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The Journal of the Campbell Institute 

Marie Moore 

Robert B. Lewis 

Clyde C. Smith 

J. Robert Moffett 

R. A. Thomos 

R. T. Wilkerson 





Summer, 1956 

No. 1 

THE SCROLL, the Bulletin of the Campbell Institute, published quar- 
terly in July, October, January, and April. 

The Campbell Institute, founded in 189G, is an association for minis- 
ters and laymen of the Disciples of Christ for the encouragement of 
scholarship, comradeship, and intelligent discipleship. 

OFFICERS 1955-1956 
President: B. F. Burns, Oak Park, Illinois 
Vice-President: P. H. Beckelhymer, Hiram, Ohio 
Treasurer: J. J. VanBoskirk, Chicago, Illinois 
Recording Secretary: W. B. Blakemore, Chicago, Illinois 

The Officers of the Institute 

The Dues of the Campbell Institute are $2.00 per year, including sub- 
scription to the Scroll. 

Correspondence, manuscripts, and membership dues should be sent 
to the address of the Campbell Institute which is 1156 East 57th St., 
Chicago 37. Illinois. 

The Campbell Institute At 
Des Moines 


Immediately following the close of the evening sessions of the 
Convention, in parlors of the Convention Auditorium. 
Monday, October 1, 1956 

Dr. J. C. Brauer, Dean of the Federated Theological Faculty of 

the University of Chicago. 
Tuesday, October 2, 1956 

Business meeting and program to be announced. 

Dr. Winfred Ernest Garrison 

Marie Moore, Houston, Texas 

In the upstairs studio at Dr. Winfred Ernest Garrison's home there is 
a plaster head easily identified, by the long nose and soulful eyes, as 
a likeness of Cyrano de Bergerac. 

"Notice any resemblance to anyone else?" white-haired Dr. Garrison 
asked with a sly grin. He puffed on his pipe a moment and then ex- 

"I sculptured my own head in clav one time. After I cast it, the clay 
was still moist. 

"I pulled on the nose, pushed in the cheeks, and added a little goatee. 
And there was Cyrano. " 

Dr. Garrison has a personality as versatile as the clay (or rather, the 
plastic, his wife having ruled that clay is too messy) he manipulates in 
his art studio. 

He is an author, poet, world traveler, ordained minister, classical 
scholar and a diligent worker in organizations to promote interfaith 
religious understanding. His sculpture, mostly portraits and inscriptions 
in bronze relief, is^ exhibited in churches in America and Ireland. He is 
a former college president, and he has dabbled in archeologv and farm- 

At 80, although he looks 20 years younger in his casual summer suit 
and natty bow tie, he has become chairman of the department of phi- 
losophy and religion at the University of Houston, where he has taught 
since 1951. 

He still writes copiously, appears regularly on television programs and 
is outlining a course in New Testament Greek which he will teach at 
the U of H this fall. 

He expects to attend a conference on Moslem-Christian co-operation 
in Europe in 1956 ( he was a delegate to a similar meeting at Bhamdoun, 
Lebanon, this year). On Sundays this summer he has been a guest 
preacher at services of Unitarian, Congregationalist and other churches, 
although the Disciples of Christ is his own denomination. 

And in his spare time he plays the violin. 

After he retired as professor of church history at the University of 
Chicago in 1943, Dr. Garrison dex'oted most of his time to writing and 
literary criticism until he came to Houston four years ago. 

"At least, you can say that I chose Texas in my years of discretion," 
he remarked. "When most of my friends at Chicago retired, they moved 
to Florida. But I didn't want to join a colony for the superannuated; 
pitching horseshoes isn't quite stimulating enough for me. 

"Besides, I come from a long-lived family. My mother lived to be 94 
and mv father 89. My grandmother died at 90; she was killed in a 
carriage accident returning from a visit with her older sister." 

The busy life Dr. Garrison is living these days is just a continuation 
of the pace he set early in life. He breezed through grade school in Saint 
Louis, spent a couple of years in school in England and was graduated 
from Eureka College in Eureka, 111. before he was 18. 

"My ambition was to be a professor of Greek, and I decided my AB 
degree from Eureka wasn't impressive enough, so I went to Yale for 
another one," he said. 

"At Yale I found out that my background in the classics was pretty 
good. And I have a healthy respect for the little prairie colleges, I visited 
Eureka this summer, on its 100th anniversary." 

Dr. Garrison has high praise for the social studies offered in colleges 
and vmiversities today, although he has found a great deal of satisfaction 
in the more classical education which he himself began at Eureka. 

"I was studying Latin, Greek and logic mostly," he said, "and I 
remember making a remark, when I was a student, that I later decided 
was very wise. 

"I wasn't very articulate then, and a friend suggested that I should 
study more English and less Latin and Greek I replied, 'I believe that 10 
years from now I will use English better because of studying Latin and 
Greek.' " 

Anyone who was watching Dr. Garrison's Wednesday evening tele- 
vision program on Channel 8 (now suspended while he is on vacation) 
can testify to his fluent speech these days. The camera finds him in an 
easy chair, chatting informally and informatively about history, the arts, 
religion, or whatever subject he may choose. 

The program, his students report, is similar to his manner in class. 

An interest in religion came naturally to Dr. Garrison, since his father 
was for many years editor of the Christian-Evangelist, a Disciple of 
Christ newspaper. And religious learning tied in conveniently with his 
classical studies. 

So when he received his Yale diploma in 1894, he went to the Univer- 
sity of Chicago to take bachelor of divinity and doctor of philosophy 

After receiving his doctorate in 1897, he remained at the university for 
a year as a history assistant and an instructor at the Disciples Divinity 
House, a part of the the university's theological school. 

In 1898 he went to Butler College, now Butler University, at Indian- 
apolis, as professor of church history and Hebrew. In 1904, before he was 
30 years old, he became president of Butler College. 

The presidency was a turning point in his hfe in several wavs. His 
father, James Harvey Garrison, had hoped that his son would follow him 
as editor of the Christian-Evangelist. 

"I was assistant editor for four years, while I was teaching at Butler, 
but the work didn't satisfy me," Dr. Garrison said. "When I was offered 
the presidency at Butler even my father agreed that I should take it. But 
I kept writing for the Christian-Evangelist for 12 vears." 

As a college president Dr. Garrison literallv almost worked himself 
to death. He taught several classes, because he enjoved knowing the 
students, while carrying a full load of administrative work. And he spent 
a great deal of time raising endowments to improve the school's financial 

After two years at that pace, he found himself ill with tuberculosis, and 
he took his physician's advice and moved to the high, drv climate of 
New Mexico. 

"I thought I was through as a teacher," Dr. Garrison said calmly, 
puffing on his pipe and making no mention of the emotional upheaval 
his illness must have cost him. 

With his young wife— he had married Miss Annie Gaines Dye on his 
26th birthday, Oct: 1, 1900— he moved to the Sante Fe vicinity, studied 
up on archeology and began exploring the Indian ruins of Northern New 
Mexico. He also became interested in an irrigation project. 

"New Mexico was still a territory then, and sparsely settled," he 
explained. "They had trouble getting school teachers, and the superin- 
tendent of pubic education for the territory had heard of my experience. 

"He offered me a job as principal of the high school at Santa Fe. The 
school was eight years old and thev had had eight principals. I was 
disgusted with the irrigation project, so I took it. 

"There were 45 students in the high school. I let the city superintendent 
do the administrative work, and I taught and had fun with the kids. On 
week ends 30 or more of them would join me, in wagons and on horse- 
" back, and we would go out to the ruins on excavation trips." 

From Santa Fe he went to New Mexico Normal College at Las Vegas 
as president in 1907, and his chief recollection of that interlude was the 
atmosphere of "crime and general cussedness" in the town. 

"Someone tried to burglarize our house twice in one year," he said. 
"Once my wife sat at the door with a gun in her lap all night because 
there was a prowler around." 

A happier time began in 1908 when he became president of the New 
Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanical Arts at Las Cruces, in the 
fertile Mesilla Valley. 

"I bought a ranch when we moved to Las Cruces " he said. "I never 

had been on a farm before, but I started experimenting with cantaloupes 
and onions. My wife said she could smell the onions half a mile away." 

He imported some Valencia onion seeds and read directions for raising 
them in cold frames. Adjusting the directions to the New Mexico climate, 
he planted seeds in the fall and transplanted them, four inches apart 
in a row, in the spring. 

"It took 25 man-days of work to transplant an acre of onions. That 
cost $25 then. And when the onions were grown, each bulb touched the 
next one; four-inch onions. And I sold the seeds." 

The Garrisons designed and built a traditional Spanish-style house on 
their ranch. It was constructed of adobe brick made on the spot and 
built around a patio. 

"Our house is a convent now," he said. "It's called the Convento del 
Buen Pastor. It was used once as a refuge for nuns from Mexico. 

"I stopped by there on a trip not long ago, and the nun at the gate 
was rather suspicious when I explained that I wanted to look at the place 
because it used to be my home. Then I asked about a date palm we had 
planted in the patio. The last time I had seen it, the tree was up to the 
second-storv level. 

"The nun told me they had cut down the palm because it got too big. 
She got over her suspicion and invited me in, but I didn't go." 

Dr. Garrison obviously loves mountains, rivers and tall trees, and he 
describes eloquently the scenery of New Mexico and other places he has 
lived in and visited. His Las Cruces home he considered a beautv spot, 
but his reminiscences betraved no regret about leaving there for Cali- 

He explained that move by saying he "got into politics." 

The time was 1910, and plans were being made for a constitutional 
convention to prepare New Mexico for admission to statehood. Dr, 
Garrison argued for a citizens' assembly, without regard for political 
part\' affiliation, to form the convention, but the proponents of political 
parties won out. 

"Both the Democrats and Republicans offered to nominate me as a 
delegate to the convention," he said, "but I turned them down, much to 
my wife's disgust. Then a Republican delegate became ill, I was asked 
to replace him, and I accepted. 

"The state went Democratic in its first election, and that put my job 
in jeopardy at the A and M College. I had a contract through June, 1913, 
but when that time came the Democrats replaced me with a Democratic 
college president. 

"I was offered a law partnership by one of my friends in Las Cruces, 
but I told him I didn't think there was room for an honest lawyer in New 

Mexico. My friend said, 'How do you know? It's never been tried.' " 

Dr. Garrison chuckled and lighted his pipe again. 

"So I went to California and decided to start a preparatory school for 

The fact that the Garrisons' children were approaching high school 
age influenced the decision to open the California school. Their son, 
Frederic Garrett, now is a mechanical engineer and designer with a 
l)usiness in Detroit, Mich. Their daughter, Mrs. Neil Crawford, is the 
wife of a Presbyterian minister in Washington, Ind. 

"I had two narrow escapes from getting rich when I went to the West 
Coast," Dr. Garrison continued. 

"While I was looking for a site for the school, a real estate man at Long 
Beach tried to sell me Signal Hill. That's the biggest oil field in California 
now. And another one tried to sell me some Huntington Beach property. 
I turned him down, and there were oil wells all over it two years later." 

Dr. Garrison chose, instead, some acreage at Claremont, with a scenic 
canyon, fragrant orange groves and a mountainous forest preserve in the 

As in New Mexico, he remained as much a teacher as an administra- 
tor, and the Claremont School for Bovs featured regular horseback trips 
over the mountain trails. 

Dr. Garrison coached basketball at his school and played a little base- 
ball and tennis. The sports, added to his other outdoor activities, helped 
repair his health. In 1920 he was asked to return to the University of 

After a summer trial period, when he was hesitant about returning to 
city life, he accepted and sold the California school. He served as dean 
of the Disciples Divinity House several years, then was church history 
professor until his retirement. In 1953 he was awarded the title of pro- 
fessor emeritus. 

Shortlv after he returned to Chicago, Dr. Garrison became literary 
editor of the Christian Centurv. He continued writing book reviews for 
that publication until last December, and he estimates that he reviewed 
10.000 books over a period of 32 years. 

While he was in California Dr. Garrison served as pastor of a church 
for four years, in addition to his other work, and he continued writing all 
through his years in the West. 

His first book, "Wheeling Through Europe," was published in 1900 
after he had spent tlnee summers bicycling over the Continent. 

Most of his other books have been of a theological nature. The first 
of these, also published in 1900, concerned the founder of the Disciples 
of Christ denomination. Its title is "Alexander Campbell's Theology." 

"Catholicism and the American Mind" came out in 1928, during Al 
Smith's campaign for the presidency, and met with favorable reviews 
in both Protestant and Catholic publications, as well as the general 

His latest book, soon to be published by the Bethany Press at Saint 
I.ouis, is "Christion Unity and the Disciples of Christ." 

He has a chapter in a book on Moslem and Christian cooperation 
called "The Road to Bhamdoun" that resulted from his trip to Lebanon 
last year. And he is writing a section on reviews and criticism for a book 
called "Effective Writing About Religion." 

Mrs. Garrison came in to serve refreshments on a delicate enameled 
tray which she noted was a souvenir of the Lebanon mission, and she 
joined the literary discussion. 

"He must show you some of his poetry," she insisted gently. 
Dr. Garrison obliged by leaning back in his chair and reaching into a 
bookcase. Side by side there reposed volumes of Pepys' diaries, "The 
Oxford Companion to English Literature," "Fossilman in France" and 
"Cartoons by George Price." 

He skipped those and pulled out a book called "Quotable Poems." 
'I have a couple in here that are fair samples," he said. "The other 
books are all upstairs." 

One of the selections was this one, titled "Love and Life:" 
Oh, Love and Death go ever hand in hand, 
For poison lurks within the magic cup 
That Love to thirsty lips is lifting up; 
And those who tread the heavenly height must stand 
Upon a dizzy verge. Love's stern command 
Summons to battle, wounds, and sudden death; 
No langorous whisper borne on perfumed breath. 
But ringing call to dare bv sea and land. 
But Love brings every gift of joy and grace. 
Lightens the darkness, gives new life for old. 
And touches all things with her mystic wand, 
Like Midas turning all base things to gold, 
Making a temple every common place. 
For Love and Life go ever hand in hand. 
It was Mrs. Garrison, again gently insistent, who persuaded Dr. 
Garrison to describe briefly some of his more important sculptural works. 
"I did a bronze portrait of Thomas Campbell for a Presbyterian church 
near Belfast, Ireland," he said briefly. "He was Alexander Campbell's 
father and he was pastor of that church. I was there in 1937 and selected 
the location for the portrait, but I haven't seen it since it was hung." 

His bronze relief portrait of Alexander Campbell hangs at Bethany 
College, and he now is working on a head of Campbell, the founder of 
the Disciples of Christ denomination. 

"I'm working from a portrait of him as a young man, and after I cast 
it I'll make it older," he explained. 

Dr. Garrison did a relief portrait of his own father which is in the 
Union Avenue Christian Church at Saint Louis where his father was a 
member and elder for 57 years. 

Throughout his studio— among the Navajo rugs, Indian pottery, a 
framed page from an old Italian mass book and other mementoes of his 
travels— are masks, busts and classical figures representative of his 
sculptural work. 

"I did some of the masks one summer when we had a house at Taxco, 
Mexico " he said. "I wanted to show the different types of faces I saw." 

His sense of humor crops out in several places. For example, there is 
Andromeda, of Greek mythology, the traditional, hopeless figure waiting 
to be devoured bv the sea monster. 

Dr. Garrison's Andromeda is about eight inches tall. The "monster" 
facing her is a piquant, inch-high sea horse that looks like a Walt Disney 

"I decided maybe the monster wasn't as fierce as the Greeks thought," 
Dr. Garrison remarked drvly. 

Leading the way back downstairs, he paused to comment on the grace- 
ful iron gates, with enameled figures in the center of each side, which 
he brought from a European trip and installed in the archway between 
his living room and dining room. 

"I call these the pearly gates. And that's Pearl herself," he pointed his 
pipestem at one of the figures. 

Dr. Garrison has attended almost every recent world meeting con- 
cerning interfaith co-opperation. At some he has been a delegate of his 
own denomination, and at others he has been a consultant, not repre- 
.senting any one denomination. He prefers to attend as a consultant. 

His studies as a religious historian have by no means been confined to 
Christianity. He knows Arabic, among a variety of other ancient and 
modern languages, and he has read part of the Koran in the original. 

Like the handful of other serious religious scholars over the country, 
he has been quite interested in the recent discovery, in caves near the 
Dead Sea, of legible Hebrew scrolls dating back to close to the time of 

He read the manuscript of the Book of Isaiah which was found in the 
caves and which is now at the University of Chicago, and he marveled at 
the similarity of the ancient and more modern Hebrew script. 

His interest in the scrolls led him, while he was on his trip to Lebanon 
last February, to visit the caves where the first manuscripts were found. 

"I saw a Bikini bathing suit in action for the first time at the Dead 
Sea," he interposed suddenly, in the middle of a serious discussion of the 
scrolls. "The girl wearing it was very well equipped. I think that belies 
the statement that there is no life in the Dead Sea." 

''The Great New Fact of Our Era" 

Robert B. Lewis, YoungstoLvn, Ohio 

The concern of this paper is to evaluate Archbishop William Temple's 
statement that "The ecumenical movement is the great new fact of our 
era." But a judgment upon the ecumenical movement, in these days of 
the church's internal disorder, can originate neither in solitary reflection 
nor in a supposed immersion in the whole body of Christ; rather must 
it arise out of a particular, limited tradition within Christianity. To 
speak responsiblv means to speak as part of a self-conscious community 
of the faithful to the church throughout the world. 

Therefore, I must speak (and desire to speak) from within my con- 
text, that community of Christians known as "Disciples of Christ." 
Naturallv, mv explicit position will not concide with that of everv "Dis- 
ciple," but it can be shown to follow from the same sources from which 
flow most Disciple thinking. These sources are the "founding fathers" of 
the brotherhood, especially Alexander Campbell. To that extent, then, 
my words will be an attempt to demonstrate what the "Disciples of 
Christ" as a church can and should say about the ecumenical movement 
in the light of the best in their tradition. 

What is there in the Disciple heritage that can be related to the pre- 
sent enterprise of Christianity in its search after wholeness? It is my 
position that our heritage contains abundant material for the formulation 
of a doctrine of the nature of the church which has manifold correlations 
with the eciurtenical spirit. Let us turn, first, to an examination of this 
material in order to formulate a "Disciple" judgment concerning the 
ecumenical movement. 

Robert Richardson, one of Alexander Campbell's earliest spokesmen 
and co-editor for a period with him of the MiUeniaJ Harbinger, presents 
a basis for our enquiry in his analysis of the reformation movement. He 
writes. "When men, who, in the deliberate exercise of judgment, have 
attached themselves to different religious bodies, are able by the elevat- 
ing influences of divine truth and love, to rise above the narrow limits of 
sectarian prejudice, and to embrace each other as children of a common 
Father, and heirs of a common inheritance, the power of these divine 
principles is shown . . . There is, then, through the influence of divine 


truth, and in direct opposition to the genius of sectarianism, a union of 
heart between the pious . . . But this is merely a spiritual union— a secret 
sympathy. It is an invisible union, while there is, at the same moment, a 
most visible disunity. It is a star of hope, however ... It is the spirit of 
God moving upon the face of a chaos . . . and may we not hope to see 
a visible as there is an invisible unitv in the family of God ... It is bv a 
visible union among Christians alone, that the world can be convinced of 
the divine mission of Jesus Christ. Christianity, though a spiritual reli- 
gion, is not such a religion disembodied. It rules the bodv as the soul. It 
has its externals as its internals; its form as well as its power. It must be 
recognized by its results, and among these there are none more char- 
acteristic than unity, peace and good will among men . . . Christian union 
and intercommunion were the original and ruling thoughts with those 
with whom this movement began. "^ 

This love of unity, though, was not a sheer relativism in which the im- 
portance of criteria was ignored. For these men, there was a standard, 
and this standard was "the writings of the apostles of Jesus Christ."^ 
The departure from the sects was not to be in just any direction desired 
bv human whim, but rather it was to be in a particular direction: "Is it 
not obvious that sA\ lines drawn from the circumference of any circle 
towards its center, will meet at the same point? As all sects forsake their 
systems, and return to the apostolic gospel and institutions, they will 
meet in one and the same centre . . . "'^ 

This standard, however, was not to be applied as a rigid canon in- 
cluding all particulars of church order and faith. What shall the preacher 
of union say? "That every truth is alike important? No, certainly; for then 
on earth there never could be a union."'* Rather then this: "Nothing is 
proposed as a bond of peace on earth other than the bond of peace in 
heaven, which is all comprehended in the cardinal and sublime pro- 
position—Jesus the Nazarene is the Messiah the Son of God."^ 

This, then, is the objective criterion which, in its fuller expression by 
"Campbell resembles closely what is today known as the "kerygma."^ 
The application of this criterion to the problems of faith and order is 
controlled bv the doctrine of the differences between faith and opinion. 
"Faith" is correlated with the matter of revelation and is that which all 
Christians hold in common. "Opinion" is correlated with speculations 
beyond revealed matter, or in the absence of revelation, or, most general- 
ly, on subjects non-essential for the life of faith. Although men could 
never unite on the basis of an orthodoxy of opinions, union on matters 
of faith alone is possible. "We do not ask them to give up their opinions— 
we ask them only not to impose them upon others . . . The faith is public 
property; opinions are, and always have been private property. ' 


A specific method of applying the objective criterion of scripture is the 
distinction between "principle" and "mode," with principle being the 
concern of faith and mode the concern of opinion. There is, writes 
Campbell, "in the New Institution ... no ritual, liturgy, nor manual . . . 
There is nothing of that sort in the Christian economy. No mode of 
observing the Lord's day is suggested in the apostolic writings. In this 
Christians are left to the discretion of full grown men. to the govern 
ment of principle. All things are to be done decently and in order; but 
the modes of decency and order in the celebration of these Christian in- 
stitutions are nowhere pointed out . . . There is a principle in everything 
instituted. And all the principles of obedience, all the principles of 
action . . . are reducible to one great principle, sometimes called the new 
commandment . . . love . . . The obedience of faith is also the obedience 
of love . . . Hence all the exhortations to religious and moral observances 
are drawn from the love of God to us."^ 

Life in the Christian church, then, is "the service of love,"'*, and the 
activity which mediates between the high principles of faith and par- 
ticular concrete situations is "the love of God, shed abroad in the heart 
by the Holy Spirit. "^^ The new commandment of Jesus to his followers, 
that they should love one another, is the most ultimate method of Chris- 
tian inter-relatedness, just as his prayer that they might be one, is the 
most ultimate goal for the structure of the church. If the concept "love" 
be interpreted most generally it includes the action whereby each "mem- 
ber" of the "body" of Christ takes into account in its decisions the re- 
ality of all the other members. The inner life of all members is taken into 
the inner life of each, and each one lives by participation in the life of the 
total body. Each one is responsible for the total reality and therefore 
each judgment will arise from a context in which particular demands are 
inter-fused with the demands of the entire church. The unity lies in the 
oneness of the "head" whose power sustains all parts. The diversity lies in 
the variety of particular concrete situations. The unity in diversity lies in 
the function of the total life of the church as part of the context in which 
each particular judgment is made. 


This statement of a view of the church from within the heritage of "the 
reformation of the nineteenth century" has many obvious relations to the 
outlooks characteristic of the ecumenical movement. I would like to 
discuss three propositions that seem to suggest themselves from the 
above material and one general judgment which is the major purpose of 
the paper. 

The first proposition is that the Disciple position anticipated much of 
present ecumenical thinking and finds in the ecumenical movement an 

expression of its own deepest concerns. 

The second proposition is that the ecumenical movement brings a 
sharp criticism upon certain aspects of Disciple thought. 

The third proposition is that the Disciple position provides a basis for 
healthy criticism of the ecumenical movement itself. 

The general judgment, finally, is that as a Disciple, I would endorse 
the statement of Archbishop Temple quoted at the start with the reser- 
vations to be discussed iin considering the third proposition. 

As to the first proposition, there is no originality being claimed for 
the Disciples in their anticipation of the ecumenical spirit. A study of the 
sources shows the derivative character of each of the elements of their 
witness. The emphasis, rather, is upon the essential coherence of the 
Disciple position outlined above with that of the present ecumenical 
movement and therefore the satisfaction which a Disciple can enjoy in 
seeing his particular concerns writ large upon the world-wide church. 
Most obviously, there is coherence as to the urgency of the need for the 
unitv' of the church. As Richardson observed, it was love of unity above 
all else that prompted the early Disciples to their task of reformation. 
Furthermore, it was the apprehension of an existing unity within the 
church which gave^them hope, and the realization of the need for formal, 
bodilv expression of this unity which gave them a calling. In a similar 
vein, Daniel Jenkins writes that the ecumenical vision reveals "a unity 
lying behind all the differences between the churches which it is the 
dut}' of those who see it to bring out and express in the midst of the 
contradictions and confusions of authority and liturgy and teaching and 
organization which arise both because of the sinfulness of men and 
because of the incalculable movement of the Spirit amidst the changes 
of history. "^^ 

This same author makes a point similar to Campbell's concern over the 
objective criterion which controls the movement toward unity when he 
writes, "What brings us together in ecumenical activity is not enthusiasm 
for organizational vmity but a fresh understanding, given in our encounter 
with each other, of what the New Testament means by the Church of 
Jesus Christ . . . "^^ Qr as Gustaf Aulen observes, " a unity based on sub- 
jective experiences and qualifications must break. It cannot but lead to 
repeated divisions. The true basis of unity is not a subjective but an 
objective one: Christ acting through the Word and the Sacraments''^^ 
Campbell's metaphor of Christians meeting at the center of a circle is 
called to mind by W. A. Visser't Hooft's words, "There can be no real 
representation of the Una Sancta until the churches have turned in a new 
way to the Word of God, until they have discovered their sickness, until 
they have found something of that clarity and certainty of preaching and 


witness which characterized the New Testament churches, until they are 
trulv 'becoming the Church' and meet each other on the level of that 

At a third level, this same coherence is to be seen in regard to the 
doctrine of "participation" by each "member" in the life of the whole 
"body," which was the generalization of the concept "love." The 
"ecumenical vision," writes Mr. Jenkins, ". . . enables members of a par- 
ticular church to see other churches as they are 'in Christ' and to see 
Christ manifest in the other Churches. "^^ It is this ". . . re-interpretation 
of each church's particular vocation in the setting of the whole" ^^ which, 
in part, constitutes the contemporary expression of the new command- 
ment that we Christians love one another. 

In these three ways, the goal of unity, the criterion of the Word of 
God. and the method of love, the Disciple position anticipates and is 
expressed in present day ecumenical thinking. 

Our second proposition stated, "That the ecumenical movement brings 
a sharp criticism upon certain aspects of Disciple thought." This criticism 
js made necessary because, at each of the three levels just mentioned, 
Disciples tend to "fall away" from the purity of their position into the evil 
appropriate to each level. Their plea for "union and inter-communion" 
has had a wav of fading out as the glow of a mechanical "restorationism" 
has become more and more brilliant. It is when this happens that Dis- 
ciples must stand judged by their brothers in the ecumenical movement 
and listen to such apt reminders as that of Mr. fenkins: "The New Testa- 
ment does not present us with a model church whose external character- 
istics we should strive to copv in every detail nor even with an ideal 
church to which we should aspire. It confronts us with the presence of 
the living Christ in the Spirit, who reconciles men to God and through 
that reconciliation gives them a new relationship of unity and peace 
with each other and guides them through their lives. "^"^ 

At the second level, Disciples are always in danger and often guilty 
of turning the Word of God into an encyclopedia of church rules. They 
are always tempted to label their "opinions" and their "modes" with the 
rubrics of "faith" and "principles." The dogmatic insistence upon im- 
mersion baptism is one example of this tendency. At times of such 
"apostasy" by Disciples from their own principles, the discipline of a 
lively ecumenical conversation would be most healthful for all con- 
cerned. Such proclamations about the nature of the "Word" of God as 
those of Karl Barth might do wonders. He writes ". . . The Church is a 
congregation, a subject which is confronted by and controlled by an- 
other primary subject: Jesus Christ as absolute Lord . . . The congrega- 
tion is preserved and is saved bv the ever-new acts of its Lord. The 

meaning of its life and its calling consists in being continually open to 
Him, ready to perceive these 'signs of His appearing.' "^^ 

At the final level. Disciples find it hard always "to see other churches 
as they are 'in Christ,' " to formulate their "particular vocation in the 
setting of the whole."^^ But the very existence of the ecumenical move- 
ment makes it impossible for Disciples to be as provincial and chau- 
vinistic as in former days. The reality and the richness of the other 
Christian traditions are too obvious to be just ignored. And through the 
interchanges made possible in the present conversations, it becomes 
much easier for Disciples to approach other churches in a "positive and 
expectant way."^^ 

The third proposition states "that the Disciple position provides a 
basis for healthv criticism of the ecumenical movement itself." The 
emphasis here is upon the word "healthy" and the word "criticism." It 
is healthv because the fundamental positions of the Disciples and the 
ecumenical movement are so coherent. Criticism from the Disciples (if 
it is responsible) would be criticism in terms of a common body of 
essentials and thus pertinent to the healthy growth of the new move- 
ment. In a sense it would be the ecumenical movement speaking to it- 

The particular criticisms could be numerous, but there are three which 
seem dominant. First, the Disciples can be on constant guard lest the 
movement for the wholeness of the body of Christ become merely a 
place where particular churches are consolidated and strengthened in 
their separateness. Alexander Campbell constantly warned that any 
union which was only a federation of sects would be dangerous to the 
church. Second, the Disciples, along with other "free churches' can 
oppose any attempt to gain unity by the imposition of the politv of some 
dominant church or group of churches upon all the rest. The contribu- 
tions of the free churches are important and must form part of the total 
context out of which the World Church might arise ( if there is to be 
'one). Finally, the Disciples are well fitted to oppose any attempt to gain 
unity on the basis of creedal conformitv-. The doctrine of faith and 
opinion, if sharpened up in the light of present thought, could serve to 
protect the freedom of the Christian man to interpret the scriptures in 
the light of his own understanding and persuasion. The existing formula 
"Christ as God and Saviour" should be questioned seriously by Disciples, 
both on sheer theological grounds of adequacy as a symbol and on the 
grounds of the danger of imposing a creed not found in scriptures as the 
article of faith and the ground of unity within the church. 

In the light of these three propositions, our final judgment concerning 
Archbishop Temple's statement, and therefore concerning the significance 


of the ecumenical movement from the Disciple standpoint becomes 
obvious. The ecumenical movement is the "great new fact of our era." 
It expresses the most urgent task laid upon the church in our day. Until 
its hopes are consummated, the primary calling of the church to reconcile 
all things to God in Christ will be performed lamely and inefficiently. 
"That they might be one" comes as our challenge, and in so far as the 
ecumenical movement is obedient to that vocation it is the great new 
fact of this and of many eras. If the movement wanders from this calling 
into one or another of the tempting side paths, it will negate itself and its 
greatness. Our hope and prayer is that we who are the human side of 
the ecumenical movement will not allow it to wander into futility but 
will keep it ever responsive to the Spirit of its Lord in "the service of 

1 Richardson, Robert, "Reformation," Millenial Harbinger, 1848, pp. 34, 35. 

2 Campbell, Alexander, Millenial Harbinger, 1832, p. 3. 

3 Ibid. p. 36. 

4 Campbell, Alexander, Millenial Harbinger, 1836, p. 28. 

5 Ibid. p. 29. 

6 Smith, B. L., ed., Millenial Harbinger Abridged, vol. II, Standard Publishing Co., Cincinnati, 
1902, p. 36. There, he writes that the "Divine summary of the faith'" is "that Christ died as a sin 
offering for our sins : that he was buried in the earth some seven and thirty hours : that he rose 
very early in the morning of the third day from his interment : that he, after giving many 
demonstrations of his personal identity, did visibly ascend to the heaven of heavens, and sat 
down at the right hand of his God and Father : and was on the first Pentecost following, 
publicly proclaimed in the city of Jerusalem, in the prestnce of thousands assembled from every 
nation under heaven, in honor of God's descent to Mount Sinai, in Arabia ; and so publicly pro- 
claimed that he, the lately crucified Jesus of Nazareth was then Divinely constituted Lord of 
the Universe — the King of kings, the Lord of lords — the ultimate Judge of the living and of 
the dead . . ." 

7 Ibid. p. 37. 

8 Campbell, Alexander, "Eissays on Man in his Primitive State etc," Christian Baptist, re- 
vised by D. S. Burnet, Bosworth, Chase & Hall, Cincinnati, 1870, p. 657. 

9 Loc. cit. 

10 Ibid. p. 658. 

11 Jenkins, Daniel, Congregatiunalism : A Restatement. Harper & Bros.. N. Y.. 1954, pp. 11, 

12 Ibid. p. 11. 

13 Man's Disorder and God's Design, Harper & Bros.. N. Y.. 1948. p. 29. 

14 Ibid. pp. 183 f. 

15 Jenkins, op. cit. p. 12. 

16 Ibid. p. 15. 

17 Ibid. p. 16. 

18 Man's Disorder and God's Design, p. 67. 

19 Jenkins, op. cit., pp. 11, 15 

20 Ibid. p. 17. 

The Meaning of Biblical 
Authority in the Mid Twentieth 


Clyde C. Smith, Chicago, Illinois 
The term "authority," being generally defined as that which has the 
right to command or to act, or as that which is appealed to in support 
of opinions or actions, does not alone provide us with the key to an 
adequate understanding of the use of the Bible. For if we consider that 
the Bible is "authority" in this sense, then we must admit that there is 
some special power in the particular written words which constitute the 


books of the Bible in a manner similar to the many magical documents 
of the ancient world. That is, we must consider the Bible only as an ex- 
ternal influence upon us, not that to which we may relate ourselves in 
dialogue. We act because we are commanded to do so bv some Biblical 
passage, or we make an assertion because we find in the Bible support 
for our claim. Or what is more likely, we accept the Bible because the 
tradition wliich claims our loyalty accepts the Bible in just this sense. 
Thus the Bible is our "authority" because it justifies our thoughts and 
actions, or the thoughs and actions of the group ( or church or denomina- 
tion ) to which we belong. 

However, if we view this kind of "authority" with discretion, we see 
that it is really not authority at all. It too has an authority, a higher power 
to which it appeals. The Bible then is not authority, but authority is 
vested in the group or person using it. As long as this claim is made, or 
as long as the group uses the Bible as authority in this external sense, the 
real authority rests not with the Bible but with the presuppositions of its 
users. The Bible is "authority" because its words are interpreted so that 
they support the interpreters. 

If this kind of process is at work, how may we claim the Bible as 
authority? In what sense is it ever possible for the Bible to be more than 
that which we or our group reads into it? 

Before attempting to answer these questions, let us consider the im- 
plications involved in claiming the Bible as this kind of external "author- 
ity." First of all, this view looks at the Bible only as groups of written 
words which have been somehow given an infallible character. The words 
and their particular order are claimed to be "inspired"— to be sure, by 
some kind of "divine being" (the nature of which is a related problem). 
Secondly, the arrangements of words are given a unity from sentence to 
sentence, page to page, and book to book by virtue of the presuppositions 
of the reader. Every passage can be made to support every other passage, 
taken in any order. A single passage can stand as representative of aii 
.the rest: it can be used as "authority." Finally, the words once set down 
have one and only one meaning. This meaning remains the same for ali 
ages; there is no possibility of varying interpretations (at least theoretic- 
allv). It is interesting to note that the interpretation is essentially the 
same as the position of the interpreter. 

It is apparent from just such a casual glance at these implications that 
the real authority of the Bible rests, as we have said, not in the Bible 
itself, but in those "reading" it. And yet, if there is to be any claim of 
Biblical authority, there must be some reference to inspiration, unity, 
and revelation. We must therefore turn to a general consideration of the 


The Bible is, and has been, the Book of Faith of all those claiming to 
lie within the Judaeo-Christian heritage. And in so far as Western culture 
finds this heritage as one of its roots, this faith in some sense pervades 
all of that culture. Before the Christian era, the Bible— then only the Old 
Testament— constituted the documentary testimony of the Hebrew peo- 
ple to their faith. With the advent of Jesus of Nazareth, who knew well 
the Scriptures, a new impetus was given for the re-examination of this 
faith. Upon his death and resvirrection was born a new community which 
produced in response to faith further documentary testimony to this 
same faith. Thus, Bible and Church are correlatives, for in each we find 
witness to the same faith. 

But in thus introducing "Church" it is necessary to assert that the 
Bible is not only the Book of Faith, but it is also the Book of History 
as well. And in so far as it is a history, it is a particular kind of history. 
On one level it presents the history of the whole world from the per- 
spective of faith, but primarily it is the history of particular people dur- 
ing particular periods of time in particular situations and places. In so 
far as it is this kind of history, it was written for a particular reason. The 
Bible tells the story of men only in so far as they are in relationship to 
God. The most important figure in the Bible is not Moses, nor David, 
nor one of the prophets, nor Paul, nor John, nor one of the disciples, nor 
even Jesus himself; but rather it is He who pervades the whole of the 
Bible, namely, the Living God. The Bible is the history of one Church— in 
two communities— dedicated to one God. The Bible is the history of the 
"acts of God." 

This particularity of history does not denv nor negate the general 
historical character of the Bible. Inadvertently, the Biblical writers re- 
lated these "acts of God" in historical contexts. Thus we find a cultural 
record spanning over a millenium of historical activity. And this history 
includes nearly all the possible concrete events that could befall both 
men and nations. Yet the historicity of these events is always subervient 
to the theme which runs through the whole of the Bible— that the God 
of Israel acts in history in just such events. The Word of God is constant- 
ly manifested and tabernacled with men. To the Biblical writers history 
belonged to God— to the God who enters into human history. Thus the 
message of the Bible is in the form of a history, for historical events be- 
come the source and loci of all faith and hope. The clue to our under- 
standing of authority must therefore be sought in terms of this kind of 
understanding of God, for from the Biblical perspective it is only God 
who "has the right to command or to act." 

Having thus seen the historical character of the Bible, we must 
examine the relationship of historv and inspiration that we might move 


toward our goal of determining how the Bible can be "authority" for 
today. The books which constitute the Bible were written by men, yet 
men who asserted "Thus says the Lord." But if we claim "inspiration" in 
any mechanical sense for the written words, then these authors were 
mere automatons— "typewriters," as it were, responding to some "super- 
natural" touch. From an external view, perhaps this would appear to be 
the case. But looking at the words themselves, we see that they are con- 
cerned with a God who works through the channels of natural and his- 
torical processes. And what about the men of whom these words record 
lives and utterances? Are they mere "loudspeakers" for a "superhuman" 
voice? When we look at the courageous prophets, at the zealous apostles, 
and even at the Teacher himself, we see real men speaking from the 
depths of their personal experiences. These men were inspired— inspired 
to speak out of their historical background to the historical situation that 
confronted them— but inspiration applies therefore to men and not to 
written words, men living "in the world" who are not "of the world." The 
Bible is a history of this inspiration written by men similarly inspired. 

