] The earliest beginnings of this resurgence was anti-Jehovah’s Witness rhetoric like that found in Hugo McCord which Doug has noted. McCord describes Jesus in lofty language as “the Father of Eternity” (based on Isaiah 9:6) and “no less than Jehovah.”[38] Unlike most of the first and second generations, he is willing to use the term “Trinity” since “the Godhead is a threefold being.” Yet, there is a functional hierarchy in the immanent Trinity and he accepts Campbell’s distinction between “Word” and “Son.”[39]

One of the best examples of this Trinitarian emergence is Roy H. Lanier, Sr.’s 1974 Timeless Trinity which dared to use the traditional word and unfold a traditional, even orthodox, understanding of Trinity.[40] Lanier’s book enabled a wide acceptance of the term “Trinity” when earlier in our history it was seen as an “ism.” The book stresses the deity of Christ (seven of the eight chapters on Christ are about his deity).

Futhermore, recent years have emphasized the incarnational presence of God in the context of ethics and spiritual devotion. “What Would Jesus Do?” has become the ethical slogan of the last decade of the twentieth century and Max Lucado has certainly dominated devotional/spiritual reflection on the meaning of the incarnation.

Ethical reflection has risen to the top of our Christological interests. This is probably due to the recent shift from the epistles to the gospels in our preaching and teaching. Olbricht’s 1979 theology of Mark, The Power to Be, is a good example.[41] In 1987 Shelly followed with his Surely This Man Was the Son of God.[42] That same year Hazelip and Durham published Jesus: Our Mentor and Our Model in the same vein.[43] Harding University’s 1988 lectureship on the Gospel of Mark was entitled The Lifestyle of Jesus.[44]

Max Lucado, however, has been the most influential of all. His Christology is pervasive in our pulpits, our pews and throughout evangelical culture. His recent Just Like Jesus represents his ethical reflection,[45] but his God Came Near, one of his first books, reveals his Christological presuppositions.[46] While, as Doug reminds us, Lucado brilliantly brings Jesus to life for us and reminds us of his humanity, I fear that his incarnational theology undermines the very thing he wants to press--Christ’s empathetic humanity. His theology seems to lack any significant kenosis. Instead, Mary “knows she is holding God.”[47] He is the “infant-God” to whom Mary prays.[48] His Jesus counts the stars as he lies in his crib and remembers his creative work. Mary is tempted to call him “Father.”[49] This type of incarnational theology tends to undermine the humanity of Jesus because it assumes that Jesus did not really identify with the human psyche. The divine mind informs and empowers the human life of Jesus in such a way that he is no longer a genuine model for struggling Christians. I think his Christology needs a good dose of the incarnation as a participation in fallenness where Jesus assumes fallen human nature, struggles with sin and shares our weaknesses.[50] In other words, Lucado’s Johannine Christology needs to be tempered with the Christology of the synoptics and Hebrews. Contrary to Doug’s reading, I believe Lucado ultimately subsumes the human under the divine.

Conclusion


Our Christological story line has moved from a search for doctrinal unity in the midst of competing Christologies to the full embrace of a Trinitarian incarnational theology that focuses on the ethical life. We have learned from our heritage not to get overheated in speculation and we have learned from others the importance of an incarnational theology for the Christian life. Perhaps we can maintain the biblical confession that Jesus Christ is the Son of the God as our common faith while at the same time reflecting theologically on the meaning of that confession for our understanding of God and ethics. In so doing, perhaps we can have the best of both worlds. We have often been reactionary, but we have also sought a common, simple confession of Jesus Christ as the Son of God. We must maintain that simplicity but at the same time reflect theologically on what that means for the life of the church. Simplicity must not entail naivete and theology must not mean speculative metaphysics. Rather, the church confesses that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God and seeks to understand what that means and how that applies. The church must be shaped by its confession, but it can only be shaped if there is some reflection on what that confession means.

