on these days in the American Restoration Heritage: June 7-13

Among the things that happened on this week in American Restoration Heritage history:

June 7

June 7, 1838 – Today, a preacher gets a hearing – while losing much of his own.

The Stone-Campbell movements have now been officially unified as one for the past six years. And today, in Indianapolis, Indiana, a gathering of Restoration Heritage churches gets under way. No less than one hundred and fifty churches are represented by those present. Naturally, this is deeply gratifying and thrilling to the featured speaker, Barton W. Stone. He addresses the crowd five times during the course of this six-day meeting (June 7-12).

However, during the course of this conference, Stone inexplicably suffers a sudden and significant loss of hearing. His health had been seriously challenged by illness two years previous, but he had long since made a full recovery. Three years from now he will suffer a stroke and be partially paralyzed, but he will make a full recovery from that, too. However, Stone will never regain any of the hearing he loses during this week’s conference. In fact, he will steadily lose much of the hearing he has left during his six remaining years of his life, a hard blow to one who has helped so many hear the good news of Christ.

June 8

June 8, 1814 – Never underestimate the power of granddaughters.

The three year-old Brush Run Church is located in Washington County, Pennsylvania (near the southwestern corner of the state) and Alexander Campbell has been its preacher for the past two-and-a-half years. Alexander, having resolved when he entered ministry to never accept money from a church for his work, serves the church “for free.” He had gone against his father’s advice when he had made that decision, and so, his father (Thomas) had predicted that Alexander would wear many a tattered coat through the course of his days. Thus far, Thomas’ prediction has proven correct; Alexander is anything but a prosperous man and his father can do precious little about it.

Now, to the west, in neighboring (eastern) Ohio, opportunities for growth are developing. Consequently, many of the members of the Brush Run Church have their heads turned that way, so much so that they’re seriously considering relocating the church to Zanesville, Ohio (a hundred miles to the west). And today, the little church votes on that very matter. Their decision? Move to Ohio.

Now at this time, Alexander and his wife, Margaret (Brown) Campbell, have been married just over three years. They have two children: two year-old Jane and eight month-old Eliza. Margaret’s father, fifty-two year-old John Brown [no, not that John Brown] is a very well-to-do farmer and carpenter who owns no small amount of land in several places. Margaret is the apple of his eye and his two young granddaughters have a hold on his heart. To say that he is disheartened by the thought of them moving far off is an understatement.

And so, John makes Alexander an offer he can’t refuse: he’ll give Alexander a 140 acre farm in nearby Bethany, Virginia (about ten miles from Brush Run) if he’ll just not make the move to Ohio.

When all is said and done, Alexander and his family are set for life with a farm in Bethany, the church doesn’t move … and John Brown gets to keep bouncing his two granddaughters on his knees far more often than might have been. Land for granddaughters; good trade. And especially so since John will outlive his daughter, Margaret (who dies in 1827 at the age of 36) and one of these two granddaughters, Jane (who dies in 1834 at the age of 22).

June 9

June 9, 1851 – I say, preacher, when are you ever going to get around to talking about dancing … and how on earth are you going to do it?

Today, a frustrated John Rogers pens Alexander Campbell a letter, a portion of which reads:

“It is now seven years since I felt myself called upon, in view of the increasing disposition to frivolity in our churches, to prepare and publish a discourse against dancing, as an amusement. … most certainly it is still on the increase in this section of Kentucky. … ‘Watchman, what of the night?’ I call upon you, my dear Bro. Campbell, in the name of God – the the name of the crucified one – in the name of poor, bleeding Zion; upon Bros. Richardson, Pendleton, and every editor and every scribe who can lift a pen, and every orator in this Reformation, to speak out in a voice of thunder, and say, O say! is this the goal to which you have been driving the car of this Reformation! … to introduce … the elegant, healthful, inoffensive, improving practice of social dancing into our families! …

“Bro. Campbell, more than a year ago I wrote you in reference to some of these matters, and urged you strongly to present your views concerning them. You promised me you would; but a press of business, I suppose, has prevented. … Are Christian parents to be allowed to send their children to dancing school, and have social dancing in their houses? Is the church to tolerate and encourage all this? Circus going, card playing, as an amusement – theatre going, and all kindred practices? Give us, my dear brother, your best thoughts on this subject.”

Campbell publishes Rogers’ letter in the August 1851 issue of the Millennial Harbinger (MH) and responds:

“The subject laid before us in the above communication from its excellent author, merits our profound consideration and that of all the brethren. We will attend to it in our next. – A.C.”

Campbell does just that in the September 1851 issue of the MH (pp.503-507). He confesses that he has not:

“… for more than forty and five years, seen a dance [Campbell is 63 years of age at this time], and but once before that, (having been, by mere accident, precipitated in its midst;) and, still more unfortunate, having, during its progress, fallen most profoundly asleep, acquired no accurate knowledge of the curious affair.”

To fill in his gap in understanding, Campbell then turns to Webster’s dictionary and references to dancing in the Bible “to make amends” for his “shameful ignorance of the mystery.” Having done so, he continues:

“… in New Testament manners and customs, in evangelical ordinances and usages, the word, nor the idea of dancing, is not found. ‘Is any one merry,’ says the Apostle James, ‘let him dance.’ That is an Episcopalian Testament. It is not our version of it. We read it by authority of King James, ‘Is any merry, let him sing psalms.’ He does not say let him dance. Still, if I saw a Christian man or woman hymning or singing psalms and dancing, I could not condemn him, because I read of one so joyful in the Lord that he entered into the temple walking, and leaping, and praising God. …

“But why introduce Bible authorities in this case? Who claims precedent in Holy Writ for courtly balls and midnight masquerades? Surely no disciple of Christ!! To play the fool at a masquerade, is no very honorable amusement for a saint or sinner. … Why look to Paris, the metropolis of atheism, sensuality and crime, for any other fashion or custom than those which drown men in destruction and perdition? I would say, if need there be, to every brother in the land, ‘Lift up your voice like a trumpet, cry aloud and spare not. Show Israel their transgressions and Jacob their sins:’ for because of these things ‘iniquity abounds – the love of many waxes cold.'”

June 10

June 10, 1880 – Today, as both a close friend and fellow brother in Christ within the Restoration Heritage, Jeremiah Sullivan Black writes a letter to James A. Garfield. At the time, Garfield is running for nomination as the Republican candidate for the office of the President of the United States. Jerry Rushford continues the story, and as he does so, he quotes an excerpt from Black’s letter to Garfield:

“Another Disciple who could not conscientiously give his support to the Garfield candidacy was Jeremiah Sullivan Black. When Black heard the news of Garfield’s nomination, he was torn between old Democratic loyalties and his strong personal friendship with Garfield. But he could not bring himself to vote for the Republican party.

“‘I am sure that if elected you will try your best to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly before God,’ he wrote Garfield. ‘But to a certain extent you are bound to fail, for in our country the leader of a party is like the head of a snake—it can only go as the tail impels it , and your tail will be a very perverse one.’

“When Black was called upon to campaign for the Democratic ticket, he willingly complied. In the heat of the closely contested race, Black took the stump aggressively against Garfield.”

Garfield replies:

“I know how grounded you are in the ways of political thinking which seem to you just and for the highest good of your country — and so all the more for that reason I prize your words of personal kindness. … Succeeding or failing I shall none the less honor your noble character, great intellect, and equally great heart.”

And Rushford tells us the rest of the story:

“When the Credit Mobilier scandal [of 1872] became an issue [just a little later] in the campaign, Black testified that Garfield had actually held stock in the company and had received dividends as well. This accusation seriously damaged the Garfield-Black friendship. They never saw or wrote to one another again.”

[Aside: Garfield faces William H. Hancock, another former Union General of the Civil War, as his Democratic opponent in the 1880 Presidential election. Hancock’s running mate (for Vice-President) is William H. English. English had edged out Richard M. Bishop in the bid for the VP nomination and Bishop, like Garfield and Black, was a fellow Christian within the Restoration Heritage.]

June 11

June 11, 1835 – Today, the tension between the kingdom that is not of this world and the kingdoms that are of this world manifests itself in the life of a man.

Today, in Overton County, Tennessee, William Harrison Fleming is born to a veteran of the War of 1812 and his wife, William & Mary (Hall) Fleming. God grants son William seventy-five years of life. In 1859, at the age of twenty-four, he marries. The following year he is baptized into Christ and, soon after, decides to become a preacher. However, before he can take up preaching, the passions that flame up into the Civil War build and on July 30, 1861, Fleming chooses to enlist as a Corporal in Co. B of the CSA, 25th Tennessee Infantry Regiment. Just short of a year later (August 10, 1862) he is simultaneously transferred to Co. D and promoted to serve as its Captain.