If then we claim that the Bible is the product of men— to be sure, in- 
spired men, yet ordinary mortals such as we are— how can we assert that 
there is a unity underlying their historically time-conditioned documents? 
More specifically how can we say there is a unity of the Old Testament 
and the New Testament? And how is this related to us? 

It has been our assertion earlier in this paper that the Bible is unified 
by the faith which provides its structure— the faith affirmed in both 
Testaments that the same God offers the same salvation to all men by 
the action of His Elect through the medium of human history of which 
He is Lord. On the one hand, then, the Bible records the story of God's 
relation to particular people at particular times and places in history. 
On the other hand, the Bible is the presentation in faith to us here and 
now of His History, of the reconciling impact which He makes upon 
human history, such that we having been encountered by Him might be- 
•come a part of it. 

Having made that claim, we can now indicate what is meant by "the 
authority of the Bible for the mid-twentieth century." The Bible is 
authoritative onh/ in so far as we affirm that we too stand under the 
grace and judgment which constitutes His historical activity. Faith pro- 
vides the structure which gives unity to the Bible. But faith is the work 
of His Holy Spirit, just as the Bible is the product of men thus inspired; 
The Holv Spirit is the power of God conceived in relation to explicit 
human needs. This activity tends to be known and experienced in terms 
defined and restricted by the purview imposed by these practical pur- 
poses. But it also tends to be distorted or fragmented by the way the 


liuman situation attempts to bend God to the purposes and perspectives 
of men. 

Therefore, there is no intellectual structure which communicates once 
and for all the meaning of the faith which has been, and is being, his- 
torically revealed. The Bible is our authority in so far as we affirm that 
to which the Bible gives affirmation, and live in the faith subject to the 
judgment of the Biblical faith. For there to be an authority of the Bible 
our faith must be the Biblical faith, operating across history in a dialecti- 
cal relation. The authority for the faith, finally then, is the faith itself. 
"Behold, he whose soul is not upright in him shall fail, 
But the righteous shall live by his faith." (Hab. 2:4) 
"For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not 
your own doing, it is the gift of God— not because of works, lest any 
man should boast." (Eph. 2:8, 9) 

Faith From the Outside 
and Inside 

/. Robert Mofett, Alliance, Ohio 

When I attended the University of Chicago I lived across the street 
from Stagg Field, which we looked upon as a monument to the former 
athletic power of the university. The field was seldom used and the 
bleachers never used. It seemed a waste to us to have an entire block 
of the metropolis taken up by an unused structure. 

For one year a room in the Disciples' House was occupied by a young 
Jewish physicist from New Jersey who was at the university working 
on some project. He was good company and an excellent ping-pong 
player. We raised our eyebrows only momentarily when he left to go to 
Tennessee and we vaguely wondered why he would go to some unheard 
of town in that state. 

We later discovered we had no idea about the significance of Stagg 
Field or the purpose of the young physicist. I was asleep one night a 
few hundred feet from the first atomic chain reaction which was set 
off beneath the bleachers of Stagg Feld. I never knew it for several years. 
The empty room next to mine that night belonged to one of the men who 
set it off. We never knew then what was going on inside the field or 
the man. 

The only time I ever heard Toyohiko Kagawa was when I was in High 
School and he visited my home town. He was a little man behind the 
great pulpit, slender, emaciated, sickly looking with high pitched voice, 
speaking barely intelligible English. When I left all I knew was that I 


had heard Kagawa speak. I knew his spiritual power from previous 
knowledge of him, but he did little to substantiate that opinion. The 
power of Kagawa was still in what he had done for Christianity in Japan. 

Murial Lester quotes Mahatma Gandhi saying before a great throng, 
"Physically, I am a weakling. A ten-year-old boy could walk up and 
push me over with his hand. But when God is my strength, you cannot 
harm me!" 

It is impossible to know the inside by observing the outside— whether a 
city or a building or a man. But it has been one of the temptations of all 
organized religion to convince men— sooner or later— that if they put on 
the "garments of faith" they can protect themselves, externally, from 
the evil of the world. 


In the times of Jesus the "Garments of Faith" were worn with the im- 
possible correctness of a full dress uniform which makes all who wear 
it alike and makes them above reproach. But the "garment" does not 
effect the character of the person. The sacrifices, the feasting and fasting, 
the formal prayers all made the individual vicariously pure, regardless of 
his personal life. They nullified all evil acts and purposes, regardless of 
how base their personal lives might be. 

The temple priests, the sadducees and pharisees were not the only ad- 
vocates of such disciplines. Many of the common people protected the 
disciplines for it preserved a religion which purified godlessness rather 
than condemning godlessness! The difference between Jesus' teachings 
and the religion of the Jews might be said to be that Judaism was con- 
cerned with external faith— the "garments'— while Jesus was concerned 
with getting faith inside the man. 

Jesus had no criticism with the belief in Yahweh who, through Moses, 
established his law and through David established his Kingdom. Jesus 
had no quarrel with prayer through which God's companionship was 
sought. Jesus was devout in his worship in the temple and in the 
synagogues. But Jesus openly opposed any of these being used as "gar- 
ments of faith" which could be set aside with absolute freedom. 

Jesus watched a pharisee kick a crippled beggar from his place on a 
corner and then properly fold his hands and raise his voice for the incan- 
tation of the accepted prayer. Jesus watched the temple police "pro- 
tecting the faith" by killing a man who criticized the greed of the priests. 
The "garments" left a man unchanged within. 


One hundred years after Jesus lived the author of II Peter calls his 
readers to "set your minds on endorsing by your conduct the fact that 
God has called and chosen you." He also says that God's greatest and 
most precious promises are available to us through Jesus, making it pos- 


sible for us to escape the inevitable disintegration th^-«f Pro- 
duces We must di our best to see that our farth carries with it a rea 
goodness of hfe. Complacent and unproductive lives cannot be reconc Jd 
with the knowledge of the Lord, for knowledge results from and t 
produces self-control. And self-control must be ---P-^^^^^y eodu^^^ 
ance which produces, in turn, trust in God, brotherlmess and Christian 

^Tremember a magazine advertisement many years ago which showed 
two identical football players crouching on the line ready to move 
when the signals were called. The caption beneath the picture was 
"Which oneTs the dud?" You cannot tell by the wrappmgs of a candy 
bar what the candy tastes like any more than you can tell a Christian 

^^Bdlnrjesm Christ means accepting the kind of life he lived. This 
can be accompHshed by disciplining our life so that it revolves aroma 
the purposes of God. Our outside life cannot escape ultimate reflection 
of what our inner life contains. 

The most tragic problem of life is not povert>' or danger or death or 
solitude, but the paralysis which results from ^^f ^/'^^.^^^ . f ^ ;;;^ ° 
these One author points out that probably the fall of Jericho did not 
result from any mighty act of God, but that after the children of Israel 
had marched seven times around the city for seven days, finally blowmg 
the ram's horn, Jericho was destroyed by panic within. 

Tesus was actually doing no harm to Jewish faith, but the fear of his 
spiritual power drove weaker men to kill him. Any problem we have to- 
day-no matter whom we may blame-is finally within us. The only 

answer is deep faith! , . ,- ^ i 

Now there is nothing more disgusting than the land of perpetua 
sunshine which misguided amateur psychologists recommend and call 
rehgion They say in effect fears are not real if you refuse to recognize 
them as such. Fear is real, and evil is real, as are hate and love and re- 
demption. Jesus knew they were real. But he also knew that the power 
of God was so much more real than these that if He could mstill that 
power in man, man and the world would be transformed. 

Faith is not strong until it does battle with evil! A seed never produces 
a plant until it is first buried in the earth. Hydraulic power is nothmg 
but air which has been confined in a space too small and fights against 
its confinement. Faith is belief in Jesus Christ which is challenged by 
meaninglessness and hopelessness and despair, and which emerges from 
the Christian to destroy all the denials of God it can reach. 

Faith is Rev. Harry Wilson sacrificing his ministry in a Virginia 
church to oppose the legal destruction of public education in his state, 


attempting to avoid desegregation. Faith is Kagawa in his ihness, reject- 
ing the security of parental home to work with the men and women in the 
slums of Tokyo. Faith is Murial Lester or Henry Hitt Crane raising 
their voices against the war-madness of nations to plead for men to 
commit themselves to peace. 

Faith is the power within which makes the outside garment unneces- 
sary. Faith is God shining through the life of a man into the heart of 
his brother! 

A College Address To 
Prospective Ministers 

Delivered in Stone Chapel, Drury College, 

Springfield, Missouri, Winter, 1956, by 

R. A. TJwnms, St. Joseph, Missouri 

All of vou here this morning have more or less definite ideas about 
the Church, the Ministry and religion in general. They are ideas you 
have picked up in your homes, in the churches you have known and 
from ministers with whom you have been acquainted. And these ideas 
vvill vary greatly depending mostly upon those experiences. 

Some of you will think of the Church as an institution that stands for 
puritanical morality and ideas that are not tenable in this kind of world 
because that's the only kind of church vou ever knew. Others of you will 
think of the ministry as a profession in which men shamelessly put their 
egos on display, and make pronouncements about matters which they 
really know nothing about. 

But some of you will have had an experience of religion and the 
church and its ministry that will indicate something of the richness of 
its life and the wonderful services it can render. Perhaps you met a 
pastor-counselor at a time in your life when you needed to talk to a 
sympathetic and understanding person and you found help and strength 
• in his friendliness and concern, and in his willingness to deal realistically 
with your problems and the difficult decision vou faced without condem- 
nation or preachments. 

Or it may be you have listened as some great preacher of the un- 
searchable riches of God proclaimed a new idea or put an old one in 
such terms that you were lifted cut of the pressures and needs of the 
moment to consider your life and all life in its deepest aspects. That 
happened in more than one Chapel service when I was a student in 
Drury College. And if you have ever had such an experience your life 
can never be quite the same. 

Have you ever considered whv it is that anvone becomes a minister? 


I suppose there are men who choose this work for ignoble reasons, and 
those of you who have had some courses in psychology will know that 
we very often give wrong reasons for what we do— failing to understand 
the kinds of pressures and drives that seek and demand some outlet. 
That happens in every area of life and it is bound to happen to some 
extent, at least, with regard to our choice of vocation. 

Those of us in the ministry would be the first to admit that some of 
us are hypocritical and some of us are ignorant and there is a good 
deal of ego-satisfaction being sought in church leadership. But we would 
deny, and history and present experience would support us in the denial, 
that such is the case with the far greater number of those who are 
engaged in professional religious work of one kind or another. Educa- 
tional standards are going up, and mis-fits are being more carefully 
weeded out, and the basic motivations for those who enter religious 
work are being given ever more serious consideration. 

The fact of the matter is that the preaching in American pulpits is 
better than it has ever been: it is more down-to-earth; it is more con- 
cerned with the real problems men face; it is less interested in another 
world than it is in this world. The so-called battle between science 
and religion is over— at least at the higher levels, and the Church 
is more willing to receive truth from whatever source than formerly. The 
newer science of psychology has added a new dimension to the pastoral 
ministry and made it possible for those in positions of leadership to 
understand better those they lead, as well as to understand themselves 

People all over the world are more interested in the questions and 
problems religion has always posed than perhaps ever before. In the 
Far East there is an amazing revival of Buddhism and Hinduism. In the 
United States people are flocking to the churches in un-precedented 
numbers. Personally, I don't think this means that people are any 
more religious than they ever were, but I do think it means they are 
searching for values that will give life meaning and purpose; faith that 
will give it stability. 

Basically, a man enters the service of the Church because he has 
come to some decision about the ultimate values of life. He has decided 
that people are more important than things— that human personality 
is precious-that the children of the earth are the children of God. He 
comes to believe that the nurtvire and care of persons, so that they are 
helped into the "good life" where they find dignity and purpose and 
love, is the supreme end of life. 

And in the second place, he enters the service of the Church because 
he believes this institution, beyond any other, offers the means to that 

It is not my purpose this morning to argue whether or not the Church 
can do that. Anyone who knows anything about history knows that its 
career is checkered. My own position is that of a free-church protestant, 
and I am not interested in authoritarian churches, but rather in the de- 
velopment of free congregations of free spirit, where the seeking of truth, 
and the sharing of experience is intimate and uncontrolled by overhead 

I am interested in pursuing a httle farther this problem of value, since 
it is so central to the crisis of om- time. We are part of a culture that has 
put the mark of value on material things, and we have sought the de- 
veloment of the material life to such an extent that we have become 
the most productive people on the face of the earth. We have so well 
learned to use the materials of the universe and the forces that control 
it that we now know, or are on the verge of discovering, how to destroy 
our planet— or if not that, at least the most of the life on it. 

The real question of our time is not whether we can produce enough 
goods and things so that men everywhere can enjoy the fruits of in- 
ventive genius; the real question is whether men are good enough, 
or can become good enough, to do what we have the ability to do. Our 
severest problems are in the field of human relations, and that means 
they are in the realm of value. 

An interesting thing has been going on here at Drury College for a 
rather long time, now. The department of religion is "a department of 
religion and philosophy." That has partly been a matter of convenience 
and economy, and no doubt the president and the dean would rather 
have two departments as is the case in most universities. But last week 
I heard the chairman of the department of religion and philosophy 
at the University of Houston say what I have long believed, that they 
belong together and that they ought not be separated. Why? Because 
philosophy has never been able to come up with a satisfactory solution 
of the problem of value, though "'axiology" is a part of its discipline. 

It is religion that has an answer to this question, and it will always 
be religion, because fundamentally the source of value is God. Great 
religion says that God is the Creator of the universe, the author of life, 
and that men find their supreme satisfaction and achieve their ultimate 
end as they seek to serve Him. The Christian religion says that serv- 
ing the needs of men is serving Him. 

And so the ministers of Christ have gone to the ends of the earth, 
seeking out the lowliest and most needy of the children of God to tell 
them of their worth and to help them find their places. Some of these 
ministers have been great minds and spirits like Albert Schweitzer, who 
bad established a reputation in theology, music, and medicine, only to 
turn to the most primitive place he knew in the world to do what he 


could to help. But most of them have been little-known and little-sung. 
They have labored in the far places of the earth, and in village and ham- 
let across this land, sometimes misunderstood, often criticized, more 
often tolerated. 

In the early years of the nation's history they carried culture and 
learning as the frontier moved westward, establishing colleges one after 
another. Most of those institutions failed to live very long, but all of 
them served some purpose and some of them are still flourishing, like this 

The debt the nation owes to those pioneer religious leaders can 
scarcely be over-stated, and all of us are the inheritors of their zeal 
and learning, their love of freedom, their sense of mission. 

Drury has played its part in educating men and women to take their 
places in a variety of vocations, and not the least in the field of religious 
service. It has helped to produce doctors and lawyers, teachers and 
engineers; it has tried to create an atmosphere of integrity and freedom 
in which young people could choose their place of service— for service 
has been its motto and watchword. It has sent its sons and daughters 
across the world to find their places of work, and they labor far and 
near in the service of "Christ and humanity." 

It has had a high view of the ministry and has sought to provide the 
sort of well-rounded general education that will give its ministerial 
students the only kind of background suitable for todav's ministry. It 
has never been sectarian in spirit, but has emphasized those principles 
of Biblical scholarship and religious understanding that are the common 
ground of the Christian faith. It has urged its students preparing for 
religious work to live normally and to seek understanding of their 
fellows. It has sent them to seminaries and divinitv schools all over the 
land as well prepared to continue their studies successfully as those 
from any undergraduate school in the countrv, and better prepared 
than most. 

The ministry is a "high calling" as Perry Greshan has written in a 
recent book, and no man can enter it wholeheartedly nor sta^' in it suc- 
cessfully without a deep personal commitment to God and a rare under- 
standing of the needs of men. Its demands are heavy; its work never- 
ending; its opportunities for service unlimited. The church needs better 
minds and freer spirits and more dedicated leadership than it has ever 
had if it is to meet the marvelous possibilities now laid at its door. 

Drury College, through its professors and its student body, ought to, 
and can, produce some of that leadership. It is in a rare and wonderful 
position to pursue the search for truth; to cxiltivate the disciplines of 
scholarship; and to create the atmosphere in which the "good life" is 


A Pastoral Letter To The 

Blacksburg Christian Church, 

Blacksburg, Virginia 

January 5, 1956 

Dear Christian Friends: 

As a Christian minister, and particularly as your minister, I feel that 
I must write this letter, yet I hardly know how since there is so much 
I would like to say. One reason that I have waited so long is that I have 
wanted to get as much information as possible, but the information just 
doesn't seem to be forthcoming. 

This Monday's decision on the part of the people of Virginia is of 
such importance either way that I feel I must speak out on this issue. 
I cannot, nor will I, tell you how to vote; however, I do ask you to con- 
sider your vote very carefully and prai/erfuUi/ and, above all, be sure it 
is in line with your Christian convictions and not just your prejudices. 

Let me state my^wn personal convictions as your minister. You will 
remember, perhaps, that when this Gray Commission was first set up by 
Governor Stanley, I stated from the pulpit that I was ashamed of my 
state— ashamed because the commission was not instructed to study the 
problem but specifically directed to see how our state could legally 
circumvent the unanimous decision of the highest court in our land, 
established to give just hearing to all cases dealing with the constitutional 
rights of the people and to render decisions to protect these rights. 

This was done in our case, and it was argued by none other than 
Attorney-General J. Lindsay Almond. We lost, even after the members 
of the court took a second session of hearings before making their 
decision. And remember, this decision was imaninious—even in the face 
of a previous decision years ago to the contrary. Now it seems to me 
that we are acting like a spoiled child who says, "All right, if I can't have 
my way, I'm going to take my toys and go home." 

I am not blind to the great problems this court decision has raised in 
our state and others (neither was the court, and it made allowances for 
them); but these facts are evident: one— that other states and areas with 
similar problems are working to comply with this ruhng, {and more 
sticcessftdly than our pro -segregationist newspapers would have lis 
believe); no effort has been made to see how Virginia can comply with 
the ruling (Governor Stanley's original plan to have a biracial commis- 
sion to study it was abolished I am told); and three— tfe are now asked 

io amend our state constitution so that ive can use public tax moneij to 
pay for private school education for parents who do not want their 
children going to school loith Negroes; and this by means of a rush 
method without any adequate answers as to how we can finance it or 
even exacthj what the plans are! 

Not one of us can foresee all the problems that such a decision will 
raise. Now are vou willing to risk these consequences simplv on the 
grounds that Negroes have won their legal right not to be barred from a 
school because of race alone IF they desire to attend it? 

I may be mistaken in my interpretation, but I have not seen where the 
Supreme Court has said that all schools must be integrated! But it has 
said that no school must be segregated! There is a difference here. The 
decision is that no child can be barred from a school because of race. 
This certainly does not mean that Negroes are going to demand entrance 
to everv school in our state. 

The State Referendum "Information" Center is making great use of 
President Darden's stand; but remember that even he has said that 
"eventual integration in Virginia's schools cannot be prevented." 

What else is there to do? First and foremost— we can make a positive 
approach to the solution of this problem instead of the negative one such 
as this; second— if we can go through all this procedure to make such 
sweeping changes as are proposed, why can we not let individual coun- 
ties handle the problem? Or third— surely there must be some way to 
integrate gradually which will be acceptable to the Negroes— or have 
they been asked? The Gray Commission does allow any community that 
wishes to integrate to do so, but must the state constitution be amended, 
with all its attendant possibilities of abuse, to allow for the decision of 
a minority of families who will absolutely refuse to have their children 
educated rather than to send them to school in which Negroes are in 
attendance? And must you and I {and the Negroes) pay for their educa- 
tion in private schools for this reason? 

My personal convictions are that this decision by the Gray Commission 
is not in accord with Christian principles; that the intent is to continue a 
pattern of segregation which is crumbling everywhere; that we shall do 
irreparable damage to our democratic principles in the eyes of our 
neighbors overseas; that this "legal" method of circumventing the deci- 
sion of the Supreme Court is not to be commended; and that it will not 
be financially feasible. 

Here is a case which really tests our Christian teaching. Please vote in 
accordance with your most conscientious considerations. 

Your minister, 
Robert T. Wilkenson 


The Willctt Library in 1955-56 

R. E. Starkei/, Chicago, Illinois 

1955-56 saw expansion in the Herbert L. Willett Library. Through new 
purchases and gifts a number of new books have been added to the 
hbrary this past year. This is a brief report of these additions. 

This year the Library was fortunate to receive a major contribution 
through the gift of his Hbrary from Charles Clayton Morrison. Com- 
prising about 1,270 volumes, a large number of subjects are covered. 
Major items are books on the peace movement, following World War I, 
works dealing with Christian unity as well as theology, hymnology, 
church history and allied subjects. This collection has been of immence 
value in building up not only the basic materials, but in providing many 
items of additional interest. 

This spring a fund was started and books purchased by way of a 
memorial to the late Charlie Brown, "54," who was killed in an auto- 
mobile accident. Funds from this memorial have been used to purchase 
works in the field <rof sociology of religion and social ethics, a major 
interest of Charlie's. 

With the increase in the number of volumes it was necessary to in- 
crease and develop stack space in what was formerly the "ping-pong" 
room. Permanent shelving has been installed giving us needed space for 
expansion. A new card catalogue was purchased and the creating of a 
shelf list was begun. 

Other projects in relation to the library include the granting of ac- 
cession numbers to all books, revamping of the numerical index, re- 
placing of all manuscript file cards and the creation of a audio-visual 
section to care for film-strips, photo-cards and micro-films. 

It is the policy of the Library to attempt to collect and maintain basic 
texts and resource materials for the core courses as well as to keep a 
significant collection of Disciple related materials and work on Chris- 
tian unity. 

While much has been begun in this past year there remains a sizable 
amount of basic materials which are needed. We hope to continually 
increase the adequacy of the collection to meet the needs of the students 
of the House. 


The Charlie J. Brown 
Memorial Collection 

C. C. SmitJu Chicago, Illinois 
Charlie J. Brown, iVIarch 13, 1929-January 12, 1956 

The loss which the sudden and tragic death of a young but beloved 
"Comrade of the House" wreaks in our midst is by no means overcome 
by a mere memorial. As Howard Kester stated at the interment in Black 
Mountain, North Carolina, Jan. 15, 1956: "These things come hard to 
us mortal men, and we can neither understand nor comprehend them." 
Nevertheless, it is true that in response to such events we do seek means, 
however inadequate, to express our understanding not only of the Ulti- 
mate Meaning of life, but particularly of the meaning and dedication of 
that human life which is Charlie ]. Brown. 

As Kester has more elequently said for us, we do ". . . know how 
magnificently Charlie Brown filled full . . . the brief years of his sojourn 
amonst us. Filled them full with . . . 

... a consuming desire to know the truth, no matter what that know- 
ledge cost, in the firm faith that truth and truth alone sets men free. 

... a burning zeal to enable men to erase the barriers of race and clan 
and creed with which our world is cursed and broken. 

... a deep concern to make this church at Bee Tree, and everv church 
on every hill and in every valley, a church of the living God." 

It is in response to such an understanding of Charlie Brown that there 
has come to the library a spontaneous gift of volumes which may in some 
measure serve as a perennial reminder to the students who shall yet pass 
through these portals of that kind of spirit which inbued Charlie and 
which the Disciples House seeks to enrich. 

Charlie was well aware of the judgment of God which stands over 
against every man and every social institution including the Church. The 
God which he sought to serve, throughout his life and even in his death, 
cannot be identified with any personal or social structure. It was his con- 
cern to more fully be aware of the nature of those structures that pro- 
vided the impetus for his study and led him to seek personal experiences 
at Bee Tree Church in the mountains of western North Carolina. And the 
fruit of his study and experience was the prophetic proclamation of the 
judgment of the God whom he sought to serve. It is with reference to this 
aspect of his ministry that one portion of the collection has been made, 
the following volumes being included: 

E. W. Burgess & H. J. Locke, The Famihj 

M. Weber. Essays in Sociologif 

W. James, The Varieties of Religious Experience 

R. & H. Lynd, Middletown 

E. Durkheim, The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life 

H. Odium, The Way of the South 

C. H. Cooley, Social Organization 

G. van der Lieuw, Religion in Essence and Meaning 

C. J. Neusse & T. J. Harte, The Sociology of the Parish 

W. C. Hallenbeck, American Urban Communites 

Loomis & Begle, Rural Social Systems 

E. de S. Brunner & W. C. Hallenbeck, American Society: Urban and 
Rural Patterns 

M. H. Leiffer, The Effective City Church 

J. N. Fichter, Social Relations in the Urban Parish 

G. Allport, The Nature of Prejudice 

K. Davis, Modern American Society 

J. Wach, Types of Religious Experience 

T. Parsons, Essays in Sociological Theory 

But to be true to Charlie's integrity we must also say that at times he 
allowed his understanding of the judgment of God to overshadow that 
grace of God by which the Church throughout all ages has lived. In an 
attempt therefore to more adequately convey the full dimensions of the 
Church there has been included in the collection that series of volumes 
which presents the sources for our understanding of the development of 
the Church in its formative vears. These volumes are also dedicated to 
the spirit of inquiry which told Charlie Brown that all things were not 
yet complete even in his own life. 

Ante-Nicene Fathers, 10 volumes, American reprint edition 

That Charlie possessed these dimensions makes even more cutting the 
wound which we have suffered bv his loss. For his life, like our lives, rests 
finally in the hands of God, whose fullness we now see only in part, but 
he sees face to face. 

In This Summer's 
Reading Satchel 

As a follow-up to my little article on summer reading, I hereby in- 
dicate some titles that are already in the 1956 summer list, for which my 
appetite is whetted, and which add to the lure of forthcoming vacation 

Top of the list, by all odds is Volume I, "The Birth of Britain" in 
Winston Churchill's History of the English Speaking Peoples. I am read- 
ing this work, not because it is a wonderful review of our history— which 


it is— but because it provides superb insights into the mind of one of the 
greatest history-making figures of my own lifetime. Winston Churchill 
has had a decisive influence upon us all. Much of his "History" was 
ViTitten prior to 1939. What is just now published was the background 
against which Churchill was working when he became England's prime 
minister. Few of the great figures of historv have revealed to the men 
of their own age as much of themselves as Churchill has done through his 
writings. He has displayed an amazing social responsibility. Whether 
you agree with him or not, you have to admit that he has not failed to 
provide his times with real resources for the understanding of his own 
mind and attitudes. I am reading Churchill because it will greatly in- 
crease my own understanding of the immediate past— and I have peeked 
just enough to discover that the book is much more exciting than all the 
introductions to it have been, including the extensive quotations which 
appeared in Life magazine. 

A look back needs to be balanced by a look forward. Hence, The Chal- 
lenge of Mans Future by Harrison Brown (Compass Books, $1.25) goes 
into the list. Dr. Brown did his studv for this book while he was as- 
sociated with the Institute for Nuclear Studies at the University of Chi- 
cago. While nuclear physics is Dr. Brown's special area, he is a scientist 
of tremendous scope of knowledge with unusual powers of analysis and 
generalization. He believes that we in the United States are in a position 
of tremendous responsibilitv regarding the destiny of all mankind. His 
book reviews the potentials of our globe for food, energy, and material. 
These potentials are discussed against the background of population. 
Here is an honest attempt to get a grand strategy for mankind. I know 
it deserves to be read. 

Half my life has been lived in Chicago, and all of these years have 
centered on 57th St. At the east end of the street, half a mile from 
Disciples House, there still stands a row of stores built in connection 
with the 1893 World's Fair. In the period from 1910 to 1920 these stores 
housed a "literary colony." It was made up of young men who did not, 
at the time, realize thev were to become the most forceful literary in- 
fluence of the twentieth century. They were young men out of the mid- 
West who came into its great, burgeoning metropolis. Here their mes- 
sage was hammered out— and from here they went forth into all the world 
with a style and a view of life which blossomed in the 1920's and became 
the chief literary expression of America. Masters, Anderson, Sandburg, 
Hemingway— these with forerunners and followers, are the chief char- 
acters in The Chicago Renaissance in American Letters by Bernard 
Duffey (The Michigan State University Press, 1956— paper cover). 

W. B. Blakemore 


The Journal of the Campbell Institute 

Daniel L. Eckert 

J. J. Van Boskirk 

^ George E. Owen 

Thomas L. Hanna 

Clyde C. Smith 

F. E. Davison 


Irvin E. Lunger 


Autumn, 1956 

No. 2 

Our Contributors 

The authors of two of this issue's articles deserve a special note. Daniel 
L. Eckert is a retired minister of the American Baptist Convention, who, 
as he told us, ". . . served one term as a foreign missionary, as a boy 
was a 'visitor' at the First World's Missionary Conference in Edinburgh, 
1910, was a reporter for the local secular press at Svanston, had three 
years of post-graduate work in comparative religions at the Divinity 
School of the University of Chicago, and, some ten or fifteen years ago, 
began to re-examine his faith and the manner in which that faith finds 
expression currently, in the light of the Gospel". We are happy to wel- 
come him to the Scroll, believing that our readers will find his essay 
quite thought provoking as they prepare for this year's Des Moines 

Thomas L. Hanna is a Disciple student working in the field of Christ- 
ian theology under the Federated Theological Faculty. During the cur- 
rent academic year, 1956-1957, he is on fellowship at the University of 
Mainz, Germany, writing his doctoral dissertation. The article here 
printed constitutes the statement written for the oral part of his field 
examination. We present it as an interesting illusti-ation of the existential- 
ist position in contemporary theology. 

The other authors are already known to our readers. J. J. Van Boskirk 
is the Executive Secretary of the Chicago Disciples Union. George Earle 
Owen is now in charge of missionary recruitment and education for the 
United Christian Missionary Society, following significant terms of mis- 
sionary service in Argentina and the Philippines. Clyde C. Smith, a 
graduate student working in the field of Old Testament under the 
Federated Theological Faculty, is the recently appointed Executive 
Assistant to the Dean of the Disciples Divinity House. F. E. Davison 
needs no further introduction to our readers, who will surely enjoy this 
brief selection from his well-known pen. Irvin E. Lunger, now Academic 
Dean at Transylvania College, presents us with a comprehensive review 
of a most significant book to bring to a well-rounded close this issue of 
The Scroll. 

We should not have failed to give credit in the last issue of The Scroll 
for the article about Dr. W. E. Garrison by Miss Marie Moore to the 
Houston Post in which the article originally appeared and by whose 
permission it was republished. 

The International Convention 

Daniel L. Eckert, Danville, Illinois 

An Open Letter to W. B. Blakemore: 

Over a year ago I addressed you a letter relative to something I had 
read from your pen about the lack of a "theology" for the International 
Convention of Disciples of Christ. I am still thinking about it, and 
would be pleased to have my own thinking subjected to the criticism of 
a wider circle among the Disciples. 

I came away from Evanston with what I have since regarded as the 
"Evanston experience". I do not believe I was alone in this experience; 
many shared it. I was writing about this to a correspondent of mine in 
England, and in reply he agreed that there was "ecclesiastical reality" 
at Evanston. He did not, however, attempt to define that "ecclesiastical 

My own interpretation was this: It was a shared experience of God 
in Christ present in the Spirit. My mind ran back through the centuries 
to that judgment, "Where Christ is, there is the Church". Thinking about 
it, I reached the conclusion that the Church was at Evanston, regardless 
of the fact that the WCC had definitely gone on record that it was not 
"a" nor "the" Church, but a Council of churches. This led me to dis- 
tinguish between the Church as constituted by God in Christ through 
the Spirit, and the church as instituted by men and women of faith, 
beginning at Jerusalem at Pentecost. That is to say the Church is diphy- 
site. Divine and human; as constituted by the Spirit it is Church; as 
instituted by mankind it is church. The institution of the church in 
history begins immediately after the constitution of the Church, as indi- 
cated in Acts 2:42,, where it is said, "They devoted themselves to the 
apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the 
prayers." Acts 6:1 advances the institutionalization of the church with 
"the appointment of the seven deacons. All that we know in history as 
the church is the expansion of this institutionalization in variety and 
development— what we know as doctrine, liturgy, sacraments, orders, 
dicipline, life, and work. 

The relationship between the Church, as constituted by the Spirit, 
and the church, as instituted by men and women of faith and obedience, 
is determined by the freedom with which both the Divine and the 
human play their parts. Neither is determinative of the other; both oper- 
ate, so to speak, in accordance with their own nature as free, the latter 
by the will of the former. The intimacy of the relationship between the 

Church and the church depends upon the latter conforming with the 
former. That is why it is true to say, "Where Christ is, there is the 
Church", and not always true to say, "Where the church is, there is 
Christ". That is to say, the Church as constituted by the Spirit is not 
to be equated with the church as instituted by men and women in their 
response of faith to grace. The latter is not necessarily in conformity to 
the former although there is no reason, except human limitations, why 
the latter should not be the equivalent of the former. 

I am an American Baptist. We met at Seattle one June. One of our 
Baptist editors remarked that the "church" was not present at Seattle, 
only delegates of churches. ( He did not distinguish as I am between the 
Church as constituted by the Spirit, and the church as instituted by 
men and women of faith and obedience.) My reaction to his editorial 
was that if the Church was not at Seattle, Christ was not there; if Christ 
was at Seattle, the Church was there. That is to say, wherever two or 
three, be they individuals or thousands, are met in His name, He is in 
the midst, and that Presence constitutes the Church. 

Which is to say, our institutional delimitations are not significant for 
the Lord of the Church in any absolute way. The Church as God in 
Christ thiough the Spirit constitutes it is more fluid than the concreteness 
of our denominational organizational boundaries, and barriers. 

This leads me to say that the Church is at your International Conven- 
tions, but not as church, since your communion is congregationally or- 
ganized as ours is. 

Paul's doctrine of the Church as the body of Christ has led some 
communions such as Greeks, etc., to deny that repentance may be pre- 
dicated of the church, because sin may not be predicated of the church, 
since it is the body of Christ, which position seems to contradict human 
Christian experience. However, Dr. Antoine Kartachoff, in The Ecumen- 
ical Review of October, 1955, pages 32-33, in a sense rebuked Archbishop 
Michael and the other Greek delegates to Evanston, by calling attention 
to the diphysite character of the church. But we are not bound by the 
organic symbols of the Church or the church, because Jesus is recorded 
as having used a social symbol of the Church— na.mely, that of Shepherd 
and sheep-folds-flock, which allows for the wandering and the sin which 
has characterized the church and her members and leaders through the 

It is for this reason that one can distinguish between the Church as 
constituted by the Spirit, by his Presence, and the church as instituted 
by men and women of faith and obedience, who are at the same time 
men and women of disobedience and of sin. 

It would seem true to say that the Church was John Huss, in his in- 
dividual faith and witness at the stake, and not the church which con- 
demned him. 

I do not know whether this makes sense to you, but it satisfies my mind 
as to the ecclesiastical realities of conventions and assemblies and so on, 
of whatever origin, which meet in the name of the Lord to know and 
to do his will. It might weU be that the Church is not at an International 
Convention of the Disciples of Christ: God forbid! It may be that the 
church, as congregation, is not at an International Convention, but only 
the representatives of congregations. But what I am pointing out is that 
this institutional arrangement by which the Disciples come together and 
do their work, nationally and internationally, is not determinative of the 
Church. The Church must be at your International Conventions if Christ 
is there. If the church is not there, then, it is the business of the churches 
to make the necessary adjustment of their polity to conform with and 
express the ecclesiastical reality which is the Church. If there is any lack 
of agreement on the part of the latter to express and to be the former, 
then, there is no doubt where the blame lies. 

As I see it, through the eyes of an American Baptist, the member 
churches of which the associations, state and national conventions, and 
world alliance are composed, organized as they are to do together many 
Christian enterprises which the individual churches cannot do in separa- 
tion, or think they cannot, with their societies, commissions, committees, 
secretaries, etc., are an institution of ecclesiastical reality, although not 
necessarily, but only potentially, equivalent to the Church as constituted 
by the Spirit. Together they constitute what I regard as a funcional seg- 
ment of the church universal, which if it were what it should be, would 
be the equivalent of the Church Universal as constituted by God in 
Christ through the Spirit. 

One needed amendment of the present ecclesiastical disparateness is 
the abandoning by the churches as communions, closed religious groups, 
of all barriers to fellowship irrespective of denominational lines and 
boundaries, as for example, the recent Anglican refusal to have religious 
fellowship with the clergy of the Church of South India, if, while in 
England, this clergy had fellowship with churches with whom the Church 
of South India was in fellowship in South India, but with whom the 
Church of England was not in fellowship in England— i.e., Presbyterians, 
Congregationalists, or Methodists. Primarily it is the denial of universal 
fellowship of worship and sacrament which makes the church, as de- 
nominationally constituted, incapable of being the Church, since Christ is 
not divided. Likewise, if the congregations of Disciples and Baptists, 
which they insist must be local only, will permit their delegates, when in 
Convention, to be representatives, that is, to be the local church repre- 

sentatively in assembly with other local churches, and if this progressive 
loosening of denominational and congregational lines as to fellowship and 
worship is extended to apply interdenominationally, then it would not 
be impossible for the church to become the Church. 

There ought to be no reluctance on the part of congregations to con- 
vert their delegates into representatives, since it is customary for the local 
congregations to act in representatives, when it comes to many activities 
of the local congregations. The "ofBcial" eldership or diaconate of a local 
church but epitomizes that of the congregation, as Dr. Eduard Schweit- 
zer of Zurich, so beautifully points out in the April, 1956, issue of The 
Ecumencial Review, pages 254ff. 

As I see it, both Baptists and Disciples must change their thinking 
about their local churches as they are represented by delegates in as- 
sociational, state or national conventions, or international or interde- 
nominational assemblies, when through them they set up and support 
societies, etc., according to the needs of the hour, and regard their dele- 
gates as representatives, whatever the restrictions the local congrega- 
tions may place upon them. It must be obvious that one restriction lies 
outside their prerogative or power, and should also lie outside their will 
and wish, that, when assembled in such association, convention, or 
assembly, they should deny to their representatives so assembled the 
possibility that God in Christ through the Spirit will not also be present! 
Do the representatives leave Christ back home in the local congregations? 
Do the local congregations desire the absence of the Presence from their 
associations, conventions, and interdenominational assemblies? More- 
over, if Christ is to be in such assemblies, has he also arranged to leave 
the Church out of the picture? Is Christ present in history apart from 
the Church? 

If Baptists and Disciples, and many others, change their thinking 
about the nature of their conventions and assemblies, the gap between 
the local congregation, both as church and as Church, and the associa- 
tions and conventions, as church and as Church, will be bridged, (The 
hub of the difficulty is in our understanding, not in the reality.) No 
longer will ecclesiologists and theologians be required to hold that the 
Church is not present in associations, conventions, and assembhes, and 
societies, boards, and so on. If the Church is not at such associations, con- 
ventions, assemblies— denominational or pan-denominational, then Christ 
is not there! The Church is wherever Christ is, wherever men and women 
of faith and obedience are together to know and to do his will, whether 
representively, or otherwise. It should be kept in mind that the repre- 
sentative is a Chiistian in his individuality, as a member of a local con- 
greation, and is therefore capable of the Presence of the Lord of the 

Church in his individual capacity as a Christian, as well as in his repre- 
sentative capacity as the delegate of a local congregation in an associa- 
tion, convention, or international and pan-denominational assembly. 