Where is the best Christological work in our movement? It is not found at the higher echelons of our academic life. It is not found in the devotional/spiritual literature of Max Lucado. Both are important perspectives, and while we tend to underestimate the value of Lucado and overestimate the value of scholarship, the best work is done in preaching Jesus. Our best printed Christological work, despite its anti-modernist ring and anti-Catholic flavor, may be the 1927 sermons by G. C. Brewer.[51]

While advocating the deity of Christ, Brewer was equally concerned to emphasize the empathetic suffering of Jesus as a human being. Brewer articulates the themes of empathetic suffering, real humanity, and friendship with sinners so common in Max Lucado. Brewer’s sermon “Christ the Man of Sorrows” eloquently describes how Jesus sympathetically grieves with us.[52] He also applies the “perfecting” (teleioo) theology so important in Hebrews (2:10; 5:9; 7:28). In Jesus Christ, God is the empathetic one who fully embraced our humanity and was perfected through suffering.

In closing one of his sermons, he paints the picture of a weeping, even “quivering,” God listening to the prayer of the weeping Jesus in Gethsemane. But the weeping God is also the loving God who yearns to redeem fallen humanity.[53] The Father hears the prayer of his Son but answers “No” for the sake of lost humanity. This is the love of God that he sent his Son as a hilasmos for a lost world (1 John 4:10). This is incarnational theology at its best, and this is the Christology that still speaks to our hearts and can shape the life of the church in a cruciform manner.[54]