During the war the 25th will experience some of the worst the war has to offer. In January, 1862, the 25th reports that it has six hundred and eighty-three men present for duty. During the Battle of Murfreesboro (aka: Stone’s River; Dec. 31, 1862 – Jan. 3, 1863), over one-third of the 25th’s men become casualties. Nine months later at Chickamauga (September 19-20, 1863) the regiment loses so many of its men (nearly forty percent) that it is necessary to consolidate those who remain with those of the 44th Tennessee. [Chickamauga is the Civil War’s second bloodiest battle. In it the 25th is a part of Fulton’s Brigade, a force that engages John T. Wilder’s famed “Lightning Brigade’ at the Log School House on the first day of battle. During the battle’s second day of fighting, the 25th engages, among others, W.C. Whitaker’s command at Horseshoe Ridge. Many of Whitaker‘s troops are from Ohio and a percentage of them are a part of the Restoration Heritage. Whitaker himself is a graduate of Bethany College (though he spends this day “deep in his cups ” [drunk]). And, during the Battle of Drewry’s Bluff (aka: Fort Darling; May 12, 1864) the 25th/44th again loses over a third of its men.

At the time of the 25/44th’s surrender in April 1865 only four officers and twenty-one men are present.

Regarding Fleming’s service in the military, H. Leo Boles writes (in 1930):

“He was reputed to be a gallant soldier who commanded the respect of his fellow soldiers and superior officers. The scenes of a soldier’s life were registered vividly upon his mind, and he never forgot the hardships which he and his comrades had to endure.”

“Scenes” and hardships.” Such understatement for man’s inhumanity to man.

After the war, Fleming returns to his wife, Martha, and to farming and, in 1868, begins to preach. Boles tells us something of his ministry:

“He preached in Kentucky, Texas, and Tennessee. However, most of his work was done in Tennessee, in the counties of Jackson, Overton, Clay, Putnam, Pickett, Fentress, and White. … Brother Fleming was a farmer by occupation. He cultivated his farm and made his support for himself and family on his farm. He received very little for his preaching and expected nothing. … Brother Fleming worked through the week during ‘crop time’ and preached on Saturday and Sunday. Sometimes he would ride horseback more than twenty miles on Sunday morning and preach twice on Sunday, and return home the same night and be ready for his farm work early Monday morning. … Brother Fleming baptized hundreds of people, and is said to have married more couples than any other preacher in that part of the country.”

Fleming dies in 1910. His body is interred in the cemetery of Flat Creek Church of Christ in Overton, Tennessee. The stone is the most prominent one in the cemetery, located close to the center of it and towering over all of the other stones. A person is naturally drawn to it by its appearance to take special note of it; however, it is not grandly adorned. Other than the text of inscriptions, a single image is engraved on it: an open Bible. And like many gravestones, aside from the usual listing of name, birth, and death, a quote is included. However, the quote on W.H.’s grave are the words of Scripture (2 Timothy 4.7-8a):

“I have fought a good fight,
I have finished my course
I have kept the faith
henceforth there is laid up
for me a crown of
righteousness.”

Another Scripture quotation is included for W.H.’s wife, Martha (d. 1933). The words are those of Jesus in Matthew 5.8:

“Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.”

From what is included – and what is not – on the Fleming family gravestone it is quite clear exactly which kingdom and which battles in life the Flemings wanted emphasized and remembered should a person stands at their grave: life, death, and the word of God. The utter simplicity of it and the emphasis on the rule of God “preaches” still.

However, many years later, no doubt with many good intentions, some well-meaning soul(s) added something to the grave, something Fleming and his immediate family had deliberately elected not to include: a large bronze marker noting W.H.’s allegiance to the Confederacy, his military rank, and unit. Indeed, a small Confederate flag often adorns the site. And so, at least as it seems to me, the subject has been changed; changed from pointing toward the holy and good deeds of God to the horrific and deadly deeds of men. And so, the struggle between kingdoms continues. And so, let us preach the word, the good news of peace.

June 12

June 12, 1812 – Today, a church witnesses the baptism of their preacher and six others.

In Buffalo Creek, Washington County, Pennsylvania, about noon today, Thomas & Jane (Corneigle) Campbell, Alexander & Margaret (Brown) Campbell, Dorothea Campbell, and James & Sarah Hanen (Henon), are immersed by a Baptist minister, Matthias Luse (Luce). Most of the members of the Brush Run Church, as well as a large number of others “attracted by the novelty of the occasion,” witness the event. The following excerpt from Robert Richardson’s Memoirs of Alexander Campbell gives us a glimpse into the moment.

“[In days prior to their baptisms, Thomas] … suggested … that in view of the public position they [Thomas and Alexander] occupied as religious teachers and advocates of reformation, it would be proper that the matter should be publicly announced and attended to amongst the people to whom they had been accustomed to preach; and he requested Alexander to get Mr. Luce … at whatever time might be appointed.

“[As everyone was gathered for the baptisms] … Thomas Campbell thought it proper to present, in full, the reasons which had determined his course. In a very long address, he accordingly reviewed the entire ground which he had occupied, and the struggles that he had undergone in reference to the particular subject of baptism, which he had earnestly desired to dispose of, in such a manner, that it might be no hindrance in the attainment of that Christian unity which he had labored to establish upon the Bible alone. In endeavoring to do this, he admitted that he had been led to overlook its importance, and the very many plain and obvious teachings of the Scriptures on the subject; but having at length attained a clearer view of duty, he felt it incumbent upon him to submit to what he now plainly saw was an important Divine institution. Alexander afterward followed in an extended de fence of their proceedings, urging the necessity of submitting implicitly to all God’s commands, and showing that the baptism of believers only, was authorized by the Word of God. …”

“Alexander … stipulated with … Luce that the ceremony should be performed precisely according to the pattern given in the New Testament, and that, as there was no account of any of the first converts being called upon to give what is called a ‘religious experience,’ this modern custom should be omitted, and that the candidates should be admitted on the simple confession that ‘Jesus is the Son of God. …’

“The meeting, it is related, continued about seven hours …”

“At the next meeting of the church of Brush Run, which was on the Lord’s day [Sunday, June 16] succeeding the baptism of the seven, thirteen other members … requested immersion, which was accordingly administered by Thomas Campbell, each one making the simple confession of Christ as the Son of God. On subsequent occasions, some others came forward in like manner, so that the great majority of the church speedily consisted of immersed believers, upon which, the other individuals who had been in the Association abandoned the cause, being unwilling to follow the reformatory movement any further. …

“Immersion had been unanimously adopted as the only true scriptural baptism; infant baptism had been finally and absolutely rejected as a human invention, and the simple confession of Christ, made by the early converts to Christ, was acknowledged as the only requirement which could be scripturally demanded of those who desired to become members of the Church.”

These baptisms are not the first for Brush Run Church members. On July 4 the preceding year (1811), Thomas Campbell had baptized Abraham Alters, Joseph Bryant, and Margaret Fullerton in Buffalo Creek.

Earlier today, one of those previously baptized, Joseph Bryant, had received word that war had been declared on Great Britain and that a muster of volunteers was to take place. Bryant had ridden off to be a part of this muster, only to learn on his arrival that the word is false (the declaration of war will not occur for another two weeks yet). Galloping back to Buffalo Creek, he arrives in time to hear just a bit of preaching before witnessing the baptisms. One of those baptized, seventeen year-old Dorothea, is one of Alexander Campbell’s little sisters … and Bryant’s future wife.

June 13

June 13, 1803 – Today, a man is born who rises to mightily influence many who will touch the lives of far many more.

Today, Benjamin Franklin (“B.F.”) Hall is born in Nicholas County, Kentucky. During the course of his years of ministry, Hall, among other things, influences John Mulkey and Barton W. Stone on the matter of baptism being “for the remission of sins,” is instrumental in the baptism of Tolbert Fanning (the future editor of the Gospel Advocate) and John A. Gano (father of R.M. Gano), mentors Mansel W. Matthews (a fellow dentist, Sam Houston’s physician, and a preacher in north Texas), plants the Restoration Heritage in Little Rock, AR, keeps company with men like Alexander Campbell, T.W. Caskey, and Jacob Creath, Jr., and becomes a long-time, close friend of Collin McKinney (planter of many Restoration churches in north Texas).

However, between grave financial difficulties, a torturous second marriage that ends in divorce, and his spirit during the Civil War that can perhaps best be described as macabre, his influence for good becomes seriously crippled and wanes through the years. In his autobiography, Hall laments:

“Owing to my second marriage my life has been a sad disappointment.”

Hall’s fascinating autobiography is available for reading online.

[cf. the post for March 7 in this series for more on B.F. Hall]

on these days in the American Restoration Heritage: April 26 – May 2

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

April 26

April 26, 1885 – Two months after her death at the age of fifty-three, a women’s missionary society in the Restoration Heritage today honors the memory of the first female editor of a paper within our tribe. Over the course of 20+ years, Marcia Melissa (Bassett) Goodwin had edited several papers: The Christian Monitor (the first paper among us designed exclusively for women), Mother’s Monitor, Ladies Christian Monitor, Christian Companion, and Missionary Tidings.

Marcia was married twice. Her first husband, Orson Rodolphus Colgrove, a sheriff, was murdered in 1869, the chief suspects in the case being the Ku Klux Klan. Her second husband, Elijah Goodwin, was a quite influential pioneer evangelistic preacher in our heritage in Indiana, well known for his skills in persuasion. And yet, Elijah struggled with how a lack of deep unity among us often impaired our witness. He once put it like this:

“We have said more on this subject than any other people during the last quarter of a century, and yet we do not exhibit to the world any more of that union than we ought.”