The Problem of the Inner 
City Church 

/. /. Van Boskirk, Chicago, Illinois 

Cities have been with us since the beginning of civilization. They have 
set the moral, cultural, and intellectual tone for their hinterlands. How- 
ever, they have been taking on a vastly greater role in our civilization 
during the last 150 years. As technological improvements have enabled 
fewer farmers to provide greater surpluses, more and more sons of the 
soil have moved to the cities and are absorbed in commerce and industry. 
Within this generation (1917 was the year) America passed from a pre- 
dominantly rural to urban nation. 

The trend goes on unabated until 1954 it was estimated that only 
36% of the population is left in what is called rural areas. The whole 
character of farmifig is undergoing a revolution. Formerly it was the 
occupation and way of life of families. Increasingly it is big business in 
which a man cannot participate unless he has thousands of dollars for 
capital investment in land and power machinery. Government is not 
able to find adequate storage facilities for the overproduction that reg- 
ularly results even though the farmers are paid to limit their productivity. 
The fact that this condition is providing the election issue this year pales 
into insignificance before the far more basic truth that it is part of a 
fast-moving revolution. 

It took hundreds of years fraught with great social upheaval for man 
to make the relatively simple adjustment from nomadic to settled exist- 
ence on a farm. Modern man is forced to make an infinitely more radical 
adjustment within a few generations. A great sociologist has said that the 
greatest crisis man has been called upon to face since he crawled out of 
the caves is his walking into the caverns of city streets. 

Naturally, all of man's institutions share in this turmoil. The church 
has been backward in locating, defining and attempting to meet the 
problem thus thurst upon it. 


Park and Burgess of the University of Chicago first demonstrated the 
theory that cities tend to develop in concentric rings from the center out. 
As the original owners of the homes near the center of the city pass on, 
their sons move farther out. The homes they leave are divided and sub- 

divided to provide housing for the laborers who are imported to fulfill 
the needs of industry. With the passage of generations new rings are 
added at the periphery while the inner circles are increasingly marked by 
all the ills of life: over crowding, crime, delinquency, disease and in- 

Cities have churches related to each of these circles of growth which 
may be roughly characterized as: 

1. The downtown area (the crossroads) 

2. The substandard area adjacent to the business district but not in it 

3. The long established, "conservation" neighborhood 

4. The suburb, old and new 

5. The growing fringe 

For purposes of this study we are concerned only with the first two 
categories; the downtown area and the surrounding deteriorated zone. 
Churches in these categories may be discussed under the general heading 
of "inner city churches", yet there are important difterences that should 
be noted at the outset. 

The down-town church, as contrasted with other inner city churches, 
has several distinct advantages. Since all transportation funnels into the 
down-town area the church located there has a ready made asset. Psy- 
chologically the down-town chiu-ch has an advantage since the business 
and social interests of people bring them near it from all parts of the city. 
Many business men, for instance, tend to prefer a down-town church 
since it brings them in contact with other business men. The down-town 
church shares the advantages of the up-grading which comes to business 
sections in progressive cities. It has the opportunity to present its mes- 
sage in the center of the city's life. Membership is drawn from all 
sections of the city. 

Life is not so rosy for the church in the zone of transition surrounding 
the business district. Such a church may have been called a "boulevard 
church" at some time or another, and the forces of disintegration did 
not strike it as soon as the down-town church, yet sooner or later it in- 
herits the plight of the inner city church. While it may boast that its 
members come from all over the city, it is most likely that it draws pre- 
dominently from the side on which it is located. Although it enjoys the 
prominence that goes with being on a heavily travelled artery, only a 
segment of the city's population will tend to pass it on other business. 
There is likely to be a bus line on the street, unlike the down-town area 
where all lines converge. While such a church is not struck by deteriora- 
tion as soon as the down-town church, it is much less likely to share in 
a general paint-up, fix-up campaign. 

Neither type of church has much to be happy about as the city grows 
larger and larger. The down-town area has attractions such as shopping 
facilities, theatres, cafes, bright lights, etc., but lovely homes are not 
among them. Railroad tracks, warehouses, wholesale markets, light and 
heavy industry, do not make for gracious living. Residential sections in 
the inner city are not residential in the sense understood by small town or 
suburban dwellers. There are the rooming houses where single men and 
women prepare their frugal meals over gas jets or electric hot-plates. 
There are flats and apartment buildings illegally converted to contain 
two or three families where one lived in happier days. Others have not 
been converted but rechristened, "one room apartments", with each of the 
larger rooms containing a family, all sharing the kitchen and bath room. 

Not far away is "skid-row" with its cheap honky-tonks, girlie shows, 
flop houses, gambling joints, and houses of prostitution, gathering places 
for thugs, homosexuals, drug addicts, and the human derelicts who seek 
the anonimity of such places. 

Who are the people who live here? They are the laborers who have 
recently come from Europe, from Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Mexico and 
from the farms or from the deep South. They, like the waves of immi- 
grants before them, are coming in response to the ever increasing needs 
of our growing industrial economy for laborers. 

Some of them are ambitious and young with the controlling ambition 
to move up on the social and economic scale and to move out into the 
attiactive suburbs. Some of them have come "to make their stake" and 
then go back to their native homes. Among them are the old, the 
divorced, the widowed, the physically handicapped. Here are found 
the ones who take the jobs no one else will have. Here are the alcoholic, 
the poverty-stricken and the insane. 

These are the people who live within walking distance of the inner 
city church. 


When the inner city chm-ch was built it was a down-town church 
in a small town or situated in a pleasant community in the residential sec- 
tion. However, as the church begins to be engulfed by business, com- 
mercial or industrial developments its problems mount. Physically it 
encounters the fact that there is not sufficient land for parking— a serious 
defect in an automobile propelled age. Further it finds that land which 
even a decade ago could have been purchased for parking was passed 
up because the church fathers did not see the need. Now the cost is 
prohibitive. For the same reason the church finds it impossible to pur- 
chase land to make needed expansion. 

It feels the pinch particularly in the fact that the potential new mem- 
bers live at such great distance from the church. In all likelihood the 
founders of the church were middle class Americans including business 
and professional men as well as skilled and unskilled laborers. Disciples 
who move into the city are not likely to settle near the church unless 
they are unskilled laborers. Many forces militate against even loyal Dis- 
ciples making the effort to travel a distance of more than a mile to church. 

1. Distance. If the father works on Sunday using the family car, or if 
he is not interested in the church and resents his wife going alone, dis- 
tance can be a serious deterring problem. Public transportation is a par- 
tial answer, but attempting to use it in bad weather accompanied by 
small children puts denominational loyalty to a stern test. Of course 
many come to church this way, but many more use it for an excuse for not 

2. Friends of the children. Children like to go to church school with 
their friends. If they travel more than a mile to an inner city church they 
find themselves mingling with children from many other school districts 
whom they do not know. School rivalries can wreck youth fellowships. 

3. The value of attending church in one's own community. Dr. S. C. 
Kincheloe has said that the devil could not have devised a more de- 
structive plan than to have people live in one community, work in an- 
other and go to church in still another. Many people break with the 
down-town church or never join it because they feel that they have pri- 
mary responsibility to the church in their own community regardless of 
denomination. In some cases the shift to the neighborhood church grows 
out of factors 1 and 2, with the parents salving their denominational con- 
science by saying that they will let "Johnny" attend the nearby church 
until he is old enough to be baptized (or confirmed) and then they 
will all "get started" down at "First Chm-ch". When Johnny reaches that 
age, however, he has been indoctrinated in a different point of view, has 
his circle of friends, and is harder than ever to integrate into First 

It should go without saying that the natural indolence of the human 
spirit and weakening denominational loyalties have more to do with this 
shift than the idealistic desire to serve one's own community. 


The members tend to be much the same kind of people who established 
the church. Occasionally they may have been up-graded socially and 
economically, but usually the change is in the other direction. They come 
to the church for a number of reasons: 

1. Loyalty to the past. There are those "old timers" whose fatliers 
were active in the church who continue to support it even at great per- 


sonal inconvenience. As the church location begins to be recognized as 
a problem, there is reluctance to leave the church in difficulty. 

2. Loyalty to a denominational point of view. Among the members of 
the denomination that move to the city there are those sufficiently loyal 
to travel the distances necessary to reach their church. These are the 
people who have come from homes deeply committed to a certain point 
of view and who have spent all their lives in one type of church. Those 
who have had experiences in churches of other denominations will be 
more likely to settle in a church nearer home. 

3. Those who respond to the evangelistic outreach of the church be- 
cause of prestige factors, the personality of the minister, involvement in 
the choir or other face to face groups, etc. 


Any inner city church, of course, does evangelize the community about 
it to a greater or less extent. However, there are limits to its ability to 
do so. 

The first factor is the fact that the people are not likely to feel at home 
in the worship of the church. "First Church" (or "Crestline Boulevard") 
during the days of its ascending power had become sophisticated, and 
even in its declinfng days its modified Akron architecture speaks of 
wealth. Its minister has a BD degree from a respectable seminary and 
speaks in polished accents of abstractions which some of his congregation 
pretend to understand. His predecessor wore a frock coat and striped 
trousers in the approved style of 1903, but he wears a robe. The choir 
director would faint at the thought of singing "There is Power in the 
Blood" and is assiduously trying to teach the choir the chorales which 
Bach wrote for congregational singing. 

But the former sharecropper who was a deacon in the Red Gap 
Christian Church and who is now in the city working in the stock yards 
finds all this unfamiliar and unpalatable, so he is lost to the church. 

A second difficulty is the fact that the man from the community finds 
it hard to exercise leadership. The leaders come from the suburbs for 
reasons noted above. The man from the community quickly recognizes 
that he does not have the wherewithal to assume leadership, and either 
contents himself with a minor role on the sidelines or retreats from the 

If he does not recognize his limitations for leadership the minister 
doubtless will and may chill whatever ambition he may have cherished. 
This is not because the minister is a snob, but because he is a responsible 
executive faced with financing an expensive operation. He cannot afford 
to put the willing but relatively inept man at the head of an important 


committee if he can persuade the banker or lawyer who have at least a 
nominal interest in the church to come back and accept the responsibility. 
The minister must spend so much time in the suburbs and the University 
club trying to elicit even the marginal support of his executives that he 
does not have time to develop the laboring man who lives in the com- 

The final disappearance of all business and professional people from 
the church does not solve the problem for their relative places are taken 
by streetcar conductors and carpenters who come back from the suburbs 
to lead the church. 

We are here confronted by a basic fact of human nature which is that 
people will not associate with those very much above or below them on 
the social and economic scale. For the Protestant church, whose basic na- 
ture is social, the city with its highly class conscious communities is a 
difficult environment in which to live and grow. This will be discussed 
further in a forthcoming section. 

Each time there is a change in ministry, tension is likely to develop. 
There are always those who feel that a return to "the old time religion" 
will solve the problems. This is countered by demand of others for a 
continuation of the kind of leadership the church has had. Under such 
circumstances the life of the church becomes increasingly unharmonious, 
and all the time strength is ebbing away. 


1. Some churches sell their buildings in the inner city and rebuild 
nearer the center of population of their membership. This solves their 
problem for awhile, but it does not solve the problem of the inner city 
that is left without moral and spiritual leadership. 

2. Some churches merge either with other congregations of the same 
denomination or with churches of difi^erent denominations. Some mergers 
are successful but many others are merely postponements of final demise. 
Factors which militate against the success of mergers include: 

a. The fact that they are entered into as last ditch measures of 
despair which were not really desired by either group. 

b. In the merged church there are places for only about as many 
leaders as had formerly worked in each of the congregations. The 
physical facilities sometimes are such as to limit the merged congrega- 
tion. When leadership and facilities are reduced the congregation is 

c. The forces that caused them to merge still face them. The most 
successful mergers are those which take the congregations into better 
parts of the city. These cease to be inner city churches. 

Some inner city churches are subsidized by their denominations and 


become home mission stations. Others become neighborhood houses and 
look to the community fund for support. 

Others die— slowly and agonizingly— but completely. 

A short, simple answer to the possibility of Protestant survival in the 
inner city is: as presently conceived and constituted, no. Certain char- 
acteristics of Protestantism must be modified if it is to adjust to the 
problems brought upon it by the growing city. At the heart of these 
characteristics is the attitude which led the pharisee to say, "God, I thank 
thee that I am not as other men." 

1. Theological exclusiveness. No partial gospel, not even the superiority 
of immersion as baptism, has sufficient power to convert the inner city. 

2. Social and economic exclusiveness. People being as they are, the 
Christian gospel thus far has only conditioned them to belong to churches 
in which about three of the six generally recognized classes belong, 
(upper upper, lower upper, upper middle, lower middle, upper lower, 
and lower lower) The bulk of the membership of a church tends to 
come from one class, with a strong group from the class below, and the 
top leaders coming from the class above. In a preceding section we saw 
the problem of a church with upper middle class leadership to serve a 
lower lower class community. 

Before we criticize the Protestant church too harshly, let us reflect that 
no other institution does as well in bringing so many groups together 
in a social situation. Most of the contacts across class lines are not social 
in the sense the word is being used here. The lower upper class lady 
and her servants may be on friendly terms but that does not mean that 
the gardener brings his "missus" to play bridge with the banker and his 

The Protestant church, however, is a social situation. In churches in 
the lower half of the social spectrum great emphasis is placed upon 
friendliness in church. In churches in the upper half, friendliness is not 
.emphasized so much, but the members are friendly with the ones with 
whom they are friendly. People go to Protestant churches to find friends, 
to place their children in contact with other children whom they approve, 
and to expose their young people to prospective mates. No aspect of the 
work of the church is more important than this. Christianity is caught 
as well as taught, and the value of the church as a sustaining group, 
a larger family, cannot be overemphasized. 

The Roman Catholic church manages to serve a wider span of classes 
at the expense of being less social. The Roman Catholic does not com- 
mune with his fellow worshipper, his relationship to God is individual. 
The number or the personality of worshippers in the service is of no con- 


cern to him nor to the priest. After the service he does not presume to 
shake hands with other worshippers simply because all belong to the 
same church. 

It is not suggested that the Protestant church become less social, but 
it must be recognized that even with modern transportation facilities, the 
bulk of an urban church's membership will come from no more than 
one mile. If its membership comes from greater distances, it is in trouble 
whether it knows it or not. 

Parenthetically it should be added that churches tend to think their 
members come from a greater distance than is actually the case. This 
is because the leadership (the most conspicuous people) tends to come 
greater distances. Fifteen years ago the minister of an inner city church 
assured me solemnly that his flock came great distances to church. As 
a matter of fact, as late as two years ago most of the members lived 
within a mile of the church, and nearly 90% of the children's division 
of the Church school lived within walking distance. 

In order to cope with the facts of human snobbery, the church must 
increasingly think of itself in terms of its geographical parish and meet 
the needs of the people who live there. Of course, exclusiveness should 
be dismissed, too, but this will take longer. 

3. Racial exclusiveness. Here again we are confronted by a stubborn 
fact of human nature which we do not like, yet which is changed only 
too slowly. Since we tend to join churches for the social reasons described 
above, we hesitate to unite with congregations of a different race unless 
we are social reformers trying to prove a point. This is true of all races.^ 

Resistance to admission of a non-white into a Caucasian church is 
usually great, sometimes greater than to bringing an unimmersed Pres- 
byterian into a Disciples church. However, resistance tends to be higher 
in inner city situations where non-whites live in large numbers capable 
of taking over a church quickly. It is one of the interesting phenomena of 
church social action that liberality on the subject of inclusion of non- 
whites increases in direct ratio to the distance from a considerable group 
of Negroes. 

For this reason, integration of Negroes into white churches can best 
be started in towns where there are relatively few non- whites. In such 
places, non-whites can be brought in without threatening the leadership 
with change. Most of our churches under such circumstances could 
assimilate a small percentage of Negroes who were the intellectual and 
economic peers of the rest of the members. If our churches generally 
over the country did this, a climate would be created which would make 

1 One does not prove a general assertion by citing a single specific instance, he only 
illustrates what he believes to be a truth. In response to specific questioning as to how 
his church would react to integration of white members, the pastor of a large Negro 
church said, "We could take up to a dozen or so white members. If the number got much 
bigger than that, or if they began to assume too much leadership there would be trouble." 


it easier for the inner city church to begin the process of integration 
even though it may mean a complete turn-over from white to black in 
ten years or less.^ 


Protestantism is crippled in the inner city because of its lack of over-all 
strategy. The Disciples share in this general debility, but it suffers under 
the additional handicap of local congregational autonomy. Congrega- 
tionalism is, of course, in germ in the New Testament, just as are also 
the presbyterial and episcopal forms of church government. However, 
when a first century custom is legalized into twentieth century rule, 
trouble is likely to develop. 

At no point is the inadequency of Congregationalism more painfully 
apparent than in the inner city. When Paul wrote "we are members of 
one another" he surely was referring to a wider relationship than that of 
the members of a local church to one another. Being "all one in Christ" 
at least in theory, should impose obligations upon churches that cannot 
be decided by one group acting independently. It is obviously unfair 
for one congregation to move into the parish of another to the latter's 
hurt for no better reason than it no longer wants to serve its own com- 
munity, yet congregational churches regularly practice such tactics and 
are even held in esteem by some of their brethren while they are doing it. 

In the case of an inner city church there is rarely anyone in leadership 
who made much of a contribution to the building or its capital asset 50 
years previously. The congregation as presently constituted has inherited 
a building toward which they have contributed nothing except in 
meager upkeep. Yet, under the theory of congregational self-government, 
a remnant of bitter-enders feel justified in making any disposition of the 
property that is to their advantage, no matter how foreign their action 
may be to the spirit of those who built the building, or how detrimental 
to other Christian groups, or how insensitive to the best interests of the 
community. Even though such practice may be justified by prooftexts 
from the New Testament, it is obviously unchristian. 

So long as a congregational church is happy and prosperous it often 
feels no need of consultation with other Christians. When a congrega- 
tional inner city church's disintegration is far advanced it tends to be 
resentful and suspicious of any outside counsel. Thus we have the 
spectacle of run-down, inner city churches making the most important 
decisions of their lives under the poorest leadership they have ever had. 

It is this writer's opinion that the Disciples of Christ must alter its 
practice of Congregationalism at two points: the holding of title and 
the calling and discharging of ministers. The presbyterial system contains 

2 The Negro church in the inner city is not discussed in this paper since it presents a 
different set of problems. It is assumed, however, that there will be such churches and 
that many more should be established. 


features which congregationahsm might do well to adopt. Here the local 
congregation holds title for the presbytery and in the democratic fashion 
can do anything with it except mortgage or sell it. 

The practice of relating ministers to churches should be taken out of 
the hands of secretaries and given as responsibility to pastoral relations 
committees of city or county whose written recommendation should be 
secured before a local pulpit committee takes its recommendation to the 
official board. The same pastoral relations committee should have the 
power to dissolve the pastoral relationship if tension which it cannot 
iron out develops in the local church. 

It is sometimes more important to evict a minister than to choose the 
proper one in the first place. The Disciples have made progress in the 
field of ministerial placement (without New Testament authority) but 
the sainted bogey of congregational autonomy has kept us from consid- 
ering ways and means of evicting a minister.^ 

The denominational system has proved itself bankrupt at many points, 
but at no point so dramatically as in the inner city. In Chicago a strategy 
is being developed for the outer city whereby every community will have 
an effective denominationally-sponsored, community-related church. A 
similar plan is on the "drawing board" for the inner city and will be 
carried through as fast as possible. Extensive studies are being made 
which will tell us more about the inner city church than has ever been 
known before. In the light of these studies, the representatives of co- 
operative protestantism will chart a strategy. 

Up to this point we have proceeded on trial and error basis. Slowly 
and painfully we have discovered the problems but very few solutions. 
Actually the problems are so new we haven't yet been able to adjust 
ourselves to deal with them adequately. 

But deal with the problem we must. In Chicago a population equiva- 
lent to that of Kansas or Oklahoma lives in the inner city where scarcely 
an old-line, white, Protestant church is holding its own. If it is said, 
"This is only Chicago," let it be remembered that in 1950 twenty-five per- 
cent of America's population lived in ten cities in Chicago's class. Let it 
also be remembered that several cities of less than 1,000,000 where the 
Disiciples ha\'e a real stake are developing impressive inner city prob- 

1 The Chicago Disciples Union has a Pastoral Relations Committee composed of local church 
leaders. By profession one is a school teacher and housewife, one a professional counsellor, 
one a minister with psychiatric training, one an office manager, and one a seminary 
professor. By request, the committee listens to grievances from ministers or laymen or both. 
It makes no recommendations since only one church makes constitutional provision for 
them to go that far. (cf. the appendix which concludes this article) However, when both 
parties to a dispute are able to tell their story to objective listeners they are helped to 
clarify their own minds. 

As matters now stand among the Disciples, any group in a church who want to terminate 
the services of the minister has no orderly or constitutional procedure. The vicious be- 
haviour WHICH IS PRODUCED BY THE SYSTEM (or lack of it) in both churches and 
ministers is too well known to elaborate here. 


lems. There is tremendous need for a quickened interest which in turn 
will lead to study and experimentation, and planning and work that will 
enable us to make Protestantism victorious over this greatest threat ever 
to appear against it. 


A section of the constitution providing for a more effective relation 
of local church to city or county pastoral relations committee with re- 
spect to the ministry is reproduced here for study. 

The minister shall be chosen by the church as hereinafter provided: 

1. A pulpit committee of four or six persons and chairman shall be 
appointed by the official Board and charged, in cooperation with the 
Pastoral Relations Committee of the Chicago Disciples Union, with 
the responsibility of seeking out and investigating candidates for the 
ministry of the church. 

2. The candidate must have the written endorsement of the Pastoral 
Relations Committe of the Chicago Disciples Union. 

3. The candidate must then be approved by the Official Board of the 

4. After these steps, and only then, shall the candidate be placed before 
the congregation for acceptance or rejection. 

5. The minister, jvhen approved by the congregation, shall be installed 
by the officers of the church and the Chicago Disciples Union. 

6. The Official Board shall annually reconsider the minister's salary 
in the light of his effectiveness of leadership and in relation to the 
cost of living. 

7. It is assumed that the relationship between pastor and congregation 
will be harmonious and fruitful. However, if at any time tension, suf- 
ficient to jeopardize the effectiveness of the church, develops, the 
Pastoral Relations Committe of the Chicago Disciples Union must 
be called upon to make investigation and recommendations. If at 
all possible, the Committee shall restore harmony. If, on the other 
hand, the Committee finds that the rift is too deep to be healed, it 
may dissovle the pastoral relationship for the best interest of both 
the minister and the church. 

The Nature of the Church 

George Earle Owen, Indianapolis, Indiana 
The nature of the church is described more easily than it is defined. 
The nature of this divine-human institution is seen in its purposes and 
ministry to man and society. The following terms, although more sug- 
gestive than definite, are nonetheless authentic in depicting some of the 
manifold aspects of the Christian church. It is the case of the noun 


serving as a descriptive adjective. There is some overlapping in termin- 
ology but this only depicts the varied nature of the Church of Jesus 

The church is Fellowship. This is the most elemental characteristic 
of the Christian Church. Reduced to the absolute minimum the church 
is the fellowship of those who follow Christ. "Where Christ is, there is 
the church" and "where two or three are gathered in my name" ex- 
presses the essence of Christianity and the basis of the church. Both 
Christian baptism and the Lord's Supper are symbolic expressions of 
fellowship. Whatever violates fellowship strikes at the heart of the 
Christian Church. To make creeds, rites, beliefs and ordinances, which 
have grown out of the fellowship of the church, the test of fellowship, 
is to subordinate the end to the means. Love is the final test of fellowship. 
"By this shall all men know that you are my disciples because you love 
one another." 

The church is an Institution. The Christian Church is institutionalized 
Christianity. Christianity began as a fellowship, grew into a movement, 
and became an institution. Without an institutional structure the fellow- 
ship failed and the movement floundered in carrying out its reason for 
being. Institution is the structure that function takes, the organization 
purpose employs, to carry out its mission. An institution exists to establish 
and carry out the will of its founder and followers. The church was estab- 
lished by Christ to carry out his will on earth, namely, to create the 
reign of God in every human heart. 

The church is the Body of Christ. It is the human embodiment of the 
life of Christ on a universal, practical basis. Just as the human body is 
the temple of the spirit so the church is the body or temple in which 
Christ resides and through which he works. The more fully he is 
permitted to permeate the body of his followers, the more fully and truly 
is it the Body of Christ. The church like the human body carries in its 
being human frailties as well as divine possibilities. Christ is the Head of 
the church. 

The church is a Continuation of the Incarnation. It is God's continued 
participation in human history through the instrumentality of Jesus Christ 
and his disciples. Through Jesus Christ God entered into humanity more 
concretely. Through the church He still enters into the life of men and 
societies. The church declares to the world that God is immanent, that 
He dwells among men, that He works through men, that however evil 
the flesh may become God can cleanse it, use it, and dwell in it. The 
church carries on through its fellowship and ministry the mission of 

The church is Mission. This term conveys the inner nature and central 


purpose of Christianity. The true church is a witnessing community. It 
is the herald of hope for all mankind, the power line through which 
God's transforming power can operate, the channel and agent of con- 
version. It is not only a "saving remnant" but God's Salvation Army. This 
is to say that the church is more than an ark of salvation to which people 
may flee when in danger. It is Christianity on the march, carrying the 
message of God's love to the far corners of the earth, battling the forces 
of evil, championing the oppressed, lifting up the downtrodden, giving 
liberty to the captives, loosing the bonds of Satan on men of all nations, 
marching under the banner of the Cross, living and dying on a thousand 
mission fields to proclaim Christ as King of Kings. It is militant Christ- 
ianity facing injustice, inequity, exploitation, prejudice, and every attack 
of human freedom and dignity. The church is a fellowship of those who 
are concerned for the "lost". It is the company of those who have been 
"called out" of the world to be saved and those "sent out" into the world 
to save the world. 

The church is the Voice of God's Judgment. The church does not pre- 
sume to execute God's judgment but to proclaim it. As an instrument of 
God's grace and revelation in an evil world, it declares that all men stand 
under the judgment of God. Jesus Christ is the world's judge as well as 
its savior. The ultimate moral critic of culture in a world of changing 
values is the Christian Church. The Christian church has never had a 
greater role than it has today in the revolutionary world as the Supreme 
Court of Justice among the Congress of Nations. 

The church is Revolution. The church does more than denounce evil 
and declare the righteousness of God. As the custodian of the Gospel the 
church serves as God's great agent of change. Even today God is speak- 
ing and acting in the world in revolution through his church. Back of 
the discontent of millions of underprivileged is the Bible. To many of the 
world's people the fatherhood of God, the brotherhood of man, the 
fellowship of vicarious suffering and respect for human personality are 
still a revolutionary doctrine. The Gospel is leaven that slowly changes 
men and society but it is also the new wine that breaks the old wineskins 
of archaic practice and static tradition. The Gospel is the dynamite of 
God. It can blast tyrants from their throne and break down the barriers 
that separate men. Even Marxist communism is heretical Christianity, the 
dialectical idealism of Hegel turned upside down into dialectical mater- 
ialism. In a world of evil the church is God's instrument of revolution, 
to challenge and change the wrong and usher in God's Kingdom, the 
Kingdom of Right Relations. 

The church is Reconciliation. The church is more than a fellowship or 
organization. It is a reconciling fellowship, a redemptive society. "God 


was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself" describes the purpose 
of the incarnation and mission of Christ and his church. Chi-istianity is 
distinct from all other revolutions in that it has at the beginning Revela- 
tion and at the end Reconciliation. Modem technology with new means 
of communication and transportation has broken down the walls of 
time and space only to see created new walls of estrangment that spearate 
men. The Cliristian church, despite its limitations, represents the one 
fellowship that can transcend the social, national, and cultural barriers 
that divide mankind. The world will never be one until it is won for 
Christ and it will never be won for Christ until it is one in Christ. 

The church is the Beloved Community. It is the only society that wel- 
comes into one fellowship saints and sinners, the high and lowly, the 
rich and poor, the merciful and the mean, the good and the bad. It is a 
divine family, whose God is a heavenly Father, whose head is Christ 
our Lord, whose members are sons of God and Christian brothers. It is 
the Household of God, "the colony of heaven" on earth. It is the com- 
munity of the Forgiven and the Forgiving. No other community has the 
comprehensive "Whosoever" and "Inasmuch" that the Christian church 
has. Brotherhood, universality, and ecumenicity are written into its very 
constitution. Greater than the judgment of God is the love of God. Great- 
er than revolution is reconciliation. The mission of the church is to bring 
all men into the joyous and abiding fellowship of this Beloved Com- 

A Few Words In 
Defense of the Circle 

Thomas L. Hanna, Chicago, Illinois 
In his typically emphatic manner, Reinhold Niebuhr has, in different 
places and in different ways, advised his readers that there is nothing 
so meaningless as a circle. This is indeed the remark of a historically- 
minded thinker. A21 of us must admit that in this day and time it is 
seldom if ever that we find ourselves talking about circles; the question 
of circles seems to be so unimportant that we could hardly even class it as 
a secondary issue, and all of us would be somewhat suspicious of any- 
one who seemed wrought up over this matter. So that when we discover a 
man of Mr. Niebuhr's stature in the act of making a gratuitous swipe at 
a dead issue our curiousity is piqued, and we naturally would like to 
learn a little more about this business of the circle. Of course, we must 
take Mr. Niebuhr at his word about the meaninglessness of the circle. 
This being done, we suddenly realize that as Mr. Niebuhr views the new- 
ly budded leaves, the opening tulips, the frolicsome children racing again 


through fresh and verdant fields and as he, for the sixtieth odd time, 
hears the first cuckoo of the spring he is deeply galled by the meaningless 
circularity of this event. We must imagine also that as he sits down each 
evening to what is now his hundred thousandth supper, an awful sense 
of despair engulfs him as he gazes on his pork chop. And in another 
way, we must imagine that as he repeatedly lifts his communion cup, 
or sets up another season's Christmas tree or views again a church sanc- 
tuary filled with Easter lilies, he is only aware of the meaninglessness of 
this circularity. 

But, of course, something is wrong here. We know immediately that 
this is not the way in which any of us react to them. Also we know im- 
mediately that these are, in fact, very meaningful events despite their 
manifestly repetitive nature. It appears that the circle is not, after all, 
so meaningless, and that it may be important to us to attempt under- 
standing why. This will involve some reflexion on the way in which all 
of us, including Mr. Niebuhr, think about the nature of those events 
which make up our history. This effort to say a few words in defense of 
the circle pushes us ineluctably into a discussion of the meaning or 
meaninglessness of history. 

The first step is to recognize that it must be incorrect to say that re- 
peated events are fneaningless, inasmuch as they are obviously full of 
meaning. The confusion here is that Mr. Niebuhr has made a complete 
separation between the objective appearance of circularity and the in- 
dividual's experience of this. This is an artificial separation, purely in- 
tellectual in nature; only in the combination of these two realities do we 
have experience, and it is precisely in experience that we shall come to 
terms with this problem of historical meaning. What we must realize 
is that the question of the meaningfulness of history is not a question of 
whether or not there is an apparent order or pattern in history. There 
could be little dispute that there is such a basic pattern in our world. 
Rather the question of history's meaningfulness is a problem of cor- 
respondence between the "meaning" of history and the demand for 
meaning which the individual brings to history. It is not a matter of find- 
ing any order or teleology in natural and human events, but a matter 
of finding such an order which corresponds to the meaning of individual 
men. Thus, we bring only confusion to this problem unless we understand 
clearly that the question of historical meaning centers in the individual's 
response which queries: "Is this meaningful for me?" 

Having taken this first step, we can enlarge on the problem by noting, 
for example, that the deists of the 18th century understood that the 
inner mechanism of the world was complete and self-sufiicient, operating 
smoothly like a clock. Is this a meaningful world? Or is it simply an 


orderly world? or again, what if it becomes obvious that the pattern of 
biological and natural history points necessarily to eventual extinction 
of the human race and the ultimate triumph of the hymenoptera as the 
dominant genera of life? This is most certainly a teleological pattern in 
history, but is it meaningful? The answer to both of these questions is 
that however "meaningful" this may be as a pattern for my objective 
environment, it assuredly is not meaningful for me. If this is the nature 
of history then it is a meaningless history. The two meanings in question 
are incommensurate. 

However true this may be, it is nevertheless the wont of most thinkers 
to view history in other terms. One most frequently hears the problem 
phrased in this manner: "To say that history is meaningful and not 
repetitive and meaningless, is to say that events in history are patterned 
not simply on physical and organic laws but also have an added directive 
force, which, like these laws, is sovereign in its teleology". This way of 
stating the problem does not necessarily have anything to do with the 
possible or actual meaningfulness of human existence, but refers specific- 
ally to a developing meaning in events apart from the individual, i.e., it 
effectively denies any correspondence between the individual and his 
objective world. The effect of this conception of historical meaning is to 
posit the presence of an autonomous force in history which, whether in 
league with or in opposition to individuals, is nonetheless independent 
of them. This is an objective force which men must contend with and 
understand just as they do with all objective laws. The effect of this is 
the postulation of a sovereign "god" which is active in history but is 
outside the hegemony of any individual. 

Most persons would readily agree, as does Mr. Niebuhr, that the 
question of meaning is crucial for human existence and is the central 
problem in religion. The only difficulty is to decide where it is that 
meaning is to be found. We can, as has just been shown, posit it as 
objectively effective in history, but we can also speak of meaning as a 
conscious demand of the individual, i.e., on one hand we can assume 
that the pattern of history somehow corresponds to man's ultimate aspira- 
tions even though this correspondence is not apparent; on the other 
hand, we can conclude that although the meaning of history does not 
show any such correspondence, yet the individual demand that history 
should correspond to his aspirations remains a valid and real source of 

The former and more prevalent conception of this problem has many 
advantages, the principle one being that a man's assumption that his 
history is meaningful for him gives this man security and peace of mind. 
This assumption solves the ultimate religious question about the in- 


dividual's relation to the world and the nature of his existence in time. 
This is an ultimate security which gives man the confidence to attack 
the secondary problems of ethical action. The specifically religious anx- 
iety has been conquered and the ultimate battle with history won; the 
individual is now faced with ethical demands for the implementation 
and fulfillment of a history which is meaningful. The ultimate battle 
being won, it is now the ethical problem of an eternal "mopping up" 
operation. No matter what happens now, the individual will never feel 
that his whole being is at stake or that his very existence is called into 
question. He has escaped this anxiety. 

But there would also seem to be a few advantages to the latter and 
rarer view of history that holds that history displays no meaningful ac- 
cord with ultimate human aspirations; that the individual is conscious 
of his own meaning, of history's thi-eat to it, and of his need to affirm, 
preserve, and buttress this meaning. One apparent advantage of this 
viewpoint is that it is conducive to an honest and lucid appraisal of his- 
tory; there is no impetus to read into history a meaning which is not 
present. Another feature of this view which may be of value is that 
the individual finds that history and time are serious, i.e., they have an 
importance for his whole being and alert his interest because he has no 
assurance that his individuality is automatically guaranteed and assured 
by time and history. For him, history is intractable, uncertain, and cannot 
be given confidence, and this is serious for him precisely because it 
means that it is duly he who can assert and guarantee his ultimate claims 
upon life. Because history is serious, the individual has no choice but to 
assert his demands against history in the constant effort to reshape and 
recreate this history. But there is also a third feature of this view-point 
which may have some value. This is that a man who lives in this kind 
of tension with his history lives a religious life. The religious life is 
marked by this one abiding feature, that an individual gives his whole 
being for the sake of the ultimate meaning of his life. The ethical life is a 
demand upon a man's energy, intelligence, and training in the defense of 
what is ultimately assured by history as meaningful. The religious life is 
a demand not merely upon man's practical faculties but upon his very 
reason for existence— a demand which calls him to defend what is ulti- 
mately uncertain and unassured by history. In the religious life a man 
is truely anxious for his "soul". 

To return again to the former view of history, we must note that once 
the meaningfulness of history is assured, then personal meaning is no 
longer at stake— for this is ultimately assured by history. Nor is historical 
meaning at stake— for this is assured as ultimate. The net effect of the as- 
sumption of a meaningful history is to presume that the question of the 


ultimate relation of the individual to his world is a closed question; it is a 
foreclosure of the religious problems of man's existence, leaving only 
the ethical problem of how man is to bring himself into relation with 
this historical meaning. For the ethical life, existence is a "test" in which 
the individual proves his mettle. 

In short, if the problem of a meaningful history is basically a question 
of correspondence between "my" ultimate demands and history's given 
patterns, then to assume that this demand is satisfied by history even 
before this is apparent in history is the fallacy of inverting the horse and 
the cart: one has intellectually foreclosed a problem which is primarily 
religious. The assertion of one's meaning comes first: only after this does 
the intellect attempt to judge the correspondence of individual meaning 
to the patterns of history. To do the reverse is to escape an existential 
anxiety for the sake of an intellectual security. It is the cutting short of 
anxiety and its assertion into history as a fait accompli. This abdication of 
the religious life gives rise to a "meaning" which is identical in nature to 
the natural laws of the objective world— laws of existence to which we 
must actively conform in ethical activity. And the irony of this whole 
proceeding is that the individual has thereby created a history which is, 
to him^, ultimately meaningless; it is a history to which he must corre- 
spond, for his ultimate raison d'etre is outside of him, static and objective. 
And the irony becomes tragic if some individual suddenly realizes that 
this history is a threat to his existence and revolts against it, for this 
means that the reawakening of the religious life is, from this point of 
view, a revolt against "God". It is a revolt against that sovereign force 
which presumably gives ultimate assurance to the meaning of history. 

What we must understand is that if we are to speak at all about his- 
torical meaning it can only be in terms of a relation between the in- 
dividual and his world in which the individual's demand for ultimate 
meaning is definitory; once this demand is asserted, the intellect may 
judge whether or not it finds its response in history. If we do the contrary 
and posit some meaning in history as definitory, then the individual 
stands helpless before the tyranny of history; he has abdicted the func- 
tion of asserting ultimate demands and judgments on history and has 
made himself a willing instrument of history. In this abdication, the in- 
dividual turns his consciousness outward to history with the ultimate 
conviction that the world and its historical process is "good". He can 
say no other, because he has lost the right to do so. He has denied that 
he is free, which is to say that he has denied that he has the responsibility 
for his own ultimate meaning. In ti'aditional Christian terms, he has 
denied the imago Dei; in traditional philosophical terms he has denied 
human nature. He has lost the only reality a man is given to know: his 


reality. He has lost the only truth a man is given to know: his truth. He 
is no longer anxious for his "soul": he has denied it. 

