on these days in the American Restoration Heritage: April 5-11

Among the things that happened this past week in American Restoration Heritage history …

April 5

April 5, 1902 – J.W. McGarvey pens a piece entitled ‘Heresy-Hunting‘ speaking to the subject of heresy, the defense of the gospel, and Christian liberty … and does so with a bit of racial insensitivity characteristic of his time. The piece in its entirety reads:

“Some people have very confused ideas about hunting for heresy, and about Christian liberty. If a man advances and seeks to propagate teaching which I regard as very injurious, if not ruinous, and I assail it with vigor, such vigor as he feels unable to resist on the merits of the question, it is common for him and his friends to cry out, ‘Heresy-hunter! Heresy-hunter!’ If a lot of us should go prying into some man’s utterances to find something wrong, somewhat as W. T. Moore’s hounds kept up a yelping all night because, as the old darkey said, ‘dey smell something’, but can’t ‘zac’ly locate it,’ we might be charged with hunting for heresy; but if those hounds had seen a fox coming out of some man’s hen-roost, nobody would have objected to their giving him chase. The fox might cry out for personal liberty, and say, ‘I have just as good a right to take a chicken as you have to take a fox,’ nevertheless, the common judgment of mankind would say that to chase the fox away would be a righteous act. Out West there are bear-hunters. They go creeping around among the hills and rocks trying to slip up on a bear and take the advantage of him. In this they are like real heresy-hunters. But if a man is walking along the public road, and meets a bear reared on his hind legs, and reaching for him with his fore paws, there is bound to be a fight or a foot-race; and if the man should fight the bear, nobody could on this account call him a bear-hunter. The bear might say, ‘I am free, and have as much right on this road as you have,’ and the man could answer, ‘I am free, too, and have as much right on this road as you have.’ And if the man should also say, ‘You are after hugging me, and you hug everybody you can get hold of, so I will put a bullet through you,’ the average citizen would say that the man was in the right. So, if heresy does not want to be shot at, it should play sly and not walk out into the public road.”

April 6

April 6, 1862 – The two-day Battle of Shiloh (aka: Pittsburg Landing) begins. It’s sheer scale is unlike any other previously experienced in U.S. history: more men will die at Shiloh than have died in all of the nation’s previous wars put together. No small number of the combatants, on both sides, are either members of the Stone-Campbell Movement or will become so following the Civil War. Many more, though not members of the Restoration Heritage, are closely connected to those who are. Mark it: this is not “merely” a brother vs. brother conflict, but often a brother in Christ vs. a brother in Christ battle to the death. The irony is made even greater by the name of the location of the battle church known as “Shiloh” (“Shiloh” means “place of peace”). Among those who were at Shiloh, and who survived the terrible fighting there, are the following examples:

* It is T.B. Larimore who provides Confederate (CSA) General Albert Sydney Johnston with “his first information of the approach of Federal gunboats at Pittsburg Landing preparatory to that terrible Sunday slaughter.” Many years later Larimore will write in the Confederate Veteran:

“… I wrote the dispatch and remember well how those two gunboats [the U.S.S. Tyler and the U.S.S. Lexington] and three transports looked as they silently slipped up the river.”

It is precisely the knowledge afforded through this communiqué that prompts Johnston to attack Union General Grant’s forces at Shiloh before Union General Buell’s force can unite with those of Grant and reinforce him.

* A Captain in the Confederate Army is seriously wounded in the fighting, but manages to recover. The Minnie ball that causes the wound remains lodged in his right shoulder the rest of his life. The Captain is the father of C.R. Nichol.

* John J. Thompson, Sr. is crippled for life by a wound he receives as he serves with the CSA, 5th Tennessee Infantry regiment. Following the war he will be instrumental in building up a congregation in Henry County, Tennessee.

* William Franklin Thompson serves in the CSA, 5th Tennessee Infantry Regiment. The Union troops the 5th Tennessee spends most of its time engaged with on both days of battle at Shiloh are troops from Ohio infantry regiments. Thompson survives the war and at some point (during, or shortly thereafter) becomes a Christian and is a minister among churches of the Restoration Heritage for many years. He and his first wife, Artimissa (married in Jan. 1864) have eight children. Upon Artimissa’s death in 1884, Thompson remarries, but soon divorce (within a year) due to his second wife’s cruelty to his children. He marries a third time, Melissa Elizabeth Turner, and she survives him by ten years (Thompson dying in 1914 at the age of 75). Thompson’s body is buried in Coffeyville, Kansas.