April 27

April 27, 1865 – Today, the worst maritime disaster in the history of the United States takes place on the flood-swollen Mississippi River and it’s all about greed. Some of those killed are of the Restoration Heritage, as are some of those who survive, and it is a family with deep roots in the Restoration Heritage that is instrumental in saving the lives of no small number of the survivors.

The U.S. government is offering money for safe passage of every Union soldier recently liberated from Confederate POW camps in the South to Northern soil. The amount offered is five dollars per enlisted man and ten dollars for each officer. The greed of a Union officer with a strong say as to the transport of the men, Lt. Colonel Reuben Hatch, and the Captain of the steamboat Sultana, J. Cass Mason, leads to the placement of 2,350 people (2,150 of them ex-POWs) on a craft rated to safely ferry less than 400. On this trip, literally every available square foot of room on the ship is occupied by human flesh.

During the trip up river, just a few miles north of Memphis, Tennessee, one of the Sultana‘s boilers, hastily patched up recently rather than truly repaired, explodes. The explosion of that boiler is quickly followed by the explosion of two more. As a result, whether due to the effects of the explosions, the ensuing fires, or by drowning in the waters of the mighty Mississippi, 1,800 of the 2,350 aboard die. Captain Mason is among the dead.

The vast majority of the ex-POWs aboard the Sultana are from states in which members of Restoration Heritage churches are numerous: Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, and West Virginia. Consequently, a number of the fatalities, as well as the survivors, are of our tribe. For example, we know that John C. Maddex of the U.S., 54th Indiana Infantry is one of those who survives today’s disaster and it is Maddex, who, years after the war, is a founding member of a Restoration Heritage church in Paynesville, Indiana.

While rescue efforts come to pass through the efforts of many, no small number of those who survive are saved through the efforts of members of a well-known Restoration Heritage family in that area, the Bartons, who are also married into another Restoration Heritage family, the Edmunds.

April 28

April 28, 1772Abner Jones, a man born today in Royalton (Worcester County), Massachusetts, reminds us to not be too smug about our religious ancestors. Those who comprised the leadership and membership of the Stone-Campbell Movement are anything but alone in attempts in the United Sates in the 1800’s to “restore primitive Christianity.” To leave man-made traditions and to seek Scripture alone as guide does not mean people will arrive at the same understanding of Scripture or the same practice of expression of Christian faith. The ministry of Abner Jones, an associate by the name of Elias Smith, and the “Christian Connection” alone is proof enough of the point.

In 1791, years before the Stone-Campbell Movement grows legs and in an entirely different neck of the woods (New England), Abner Jones takes up preaching. However, as he preaches, he seeks to be “just a Christian,” totally free and independent of denominational creeds, doctrines, and ties. In his quest to do such, Jones jettison’s his Calvinist upbringing, including such matters as unconditional election and predestination. He plants several churches and these churches establish ties with each other, becoming known simply as the “Christian Connection.” Elias Smith assists in the development of this ministry, but will eventually leave the Christian Connection in 1817 to join the Universalist faith.

In years to come, Christian Connection churches often sprout up in the same fields that Stone-Campbell churches are often found growing. However, while those of the Christian Connection share a number of things in common with the Stone-Campbell churches, matters both great and small, they differ enough that they do not unite. They both seek to be independent of man-made teaching and to be guided solely by Scripture, but they approach the process differently and so, arrive at different conclusions One example of difference is that Christian Connection churches are not minded to practice weekly communion, practicing quarterly observance instead, something Stone-Campbell churches cannot abide.

As time rolls on, the Christian Connection evolves. Ultimately, it merges with the Congregational Church in 1931 and then later with the Evangelical and Reformed Church in 1957, and so, comes to form the group known today as the United Church of Christ.

April 29

April 29, 1820 – Today, a man is born in New York who will come to offer the church a unique evangelistic tool, and it is the very production of this tool that perhaps reveals to us some of the state of mind of not just that man, but a large portion of a movement. The man’s name is Montgomery C. (“M.C.”) Tiers and he will become a preacher within the Restoration Heritage.

Remarkably, it is during the third year of the American Civil War (1864) that Tiers edits and publishes a 289 page book entitled The Christian Portrait Gallery: Consisting of Historical and Biographical Sketches and Photographic Portraits of Christian Preachers and Others. Of course, given the war, there would be no chance for such a work to originate in the South, much less for it to acquire any real success in terms of circulation there. This work is published in the North, in Cincinnati, Ohio, with expectations of its widest circulation being in the North.

Close to forty pages of text open the work and attempt to sketch with words something of what Restoration Heritage churches are about; what life as member of such a church is like. For example, the work contains the following snapshot of precisely how, as we say today, people “officially place membership” with a specific congregation:

“New Members

“As soon as expedient after immersion, the new disciple is expected to present himself to some particular congregation for membership; and he is received into the communion of the Church by the right hand of fellowship, presented by either one of the elders in behalf of the congregation, or by the entire membership in person. The latter is the usual method, but there are some exceptions in favor of the former.”

The textual portrait of Restoration Heritage church life is followed by pictures and textual abstracts of sixty preachers, none of whom are under the age of forty. Who to include, and who not to include, in such a work? Some of the preachers who make appearance are people we would expect to see, their names still instantly recognized by many today (e.g. – Alexander Campbell, Sr., Thomas Campbell, Walter Scott, Barton W. Stone, Sr., etc.). Naturally, others are figures not nearly so well remembered now (e.g. – A. Chatterton, George Elley, Almon B. Green, Eleazar Parmlay, etc.). Doing so politely, without naming names, Tiers notes in the book’s preface: “One or two well-known brethren, whose prominent positions and increasing influence are highly appreciated by the writer, as they are by brethren at large, have, after repeated importunities, ‘respectfully declined’ representation among ‘distinguished brethren.'”

I find Tiers’ book intriguing. Not so much for its content, but for its approach … and what it might be saying about the times in which the book appeared. Is it possible that Tiers’ book includes more pictures than Tiers intended to share? That is, is it simply an evangelistic tool best used in the hands of those who are a bit more well-to-do with those who, being yet to believe, are also a bit more well off in society (i.e. – a tool the well-heeled and/or prosperous can use to reach the skeptical prosperous)? Or does this book’s very existence also portray a growing desire on the part of Restoration Heritage members for more respectability in society, representing a distinct turn from standing against culture to a stance seeking more acceptance by it? Is there a growing restless in the Restoration Heritage, at least in the northern half of the country at that time, to make sure that those with whom they interact know that they are not composed of merely – to borrow a phrase from the KJV in Acts 4.13 – “unlearned and ignorant men?”

The work is clearly at pains at times to “dress up” the Heritage’s preachers in finer duds. For example, while “Raccoon” John Smith is included among the sixty, his nickname is not published, but reads instead (perhaps in our eyes today even worse!), “R***** John Smith.” And, in several remarks in the preface, Tiers is quite revealing, the following serving as an example:

“… this work is written with reference to its influence on the ‘uninformed’ world, rather than of the Church. I have desired to let the ‘world’ know, what I am entirely conscious is the fact, that the Gospel which we preach has not been received simply by the ignorant, illiterate, and rude of this generation, but that many of the highly-gifted and influential of our age have been constrained, by the weight of the evidence, to yield assent to its claims, and to devote themselves to ministry. Feeling conscious of this, I am willing and desirous that the character and extent of our success as a people shall be made known everywhere through the persons, lives, and characters of those who have been the instruments.”

Is such an approach a good one? Or is it one of the reasons some “well-known brethren … respectfully declined” to participate? We’re left to wonder, but it is not at all difficult to imagine the possibilities.

And so, we’re moved to ask today: can efforts to extend the good news of Christ to others actually be motivated by, and morph into, the bad news of the church seeking the world’s acceptance … and the church being utterly blind to it in all in the process? And if so, when and where exactly is the tipping point reached, and how can we discern its placement, lest we possibly go past the point of no return?

April 30

April 30, 1863 – Today, a preacher preaches a strong word that still needs to be heard.

“The rude and denunciatory style of political discussion, the irreverent and oft-times slanderous attacks on our rulers – such as the Bible will not allow to be employed against the devil himself* – ought to be religiously discountenanced. Prayer, earnest and affectionate, should be constantly offered for those in authority, particularly in these perilous times.”

So preached Isaac Errett today – a Thursday – to all assembled in a Restoration Heritage church building in Detroit, Michigan. Errett’s sermon is entitled “The Claims of Civil Government” and the occasion is the fact that today, by resolution of the U.S. Senate and by proclamation of the President, Abraham Lincoln, is a day “set apart … for National prayer and humiliation.” The proclamation reads:

“Whereas, the Senate of the United States, devoutly recognizing the Supreme Authority and just Government of Almighty God, in all the affairs of men and of nations, has, by a resolution, requested the President to designate and set apart a day for National prayer and humiliation.