Footnotes

[1] A paper presented at the annual meeting of the Restoration Theological Research Fellowship, Boston, MA, November 20, 1999.
[2] Campbell was not enthusiastic about the union with the "Christians," and, according to West, if it had been up to Campbell's initiative, the union would have never taken place. Cf., William Garrett West, Barton Warren Stone: Early American Advocate of Christian Unity (Nashville, TN: The Disciples of Christ Historical Society, 1954), p. 139. In 1827, Campbell expressed his concern about Arian leanings among the Stonites. He feared that "certain opinions, called Arian or Unitarian, or something else, are becoming [their] sectarian badge” ("To the Christian Messenger," The Christian Messenger 2 [November 1827], 10.) The Christian Messenger is hereafter cited as CM. At the beginning of his letter, Campbell accepted Stone as a brother because Stone had once told him that he "conscientiously and devoutly pray[ed] to the Lord Jesus Christ as though there was no other God in the universe than he” (p. 6). Stone replied that he never said any such thing, and that if this was Campbell's acid test, then he would have to be excluded from the number Campbell calls "brethren” ("Reply," CM 2 [November 1827], 11).
[3] Campbell, "To the Christian Messenger," 7. Campbell writes in another place: "I regard no man as a believer in Jesus as the Messiah, who denies that he is a divine person, the only begotten of God; or who refuses to worship and adore him with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength." Cf. "Mr. Broaddus," Millennial Harbinger 4 (January 1833), 9. The Millennial Harbinger is hereafter cited as MH. Campbell, “Christian Union—No. V,” MH 17 (1846), 690-1, seeks a “union in truth” and “not union in opinion…What, then, is a Christian? He is not a mere character, nor a believer of any thing or every thing called Christianity. He is one that believes that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the living God, and submits to his government. This is the central truth of the Christian system…One, indeed, may confess his belief that Jesus is the Christ, and in his works deny him. Of course, we then must deny him. He may also deny him in his opinions; and in this case, too, we must also deny him…I do not make opinion the basis of union; but I would, in some cases, make it an objection to union.”
[4] Campbell writes: "For myself, I acknowledge that my sectarian partialities, as well as my more mature convictions, are all on the side of the general views of the Protestant reformers in those questions which involve the person, office, and work of the Messiah," "Campbell to Broaddus," MH 13 (April 1842), 211.
[5] Campbell, with W. K. Pendleton, “Unitarianism as Connected with Christian Union—No. III,” MH, 17 (1846), 451, used “Trinitarianism” to describe his own position though he reminded his readers that he was “no advocate of scholastic Trinitarianism.”
[6] Campbell, "Mr. Broaddus," 9: "As far as my acquaintance with all the brethren extends, North, South, East, or West, (whatever their former opinions I know not,) they all accord in rendering the same honor in thought, word, and deed to the Son, as they do to the Father who sent him."
[7] Stone, "The Editor's remarks on brother H. Cyrus' letter, No. 2," CM 9 (July 1835), 163: "Arius asserted that Jesus Christ was a created intelligence of the highest order, and Athanasius contended he was begotten, not made...and to this [Athanasius, JMH] have I subscribed long ago, as the most probable. See my letters to Doc. Blythe. I acknowledge that much speculation has been used on both sides of the long vexatious question. I, like many others, have indulged in it; but convinced of its inutility, and bad effects in society, have for several years back relinquished these speculations, and have confined myself to the language of scripture in my public teaching." Cf. David Newell Williams, "The Theology of the Great Revival in the West as seen through the Life and Thought of Barton Warren Stone," (Ph.D. dissertation, Vanderbilt University, 1979), pp. 115-116. Stone felt "disposed to use scriptural terms, when speaking on this subject, and therefore call Jesus the Son of God, the only begotten, &c. I can see nothing in scripture to justify the idea of the Son of God being created, the idea appears too low." Cf. "Queries," CM 7 (May 1833), 139.
[8] John Augustus Williams, Life of Elder John Smith; with some account of the Rise and Progress of the Current Reformation (Cincinnati, OH: R. W. Carroll and Co., 1870), p. 455. Cf. West, Stone, pp. 147-150.