* William Henry Fudge, a great-grandfather of our well-known contemporary, Edward Fudge, wears the Confederate gray and fights at Shiloh.

* Edward James Legg is a drummer in the CSA, 26th Alabama Infantry (Coltart’s) Regiment. At the start of the battle, the 26th Alabama has 440 men listed as “effectives” (i.e. – available for service); however, by the end of the first day’s fighting, due to casualties, sickness, and exhaustion, the number is less than 150. Lieutenant Colonel William Davidson Chadick (a Presbyterian minister known among his troops as “The Fighting Parson”) writes concerning the 26th’s action at Shiloh:

“The Twenty-sixth was hotly engaged, contributing a full share to the driving back of the enemy. When the charge was made upon the lines and into the camp of the enemy, the Twenty-sixth was among the first to penetrate them.”

The 26th Alabama (also confusingly known as the 50th Alabama) sees much more combat during the war and suffers serious losses during the battles of Murfreesboro, Chickamauga, and Franklin. Relatively few of the original members of the regiment survive the war, but Legg is one of them and sometime after the Civil War, likely during the 1880’s, he becomes a Christian and a part of the Restoration Heritage. Dying in 1930 and buried in Comanche, Oklahoma, his obituary notice in The Comanche Reflex notes that he was “a consistent member of the Church of Christ for more than forty years.”

John J. Stobaugh, a minister of the Christian Church, is mortally wounded at Shiloh, in his first experience with combat, as he serves as a Lieutenant in Capt. Jennings’ company of the CSA, 10th Arkansas Infantry. He finally succumbs to his grevious wounds twenty days later on April 26 at Corinth, Tennessee.

* Louis David Shockley is wounded while serving in CSA infantry (in the same regiment in which T.B. Larimore is a part). Recovering from his wound, he continues to serve until the following April (1863) at which time he then becomes listed as a deserter. Decades later, he and his wife, Rachel, donate the land needed for the erection of the building for the Shockley Church of Christ in Van Buren County, Tennessee.

* James McCleery, an officer in the USA, 41st Ohio Infantry Regiment, is so seriously wounded that his right arm is amputated. He recovers, only to be wounded again later that same year (Dec. 30, 1862) at the Battle of Stone’s River. Recovering once more, he serves for the duration of the war, being steadily promoted in rank throughout. As a Republican he is elected in 1871 to the U.S. Congress; however, McCleery dies in November of that same year. His body is buried in the cemetery of the Cortland Christian Church in Trumbull County, Ohio.

* William (“Willie”) Izora Bush is the 3rd Sgt. of Co. C in the CSA, 9th Texas Infantry. Shiloh is his regiment’s first major battle and during the fighting Willie is wounded in the neck. He recovers from his wound, but he will spend much more time hospitalized than not until he finally leaves Confederate service a year and a half later in Dec. 1863. Upon Willie’s death in 1905, the local newspaper notes that he “was a member of the Christian Church and was known far and near for his most exemplary life always having a kind word for those with whom he came in contact.”

* Brigadier General James A. Garfield, commanding the Twentieth Ohio Infantry Brigade (consisting of the 64th Ohio, 65th Ohio, 13th Michigan, and 51st Indiana), arrives at Shiloh but not quite in time to participate in any of the fighting. Recording his impressions of the sight of the Shiloh battlefield, he writes:

“Such a scene as this 30 square miles presents beggars all attempt at description. … God has been good to me and I am yet spared.”

Several days later he writes:

“The horrible sights I have witnessed on this field I can never describe. No blaze of glory that flashes around the magnificent triumphs of war can ever atone for the unwritten and unutterable horrors of the scene of the carnage.”

* When Sam Houston, Jr. (yes, the son of the Sam Houston, Sr. you’re thinking of) first enlists in the Confederate Army he is a part of the “Huntsville Grays” with Austin McGary. However, prior to Shiloh the “Huntsville Grays” are split up to serve in different regiments and so, McGary is not among those who fight at Shiloh. However, Sam Houston, Jr. is at Shiloh, serving as a Private in Co. C of the CSA, 2nd Texas Infantry Regiment. The 2nd Texas is badly cut up in the battle and Houston, Jr. is one of those seriously wounded. Supposed at first to be dead, he is laid out with them, but upon discovery that he is yet alive, a Union Army physician attends to him and nurses him back to health. [Incidentally, Sam Houston, Jr. is also well known to CSA Captain Colonel Barton W. Stone, Jr. (yes, the son of the B.W. Stone, Sr. that you’re thinking of now). Since at least 1851, Stone, Jr. and Houston, Sr. have been close friends. Stone’s regiment (the CSA, 6th Texas Cavalry) does not fight at Shiloh. Sam Houston, Sr. dies the following year (1863).]