“And whereas it is the duty of nations as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions, in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.

“And, insomuch as we know that, by His divine law, nations like individuals are subjected to punishments and chastisements in this world, may we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war, which now desolates the land, may be but a punishment, inflicted upon us, for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole People? We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!

“It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.

“Now, therefore, in compliance with the request, and fully concurring in the views of the Senate, I do, by this my proclamation, designate and set apart Thursday, the 30th day of April, 1863, as a day of national humiliation, fasting and prayer. And I do hereby request all the People to abstain, on that day, from their ordinary secular pursuits, and to unite, at their several places of public worship and their respective homes, in keeping the day holy to the Lord, and devoted to the humble discharge of the religious duties proper to that solemn occasion.

“All this being done, in sincerity and truth, let us then rest humbly in the hope authorized by the Divine teachings, that the united cry of the Nation will be heard on high, and answered with blessings, no less than the pardon of our national sins, and the restoration of our now divided and suffering Country, to its former happy condition of unity and peace.

“In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. …

“By the President: Abraham Lincoln

“William H. Seward, Secretary of State.”

* Jude 9-10

It must be remembered in our time, that at that time, in many quarters, not merely the South, Lincoln was anything but popular. Indeed, he was despised by many in the North. That revulsion and hatred will grow all the more bitter and intense the following year (1864) as Lincoln signs off on “total warfare” (i.e. – General Sherman’s infamous “March to the Sea“). Even the one who signed this proclamation with him, William Seward, frequently and vigorously – some might say viciously – disagreed with him and opposed him. One need only peruse the political cartoons of the time to get a feel for the sort of speech that was common on the street … the very sort of speech upon which Errett took careful aim and fired.

Wouldn’t you like to know how Errett’s words were received and if they drew any return fire? What sort of personal price, great or small, did Errett pay to say such, if any? I don’t know, though I do know his sermon is still in publication in paperback today. And wouldn’t you really like to know if anyone really changed their words and ways as a result of Errett’s sermon? But, God alone knows. I like to think that even if Errett had known ahead of time the worst possible scenario, that these words would fall on deaf ears and no one would make any change at all, he would still have proclaimed them.

And so, three questions come to mind. (1) Are we preachers today as quick, clear, and courageous as Errett to confront similar sin from our pulpit when we know that many of our people daily mock and revile President Barak Obama, and/or other government authorities? (2) If we heard such words in a sermon, could/would we truly hear them deeply, and then go on to change our spirit and speech? (3) Would we strongly encourage and support our preacher in speaking to us words of truth forthrightly, in love, on every subject, including this one?

May 1

* May 1, 1866 – The founding editor of what is to become the flagship publication of our heritage tells us why the paper exists.

Today, Tolbert Fanning reveals to us the driver behind the publication of the Gospel Advocate (GA). Fanning founded the GA and served as its editor from its start in 1855 until November 1861, at which time the Civil War caused it to shut down for a time. When the GA resumed publication in 1866, Fanning co-edited the paper with David Lipscomb. In the GA, Fanning tells us:

“The fact that we had not a single paper known to us that the Southern people could read without having their feelings wounded by political insinuations and slurs, had more to do with calling the Advocate into existence, than all other circumstances combined.”

* May 1, 1870 – Church raffles, lotteries, and auctions are innocent, harmless affairs, actually even helpful, to a church, right?

“Wrong!” says “C.C.L.” in an article appearing in The Millenial Harbinger under the title “Religious Fairs.” After a lengthy quotation of condemnation of such by a secular paper, C.C.L. adds his own remarks, some of which read:

“It is sad to think that with many Christian people, and in many churches, the scandalous exhibition of raffling, lotteries, mock auctions, or real ones, selling things often utterly useless or ten times their sale value, together with the endless, ridiculous maneuvers, chicaneries and trumperies, – are not in themselves sufficient to show the utter unfitness of such practices in the church, or for the purposes of the church of Christ. …

“It is the old strategy of the temptation in the wilderness over again – evermore repeated through the ages. Every ingenious device is to be borrowed from the world and used to make up for the deficiencies of the divine arrangements, in order to make religion more attractive and more successful than the New Testament order makes it. We see this all around, and often very near us. – We will not ‘assist,’ as the French say, that is, give our presence and countenance, at the unlawful marriage of the church and the world … or pray over it. We find daily more and more, that what is needed – we say we feel it, – is a strong, vigilant resistance against the besieging temptation of worldliness around the gates of the church.”

Who is C.C.L.? The man Alexander Campbell considered to be the finest student/scholar with whom he ever had dealings in his school, Bethany College: Charles Louis Loos.

May 2

May 2, 1611 – Which translation of the Bible is a preacher or teacher to use, and should its acceptance, or lack thereof, help determine the selection? Is there “a right one” and just who is to hold court to decide the matter?

Today, the version of the Bible that those of us with a few gray hairs have heard some of our fellow church members say “was good enough for Jesus and the apostles and so, should be good enough for us today,” makes its publishing debut.

One of the factors that helps the King James Version of the Bible (KJV) to ascend to dominance in the field is that it is deliberately translated for how it will sound when read aloud. That is, one of its translators’ foremost concerns is that it is worded in such a way as to strongly appeal to the ear. Further, the translators choose to utilize many words no longer commonly in use during their time (e.g. – “thou,” “sayeth,” etc.). Why? So as to help convey the impression that the Bible is indeed an old authority, lest their fresh rendering of it be perceived as “some new thing” and be rejected.

However, the KJV is largely rejected during its first few decades of existence; the older and well-established Geneva Bible is perceived as better than this new creation. However, the KJV eventually ascends to the translation throne and secures it from any potential rivals. Its reign is measured not in decades, but centuries.

Now language is a very fluid thing; it is constantly changing. And by 1826, the English language has changed a great deal since the time of the KJV’s first publication. Those of the Restoration Heritage are not immune to the effects of this change and so, when Alexander Campbell edits and publishes the New Testament known as the Living Oracles (LO), he does so largely out of frustration with how the KJV’s language has come to obscure the meaning of Scripture. But, similar to the KJV, the LO is not widely adopted by the rank-and file members of the Restoration Heritage, even though it is often utilized by preachers and respected church leaders. No small number of folks in the crowds and in the pews are somewhat suspicious of, even rebellious against, any change in which version of the Bible appears to hold sway.

One example will suffice. John Augustus Williams, an early chronicler of the experiences of pioneer preacher “Racoon” John Smith, tells us of some of the trials Smith faced – literally – because he dared to make use of something other than the KJV:

“For the mere reading of that book [LO] John Smith was arraigned before the North District Association in 1827. He was formally charged not only with reading it in his family, but actually quoting it from the pulpit. During the discussion of that serious charge, some of the good old preachers present declared King James’ Bible to be the only true word of God. John Smith in reply expressed his deep sympathy for the poor Dutch, who consequently had no word of God among them, and could not read it if they had. A prominent clergyman had, just before this, obtained a copy of the book, and, having read it, atoned for his offense by piously burning it to ashes.”

Some things never change – including the natural tendency to resist change.

on these days in the American Restoration Heritage: April 12-18

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

April 12

April 12, 1861 – Since it seceded from the United States in December 1860, South Carolina has been steadily seizing Federal property and today, Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard orders artillery batteries to open up on Fort Sumter in Charleston Bay. Though, remarkably, not a single man will die in the day-and-a-half long bombardment, this incident effectively marks the start of the American Civil War. The cost and consequences of the war to the nation are truly incalculable, the deaths of at least 750,000 American soldiers being only a small portion of the price paid and the endpoint of the generations significantly affected still yet to be reached.

With the shelling of Fort Sumter, the iconic leader of the American Restoration Heritage, Alexander Campbell, Sr., immediately feels the effects of war on his ministry. In the days just before the shelling of Fort Sumter, he had been speaking in Charlottesville, Virginia (roughly 70 miles NW of Richmond). Hearing of the bombardment, Campbell cancels future speaking appointments and he and his wife, Selina, make their way back to Bethany. If speaking tours, The Millenial Harbinger, and Bethany College form the backbone of his work, the lifeblood of his ministry is surely the funds that come in to fund, funds that come largely from the South. However, with the coming of war, travel through, and mail service with, the South comes to a halt. Military recruitment and the decline in funding threatens to close Bethany College and brings the Harbinger to its knees.

Further, what torment in spirit he feels as he knows that a huge percentage of those he has poured his life into leading toward greater light and Christian union are now about, daily, trying to kill each other off, and are greatly succeeding at the task. His lifelong dream of Christian union and his age being a harbinger of Christ’s return, is literally being shredded apart before his very eyes and, much of the fruit of his ministry being left to rot on battlefields unburied.

All this of this pales in comparison, of course, to the emotional distress that comes to him, a long-time pacifist, as those of his own family choose sides and march off to war. Heavy on his heart is the fact that his namesake son, Alexander Campbell, Jr., enlists and becomes a colonel in Confederate cavalry while a favorite nephew, Archibald Campbell, Jr., casts his lot with the Union. And there are others.