What we must understand about the religious life is that the meaning 
for which the individual is in anxiety is not an intellectual clarity or a 
cogent rational formula; the meaning for which a man is anxious in- 
volves not only his intellect and his ability to discriminate ideas but it 
involves his conscious self, his reflective being. In the ethical life, a man 
finds a passive peace because between himself and the world stands the 
mediation of an intellectual judgment assuring the conscious self that 
life is ultimately "good". In the religious life, however, a man finds 
anxiety and suffering because no intellectual judgment has mediated the 
world to him as "good"; what he asserts in respect to the world cannot 
be guaranteed or sustained by the intellect: the assertion of his meaning 
can be sustained only by an action of his conscious self which is called 
passion. Only in the passion of self-affirmation can an individual sustain 
a demand which is uncertain and unassured. And conversely, it is only 
a demand which is uncertain that requires passion in order to exist. 
What we are suggesting is that the religious life is a struggle for "faith". 
This is not a struggle to achieve "faith" but a struggle to sustain a faith 
in the ultimate meaning of one's existence. Faith is synonymous with 
passion because both center in a conviction which is problematic. It is 
problematic because it is unsupported by the world, its history, and the 
intellect which judges this history; as such, if this problematic assertion 
is to exist at all it can exist only by a constant passionate affirmation by 
the conscious self of its own meaning. This is the peculiarly religious 
activity which is faith— a term categorically distinct from "knowledge". 
What is also being suggested is that if faith is conceived as an intellectual 
judgment about the objective world or a super-objective world, then it 
is religiously a fraud, inasmuch as it is not an existential assertion but 
an intellectual judgment, not an activity of passion but a passivity of 
certitude, not religious but ethical and intellectual. 

This conception of history and of its relation to individual men is, of 
course, an "existential" conception. I am only too acutely aware of the 
difficulty of making clear this conception; the jargon of existential thought 
has as many limitations as it does possibilities for expression. But this 
seems to be the inescapable dilemma of any attempt to understand that 
which is more than a knowledge. Whether one expresses this conception 
of the individual and his relation to the world as a "despair" in which 
the individual "dies away from the world", or as a "revolt" in which 
the individual discovers his own unique value in opposition to the world, 
or as "self-affirmation", "willing oneself", or "choosing oneself", still the 
reahty in question is only imaginatively suggested and can serve merely 
as an invitation to the discovery of this reality in oneself. And the prob- 


lem of communicating this conception of things is as old as it is recent 
and suffers the same hmitations in the injunction that a man must "lose 
the world in order to gain his soul". The problem of existential expres- 
sion is the problem of religious expression: both are concerned with the 
same reality. And the contribution of existential philosophy to religion 
is precisely its insistence that the freedom of the conscious self is a reality, 
a subjective reality which is distinct and self-defining, and which is not 
to be subsumed under objective reality as a sub-species. If the realm of 
the self-conscious self is a real and yet a distinct component of human 
experience, then we have the possibility of discussing the religious life 
in respect to its real contribution to human experience and its real 
value as an effective force in history. It is this wider conception of reality 
that is assumed in our approach to the problem of meaning in history. 
Meaning is nothing more than the awareness of a relation, i.e., of a cor- 
respondence. The correspondence in question is that between two real- 
ities: the reality of the objective world and the reality of the subjective 
world of experience. If an individual is aware of the reality of his self- 
conscious existence, then he is in a position to judge whether this inner 
reality corresponds to the objective reality of experience, i.e., whether 
this objective reality is meaningful. It is my own understanding that 
this correspondence is, according to the dual nature of reality, impossible, 
and that the discovery of this incommensurability, between oneself and 
the objective world offers the occasion for a religious life in which the 
individual affirms his autonomous reality in spite of this lack of corres- 
pondence. In this tension with the world the individual increasingly 
defines the uniqueness of his nature and therefore draws the demand 
that he asserts into history in the effort of creation. Whatever more 
the religious Iffe may be, it is my conviction that this is its essential char- 
acter. It is a life which is true because it is difficult; and it is difficult 
because the truth is that the ulimate reality of the individual is related 
to the reality of his world only in freedom. Consequently, the true life 
can be lived only in the passionate affirmation of the sources of this 

So, then, if some of us have an aversion to circles it is only because 
the repetitiousness which we fear outside of us is but a reflection of 
that real fear of repetition and bondage within us. All of us should be 
able to say a few words in defense of the circle, inasmuch as the circu- 
larity of our history creates a kind of resentment within us which serves 
as a reminder of our freedom and of the ultimate responsibility which 
this imposes upon us. 


Apprehensions of Creation 

Clyde C. Smith, Chicago, Illinois 

What we know as Western thought may be considered a fusion of 
Hebrew rehgiousness and Greek speculation. It is an interesting observa- 
tion that these two aspects may be strikingly illustarted by a comparative 
study of the two languages. Whereas Greek is adapted for abstract 
thought by its profuseness of words of a modifying character which 
allow for all shades of meaning, Hebrew is adapted for poetry and picture 
painting— the rapid movement of events starkly presented. This economy 
of words common to the Hebrew of the Old Testament even flowed over 
into the Greek of the New Testament ( which with the common language 
of its day has long been distinguished from classical Greek by the 
epithet koine ) . 

Hebrew is an elemental earthy language which likes verbs, has few 
abjectives and even fewer abverbs. And there is a pliable character to 
its verbs wliich give them a moving qualit)^ The tenses of Hebrew 
verbs stand out in sharp contrast to the Indo-European usage (particu- 
larly noticeable in the Greek of the classical philosophers). Whereas 
tense in these languages regularly implies time— past, present, future; 
in Hebrew tense implies the extent of the completion of action irrespec- 
tive of past, present, or future. Thus the poets and prophets of Israel 
can conceive things which lie in the imaginable future as already accom- 
plished, and thus describe these events with the perfect (completed) 
tense. To the eyes of those who see the purpose of God in history, it is 
aheady as good as accomplished. Similarly, the recitation of the victor- 
ious acts of God which brought Israel into being may be achieved by 
using the imperfect (incompleted) tense, thus reliving in faith the 
glorious days of old. 

In the classical period of the Hebrew language there was no formal 
philosophical writing; there were philosophers in an elemental sense, 
but they were never systematic. It is the aspect of system which is the 
.contribution of the Greek side of our tradition. It would seem that for 
our philosophical insights from the Hebrew side of our tradition we must 
be satisfied with such general observations as these concerning the 
language ( particularly as it was used by the poet-prophets ) . 

However, it is precisely in the classical period of Hebrew history that 
we find the concern for creation— in the epics of the early nationalists and 
in the poetry of the prophetic monotheists. In all of these there is but 
one common reference: 

Sing to YHWH, for He has triumphantly triumphed; 
The horse and his charioteer He has thrown into the sea.^ 

In several ways it could be argued that the Exodus— the escape from 


Egypt by some segment, however small, of the total Semitic people 
known as Hebrews— was in Israel's history the creation story, for that 
escape made such a profound impression that it was remembered and 
celebrated in both personal consciousness and corporate cuJtus forever 
after. For in a real sense the writers proclaimed that this event was 
the creation of a new nation by YHWH, God of Israel. It is equally true 
that the account of the victory of YHWH over Pharoah parallels the 
type of conflict which lies at the root of many of the creation myths o£ 
the Near East. But in another sense the Hebrew writers know that 
this was not the creation, for the people remembered and adopted tales 
of their ancestors; or as we might say, as this people attempted to under- 
stand their particular election by their God, ancestors and ancestral 
covenants populated their heritage. 

Nevertheless, this historical event was the structure of experience 
which undergirded both the culture and the faith of this people. And it 
provided the impetus for their understanding of creation. Combining 
the sense of destiny implied by their election in the Exodus with the 
literary potentialities of their language, the writers of the Old Testament 
—whoever they were, individuals or groups, creating independently or 
recording oral tradition— produced the basic insight that "In the begin- 
ning God created the heavens and the earth." 

This insight has stood as true for nearly the whole of Western Chi-istian 
civilization. What has complicated this insight are the questions: What 
is the nature of this God? and. Of what did this kind of God create this 
kind of World? It is my conviction that the Hebrews never systematically 
answered either of these questions, although in dealing in later Judaism 
with the problem of theodicy they did raise the former one. The latter 
would appear to reflect Greek influence. 

Hebrew culture was constantly under the impact of its contempor- 
aries, while Hebrew faith, because of the efforts of both prophets and 
priests, was perennially given new content in order to meet the demands 
of the changing cultural environment. That this latter could occur 
illustrates the understanding of creation which they had derived from 
the redemptive act of God in the Exodus. Both creation and redemption 
were modes of affirming the freedom of God in history. This is the 
freedom to "do a new thing". The Spirit which moved "over the face of 
the waters" symbolizes this creative freedom. 

The contrasting character of Greek thought with respect to creation 
has been indicated by Whitehead: "Both for Plato and for Aristotle the 
process of the actual world has been conceived as a real incoming of 
forms into real potentiality, issuing into that real togetherness which 
is the actual thing."2 What this seems to indicate in the Greek mode of 
thought is the primacy of order or the structure of God. 


Greek philosophical speculation concerning creation, like the Hebrew 
religious insight, is rooted in the myth-complex of dim antiquity. In the 
ancient Greek myths creation is a sort of by-product of the generation of 
the gods. The only active principles would seem to be Eros, and perhaps 
Strife. In any case at the beginning there was Chaos, and whether by 
Oedipean conflict of the gods who were generated or by the action of 
Eros, from this primeval abyss some stability was achieved. At least the 
movement was in the direction of order, which is the suggestion of Plato 
in the Timaeus: 

Let me tell you then why the Creator made this world of genera- 
tion. He was good, and the good can never have any jealousy of 
anything. And being free from jealousy, he desired that all things 
should be as like himself as they could be. This is in the truest 
sense the origin of creation and of the world, as we shall do well 
in believing on the testimony of wise men: God desired that all 
things should be good and nothing bad, so far as this was attainable. 
Wherefore finding the whole of what was visible not at rest, but 
moving in an irregular and disorderly fashion, out of disorder he 
brought order, considering that this was in every way better than 
the other.3 
What this discussion points us to is a possible Christian theological 
alternative to the understanding of creation which has prevailed through 
most of the history of Christian thought. This tradition has aflBrmed that 
God created all that exists out of nothing, and at the same time denied 
that He is also the source of evil. The alternative is rooted in the 
prophetic awareness which was rejected by "normative Judaism" and 
classical Christianity, but which is the heart of the Christian kerygma— 
that creation can be affirmed because of redemption, and that redemption 
is new creation. The creation of God wa.s good, but it was not good 
enough. God as the integrity of structure and freedom is ever creating— 
not new worlds, but a new World. And His creation is the Spirit's work 
of grace and judgment ever in the midst of individual lives and collective 

We are not here attempting to avoid the questions which have com- 
plicated the rehgious insight of God's creative activity. But in the manner 
of the Hebrews we are trying to indicate that creation has significance for 
man only in terms of man. The poem which stands at the beginning of 
the Bible— both Old and New Testaments— concludes creation with man. 
Theologically the concern for creation begins with man. For man with 
his symbolic ability is the only creature who can ask the question of 
his own origin. The World in which he finds himself, and the same 
World which lies in the pre-human past, is his given. Man lives in a 
World which includes him; behind that he cannot probe. He can only 


affirm in faith on the basis of the newness in his own Hfe that "In the 
beginning God created the heavens and the earth." 

To this general Bibhcal apprehension, Christian theology adds one 
thing— that the Word which gave structure to God's freedom in the 
activity of creation also entered into the life of the creation in the form 
of a man, and that through his God works to reconcile the World unto 
Himself. Why the need of reconciliation? The creation endowed man 
with freedom— the image of his Creator. But in contrast to God man 
received a finite structure. The integrity of freedom and infinite struc- 
ture is the mysterious nature of God. That man must struggle for an 
integrity of freedom with a finite structure is the risk of creation and the 
adventure of living. 

1 Exodus 15:21, personal translation. 

2 A. N. Whitehead, Process and Reality (New York: The Social Science Book Store, 1929), 
p. 147. 

3 Plato, Timaeus, trans, by B. Jowett (New York: The Liberal Arts Press, 1949), p. 13 
Steph. 30). 

Meditation of An Adjunct 

F. E. Davison, South Bend, Indiana 

What does "adjunct" mean? Webster says: "another things," "an 
accessory," "an appendage". I suppose then, I am to be another gadget 
that Eureka College is to endure— an "accessory" like a cigar lighter in 
a car— but an "appendage"? Does that mean surgery? Perhaps so- 
after a few weeks. 
First Week: 

My learned friends knew I was allergic to work. Why did they let 
me get into this job? These students— they act like they expect something 
from me! Just wait until I unload my outlined lectures to them! 
Second Week: 

Well, those lectures are unloaded. Now what? That class in "Survey 
of the Bible" meets for two hours a day, five days a week. That means 
another 40 lectures. Why didn't I take a course hke this when I was 
in college or seminary? Then I could have handed the class my musty 
notes. In the courses I took, ten or twelve weeks were spent trying to 
decide whether Luke wrote Acts, or someone else by the name of Luke. 
Third Week: 

This is interesting! I believe by giving it 15 hours a day I will know 
something about the Bible. At least I'll make the students do some 
research and thereby teach me a thing or two. These Old Testament 
characters are fuU of life and meaning. Why haven't I preached more 
sermons about them? 


Fourth Week: 

Tomorrow I will ask each of three different groups to pantomine some 
Old Testament incidents to see if the other two groups can guess the 
incident and give the details. Now it is tomorrow. We are out in the 
outdoor theater. The pantomine is on. What are those fellows doing 
down on all fours in the bushes? Yonder comes a man down the hill 
looking in every direction. He meets another man and they have panto- 
mine conservation. The second man takes the tall brother back to the 
bushes to show him the two hiding there. It now begins to dawn on 
even the professor. It is Saul, son of Kish, looking for his father's 
asses. That is one Old Testament story that will not be forgotten. 

Fifth Week: 

Mid term exam is over— a stiff one, it was. Students made good grades, 
too. After grading papers for 3 hours I am beginning to feel like a 
full-blown professor. Must get them started on New Testament this 
week. Interpreter's Bible a great help to the students and a life-saver 
for the professor. Thank God I have a class that now can name the books 
of the Bible forwards and backwards, and can quote from memory many 
choice passages of Scripture. I was determined to get even with the 
professors who never made me memorize Scripture— only historical 

Sixth Week: 

My time at Chapel this week. Do I have what it takes? Since I am 
only an "adjunct", believe I will wade in on some things that need to 
be said to youth today. It's over and I did not get mobbed. Went to 
faculty meeting last night. After sitting still (approximately so) for 45 
minutes, it suddenly dawned on me that I had graduated from official 
board meetings. The TV was more interesting but less important. 

Seventh Week: 

Believe I will show my students the dramatic possibilities of the Book 
of Acts. They respond by writing and presenting at Chapel, a moving 
dramatization under the title "Christianity's Hall of Fame". They decide 
to mimeograph copies for use in some of their youth groups at the home 
church and maybe at summer camp. 

Eighth Week: 

The end is not far! What a wonderful fellowship with the finest 
faculty that could be found anywhere. My students are now more like a 
part of my family. I will hate to leave them and will follow with great 
interest their future developments. What will they do to me when they 
read their final exam question— viz— "Write a Short Story of the Bible"? 
They did it. The lowest grade given was a B and three merited an 


Ninth Week: 

It is Commencement time. Privileged for the first time to march in 
the processional as a college professor. Was instructed by the Dean 
to wear my cap until I stood at the podium for the Commencement 
Prayer, and then remove the cap. When the prayer was over, my cap 
was still on my head. I talked it over with the Lord and He forgave 
me for that breach of reverence, but I am not sure the faculty over- 
looked the fluff. 

Was asked to sign a contract for next Fall with my salary doubled. 
Since I was there for my room and board, I decided I could not eat 
twice as much next year. I told President Langston and Dean Noe that 
I am these days trying to run away from work instead of running into it. 

It was fun! I was work! It was rewarding! It was youth-restoring! 
It was also revealing to see one of our worthy Church Colleges making 
brick without straw— or rather, developing church leaders without the 
funds necessary for such an important task. 

Christian Unity and Disciples 
Of Christ: A Review 

Irvin E. Lunger, Lexington, Kentucky 
Christian Unity and Disciples of Christ by Winfred E. Garrison 
is an important contribution both to the Disciples and to the ecumenical 
movement. It not only helps Disciples understand their historic and con- 
temporary relationship with the ecumenical movement and guides them 
as they confront their own problems and opportunities in this area, it 
provides, as well, an interpretation of the Disciples' interest and par- 
ticipation in the movement which other communions may study with 
profit. Furthermore, it sets a pattern which, if followed by other com- 
munions, would contribute greatly both to mutual understanding and to 
creative advance in Christian unity. 

This book is the result of a conviction on the part of members of the 
Council on Christian Unity of Disciples of Christ that the cause of 
Christian unity would be furthered if each communion were to examine 
itself in light of the ecumenical ideal and produce an objective report 
and analysis of its historical involvement in the ecumenical movement 
and an appraisal of the manner in which current problems might be 
solved withot violating the integrity of each communion's historic pur- 
poses and principles. Since little had been done in this area, the Council 
on Christian Unity in October, 1953, took the initiative and appointed 
a committee to define the nature of the study to be undertaken, to secure 
a, publisher, and to commission an author. The committee named con- 


sisted of Ronald E. Osborn, H. L. Smith and Irvin E. Lunger, chairman. 

Once clarification of the project had been completed, the committee 
found in Wilbur E. Cramblet, president of the Christian Board of Pub- 
lication, one who shared its conviction and enthusiasm and who offered 
to accept with the Council on Christian Unity the cost of publication. 
Dr. Cramblet was in hearty agreement with the committee that the author 
should be Winfred E. Garrison, able Disciples historian and distin- 
guished participant in many ecumenical conferences and councils. Al- 
though Dr. Garrison was carrying a full academic load as professor of 
philosophy and religion at the University of Houston while continuing 
his work as literary editor of The Christian Century, he agreed to post- 
pone work on a book he was then writing to accept responsibility for 
authorship of the proposed book on the Disciples and Christian Unity. 
He began his work on this volume late in 1953 and Christian Unity 
AND Disciples of Christ was published early in 1955. It might have 
been completed earlier but it was the author's desire to wait until after 
the Evanston meeting of the World Council of Churches before finishing 
his work in order that it might be more comprehensive and relevant. 

In the year which has passed since the publication of Christian Unity 
AND Disciples of Christ*, the significance of the work had been widely 
recognized by Disciples and with increasing appreciation by members 
of other communions interested in Christian Unity. With this volume 
Disciples say, "Here is the record of our history and purpose and a frank 
statement of the problems of Chi'istian unity as we see them," and ask 
of the other communions, "What is yours?" As scholars of other ecumen- 
ically-minded church bodies prepare their own record, a new era of 
understanding and progress in cooperation and unity is heralded. 

Dr. Garrison prefaces his book with a study of the rise of the denom- 
inationahsm which divided Christendom and set Christian against Chris- 
tian in the years culminating with the nineteenth century. He then traces 
the rise of the modern ecumenical movement— a movement which "is 
new, because it is the quest for a kind of unity the Church never had 
before— at least not since the Apostolic Age— and under conditions which 
did not exist until modern times. It is an attempt," he declares, "to 
reunite a Church which has already become divided, and to attain this 
reunion in a free world in which the old instruments of compulsion and 
suppression can no longer be used and are generally recognized as being 
inconsistent with the spirit of Christianity as well as the rights of man." 

While recognizing that the quest for Christian unity was not the only 
concern of the two great movements which produced the Disciples of 
Christ— the Stone movement and the Campbell movement, Dr. Garrison 

♦Bethany Press (St. Louis, Mo.) 
Library of Congress Catalog Number: 55-9664 


reveals the depth of tliis concern in his excellent treatment of the early- 
history of the brotherhood. The founding fathers, the author makes clear, 
were not only reacting against the sectarian bickerings which the denom- 
inational system tended to foster but were striving for a united church 
by virtue of a deep-seated conviction that the church is "essentially, 
intentionally and constitutionally one." This unity, they felt, could be 
realized if all Cliristians were ready and willing to obey the divine com- 
mands explicitly given in the Scriptures and to grant freedom in scrip- 
tural interpretation. Excellent documentation both in the text and in the 
appendix enhance the value of this chapter for the reader and student. 

Turning from the initial thrust of the Disciples in the direction of 
Christian union, the author traces the events which led to a temporary 
eclipse of the unity ideal. While protesting that they were but organiz- 
ing their beliefs and practices to hasten the achievement of their ultimate 
objective, the Disciples succumbed to many of the features of the 
denominational pattern. However, the passion for cooperation and unity 
could not be denied. In chapters on "Adventures in Cooperation" and 
"Federation: Councils of Churches", Dr. Garrison details the participa- 
tion of Disciples in programs and agencies dedicated to cooperation and 
federation. Names and enterprises are given and the reader thrills with 
pride as the contribution of Disciples to ecumenical life and work is 

Recognizing that the modern ecumenical movement grew out of a 
discovery that a divided Christendom could not cope with a pagan 
environment. Dr. Garrison points out that it was the Disciples' historic 
plea rather than their discovery of a need for unity on the foreign field 
which was instrumental in their sharing in programs of comity, coopera- 
tion and unity both at home and abroad. 

The emergence of the Council on Christian unity— known from 1913 
to 1954 as the Association for the Promotion of Christian Unity— and 
the outstanding contribution it has made to the clarification of ecumenical 
objectives and to the advance toward unity are made the subject of 
another chapter in this volume. How the Council on Cliristian Unity 
has assisted the Brotherhood in study, representation and implementation 
in the area of Christian unity is carefully traced. The recognition by 
Disciples that "Christian unity is our business" makes the role of the 
Council a crucial one in our time. 

The development of the modern ecumenical movement from Edin- 
burgh in 1910 to Evanston in 1954 is made the basis of an informative 
chapter in which the immediate background of ecumenical activity as 
we now confront it is provided. This concise summary and brilliant 
interpretation will prove highly enlightening to the reader both because 
of the information provided and because of the knowledge that the 


author was himself an active participant in the movement in this crucial 
period of its development. 

Before considering the ecumenical movement since Evanston, Dr. 
Garrison pauses to examine the "history of unity and division within 
the ranks of the Disciples themselves, and a survey of their testimony 
for the union cause through preaching and print." In these two chapters, 
the internal schisms which have plagued the Disciples are examined 
and the results assessed. The voice of the pulpit and the writings of 
editors and authors are also recorded as thev gave expression to the 
concern for Christian unity. In these pages history becomes alive and 
the participants in the struggle for unity stand forth vividly in the con- 
text of great events and ministries. 

Two over-arching questions are confronted by the author in the con- 
cluding pages: What kind of united church do the Disciples want? 
What are they willing to do in order that there may be such a united 
church with themselves in it? These are fundamental questions and 
the answers Dr. Garrison proposes are both enlightening and provoca- 
tive. While the author modestly recognizes that the answers he suggests 
are those of but one among many Disciples, the reader will immediately 
sense the honesty of his search for answers which are consistent with 
the nature of Christianity and with the principles by which the Disciples 
have been guided when they have been at their best. With profit to 
themselves and to the brotherhood, ministers and laymen may accept 
these questions and the author's answers as the basis for discussion and 
study. The problem is both that of understanding ourselves in light of 
historic principles and that of appraising what we, as a people, can 
and cannot do in ecumenical discussion and compromise. 

Of great value to the reader who wishes to inform himself and to 
stTidents who seek guidance for further study is the bibliography of 
Chi-istian unity— listing books and pamphlets on this subject by Disciples 
—which follows the appendix at the close of the book. The author and 
Claude E. Spencer, curator of the Disciples of Christ Historical Society, 
v^orked together in preparing this valuable catalogue. 

This, then, is the scope of Christian Unity and Disciples of Cheist. 
Its sweep includes the backgrounds of denominationalism which called 
forth the ecumenical movement, the history of the ecumenical movement 
itself, the critical examination of the history and principles of the Dis- 
ciples of Christ as they relate to Christian unity, and a thoughtful exam- 
ination of problems which confront the Disciples in their participation 
in further ecumencal life and work. The book gives the reader no feeling 
that the author is boasting of the Disciples or claiming uncritical acclaim 
for their accomplishments in the field of Christian unity. An author, 


accepting so large an assignment, must select from many facts, events 
and personal and organizational successes and failures. Dr. Garrison 
has selected wisely and with faithfulness— letting history speak rather 
than putting words in its mouth. 

The purpose of Christian Unity and Disciples of Christ is not to 
glorify the past or claim laurels for yesterday's accomplishments. It is 
to prepare Disciples to face intelligently and with Christian grace the 
challenge which the ecumenical movement presents in our time. It is 
ours now to prove ourselves faithful to our heritage and imaginative and 
courageous in the face of new opportunity for the achievement of Chris- 
tian unity. Our ultimate fidelity is not to our particular communion nor 
is it to our generation in this hour of ecumenical advance— it is to Jesus 
Christ whose prayer it was that his followers might be one. 

THE SCROLL, the Bulletin of the Campbell Institute, published quar- 
terly in July, October, January, and April. 

The Campbell Institute, founded in 1896, is an association for minis- 
ters and layinen of the Disciples of Christ for the encouragement of 
scholarship, comradeship, and intelligent discipleship. 

OFFICERS 1955-1956 
President: B. F. Burns, Oak Park, Illinois 
Vice-President: P. H. Beckelhymer, Hiram, Ohio 
Treasurer: J. J. VanBoskirk, Chicago, Illinois 
Recording Secretary: W. B. Blakemore, Chicago, Illinois 

The Officers of the Institute 

The Dues of the Campbell Institute are $2.00 per year, including sub- 
scription to the Scroll. 

Correspondence, manuscripts, and membership dues should be sent 
to the address of the Campbell Institute which is 1156 East 57th St., 
Chicago 37, Illinois. 


The Journal of the Campbell Institute 

Bert C. Willioms 


Stephen J. Corey Manuscript 


A. T. DeGroot 

W. Barnett Blakemore 

John Long 



Winter, 1957 

No. 3 

On Losing One's Fai 

Bert C. Williams 

(Each year the Seniors in Chapman College invite their "favorite Pro- 
fessor" to impart some "words of wisdom" to them on the occasion of 
their last Convocation as students in Chapman. Dr. Bert C. Williams 
was invited to address this Convocation in 1956. Below are the provoca- 
tive words which he set before his senior students.— Ed. ) 

It is with a great deal of humility that I stand on this platform at the 
Senior Convocation. I cannot but recall who stood in this place last year 
on this occasion— Dr. Gay who with his wide range of learning, his 
catholic spirit, his subtle sense of humor, yes, with his occasional absent- 
mindedness and professorial eccentricities was for both his students and 
colleagues Mr. College Professor. You of the Senior class, who are re- 
sponsible for this year's speaker, mav have much to answer for— vou 
have been asked to deliver bread and have brought forth a stone, been 
asked for fish and have produced a serpent. One but hopes for our 
mutual sakes that even clods and reptiles may be the temporary media 
for the communication of truth. 

In some sense I have to speak for my colleagues of the faculty. Un- 
fortunately they do not all speak with one voice on most crucial matters, 
and if I were to seek a common denominator in all of our opinions I 
would find myself uttering universal superficialities. Hence, I must be 
true to myself and say what I think and feel— trusting that in what I 
mirror forth my colleagues may catch some glimpse of what they would 
want to have said in such an hour. 

If I were compelled to append a title to mv remarks it might be "On 
Losing One's Faith." Periodically in my own teaching experience I have 
heard what goes on in academic halls of learning questioned or attacked 
as endangering or causing students to lose their faith. I'm here to confess 
that this is true— that there is a conspiracy here and in other free insti- 
tutions of learning across the world to cause people to lose their faith. 
Now, on the surface this sounds like a horrible admission— one which 
in earlier ages would have led the self-appointed guardians of truth to 
begin gathering the fagots preparatory to staging the immolation scene 
of another heretic— or in more kindlv latter days would bring forth an 
investigation committee and a loyalty oath or a dismissal notice. But to 
take this surface view is to miss completely the point that losing one's 
faith rather regularly is a necessary pre-requisite to growing up. I recall 

my own undergraduate years here at Chapman. I lost mv taitli reg- 
ularly each year— but always lost it to find it in a full understanding. So 
it was during five years of graduate school— I got shelled out of trench 
after trench— but found that this was the means whereby I was able to 
advance to more adequate knowledge. So it was also in the three years 
between the end of formal schooling and coming to the staff here. During 
these crucial years from 1940 to 1943 I lost faith in a vast number of 
things— including on more than one occasion faith in myself. There were 
the dark nights of the soul when all cows were black, when one looked 
before and after and sighed for what was not. Then during the 13 years 
iit Chapman what haven't I lost— rather regularly I have not onlv lost 
my faith, but also my temper, my mind, and my shirt. But these exper- 
iences of loss have never been just loss— in fact only through losing my 
faith have I been able to find it. I expect to go on losing my faith until 
the day I die. Regularly on Sunday mornings I lose my faith— faith 
that I'm a pretty decent sort of person, faith that I'm always right and 
the other fellow is wrong, faith that I am indispensable, faith that mv 
denomination, class, race, or nation has all the answers that the rest of 
the world (lost in sin and error) is expectantly waiting for. 

But— unfortunately, at least from my point of view, there are some who 
see only the lost part of this growth process. They are apparently afraid 
that in this growth process certain values will be lost. They seem to 
believe that they have to preserve some faith once for all delivered to 
the saints. Faith seems to them to be some sacred body of knowledge or 
emotional fervor that must be "cabined, cribbed, and confined" lest it 
be lost. But to try to take anything that is dynamic such as a truth- 
seeking mind or a dedicated spirit and to try to define or protect it by 
putting it in swaddling clothes is apt to sufiocate and destroy what is 
living and vital in it. 

A current version of this fear that I have run into several times this 
year in connection with our own academic community is that some of 
our students are losing the "conference spirit." For the benefit of the non- 
elect or Philistines among us may I say that the term "conference" refers 
to a summer camping experience under church auspices for students of 
high school age. The period provides rich opportunities for learning and 
fellowship and is often climaxed by an emotive experience of dedication. 
The resultant high enthusiasm and emotive fervor for high ideals is what 
is perhaps meant by the "conference spirit." But if I have learned any- 
thing from Psychology it is that our emotional states ( especially those of 
adolescence) are marked by their transiency and impermanence. It is 
impossible to maintain a constant glow— the vision comes and goes like 
the sun on a cloudy day. It is seen from various perspectives and not 

always with the acute fever-pitch of the initial moment. This experience 
must be lost— not in the sense of being destroved— but in being made an 
ingredient in a greater understanding. Failure to encourage this larger 
growth is to condemn the student to a perpetual high school adolescent 
religiosity built on bubbles— bubbles that though beautiful and high- 
flying have an inherent tendency to fade and die. 

I do not know whether we at Chapman College have always lived up 
to our responsibility in this regard. A letter from the Dean of a graduate 
school in one of the great universities of the world— a graduate school to 
which a number of our students have gone— contains this evaluation of 
those students: "Many of them have commented that while they were at 
Chapman they appreciated the idea that "Chapman is just like confer- 
ence all year long." Now they wish that "Chapman had been like college 
all year round." They would appreciate more of a balance between the 
excellent fellowship and the academic drive. I hope that for your sakes 
that this criticism is not too true, but I fear that we may be tempted to 
do more to preserve and encourage excellent fellowship than to preserve 
and encourage the academic drive. 

This leads us on to the consideration of the very purpose and nature 
of a college. To my way of thinking it is a community of seekers— a com- 
munity of those devoted not solely to the appreciation and preservation 
of the past, but dedicated to the discovery of greater truth. It is a com- 
munity of those who do not believe that all truth has been found in any 
area— who refuse to invest any particular statement, book, creed, institu- 
tion, or person with finality or infallibility. It should be a community of 
those who are completely dedicated to the best that they know but be- 
lieve that there is a better-to-be-known in all areas. Persons in such a 
community should be doubters and sceptics in the sense that they sus- 
pend judgment and question all assumptions and conclusions, so that 
each one will be forced to justify itself before the bar of critical analysis. 
Now such attitudes are never apt to win friends or to influence people 
among that segment of society that believes that it has the truth. 

The classic example, of course, in this regard was Socrates. Socrates 
asked questions of those who thought they knew it all and showed them 
up for the ignoramuses they were. He described his calling as that of a 
midwife. He looks not after bodies in labor but souls in labor and ex- 
amines the product which is brought forth to see whether it is "a false 
idol or a noble and true birth." In his task of spiritual obstetrics, which 
he practiced with the instruments of questioning, he found many who 
thought that they were pregnant with a great conception but who upon 
examination were found to be troubled with a mere "wind-egg" or, as 
we should say, many so-called authorities are simply full of hot-air, and it 


requires only the pin-prick of a well-chosen question to cut them down 
to size. But, finally, enough of these punctured authorities were able to 
get together and to bring a trumped-up case against Socrates. He was 
accused of atheism and of corrupting the youth, and despite his brilliant 
self-defense was found guilty and sentenced to death. However, before 
he left the scene of the trial he made some pertinent remarks about his 

"Men of Athens, I honor and love you; but I shall obey God rather 
than you, and while I have life and strength I shall never cease from 
the practice and teaching of Philosophy, exhorting any one whom I 
meet ... I proceed to interrogate and examine and cross-examine him, 
and if I think he has no virtue in him, but only says that he has, I 
reproach him with undervaluing the greater and overvaluing the less 
... I am a sort of gadfly, given to the state by God; and the state is 
a great and noble steed who is tardy in his motions owing to his very 
size and requires to be stirred into life. I am that gadfly which God 
has attached to the state, and all day long and in all places am always 
fastening upon you, arousing and persuading and reproaching you . . . 
I tell you that to do as you say would be a disobedience to God, and 
therefore I cannot hold my tongue. Daily to discourse about virtue, 
and about those other things about which you hear me examining my- 
self and others is the greatest good of man. The unexamined life is 
not worth living ... In another world I shall be able to continue my 
search into true and false knowledge; as in this world so also in the 
next ... In another world they do not put a man to death for asking 
questions: assuredly not." 

What a tremendous idea of heaven— a place where inquiry and teaching 
can go on without any restrictions. 

Socrates' life and death was duplicated in many ways four hundred 
years later by an itinerant religious teacher who even at the age of 
twelve was found in the seats of learning asking questions, who later in 
his short ministry because of his analytic ability to cut through to the 
heart of things was accused of destroying the law and the prophets, and 
who on his last day of life declared in a Roman court that he had come 
into the world to bear witness unto the truth. The movement which grew 
out of the life and message of this itinerant teacher was propagated by a 
certain Paul of whom it was said "these that have turned the world upside 
down are come hither also." This Paul had a dynamic conception of 
truth, suggesting in one of his best-known writings that when he was a 
child he thought like a child but that when he became a man he put 

away childish modes of thought. He himself suggested a critical and ex- 
perimental approach to knowledge when in a letter he wrote: "Prove all 
things; hold fast that which is good." The last book of the writings which 
describe the first century of this new movement is unfortunately named 
"Revelation" which suggests some fixed and final word. But study of the 
book shows that it talks about "a new heaven and a new earth," tells of 
the passing away of the first heaven and earth along with all former 
things, and ends with a great voice proclaiming "Behold I make all 
things new." The Bible and the biblical faith does not end with Revela- 
tion—rather it seems to end with Revolution. It ends not with approval 
of the things which are, but in a doubting, questioning mood that looks 
forward to drastic growth and change. 

One of my favorite persons in the Middle Ages, though never canon- 
ized by the Church, is Abelard who daringly in an age that hallowed 
tradition and revelation, showed no respect for authority. He criticized 
misstatements in the Bible and questioned the infallibility of the prophets 
and apostles. He made a compilation of statements drawn from the 
church fathers showing that they did not agree on many points of the 
faith. His purpose in this compilation was to incite the questioning at- 
titude among his students. He was not afraid of questions and doubts 
but openly declared: "For by doubting we come to inquiry, by inquiry 
we discover the truth." 

The father of modern philosophy, Rene Descartes, was aware of the 
methodological value of doubt. Descartes started by challenging all the 
truths accepted by his contemporaries. His doubt was not, however, an 
end in itself— it was a means, a process of purification, a way of eliminat- 
ing various falsehoods with the ultimate objective of arriving at unshake- 
able foundations of truth. Thus his method of doubt was a solvent both 
of rigid dogmatism with its blind acceptance of tradition and authority 
and also of weak, capricious, and whimsical scepticisms. A type of false 
intellectual pride that is better described as flaunting, vociferous un- 
belief. For Descartes' doubt was tentative, provisional, and had the func- 
tional purpose of ending in greater and more firmly established knowl- 

The one modern philosopher who has exerted most influence on my 
own thinking has been Hegel. Those of you who sojourned with me have 
heard me quote again and again his aphorism, "The true is the whole." 
For Hegel every point of view is limited. Thought must drive on from 
any point of view which it assumes or starts with to an opposed point 
of view so that the relation between them generates a new insight. We 
must always consider the seriousness of the negative so that we do not 

rest content with what is present but see and critically interpret it in terms 
of what is absent, or omitted, or overlooked, or not yet developed. Truth 
is not a final result but a dynamic process in which partial insights are 
not lost or canceled out but are included in a higher, more comprehen- 
sive, and richer concept. 

Now let's bring this down where you seniors and the rest of us are. 
As students and teachers in an academic community our primary concern 
is with growth. But growth is a dangerous process. As Nietzsche has 
Zarathustra say, "Man is a rope over an abyss. He is a bridge and not a 
goal. A dangerous crossing, a dangerous wayfaring, a dangerous looking- 
back, a dangerous trembling and halting." Man as he is is not the end. 
but a means to a greater end— man as he might be if he is willing to be 
a creator of new values. But growth means the jeopardizing of certain 
cherished values for the sake of some greater value which lies ahead, re- 
mote and uncertain. Socrates on the day of his execution has no fear 
of death since he says : "The true philosophers are always occupied in the 
practice of dying."— that is they have always been willing to give up, 
surrender present goods in the quest for more comprehensive and higher 
goods. Perhaps here is another meaning to the expression used by Clirist- 
ians "taking up the^ cross." That this process of growth does involve 
risk, sacrifice, and perhaps suftering— but without risk of present security 
there can not be realization of greater goodness. 

The real tragedy that may occur in any of our lives is not the losing of 
our faith, not the taking up the cross, not the practice of dying. The real 
tragedy is not to lose our faith, not to take up our cross, not to practice 
dying— but to be at ease in Zion, to be satisfied, to be smug and content, 
to have arrived— to let the good become the enemy of the better and the 
best, to let the neat conveniences of life block the path to the creative 
uncertainties, to let the smaller loves stand in the way of the greater 
love. Of such who have allowed their fear of sacrifice to imprison them 
Zarathustra laments: 

"Alas! there cometh a time when man will no longer launch the arrow 
of his longing beyond man— and the string of his bow will have un- 
learned to whizz! I tell you: one must still have chaos in one, to give 
birth to a dancing star. Alas! There cometh the time of the most 
despicable man, who can no longer despise himself." 