* Union General Richard Montgomery (“R.M.”) Gano and his command arrive at Shiloh the day after the battle concludes. It is then that Gano learns that his good friend, Confederate General Albert Sydney Johnson, was killed in the fighting. Johnson is the highest-ranking officer killed during the Civil War.

* Forty-three year old Private Hiram Sowle Manchester of Co. K of the USA, 48th Ohio Infantry Regiment is killed in action at Shiloh. His five foot, nine inch body with dark complexion, dark hair, and hazel eyes is buried in grave #1009 in a section of graves for Ohio soldiers on the Shiloh battlefield.

During the battle, the 48th Ohio occupies the ground just west of the Shiloh church building, no more than a quarter of a mile away. The 48th (along with two other Union regiments, the 70th Ohio and the 72nd Ohio), is overwhelmed head-on, as well as outflanked, by ten Confederate regiments (the first wave of five under the command of Brig. Gen. Patton Anderson – the 1st Florida Battalion, the 17th Louisiana, the 20th Louisiana, the 9th Texas, and the Confederate Guards Response Battalion – and the follow-up wave under the command of Brig. Gen. Patrick Cleburne, consisting of the 6th Mississippi, the 2nd Tennessee (Bates), the 5th [aka: 35th] Tennessee, the 23rd Tennessee, and the 24th Tennessee).

[The careful reader of this series might recall that the 35th Tennessee is the same regiment in which T.B. Larimore is a part and that the 9th Texas is the unit in which Willie Bush, mentioned above, serves. The 9th Texas was largely recruited in northeast Texas where the Restoration heritage has made real inroads and therefore, the odds of the 9th Texas having a significant number of members of the Restoration Heritage is quite high.]

At the time of his death, Hiram has been a member of the Pisgah Ridge Christian Church in Brown County, Ohio for seventeen years and has been a part of the Union Army a total of two months and one day. Having made a living as a farmer and a blacksmith prior to his enlistment, in death he now leaves behind a forty year old widow, Rachel J. (Daughtery) Manchester, and six children. Starting one year from now, Rachel will receive a $12 per month pension, a pension that will continue until her death in 1895. Rachel never remarries.

Hiram’s last surviving communication to Rachel is a letter he wrote her on Valentine’s Day, just days after his enlistment. The stationary upon which the letter is written contains a poem. The letter reads:

“Dear Rachel, I take this opertunity to Let you that I am Well except a bad Cold. We got to Camp the same night at ten o’Clock. Very tired. We eat diner at Bethel Super at Gears. There we had fried chicken and Baked hen and other things in portions and Super againe in Camp. I have a good Straw bed and a Blancet.  We hav a plenty to eat. I have not ben on gard yet. We have not Drilled out of doers yet. THe Snot is abou Six inches hear to Day. The Boys is tolerable. Sivile(?) I am not in Company I, I am in Company K 48 Reg. Caption Peterson. We don’t know when we Will go away, we expect to go to Cincinnati if we go there it likly we never will leave thare til we are DIscharged. So No more at present only, remane your friend. Children be good Children and Minde your Mother. Our Drummer is not biger than Mil or Jack He is a verry nice Little Boy and as happy as if he was on his Mother’s nee he uses no bad Language and talks to the other boys if they sware. Direct your Letter Camp Denerson Co. K in care of Cap. Peterson. – Hiram S. Manchester.”

The poem reads:

“Soldier’s Farewell

“Upon the hill he turned, to take a last fond look,
At the valley, and the village church, and the cottage by the brook.
Beside that cottage porch, a girl was on her knees;
She held aloft a snowy scarf, which fluttered in the breeze;
She breathed a prayer for him – a prayer he could not hear;
But he paused to bless her as she knelt, and wiped away a tear.”