Perhaps it is the apostle Paul who can convey to us something of the misery in Campbell’s heart at this time:

“Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?” (2 Corinthians 11.28-29)

Campbell, Sr.’s health, particularly his amazing mental abilities, had been slowly deteriorating prior to the war, but his decline now becomes much more obvious, seemingly accelerating, as the war years (1861-1865) go by. He will hardly survive the war. He dies the year after (1866) the cease of military hostilities.

War is hell. So our ancestors, and the experience of our heritage, would tell us. And so, in the name of Christ, may we ever flee from it. For the sake of all who are yet to believe, as well as for those who do, in this generation, and the generations to come.

April 13

April 13, 1861 – The final blow is struck today to the mind of Walter Scott. Long consumed with depression over the state of the nation’s affairs and worry over the specter of coming war, Scott learns today of the bombardment and fall of Fort Sumter … and what is left of his sixty-five year old heart is broken. Just a very few days later, Scott pens a letter to his oldest son, John, and says:

“Alas, for my country! Civil war is now most certainly inaugurated, and its termination who can foresee? Who can predict? Twice has the state of things filled my eyes with tears this day. Oh, my country! my country! How I love thee! How I deplore thy present misfortunes!”

The depth of Scott’s depression has been obvious and troubling to others for some time. Of late, he has been unable to even bring himself to share in the Lord’s Supper. An excerpt of a letter he wrote just a few months earlier (also to his son John) tells us of the very great weight of the burdens on his heart:

“You say: ‘ I am so disheartened and cast down, so overwhelmed with the general gloom that overspreads my dear, my native land, that I can scarcely think of anything else.’ These words, my son, precisely describe my state of mind. I can think of nothing but the sorrows and dangers of my most beloved adopted country. God is witness to my tears and grief. I am cast down, I am afflicted, I am all broken to pieces.”

To understand Scott’s grief, one must appreciate his understanding of eschatology. Scott passionately believes that the United States is destined by God to lead the world’s nations to faith in Christ, ushering in the millenium. As he stated in the last book he penned (just two years earlier in 1859), The Messiahship: The Great Demonstration:

“… there are in the elements of the Revolution of 1776 unmistakable proofs that the Republic of the United States is a historical and political verification of the unerring prediction of prophecy touching ‘a new government’ and ‘a new people.'”

Just three days after Sumter’s fall, Scott comes down with typhoid pneumonia. He will live only ten more days, his physical condition steadily deteriorating. His dear friend and associate, John Rogers, visits him, as does L.B. Streator. Scott ever so briefly, but ever so remarkably rallies, a bit right after one of Streator’s last visits, and spends this moment of greater strength and clarity speaking of the happiness and delight of the saved as they’re ushered into heaven and then, after a brief nap, he awakens once more, this time to speak of some of the men who have blessed his life. Alexander Campbell, Thomas Campbell, John T. Johnson, ‘Raccoon’ John Smith, and Barton W. Stone are among the names he mentions.

Scott then becomes too weak to speak any further and two days later, on April 23, passes away peacefully. His current marriage, his third, is by no definition of the term a pleasant one; indeed, it is the polar opposite of his preceding two (both having ending by deaths in 1849 and 1854). No mention is made of the presence of his wife, Eliza (Standidge) Scott, at Scott’s death [at least no mention that this writer has yet to see]. Further, though trying to make it to him in time, none of his six surviving children are able to be with him while he is on his deathbed. John Rogers and L.P. Streator conduct Scott’s funeral service and his body is buried in May’s Lick, Kentucky.

It seems exceedingly difficult to escape the conclusion that Walter A. Scott is one of the first of a multitude of “unnumbered casualties” of the American Civil War.

April 14

April 14, 1895 – Not far from LaVergne, Tennessee and close by the Rock Spring Church of Christ, in a farm pond owned by Columbus Brittain, Samuel Harris baptizes a man who, for several decades, will be the most mocked and reviled man in the entire Restoration Heritage. And perhaps the greatest irony of it all is that this will all come to pass simply due to the steady, godly teaching of men like James Harding and David Lipscomb.

At the time, no one could have possibly guessed that twenty-year old Robert Henry (“R.H”) Boll would become the brotherhood lightning rod, including – especially – Boll himself.

Born in Germany and raised in the Catholic church, Boll comes to the United States at the age of fifteen. He is exposed to the Restoration Heritage when he is befriended by a public school teacher and a state lawmaker who are of our ilk. Their friendship shapes him so that he is baptized into Christ and sets off to be a student at Nashville Bible School (NBS). He does well in his studies at NBS (1895-1900) and enjoys peaching, but he excels at writing. When he takes up preaching with the Portland Avenue congregation in Louisville, Kentucky in 1904, he takes it up for life, a ministry that lasts over half a century. But, it is his writing that is Boll’s forte, so much so that the Gospel Advocate (GA) names him as their front page editor in 1909. For six years he will serve in this capacity – and it is his writing for the GA that builds the fire over which Boll will be slow-roasted for the rest of his life. In 1915, he is ousted by the GA and in the following year, he takes the editorship of Word and Work, moving its base from New Orleans to Louisville.

What makes Boll’s teaching and writing so upsetting to so many is that he deliberately swims against what is now the popular tide. He lives in a time when our tribe is hungry for respectability and the establishment of physical progress, but it is Boll who continues to call  for simplicity. The proclamation and understanding of grace has peaked and is now on the downhill run, but it is Boll who doesn’t just keep talking about it, but emphasizes it. A generation earlier the work of the Holy Spirit was more often seen as personal and direct, but now the Spirit is largely perceived as working indirectly, only through the revealed word, and is, therefore, rather impersonal. Still, Boll views the Spirit’s work through old glasses. While the churches in our branch are becoming known for their being distinctive and as “a peculiar people,” Boll preaches tolerance and practices much greater openness and diversity. The book of Acts and the epistles are where it’s at with most brethren now, but Boll emphasizes what he sees as largely, and terribly, forgotten: the prophets. And as this world’s nations and powers rush off to murder each other in World War One, most of the relatively few pacifist elements that remain in our heritage run to catch the train of nationalism, patriotism, and social acceptance. Even so, it is Boll who continues to call believers to view their role in life as a part of a kingdom that is not of this world. Our heritage, having jettisoned Campbell’s postmillenial views with the coming of the American Civil War, is now racing toward an amillennial stance … while Boll takes a determined premillenial posture.

Quite simply, Boll is a man out of step with the rest of the troops and those who would back him in most of these views – indeed, who raised him in faith – are quickly fading away with age (Lipscomb dying in 1917 and Harding passing away in 1922). But, he will become the champion of a portion of our heritage that has all but faded into oblivion: premillenial Churches of Christ. Until his death in 1956, Boll will be the whipping boy of many a preacher and he will have to face the slings and arrows of other giants among us virtually alone, most notably in a debate with H. Leo Boles (1928) and one who will make a name for himself primarily due to his relentless and belittling attacks on Boll: Foy Esco Wallace, Jr.

April 15

April 15, 1869 – Though Lard’s Quarterly had a short run and folded the previous year (1863-1868), Moses Easterly Lard still sees a strong need for an additional paper in our heritage and so, on this day, the first issue of a new weekly paper, the Apostolic Times (AT), is published. Moses Lard, Robert Graham, Winthrop Hopson, J.W. McGarvey, and Lanceford Wilkes are its editors.

If we descend to the level of thinking in terms of “Left” and “Right,” perhaps we can categorize the AT’s placement among some of the brotherhood’s papers at that time in the following fashion. Ben Franklin’s American Christian Review (ACR) holds the ground of the distinct right and David Lipscomb’s Gospel Advocate (GA) is not far from that same position. Isaac Errett’s Christian Standard (CS) is perhaps representative of those in the center or just to the left of it. The AT attempts to speak for the moderate right. For example, while the AT supports the work of missionary societies (something unthinkable for the ACR or GA), it opposes the use of instrumental music (as does the ACR and GA).

The upshot of this stance is that the AT is widely perceived as a more moderate, even independent, voice in the discussion of matters, one not necessarily beholden to any one wing of the Restoration Heritage. However, the downside to its attempt to occupy ground closer toward “the center” is equally obvious: it manages to often either let down, or somewhat offend, since for most it just never quite goes “far enough.”

Lard’s hand at the AT’s tiller will soon end (Jan. 1873) as he takes time off to pen what will become his magnum opus, his commentary on Romans (published in mid-1875).

April 16

April 16, 1861 – Is following a flag to war consistent with following Christ? What is the good news a preacher is to preach as a multitude of men consider military enlistment? Is there a tipping point that can be reached that changes the answer and response to such questions? And so, why do we believe what we believe and what price are we willing to pay for it? Today, one of the most prominent pioneer leaders of the American Restoration Heritage sounds the alert on such concerns and digs in for the battle to come.

As the clouds of war rapidly build in the spring of 1861, the question of military service is naturally the hottest topic on the table among all, including church members and Church leaders. Often contrary to the practice of their recent ancestors, the vast majority of the most prominent opinion leaders of the still quite young American Restoration Heritage are thorough pacifists. However, their ability to persuasively make the case for such convictions to the younger generation and for them to embrace and practice those beliefs when the cost of doing so is now at its greatest, are thrown into the crucible. What will be considered slag, fit for nothing, and what will be the resulting, refined metal of belief in terms of actual practice, remains to be seen.