In an address to graduating seniors former President Robert Mc- 
Hutchens of the University of Chicago spoke these words which sum up 
the real tragedy latent in our lives: 

"I am not worried about your economic future. I am worried about 
your morals. My experience and observation lead me to warn you that 


the greatest, the most insidiious, the most paralyzing danger you will 
face is the danger of corruption. Time will corrupt you. Your friends, 
your wives, or husbands, your business or professional associates will 
corrupt you; your social, political, and financial ambitions will corrupt 
you. The worst thing about life is that it is demoralizing. "Getting on" 
is the great American aspiration. And here the demoralizing part comes 
in: The way to get on is to be "safe", to be "sound", to be agreeable, 
to be inoflFensive, to have no views on important matters not sanc- 
tioned by the majority, by your superiors, or by your group. Do not let 
"practical" men tell you that you should surrender your ideals because 
they are impractical. If, come what may, you hold them fast, you will 
do honor to yourself, and to your college, and you will serve your 

So our one word more to you graduating seniors as well as to us who 
remain is that we cultivate and retain the fine art of losing our faith, 
that we do not seek to perpetuate childishness or adolescence in any area 
of life, but that we grow continually into a fuller maturity. That we 
reject finality and infallibility in all areas and seek ever for greater truths. 
That like Socrates we practice spiritual obstetrics on those who claim 
that they have knowledge to see whether they are pregnant with a 
great conception or whether they are only gas bags full of hot air. Like 
Socrates let's be gadflies and attach ourselves to our churches, schools, 
unions, professional societies, political parties, social organizations, legis- 
lative bodies and sting them by our questions into awareness of what 
they ought to be doing. May we be found not only in the academic halls, 
but in the temples, shops, offices, legislative chambers, and homes asking 
questions— seeking out of loyalty to an ideal of fuller truth to set a world 
right side up. May we with Abelard and Descartes discover the method- 
ological value of doubt which leads to inquiry and fuller knowledge. 
With Hegel may we discover the seriousness of the negative and look 
upon questions, differences, and doubts as a challenge that there is more 
to be learned than we or anyone else yet knows. Let's be willing to 
commit ourselves to the dangerous and risky business of surpassing the 
good values that we know in search of the better and the best. Let's 
retain the creative chaos within us, the divine discontent that leads us 
to despise our little selves. Let us give birth to a dancing star. 

An Excerpt From 'Tifty Years 
Of Attack And Controversy'' 

Stephen J. Corey 

During this period, early in the century, J. W. McGarvey, President of 
the College of the Bible of Lexington, Kentucky, was a regular contrib- 
utor to the CHRISTIAN STANDARD. He conducted a department of 
biblical criticism. He was a recognized scholar and an outstanding teach- 
er but was very conservative in his personal views. He became quite 
vitriolic in the recurring attacks on this regular weekly page of his in the 
CHRISTIAN STANDARD with anyone disagreeing in the least with 
the more conservative view in theology. President McGarvey was op- 
posed to instrumental music in the churches, as were many of the earlier 
leaders of our churches, but did not make this view a point of contention. 
He had left the Broadway Christian Church of Lexington, Kentucky, 
when the organ was introduced in the church worship and had joined the 
Chestnut Street Church of that city ("Brother McGarvey" by W. C. 
Morro, p. 223). 

During this period, Professor McGarvey and the CHRISTIAN STAN- 
DARD discovered that there was an organization of ministers among the 
Disciples of Christ called the "Campbell Institute." This was a small 
group of young men who had gone beyond the college course and the 
biblical training provided for Disciples and had taken university gradu- 
ate and seminary studies. At that time our Bible Colleges did not offer 
what is now termed graduate work. That is, the ministerial course was 
combined with college instruction. There was no plan to take students 
beyond college graduation into studies for graduate degrees like the 
Master of Arts or the Bachelor of Divinity. Therefore, quite a number 
af Disciples, feeling the need of further training, availed themselves of 
graduate studies in other ministerial training centers, such as Yale, Har- 
vard, Union, Rochester, Chicago, and Princeton, where a three year 
seminary course was offered. 

There was quite a group of these men in the early years. The number 
included Henry Lawrence Atkinson, Edward Scribener Ames, Miner Lee 
Bates, Levi S. Batman, Jesse C. Caldwell, Hall L. Calhoun, George A. 
Campbell, A. L. Chapman, Stephen E. Corey, Edgar F. Daughert\% G. 
D. Edwards, James Egbert, Edwin R. Errett, John Ray Ewers, A. W. 
Fortune, Charles A. Freer, W. E. Garrison, John Parish Givens, J. H. 


Goldner, T. J. Golightly, F. F. Grim, Edward A. Henry, Austin Hunter, 
Burris Jenkins, Frederick D. Kershner, Clinton Lockhart, Levi Marshall, 
George A. Miller, Raphael H. Miller, Herbert Moninger, E. E. Moorman, 
W. C. Morro, William Oeschger, Wallace C. Payne, Allan B. Philputt, 
James M. Philputt, Perry O. Powell, H. O. Pritchard, Perry J. Rice, Henry 
Barton Robison, W. F. Rothenburger, Carlos C. Rowlison, Joselph A. 
Serena, Harry D. Smith, E. E. Snoddy, Alva W. Taylor, Hiram Van Kirk, 
Baxter Waters, Charles M. Watson, L. N. D. Wells, Herbert L. Willett, 
Charles A. Young, and many others later on. 

A small group had been formed for mutual help, extension of reading 
and fellowship. That was in 1896 at Springfield, Illinois. The group of 
14 charter members, two of whom are still living, was named the Camp- 
bell Institute. It was a free assembly where the members felt uncon- 
strained. Intellectual and theological issues were discussed with complete 
freedom. It was a helpful society of mutual understanding. Some of the 
men were quite liberal in their views, others were very conservative. 
This made no difference in the fellowship of the group. The Campbell 
Institute meetings were as free as the air in their open discussion. 

In an issue of the CHRISTIAN STANDARD (November 10, 1906, 
p. 1697), President McGarvey wrote an attack on the Campbell Institute 
and its monthly magazine called THE SCROLL (successor to THE 
lished by the Institute, beginning in September, 1906. In the attack, on 
his page of "Biblical Criticism" he said that writers of THE SCROLL 
were "inspired by the three evil spirits of evolution, higher criticsm and 
the new theology." Adverse discussion of evolution and higher criticism 
was quite popular then. 

An interesting incident occurred in connection with this attack by 
President McGarvey. Aside from his page of "Biblical Criticism", with 
numerous attacks on the Institute, the Christian Standard had editorials 
excoriating this so-called "high-brow" group. Before publishing one of 
Mr. Garvey's denunciations, (Nov. 24, 1906, p. 1775) the CHRISTIAN 
STANDARD sent the column proof to the members of the Campbell 
Institute whose names it had secured. In this connection, a covering letter 
from Russell Errett for the STANDARD stated that if any members of 
the Institute at that time wished to resign from the group, the magazine 
would not mention their names in the list which it was about to publish. 

I became a member of the Campbell Institute in 1904 (THE QUAR- 
1905, p. 6), following my graduation from the theological seminary of 
Rochester, New York. Along with the other members, I received the 


surprising note from the STANDARD. One can imagine the reaction that 
this produced. It was a serious matter for some of the members. 

It happened that Herbert Moninger, who was employed by the Stan- 
dard Pubhshing Co. for several years as its leading Sunday School au- 
thority (he began work for the Standard Publishing Co. on July 1, 1911 
and remained in its employ until his death, shortly after he was 35 years 
old, on June 21, 1911-see CHRISTIAN STANDARD, July 1, 1911, p. 
1052 and July 15, 1911, p. 1124) was one of the most devoted members 
of this group (see membership roster in THE QUARTERLY BUL- 
LETIN OF THE CAMPBELL INSTITUTE, October 1, 1903, p. 7; also 
October 1, 1905, p. 11). He was requested to resign. He regretted this 
very much and in a private conversation with me made the statement 
that he thought the storm would soon blow over and when it did he would 
be glad to have fellowship with the helpful group again. 

The attack upon the Campbell Institute not only continued with un- 
abated zeal, for some time, but curiously enough, many times through 
the nearly fifty years since it has been held up to view by the CHRIST- 
IAN STANDARD as one of the main reasons for division among the Dis- 
ciples of Christ. The paper has constantly claimed the members have 
attempted to dominate our missionary organizations, colleges. Interna- 
tional Convention, and all the cooperative work that we have. The often 
reiterated claim that the Campbell Institute has tried to divert our 
Brotherhood from its main genius apparently has been an obsession with 
this periodical. Of course, the Campbell Institute flourished under this 
sort of opposition and a large number of our leaders joined its ranks. 
Indeed, the present membership is around six hundred. 

(The excerpt above was taken from the work of the Committee on Publication of the Corey 
Manuscript, which was published by the Bethany Press. The Christian Board of Publication has 
given THE SCROLL permission to reprint this excerpt, en toto. This quoted material comes 
from the chapter on "The Beginning of Controversy, 1900-1910," and the quotes come from 
pp. 16-19.— Ed.) 


What Disciples Have Meant By 
'The Unity We Seek' 

A. T. DeGroot, Fort Worth, Texas 

A review of the specifications Disciples have written (some of them 
even accompanied by bhie prints! ) on the nature of the unity we seek for 
the church would be a panorama revealing various emphases. The re- 
sulting variety of practices would startle many complacent Disciples, 
showing such things as uniform pastors' salaries and other elements of a 
strict Presbyterianism in our British churches, closed communion, min- 
isters wearing the Roman collar, foot washing, an organized order of 
Sisters, and even a Bishop as robust as any Methodist. The range of 
basic ideas runs between two extremes both of which struggled for 
priority in the mind of Thomas Campbell, and both of which, contra- 
dictory in nature, peer out from the pages of the Declaration and Ad- 
dress. In one place he says we 

shall reduce to practice that whole form of doctrine, worship, dis- 
cipline, and government, expressly revealed and enjoined in the word 
of God.i 

In another he delineates the sinners' way of salvation ( which, of course, 
must express much of the very nature of the church) as 

a profession of their faith in, and obedience to Him (Jesus) in all 
things according to his word, is all that is absolutely necessary to 
(qualify them for admission into His church. 

Descended from the first idea is our whole history of pattern-seeking 
in the New Testament, which has left as many divisions as there are 
different patterns. Descended from the second idea is the strain of 
thought which has always commanded the allegiance of the majority of 
our people from the beginnings to the present. Thomas Campbell's heart 
and instinct were superior to his tentative theory of constitutional ec- 
clesiastical law. This is not surprising to us today when we remember that 
his generation was bound by certain preconceptions about the nature 
of the Bible which no longer generally prevail. As F. D. Kershner said. 

Thomas Campbell's mind here tentatively contemplated that a definite and fixed pattern 
of the church should be found in the New Testament. The Declaration and Address speaks 
of "the original pattern laid down in the New Testament." He adds, "The New Testament 
is as perfect a constitution for the worship, discipline, and government of the New Testa- 
ment church, and as perfect a rule for the particular duties of its members, as the Old 
Testament was for the worship, discipline and government of the Old Testament church 
and the particular duties of its members." 



"Christian unity is not as easy a proposition as it appeared to Thomas 

The position reached in time by our first generation founding fathers 
is summarized in a statement by Lancelot Ohver, one of our British 

"We have never held that a return to New Testament Christianity and 
acceptance of what we think constitutes it, are necessarily one and the 
same thing; and at needed moments the fact has been recalled that we 
must ever be ready to diminish or enlarge, as further truth breaks forth 
from God's word.^" 

For, the key word in "The Nature of the Unity We Seek" is We. 
Disciples are not the We. The central insight of our historic movement is 
one which gives a new and current import to the old but largely un- 
developed principle of the Protestant Reformation: the priesthood of all 
believers. A "profession of their faith" is to be controlled by "his word," 
but it is still their faith, and the only test is honesty, not agreement.'* 
The church we seek must be as wide in its fellowship as the sincere 
minds of honest men travel in their earnest study of the scriptures. The 
insight and message of the Declaration and Address has been sum- 
marized in these words: 

"Thomas Campbell . . . appeals from the ecclesiastical decisions of 
popes and cardinals to what he considers the more certain infallibility 
of the common mind as the latter is found embodied in the Christian 
thought of the church membership as a whole . . . The only test of 
truth is its universal acceptance by right thinking people everywhere 
. . . The common mind, the universal reason, is not always incarnate 
in the prejudiced and turbulent mass of humanity. It is, however, al- 
ways present in the thoughtful consensus of the majority of intelligent, 
candid, and honest seekers after truth.^" 

Here is a grand conception of the path to agreement in the essentials 
"of Christian work and worship. Mr. Campbell glimpsed it in some meas- 
ure and sketched its outlines hazily. It remains for his spiritual children 
to explore further the truths that may be found as the common mind of 
the worldwide church discloses what is vital and what is merely curious 
and local in expressing the program of Christianity. 

2 The Christian Union Overture (St. Louis: Bethany Press, 1923), p. 30. 

3 Bible Advocate, May 6, 1910. Italics added. 

4 See "An Original Rift," by W. B. Blakemore, The Scroll, January, 1950. 

5 The Christian Union Overture, p. 101. 


Upon this basis historic theological creeds become interesting ex- 
pressions of opinion, but not standards of church membership. Alexander 
Campbell succinctly stated the Disciple position by saying that "nothing 
that was not as old as the New Testament should be made an article of 
faith, a rule of practice, or a term of communion amongst Christians."^ 
Simple common sense reveals that the shore line of history is littered 
with the wrecks of abandoned creeds.^ Barton W. Stone summarized 
the problem of creed and freedom by declaring: 

Have we not always had in our church, Calvinists, Armenians, Trini- 
tarians and Unitarians? Have we by such union agreed to receive all 
their errors? No. In the great leading principles, or facts of the New 
Testament we agree, and cheerfully let each other have his opinions, 
as private property.*" 

However, lack of creed does not mean any lack of perception of the 
living-ness of the church. The "we" requires a living church. Here Dis- 
ciples stand over against most of the Protestant world and close to the 
Catholic family. The Protestant Reformation's salvation sola fide^ reach- 
ed its extreme expression in the group from which Alexander Campbell 
withdrew, the Baptists, who taught that baptism had no function in 
salvation but was for those who had already been saved outside of the 
church. The living church of baptized believers, both young and mature, 
designates and thus authorizes capable members to function as evangel- 
ists, conductors of worship, ^'^ and servants in the family fellowship of 

6 Christian Baptist. H, 2. September C, 1824, p. 14. 

7 As Froude, the historian, said, "If medicine had been regulated three hundred years ago 
by Act of Parliament ; if there had been 39 articles of Physic and every licensed practitioner 
had been compelled under pains and penalties to compound his drugs by the prescriptions 
of Henry the Eighth's physician. Dr. Butts, it is easy to conjectui-e in what state of 
health the people of this country would at present be found." (Quoted in Leslie D. 
Weatherhead, This is the Victory.) 

8 Christian Messenger, 1833, Vol. VII, p. 6. 

9 See "A Response to Lund," by the Disicple Faith and Order Committee (Gresham, England, 
Garrison, Lindley, Short, Osborn ) , Shane Quarterly, July, 1953, p. 93. 

10 See statement by W. Robinson that the Lord's Supper is "a rite within the Church." Faith 
and Order pamphlet No. 99, Rules and Customs of Churches concerning Intercommunion 
and Open Communion, 1944, pp. 33-36. 

11 This ethical emphasis was central in Barton W. Stone's concern. W. G. West says, "With 
Alexander Campbell, Christian unity would be the culmination of a primitive gospel plan 
in history which would find its epic expression in the introduction of the Millennium ; with 
Barton W. Stone, Christian unity would be the fulfillment of Christian trust, love, and 
concession, based on a Sermon-on-the-Mount type of primitive Gospel which is actually 
expressed in every present moment of time. With Campbell, certain doctrines of the 
apostolic church could be arranged, in what today may be termed 'jig-saw puzzle' fashion, 
to form the basis of unity. For Stone, the spirit of love manifested bv Jesus and his early 
disicples must underlie any attempts to lay foundations for the unity of the Christian 
community." Barton Warren Stone: Early American Advocate of Christian Unity, (Nash- 
ville: Disciples of Christ Historical Society, 1954), p. 176. 


As a negative illustration of this principle of the common priesthood 
of informed seekers, the fact that the "we" of the centuries have found 
adequate authority in the scriptures to employ various church govern- 
ment forms precludes a covert method of making only one of them, 
episcopacy, mandatory by designating it as the end product from such 
a scheme as the South India United Church. ^^ 

As a positive illustration of the common priesthood in thought and 
action, it is possible to declare the common ground of the mind of the 
church on baptism. The immersion of a penitent believer in water in 
the name of the Trinity for remission of sins is everywhere accepted as 
valid baptism. It is when we practice what the "we" of the centuries 
have discovered that the unity of the church is advanced. As C. C. 
Morrison has shown in The Unfinished Reformation, it is only when 
individual denominations deny the common mind of the church and ar- 
rogate to themselves peculiar practices which are not universally accept- 
ed, and make these binding on others, that unity is lost.^^ 

The unquestioned element in our subject is that the Disciples do seek 
unity. Our cause was born for this purpose. Peter Ainslie truly represent- 
ed the heart and conscience of our people when his best known book 
by its title called division The Scandal of Christianity.^^ But our fathers 
and the majority of their spiritual descendants have never sought this 
unity in isolation. ^^ Ours is a movement within the church; its very 
genius is to rejoice that "we" includes the whole of the family of God 
from Pentecost to the present as it seeks oneness in faith and order. 

12 See W. E. Garrison, Christian Unity and Disciples of Ciirist (St. Louis: Bethany Press, 
1955), especially pp. 245-250. Few Disicples would agree with C. C. Morrison that South 
Indir. represents an "inspiring achievement" which, if extended to the whole of protestant- 
ism would eradicate the "impasse caused by the rigorous absolutism of both sides . . . 
without violation of conscience on either side." The Unfinished Reformation (New York: 
Harper & Bros., 1953), p. 166. 

13 See Chapter III, "The Churchism of a Denomination." 

14 Chicago: Willett, 1929. 

15 Isolationists, or those who assume that the search for truth has ended in their present 
findings, have quite logically withdrawn and set up separate church bodies which have no 
fellowship with the rest of the Christian world — or with each other! See Earl Ervin West. 
The Search for the Ancient Order (2 volumes) and, A. T. DeGroot, Church of Christ 
Number Two, (Birmingham, England, 19561. 


P,S. To A Famous Letter 

W. B. Blakemore, Chicago, Illinois 

In 1983 Edward Scribener Ames wrote a famous letter to God. I am 
going to presume to add a postscript to this letter after quoting its first 

"Dear God: 

The idea of writing this letter occurred to me one day some time 
ago as I was walking down an avenue of our city. It was at a corner 
where a large new Christian Science church is being built just across 
from a little United Presbyterian church. Seeing this fine spacious 
temple over against the modest chapel which I had been passing for 
so many years, set me thinking. I said to myself, this new place is a 
symbol of peace and quiet. It will minister to nervous, troubled souls. 
Its charm will not be in its doctrine, but in the attitude it invites. It 
will be like a restful cathedral, but it will not be so dark. It will not 
be like a lecture-hall, for there will not be any discussion or debate. 
The whole place is to embody peace and harmony and to radiate a 
sense of calm assurance. The other church across the way represents 
a much older denomination. Its compact little building has long sym- 
bolized to me a deep faith, somewhat austere and remote, but heroic 
and red-blooded. That faith never blinked at any of the facts of sin 
or evil in our old world, and yet it comforted many hearts and lifted 
them out of sore trouble. I think one reason that church has not grown 
much is because its people never use anything but the psalms in their 
services and, like some other churches, are very strict about the observ- 
ance of the "Sabbath." It is interesting to see how human beings are 
influenced by the general appearance and drift of affairs in this life. 
Here is one building new and light and with an air of success and 
comfort. It reflects a spirit of confidence and of self-satisfaction, 
superior to remorse and suffering, but in the other just across the street 
there are sharp contrasts of light and shadow— the deep darkness of 
Gethsemane and Golgatha, making a background for the glorious 
dawn of Easter. There are found all the tragic things of life, softened 
by a great hope for the future. The inscrutable and measureless mys- 
teries of human nature and of divine grace make a profound and 
intricate labyrinth, in relation to which the transparent and compre- 
hensive faith of Christian Science seems singularly smooth and full 
of ease. It was this contrast which made me think of writing this letter. 


Sometimes such perplexities are almost overwhelming. I walk about 
among men and look at the things they do, and go home wondering, 
not infrequently worried and tormented in my soul to know what it 
is all about and how one should live in a world like this. At such time 
I long to talk it over with some one who understands, with some one 
who has great sympathy and patience and who looked at the spectacle 
much longer and in many more ways than I am able to do. That is the 
reason I decided to write the letter to you. I always think of you as 
one who understands and who has marvelous patience." 

Here is a P.S.: 


Dear God: 

You may be interested to know what has happened to those two 
churches. The section of town in which they stand is now largely 
populated by colored people. The two churches have met the problem 
in very different ways. 

Some months ago the Presbyterian Church sought to become inte- 
grated. The colored people of the community found it difficult to be- 
lieve that the white congregation was serious and sincere. Then the 
white congregation decided to find a new minister. They sought among 
the colored brethren until they found a very fine man who has taken 
on the leadership of their church. The people of the neighborhood are 
now convinced of the sincerity of the white congregation and the Pres- 
byterian Church has become a fine example of an integrated congre- 

The Christian Science Church has become the Temple of John the 


Annuities: An Early Example 

John Long, Orange, California 

In these days when our church colleges and other agencies are wisely 
stressing the advantages of annuities as a means ot continuing these 
causes, it might be interesting and helpful to recall the example of one 
of the great pioneers of our faith whose record ought occasionally to be 
held before us. 

Letitia Hutchings was born November 29, 1819 at Virgil, Cortland 
County, New York. In May, 1847, she married a promising Disciple 
minister, Randal Faurot. Their early interest in the value of education 
was shown by their starting the Newville Academy while he was pastor 
of the Christian Church at Newville, Indiana. A similar academy was 
started later when they moved to St. Louis, Michigan. They each taught 
for several years in each institution. 

In the meantime there had been an exciting three years in the South 
while Randal Faurot was a Chaplain in the Army of the Tennessee. Mrs. 
Faurot joined her husband while he was stationed at Nashville and at 
Murfreesboro. Being moved to do something about the Negro camp 
followers. Chaplain Faurot and his wife began an educational program 
among Negroes which remained a life-long concern. Their efforts were 
sufficiently successful to attract the attention of other church leaders, so 
that in 1875 they were given $100 by Ovid Butler of Indianapolis and 
told to survey the situation in Mississippi and report what could be done 
to locate a school there. 

In a small cabin in Jackson, Mississippi thev began an elementary 
school for the recently freed people, a work which this pioneer woman, 
against great opposition, continued to operate alone after her husband 
agreed to serve for a term as President of Alcorn College, the new state 
school for Negroes south of Jackson. 

The continued concern of several Brotherhood leaders resulted in the 
purchase of the Mt. Beulah Plantation near Edwards, Mississippi, and in 
the summer of 1882 the Faurots were asked to get in readiness the four 
rooms of the old plantation "mansion" to serve as home for themselves 
and two other teachers, and as a school and dormitories for students. 
October 14 was announced as the opening date for the Southern Christ- 
ian Institute, but on October 10, 1882, weakened by the arduous weeks 
of preparation and a five-day siege of malaria, the first president died. 


Letitia Faurot, an invalid all her life, again demonstrated why she 
should be listed among our honored great leaders. She remained at the 
task, and with the help of two young women opened school almost 
on schedule. Failing health forced her retirement from the work after 
two years there, but her influence for good continued to remain through 
the years ahead. 

In response to a request from C. C. Smith, Secretary of Negro Educa- 
tion under the American Christian Missionary Society, Mrs. Faurot 
wrote a letter early in 1900 modestly explaining her part in the early 
history of the Southern Christian Institute. She disclosed that except for 
the $100 given to them by Ovid Butler, founder of Butler University, and 
$500 paid by the Christian Women's Board of Missions, the Faurots 
had no other financial support in the work. When the actual school was 
started at Edwards she received a salary of $15 a month. And yet when 
she was paid $1000 as insurance upon the death of her husband, she 
turned over the entire amount for the use of our Brotherhood for Negro 

In her letter she states simply: "I lent the institution $1000 insurance 
on my husband's life, to be theirs at my death, on condition that they 
would pay me $50 'k year. This condition has been most sacredly kept; 
and some of my friends, as well as myself, have been made to feel that 
it is, in many respects, the best way to invest money for old age. " 

She does not call her investment an annuity. Maybe the term was not 
much used in her day. But the idea is the same: She felt the need for 
this vital work by the church; she invested her limited funds to help meet 
that need; she received a safe return of 59( interest on her investment 
for the rest of her life; upon her death the full amount of the $1000 went 
directly into continuing the work which she considered so important. 
She might even have considered it a slii^ewd investment in that had 
she lived one year longer she would have received in returns a total 
equaling the amount of her original $1000. Actually, of course, she re- 
ceived only a generous portion of the interest which her investment had 
earned, and the original remained intact to continue doing the work for 
which it was intended.. 

Letitia Faurot expressed her stewardship in a further way. In a mem- 
orial article concerning her in the Christian Standard for January 11, 
1902, C. C. Smith quotes her endorsement of the annuity plan and adds: 
"Nearly every year since my connection with the work she has returned 
to me $5 out of the $50, which was nearly her earthly all." It would not 
be difficult to believe that when this tithe of $5 came into the Kingdom's 


treasury Jesus said much the same thing as he once said when another 
poor widow out of her penury and need gave all that she had. 

What can we do to increase her tribe? The needs for advancing and 
continuing our church colleges and other causes are just as great today 
as they ever were. Our Christian colleges and most other agencies of 
our Brotherhood have provisions for administering annuity agreements 
whereby people of all ages, with large funds or small, can draw generous 
returns on their investments, and have the assurance that their money will 
continue their good influence years beyond their earthly days. 

Those of us who are so greatly indebted to our church colleges, (and 
who among us is not?) need to give greater publicity to such oppor- 
tunities for investing in a better future, and to encourage more people 
to share and increase the faith and influence of great pioneers like 
Letitia Hutchings Faurot. 


The Editor's Page 

Contributors to This Issue 

Bert C. Williams is Professor of Philosophy and Head of the Area of 
Appreciation in Chapman College, Orange, California. In spite of his 
relative youth, Dr. Williams is the oldest member of the Chapman Col- 
lege faculty in terms of tenure with the college. If you would like to get 
a good picture of Bert Williams' real place on the campus, please consult 
the January issue of THE WORLD CALL. His picture (along with a 
good-looking blond) is on the cover of this issue of THE WORLD 
CALL. More about his position and teaching in the appropriate spot 
inside the issue. 

Stephen }. Corey is one of our most beloved and indefatigable workers 
and writers among the Disciples of Christ. He has served in many posi- 
tions of high importance, and he has also carried out onerous duties of 
lowly consequences. Always he discharges his obligations as a Christian 
statesman. Pie was President of the College of the Bible ( Lexington, Ken- 
tucky) from 1938 to 1945, and is now President Emeritus. Currently, 
Stephen Corey is living in Santa Monica, California, which he uses as a 
base for his continued career of writing and speaking. 

A. T. DeGroot is presently Dean of Brite College of the Bible, Texas 
Christian University, Fort Worth (pardon the expression!) Texas. He is 
probably best known among the Disciples, as well as other religious de- 
nominations, for his work as a historian in religious thought and develop- 
ment. He and W. E. Carrison are probably the foremost historians of 

W. Burnett Blakemore is the Dean of the Disciples Divinity House at 
the University of Chicago. Dean Blakemore assumed this position upon 
the retirement of E. S. Ames in 1945. Dean Blakemore is well-known 
among Disciples as a frequent speaker at various types of religious 
gatherings and as a frequent contributor to Disciple journals. 

John Long, Chapman College, Orange, California, was for thirty years 
associated with the Southern Christian Institute as Dean and President. 
Currently he is Head of the Area of Communication in Chapman Col- 


Editorial Meanderings 

A NEW EDITOR. This is the first pubhcation of THE SCROLL under 
the editorship of W. Marshon DePoister. 

If the Comrades of the Institute will assist me at every turn, this is 
going to be a most interesting task. It is quite a thrill and honor to follow 
in train of the editorship of THE SCROLL of such persons as Herbert 
L. Willett, W. E. Garrison, John Davis, E. S. Ames, and W. R. Rlake- 
more. I must confess that I do not approach this new responsibility with 
"fear and trembling," for this is not ( unfortunately! ) a part of my make- 
up. I do, however, seek to fulfill my duties with a profound sense of 
humility. There is always a tremendous responsibility which must be as- 
sumed by one who is the purveyor of ideas and thoughts. One never 
knows the extent to which an idea may be carried in the mind of a 
reader or listener. The extent can never be measured. It is mandatory, 
therefore, that one gauge well, insofar as possible, the implications of 
words which appear in a journal for which he is responsible. I shall at- 
tempt to do this within the limits of my own abilities and assisted by the 
advice and counsel of the Publication Committee of the Campbell In- 
stitute, and with also the wisdom which comes to me from members of 
the Institute. 

You will note that this current issue of THE SCROLL is relatively 
short. There is a reason for this. I assumed this position at the Inter- 
national Convention in Des Moines, Iowa, and there has been little time 
to compile adequate material for a longer issue. It occurred to me that 
a shorter issue with good and stimulating articles is better than a longer 
issue with "padded material." As always, THE SCROLL will be de- 
pendent upon its friends. Please, please, please, send me your articles! 
You know full well that no editor is able to publish everything which 
comes to him; but I can assure everyone that ALL contributions will re- 
ceive thoughtful consideration, and every conti-ibutor will be notified 
that his contribution has been received. 

NEW OFFICERS. Please note the new officers of the Campbell Insti- 
tute. You will see their names listed on the back page of THE SCROLL 
of this and every issue. The only carry-over from the old slate of officers 
is J. J. Roskirk. It was felt that Joe probably had the books in such shape 
that only he could make sense out of them, so he was left in the position 
he has so faithfully and efficiently held for several years. You might like 
to drop a note to these officers, new and old, and tell them of your con- 
tinuing loyalty to the Institute and of your happiness in their leadership. 

A PLEA. Any idea worth its salt is very likely to be mildly to highly 

•7 -7 

controversial. The Institute has thrived on intelligent controversy! Ob- 
serve the article in this issue on "Fifty Years of Attack and Controversv"! 
As the editor, I patiently and earnestly seek materials from every quarter 
of Discipledom. Do you have an intelligent "pet peeve?" If you do, let's 
air it in THE SCROLL! Have you discovered a "new approach" to a 
problem? By all means share your new-found knowledge with the rest 
of us! Send something; send everything! We all want to know what the 
rest of us think about religious, social, ethical, and political problems 
of our time. 

THE SCROLL, the Bulletin of the Campbell Institute, published quar- 
terly in July, October, January, and April. 

The Campbell Institute, founded in 1896, is an association for ministers 
and laymen of the Disciples of Christ for the encouragement of scholar- 
ship, comradeship, gjid intelligent discipleship. 

OFFICERS 1956-1957 

President: Leslie L. Kingsbury, Manhattan, Kansas 
Vice-President: G. L. Messenger, Stillwater, Oklahoma 
Secretary-Treasurer: J. J. Van Boskirk, Chicago, Illinois 
Editor of Scroll: W. Marshon DePoister, Orange, California 

The officers of the Institute 

The Dues of the Campbell Institute are $2.00 per year, including 
subscription to the Scroll. 

Correspondence concerning manuscripts and other editorial items 

should be sent to: The Editor, Chapman College, Orange, California. 

Correspondence concerning membership and dues should be sent to: 

J. J. Van Boskirk, Chicago Disciples Union, 19 S. LaSalle Street, Chicago 

"3, Illinois. 



The Journal of the Campbell Institute 

Ronald E. Osborn 


George J. Beazley, Jr. 

W. B. Blakemore 

Replies to Editor's Query 

W. Marshon DePoister 


Spring, 1957 

No. 4 

Defining The Unity We Seek 

Bonald E. Osboni, hidianapoUs, Indiana 

As Disciples of Christ we have been preaching on Christian unity for 
a hundred and fifty j^ears. For half a century, the ecumenical movement 
has been giving- the subject increasing attention. Few of us have exer- 
cised much precision in the use of the term. Indeed, we may well imagine 
that when we have preached so fervently on this ideal, the minds of 
our hearers have been even foggier than our own. (It is possible to 
imagine an impossibility!) We are in worse shape than -leremiah. 
In his days the false prophets cried, "Peace, peace," when there was 
no peace. But people at least knew what was not. Today the true 
prophets — ourselves and those who think like us — are crying. "Unity, 
unit}'." But we are not quite clear just Avhat we do mean by that blessed 

Since 1927, the Faith and Order movement has been concerned to 
study questions of doctrine, sacramental practice, ministry, worship, aud 
the like as these affect division aud unity among Christians. World 
conferences on these important sections of the AYorld Council assemblies 
at Amsterdam in 1948 and Evanston in 1954 also considered Faith and 
Order themes. More recently, regional Faith and Order conferences have 
been held in India and Australia, to deal with specific concerns of those 
areas. And now a North American Study Conference on Faith and 
Order is scheduled for Oberlin, Ohio, September 3 to 10 of this year. 

At Oberlin a Faith and Order conference will attempt for the first 
time, in my knowledge, to define what we mean by Christian unity. As 
is well known, the theme will be "The Nature of the Uuity We Seek" — 
in this case being the churches of the United States and Canada. What 
do we mean by this Christian unity for which we are constantly plead- 
ing, in ultimate theological terms? In practical everyday expression"? 
Oberlin 's function must be something like that of Shakespeare's poet: 

The poet's eye, in a fine frenz.y rolling. 

Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven ; 

And as imagination bodies forth 

the forms of things unknown, the poet's pen 

Turns them to shapes, and gives to airy nothing 

A local habitation and a name. 

If we are inclined to speak disparagingh^ of ecumaniacs, let us recall 
how near the delusions of the lunatic may be to inspiration of the genius ; 

but let us implore for those who go to Oberliii an infusion of true inspira- 
tion, whether of the lover or of the poet. For if Oberlin can enable the 
churches of the United States and Canada to look both at eartli and 
heaven and to transform our thinking about Christian unity fi-oiu airy 
nothing into living realit3' with a local habitation and a name, it will 
bo well worth while. 

The North American Faith and Order Study Conference is jointly 
sponsored by the United States Conference for the World Council of 
Churches, the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., 
and the Canadian Council of Churches. Dr. Samuel McCrea Cavert is 
executive secretary, and Professor Paul Minear of Yale Divinity School 
is study secretary. 

P'our hundred delegates will represent the churches which constitute 
the National Council and the Canadian Council, as well as some churches 
which do not hold membership in these bodies. The Connnittee on Ar- 
rangements has sought to make Oberlin far more ]-epresentative than any 
previous ecumenical gathering in America has been, and invitations have 
gone to churches, wjiich ordinarily remain aloof from sucli affairs, to be 
represented by regular delegates, by observers, or by unofficial observers. 
It is likely that in one capacity or other there will be at Oberlin, some 
persons from the Church of God, some Southern Baptists, and members 
of other communions who have not previously taken part in Faith and 
Order conferences. It is hoped that denominational delegations will in- 
clude local pastors, administrators, theologians, laymen, Avomen, and 

On the basis of total membership. Disciples of Christ in the United 
States are entitled to twelve delegates, who have been appointed by the 
International Convention. Three are pastors : Hampton Adams, chair- 
man of the delegation, John Paul Pack, and R. Frederick West. One 
Is an administrator, Robert Nelson of the Division of AVorld Mission, 
UCMS. Six are professors in theological seininaries : Robert Tobias of the 
School of Religion at Butler University, Howard E. Short of the College 
of the Bible, W. B. Blakemore of the Dis'ciples Divinity House, Dean 
John McCaw of Drake Divinity School, Stephen J. Englaiul of the 
Graduate Seminary at Phillips, and A. T. DeGroot of Brite Collej-e of 
the Bible. One is a layman: Professor Hal Gulley of the University of 
Illinois. One is a woman: Mrs. George Earl Owen of Indianapolis. 

Twelve delegates are not very many from a brotherhood with sucii 
a concern for Christian unity as ours. But tweh-e is all we get from the 
whole countrv. Besides these, we shall have two delegates from Canada 

and presumably one from Mexico. And we must recognize that every 
community represented at Oberlin has had difficulty similar to our own 
in selecting out of the many who are concerned the few who can go. 

Besides the delegates there will be about two hundred consultants, 
chosen from some special contribution which it is felt that they can 
make to the conference. Only about half of these have been appointed, 
and all so far on an ex officio basis. Two are Disciples : Perry E. Gres- 
ham of Bethany College, an American member of the Faith and Order 
Working Committee, and Ronald E. Osborn, a member of the Committee 
on Arrangements. 

There Avill be no visitor's program for Oberlin as there was for Evan- 
ston. The conference will not be a public spectacle, but an occasion for 
study. Even the number of plenary sessions will be limited ; for the 
most part delegates and consultants will be hard at work in twelve 
study sections. One of the unfortunate aspects of the ecumenical move- 
ment is that any of the great conferences, which generates so much 
interest and attention, can accomodate relatively so fcAv persons if it 
is to be at all manageable and to provide any opportunity for personal 
give-and-take among the delegates. 

What then are the issues to which Oberlin will address itself? The 
discussions will fall into three major divisions : ( 1 ), What is the nature 
of that unity which the churches should seek today in North America 
in faithfulness to the eternal gospel? (2) What is the nature of the 
unity we seek in terms of organizational structures? (3) What is the 
nature of the unity we should be seeking in view of cultural pressures? 
The work of each division will be subdivided among four sections. That 
makes twelve sections in all, with one IT.S. Disciple in each. 

Let me present each division in turn, indicating the topics of each 
of its sections, and trying to suggest an important issue for Disciples 
in the considerations of each division. 


Division I will consider the Nature of the Unity we Seek in Faithful- 
ness to The Eternal Gospel. Its first section will give attention to "Im- 
peratives and Motivations." 

A second section will discuss ''Doctrinal Concensus and Conflict." 

Section three will consider, for the first time in more than thirty years 
of Faith and Order conferences, ''Baptism into Christ." Our lone Dis- 
ciple delegate to that section will join with others present in the 

Section four will devote attention to "The Table of Our Lord." 

Local study committees in Seattle. San Francisco, Saskatoon, Minne- 
apolis, Austin, and Newark have done preparatory^ work for this division. 
Jack Finegan, Forrest Richeson, John Paul Pack, John Barclay, and 
Joe W. Bailey have shared in their studies. 