[Of course, the preponderance of examples listed here in this small sampling of men who served the CSA and had some connection with the Restoration Heritage should not be construed as indicative of the whole. I am simply more familiar at this time with specific examples of Confederate troops with such connections than I am with those who served with Union forces. Members of the Restoration Heritage were abundant in Ohio and a significant percentage of Union troops engaged at Shiloh were made up of Ohio troops; something on the order of close to thirty Union regiments. Similarly, nearly thirty CSA regiments were composed of troops from Tennessee, another state where those of the Restoration Heritage were quite numerous at the time.]

April 7

* April 7, 1862 – Private George W. Johnson of the CSA, 4th Kentucky Infantry – and exiled Confederate Governor of Kentucky – is mortally wounded during the second day of battle at Shiloh. Taken prisoner, he dies the next day in a Union Army hospital. George W. Johnson is kin to the well-known Restoration Heritage minister John T. Johnson. George W. Johnson’s son, W.V. Johnson, will enter Confederate military service just twelve days after his father’s death and will initially serve as aid-de-camp to Gen. John C. Breckinridge. Robert Adams Johnson, Jr., a nephew of John T. Johnson, is also wounded at Shiloh as he serves as a Private in the CSA, 9th Kentucky Infantry Regiment, but unlike George, he his able to make recovery from his wound.

* April 7, 1863 – Decima Hemans Campbell, the youngest daughter of Alexander & Selina Campbell, marries a missionary by the name of John Judson Barclay.

* April 7, 1863 – William Hayden dies at the age of 63 in Chagrin Falls (Cuyahoga County), Ohio. See the entry for March 2 for information about this hard-working, multi-gifted preaching associate of Walter Scott.

* April 7, 1866 – With Alexander Campbell’s body having been in the ground for only a month, the first issue of the Christian Standard (CS) is published in Cleveland, Ohio. Due to his having served as chairman of the American Christian Missionary Society during the Civil War, the CS’s editor, Issac Errett, is generally despised by the vast majority of Christians of the Restoration Heritage who live in the South. This burr in the saddle to Southern Christians is not at all helped by the fact that James A. Garfield, a former Union general, is one of the members of the incorporating board. Consequently, in the coming years, the CS (big on mission societies and holding a ‘take it or leave it’ position as to instrumental music in worship) will become “the standard” by which weekly journals among those of the Restoration Heritage in the North are measured and the Gospel Advocate (no fan of societies or instrumental music) will assume that place among Christians in the South. The obvious and deep rift between Northern and Southern churches of the Restoration Heritage (perhaps more accurately spoken of as a grave wound) will continue to grow.

* April 7, 1896 – In an article on this date in Daniel Sommers’ Octographic Review, Robert W. (“R.W.”) Officer tells of how that it was in June 1892 that he and T.B. Larimore made a trip to what is now Anadarko, Oklahoma for the purpose of securing land for use as a preaching point to the Indian tribes in that area. On 160 acres of land granted there for use by the Churches of Christ, G. S. Yates and G. W. Taylor organize a congregation.

* April 7, 1927 – T.B. Larimore writes in the Gospel Advocate of how he deeply and daily greatly misses his brother, Cassander Porendo (aka: “Prendo”) Adolphus Larimore, who went missing during the Civil War. Earl West tells the story thus in volume four of his work entitled Search for the Ancient Order (4:43-44):

“Above everything he recalled the Civil War and especially Shiloh, memories he cherished all his life. He thought often of the ‘sanguine sixties,’ as he often called them, and the numerous sadnesses he had encountered. Above everything he remembered his ‘beautiful little brother,’ Cassander Porendo Adolphus. Larimore called him ‘Porendo’ by his middle name. He disappeared in the war. None of the family ever saw or heard from him after this. Never a day passed that Larimore did not look for him. He would frequently meet a stranger walking toward him on a busy city sidewalk that he imagined looked the way Porendo would if he were now that age. But he never saw him. He reflected somberly:

“‘The shadow of this sorrow has hung over me, giving a touch of sadness to my life and countenance, more than threescore years. Well, I am nearly fourscore and four years old now, and shall soon emerge from the shadow of this sorrow and sadness and go into the fathomless depths of this blissful Beyond where sorrow is unknown, if Jehovah and my Savior shall judge me worthy, I am willing.'”