One of the great opinion leaders in our tribe at the time is Benjamin Franklin, a great-nephew of the not so pacifist American hero of Revolutionary War days by the same name. Nephew Benjamin is a well known preacher and the editor of the widely-circulated and well-respected Cincinnati-based American Christian Review (ACR), arguably the flagship publication of “the conservative wing” of the Stone-Campbell Movement, particularly among adherents in the North. Just as surely is the case with every leader of the time, Franklin converses with others about the coming war and one of those he communicates with is his good friend J.W. McGarvey. In a letter Franklin pens today to McGarvey we’re allowed to overhear how Franklin attacks the war question. His answers are classic Franklin: sharp as steel and uttered with a mind made up to give no quarter. It is equally clear that he expects others to follow him up the hill, no matter the personal price to be paid.

“I know not what course other preachers are going to pursue, for they have not spoken; but my own duty is now clear, and my policy is fixed. … Whether I remain a citizen of this Union or become a citizen of the Southern Confederacy, my feelings toward my brethren everywhere shall know no change. In the meantime, if the demon of war is let loose in the land, I shall proclaim to my brethren the peaceable commandments of my Savior, and strain every nerve to prevent them from joining any sort of military company or making any warlike preparation at all. I know that this course will be unpopular with men of the world, and especially with political and military leaders; and there are some who might style it treason. But I would rather, ten thousand times, be killed for refusing to fight than to fall in battle or to came home victorious with the blood of my brethren on my hands.”

Commenting further, this time speaking specifically to what everyone knows will be a frequent venue on the battlefield – Christians trying to wound or kill other Christians – Franklin adds:

“… however things may turn or whatever may come … we will not take up arms against, fight and kill the brethren we have labored for twenty years to bring into the kingdom of God. Property may be destroyed and safety may be endangered, or life lost; but we are under Christ, and we will not kill, or encourage others to kill, or fight the brethren.”

Franklin courageously and consistently backs up his walk with his talk. Despite the vast majority of the ACR’s subscribers being residents of the North (roughly 7,500 of 8,500), he continues to hold his pacifist position throughout the years of killing and will keep the ACR’s stance during the war neutral, not showing favoritism toward North or South. His view costs him a great many Northern friends and support and garners him frequent mockery as a coward, great suspicion of being a traitor, and a host of real enemies. In addition, since mail service to the South is cut off during the war, the times cost him all of his Southern subscribers. And, Southerners are unhappy with him for the same reasons those in the North are put out with him: though personally against slavery, he keeps the ACR’s stance on the subject neutral and he does not align his paper with either cause. For choosing a third way, Franklin is caught in a deadly crossfire.

Midway though the war in 1863, the American Christian Missionary Society’s passage of a resolution of support of the Union marks the start of a change in Franklin’s views. Not on pacifism, but as to missionary societies and other para-church organizations. Within a very few years, he will be adamantly and vocally opposed to such. Naturally, this conviction only adds fuel to the fire others are building under him. Due to several factors, Franklin moves his family from Ohio to Indiana in 1864 to be close to one of his sons, Joseph.

And what of the ACR? Resuming publication in 1866, David Lipscomb’s Gospel Advocate (GA) speaks well of the ACR, but doing so doesn’t salvage much for the ACR’s subscription base in the South. The GA assumes the flagship status of brotherhood papers in the South. With those in the North, the ACR still has something of a loyal fan base, but the war has crippled it seriously. It will remain that way the rest of Franklin’s life and for a nearly a decade more. However, it will experience a revival of strong influence during the days following its purchase by Daniel Sommer in 1886. And, remarkably, it will continue in publication until 1965.

As for Franklin himself, his star has peaked. His influence will never be nearly so great after the war as it was before. He will work hard – too hard – to attempt to regain much of what was lost and his health breaks in 1868. He lives yet another ten years, but does so as a virtual invalid, dying in 1878 at the all too young age of sixty-six. Still, his legacy of faith will continue through his sons and daughters, with preachers, as well as missionaries to India, counted among their number.

As I rehearse the experience of Ben Franklin, my mind is caught up into an endless loop of four questions:

First, is it actually Scripture that determines my values and beliefs or, in reality, are they more subtly shaped by the culture and other influences around me? Just exactly why do I believe what I believe?

Second, with what tenacity would I continue to preach and practice the convictions I now hold if they were suddenly put to the ultimate test, that test lasting perhaps even for the rest of my days and costing me, as well as those nearest and dearest to me, much in every way? If seemingly the whole world turned against me, how would I respond?

Third, what lasting effects will the troubles I face in life for my beliefs, and the way I handle those troubles, have on my wife and children? Will they continue in vital, active belief or will they grow bitter and jettison faith?

Fourth, isn’t it exceedingly odd how pacifism was once the consensus “conservative” position of our tribe, but is now commonly viewed today as a “liberal,” if not altogether stupid, perspective? We’ve come a long, long way, baby – but, in what direction and by the influence of what and whom? Which leads me back to the first question, and the cycle begins again.

April 17

April 17, 1866 – What is the most difficult thing in the walk of life? Some say it is repentance, for repentance is a very long walk uphill away from something toward which we are mightily drawn. But, perhaps it is reconciliation that is more difficult still, for it involves two trips: the journey of repentance and the journey of reconciliation itself, which is an equally long, pack-laden walk uphill toward someone who might want little, if anything, to do with us … or still worse. In addition, dangers of all kinds await along the way.

Just over ten months ago the Civil War ended and now the arduous task of the South’s Reconstruction is underway. At the war’s start, people North and South asked themselves the unthinkable: “Dare I try to kill my brother?” A significant majority decided, “Yes, I will, or help with the process.” Now, during Reconstruction, these same people – many of them members of the Restoration Heritage – ask themselves a new, scarcely imaginable question: “Dare I trust my brother who just tried to kill me or mine, and to some degree, succeeded?”

Today, in the Gospel Advocate, a revered leader of the Restoration Heritage in the South, Tolbert Fanning, reveals to us some of what is in his heart and how that he is still contemplating whether or not to even pick up the pack and start what appears to be a death march toward reconciliation. He unzips his heart, er, the pack, and shows us some its contents: many items of sharp bitterness, weighty distrust, and unwieldy reservation.

“There are reasons … which lead us to doubt the propriety of a hasty religious reconstruction with the friends of Christ North or South … the report has reached the disciples South, that the Brethren generally in the North, like a few, and very few in the South, have been employing the fist of wickedness for a few years past to put down transgressors and subjugate rebels against governments. … passing and approving RESOLUTIONS in Christian missionary meetings. We charge no one, but it occurs to us that men engaged in such service, may not be very well prepared to engage in genuine spiritual cooperation.”

Eight years after these remarks and three years before the South’s Reconstruction is said to be complete, Fanning dies in 1874, gored to death by a bull.

The Civil War was fought over the course of four years and Reconstruction took twelve more. But, in a great many ways we are still fighting the consequences of the former and wrestling with the heavy pack of the latter today. Our journey’s end is still not yet in view and many dangers face us along the way. But, let us continue, let us pray for strength for each day, let us not grow weary in the task, and test, of seeking to get along and going on.

April 18

April 18, 1864 – Missouri native Lewis Bradford Grogan is a Private in the CSA, 31st Texas Cavalry (Hawpe’s) Regiment and is a participant in the atrocity-laced Battle of Poison Springs in southern Arkansas. Grogan survives the battle, and the war, and in either 1865 or 1866, becomes a Christian within the Restoration Heritage.

Not long after his conversion he begins to preach. He marries Julia Emily Bates of Hunt County, Texas in 1870 and serves for a time as postmaster in Ravenna (Fannin County), Texas. In 1895, Lewis & Julia move from Texas to Chickasha, Indian Territory – twelve years prior to Oklahoma statehood – to work with a congregation there. Lewis’ ministry in Chickasha includes starting up a school (1906) and penning a history of mission work in the Indian Territory.

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.”

on these days in the American Restoration Heritage: February 22-28

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

February 22

Feb. 22, 1874 – A letter to the editor is printed in the St. Louis newspaper The Globe concerning a meeting in which Knowles Shaw is preaching.

“To the Editor Of The Globe:

“Having learned that the great revivalist, Knowles Shaw, would preach at the Central Christian Church, Fourteenth and St. Charles Streets, on Sunday morning, I was induced to go and hear him. Mr. Shaw is certainly a man of extraordinary power … The hall in which he preached this morning was crowded, and I have seldom seen an assembly of people so deeply moved with seemingly so little effort on the part of the speaker. …

“He … announced as his text, ‘Come, see the place where the Lord lay.’

“I will not attempt to give any idea even of the sermon. It was of a character that can not be even sketched. The streaming eyes of the whole audience gave evidence of the power of the man and the effectiveness of his words. If any one desires to have his soul moved to its profoundest depths, let him go and listen an hour to Mr. Shaw.”