Each of the four sections will be dealing- with issues which clamor 
for our attention. I have elected to discuss briefly the topic which most 
Disciples would doubtless select. I have chosen it, however, not because 
we are so well prepared to deal with it, but because we are so poorly 
prepared. The issue, of course, is baptism. Disciples always get around 
to that! 

For a century and a half Disciples have been pleading with the rest 
of the Christian world to take the doctrine of baptism seriously, and 
Baptists have been at it longer than that. Now biblical theologians, both 
in Europe and in America, are giving renewed attention to it. But the 
ecumenical interest in this sacrament does not coincide with our lii.:;toric 
concerns about it. Oberlin will be pressing for a new understanding of 
the one baptism as a bond of union among Christians. Must we not say 
in all honesty that baptism, as we have been constrained to preach it, 
has been rather an eccasion of division? What, for example, are Dis- 
ciples prepared to say concerning the following objectives of the 
study ?— 

to listen together to Scripture for its teaching concerning power 

of baptism to unify God's people, 
to determine the degree to Avhich the various communions noAv 

recognize as valid the baptism and confirmation of other com- 
to weigh the implications of this recognition in dealing with other 
obstacles to unity. 

It is no secret, T suppose, that the pressure to consider baptism has 
come not from Baptists and Disciples, but from earnest theologians in 
the classical Reformed tradition who see here a possible avenue through 
the impasse respecting intercommunion. If we all have received one 
baptism into Christ, why cannot we all be gathered about one table? 
And what have Disciples, in terms of our traditional emphasis, to say 
to this question? Surely not a word that will commend itself to serious 
ecumenical theologians. We have boasted in ecumenical circles about our 
practice of open communion: "The table is not ours, but the Lord's." 
Yet our basis for open communion is pretty weak — "Let each man 
examine himself" — involving a subjectivism out of harmony with our 

usual principles of objectivity and not likely to commend itself to 
serious contemporary theologians. The only valid basis for admitting 
persons to the Lord's table is the recognition that they have been bap- 
tized into Christ. But do Disciples recognize that other Christians have 
been baptized? Not really. If we hold to the traditional position of our 
majority we have no sound theological basis for open communion and 
nothing constructive to say at Oberlin respecting baptism as a means to 
unity. In terms of our traditional position, our only possible line is to 
persuade all other Christians that they need to be immersed. Whatever 
Alexander Campbell could or could not do, I am convinced that we do 
not have a scholar among us who can go to Oberlin and convince the 
other delegates there that they and the Christians they represent have 
not been baptized into Christ. And I am convinced that we ourselves 
do not believe that they are outside of Him. Else we would never admit 
them to the Lord's table, even though we do say it is his and not ours. 
Our practice has been sound, as far as it has gone, even though our 
theory has been deficient. As in numerous other instances among the 
Disciples, what we actually do is much sounder than what we think we 
do or the reasons why we think we do it ! 

Tlius our witness at Oberlin ma^' become a constructive rather than an 
obstructive word. And Oberlin will not have been in vain if it stimulates 
Disciples to work out a consistent theology of baptism in its implications 
for Christian unity. 


The second major division at Oberlin will consider tlie Nature of the 
Vnity We Seek in Terms of Organizational Structures. Here is the 
di^'^sion where those who speak of Christian unity must give to this 
airy nothing a local habitation and a name. In terms of the church 
visible, just what do we mean by unity? Now there has been much talk 
about ecumenicity at the grass roots, about getting the discussions out of 
the theological stratosphere and into the local community. Yet not one 
of the Disciples appointed to Oberlin gave either of these two sections 
as his first choice. Why does ecumenism seem less glamorous on our 
own street than in some other setting ? For the same reason that missions 
seem more dramatic in Wema or Pendra Road or Tokj'O than in Kokomo 
or Mishawaka or Terre Haute ? Let 's face it : missions or ecumenism 
or any other work of the gospel can be utterly compelling and unsur- 
passably dramatic in the old home town if only we will go about it ! 

Sections 7 and 8 will consider respectively "Authority and Freedom 
in Church Government" and "The Variations in Denominational Poli- 


Here are real issues for Disciples. I am not certain how much we shall 
feel constrained to say dogmatically on these questions at Oberlin, for 
at no point, I feel, is our tradition undergoing such radical reconstruc- 
tion as at that of polity and organization. State after state is revising 
the structure of cooperation and giving to the common organization an 
admittedly churchly character or ecclesiastical status. Our faith in ex- 
treme congregational autonomy is fast subsiding. Yet we have had so 
little experience with our new structures that our delegates at Oberlin 
may feel inclined to listen more than to talk on these subjects. But 
surely the consideration will be profitable for us. 

Pre-Oberlin study committees have been at work on the problems of 
this division in Nashville, Chicago, New York, Washington, and Toronto. 
Disciples involved in these studies have been W. B. Blakemore, Hampton 
Adams, Arthur W. Braden, and James G. Clague. 


Division III at Oberlin will address itself to Nature of the Unity We 
seek In View of Cultural Pressures. Under the influence of the forces 
of contemporary history, American churches are adopting certain pat- 
terns of unity as well as following certain lines of division which need 
to be examined in the light of our fundamental Christian standards. 

"The Mobility of the Population" and its effect on Christian unity 
will occupy the attention of Section 9. This section will seek 

To appraise the extent of mobility (population, laymen, clergymen). 

To discuss how far the Christian duty to strengthen community in 
social life demands denominational differences be overridden in 
new areas. 

To discuss the strategies by which the churches may develop unity 
in mission to a rapidly changing society. 

Another section M'ill examine "Governmental Policies and Programs" 
in their influence on the ministry of the churches. Consider the military 
chaplaincy, for example. It has been observed that a sort of "armed 
forces religion" is emerging. In other situations where Christian min- 
istry must be rendered by agreement with the government — hospital, 
prisons, defense areas, on the Voice of America — a peculiar kind of 
Protestantism appears, stripped of denominational peculiarities. Many 
chaplains, as well as the persons who have received such a ministry, 
testify to its helpfulness. Is this least-common-Christian-denominator-iu- 
the-service-of- America type of religion the unity we seek? Or is it a 

peril to be avoided? If it is valid, how can it be realized in the civilian 
community apart from the pressures of government! 

One section will occupy itself with "Forces at Work on the College 
Campus." One of the preparatory documents observes, 

There has never been a direct exploration in ecumenical conference 
of our corporate responsibility for campus life or of the bearing 
of academic institutions on the unity of the Church. Yet this seg- 
ment of American culture is highly influential in shaping the 
dominant patterns of national and Church life. 

We may well ask ourselves what portion of the problems faced by 
young people in colleges and universities has to do with the particular 
doctrines of their own denominations, and what proportion of them is 
at a much deeper level. Yet support for student work moves largely — if 
largely is the right word — through denominational chainiels. An even 
more uncomfortable question troubles my conscience. Do Indiana Dis- 
ciples contribute to our student foundations at I.U. and Purdue out of 
a deep sense of mission to the students going through the universities or 
because they feel this is a pretty good way of holding the denominational 
loyalty of our young people until they get back home again? 

Surely one of the most crucial sections will be that of dealing with 
"Racial and Economic Stratification" and the effect on Christian unity. 
It will set before itself these objectives: 

To examine the degree to which the vuiity we seek must include 
the development of more inclusive congregations and denomina- 

To assess the perils and perplexities involved in nnilti-class and 
multi-race churches. 

To understand the conflict between the image of the Church which 
is held by local congregations and the image which is held by 
Christian theologians. 

To measure the distance between the denominational pronounce- 
ments and congregational accepta)ice. 

It is apparent that this whole division on cultural pressures will be 
dealing with the practical realities of Christian unity rather than with 
the theoretical abstractions which have so often preoccupied the theo- 
logians of Faith and Order. Yet these practical realities must be seen 
in a theological context. And if we hold that the sectarian walls are 
crumbling before Christian conviction rather than before social pres- 

siires, how will we explain our racial and economic divisions with any 
given denomination? And why have our most successful congregations — 
defining successful in no derogatory sense — been for the most part 
"class" churches? 

These issues, of course, cut across every denominational line in Amer- 
ica. So far as I can see there is no peculiar Disciple problem in the 
problems it will be considering. Preparatory study committees have 
been at work in Boston, Pittsburgh, Durham, St. Louis, and Honolulu. 
William R. Vivrett, R. Frederick West, Paul Fall, and Donald 0. Legg 
have participated in these groups. Doubtless the work of this division 
will produce effects which can be felt in our congregations sooner and 
more obviously than those from the other divisions. 


Let us consider the present status of Disciples of Christ with respect 
to the Faith and Order movement and the quest for Christian unity. We 
have proclaimed a plea for unity for a century and a half. How well 
are we prepared to contribute to the discussions of unity, now that the 
Christian world at large is taking the subject seriously? 

Without an undue beating of drums, we may say that the traditional 
Disciple witness has been a large factor in creating a climate of public 
opinion favorable to unity, (sic. -Ed.) We raised our voice in the wilder- 
ness of sectarianism 150 years ago. Disciples were active in inter-de- 
nominational movements at the turn of the century. Peter Ainslie was 
an ecumenical pioneer. The Christian Century speaking out of Disciple 
tradition, became the ecumenical conscience of American Protestantism. 
In the early days of the councils of churches, a sizeable proportion of 
their executive leadership came from our ranks. We have been dutiful 
members of the National Council and the World Council, sometimes 
carrying more than our share of the load on certain projects, through 
the vision of men like George Buckner and Robert Tobias. In many com- 
munities our minister has been the gadfly, stinging the churches into a 
greater degree of cooperation. The image of ourselves which we cherish 
casts us in the role of leaders in the ecumenical movement, and we tend 
to assume that our plea holds the answer to the ecumenical problem. 

Yet the plain fact is that, with a few exceptions. Disciples have been 
ineffective and unimpressive in Faith and Order discussions. Funda- 
mentally, these are theological conversations, and for the most part we 
are unprepared for them by disposition, by formal discipline, or by a 
mature theological tradition. We have prided ourselves that we are 
"non-theological," but one can brag about that only so long in a 

theological disciissioii before the others begin to lose interest. Too often 
we enjoy taking potshots at those among ourselves who do attempt 
serious theological reflection. For example, one of our most distinguished 
professors recently took a gratitious crack at the Panel of Scholars, 
of which he himself is a member, as presumably about to write a creed 
for the Disciples. If a communion persistently makes a sport of cracking 
eggheads and disparaging theology, it is likely to find itself short on 
theologians of stature; yet without these nuu*h-maligned intellectuals it 
will scarcely succeed in making much of a contribution in a Faith and 
Order meeting. Apparently Disciples have not been working overtime in 
preparation for Oberlin. Of the first 45 preparatory papers by members 
of local study committees, which were mimeographed and circulated, 
not one was contributed by a Disciple. 

The few Disciples who have made an impression on ecumenical think- 
ing have been men of theological competence — Herbert L. Willett, C. C 
Morrison, W. E. Garrison, William Robinson, and (though he has done 
little writing) 8. J. England, who was the most articulate and effective 
of our delegates at Lund. These men have not all subscribed to the same 
theology, but they have all been committed Disciples who could speak 
with clarity and authority. 

However, a most exciting development Avithin our brotherhood has 
begun during the past decade. All about us are appearing signs which 
give promise of a theological flowering among us. 

The study breakfasts at Toronto, sponsored by the World Convention 
Study Committee, of Avhich Dean Shelton is chairman, attracted crowds 
of Disciples far beyond the most optimistic predictions. Our folk from 
all over the world struggled across Toronto by tlie dawn's early light, 
reached unsteadily for their coffee, and with open eyes, participated 
eagerly in discussions on frankly theological questions. The World Con- 
vention now has 34 local study committees in 19 countries making prep- 
arations for Edinburgh in 1960, and other conventions and institutes are 
making use of similar study-discussion techniques. 

Meanwhile, popular interest in the basic doctrines of the church is 
flourishing among us if not like a green bay tree, at least like nothing 
we have known for Iavo generations. Perhaps one reason for this wide- 
spread interest is the long silence on dogma which prevailed in many 
of our churches during a period of wholesome Christian revulsion against 
a literalism and legalism no longer tenable. Howard Short reports that 
30,000 copies of his Doctrine and Thought of Disciples of Christ have 
been sold, most of them for use in church school classes and other study 
groups. The Christian Evangelist recently struck pay dirt with a series 


of articles on "What We Believe." The articles Avere i-epriiited as a 
paper-back book, and the supply at the Des Moines convention sold out 
in the first three days. Now as good Disciples we tend to eye such (juasi- 
systematic material somewhat askance ; we are convinced at any rate 
that it would be more wholesome if we ourselves had written it ! Still it 
is significant that many of our people have become curious about what 
we do believe. Perhaps they are not as adventurous in their inquiry as 
Ave should like ; in any case, the interest does not seem sectarian in 
character, and it portends the j^ossibilit.y of a vigorous theological 
renaissance among us. 

One more dramatic example of the new florescence of theology among 
Disciples of Christ is the appointment of a Panel of Scholars, to re- 
examine our traditional witness in the light of contemporary knowledge 
and needs and to survey current trends in our practice in the light of 
the best theological and biblical scholarship. The most significant aspect 
of the Avhole project is not the fifteen men appointed to the panel — we 
have forty-five others who might just as well have been chosen. It is a 
fact that the idea of the panel was not conceived by the scholars, but 
by the agencies. Administrators in the United Christian Missionary 
Society and the Bo^rd of Higher Education said, "The time has come 
for Disciples to lo.ok at themselves theologically." No one contemplates 
that the Panel of Scholars or anyone else should draw up a confession 
of faith to be made mandatory upon the brotherhood. It is hoped that 
in time they will issue some material which will make sense and com- 
mend itself to the brethren. 

We speak rather flippantly at times of the ecumenical reformation, 
priding ourselves on finding a great and dramatic name for something 
Ave are privileged to live through. But such a term must be taken Avith 
utter seriousness. It means that every denomination must itself undergo 
a radical and painful reformation in the light of the ucav ecumenical 
reality. I am not sure how clearly we have discerned the significance 
of Avhat is taking place. But I belicA'e that Disciples of Christ have 
begun to be radically transformed by the ecumenical movement, perhaps 
sooner and more drastically than other denominations. 

This, then, is the real Faith and Order issue for Disciples of Christ. 
In this era of biblical theology and, Ave dare to pray, of an emerging 
ecumenical church, Avill Ave have scholars and theologians Avho can wit- 
ness truly, not only the rest of the Christendom, but also to ourselves 
1 — 1 concerning- the unity we seek. And Avill Ave have preachers and 
pastors and teachers Avho can truly convey to the hearts of men this 
transforming Gospel, this good news from God? 


Another Goal For Our Ten 
Year Program Of Advance 

George J. Beazley, Jr., Bartlcsville, Oklahoma 

The Christian Church or Disciples of Christ came into existence with 
a goal, a temperament, and a method. The goal was that of uniting the 
various denominations into one Christian Church. The temperament was 
a fierce passion for freedom, born out of its leaders' bitter experience 
with creeds and presbyteries and fathered by the self-reliance and 
independence of the American frontier. The method was a realistic 
stud.y of the Bible, particularly the New Testament, in an effort to 
return to the basic principles which all churches believed and on which 
they might unite. 

Our Brotherhood has kept its goal, though at times its message of 
unity has been unity by absorption. It was among the founding bodies 
of the old Federal Council of Churches and its larger successor, the 
National Council of Churches. We have given the former organization, 
among many other leaders, a president, Dr. Edgar DeWitt Jones, and 
the latter, a general secretary. Rev. Roy G. Ross. We were among the 
founding bodies of the World Council of Churches and have given that 
organization many leaders, among them Rev. Robert Tobias. Our move- 
ment has produced voices crying out in behalf of Christian unity in tones 
that every segment of the church has heard and honored. Their names 
are legion, but in recent decades those of the late Peter Ainslie and 
at the present Charles Clayton Morrison innnediately come to mind. 

The Disciples of Christ have maintained their temperament. Often 
their fierce sense of freedom has jeopardized their cohesion. Sometimes 
it has slowed their program. Occasionally some leaders have interpreted 
it as freedom to make everyone else conform to their views, but by and 
large, our brotherhood has balanced its jealousy for independence Avith 
a lively sense of fellowship and cooperation, so that it has been able to 
maintain its basic congregational government without hamstringing its 
ability to act as a group. 

In the use of its method. Disciples of Christ have not been so able. 
This movement has, of course, retained its study of the Bible. It .still 
thinks of its seminaries as Bible colleges and fears any movement in 
theology or education that would take it far from its rootage in the New 


Testament. One would expect, however, that such a movement would be 
famous among' the denominations for the Bible scholars whicli it had 
produced and that its influence would be felt by excellent books in the 
fields of biblical study, particularly in the division of the New Testa- 
ment. This, however, has never been the case. 

Its early leaders, like Barton W. Stone and Alexander Campbell, 
produced some notable books in what today would probably be called 
New Testament theology or more accurately ecclesiastical systematics, 
but these books were not very influential beyond the bounds of our own 
brotherhood. Neither man produced any scholarly commentaries on the 
Bible or any portion of it. There is a general feeling among our own 
people that Alexander Campbell was a great Biblical scholar far in 
advance of his clay, but the facts are not quite definite. 

Campbell seems to have been quite proficient in the biblical languages, 
particularly in Greek, but we must not forget that the papyri, which 
brought a new insight into the vocabulary of the Greek New Testament, 
were not even discovered in his day and that the basic discipline of 
textual criticism was so much in its infancy that he seems to have been 
almost completely unaware of it : It is quite true that in his classes at 
Bethany, he asked some of the questions which recent biblical critical 
study has been asking, but Dr. AY. E. Garrison says that there is no 
evidence that the answers he gave were anything other than the tradi- 
tional answers of his time. Dr. Garrison also points out that, with his 
devotion to Lockean psychology, his theory' of inspiration would almost 
certainly have been the literalistic one that was common to his period. 
He Avas well versed in the scriptures, and his interpretations did break 
up the orthodox crusts in the minds of many of those persons who heard 
him. He was progressive, yes, but there seems to be no evidence that he 
revolutionized the biblical study of the period or that his work ever had 
any marked effect on the interpretation of the Bible among the denom- 
inations with which he and the movement which he led came into contact. 

The chapter on literature in Garrison and DeGroot's ''The Disciples 
of Christ" shows that we have not produced any really influential books 
in the field of biblical study since that time. McGarvey 's commentary on 
Acts enjoyed considerable reading in some circles, but even at the time 
it was written, it was an eddy in a backwater, past which the main 
stream of biblical study had already rushed. 

This failure to contribute influential books and articles in biblical 
study continues to the present. Undoubtedly the greatest cooperative 



commentary being published in America today and one most apt to 
influence American preaching- for the next few decades is the Inter- 
preter's Bible. Our Brotherhood has, however, not contributed to these 
volumes in quantity which our size and professed concern with the Bible 
would lead one to expect. The same statement applies to our contribution 
to the most influential recent version of the Scriptures, the Revised 
Standard Version. 

Below is a table that illustrates these statements. Since we are a 
movement whose greatest influence is in the United States, only the one 
hundred and nine representatives of American churches have been used 
out of the one hundred and forty-five contributors to the Interpreter's 
Bible. I hasten to say, however, that of the remaining thirty-six from 
Great Britain and the British Dominions not one is a member of the 
Disciples of Christ. In compiling the number and percentage of persons 
furnished by the various denominations to the translating committee 
of the Revised Standard Version, I have used the same method, elimin- 
ating also the one Jewish member of the committee. Of the three mem- 
bers from Great Britain and the British dominions, not one belongs to us. 
Since comparison of mere numbers would be deceptive, a comparison 
of percentages has been added. The membership figures for computing 
these have been drawn from the 1954 Britannica Bool- of the Year. 


American Baptist 
Southern Baptist 
Disciples of Christ 
Evangelical & Reform 
Evangelical United Brethren 
United Lutherans in America 
Presbyterian U.S. 
Presbyterian U.S.A. 
United Presbyterian 
Protestant Episcopal 
Reformed Church of America 
Society of Friends 




■s St 





% V. 

ersion % 













], 269,466 






































































No one is more aware than I that figures such as these do not give a 
completely accurate picture. The wide variation between the number 
of writers which the Presbj^terian Church, U.S.A. has contributed to 
the Revised Standard Version committee illustrates this, but these 
figures are certainly accurate enough to be very suggestive and should 
make us ask if we do not need to arouse ourselves to more intense in- 
terest in serious biblical study. Of course we can compare our percent- 
ages with those of the Southern Baptists and rejoice that we are at 
least not at the bottom of the list, but when we look at the remarkable 
record of the Congregational-Christian Church, we should be led to 
repentance for our neglect, while even the less remarkable records of 
the Protestant Episcopal Church and the American Baptists should 
cause us to pause in reflection. 

That these figures are not misleading is proven by a third check which 
was made on our production of articles and books on biblical sub.jects. 
The Journal of Bihlical Literature is undoubtedly the most influential 
journal in the United States on serious biblical studies. A check of it for 
the years 1949 through 1953 confirms the above percentages for our 
contribution to influential study of the scripture. During this five year 
period, one hundred and twenty-six articles appeared in this journal. 
Of these, four were written by Disciples, and three of these four were 
contributed by one person. Dr. S. A^ernon McCasland. These four ar- 
ticles represent 3.2% of the total articles printed in that period, a figure 
remarkably close to our 2.8% contribution of authors to the Inter- 
preter's Bible and the 3.6% contribution to the translators of the Re- 
vised Standard Version. 

It may be useful to tell the names of these men that enabled us to 
reach even these percentages. For the Interpreter's Bible we provided 
one consulting' editor and two contributors. The consulting editor was 
Sr. Charles Clayton Morrison, for many years editor of the Christian 
Century, and now a contributing editor to that magazine and editor of 
the Pulpit. The two contributors to the Interpreter's Bible were Dr. 
Vernon S. McCasland and Dr. James Philip Hyatt. Dr. McCasland 
wrote the article on "The Greco-Roman World." He is professor of 
religion at the University of Virginia and has just completed a term as 
president of the Society of Biblical Literature and Exegesis. Dr. Hyatt, 
who is to write the introduction and exegesis for the book of Jeremiah, is 
professor of Old Testament at the School of Religion, Vanderbilt I^ni- 
versity. He was the only Disciple on the translating committee of the 
Revised Standard Version. The articles in the Journal of Bihlical Litera- 

ture were provided by Dr. MeCaslaiid and Dr. Jack Finegan. Dr. Fine- 
gan is a professor at the Pacific School of Religion. 

I well realize that these four men are not the only Biblical scholars 
of high stature which our Brotherhood has at present. I owe more than 
I can ever repay to two, who, so far as 1 know, have never published a 
line except in their own seminary quarterly. No doubt, many of those 
who read this article could make a similar statement. The point I am 
making is that we are not producing as m.any biblical scholars as our 
heritage would make one expect we should produce. Because only a 
few of those that we do produce are writing books and articles, we are 
not making any great impact in biblical study today. Current movements 
make it evident that such scholarship will be highly determinative in any 
future movements for unity. 

Nor am I selling our great Brotherhood short. I believe we are pre- 
serving many valuable insights that will contribute to the life of the 
church and to its unity, but I also believe that we should be better off 
within and more influential without if we produced more Biblical schol- 
ars. These men, instead of repeating the conclusions of the past, would 
go to the New Testament with a thorough knowledge of modern Biblical 
scholarship. Using this tool they would ask again the basic questions 
about the New Testament church. Then they would write about their 
fi^ndings in scholarly books and articles that would have a wide consump- 
tion not only among our people but in the whole church. 

AVhy have we not been producing this type of writing scholar in the 
quantity we need? Several reasons suggest themselves. First there is the 
willingness by many in our Brotherhood to accept as final word the 
conclusions of the past on biblical questions. We have prided ourselves 
on our freedom, but in this instance we have made little use of it. No 
people ever protested more eloquently than we have against the solidi- 
fication of theology into creeds ; yet many of our people have set up 
Campbell's biblical exegesis as though it could not be surpassed. Others 
have incorporated into unwritten creeds as dogmas the principles that 
to him, to Scott, and Stone were the fresh discoveries of adventuring 
spirits. In his viewpoint about many questions. Campbell moved con- 
siderably during his lifetime. 

The chances are that if he were alive today these Campbellites would 
find he had moved ahead of them and would have to expel him from 
their midst as the Baptists had to do in the early nineteenth century. 

Closely related to this cause is a second one. It is quite probable that 
many of our Biblical scholars have not expressed their views in print 


because they did not care to become the targets of those who are con- 
tinually opposed to any movement in thought. If we are to have scholars 
who are going to discover for us new truths and through their influence 
allow us to contribute to the stream of biblical discovery in our day, 
we must preserve for them the freedom to follow truth wherever it may 
lead. Some of our seminaries are able to grant to their men such freedom, 
but it is not without significance that most of our writing scholars are 
in interdenominational positions, where they are not quite so vulnerable 
to the stings of some of our would-be creed writers. 

A third cause for our poverty of writing scholars is the meager salaries 
which we are paying the men who teach in our seminaries. To write 
requires enough leisure time both to pursue research and to put one's 
findings into words. Most of our teachers are so loaded down with 
academic courses that they do not have such time during the regular 
teaching year, and if and when they are granted sabbatical years, their 
salaries have been so low that they must seek additional employment 
to prevent economic difficulties from developing. Dr. Harlie Smith points 
out that the salaries of our seminary professors range from $3,900.00 
to $6,500.00 for nine months of teaching with an average of $5,000.00. 
These salaries are not supplemented with parsonages or expense accounts 
as are the salaries of many of our ministers. In the large interdenomina- 
tional seminaries, salaries range from a low of $6,000.00 to a high of 
$12,000.00 for an eleven months teaching schedule. If we want to be 
a people taking our place in the world of biblical scholarship, we shall 
have to pay for the privilege. 

The fourth cause for the dearth of Biblical scholars in the Disciples 
may lie in the failure of our undergraduate institutions to provide 
adequate training in the biblical languages. 

One can easily understand why the colleges are thus poor in these 
languages. They have many places to spend each dollar, and they do not 
care to waste money where there will be no students. 

Since 1950 the Disciples of Christ have been in a ten year program 
of advance. The goals which we have set for ourselves during this 
period are supremely important. No one would want to divert any 
energy from a one of them, but I should like to see us add one more 
to the list, the production from present students of at least three more 
writing scholars before 1960 and the addition of at least three more for 
each ten years following. Some may say that you can't produce scholars 
in such a fashion, but neither can you produce sincere Christians by 
setting goals in evangelism nor ministers by setting goals in recruitment. 


Yet we all believe that the setting of such goals helps us to achieve these 

If we want to produce writing biblical scholars we must do at least 
three things. First we must rid ourselves of the illusion that we are 
already proficient in this field. This has been the purpose of the statistics 
in this article. We are lacking in this field, and the first step toward 
remedying the condition is to face up realistically to the lack. Here as 
elsewhere, repentance must come before change. 

Secondly, we must give more recognition to the scholars we already 
have and increase their influence by giving them prominent positions on 
our convention programs and by encouraging them to research and to 
the putting of their findings into print. We uiust encourage them also 
by seeing that our colleges and seminaries receive sufficient financial 
support to raise the salaries of the men that are serving us there and 
to increase these faculties until the burden of teaching is not so heavy 
as to smother the desire for pioneering into new fields of truth. We 
shall benefit thereby not only in the additional influence that will come 
to our Brotherhood, but also by the new vitality that will come to our 
students by studying under men alive to new frontiers and excited by 
their discoveries. 

Thirdly, those of us who are on the pastoral field should look for young 
men and women in our membership who have keen minds and a zest 
for study and encourage them to think of biblical study and teaching 
as a lifetime work. Then we should begin to direct their reading and 
their high school courses of study, and, if we are able, to get them 
started on the biblical languages. Not only would we be making a 
genuine contribution to the church by supplying a potential scholar, 
but no doubt our own study and our preaching would grow taller 

One final word. As we who are in the pastorate bemoan our lack of 
writing scholars and attempt to aid in the production of them, let 
us not forget that the contributors to the Interpreter's Bible included 
not only professional biblical scholars but also scholarly preachers 
who wrote the exposition to the book. We Disciples had only one 
consulting editor on the list and two scholars who wrote introductory 
articles and exegesis, but we did not have a single preacher who wrote 
the exposition section on some biblical book. Let us therefore return 
to our studies, remembering that administration is not enough, and 
strive for both scholarly excellence and compelling Christian convic- 
tion in our preaching that when some future Interpreter's Bible is 
compiled we may not be conspicuous, by our absence. 


Our Ecumenical Dilemma 

W. B. Blakemore, Chicago, Illinois 

"I am fully appreciative of the ecumeiieial contribution that has 
been made by individual Disciples — men like Ross, Harms, Morrison, 
Fey, Bishop, and others like them. But as a group, as a brotherhood, 
we have not exercised ecumenical leadership for a long time." 

That statement was made recently by a thoroughly responsible Dis- 
ciple who holds a position of high leadership amongst us, is deeply 
loved and respected, and therefore followed. His remark was an honest 
and true remark, made with some sadness. Disciples for some time 
have been puzzled by the fact that as a brotherhood we do not exer- 
cise much leadership in ecumenical circles. Is not this ecumenical age 
made precisely for us who belong to the tradition of unity ? Why then 
do we, as a group, seem to have little influence upon the major ecumen- 
ical discussions of our time? 

T)ur Ecumenical Contributions 

Our lack of leadership should not be misunderstood as a failure to 
be ecumenically active nor a lack of appreciation for what we have 
done on the part of other communions. Not only is the ecumenical 
leadership of individual Disciples appreciated abroad, we have done 
many good works in the field of ecumenical service which commend us. 
Christian bodies everywhere know of our financial support of the 
publication of A History of the Ecumenical Movenient. We are widely 
known for the services rendered in the Balkan area by a noble series 
of young men — Tobias, Rowe and Gibble. Recentl}^ Harry B. Partiu, 
a young scholar from Chicago, has been chosen to conduct some special 
studies for the International Missionary Council and the World Coun- 
cil. These interests constitute commendable good works by Disciples. 
Even so, it must be said that as a group we have not exercised leadership. 
This lack has been felt particularly at the times of the great conferences. 
We have not been articulate in the discussions which are at the heart 
of these gatherings. 

The fact that we Disciples are not exercising leadership does not mean 
that we have no definite approach to Christian unity. We do have a 
definite approach, and in terms of that approach we have offered leader- 
ship. But the fact is that the direction of leadership which we off'er is 


being' widely rejected. This does not mean that our approach is wrong. 
It means, in and of itself, only that our Disciple approach and sugges- 
tions are not the popular direction in Christian unity at this time. 

What Is Our Approach To Christian Unity! 

Despite the frequent assertion that no one can speak for Disciples, 
we have, as a brotherhood, had a definite approach to Christian Unity. 
That approach is definable, identifiable, and known by other communions 
to be the approach for which we stand. 

Our Disciple approach to Christian unity has been well known ever 
since the Faith and Order Conference held in Lausanne, Switzerland, in 
1927. During that conference, an outstanding Disciple of Christ made 
a proposition to the conference. The proposition was a highly symbolic 
one. Its symbolism lay in the fact that it revealed the essential nature 
of the Disciple approach to unity. That pi'oposition, made by Dr. Peter 
Ainslie, was that the conference should join together in a common service 
of communion as an expression of an existing unity. This proposition 
was symbolic because it made evident to all the other communions the 
kind of approach to Christian unit}^ and the kind of leadership for which 
Disciples of Christ stood in 1927 — and for which they still stand today. 
At least, I believe I am right in saying that any Disciple today would 
vote for such a service as Dr. Ainslie suggested, and any Disciple would 
still like to feel that it was worth it to place a motion for such a service 
before a large ecumenical assembly. Dr. Ainslie 's motion was important 
because it announced to Christendom that Disciples propose to lead men 
to unity by cutting through "red tape," "human speculations" and 
other historic 'impedimenta" to the fundamentals of personal loyalty 
to Jesus and the simple ritual of the Lord's Supper as the essentials in 
which we should all be united. To Disciples of Christ, the kind of forth- 
right declaration of unity upon a simple New Testament confession and 
ordinance seems logical, sound, and truly Christian. It avoids the prob- 
lems of creeds, which, from our viewpoint, have been historically divi- 
sive. The simple approach which we propound seems to avoid human 
error and complexity. If there is one word which has been associated with 
"our plea," whether the plea was uttered in its conservative or more 
liberal form, that word is the word "simple." "The New Testament as 
the sufficient rule of faith and practice," "personal loyalty to Christ," 
"profession of faith and obedience as the sole requirement for church 
membership:" these and similar phrases have commended themselves to 
us as exemplifying the ease with which we feel unity should be attained. 


Yet the amazing thing (amazing to us, that is) that other groups 
are not responding to our open handed offer to ecumenicity. We have a 
tendency to feel rebuffed. It seems that we have to keep up the initiative 
in an}' unity conservations in which we are engaged. Furthermore, in 
an ecumenical century we are beginning to get an inferiority complex 
because we are not involved in any processes of unification which show 
any lively signs of consummation. We are beginning to feel conscience- 
stricken because we have preached unity for so long but have little 
evidence of the practice of our own preaching. 

The Majority Prefer Another Approach 

The fact is that there has been a great deal of significant unification 
taking place during this century. All of it proceeds in a manner almost 
the opposite of that which we as a brotherliood have proposed. 

We have proposed a simple creedless method of unification. Virtually 
every unification that has taken place in the past century has done 
so through a complicated process of working out a creedal, confessional 
or covenantal statement as the basis of unity. In almost every instance it 
has taken twenty-fi\^e to thirty years to work out a satisfactory covenant. 
But the point is that this is the kind of procedure that has been accepted 
and is working, whereas our proposal is being passed by. 

It is obvious that a creed has been central in such intraconfessional 
unifications as the 1929 Reunion of the Church of Scotland and the 1939 
reunion of The Methodist Church in the United States of America. It is 
equalh' true that a creedal statement has been central for such unifica- 
tion as the United Church of Canada, The Church of Christ in China, the 
Church of South India, or the reunion of Protestants in France. In a 
conversation with the writer of this article last summer (1956) Bishop 
Stephen Niell said that he considers the 1938 Reunion of Protestants 
the most significant of recent times because of the wide varieties of 
points of view expressed. 

In the French reunification there were both liberals and conservatives 
who had existed as separate bodies since the mid-nineteenth century. 
Soon after 1900 a desire for reunion was felt. The first World War added 
urgency to this desire. At a meeting in 1927, an allocation entitled 
"The Desire of the Young," was presented on behalf of the younger 
ministry and laymen. The address said in part, "When we think of 
unity, our idea is of a substantial and real unity which comes from on 
high, the unity of the Body of Christ. We believe that it is through 


unity in faith, and by a common confession of Christian truth, that 
unity can be obtained." 

The common confession of faith Avliich was called for was eventually 
written, though it was not achieved without considerable theological 
effort. This union, and others in which a creed played a unitive role, is 
described in Rouse and Niell, A History of the Ecumenicat Movement, 
pp. 463ff. 

Creeds : Are They Divisive or lenitive ? 

The irony of the Disciple dilemma is that while we keep on asserting, 
"History proves that creeds have been divisive," the major reunions of 
our century take place with the help of creeds. This fact cannot be taken 
as the basis for a blanket generalization that creeds are unitive. During 
the past year, in a pre-Oberlin study group, we have had many a lively 
set-to between the right-wing and the left-wing Protestants. AVhenever 
the left-wing has challenged the right-wing confessionalists with the fact 
that historically creeds have proven divisive, the right wing quite dis- 
armingly admits the point, and yet says that we cannot have unity 
without the aid of common confessions of faith. The right-wing seems 
to have outgrown confessionalisw! (at least some of them have) and now 
say. "It is an over-simplification to believe either that creeds are histor- 
ically divisive or historically unitive." "Creeds, in and of themselves" 
they say, "are not the cause of division or union." 

Our Disciple point of view was formulated at a time when Christian 
sects were using creeds to divide themselves off" from each other. In a 
protest on behalf of fellowship, our forefathers adopted an anti-creedal 
position. Nowadays, in a pagan society like that of modern France or 
contemporary England, there is a tremendous amount of fellowship and 
human congeniality. Americans go abroad not only to see the sights, but 
to participate in the easy-going good nature of a city like Paris. But 
many a young Frenchman has asked himself the question, "Is this 
what is meant by fellowship in Christ ? How do I distinguish Christian 
fellowship from the varieties of camaraderie?" His answer is that 
Christian fellowship is based on a unity in faith, a unity of trust in the 
same Lord and God. Furthermore, we are able to identify our faith to 
each other, not by deeds of ordinary humaneness but by what we are 
willing to confess about God with our mouths. In the midst of a pagan 
world, characterized by a tremendous amount of congenial good-will, 
the creed becomes the instrument by which Christians sort themselves 
out, discover each other and the "fellowship of kindred minds." 


We have often said that our plea was, in the beginning, ahead of its 
time, but that it is being fulfilled in this twentieth century. Certainly, 
as our founding fathers approached the sects they said, "You are being 
kept apart by your creeds. Why don 't you abandon them. ' ' The present 
day Disciple must face the fact that these same sects are now saying to 
us, "Look, we are using our creeds as effective instruments of reunifica- 
tion. ' ' 

Who Is Right? 

Within the contemporary ecumenical movement, leadership is accord- 
ed those groups which by history, tradition and past practice have skill 
in formulating creeds, covenants, and confessions. In the art of form- 
ulating such symbolic theological statements, we Disciples have no his- 
toric skill or tradition. As long as present tendencies hold, we can expect 
that our Disciple contribution to the ecumenical movement will be made 
through individuals and not through our brotherhood proposal regard- 
ing unity. None-the-less, it may prove in the long run that our Disciple 
way of stating the plea for Christian union in terms of simple funda- 
mentals may prove right. The times may come when the limits of creeds 
and covenants as iiistruments of unification will appear. Then ecumen- 
ical leadership will be called for from us and others like us. However, 
history is already calling us to a re-examination of one of our cherished 
traditional planks, namely, our anti-creedalism. We used to be so sure 
that history teaches the divisiveness of creeds. Yet we live in an age 
w^hich contradicts that idea and reveals it as an over-simplification. Per- 
haps we had better become more sophisticated about creeds than our 
traditional anti-creedalism asked us to be. 




What Good Is The 
Campbell Institute? 