April 8

* April 8, 1807 – One week after contracting his way of passage, Thomas Campbell sets sail for the United States from Ireland on the ship Brutus. [cf. the April 1 entry in this series for more info on Thomas Campbell]

* April 8, 1866 – Just over a month after Alexander Campbell’s death, David Lipscomb writes in the Gospel Advocate as to what he believes was Campbell’s worst error in judgment; it concerns the concept of financial endowment of colleges and the training of preachers. He writes:

“We think the most fatal mistake of Alexander Campbell’s life, and one that has done much and we fear will do more to undo his life’s work, was the establishment of a school to train and educate young preachers. …

“We think the idea of training young men and withdrawing them in a preaching school to make preachers of them, results in evil in many ways, without one particle of good attached. Christ did not take his teachers from that class. …

“All schools conducted by Christians ought to teach the Bible thoroughly to all who attend no matter what their anticipations for life may be.”

April 9

April 9, 1870 – In an article in the Christian Standard, James Challen reflects on the late Walter Scott, his care of his voice, his sense of humor … and the fact that he was a coffee drinker.

“Brother Walter Scott took great care of his voice. If the instrument was in perfect tune, how admirably he could play upon it! When out of tune, he was as weak as Samson when shorn of his hair. Dear Walter! he was a great dyspeptic; and like all such persons, at times eccentric. He would change his diet to keep his voice, and consequently, his mind, in working order. Sometimes he would drink coffee, and then tea, and then water; and now and then milk. He was taking supper once with a good sister who had heard of his fondness for milk (he had just laid aside the lacteal diet and had gone back to coffee and tea), when she said, ‘Brother Scott, will you have a glass of milk?’ ‘I thank you, sister. There is no music in a cow,’ said Walter, in his blandest way. Of course he thought that milk was injurious to his voice.”

April 10

* April 10, 1809Charlotte Fall, Phillip Slater (“P.S.”) Fall‘s much younger little sister, is born. She grows up and marries a widower by the name of Tolbert Fanning. Charlotte (Fall) Fanning devotes herself to the education of children, primarily orphans. She outlives her well-known and very influential husband by twenty-two years. When she dies, she requests that her grave be placed in front of the schoolhouse where she taught and that her husband’s grave be moved so as to be placed beside her there. Why? So children can play on their graves. Her request is respected and children play and dance on their graves for over forty years. Then, the property on which the school is built is sold and her body, as well as the body of her husband, are relocated to the Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Nashville, Tennessee. At that time, her neighbors pay to have the following inscribed on the back of her tombstone:

“She spent her life in training girls for usefulness and doing good. She founded a school in which girls would be taught the Bible daily and trained in the domestic and useful callings of life. ‘I was sick and you visited me.’ – Her neighbors”

* April 10, 1834 – What does our $20 bill today have to do with the Restoration Heritage? Or to out it another way: who did Tolbert Fanning think was the most “self-sacrificing, independent, earnest, humble, and faithful teacher of the Christian religion” that he ever knew? On this day in 1834, that man, largely forgotten, James Jenkins (“J.J”) Trott, a very effective Methodist missionary to the Cherokee Indians in Georgia since 1823, serves notice to the Methodist Church that he’s leaving the Methodist Church. His reasons are threefold:

“(1) I believe the holy Scriptures are the only divinely authorized and all-sufficient rule of Christian faith and practice; (2) I cannot, with a good conscience, subscribe to those institutions of ‘Methodism’ which I believe to be additions to primitive Christianity; (3) I do not believe my divine Master requires me to adhere to Mr. Wesley’s creeds as the standard of my private and public preaching … Thus … I am compelled to refrain from preaching what I believe to the truth, to preach what I cannot believe, to suffer expulsion, or to withdraw. I prefer the latter.”

Fanning, a close, long-time friend of Trott, brings us up to speed as to Trott’s experiences (in the early 1830’s) leading up to his departure from the Methodist Church and entrance into the Restoration Heritage:

“It will be remembered that during the Presidency of Andrew Jackson [the man whose portrait appears on the front of our $20 bill], the effort was made to bring the Cherokees, and all sojourners in the Nation, under the formal and practical workings of the American Government. To accomplish this object, a law was enacted requiring the oath of allegiance of native Indians, mixed bloods, and dwellers in the Nation—missionaries included.