Due to his singing ability, his authorship of many hymns (and music for songs), and his habit of singing people into his meetings and singing during the course of his sermons, Shaw was commonly known in his time as “The Singing Evangelist,” and yet, his name is virtually unknown to us today. However, during the 1860’s and most of the 1870’s he is one of the most sought-after evangelists in the Restoration Heritage. Unlike most evangelists among our tribe at the time, Shaw speaks quite deliberately to elicit an emotional response from his hearers; this is the bull’s-eye he aims for in his sermons.

Shaw’s life was cut short at the age of 53 in a train wreck on the Texas Central Railroad between Dallas and McKinney, Texas in 1878. At the time of his death, e was on his way to conduct a meeting in McKinney, having just concluded a five-week long meeting with the Commerce Street Church in Dallas. His death was the sole fatality in the accident. His last words were:

“Oh, it is a grand thing to rally people to the cross of Christ.”

A portion of the inscription on his tombstone in the East Hill Cemetery in Rushville (Rush County), Indiana reads:

“An Acceptable Evangelist of the Church of Christ.”

If you’ve ever sung We Saw Thee Not, I Am the Vine, or Bringing in the Sheaves, you’ve sung some of the lyrics and/or music that Shaw authored and sang in his sermons.

February 23

* Feb. 23, 1837 – After vigorous debate, Bacon College in Georgetown, Kentucky secures its charter from the state legislature and Walter Scott is unanimously elected as its first president. The reason for the legislature’s debate is due to concern that support of Bacon College will hurt enrollment in Baptist-oriented Georgetown University (a concern that will prove true). The cost of one semester’s education at Bacon is $21.00 and the cost of room-and-board in Georgetown averages $2.00 per week. Over 200 students enroll in the college during its first year of operation. There are eight professors and teachers: J. Crenshaw, Tolbert Fanning, T.F. Johnson, W. Knight, S.C. Mullins, U. B. Phillips, C. R. Prezminsky (sic?), and Walter Scott.

Being the first institution of higher learning founded by members of the American Restoration Heritage, Bacon College is initially known as Collegiate Institute; however, the school soon changes its name to Bacon College in honor of Sir Francis Bacon, the founder of the scientific method.

Bethany College, founded by Alexander Campbell in Bethany, Virginia (becoming West Virginia during the time of the Civil War), will have its start three years later in 1840.

* Feb. 23, 1908 – In the Music Hall in Cincinnati, Ohio, a six-day debate begins between Charles T. Russell and Lloyd Smith (“L.S.”) White. Russell is regarded as the founder of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. The debate revolves around six propositions with a different question on the table each night of the debate. L.S. is also known for being one of the first two preaching ministers in Churches of Christ to be engaged in “full-time local work” (W.A. Sewell being the other; cf. the entry for Jan. 6 in this series).

February 24

* Feb. 24, 1811Edward Dickinson Baker, Sr. is born. He will grow up to become a preacher within the Restoration Heritage known for his eloquence and skill in public speaking. He will become a U.S. Senator. And, will become Abraham Lincoln’s best friend (they were law partners together in Illinois). Lincoln will name a son of his after him (Edward Baker Lincoln). Baker will introduce Lincoln to the nation at his inauguration as President.

And, while leading a regiment of the Union Army in an ill advised and poorly prepared attack, Baker will be killed in battle – four bullets at close range to his head and heart – at Ball’s Bluff (aka: Harrison’s Island), a battle fought in Loudoun County, Virginia early on in the Civil War (Oct. 21, 1861). A number of friends will recall that in the days and hours immediately preceding the Battle of Ball’s Bluff, Baker spoke with them several times of his death (age 50) as a close-at-hand certainty.

Naturally, Lincoln will receive the news of Baker’s death quite hard:

“With bowed head, and tears rolling down his furrowed cheeks, his face pale and wan, his heart heaving with emotion, he almost fell as he stepped into the street.”

Since he was also a Senator at the time of his death, Baker‘s death prompts the formation of the Congressional Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War, a panel that, seated primarily by Lincoln’s opponents, will typically place itself at odds with Lincoln’s strategies for the prosecution of the war, making for endless drama and difficulty for many throughout the conflict.

What of Lincoln’s son, the one named after Edward Baker? He died tragically at the age of three in 1850.

* Feb. 24, 1960 – An article appears on page one of The Dallas Times Herald describing Carl Spain‘s recent address (“Modern Challenges to Christian Morals”) at the Abilene Christian College (ACC) Lectureship.

“A Professor of Bible and Religious Education said Wednesday that colleges operated by members of the church of Christ should admit the denomination’s Negro preachers to graduate study. In discussing present-day challenges to morals, Carl Spain said in his prepared text, ‘You drive one of your own preachers to denominational schools where he can get credit for his work and refuse to let him take Bible for credit in your own schools because the color of his skin is dark.’ He said colleges of other denominations and state universities and some public schools in Texas admit Negroes, and asked, ‘Are we moral cowards on this issue?’

“There are people with money who will back us in our last ditch stand for white supremacy in a world of pigmented people. God forbid that we shall be the last stronghold among religious schools where the politico-economic philosophy of naturalism determines our moral conduct.'”

In an interview Spain said that there had been some ‘instances when Negroes desired to enroll in Bible courses at Abilene Christian College’s graduate school, but did not do so because of housing, eating, and other problems. He said faculty members had discussed the situation and that others shared his view that Negro preachers of the church of Christ who can qualify academically should be admitted to the graduate school. Don H. Morris, ACC president said, ‘Like most schools we have had applications for admission from colored people, but our school has not provided for their registration.’

“Spain said he brought up the subject to stir up some thinking among church of Christ members attending the Lectureship and that his views would apply to the schools of any denomination practicing segregation. All other schools operated by the church of Christ in the South are operated as all-white schools. Those in the north and on the west coast are integrated.”

Also in his address, Spain had said: “God forbid that churches of Christ, and schools operated by Christians, shall be the last stronghold of refuge for socially sick people who have Nazi illusions about the Master Race. Political naturalism, in the cloak of the Christian priesthood, must not be the ethical code in the kingdom of Jesus Christ.”

The following year (1961), students of any race are admitted into ACC’s graduate study program and in 1962, the same becomes true for undergraduate classes. As a result, other colleges associated with Churches of Christ in Oklahoma (Oklahoma Christian), Arkansas (Harding College), and Tennessee (David Lipscomb College) soon adopt similar policies.

February 25

Feb. 25, 1859James P. Shannon dies of an acute asthma attack at the age of 59. His body is buried in Columbia, Missouri. Shannon is primarily remembered for two things: his work as a college administrator and his abundant efforts (from 1844 until his death) in writing, debate, and speech as a “fire-eater” (a radical proponent of slavery).

Shannon was the president of the College of Louisiana from 1835-1840. It was Shannon who succeeded Walter Scott as president of Bacon College in 1840 when the school made its move from Georgetown to Harrodsburg, Kentucky and he served as Bacon’s president until 1850. He also served as the president of the University of Missouri (1850-1856), as a co-founder (1853) of what will become known as Christian University in Columbia, Missouri, and as the first president of Culver-Stockton College in Canton, Missouri (1856-1859).

Shannon’s vigorous defense of “the peculiar institution” is all the more noteworthy in light of the observation of one well-known abolitionist of the time, John Gregg Fee. Namely, that it is members of Stone-Campbell Movement churches who own more slaves per person than members of any other church tribe in American Christendom. While the majority of those manning Restoration pulpits, or occupying desks as editors of brotherhood papers, are anything but fire-eaters, the rank and file of those occupying the pews in the South are, to one degree or another, quite sympathetic with Shannon’s views on slavery. Consequently, editors tend to write about slavery (e.g. – a number of articles in the Millenial Harbinger), pulpits tend to be very guarded or virtually silent on the subject, and a great many members practice it.

This daily, deep, long-standing gulf between pulpit and pew on a huge social issue – the willful enslavement of another human being for one’s own gain – will do nothing for the ability of Restoration churches to engage in truly civil and constructive conversation on other matters, be it a Christian’s participation in military service and war, or matters of “doctrine” such as instrumental music, missionary societies, etc. Slavery is “the elephant in the living room” for many congregations long before many men march off to war and “see the elephant.” Any discussions, therefore, of the major reasons for division among Restoration churches during, or following, the war that do not seriously take the issue of slavery into account are, at best, inadequate, more nearly, as fundamentally flawed as Shannon’s views on slavery.

February 26

Feb. 26, 1857 – Alexander Campbell reports in the Millenial Harbinger that he is starting a speaking tour through the South to raise funds for Bethany College. His son, Alexander, Jr. will accompany him on this trip.

Campbell’s (Sr.) post-millenial beliefs nurture his drive for deep reform in higher education and his fervency for educational reform fuels his understanding of the millenium. Campbell believes that society as a whole needs a complete overhaul and since education is the tap root of the health of society, he views the prevailing model of education as not getting the job done. And so, Campbell founds Bethany College in 1840 and it will, in effect, become his laboratory for the testing and refinement of his beliefs about what education, and society, should become.