[9] Stone, "Reply to Brother John Curd's Letter," CM 8 (August 1834), 239.
[10] For example, Stone, "Letter IV: To a Presbyterian Preacher," CM 2 (August 1828), 247: "The doctrine that Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God, and not the living God himself--that he existed a distinct intelligent being from the Father in heaven before creation, and by whom God created all things--that this being was sent into the world by the Father, not to do his own will, but the will of him that sent him--that he was made flesh and dwelt among us,--that he suffered, died and ascended up where he was before--This doctrine we cannot but believe."
[11] The Disciples have often pointed to this simplicity, esp. W. E. Garrison and Ronald Osborn (cf. Steven V. Sprinkle, Disciples and Theology: Understanding the Faith of a People in Covenant [St. Louis: Chalice Press, 1999], pp. 55, 91).
[12] Campbell, “Millennium.—No. II,” MH 1 (April 1830), 147.
[13] Campbell, “Union Among Christians,” MH 17 (1846), 222.
[14] Cf. Walter Scott, The Messiahship (Cincinnati: H. S. Bosworth, 1859).
[15] C. L. Loos, “Christ—His Two-Fold Nature,” MH 36 (1865), 130-1 and W. K. Pendleton, “The History of the Doctrine of Christology: A Lecture,” MH 41 (1870), 86-98. See also C. L. Loos, “Unitarianism,” MH 41 (1870), 550: “The fact is, there is no further hope when the Godhood of Jesus is taken away from our Christian faith, --all then is lost.” See also W. K. Pendleton, “History of the Doctrine of the Trinity,” MH 41 (1870), 550-62, 601-13, 661-73; note p. 673: “Such is the result of the greatest metaphysical efforts of Christian thought, exercised for centuries, through conflict and persecution, on the deep things of God. We can expect nothing to be added to it. We reverence it as the best product of great Christian hearts feeling after the mystery of God, and struggling to reduce to scientific expression the deep mysteries of faith. It is not vain or worthless, nor yet is it to be too much insisted on in the practical edification of the church.”
[16] Hiram Christopher, The Remedial System (Lexington, KY: Transylvania Printing and Publishing Co., 1876), 28, who speaks of the “trinity of the Jehovah,” though he titles his chapter “Godhead.”
[17] Campbell, “Unitarianism,” MH 17 (1846), 393-4 states: “In our Christian religion we have a “divine nature,” and we have three persons—the Father, the Word and the Holy Spirit…We speculate not upon God, nor upon divinity, nor upon unity, plurality, or trinity or tri-unity. But we have a manifestation of God out of humanity in the Father, of God in humanity in the Son and of God with humanity in the Holy Spirit, and we can give more good reasons for the propriety of the scripture style, for the ascription of all divine names, honors, and powers to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, than we have heard or seen against them.” Also, Campbell, “To Brother Henry Grew,” MH 4 (April 1833), 155, could almost speak of a kind of social Trinitarianism, but it was inferential at best: “But that there is, and was, and evermore will be, society in God himself, a plurality as well as a unity in the Divine nature, are inferences which do obtrude themselves on my mind…” Campbell’s interest in Trinitarianism (vs. Unitarianism) is rooted in soteriology. “For, in truth,” he writes, “where there is no divine nature connected with distinct personality, there appears to me no possibility of a remedial dispensation. Hence Unitarianism with a human saviour, or with an angelic or superangelic, but created saviour, has no salvation for man—fallen, guilty, polluted, rebel man; and, therefore, for me it has not now, and it never had, one redeeming provision, and consequently no redeeming quality” (“Unitarianism,” p. 452; cf. also, pp. 636-7).
[18] L. L. Pinkerton, “Jesus the First and Last,” in The Living Pulpit of the Christian Church: A Series of Discourses, Doctrinal and Practical, ed. W. T. Moore (Cincinnati, OH: R. W. Carroll & Co., 1868), pp. 105-128; Benjamin Franklin, “What Think Ye of Christ?,” Gospel Preacher, vol. 2 (Cincinnati, OH: G. W. Rice, 1877), pp. 11-31; Moses Lard, “What Think Ye of Christ?,” Lard’s Quarterly 3 (October 1865), 1-14; G. W. Longan, “Grounds On Which We Accept Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of God and Savior of the World,” in The Old Faith Restated, ed. J. H. Garrison (St. Louis: Christian Publishing Co., 1891), pp. 49-97; and H. T. Anderson, “Jesus of Nazareth is Theanthropos,” in Living Pulpit, pp. 71-83. Nevertheless, each of these affirm a rather orthodox understanding of Christ as the God-Man. This is especially clear in Anderson.