“The penalty for refusing was a berth in the State Prison. Very soon many of the missionaries, Bro. Trott amongst them, were thrown into prison. These missionaries were native-born citizens of the Government of the United States had never, to their knowledge, violated it, loved it for their fathers sake, and, of course, having never become aliens, they refused to subscribe to the oath. … after severe privation and extreme sufferings, Bro. Trott, with two Presbyterian preachers, were sentenced to a series of years at hard labor in the Georgia Penitentiary. They were driven on foot a hundred or two miles to the prison. The Presbyterian ministers went in and served for more than a year; but the Georgia Governor’s heart, at the prison door, in looking upon the noble person, and into the manic and innocent face of our brother, relented. He broke his manacles, and set the righteous man at liberty. But his cruel imprisonment, with ‘the mock trial and conviction at what was called the bar of justice,’ had worked a complete revolution in the sentiments previously entertained regarding human government. By his revolutionary ancestors he had, from early childhood, been taught to reverence his government; but his sad sufferings deeply impressed upon his great heart the frailty of every institution modeled by man’s device. Even Methodism itself, whose divinity he had never doubted, began to evince its rickety construction, and its ragged exterior. In the meantime, while in prison, by some means he had been enabled to read some of the writings of Alexander Campbell, who had directed his attention back to the primitive church, and the matchless authority of the Holy Scriptures.

“But in all Georgia he knew no one who could sympathize with him in his enlightenment. The consequence was he soon started for Tennessee, and having no personal acquaintance with an advocate of the ancient order of things spiritual, he visited the very popular Baptist minister, Peyton Smith, and demanded immersion at his hands into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The timid Baptist faltered, and said, ‘Go before the Church, and relate your Christian experience.’ The clear headed Trott said, ‘Nay, I have not been in the Kingdom of the Savior, and have no experience therein; but I believe now, and have long believed, with all my heart in the Lord, and I desire to put him on in baptism.'”

“The Baptist trammels fell from the pious Smith’s hands, and they went to the nearest water—Overall’s Creek, four miles from Murfreesboro, Tenn.—where the earnest Methodist missionary, Jas. J. Trott, sought and obtained a good conscience by baptism into Christ. Being a free-born citizen of the kingdom, and by his birth having been constituted a king and a priest, after spending some time, like Paul, with the Disciples, he was strengthened and confirmed, and conferring not with flesh and blood, he straightway preached Christ to all who would hear, and proved himself an able minister of the New Testament.

“It was my good fortune, in a very short space after his adoption into the heavenly family, to form his acquaintance, and from the year 1837 to 1859, we were co-laborers in the Lord’s vineyard. … and it affords me the highest satisfaction to state, that in my whole forty years work I have not found a more self-sacrificing, independent, earnest, humble and faithful teacher of the Christian religion than was our departed Brother J. J. Trott.” (Gospel Advocate; March 25, 1869)

Until his death, Trott spends most of his years as a missionary to the Cherokee Indians primarily in the north-east portion of Indian Territory (what will later become the state of Oklahoma) and Tennessee. God works many good things through him with the people, but he receives precious little financial support for his work and it is this long-standing, deeply-ingrained lack of interest on the part of churches outside of the Cherokee Nation for the Cherokee people that is a source of constant frustration and discouragement to him. As Trott once put it in 1856:

“… a few dimes or dollars was all that they could .. do for the conversion of the children of Shem!”

The coming of the Civil War in April 1861 exacts a very heavy toll on the people Trott has devoted his life trying to reach. Trott’s good friend, John Ross (aka: Guwisguwi), is the Cherokee’s head chief, and Ross (at least at first) counsels neutrality on part of the Cherokee people, but the Cherokees wind up as divided as other people, some serving the Union, some serving the Confederacy, and some trying to stay out of it all. Trott will lose everything he owns due to the ravages of both invading armies. One of his sons (Timothy) is killed in the process.

Trott’s health, and to some degree his spirit, broken by lack of support and the effects of the war, dies of pneumonia in 1868 at the age of 68. Overlooked still today, the tiny cemetery in which Trott’s humble grave is located (north-east of Nashville, TN) is completely overgrown and his gravestone is fallen down and broken.

[An aside: I don’t know how many of you think of “The Trail of Tears” whenever you see Jackson’s portrait on a $20 bill, but being part Cherokee, I certainly do. Now, after learning of J.J. Trott, I’m sure I always will, and will remember J.J. Trott, as well.]

April 11

April 11, 1878 – Remember the “good ol’ days?” You know, back when times were easier and just more … holy?” Well, maybe they weren’t so much. And remember when it was generally agreed by both Christian men and Christian women that a woman’s place was in the home? Well, maybe that wasn’t so generally agreed upon.