Keplies to Editor's Query 

Just after the turning day of the new year, I thought — ' ' There ought 
to be something new under the sun for the SCROLL and the Campbell 
Institute!" What better place, I further sarmised, could one find that 
something new (if anything!) than in the scholarly (sic) minds of the 
Campbell Institute? Pursuant to this monumental conclusion, I directed 
a postal card to every member of the Institute. If you did not receive one, 
maybe you have not paid your dues! This F.S. Mail Inquiring Reporter 
asked everyone the same question: "AVill you be good enough to write 
a paragraph (or two paragraphs if you feel loquatious!) on the follow- 
ing question: 'What are the purposes, the intents, and the future of the 
Campbell Institute!' What I supi)Ose I am really asking is, What is 
the basic rationale for the existence of an organization such as the 
Campbell Institute? I have in mind making a compilation of these an- 
swers for a forthcoming issue (s) of TJie Scroll. Whatever you say, I 
am assuming that I may quote you ! ' ' 

As you will observe below there are many thoughtful answers to the 
questions posed. Some replies are longer than others. Some are certainly 
more to the point than others. Some are downright clever ! I am using 
replies in this issue up to the mark of space limitations. Others will be 
used in another issue. I sincerely hope that many others will be prompted 
to reply to this very important question. 

Am I wrong in making a general conclusion that most of these replies 
are inferring that at one time in its history the Campbell Institute was 
vigorous and etfective in pushing back the horizons of knowledge and 
understanding in religion, and that if the Institute can continue (or 
recover) this mission it has a grand future for the causes of religious 
thought? If it cannot do this service to intelligent religion, then it had 
better, as the Arabs, fold its tents and silently steal away into oblivion ! 
What think ve? Editor. 

A means of expression of the thinking and the ideals of the openmind- 
ed and progressive ministers and scholars of the communion known as 
Disciples of Christ. A means of fellowship in the common heritage of 


those whe believe in the progress and adjustment to changing conditions 

of the Christian cause. 

Stephen J. Corey, President Emeritus 

The College of the Bible 

2429-33rd Street 

Santa Monica, California 

I have a feeling that the Campbell Institute could serve even more 
effectually in the days ahead than it has in the past. It seems to me 
that it could well place more emphasis on fellowship than it has during 
the past few years. It should continue to have stimulating discussions of 
vital Christian issues. If the younger ministers in our churches today 
can get the type of stimulation and guidance which I received when I 
first began attending the Institute meetings thirty years ago, it will have 
a continuing and increasingh^ vital function to perform. 

M. E. Sadler, President 
Texas Christian University 
Fort Worth, Texas 

I take it that the purpose, intent, and future of the Campbell Institute 
is well stated by Stephen Corej-, p. 10 of your most recent issue, (see 
winter issue, January, 1957). 

The purpose of the Institute has been somewhat altered, however, by 
the enlargement of the fellowship from a small group in Illinois to a 
nation-wide fellowship. The two meetings of the organization per year 
are now such that real intellectual exchange by many persons is impos- 
sible. The Scroll remains as the best medium of exchange. 

Many periodicals carry theological issues. How can the Scroll make 
an unique contribution therefore? In partial answer to this question I 
submit some personal ideas. First of all, it should print articles by men 
who are not well enough known to use the other periodicals. Secondly, 
the contributors should feel free to "let their hair down" and be frank 
and open. Thirdly, the subjects discussed should be vital, controversial, 
and contemporary in effect. Another idea which might be plausible is 
to dedicate a single issue to a given topic, announce the topic ahead of 
time, and solicit and select submitted manuscripts. This might promote 
creative scholarship and thought. 

The implication in your question seemed to be whether _ or not the 
Institute had served its time. My answer is that it has unless it makes 
a unique contribution. Something along the lines above I feel would 
justify its continuance. 

Ro.y L. Smith, Jr. 
Des Moines, Iowa 


This is a layman's idea of Avhy the Campbell Institute will flourish. 

Theology, even though inscrutably not an exact science to human 
beings, is spiritually necessary to anyone who is a hopeless materialist 
and animalist. In order to keep theology intelligent ; in order to refrain 
from setting up a complete authoritarian system rounded out with fan- 
tasy ; the spiritual leaders should continue to explore new theses and in 
doing so should take care not to lose their balance. The Campbell Insti- 
tute furnishes the opportunity to discuss these theses freely and to 
test them with the known historical and scientific facts and the accepted 
doctrines of love and hope. Out of this association should come a con- 
tinually more solid and satisfying faith to each leader which can be 
passed on to the listeners and readers at home. 

Wendell P. Monroe 

Chicago, Illinois 

I feel that the Campbell Institute can serve a real need among us 
Disciple ministers by continuing in its original purpose of providing 
fellowship and discussion. The questions that loom large, and which 
must somehow be answered if the Institute is to serve a worthwhile 
purpose, is how to implement that discussion and fellowship. 

I feel that geographical distance is the major factor in the path of 
rendering real service to ourselves as members of the Institute. There- 
fore, I suggest having state or area meetings perhaps twice a year. 
Papers could be read and discussed and then submitted to the editorial 
board of The Scroll for publication consideration. Such an arrange- 
ment would serve three purposes. First, it would provide fellowship 
among our ministers in the area of serious thinking. Second, it would 
stimulate wider participation and broader representation in the printed 
organ of the Campbell Institute. I do not want this construed as cavil- 
ling, but there appears to be a limited number of authors contributing 
articles to The Scroll. Undoubtedly this is largely due to procrastination. 
Often I have thought of sending a manuscript but simply put it off and 
then forgot about it. Third, in the give and take of these geographically 
convenient groups, questions would be brought up which would give 
birth to solution that would provide maximum benefit among us. 

Charles C. Spangler 
Shenandoah Christian Church 
Greenwich, Ohio 

Dear Marshon : 

If you remember my peculiar attainments during the seminary years 
at Chicago, you should have written asking me to draw a picture of 


the Campbell Institute rather than write some erudite phrases about it. 
What I wouki say would probably be more of a caricature even than 
what I might draw ! 

However, since you insist, far be it from me to disappoint your anx- 
ious little heart ! Behold and believe ! 

In the tradition of the questing mind of its spiritual founder and 
namesake, the Campbell Institute has pushed out into the frontiers of 
the knowledge of God and man and ways of religious experience. Its 
efforts have sometimes appeared radical and its premises seldom have 
been conservative. Its questions have often been foreign to the limited 
mind and the field of its theological concerns have been crossed only 
b\' daring feet. 

But this is its genius. So long as the intent and purpose of the Insti- 
tute is to stimulate men to broader understandings and higher inspira- 
tions, and so long as its future is the deeper concerns and broader ap- 
preciation of the will and word of God in human life, so long will the 
Institute prosper. 

AA^a3'ne Selsor 

Central Christian Church 

Galveston, Texas 

The Campbell Institute's principal purpose, it seems to me, is to pro- 
vide an open forum for intelligent discussion of ideas. No view should 
be excluded from publication in the Scroll, for example, on the basis 
that it is out of keeping with "accepted" Disciple views. Indeed, intel- 
ligent discussion of new ideas and new points of view should be en- 
couraged. And I wonder if this purpose could not be partially fulfilled 
by inviting more non-Disciples to write articles for the Scroll. Articles 
such as, "A Methodist (or an Episcopalian, a Congregationalist, a Pres- 
byterian, etc.) looks at the Disciples, "Avritten by a Methodist (etc.), 
and "Future Prospects for Closer Ties between Disciples and Baptists", 
written by an American Baptist, would do mnch to provide really stim- 
ulating and cre-ative discussion. 

D wight C. Stew^art 
Cambridge, Massachusetts 

The purpose of the Campbell Institute is to keep a growing edge or 
provide expanding horizons to the brotherhood as a whole. We have a 
commission to act as Catfish in the hood of a ship filled with Mackerel. 
It is our job to keep the rest of the brotherhood stirred up, active and 
alive. Without a group such as ours, the Disciples might become self- 
satisfied or static and lose their growth factor. Also there is a tendency 


toward legalism and solidfieatioii and we should have as our goal the 
propagation of the creative germinal mind. 

Our future is as guardians of the attitude and the spirit of free 
and unfettered research into all fields of religious thought without the 
restrictions of previous tradition, prejudice, form or practice. May we 
ever be free minds, adventuring wherever truth and innovation indicate 
there is progress and emancipation for the mind and spirit of human- 

Freedom, innovation, creativity and adventure forever and ever. 

Floyd B. McCarthy 
San Diego, California 

The fellowship of the people who meet together at the Campbell Insti- 
tute is one of its great assets. 

Stimulating addresses delivered before a group that is characterized 
by its freedom of opinion is an asset that our Brotherhood can ill afford 
to lose. If possible we should do more than in recent years to encourage 
pioneer thinking and writing. Most of us in the pastorate are too prone 
to deal with the immediate problems. The Institute can serve as an 
important agency in broadening the horizon of our consideration of our 
ministry and the Church. 

As to the future of the Campbell Institute it occurs to me that it may 
well live for a time on fellowship but its ultimate destiny will relate to 
the creative job which members affiliated with it do in the fields of 
constructive religious thought. 

K. Everett JMunson 
First Christian Church 
Maywood, Illinois 

When the Campbell Institute held its first meetings, there was an 
urgent need for ministers of our fellowship to do creative thinking in 
restating of the heritage of faith of the Disciples of Christ in the light 
of the insights of twentieth century scholarship. This scholarship center- 
ed around the new perspective on the history and formulation of the 
Bible. In many ways it was one of the most critical periods of Christian 
history. It required an entirely new orientation about a source of author- 
ity that was considered by the majority as finished and utterly complete. 

It seems now that there is a new role for the Campbell Institute, not 
different in spirit but in kind. The new research of our time has passed 
from revelations about the Bible to center in three other areas of the 
Christian life. 

First, theological ideas are undergoing reformulation. Theology should 
always endeavor to describe the faith in terms intellectually honest for 


the day. To make the Christian faith intellectually meaningful and inter- 
pretative for this age is a challenge to vigorous scholars. Our members of 
the Campbell Institute can well devote time and thought to this creative 
endeavor of current theological reformulation. 

Secondly', Campbell Institute men should be helping to clarify the 
mission of the church for this age. The old frame of thought about the 
missionary' program has been found unsuited for the modern world. 
It would be altogether tragic for our people to withdraw from concern 
over the part the church will play in shaping the world of tomorrow. 
How to minister and establish the faith in many nations of our world is 
a job calling for new research. Moreover the mission of the church on 
the home front is in need of restudy as the urbanization of our culture 
speeds onward. 

Thirdly, Campbell Institute men should rise to the spirit of research 
in the field of Christian education. Protestant Christian education has 
not adopted a major forward step since the creation of the graded cur- 
riculum in 1909. The improvements in our methods and our curriculum 
have been encouraging and effective. Yet adult educational opportunities 
seem to be limited to sermons and uniform lessons. There is real question 
as to the ability' of Protestantism to rise to the challenges of its competi- 
tors if it does not employ more effective methods of equipping adults for 
the Christian life. 

If Campbell Institute men will continue to league together to devote 
time to creative examination of the faith, then she has my vote of com- 
mendation. If she chooses to do otherwise, then I say let her remains 
rest in peace. 

Marvin E. Smith 

Christian Board of Publication 

8t. Louis, Missouri 

The Campbell Institute is needed (juite as much today as in the era in 
which it was organized. It acquired the reputation of championing lib- 
eralism altho its main purpose was to create a fellowship and form for 
free discussion on the part of all sincere seekers after truth. Today it 
could help clarify the issues between our cooperative and separatists 
brethren. The need for cultivating a climate of that among our brethren 
favorable to the ultimate practice of unity with other Christian bodies 
should also be a challenge to the Campbell Institute. 

Paul Rains 

Family Life Clinic 

St. Louis, Missouri 

There is a need of fellowship among the free spirits of the Disciples 
of Christ so they may continue to stand for a reasonable and practical 


religion as coiistrasted with obscurantism and prejudice. One Elijah 
thought he was all alone in the world, and he was very weak. It strength- 
ens us all to realize that the numbers of those who defend liberty and 
progress in religion are considerable. 

The free spirits among the Disciples also need constant encourage- 
ment in keeping up with the best in modern thought through reading 
and conference. Professional men may become so lost in the chores of 
their vocation that they cease to be concerned with the true funda- 
mentals that atfect their calling. 

Orvis F. Jordan 

Community Church 

Park Kidge, Illinois 

Having been a member of the Campbell Institute for many years, I 
speak and write in appreciation of it and the stimulation to expanded 
thinking concerning the various aspects of our Brotherhood life, and 
Christianity and the world in general. It ought to be continued as a 
pioneering group of those who like to venture and go a little further 
than the average in individual and group thinking. It can still help our 
fellow Disciples' progress in their broadening fellowship and deeper 
thinking, and I hope it will. 

Harry G. Parsons 

Budd Park Christian Church 

Kansas City, Missouri 

The Scriptures teach the doctrine of the Second Mile. But if the 
second mile is asked, I infer that it is the Christian duty of the orthodox 
believer to be willing to add a third. 

At any rate, lest anyone doubt my orthodoxy, I am providing three 
paragraphs where you have only asked for two. 

The Campbell Institute was first organized over a half century ago by 
a small group of men with graduate training and liberal ideas. Among 
them were Herbert L. Willet, Charles Clayton Morrison, Edward Scrib- 
ener Ames and a number of others who were later to rank among the 
outstanding religious leaders of America. Few leaders among the Dis- 
ciples were at that time well trained in the methods and results of 
modern Biblical scholarship, and those few felt the need of a medium of 
communication, scholarship and mutual encouragement. The Campbell 
Institute was organized for this purpose. With the enthusiasm of youth, 
its founders proposed a grandiose program of research, extending even 
to archaelogical investigations in Palestine ! 

The latter project came to naught, but the Institute has exercised a 
profound effect on the history of the Disciples by stimulating interests 


in scholarship and research among the young men in our brotherhood. 
The full extent of this influence is unknown, but among my friends and 
acquaintances whose years of graduate preparation fell within the 
second decade of the century, its influence as a source of encouragement 
and inspiration was incalculable. 

The ideals of the founders, which then formed the intellectual frontier 
of religious advance, have now become commonplaces. But the rationale 
for the organization remains unchanged. For new times bring new 
problems, and an open forum for their discussion, and a medium of fel- 
lowship and mutual encouragement among their discussants, is still 
needed. In my day many young men who have since left their mark for 
good upon our communion would have been lost to the Disciples, if not 
to the field of religious leadership entirely, had the Campbell Institute 
not existed as a source of encouragement and hope. And I am confident 
that in this respect the situation has not changed over half a century 
and will not change during the foreseeable future. 

Howard E. Jensen 
Durham, North Carolina 

As to the purposes and intents I do not know. As to the future I can 
be as loquacious as anyone. 

The future is as bright as it ever was to keep the searchlight upon 
truth in the Brotherhood. We should never allow our great Fellowship 
of believers to have faith in anything but the truth, the whole truth 
about Christ, the Church, and the mind of God in the affairs of men. 
Falsehood should be ferreted out, hounded down until it ceases to 
struggle. When our Convention speaks, we should make known the 
reasons behind resolutions as to whether they are founded and spring 
from truth or falsehood. We should be guardians of the "truth that 
sets men free." 

Merle E. Fish, Jr. 
First Christian Church 
North Hollywood, California 

Here I am a member of Campbell Institute for less than a year and 
you are asking me about the rationale for the existence of the organiza- 
tion ! But isn't that just the point. Not only can I sharpen my thinking 
by hearing important controversial subjects aptly discussed, but I can 
have the rough edges trimmed from my position if I care to express 
myself. If the future brings a variety of conflicting opinions of all shades 
intelligently expressed, I am convinced a real need will be met. 

James E. E. Morgan 

Cresswell, Oregon 


My recent involvements with the Campbell Institute have not been 
regular and whatever I say, therefore, is not to be construed either as 
criticism or praise of the current program. My lack of regular attendance 
is not the result of a lost interest but has been occasioned by other 
commitments at the time the Institute has met. 

I believe the years in which I enjoyed the Institute most were those 
when the Institute was out on a liberal fringe theologically. It seems 
to me that it was in a major way responsible for keeping the liberal 
wing of Disciples of Christ alive and vigorous and resulted finally in 
establishing us as a more or less liberal religious group. 

Having apparently won that battle, the Institute turned to social 
issues which are important audi which are also widely discussed by other 
groups which are likely to neglect the more intellectual and academic 
phases of religion. At about this same time the liberals across the land 
became more or less silent and generally remained so under the on- 
slaught of neo-orthodoxy. All of this is by Avay of saying that I think 
it is past time when the liberals should again become vocal to meet the 
theological issues which confront us and which program, for me, would 
be of greatest interest and value. For all I know, the Institute may be 
involved in this currently. 

The Institute should provide a forum where ideas can be criticized 
and sharpened even though generally there may- be a likemindeclness 
among the persons who attend. 

I have heard it said that the Campbell Institute has served its 
purpose and ought to go out of business. I do not agree with this in the 
abstract and would assume that anyoue who made such a comment would 
do so because he felt that currently there was no vitality in the organiza- 
tion. This, of course, I am unable to evaluate because of my lack of 
current involvement. 

The foregoing is probably of no help and I wish I had found it pos- 
sible to attend more meetings and thereby maybe be more helpful. 

Harlie L. Smith 

Pres. Board of Higher Education 
IndianajDolis, Indiana 


Do Religion And Education 


W. Marshon DePoister, Orange, California 

The title above is the somewhat euphemistic and crude way of asking: 
about the relationship between education and relijiion in a democratic 
society. For three days, March 10-12, 62 conferees — veteran school sup- 
erintendents at all levels, competent historians, professors of Education, 
able teachers in other disciplines, experienced bureaucrats, college ad- 
ministrators — wrestled round-the-clock in sessions as they debated one 
of today's thorniest problems for either religion or education. Among 
the delegates were 38 protestants, 12 Jews, and 12 Catholics. Although 
every region and section of the United States were represented, I was 
the only delegate to represent private liberal arts education, and there 
were only six educators invited from west of the Mississippi Eiver. 
Does this indicate a weighting of educational influence toward the 
eastern third of the United States? An interesting qviestion! 

The Committee on Religion and Education of the American Council 
on Education sponsored the meeting, to assist the Committee to formu- 
late its own policy for public appraisal, and in turn help educational 
and religious leaders formulate policies and programs at the grass roots. 

Stately Arden House, the former mansion of the Harriman family, 
high in the patroon country of the Hudson River, was the scene of the 
most stimulating discussion. Arden House Avas given by the Harriman 
family (the Governor and his brother) to Columbia University during 
the presidency of General Eisenhower. It is now used as a vast hotel- 
resort for just such meetings as this one. 

• No papers were read. Seven "homework" papers had been in the 
delegates' hands for several weeks prior to the conference. Preliminaries 
and build-up information out of the way, it took only minutes before 
the opening discussions had flushed the main problems to be considered. 
For three days these problems were attacked from every angle. 

The conference centered its energies, first, on the question of religious 
factors in the teaching of history ; second, on the present aptness and 
clarity of the 1947 and 1953 American Council published reports on 
religion and public education. F. Ernest Johnson, Chairman of the 
Committee on Religion and Education, pointed out that the American 


Council pioneered in this field of researeh by eonveninji', in cooperation 
with the National Conference of Christians and Jews, a conference of 
educators on religion and public education, which was held in Princeton, 
New Jersey, in May, 1944. At that time criticism was being- aimed at 
public education because of the scant attention given to religion in its 
curriculum. On the other hand, many prominent educators were expres- 
sing concern lest the growing demand for ' ' more religion in the school ' ' 
might lead to a breaking down of the "wall" between the church and 
state. xVs a result of the Princeton Conference, the Council created the 
Committee on Religion and Education. 

The Committee published its first report, THE RELATKJN OF RE- 
LIGION TO PUBLIC EDUCATION in April, 1947. It took a firm 
position against religious instruction — in the sense of indoctrination — '■ 
in tax-supported schools, but contended vigorously for including in the 
public school program, for objective study, religious subject matter 
wherever it is intrinsically related to a given school discipline and is 
germane to the subject. This would mean that the study of literature 
should include our religious classics; the study of history should include 
the religious aspects of the period studies ; the social studies program 
should provide for visitation and observation of religious institutions 
as well as those related to business, industry, and social welfare ; and so 
on. The American Council on Education has held that religious literacy 
is an essential goal of a liberal education. In 1953 the Committee on 
Religion and Education of the American Council published its second 
volume, The Function of the Pnhlic ScJiooIs in Bcaling WifJi Religion. 
This little volume actually pushed the issues deeper into the grass roots 
by suggesting there is a great need to inculcate basic religious values 
into our educative processes. This approach to religion has been widely 
characterized as "study about religion." The term has been found use- 
ful by many educators, though it is sometimes contended that "study 
about" is not really education at all, since it does not require or produce 
that personal involvement Avhich is essential to a genuine educative 

As. they considered the earlier American Council policy statements 
on religion, the conference generally thought that they were still per- 
tinent to public education. It was generally agreed that religious illiter- 
acy must not be allowed to develop through an attempt by the public 
schools to assume a "neutralist" position — i.e. that religion should be 
assumed to be a matter Avhich students could either "take it or leave it" 
and that it did not make any diff'erenee which decision was made. The 
very difficult "middleground" was approved by the majority, which 


meant that while the schools should luaiutaii) a diniate friendly to 
religion, there should he no "indoctrination" in the i^ejorative sense, nor 
disparagement of (uty viewpoint on religion; neither should the complete 
secularist be made to feel that his position was out of liarniony witli any 

Dr. F. Ernest Johnson, Committee chaii-mau, pointed out tlie limita- 
tions that beset a policy .statement intended for the entire nation. "The 
effort to construct a national procedural norm Avitli respect to the vital 
and vexing issue we are here confronting," he said, "has been a serious 
mistake." He indicated how in practice a tradition of strong local control 
is a powerful determinant in the making of local school policy. 

Some discussants, including this one. expressed disappointment that 
the conference did not take a stronger position on theism. There are 
here, however, conflicting principles which must be kept in balance. 
No single principle by itself suffices to solve this delicate problem. 

It is my intention to take the core of tlie sunnnaries of this most recent 
conference, along with the previous statements of policy of the American 
Council on Education, to the teachers and administrators of my own 
community. It is all well and good (and highly provocative!) to discuss 
these pertinent and disturbing problems at the "upper levels" of ad- 
ministration, but it may be quite another thing when these ])rinciples 
of policy are implemented at the grass roots. Teachers, principals, 
superintendents, and scliool board members, wlio must reckon with ir- 
rational arguments of biased parents, may have a great deal of wisdom 
and insight to offer those of us who wrestle with the problem rather 
much on an abstract and doctrinaire level. This is a matter which every 
minister, every educator and every parent should approach with realism 
and vigor. The outcome may virtually control the destiny of western 
culture in a future which is not too distant. 

An Appeal 

]Miss P^iiiiiie Carlton, T.ibraria)i at Chapman Co]le<ie, Orange, Cali- 
fornia, is bnilding- a collection of Discipliana. This is probably the only 
sizeable collection of Disciple literature and data west of the Rockies. 
Miss Carlton would like the help of Disciples who have any Disciple 
literature Avhicli might be useful to such a collection. If you have valu- 
able data which you would like to share with this repository of Dis- 
cipliana, and with futni'e generations, send your materials directly to 
MisM Fannie Carlton, Librarian. 

^liss Carlton would like also to ask Campbell Institute members for 
back collies of The Scroll and for the following issues: 

1951 — AVinter edition 

]!).')2 — all issues 

1!)53 — all issues 

1951: — all issues 

1955 — all issues 

1956 — all issues 

THE SCROLL, the Bulletin of the Campbell Institute, published quar- 
terly in July, October, January, and April. 

The Campbell Institute founded in 1896, is an association for 
ministers and laymen of the Disciples of Christ for the encouragement of 
scholarship, comradeship, and intelligent discipleship. 

OFFICERS 1956-57 

President: Leslie L. Kingsbury, Manhattan, Kansas 
Vice-President: George Beazley, Jr., Bartlesville, Oklahoma 
Secretary-Treasurer: J. J. VanBoskirk, Chicago, Illinois 
Editor of Scroll: W. Marshon DePoister, Orange, California 


The Officers of the Institute 

The Dues of the Campbell Institute are $2.00 per year, including' 
subscriptions to the SCROLL. 

Correspondence concerning manuscripts and other editorial items 
should be sent to: The Editor, Chapman College, Orange, California. 
Correspondence concerning membership and dues should be sent to: 
J. J. Van Boskirk, Chicago Disciples Union, 19 S. LaSalle Street, Chicago 
3, Illinois. 

THf SCfiO 

Journal of the Campbell Institute 


Harry B. Partin 


From the Christian Evangelist 

Carroll Gotten 


Clyde Curry Smith 

More Replies to Editor's Query 


Vol. XLIX 

Fall, 1957 

Nos. 1 and 2 

THE SCROLL, the Bulletin of the Campbell Institute, published quar- 
terly in July, October, January, and April. 

The Campbell Institute, founded in 1896, is an association for 
ministers and laymen of the Disciples of Christ for the encouragement of 
scholarship, comradeship, and intelligent discipleship. 

OFFICERS 1956-57 

President: Leslie L. Kingsbury, Manhattan, Kansas 
Vice-President: George Beazley, Jr., Bartlesville, Oklahoma 
Secretary-Treasurer: J. J. VanBoskirk, Chicago, Illinois 
Editor of Scroll: W. Marshon DePoister, Orange, California 


The Officers of the Institute 

The Dues of the Campbell Institute are $2.00 per year, including 
subscriptions to the SCROLL. 

Correspondence concerning manuscripts and other editorial items 
should be sent to: The Editor, Chapman College, Orange, California. 
Correspondence concerning membership and dues should be sent to: 
J. J. Van Boskirk, Chicago Disciples Union, 19 S. LaSalle Street, Chicago 
3, Illinois. 

Renascent Religions and the Gospel 

by Hakry Partin 

IN 1946 Dr. Merle Davis, Director of Research of the International Mis- 
sionary Council, wrote: "While the non-Roman Catholic churches of 
the world are evangelizing between one and two million non-Christians 
a year, in each twelve months a net tioentij to twenty-five millions are 
added to the non-Christian population of the world." (International Re- 
view of Missions, April, 1946). He did not attempt to say what propor- 
tion gave some allegience, nominal or real, to the non-Christian religions. 
Undoubtedly, it would be an overwhelming majority. 

The Expansion and Resurgence of the Non-Christian Religions 

The growth of the non-Christian religions is not due solely to popu- 
lation growth, but also to the missionary efforts of adherents of the major 
non-Christian religions (Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam). J. Spencer 
Trimingham in The Christian Church and Islam in West Africa (I. M. C, 
Research Series, No. 3) writes of the extent and effectiveness of Muslim 
expansion into the interior of Africa: ". . . Islam is no longer limited to the 
desert and northern steppe but has penetrated even into the forest re- 
gion." Dr. Max Warren writes of Buddhist missionary activity: "A million 

rupee fund is being raised by the Buddhists in Ceylon to send a mission 
to Germany. Centres of Buddhist studies are becoming a feature in many 
Western countries, in Europe and America." (C. M. S. News-Letter, 
June, 1956). MusHm mosques are now found in Chicago, New York, and 
several other large cities of the United States. A national magazine re- 
cently published a two-page color picture of the new mosque in Wash- 
ington. Hindu Vedanta has its missionaries in the West and finds many 
admirers, if few adherents, among the intcUif'cntia of the West. 

The resurgence of the non-Christian religions exhibits itself also in 
the theological sphere. For example, not only are there Muslim mission- 
aries, but there is increasingly an Islamic theology of missions. These 
religions are no longer on the defensive, but are caught up in the whole 
Asian and African reaction against the West. Not only is the uniqueness 
and superiority of the Christian religion denied, but Buddhists, Hindus, 
and Muslims claim uniqueness and superiorit)^ for their own religions. 

It is not simply that the religions are expanding geographically, nu- 
merically, and theologically. At the base of the expansion there is a re- 
SLUgence of the religions in their traditional strongholds. Expectations of 
an earlier generation of Christian missionaries were that under the im- 
pact of Christianization and Westernization the non-Christian religions 
would grow weaker and weaker. This has not happened. In many coun- 
tries the religions have gi'eater vitality than when Christian missions 
began their work. To say that this is due to "the failure of Christian mis- 
sions" is far too simple an answer and discounts the steady accomplish- 
ments of missions (including their role in stimulating developments 
within the religions ) . An understanding of the nature and sources of the 
religious resurgence is imperative for the church today. It involves seeing 
the religious developments in their intimate inter-relationships with the 
whole social, political, and economic context. Response and reaction to 
Western technology with its accompanying philosophy of materialism 
(certainly as seen from the Asian point of view), the assertion of the 
values of the traditional religion and culture, the attempt at a cultural 
•re-integration, the growth of national self-consciousness and striving for 
independence, the attempts to cope with the modern world— all tliese are 
powerful factors in the resurgence and have yet to be understood in their 
full implications. 

The Meeting of the Religions 

The resurgence of the religions means that a new "religious en- 
counter" is beginning to take place. At innumerable points and in a var- 
iety of forms the religions are meeting in a new way. As stated above, 
most of the Asian and African countries are attempting a cultural re- 

integration. The religions are meeting as they relate themselves to this 
task. The Asian and African churches stand today as churches in the 
midst of all the problems and tensions such a mammoth task involves. 
The temptation of the churches is to avoid the additional tension that is 
created in being a witnessing church. It may accept a ghetto existence 
in the presence of the religious majorities hoping thereby to receive cer- 
tain rights and to be let alone, or it may participate in the cultxiral re- 
integration bv an uncritical identification with national aims and pro- 
grams. To remain the church is to pay the price of the tensions of en- 

The churches in Asia and Africa are called to fight the spiritual 
battles inherent in their own situations. It may be that in this age of 
ecumenical contact and of theological and cultural exchange, churches 
and theologians, scholars and missionaries (who have adequate knowl- 
edge and experience of the non-Christian cultures and religions ) will lend 
their aid. But it will always remain aid, not the real battle, for two reasons: 
first, because it is the churches' peculiar, God-given task, which no one 
can take from them, or take over for them; second, because the non- 
Christian environment can only take seriously the Christian witness of 
churches which are a part of the same life-texture and of the same 
historical situation and destiny. 

Christian Views of the Relationship between Christianity 
and the Non-Christian Religions 

During the early decades of the present century Christians gave con- 
siderable thought to the relationship between Christianity and the other 
religions. While they could be extremely critical of the crudities of popu- 
lar Hinduism, for example, they could write appreciatively Bhakti Hin- 
duism ("loving devotion"). The tendency among missionaries as well as 
among historians of religion was to see elements in the major religions 
which seemed to be evidences of God's activity there. The Rev. J. N. 
Farquhar's book. The Crown of Hinduism ( 1913 ) , crystallized mission- 
ary opinion on the relationship between Christianity and the religions. 
Farquhar held that in Hinduism there are longings and glimpses of truth 
which find their "fulfillment" in Christianity. The Christian missionary 
should seek to discover the elements of truth in Hinduism and to show 
how these find clear and complete expression in Christianity. Farquhar 
wrote: "Christ provides the fulfillment of the highest aspirations of Hin- 
duism ... He is the Crown of the Faith of India." The missionary has 
a "point of contact" with the Hindu at the same time that he is maintain- 
ing the superiority and finality of the Christian religion. 

In 1932 Re-thinking Missions: A Laymen's Inquiry after One Hun- 
dred Years was published. Its conception of the relationship among the 
reHgions was plainly that of the chairman of the Laymen's Commission, 
William Ernest Hocking. It rejected the doctrines of "fulfillment" and 
m-ged instead a doctrine of "reconception. " By "reconception" was meant 
that each religion should think through its own meaning anew, not alone, 
but in contact and conversation with the other religions. In the end, it 
was believed, Christianity would become the world faith but it would 
be a deepened and broadened Christianity, more aware of its own dis- 
tinctive nature and contributions and at the same time enriched by the 
religious insights of non-Christian religious men. The task of Christian 
missionaries, it was held, is not to evangelize directly, but to share re- 
ligious experiences with men of other religions in order that the depths 
of those experiences might be sounded and profounder religious in- 
sights revealed. The report aroused considerable discussion and debate, 
but it did not greatly affect the outlook of the churches and missionary 
societies. "Fulfillment" still held the field generally. 

In 1938 Professor Hendrik Kraemer, a Dutch missionary in Indonesia 
and later Professor of the History of Religions in the University of Leiden, 
wrote The Christian Message in a Non-Christian World, a keen and force- 
ful indictment of both "fulfillment" and "reconception." The book was 
written in preparation for the meeting of the International Missionary 
Council in Tambaram, Madras, in 1938 and set off the famous "Tambaram 
Debate." Professor Kraemer held that Jesus Christ is not the fulfillment 
of the religions, but is rather the "crisis" of all religions. The Gospel is 
set against all religion. According to Kraemer, man makes his religion. 
That is, "religion" is a product of man's mind and spirit as he tries to 
give order and meaning to his experience. The Gospel, in contrast to re- 
ligion, is God's revelation of his nature and will. All religions, including 
Christianity, stand under the judgment of the Gospel. They are to be 
transformed, not fulfilled, by it. Nor is "reconception" a proper course 
for the Christian missionary. To try to "reconceive" Christianity is simply 
to compound man's sin in trying to "find out" the God who has already 
revealed himself fully and finally in Jesus Christ, the Word become 
flesh. Christian faith is not a quest but a response. The task of the mis- 
sionary is that of faithful witness to a Gospel which judges his religion 
as severely as that of his hearer. In his latest book (Religion and the 
Christian Faith, 1956) Professor Kraemer says the missionary must have 
"radical humility and downright intrepidity": humility with regard to 
himself and intrepidity with regard to his message. 

Most of the discussion of the relationship of Christianity and the 
non-Christian religions since Tambaram has centered around Professor 

Kraemer's book and the issues it raises. In general, it may be said that 
the European theologians and missionary specialists in the religions have 
sided with Professor Kraemer in his main theses. The writings of his 
fellow-country man, J. H. Bavinck, reveal significant dissatisfactions and 
elsewhere divergencies are to be noted. The British, American, and some 
"Younger Churches" scholars and theologians who have concerned them- 
selves with these questions have commonly tried to find a middle way 
in the debates. On the one hand, thev have wanted to take full account 
of the uniqueness of the Gospel and the religion to which it has given 
rise. On the other hand, they have generally held that God has revealed 
something of his nature and will in the non-Christian religions and that 
the response to that "general revelation" ( as it was commonly called ) has 
not been totally false. 

The paper contributed to the Tambaram debate by an American 
participant. Dr. Walter Marshall Horton, was significantly entitled "Be- 
tween Hocking and Kraemer." He wrote of being in "a state in which my 
Hocking-self, though chastened and corrected, has neither been put to 
flight by nor absorbed within my Kraemer-self, but survives and flour- 
ishes, sometimes quite at peace with my Kraemer-self, sometimes carry- 
ing on a lively campaign against the theological errors that appear to 
be implicit in Kraemerism." (The Authority of the Faith, Madras series. 
Vol. 1). The chief question Horton put to Professor Kraemer was this: 

How then is it possible to draw so sharp a distinction as Kraemer 
draws between the prophetic religion of biblical revelation and all 
other religions, as though the former alone represented God's word 
to man, and the latter were simply man's vain and presumptuous at- 
tempt to scale the heavens? If presumption and self-aggrandizement 
appear in Christianity, do not humility, awe, self-abasement in the 
presence of the Holy One appear in non-Clnistian religions, and are 
they not signs of a genuine though incomplete self-revelation of the 
divine Word, operative from of old in every land? 

The most effective "challenger" of Kraemer's theses today appears 
to be Dr. Kenneth Cragg of the Hartford Seminary Foundation whose 
recent book. The Call of the Minaret, deals with Muslim-Christian rela- 
tionships in a fresh and convincing way. 

Today it is the non-Christian religions which are raising the ques- 
tion of their relationship to Christianity. As Dr. Cragg has put it in re- 
gard to Islam : "Islam is cross-examining Christianity." Confident, thought- 
ful adherents of the religions are forcing a reexamination of the relation- 
ship and tliey will not accept easy answers. Indeed, they intend to pro- 
vide the answers (one has only to think of Radhakrishnan in India). 

A Consultation on "Christianity and Non-Christian ReHgions" was 
held at Davos, Switzerland, in 1955 under the auspices of the Depart- 
ments of Evangelism and Missionary Studies of the World Council of 
Churches and the International Missionary Council. Its stated purpose 
was to resume the Tambaram debate. However, it was soon apparent that 
while the issues of Tambaram were very much ahve, the situation was 
so vastly different that a resumption of the debate as such was unwise 
and even impossible. Clearly, the time was right for a thoroughgoing 
study of Christianity and non-Christian religions in the new context. 

The same concern was finding expression along another line. The 
Willingen (Germany) Conference of the International Missionary Coun- 
cil in 1952 recommended the setting up of regional centers for the study 
of the non-Christian religions. Such centers have been established in the 
Near East, India, Ceylon, and Hong Kong while others are contemplated 
(for example, in West Pakistan and Burma). It was clear that any ecu- 
menical study in Christianity and the non-Christian religions would work 
in closest co-operation with these centers and that they would be the 
focal point for actual research. 

The Central Committee of the World Council of Churches approved 
in 1956 the undertaking of a study project, "The Word of God and the 
Living Faiths of Men," jointly by the Department of Evangelism and the 
Department of Missionary Studies. The study was described as being 
a study of: 

. . . the nature of the living faiths of men and the elements in them 
of appeal and power; 

. . . the nature of the Word of God which is addressed to men who 
live by these faiths; 

. . . the nature of the relation between the Christian message and 
these faiths; 

... the ways in which the church may be enabled to communicate 
this word to those who live by these faiths. 

The task of formulating the study in greater detail and of fashion- 
ing a working plan is the responsibility of a committee of fifteen histor- 
ians of religion, missionary scholars, theologians, and biblical scholars 
drawn from East and West. Three participants in the Tambaram debate 
(Professors Kraemer and Horton and Dr. David Moses of India) are 
included. This group will carry on the central theological study and dis- 
cussion, always in close connection with the "on the spot" studies of the 
centers. It is hoped to convene the group annually. 

Additionally, there is the need to discover the studies and discussions 
that are already going on, here and there, by individuals and groups, and 
wherever possible to relate them to the study project. There is also the 
need to stimulate studies and discussions as widely as possible among 
individuals, churches, universities, and theological schools. 

Disciples of Christ through their Council on Christian Unity were 
asked by the World Council of Churches to participate in the study pro- 
ject by providing a man to help direct the study and to engage in the 
study itself. The Council on Christian Unity agreed and the writer was 
given the assignment. He accepted it with the conviction, well-expressed 
by Professor Kraemer last year, that "the Christian Church is heading 
towards a real and spiritual encounter with the great non-Christian re- 
ligions. Not only because the so-called younger churches, the fruits of 
the work of modern missions, live in the midst of them, but also be- 
cause the fast growing interdependence of the whole world forces the 
existence and vitality of these religions upon us, and makes them a chal- 
lenge to the Church to manifest in new terms its spiritual and intellectual 
integrity and value." (Religion and the Christian Faith, p. 20) 

Harry B. Partin 
Edinburgh House 

The United Church of Christ and Disciples 

from The Christian - Evangelist 

(The material printed below under this title appeared originally in 
The Christian-Evangelist for July 29, 1957. The original article, "The 
United Church of Christ is Born", was written by Gaines M. Cook, 
Executive Secretary of the International Convention of Disciples of 
Christ. In the early parts of the article Mr. Cook has described briefly 
the historical antecedents of the effected merger of the Congregational- 
Christian churches and the Evangelical and Reformed churches. It re- 
quired seventeen years of painstaking and tedious study to effect the 
union. Then Mr. Cook quickly told of the effecting union organization in 
Cleveland, Ohio June 25, 1957. He described the people who were pre- 
sent and he listed the Disciples of Christ who were "oflBcially" present. 
Then follow Mr. Cook's comments as they are cited below. 