[19] Franklin, “What Must Men Believe to Be Saved?,” The Gospel Preacher, vol. 1, 4th ed (Cincinnati, OH: Franklin & Rice, 1869), pp. 35-56, esp. p. 49: “The central idea in the kingdom of God is the living and glorious person of the Lord from heaven….It is the concentration, the embodiment of all Christianity in a person, a living and glorious person.”
[20] Pinkerton, p. 110.
[21] Issac Errett, “Our Position,” in Historical Documents Advocating Christian Union, ed. C. A. Young (Joplin, MO: College Press, 1985; reprint of 1904 ed), p. 290.
[22] Ibid., p. 299.
[23] Ibid.
[24] T. W. Brents, Gospel Sermons (Nashville: McQuiddy Printing Co., 1918; reprint of 1891 ed), pp. 22-45.
[25] Ibid., p. 22.
[26] Ibid., p. 38, commenting on John 1:1: “But he was God. Yes, but let us be careful not to add any thing to that which is written. It does not say he was the only God; nor does it say He was the very and eternal God. He was the manifestation of God’s power in creation as seen in the next verse; and He was called God because he inherited the name of His Father.” The Son is God by virtue of his relation to the Father; he is not autotheos.
[27] Ibid., p. 39: “Just to what extent, or even how humanity and divinity were blended in Jesus Christ we may never perfectly comprehend.”
[28] Benjamin Franklin, “Matters of Disagreement,” in Gospel Preacher, 2:246. See also his “What Must Men Believe to be Saved?,” Gospel Preacher, 1:39-40: “If a man believes with his heart that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, he has true faith, divine faith, saving faith and there is no other faith through which man can be justified before God.”
[29] G. C. Brewer, Christ Crucified (Nashville: Gospel Advocate, 1959; reprint of 1928 ed.), pp. 9-42.
[30] Ibid., 113.
[31] Fred O. Blakely, The Apostle’s Doctrine, vol. 1, 2nd ed (Highland, IN: Fred O. Blakely, 1962; first ed. 1951), pp. 300-41.
[32] Ibid., p. 305: “The Scriptures, as we shall see, have all the elements of the traditional concept of multipersonality, but actually no formal, categorical statement of it. That was not made until the year 325 by the Council of Nicea.”
[33] Ibid., p. 340.
[34] Leon Crouch, The Deity of Christ (Ft. Worth: Star Bible & Tract Cor., 1977) and Wayne Jackson, “Jesus—His Eternal Nature,” Great Doctrines of the Bible, pp. 115-30 as two further examples. One should also include debates with Oneness Pentecostals, such as G. K. Wallace and Ray Vaughan, Wallace-Vaughn Debate (Shreveport: Lambert Book House, 1978; reprint of 1952 ed), Johnny Ramsey and Marvin A. Hicks, Ramsey-Hicks Debate (Fort Worth: Star Bible and Tract Corp., 1973), Larry Hafley and Paul Ferguson, Hafely-Ferguson Debate (Eligin, IL: Another Real Truth Publication, 1972), and David Lipe and Billy Lewis, The Lipe-Lewis Debate: a five night oral debate held in Memphis, Tennessee, November 15-19, 1976 (Winona, MS: J. C. Choate Publications, 1984). Unpublished debates, according to Thomas Thrasher at http://www.ptc.dcs.edu/teacherpages/tthrasher/listings.htm include Amerson-Lambert Debate (1976); Bailey-Norton (1976); Belue-Hicks (1967); Belue-Childress (1961); Billingsley-Joiner (1983); Canon-Jones (1947); Clevenger-Hardin (1950); Cooper-Carter (1974); Craig-Yocum (1959); Deason-Hays (1984); Dixon-Driver (1973); Dobbs-Prevost (1990); Duncan-McAllister (1951); Evans-Hill (1949); Falls-Tubbs (1972); Falls-Sharp (1972); Frost-Parnell (1973); Green-Bishop (1973); Green-Hayes (1987); Greeson-Luper (1991); Greeson-Scheel (1994); Guthery-Roberson (1950); Hafley-Lewis (1970); Harkrider-Hancock (1983); Hill-Sharp (1972); Holt-Payne (1984); Jackson-Pipkin (1969); Jenkins-Abbot (1963); Jenkins-Hyslope (1973); Jenkins-Garrett (1994); Johnson-McKenzie (1950); Johnson-Welch (1951); Kelly-Miller (1954); Kercheville-Abbott (1945); Lambert-Welch (1957); Madrigal-Hayes (1982); May-Pipkin (?); MacCagren-Sharp (1973 and 1974); Middleton-Gilbert (1938); Miller-Vaughan (1961); Nichols-Pipkin (1947); Oglesby-Hancock (1983); Overton-Smith (?); Pitts-Wise (1949); Pitts-Busbee (1952); Porter-Hicks (1957); Porter-McCord (1970); Sawyer-Welch (?); Sawyer-Taylor (?); Simons-Hayes (1990); Simons-Wachstetter (1997); Smith-Caudill (1969); Smith-Hayes (1992); Sutton-Gilmore (1962); Sutton-Cannon (1965); Sutton-Faithful (1966); Sutton-Welch (1971); Sutton-Sharp (1977); Taaffe-Cornel (1977); Thompson-Duplissey (1972); Thrasher-Craft (1972); Thrasher-Forsythe (1972); Thraher-Forsythe (1973); Thrasher-Cluxton (1981); Thrasher-Hayes (1983); Thrasher-Hayes (1990); Thrasher-Garrett (1992, 1993, 1994); Thrasher-Shortridge (1992 and 1993); Thrasher-Davis (1993); Thrasher-Akers (1994); Thrasher-Weatherly (1996); Thrasher-Bishop (1996); Tipton-Yocum (1959); Totty-Welch (1951); Totty-Magee (1960); Tuten-Huchinson (1965); Ward-Davis (1984); Warren-Welch (1954); Watkins-Welch (1970); Weaver-Hicks (1976); Wiser-Robbins (1958); Wiser-Lambert (1973); Woods-Hicks (1975); Among the early Disciples, see Jesse Kellem, The Deity of Jesus and Other Sermons (St. Louis: Christian Board of Publication, 1919).
