Wineskins on Unity

February 23, 2006

This is just a quick note to let everyone know about the latest issue of Wineskins. They are focusing on the topic of unity this year. There are some great articles here. Have a look!



  1. Alan-The article on Unity and Barton W. Stone by Gary Holloway was especially compelling.Kent

  2. Hi Kent,Barton Stone had some great insights. I must admit that I’m uncomfortable with Holloway’s statement:Many of us cannot deny that there are many devout Christians who are unimmersed.I don’t think Barton Stone would have gone that far. He wasn’t advocating the abandonment of convictions, just patience and tolerance with someone who hadn’t reached those convictions yet. Here’s a great quote from Stone recently posted at the Gospel Union discussion group:”If we would heal the sick, we must visit them; if we would restore the lame, we must take them by the hand; if we would correct, inform, or reform erring christians, we must do as the Saviour did;–bear with their weaknesses. We must seek every opportunity of converting the sinner from the error of his way, of instructing the weak and feeble-minded. It is lame charity which requires all its objects to be as rich, as wise, and as strong as ourselves. And the history of the world does not afford one instance of any man, or set of men, reforming, or restoring, or enlightening, or comforting the society from which they separated.” From “Dialogue on Christian Union,” The Christian Baptist, Volume 3, Number 10. May 1, 1826

  3. Actually when I attempted to verify the source I found that quote came from Alexander Campbell rather than Barton Stone.

  4. Alan-Actually I too will admit to raising my eyebrows when Holloway made that statement. I firmly believe that people are Christians who are not in Churches of Christ. But I am a little iffy about people who are unimmersed. I am not going to say absolutely that it can’t happen but…The question I have after reading scripture is why would you not be baptized if you want to be a Christian? No matter what point you believe salvation actually occurs, you still cannot get past the fact that at some point immersion is to take place. It goes hand in hand with salvation. I don’t know if you have read Jack Reece’s book, The Body Broken, but he makes some great statements about this in that book.

  5. Hey Kent,I agree on the baptism question. Basically I think we are authorized to extend God’s promise of salvation on the terms in Acts 2:38-39 (explicitly offered to all whom God will call). What he will do with those who don’t understand those terms, he has not revealed.I’m about 1/3 of the way through “The Body Broken”. I want to get copies of it for all the elders and ministers in my congregation. When I finish it I’ll probably post a review.Alan

  6. Alan:Thanks for the tip about them writing about unity. I noticed last month they had addressed unity a bit, but I haven’t had a lot of time to read, so I haven’t even tried to look at what they are doing.I know that alot of people like New Wineskins, but I’ve never been a huge fan. When I attended the Westside Church of Christ in Beaverton, Oregon, and Tim Woodruff (the author of the recent book “The Church that Flies”) was the minister, he was a big reader, subscriber, and I think sometimes contributor to New Wineskins. I have always been weary of them because their affiliation to him and the New Hermenutic Movement.Also, I’ve read somewhere, I think probably at the Firm Foundation website, that some of their contributors have done such things as call Mary a “woman of questionable sexual character” and have denied the ressurection of Christ. I’ve not read those things for myself in their magazine, however, so I can’t testify to whether that is true or not. -Clarke

  7. Clarke-Back in the early ’90s Andre Resner, one of my all-time favorite professors, wrote an article in Wineskins called “Christmas at Matthew’s House.” Basically in the article he talked about how the birth of Jesus to the Virgin Mary would have been viewed as a scandal in the time of Jesus and how Mary would have been viewed as a woman of questionable character by those around her. I don’t think there is any question that peopel would see this unmarried girl and see that she was pregnant and think that she was unfaithful to Joseph. That is natural. Not everyone was privy to what was actually going on.Anyway, Resner wrote this article and the legalists read it and interpreted it as though Resner was denying the virgin birth. Resner believes strongly in the virgin birth but Firm Foundation made it their mission to take him down. Resner is a great preacher but is now ministering in the Presbyterian Church in the Northeast. And, to my knowledge, no one has ever denied the resurrection in Wineskins. Again, this is a magazine edited by people who are progressive and the conservatives will always look upon it with disdain. The “New Hermeneutic” is not something that anyone should fear. Kent

  8. Hey Clarke,I think it would be great to add the doctrine inventory and analysis to the wiki once we’ve had a chance to digest it and get it in a form we like. I’ve heard a lot about the New Hermeneutic, but I’m not sure specifically what that term specifically means. I think what we are doing here is discussing a different hermeneutic from the traditional one used by churches of Christ (or at least an adjustment to that one). I think something new is needed. I don’t agree with everything I read at the New Wineskins site. I did particularly like Lynn Anderson’s column, “Two Hundred Years … and Counting.” He specifically mentions the fact that we can still hold strong convictions while building relationships with people who hold different views.Some of the other articles go too far for me right now. But I think we need to seek dialog with people like that. We’ll never make progress toward unity if we avoid interaction with people that have a different opinion on some things. I think it’s encouraging to see people of diverse beliefs having conversations like this.Alan

  9. Kent:Good information. Thank you for clearing that up for me.I do think that congregations have something to fear from the New Hermenutic. That movement ripped through the congregation I was a member of and helped destroy my faith for a while. It is one thing to advocate for a different way of interrurpting scripture, it is quite another to take your views on things such as praise teams, women’s roles, and charismatic movements of the Holy Spirit and force them full upon a congregation. By forcing those beliefs, I don’t mean by teaching them, but by implenting them in the public worship without the full consent of the members. That was a horrible time of my life that I hope I never have to experience again. I still have trouble forgiving those that were involved with that mess, and I hope that God will change my heart towards them.-Clarke

  10. Clarke-I am sorry to hear about your experiences. First of all, we need to officially define the New Hermeneutic. Most people just randomly throw out that term when people do something that they don’t agree with. And I would say that the people who went on a rampage in your church were not a part of the New Hermeneutic. If they were truly a part of that “movement” then they would have been more thoughtful in their approach. Also, as someone who is probably a part of the “New Hermeneutic” I resent that term. I just try and faithfully read scripture and interpret it as best I can. Just because I do it a different way than Joe Bob did it in the 1950s and it is technically “new” does not mean that it has to be harmful. There are many good things that have come out of these attempts.I would agree with you that irresponsibility can be very destructive. But it can be destructive no matter what method of interpretation you use when reading scripture.

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