According to D. Duane Cummings, Campbell’s philosophy of education can be summed up with these six phrases: (1) ‘wholeness of person’ (development of physical, mental, and moral power), (2) ‘moral formation of character’ (moral excellence being the primary objective), (3) ‘study of the Bible’ (the centerpiece of the core curriculum), (4) ‘no sectarian influence’ (Scripture is to be studied free of outside influence), (5) ‘perfectability of individuals’ (instruction in individual morality will inevitably lead to wider social reform), and (6) ‘lifelong learning’ (from cradle to grave).

Consequently, in many ways Bethany College is a strong contrast to other colleges of its time. For example, while other institutions focus heavily on history (Greek and Roman), Bethany emphasizes the sciences. In fact, Bethany is one of the first colleges to offer a bachelor’s degree in science.

But, perhaps of greatest interest (surprise?) to us today is the fact that Campbell never viewed Bethany as a college that, so to speak, served Restoration Heritage churches or was merely a sounding-board for Restoration ideals. Not at all. He believed Bethany was operated for the benefit of society as a whole and that wider society was represented at Bethany. In the words of Richard T. Hughes:

“Campbell made no requirements that the institution’s trustees be aligned with his own movement, and indeed they came from a wide variety of Protestant persuasions. College Hall resounded each Sunday with worship and instruction ‘performed by respectable ministers of various denominations.’ It is clear that Campbell committed Bethany College to the cause of that ‘common Christianity … in which all good men of all denominations are agreed.'” (Reviving the Ancient Faith; p.40)

Bethany College is still in operation today in Bethany, West Virginia.

February 27

Feb. 27, 1866 – The editor and publisher of the Gospel Advocate, David Lipscomb, gives full vent to his feelings regarding his brethren who are associated with the American Christian Missionary Society (ACMS). Never a fan of the ACMS to begin with, it was the ACMS’ passage of a resolution in 1863 rescinding its neutral stance on the war and throwing its full support behind the Union, that finally, and fully, burnt Lipscomb’s toast. An up-close witness to the years of death and destruction wrought by the war, especially among his Southern brethren, Lipscomb will now leave no doubt as to how he sees the ACMS and his brothers in the North who continue to support it, as well his distaste for military service on the part of any Christians, anywhere.

“… when we looked as we did in the beginning, to see this society of CHRISTIANS, set an example of keeping its hands pure from the blood of all men; and in its action to find strength and encouragement for ourselves and our brethren that needed help, we found only the vindictive, murderous spirit ruling its counsels, and encouraging the CHRISTIAN (?) work of CHRISTIANS North robbing and slaughtering Christians South. So far as we have been able to learn, this has been its chief solicitude for four years past, and to this solicitude it has conformed its actions. We doubt not it has been a valuable auxiliary to the political organization of earth in inducing the followers of the prince of PEACE to become men of war and blood.”

Because he holds these views, the name ‘David Lipscomb’ will be largely frowned upon by the majority of Restoration Heritage churches in the North and, because of his views on military service, a large number of Restoration Heritage Christians in the South will consider him either a weakling or a coward in regard to the Lost Cause (the Confederacy), or a traitor to his country (no matter the government). Throughout the remainder of his life, Lipscomb will take not a single step back from this perspective on either the ACMS or military service.

February 28

Feb. 28, 1868‘Racoon’ John Smith dies at the age of 83 in Mexico (Audrain County), Missouri at the home of one of his daughters (Emily Frances Ringo). His body will be buried in Lexington, Kentucky. A man of truly unique personality, very little education (a total of four months), and a vast memory of Scripture, Alexander Campbell once said of him:

“John Smith is the only man that I ever knew who would have been spoiled by a college education.”

Raised as a Baptist in rural, eastern Tennessee (Sullivan County), Smith becomes a Baptist preacher, but continually finds himself in hot water with his Baptist kinsmen. Why? Their vocalized complaint is that he uses too much Scripture in his preaching, but there’s much more to it than what they say (after all, we all know that people typically offer their “best sounding complaint,” not their real concern). The real issue is that Smith is growing increasingly frustrated and unhappy with the Calvinist elements of Baptist faith and such clearly shows in his preaching. Example: Smith interrupts one of his own sermons to exclaim:

“Brethren, something is wrong, I am in the dark, we are all in the dark, but how to lead you to the light, or to find the way myself, I know not!”

Upon encountering Alexander Campbell’s paper the Christian Baptist, hearing Campbell speak once (on Galatians, at a length of 2 1/2 hours), re-reading his New Testament, and no small amount of pondering and prayer, Smith switches over to the Restoration Heritage and continues preaching – with obvious joy and to great effect. His plain, but articulate manner of speech and preaching, coupled with his knack for sharp, witty humor, communicates especially well with country folk and in these respects (preaching style and primary audience) Smith is something like Alexander Campbell’s opposite.

A brief anecdote captures a bit of Smith’s essence. On one occasion he was asked what the difference was between baptism and seeking God at a mourner’s bench. Without a pause, Smith replies:

“One is from heaven; the other is from the sawmill.”

It is Smith who is chosen to preach the first sermon at the Hill Street meeting in Lexington, Kentucky on Jan. 1, 1832, a meeting between representatives of the Stone (Christians) and Campbell (Disciples) movements. In this sermon, Smith says:

“Let us, then my brethren, be no longer Campbellites or Stoneites, New Lights or Old Lights, or any other kind of lights, but let us come to the Bible, and to the Bible alone, as the only book in the world that can give us all the light we need.”

And it is Smith who then formally shakes Barton W. Stone’s hand and so, seals the deal that unites the two movements into one – the Stone-Campbell Movement.

this went thru my mind

 

Commission: Called and Commissioned by Rubel Shelly

“The idea of leaving God’s work in the hands of a few talented professionals just isn’t biblical or practical.”

Dogs: Canaan Canine Faces Threat in Israel

“First-century rock drawings in the Sinai and more than 700 fifth-century B.C.E. canine skeletons … attest to the historical prominence of the Canaan dog, a pointy eared breed that has lived in Israel since Biblical time. … An online petition is raising awareness to protect Israel’s official breed, but a court decision could mark the end of an effort to sustain the ancient pedigree.”

Health: 4 Critical Gauges for Your Life and Work by Michael Nichols

“… a friend introduced me to 4 health gauges to assess my life and work – Physical, Mental, Spiritual, and Emotional. For more than 20 years, Bill Hybels has talked about these 4 gauges, but this was my first experience with them.”

Military service, pacifism & the American Civil WarTolbert Fanning–Advocate for Peace in 1861 by John Mark Hicks. Links to parts onetwothreefourfivesix & seven.

“Fanning, shaped by evangelists associated with [Barton W.] Stone and mentored by Alexander Campbell … was David Lipscomb’s mentor. … Fanning was a unique theological combination of Stone and Campbell and this was the legacy he left to many leaders in Middle Tennessee. … Though … Middle Tennessee voted 88% for secession in June [1861]. In this climate, Fanning attempted to persuade his readers to choose peace.”

Parenting: Brainwashing our Kids with Religion by Jared Byas

“How do you teach your kids about Jesus but also teach them to think for themselves? … For our family, we have decided that we are Christians and that we will raise our children as Christians. But along with our personal beliefs and the Christian tradition, we will indoctrinate them with a Christian faith that (1) respects religious diversity, (2) respects Christian diversity, and (3) humbly accepts they might be wrong.”

Prejudice: Ethnocentrism & Politics by Richard Beck

“Ethnocentrism is a mental habit. It is a predisposition to divide the human world into in-groups and out-groups. It is a readiness to reduce society to us and them. Or rather, it is a readiness to reduce society to us versus them.”

Productivity: 5 Reasons Why You Should Take a Nap Every Day by Michael Hyatt

“Did you know those who take a midday siesta at least three times a week are 37 percent less likely to die of heart disease? Working men are 64 percent less likely!”

Questions: 7 Suggestions for Asking More Powerful Questions by Michael Hyatt

“If you are going to be a successful leader, you are going to have to learn how to ask good questions. Here are seven tips for taking this skill to the next level.”

Receptivity & success: When to Wipe Our Shoes: What Does “Receptive” Mean? by Dan Bouchelle

“Jesus gives us a number for what defines receptivity: one.”

Sabbatical: My Monthly Trip To The Monastery by Brian Jones

“I’ve found that if I don’t get away about once a month and “clear my head” by refocusing and reprioritizing what’s on my plate, I lose my mind.

Self-control & spiritual disciplinesWhat Neuroscience Tells Us about Lenten Disciplines by Rob Moll

“Neuroscience sheds light on how fasting and other spiritual disciplines work by training our subconscious mental processes. We think of ourselves as entirely the activity of our conscious thoughts. In reality, our brain has thousands of sub-conscious processes going on all the time.”

The tree of lifeThe Tree of Life by Richard Oster

“What one discovers is that nations of the Ancient Near East also had traditions about sacred trees, trees of life. … This reality does not “prove” that Israel’s understanding of the tree of life was borrowed from anyone else, but it does suggest at the least that the belief in the sacred tree was part of the religious lingua franca of both Israel and the Ancient Near East.”