[35] E.g., W. W. Otey, Christ or Modernism? (Austin, TX: Firm Foundation Publishing House, 1953) and James D. Bales, The Biblical Doctrine of Christ (West Monroe, LA: Central Printers, 1966).
[36] Cf. among the independent Christian Churches, Jack Cottrell, God the Redeemer (Joplin, MO: College Press, 1987), 117-74; William Richardson, ed., Christian Doctrine: “The Faith…Once Delivered” (Cincinnati: Standard Publishing, 1983); and Jeffrey Donley, What the Bible Says About Basic Theology (Joplin, MO: College Press, 1987), 54-56. Among the Disciples, William Robinson, What Churches of Christ Stand For (Birmingham: Churches of Christ Publishing Co., 1926); see the call for Trinitarian reflection in Colbert S. Cartwright, Candles of Grace: Disciples Worship in Perspective (St. Louis: Chalice Press, 1992), p. 102, but not all share such an interest; cf. Ronald Osborn, The Faith We Affirm: Basic Beliefs of Disciples of Christ (St. Louis: Bethany Press, 1979), p. 52.
[37] Cf. George Butterfield, “Trinity,” Restoration Quarterly 20 (1977), 115-22; three presentations on the “Trinity” at Freed-Hardeman University 1990 lectureship (Ray Hawk, “Trinity: Jesus Only Theology;” Everrt W. Huffard, “Trinity: Historical Background and Importance;” and Kris Jones, “Trinity: Key Issues”); and Ron Highfield, “Does the Doctrine of the Trinity Make a Difference?,” in Theology Matters, ed. Randall Harris, Gary Holloway and Mark Black (Joplin, MO: College Press, 1998), pp. 15-26. See my own Yet Will I Trust Him: Understanding God in a Suffering World (Joplin, MO: College Press, 1999), pp. 56-57, for my own use of the term “Trinity.”
[38] Hugo McCord, “What the Bible Teaches About Jesus Christ,” in What the Bible Teaches, ed. by Bill Flatt, Thomas B. Warren and W. B. West, Jr. (Nashville: Gospel Advocate, 1972), pp. 109-10. See also his “Becor and Protokos,” Restoration Quarterly 10 (1967), 40-45.
[39] Hugo McCord, “The Godhead,” in Great Doctrines of the Bible, ed. M. H. Tucker (Knoxville: East Tennessee School of Preaching and Missions, 1980), pp. 19-28.
[40] Roy H. Lanier, Sr., The Timeless Trinity for the Ceaseless Centuries (Denver: Lanier, 1974). Also, J. J. Turner & Edward P. Myers, Doctrine of the Godhead: A Study of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Abilene: Quality Publications, 1985) also use the term “Trinity” without hesitation (cf. pp. 39-46).
[41] Thomas H. Olbricht, The Power to Be: The Life-Style of Jesus From Mark’s Gospel (Austin, TX; Sweet Publishing, 1979).
[42] Rubel Shelly, Surely This Man Was the Son of God (Nashville: Rubel Shelly, 1987).
[43] Harold Hazelip and Ken Durham, Jesus: Our Mentor and Our Model (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1987).
[44] Eddie Cloer, ed., The Lifestyle of Jesus: According to the Gospel of Mark (Searcy, AR: Harding University, 1988).
[45] Max Lucado, Just Like Jesus (Nashville: Word Publishing, 1998).
[46] Max Lucado, God Came Near: Chronicles of the Christ (Portland, OR: Multnomah Press, 1987).
[47] Ibid., 23.
[48] Ibid., 23, 35.
[49] Ibid., 43-44: “Did you ever feel awkward teaching him how he created the world?…Did the thought ever occur to you that the God to whom you are praying was asleep under your own roof? Did you ever try to count the stars with him…and succeed?…Did you ever accidentally call him Father?…Did you ever think, That’s God eating my soup?”
[50] I agree with Barth and Bloesch who believe Christ assumed our fallen human nature. Cf. Donald Bloesch, Jesus Christ (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1997), p. 73.
[51] Bill Love, The Core Gospel: On Restoring the Crux of the Matter (Abilene: ACU Press, 1992), 211-17, offers a sympathetic assessment of Brewer’s series.
[52] Brewer, Christ Crucified, pp. 70-86, esp. 84-85.
[53] Ibid., p. 53.
[54] This is what I attempt in Yet Will I Trust Him, pp. 245-51, 314-27.





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