For in a speech today to the Women’s Reform Club in Centerville, Ohio (later reported in the Christian Standard), sister in Christ H. Jennie Kirkham speaks of the pressing need (“duty”) for women to take on a much more active role in matters outside of the home because seeking to be influential only within the life of home just hasn’t been getting the job done. She says:

“We must work if we would save truth, purity, and liberty, home and native land from the falling chains of vice and intemperance. … Great changes are not only coming on the world, but are even now upon us.”

this went thru my mind

 

666 & Revelation: “Why Can’t Johnny Count?” A Needed Guide for Preachers (and Commentators) on Gematria (666/616), Isopsephism, and Counting by Richard Oster

“A final inconvenient truth that has also yet to makes its way into some pulpits and halls of academic learning is that gematria was not a “secret code” used primarily by persecuted, minority groups to stay beneath the radar of the Evil Empire.”

Church & ministry: * The Problem with Grandpa’s Church; * An Open Letter to the Latest in a Long Series of People Angry at the Church; * Autopsy of a Deceased Church: 11 Things I Learned [essential reading]; * 10 Quick & Practical Ministry Principles that Will Bless Your Church

* “… there is a big problem that I see about seeking an adult faith and Church in the midst of youth culture, one that frightens and worries me deeply. The problem is me.”

* “To all those who are fed up with, cannot stand, and are otherwise angry at the church. I think I get your message. … The overwhelming majority of you are in your third decade of life. Some are much older, some are younger. That tells me that the majority of you simply have not had the opportunity to experience so much of life that longevity teaches. … hat leaves some of you who are my age and older who still angry at the church but for entirely different reasons. Maybe something I say will speak to you as well, but I fear the issues you have need another letter. Increased chronological age does not necessarily equate to increased maturity. An angry senior citizen is no improvement over an angry toddler. … I want to tell you that we – the older generation that you seem to be so bent on overcoming – have been where you have been and we have done what you are doing.”

* “As many as 100,000 churches in America could be dying. Their time is short, perhaps less than ten years. What do you think of the autopsy on this church? What can we do to reverse these trends?”

* “Here are ten ministry axioms I received from Larry Osborne.”

Depression & discouragement: * Is it ‘Unspiritual’ to be Discouraged? by Sinclair Ferguson; * Hymn Stories: God Moves in a Mysterious Way

* “Faith in Christ does not remove all of the causes of discouragement; rather, it enables us to overcome them.”

* “The mental pain [William] Cowper struggled with was primarily depression. He had four major battles with it through his life, leading him to attempt suicide on several occasions. … Cowper’s hymn writing came as a result of his friendship with John Newton.”

Heresy: I’m a Heretic, You’re a Heretic, Wouldn’t You Like to Be a Heretic Too?

“… how should we respond to heretical ideas in a world where any attempt to declare something heretical will be viewed with extreme prejudice? Here are just a few suggestions.”

this went thru my mind

 

Daily risks, health, life expectancy & situational awareness: That Daily Shower Can Be a Killer by Jared Diamond

“The other morning, I escaped unscathed from a dangerous situation. No, an armed robber didn’t break into my house, nor did I find myself face to face with a mountain lion during my bird walk. What I survived was my daily shower. … This calculation illustrates the biggest single lesson that I’ve learned from 50 years of field work on the island of New Guinea: the importance of being attentive to hazards that carry a low risk each time but are encountered frequently.”

False teaching & heresy: 7 Steps to Becoming a Heretic by Mike Leake

“Heretics usually start by staring in the mirror and saying, ‘Today, thou shalt be a difference maker.'”

God & suffering: How Could a Good God Allow Suffering? [93 min. video link]

“… a Veritas Forum discussion held at MIT in 2011. This presentation features four MIT professors, two Christian and two non-Christian. The forum begins with a ten minute presentation by each person presenting their world view or their story.  The last half of the video is a question answer panel session.”

God & politics: Divine Rhetoric: God In The Inaugural Address by Scott Neuman

“President Obama mentioned him five times in Monday’s inaugural address — God, that is. In modern times, religion has become so intertwined in our political rhetoric that the failure of any president to invoke God in a speech as important as the inaugural could hardly escape notice. … But the inaugural references to a Supreme Being have evolved over time.”

Guests, greeting & welcoming: Making Visitors Feel Welcome (Part 1): The Greeters by Sarah Bowler

“How can we make the people in our church feel welcomed?”

Immigration & injustice: The Truth About Immigrant Detention Facilities by Matthew Soerens

“Last week, I read the following passage in Amos, speaking of God’s judgment on the people (and, in particular, the rulers) of Israel: ‘They sell the innocent for silver, and the needy for a pair of sandals. They trample on the heads of the poor as on the dust of the ground and deny justice to the oppressed (Amos 2:6-7). … Because their profits increase the more people that they detain, companies like GEO have a strong incentive to encourage the federal government to detain more people.”

Short-term missions: Musings on Missions and Evangelism: Are Short-Term Missions For Us or Them?

” …  I have begun to change my feelings about who STMs are about.”

Work: God at Work: The Priesthood of Burger-Flippers by Jonathan Storment

“On average, most of us will work 100,000 hours in our lives, the majority of our lives will be spent doing our job. And if the only thing you ever hear from church is about how you should work/serve/volunteer more inside the building, there’s a chance that you might miss out on how important God thinks your job is.”

fresh bread: what makes a false teacher “false?”

“… false teachers will come among you.” (2 Peter 2:1)

Peter chose his words carefully. That’s what men who know they’re about to die are want to do (2 Peter 1:14). He surely lingered not only over his choice of subject and expression, but deliberately spoke so as to maximize the chance of what he had to say becoming memorable (2 Peter 1:15).

This is how Peter penned his last letter, at least the last of which we have record; 2 Peter. Nearly 40% of that letter he spent warning believers of “false teachers” coming their way. Five times he called them such (2:1,2,12,17,19) and he described their ways in detail.

Now we would be naive to think “false teachers” are only a thing of the past. But if we are believers and the words and example of Scripture matter to us still, then we should be exceedingly careful as to who we would ever brand as “false.” We would do well to ask Peter here and now: “What ways would make a teacher so fallen as for us to rightly tag them as ‘false?'”

While nothing in this letter would cause us to think Peter was comprehensive in his answer, we ought to notice its scope for the teachers Peter labeled as “false” were obviously, and exceedingly, ungodly in all their words and ways.

Their tongue was untamed. They introduced destructive opinions (2:1), lied with premeditation (2:3), and were unafraid to use insult (2:10b). They used “slander” as they addressed what they didn’t even understand (2:12b). They were teachers whose speech betrayed their true allegiance.

Christ’s Lordship is something they had left far behind. As Peter put it: “… they deny the master who bought them …” (2:1) What they had to say about Jesus, whether with words or ways, was anything but fitting of his place or power as ruler of all.

Immorality was their ID. Their unprincipled living wasn’t just a reality, but was “unrestrained” (2:2,18a). They followed after “the corrupt cravings of the sinful nature” (2:10a). “Unruly parties” were their trademark and “seductive pleasures” (2:13b) are what they sought. They appeared to “always [be] looking for someone with whom to commit adultery” (2:14). Clearly their cravings enslaved them (2:19b).

Money was their master. They were given over to “greed” (2:3a), their “hearts [being] trained in greed” (2:14). So obvious it was that money was their god Peter could only say it reminded him of one who “loved the payment of doing wrong.” (2:15)

People were their prey. Though their ways could be subtle like a snare (2:18), they lived to “take advantage” of people (2:3), targeting those weak of faith (2:14), those just coming to faith, and those who had wandered from faith (2:18). People were only their means to their selfish end.

And they had a propensity for pride. “They openly defied “the Lord’s authority” and were “reckless” and “brash” (2:10b). Their harsh words or mockery were even known to be openly directed against beings greater than themselves (2:10b). You would think the universe revolved around them.

Now what makes a false teacher false? Surely from this short study we can say that at least in this instance, the issues involved not merely the teachers’ words, but their ways; their motives and character as much as the content and style of their teaching.

The thoughtful reflection on which should lead us to pray.

Heavenly Father, give us the discernment and courage to always stand for what is truly of you. But Father, we confess our history is strewn with the wreckage and results of the careless use of the phrase “false teacher.” The slightest variance in the understanding of your word and will has all too often given rise to the labeling of falseness and fostered the needless division of your people. Father, forgive us of this sin; have mercy on our souls. This we pray in the name of him who is nothing but True. Amen.