For at least five years I have hoped that some able Disciple would write 
some direct and frank words about the relationship between the Dis- 

ciples of Christ and this proposed union of the Congregationals and Evan- 
geHcals. None has been written. It might be unfortunate if the Editor 
of the SCROLL were compelled to write these words himself, for what 
he would write would not have a kindly slant toward his own religious 
denomination! Mr. Cook begins a summary by saying, "We expressed 
our hope that the conversations would be initiated at such time as the 
United Church of Christ feels that they have sufficiently consolidated 
their organizational procedures. In fact, it would be premature to enter 
into any conversations until our brethren are ready to talk with us." This 
is precisely the nexus of our own timidity. We give evidence of failing 
to believe in our own stated convictions! For a century and a quarter, 
"the time has been premature!" Will the accomplished days ever arrive? 
Some of us are beginning to doubt if the Disciples of Christ ever have 
had or ever will have a genuine interest in effecting a union with any 
other Christian organization! We are religious cowards who are afraid 
to look squarely in the face the implications of religious union with 
anyonel How long, O Lord, how long! — Ed.) 

The Disciple delegation agreed that our presence was quite significant 
in that we were privileged to witness the actual consummation of a dream 
which has been in the hearts of Disciples of Christ for 150 years, al- 
though our hearts were saddened that we were still onlookers and not 
active participants. 

Throughout the sessions of the Uniting Synod reference was made 
again and again to the fact that this union should not be construed to 
be purely organizational in nature. If this were the case the way is open 
for pride in the achievement of the participants. There was a strong 
emphasis that this union could only be valid as a response to the moving 
of the Holy Spirit and there was fervent and earnest prayer that the 
development of the merger would take place only under complete sub- 
mission to the will of God as He leads in the days ahead. 

The Disciples delegates stood in the reception line for two hours and 
fi'fteen minutes, exchanging greetings with the delegates of the newly 
organized United Church of Christ. Many words of appreciation for our 
presence came from our friends, and encouraging expressions of hope that 
we might one day be part of the United Church came from almost every- 
one who exchanged greetings with us. 

Participants in the United Synod recognized that it may take several 
years to develop a constitution and to arrange particular aspects of the 
union to make the new United Church one body. But there were no 
fears expressed regarding any possible obstacles and the Church goes 
forward confident that it will become far greater in its spiritual power 

and service than the mere adding together of the total membership o£ 
two religious bodies. 

Questions were frequently asked of the Disciples of Christ delegation 
regarding our conversations which have already been endorsed by the 
International Convention and accepted by the Uniting Synod, looking 
to the participation of our brotherhood in the United Church. 

We expressed our hope that the conversations would be initiated at 
such time as the United Church of Christ feels that they have sufficiently 
consolidated their organizational procedures. In fact, it would be pre- 
mature to enter into any conversations until our brethren are ready to 
talk with us. 

The Council on Christian Unity, to whom responsibility for informal 
negotiations has been intrusted, will judiciously consider the timing of 
such conversations. 

Carefully worded statements were made public at Cleveland indicating 
that the United Church of Christ considers itself a "uniting church" and 
earnestly desires to keep the door open not only to Disciples of Christ, 
but to any other religious bodies. We understand that the intention 
is to keep the SITUATION fluid and adaptable in order that freedom 
may be exercised under the guidance of the Holy Spirit whereby the 
movement now begun may be far more inclusive. 

Consider Your Call 

Carroll Gotten, Rwerside, California 

"Saul! Saul! Why do you persecute me?" Saul of Tarsus heard this 
commanding sentence from the midst of a blinding light on the road to 
Damascus. Through this highly mystical experience, Saul transformed 
his whole life and became the apostle to the gentiles. We say this was 
Paul's call. 

To the young ministerial prospect the question of the call invariably 
comes. When asked by a well meaning elderly lady what my call was, 
I was at a loss for words; I did not know what a call was or of what it 
consisted. What is meant by this term "the call"? 

I am sure the elderly lady who spoke to me believed the call con- 
sisted of "God speaking to me directly and telling me to prepare myself 
for the ministry." If this were an absolute requisite for the ministry, I 
could not enter and I dare say, few candidates that I know could. I 


would certainly not consider this type of experience exclusively the 
call. F. E. Davison offers another possibility in his book, "I Would Do 
It Again". He writes, "It is now forty years since I began to hear the 
call to the Christian ministry. That call came through no blinding 
light on a Damascus Road. Clouds without number floated over the 
farm where I lived and worked, yet no cloud parted, and no voice 
spoke, telling me that I should enter the ministry. Some people may 
have had such ecstatic calls, but for me the call of God was much more 
prosaic and much more gradually recognized. 

My call to the Christian ministry came through my father, who was 
an elder in the home church ( but if he ever dreamt of my being a prea- 
cher he kept the dream to himself ) . It came through a Christian mother, 
who was always at her post of duty in the church. It came through 
a Methodist neighbor lady, who believed in me and prayed for me. It 
came through a group of young people, who elected me president of 
their organization. It came through a minister, who asked me one day to 
assist him in the pulpit. It came through a village church that invited me 
one summer to preach for two Sundays and, six months later called me 
from the schoolroom where I was teaching to my first pastorate. My call 
to the ministry came through God's revelation of the world's need for 
Christ's gospel." 

The call then is the result of an individual who becomes aware of 
his abilities and is searching for the vocation in which he can best use 
them for the good of others. The call is simply made up of the im- 
portance of the considered vocation and talents and abilities the individ- 
ual possesses. It is interesting to note that the terms vocation and call 
derive from the same root. To many the term call is almost synonimous 
with vocation and rightly so, I think. 

There is a common misconception that the call belongs exclusively to 
the ministry. To follow this line of thinking is to set up a false dis- 
tinction between the sacred and the secular. Every useful work is 
ordained of God. The farmer who raises food has a divine commission. 
Surely the healing ministry of the physician is not divorced from the 
purposes of God. This whole concept of the call being limited to the 
ministry and being greatly different from the call cf duty anywhere, 
stems from the idea that the minister is different from anyone else, that 
he is a member of a peculiar species of the homo sapiens. The minister 
has no special siiperhuman strength. I often wonder, however, if we as 
laymen do not project our comic book knowledge of Superman and 
Captain Marvel on to the minister. 

There is no good reason why the minister should be anymore a Man 


of God than you or I. Each one of us has the opportunity to grow 
spiritually, to reach and tap the power of God. This is one of the 
central points of the reformation and the protestant faith. 

I suppose I must admit the minister is generally a little different from 
the rest of us, but not basically. He has developed his sense of steward- 
ship and mission while ours is still under-nourished. I agree with Spade 
Cooley in saying, "shame, shame on us." 

The question is not, is there a call for us. There will always be 
important work to do and abilities to offer, the hard task is the re- 
ceiving of the call. 

Money is the root of all evil, it has been said, but I do not believe it 
is true. It is much deeper and harder to reach. The problem is my 
dear ego. This lack of ability to forget ourselves will get in the way 

The Nation's number one health problem is mental illness. One out 
of every four is in need of psychiatric assistance. The reason the un- 
stable person is beside himself is that he can think of no one besides 
himself. Every truly successful man lives and works for something 
higher than himself. The Key to answering the call is self-forgetfulness. 
This is the first step in attuning ourselves with the will of God. As in 
all worthwhile things it requires work to discover and follow God's 
will. It requires a great amount of searching of one's self and even more 
commitment to follow what one has found. 

In golf the follow through is always what perfects and controls the 
play. And so it is in life. We must make a well planned and well 
executed follow through stroke or all is wasted. We just can not seem 
to find the answer to our call while watching the TV set from 6-11 
every night. Nor can we students find our answer by staying up so 
late every night that we find ourselves mentally and physically asleep 
during the following day in class. (This type of situation very seldom 
occurs because the student does homework for such lengthy hours! ) We 
are given the freedom of choice and along with this freedom comes the 
terrific responsibility to choose wisely and justly and to remain stead- 
fast in our decisions. 

I sometimes have the feeling that women do not consider rearing a 
family a calling in life. The calling of motherhood, the vocation of 
forming and molding young lives, is perhaps the highest calling there 
is. The family is the backbone of the American Nation, and I fear it 
is shaking at its foundations these days. The responsibility to answer 
the call of motherhood has never been as great. 


As a member of the Cardinal Quartet at Chapman, I have the op- 
portunity of witnessing many women's social groups, existing solely for 
social purposes, and I do not believe I know anything under the sun 
more useless than a middle aged women's social club. Ladies of this 
age span appear to feel useless, with their families reared and off some- 
where else. This condition is a tragedy in our society, it does not have 
to exist, a tragedy because all the potential growth and good works pos- 
sible remain latent and inactive, not used. There can be a real con- 
tribution made here if they will only search for the way. 

But perhaps even more sad is the condition of the student who is con- 
cerned only with getting out of this "hole of a college" and making a 
big stinking stack of legal tender. Our sense of direction toward lasting 
values is often pathetically lacking. 

The call of duty and opportunity is there for everyone of us. I ask 
that you along with me might consider your call. There is a real con- 
tribution everyone of us can make if we will only forget om-selves, 
search for God's will, and follow what opportunities we find. Let that 
youthful spirit of missions and adventure get a hold of you. It's there, 
it may have been in hibernation for quite awhile, but it is there. Con- 
sider what Barton Hunter says and then let us apply it to ourselves: 

"Listen you! You with the broad grin and the freckled face. You 
with the steam of youth pounding in your veins. What are you going 
to do with your life?" 

What are we doing with our lives? 

Disciples of Christ and Biblical Scholarship 

Clyde Curry Smith, Chicago, Illinois 

• As one engaged in the task of becoming adequately prepared as a 
Biblical student at the graduate level, the penetrating article by Mr. 
George Beazley in the Spring, 1957 issue of The Scroll struck home 
with force. And it has prompted me to add a few additional observa- 
tions from within the process of Biblical study. 

Not only is it true that the Disciples have over the past ten years had 
few writing-scholars in the academic discipline of Bible, but it is also 
the case that few in that same period have completed or even begun 
doctoral work in this field. At the University of Chicago, where ade- 
quate resources for modern Biblical study are available and where the 


Disciples in terms of the Disciples Divinity House have facilities for 
taking advantage of these resources, the statistics indicate the same 
dearth of interest or pursuit of interest as those statistics presented by 
Mr. Beazley. In the past ten years only one Disciple has received a 
Ph. D. in any phase of Biblical study, and only three others are in some 
stage along the way. A fourth, whose degree work remains incomplete, 
has moved over to the teaching of systematic theology. 

Now it is not my concern to further explore the meaning of such 
statistics, nor pile up additional ones which would present the current 
situation in those several centers of learning which have the facilities 
to prepare men as concerned scholars of the Bible. Rather I should 
like to consider what it means and requires to study Bible in this time. 

Bible study in the mid-twentieth century demands a scope of inquiry 
scarcely matched by any other academic discipline. For the Bible is 
at once a book of history and a book of faith. As a book of history its 
study involves the use of all the tools of modern social and linguistic 
sciences, and in the case of certain techniques, such as dating manuscripts 
by the radio-carbon process, its study moves out even into the area of 
the physical sciences. The study of the historical background of the 
Biblical world, the study of the origin and development of social customs 
and institutions, the study of archeologically discovered artifacts, in- 
cluding written documents, the study of languages and literatures cog- 
nate with the Bible — all of these, and many others, contribute one 
part of the study of the Bible. But the Bible is also a book of and for 
faith. To a certain extent the above-mentioned areas also contribute 
to this phase. But beyond them one must also delve into the history 
of Jewish and Christian life and thought which made and makes use 
of the Bible. Yet even here the task is not complete, for there remains 
the constructive theological task of relating this heritage to the needs of 
individuals and institutions in these times in which we live. 

Beyond this scope of inquiry there is the demand placed upon the 
individual student to arrive at a level of depth in terms of which he is 
immediately related to the study which is set before him, and out of 
which he may produce a significant contribution to learning which 
takes cognizance of the breadth of his field and yet which represents 
a constructive effort on his part. 

This then in brief is the first consideration of what is meant and re- 
quired of one engaged in the study of the Bible on an academic level. 
But another consideration is involved— namely, the preparation and 
personalit)^ of one who would become a Biblical scholar. 

The distinction just made seems also to me to point up the major 


obstacle which limits the number of those entering this field of inquiry. 
For while the scope of the field is large, and the depth demanding, these 
alone would not constitute the obstacle; for any other field equally 
challenging could be described in a similar vein. The obstacle comes 
then in terms of preparation and personality. 

By preparation is understood that educational and religious back- 
ground which enables an individual to meet the specific challenges of 
Bible study. The most difficult hurdle confronting one is in the area 
of language. To minimally work in this field no less than five lan- 
guages besides English are needed, and more would be preferred. I 
think it becomes obvious when one looks at the general tenor of Ameri- 
can education that the challenge which this presents is not met. It is a 
rare student who is willing to undergo the discipline involved in acquir- 
ing languages in such abundance. Especially is this true once he has 
reached the age of graduate study. And besides it is a rare institution 
which offers such resources. The present trend in ministerial education 
itself is away from language study, and for valid reasons, but this does 
not lessen the problem. But without preparation in languages there 
can be no Biblical scholarship. 

Disciples of Christ educationally have since the days of Alexander 
Campbell insisted that the Bible is as much a part of "liberal" Education 
as the Classics but it can not be said that Disciples of Christ institutions 
of higher education have been long on the presentation of the Biblical 
or the classical languages. 

The other factor which presents itself in terms of preparation is the 
religious background. It would seem that when the Bible is taught 
in colleges, the study remains too nearly at the level of the Sunday 
School. That is to say. Biblical study on the average college campus 
is not given the academic stature of any other collegiate discipline. On 
the other hand, the exact opposite is also frequently the case: Bible 
study is purely critical with no attempt made to bring the student's re- 
ligious spirit along with his mind. Needless to say, in either case, the 
student is not inspired to consider Biblical study as a possible academic 
alternative. On top of tliese factors which might be considered the 
result of poor teaching method, there is also the possibility of the ad- 
ministrative stigma placed upon "required" courses in religion. With- 
out a sense of academic freedom, without a sense of the academic res- 
pectability of the subject matter, and without a sense of the religious 
maturity of the student with regard to the Bible, there also can be no 
Biblical scholarship. 

The Bible has been the foundation of Disciple thought, but that 


foundation has scarcely been the subject of the kind of concerned, yet 
critical, presentation which would make it vital in our age. 

Finally, we need to say something about the kind of personality 
needed in such an enterprise. Obviously, in our discussion of prepara- 
tion something concerning personality has also been said. But this 
needs to be expanded. To be a Biblical scholar one must be committed 
to the God to whom the Bible points. Without this commitment the 
whole of one's labor will be sterile. But commitment is not simply piety, 
nor is it in any sense simply devotion to "the Book". Rather commit- 
ment involves the integrity of heart and mind, of sensitive awareness 
and acute criticism. Commitment also involves patience the willing- 
ness to take the long years needed for such preparation without stopping 
short or being satisfied too soon. And in this modern world such pa- 
tience comes only in the midst of extreme pressures the concern for 

family, for the security of home and occupation, for the freedom of in- 
quiry and research. None of us can be scholars apart from this world. 
But commitment is the willingness to take this risk— to love by faith. 
And without a personality so committed, there will be no Biblical scho- 

This it seems to me is what is meant bv Biblical study in this time, 
and what is required of one who undertakes such study. The Disci- 
ples of Christ have a great heritage with respect to the Bible, but that 
heritage alone will not call forth Biblical scholars as we are well aware 
with but a casual glance at our history. In the late analysis, to be a 
Biblical scholar one must be called by God, for Biblical scholarship 
is a special ministry requiring specially prepared men. The mediation 
of such a call however is left to us. and might well be a goal for the 
next decade. But to have scholars in the next decade the Disciples can 
not wait that long. It is the young men now entering college who must 
encounter the Bible at its depths and be challenged to respond to such 
an encounter. But one only wonders if the Disciples are really able 
at this time to present the Bible in such a manner. 

Clyde Curry Smith 


What Good Is The Campbell Institute? 

More Replies to Editors Query 

The basic rationale for the Campbell Institute is to keep alive the in- 
tellectual, natural, human, this-World, scientific, historic, no-hocus-pocus 
reasonable God in the present world in every life view of religion. This 
is the lovely essence of liberalism and I am all for it. 

Fred Heifer 
Baltimore, Maryland 

The Scriptures teach the doctrine of the Second Mile. But if the 
second mile is asked, I infer that it is the Christian duty of the orthodox 
believer to be willing to add a third. 

At any rate, lest anyone doubt my orthodoxy, I am providing three 
paragraphs where you have only asked for two. 

The Campbell Institute was first organized over a half century ago 
by a small group of men widi graduate training and liberal ideas. Among 
them were Herbert L. Willett, Charles Clayton Morrison, Edward Scrib- 
ner Ames and a number of others who were later to rank among the out- 
standing religious leaders of America. Few leaders among the Dis- 
ciples were at that time well trained in the methods and results of 
modern Biblical scholarship, and those few felt the need of a medium 
of communication, scholarship and mutual encouragement. The Camp- 
bell Institute was organized for this purpose. With the enthusiasm of 
youth, its founders proposed a grandiose program of research, extending 
even to archaeological investigations in Palestine! 

The latter project came to naught, but the Institute has exercised a 
profound effect on the history of the Disciples by stimulating interests 
in scholarship and research among the young men of our brotherhood. 
.The full extent of this influence is unknown, but among mv friends and 
acquaintances, whose years of graduate preparation fell within the se- 
cond decade of the century, its influence as a source of encouragement 
and inspiration was incalculable. 

The ideals of the founders, which then formed the intellectual frontier 
of religious advance, have now become commonplace. But the rationale 
for the organization remains unchanged. For new times bring new prob- 
lems, and an open forum for their discussion, and a medium of fellow- 
ship and mutual encouragement among their discussants, is still needed. 
In my day many young men who have since left their mark for good 


upon our communion would have been lost to the Disciples, if not to 
the field of religious leadership entirely, had the Campbell Institute not 
existed as a source of encouragement and hope. And I am confident that 
in this respect the situation has not changed over half a century, and 
will not change during the foreseeable future. 

Howard E. Jensen 
Duke University 
Durham, North Carolina 

1) What is the basic rationale for an organization such as the Camp- 
bell Institute? Purposes: Most of its members have joined the Institute 
because they were ( a ) liberals in a conservative area, ( b ) Chicago alum- 
ni, (c) liked the looks of the programs, (d) were interested in a fellow- 
ship with some like-minded people. This is not to say that all of the 
members are "Chicago Liberals". 

I could begin by saying what I think The Institute should not be, or 
ways in which it should not act: 

—It should not act as an alumni association of the Disciples Divinity 
House. This is another one: 

—it should not compete with the International Convention by having on 
its program for discussions there any items which duplicate the sort 
of thing that is done by the convention. I would like to say that it 
should not do anything at the Convention which ought to be done by 
the Convention! But so many things ought to be done at the Conven- 
tion, and aren't, that this provides a rationale for some of the "mid- 
night" meetings of the Institute. 

—it should not be a rally for theological liberals, although I trust that 
it would continue to be a channel for communication among persons 
with a liberal spirit and concerns. True liberalism ( as an open-ness to 
new ideas and a liberal spirit! ) does not characterize many so-called 
liberals in theology who are too dogmatic in their beliefs to have 
accent fellowship with those with whom they differ. 

The Institute should: 

—continue to press for a more adequately trained ministry. Now that 
the battle for the B.D. is won, it might well turn its attention to other 
reasons why the minister finds himself so poorly prepared to deal 
with his world, his people and the demands of his church. What 
might be done about the dilemna of the educated pastor who finds 
himself still inadequate? 


—Keep alive, as much as possible, its most stimulating role as the "open 
£6rum", where at un-official sessions, one may discuss the issues that 
are "too hot" for public discussion in the conventions and official agen- 
cies of the brotherhood. In some cases this might well be done with 
anonymous papers. What issues? There are many: (1) The delegate 
convention and our growing connectionalism. (2) The battle between 
state and national agencies as revealing the need for an entirely new 
national structure for the Disciples. 

Parker Rossman 
United Christian 

Missionary Society 
Indianapolis, Indiana 

In response to your question regarding the purpose and future of the 
Campbell Institute, I do not have a ready answer to your question. 
Twenty years ago, the Institute served a two-fold function for me. First 
it provided the opportunity for a free exchange of ideas in a permissive 
asmosphere where a person could express "heretical" ideas without 
fear of being "excommunicated". Secondly, it provided for a fellow- 
ship with the men of the Disciples Divinity House. 

As far as I am personally concerned, I do not feel the need for the 
Institute as far as the first purpose is concerned. I seem to have more 
opportunities than I can take advantage of for exchanging ideas in a 
permissive atmosphere. Whether this is because the climate of the 
brotherhood has changed sufficiently to permit a free exchange of 
'Tieretical" ideas without fear of "excommunication" or because, in my 
old age, I no longer have heretical ideas, I cannot say. All I am sure of 
is I no longer feel the need for the Campbell Institute as an avenue for 
exchanging ideas in a permissive atmosphere. 

The second function of the Institute is still a valid one for me. In 
this it serves largely as an alumni association for the Disciples Divinity 
House. Whether this is a sufficient reason for keeping it alive I cannot 
say, but if this is what it is to be, then it should be just that. When I 
try to think more positively about what the Institute should be doing, 
I do not come up with anything very satisfactory. I have thought of it 
as providing an opportunity for "forefront" thinking for the brotherhood 
—a sort of "Whither Disciples" fellowship. As far as the brotherhood is 
concerned, this need seems to be rather well cared for through the new- 
ly formed panel of scholars, but the Institute might well serve as a chan- 
nel for the consideration of the questions involved by a larger group of 
people. I have thought of the Institute as providing for an exchange 


of the results of scholarly thought and research on the part of Disciple 
scholars. This need seems to be met through the various learned socie- 
ties. I have thought of it as providing, through the Scroll, an avenue 
for the publication of scholarly papers and the like, but the various 
publications of the seminaries seem to provide an avenue for this, at 
least for the professors. And so it has gone. Everything I have thought 
of except the idea of the Institute's channel for considering the future 
of the brotherhood by a larger group than a panel of scholars seems to 
have been taken care of in some other fashion. 

Myron Taggart Hopper 
The College of The Bible 
Lexington, Kentucky 

The Scroll is the organ which keeps the comrades of the House in 
touch with one another. Fellowship of the printed page replaces the 
fellowship we experienced as residents of a wonderful institution. This 
fellowship stimulates the urge to start writing and helps keep alive 
interest in active scholarship. Though we are separated by the miles of 
our country and cannot always attend the Institute meetings, it is possi- 
ble to keep up with our Comrades through the pages of the Scroll. 

Richard L. James 
Riverside Avenue 

Christian Church 
Jacksonville, Florida 

I have been a member of the Institute since Miami, 1954: I am much 
interested in our brotherhood's having a "cutting edge". I would like to 
see the Institute do this, especially in the realm of ecumenicity brought 
to the local level. We have plenty of "ecumaniacs" when we gather at 
conventions, etc., we need some "head-knocking" and soul-searching on 
the local level, between and within congregations. 

Academic and pulpit freedoms are endangered, both by men ration- 
alizing themselves out of prophetic courage, and the subtle outside in- 

Bob Chambless 

First Christian Church 

Russellville, Arkansas 

Your post card of February 14 finally swam ashore just the other day. 
Fortunately it didn't wait on the boat, or it never would have reached me. 
We do get some of our mail a little quicker by carrier pidgeon. For two 


cents more you could have sent it air mail, and I might have received it 
in March instead of April. Now let me put my daggers back in their 
sheaths and give you a civil but belated answer to your query. 

I do not feel loquacious and I haven't the slightest idea whether or 
not Campbell Institute has any "purposes, intents, or future" or not. 
But whatever you do, keep the Scroll coming. If it serves as an organ of 
expression for men who have something to say, it's worth any sacrifice to 
keep going. 

Let me give my testimony. I was downhearted. I was considering 
suicide. And to translate a Guarani expression so common here, I 
was like a burned match. Church attendance was down, I was faced 
with problems that even a Seminary professor would find difficult to put 
in words. Then I managed to get the latest copy of the SCROLL from 
my wife and I saw the answer to my dilemna. It was J. Van Boskirk's 
article, "The problem of the Inner City Church." Well, I figured, if 
J.J. has my problem in Chicago, perhaps his Chicago solutions and 
strategies would work in Asuncion. I haven't been able to solve all the 
problems of the inner city church of Asuncion, but at least I don't consi- 
der suicide any more and church attendance is picking up. I am grate- 
ful to the Campbell Institute and the Scroll for making available to me 
the experiences of the thinkers of our brotherhood. Perhaps other min- 
isters have profited by something they read in the Scroll. 

Oh yes, I want to say a word about another "contributor", F.E. Davi- 
son. Being a Hoosier, I'm partial to Hoosier contributors. Especially 
when they are F.E. Davison. I enjoy his humorous style, and his phil- 
osophical attack on the problems of life. I think, however, the most 
important contribution of this contributor is his revelation of what re- 
tired ministers do with their years of retirement. I used to think of re- 
tirement as just one step from the grave, but now (thanks to F.E. Davi- 
son) I am beginning to feel that a man is just at the prime of his life when 
he retires. 

I shall be looking forward to the next issue of the Scroll, hoping to see 
in print what others think is the basic rationale for the existence of the 
Campbell Institute. 

Byron Spice 
Asuncion, Paraguay 

I think the Campbell Institute thru its public meetings and THE 
SCROLL should play the role of the gad-fly to the Disciples. One of the 
most serious, evil consequences of the "independent" movement is that 


responsible criticism of our traditions and institutions is virtually non- 
existent. The fear is rife that any criticisms will be used against us as 
"admissions of guilt". 


The Campbell Institute should not bow to this popular pressure. 
Sacred cows are not the symbols of a progressive society. 

At the head of the list of our traditions which should be re-evaluated, 
I would place (1) our conception of the ministry, and (2) the idea of 
congregational autonomy. 

The fact that anti-clergy jokes are a prominent form of levit)^ among 
us, especially at "laymen's" rallies, indicates the esteem in which we 
hold the office. It may also hint at the reason so few Disciples' works 
are included in anthologies of best sermons, etc. Truly, tlie minister is 
God's Forgotten Man among us. Robert Beck thinks the ministers should 
have an organization similar to the American Association of Universit)^ 
Professors. He doubtless has an article stored up in his soul about it. 

I'd like to elicit some discussion on my point that our Congregationalism 
should be altered in the direction of a presbyterial system at the points 
of (1) calling and discharging ministers and (2) holding title to local 
church property.* 

Yours in defiance of complacency, 
J.J. Van Boskirk 
Chicago 3, Illinois 

*See THE SCROLL, Fall 1956. 

A means of expression of the thinking and ideals of the open-minded 
and progressive ministers and scholars of the communion known as Dis- 
ciples of Christ. A means of fellowship in the common heritage of those 
who believe in the progress and adjustment to changing conditions of 
the Christian cause. 

Stephen J. Corey 

Santa Monica, California 


Editorial Meanderings 

I have been asked by the Percival Company of New York and London 
to conduct a Winter Sunshine Tour of the Holy Land, beginning Decem- 
ber 14th and ending January 11th. I am taking the hberty of enclosing 
a brief mimeographed explanation of the proposed tour. It may be that 
some of the Comrades of the Institute would like to take this tour with 
us. Knowing something about the income of preachers and teachers, 
may I suggest that clever presentation to one's Official Board might 

bring an offer from yoiu- Boards that this is the appointed time between 

wars!— to take a trip in the area which is likely to be the Armageddon of 
diplomatic fencing. Anyway, it is an opportunity to make a trip to a very 
crucial area, and I humbly call the opportunity to your attention. 

Editors in general are very likely to become the targets for bouquets 
and brickbats; sometimes thrown indiscriminately! Some of the readers 
of the SCROLL in recent months have written to me favorably, saying 
that they appreciate some of the articles and the emphases. Others have 
written less favorably. Some have been downright snide in their re- 
marks. All of this is a calculated risk that one assumes when he becomes 
the editor of anything— even a high school newspaper! This editor takes 
all of this as a part of the day's work and rather much in his stride. Even 
so, we all like approval of our work, and I am glad when you brilliant 
readers like what goes into this significant journal. One may be very 
sure, however, that articles will not be accepted, nor will editorializing 
be made only on the presumption that "everyone will like this." If 
SCROLL readers are mature, the more provocative an article is, the 
more readable it should be and the more ready acceptance it should 
have in this kind of a journal. Very few matters of the intellect are im- 
portant if they are not controversial! If you do not like what appears in 
the SCROLL, take yourself out of your armchair, put down that golf 
club, get into your inner sanctum and turn out something which you do 
like and send it to me* 


THf SCfiO 

The Journal of the Campbell Institute 


W. Barnett Biakemore 

E. K. Higdon 


Bert C. Williams 



''':4 .' ;' ■ 


Vol. XLIX 

Winter, 1958 

No. 3 

Ecumenical Next Steps For The 
Disciples of Christ 

W. B. Blakemore, Chicago, Illinois 

There are two directions in which Disciples of Christ may take their 
ecumenical next steps. This article is written to clarify those two directions 
and, in conclusion, to indicate the writer's opinion regarding the best next 
steps for our Brotherhood. 

The two major ecumenical directions within North American Pro- 
testantism are the conciliar movement and denominational merger. The 
thesis of this article is that conciliarism has been the ecumenical direction 
which historically has been best suited to the Disciple genius and to 
which we have made exceedingly successful contributions. The indica- 
tions are that it is through the conciliar movement rather than through 
denominational merger that Disciples can best promote Christian unity 
in the future. 

The term "conciliar movement" refers to the development since 1900 
of state, national and world councils of churches. It refers particularly to 
the tremendous increase of local and metropolitan councils since 1945. 
In 1958 there are approximately 1000 local councils of churches in the 
United States of America. In an article entitled "Councils Challenge De- 
nominations" in the Christian Ccnfiinj of December 4, 1957, I made 
a point that the rise of the conciliar movement marks the emergence of 
the third great period in American church history. The first period of 
American church history was characterized by the various patterns of es- 
tablishment and dissent found in the colonies. The second period, insti- 
tuted when the Constitution separated church from state, has been the 
denominational system. The third period is proving to be not an amalgam 
of the denominations into a few large denominations, but a more radical 
modification in which the denominational system will be counterbalanced 
by another type of system altogether, namely, a conciliar system. Further- 
more, when the full story of the emergence of this third period of Ameri- 
can church history is written, I believe it will be clear that the Disciples 
of Christ played a major role in bringing it about. Our conciliar instinct 
far outweighs whatever muteness we may have in faith and order dis- 
cussions. In other words, our efforts in behalf of the conciliar movement 
will be proven to have been a great ecumenical contribution while our 
efforts at denominational merger will have much less ecumenical value. 

The Disciples and the Councils 
At the present time, the Disciples of Christ are as fully committed 
as any communion to the conciliar movement. This means that as a Bro- 
therhood we hold membership in the World Council of Churches and the 
National Council of Churches. Through our state societies we hold mem- 
bership in state councils wherever we are populous and through church 
or ministerial associations we hold membership in large numbers of local 
councils. There may be a few instances in which our local congregations 
have held back from entering federations. But typically, as was the case 
when the Federal Council of Churches was formed, the Disciples have 
been in from the beginning. Typically also we have been willing to give 
leadership and enthusiasm to conciliar enterprise. It has been pointed out 
frequently (almost too frequently perhaps) that a major contribution of 
our Brotherhood to the ecumenical movement has been that spirit of 
unity which has enabled so many of our folk to give leadership in the 
councils. We need not re-iterate here a list which, for ovu" day, would be 
headed h\ R. G. Ross and J. W. Harms, and which includes such names 
as Ainslie, Edgar DeWitt Jones, W. E. Garrison and C. C. Morrison. If 
we mention our Disciple participation in World Service and in such en- 
terprises as the publication of the History of the Ecumenical Movement 
it is onlv to point out the depth of our commitment to the conciliar move- 

The Disciples and Denominational Mergers 
In the matter of denominational mergers, the Disciples are interested, 
but unable to become committed because no clear possibility of merger 
has yet come into view. Perhaps such a possibility is in the making as the 
new United Church of Christ emerges, but in that respect there is still 
a great deal of ground to explore. 

During the late 1940s and early 1950, the Disciples were involved in 
conversations looking toward reunion with the Baptists. Ever since the 
"Campbellites" dissolved the Mahoning association in 1830, there have 
been periodic conversations looking toward such a reunion. But the con- 
versations have always broken down, and by 1952 it was apparent that 
the same end would come for the latest series of conversations. The Dis- 
ciples came away from these talks feeling they had been rebuffed by a 
Baptist disinterest, and there may be something of rebound in the inter- 
est which Disciples currently show toward the new United Church of 

Furthermore, as we move into 1958, it is obvious that it is no longer 
realistic to invest practical hopes in the "Greenwich Plan." The Green- 
wich Plan has been of great usefulness in furthering all sorts of ecumenical 
conversations, and was a subject of major consideration at the 1957 

Oberlin Conference on Faith and Order. But in so far as Disciples have 
wanted to treat the "Plan" as a live option they now discover that no 
one else is really seriously interested at the moment. Disciples are there- 
fore left with a certain capital of ecumenical concern for re-investment, 
and the new United Chinch of Christ looks like it may prove a blue chip 
stock. It should be pointed out, of course, that the International Conven- 
tion as long ago as 1947, voted for conversations looking toward merger 
with the United Church of Christ, if and when that body came into be- 
ing. Interest in the United Church of Christ is therefore not all rebound. 
But in 1958 we are, so far as denominational merger is concerned, consid- 
erably deflated from the situation of 1951. In 1951 we were being told 
that within a decade or twenty years we would be confronted with a 
serious proposal for merger, and we were being asked, "Are vou really 
ready?" In 1951 we were looking forward to holding our convention in 
Chicago concurrent with the American Baptist Convention. We were 
eagerly awaiting the publication of early forms of the Greenwich Plan by 
the Conference on Church Union. As a third possibilitv— and in 1951 it 
looked like a very weak third— we had our expressed interest in the United 
Church of Christ. But in 1951, the emergence of that church was blocked 
by the then recent Steinbrink decision. Yet by 1958 the two strong con- 
tenders of 1951 are dead issues, and what seemed like a weak third has 
moved into the position of the only hope of the moment. 

Disciples Breast Beating 

When we survey this history it is curious to discover some Disciples 
who are beating their breast, and doing it not in frustration but in peni- 
tence! In penitence for what? In penitence for not having yet entered 
upon a denominational merger!!! Such "penitence" would imply that at 
several times in the past Disciples have been faced with a live option 
for merger which they have rejected. But that has never been the case 
despite the fact that Disciples have been in a variety of conversations 
looking toward merger. Therefore we are left wondering what the breast- 
beating is all about. The editor of the SCROLL in the Fall, 1957, issue 
says, "We give evidence of failing to believe in our own stated convic- 
tions! For a century and a quarter "the time has been premature." Will 
the accomplished days ever arrive? Some of us are beginning to doubt 
if the Disciples of Christ have ever had or ever will have a genuine in- 
terest in effecting a union with ami other Christian organization! We are 
religious cowards who are afraid to look squarely in the face the impli- 
cations of religious union with anyone. How long, O Lord, how long?' 

The mood and temper of that statement is only an extension of an 
attitude which the editor of the Christian Century reports in the issue for 
October 30, 1957. "It was pointed out (at Campbell Institute sessions in 


Cleveland) that the union of churches of Christ (forming the United 
Church of Christ) has not taken place on a basis which compels Dis- 
ciples to act or else abandon the pretense that Christian union is really 
important to them." Further on in the editorial it is remarked that the 
Disciples have little advantage as they come to that self-examination 
which will be necessary before merger with the Church of Christ is ef- 
fected. "The Disciples' only advantage is that they have had an oppor- 
tunity to study the problems and the mistakes made by all the people 
who have begun to practice what the Disciples have preached for so 

But the "Why don't you practice what you preach" attitude toward 
Disciples is becoming very weary and worn-out as that kind of historical 
summarv so often made of us which runs, "Their battle-cry was 'Back 
to Bible Christianitv and unite all the Churches of Christ on the basis 
of that Christianity.' While they sincerely preached and stood for these 
principles, they became, unfortunately, not a rallying point for unity, 
but one more denomination competing upon the American scene." 

But the attitudes expressed in the last two paragraphs imply that 
church \\n\\\ is to be identified with denominational merger. Is it? 

Mergers ivill Aggrandize DenominationaUsm 
Actuallv, denominational mergering, in and of itself, will prove a 
dead-end instead of the road to Christian unity. The idea that denomina- 
tional mergers contribute toward Christian unity is only partially true. 
They may contribute toward Christian unity if the ideal of Christian 
unity is kept vividly alive within the new entity. But the idea that these 
mergers are a great contribution to Christian unity rests on the false as- 
sumption that there will some day be a complete merger of every sect 
into one church. Short of that ultimate— and eschatological— goal, denom- 
inational mergers result only in larger denominations. Indeed, denomin- 
ational mergering is more likely to preserve denominationalism than to 
transcend it. Short of the improbable goal of complete merger, the pro- 
cess of denominational mergering leaves denominationalism standing and 
enhanced. Merger will save weak sects from extinction because it pro- 
vides bigger and stronger sects for them to be absorbed into. The prob- 
lem is not to abolish this or that sect, but to modify the denominational 
system. We could cut the number of denominations in half— their num- 
ber could even be decimated— and the remaining denominations, ten times 
fewer in number, but ten times as large and strong would be more de- 
nominationalistic than ever. The denominational system would still be in- 

The fallacy in supposing that merger is the major road to Christian 
unity is the failure to recognize that merger does not radically alter 

'■'■4 . '„. 

what Dr. C. C. Morrison has called the church/.s/?! of the denominations. 
Mergers, far from recovering from the denomination those things which 
belong to the chnrch as a whole, create larger and stronger denominations 
which guard more jealously the usurped churchly prerogatives. The 
larger the denomination, the more easily it may decide to do as much as 
it can alone and to unite only for those activities in which united effort 
cannot be avoided. The larger the denomination, the greater its sense 
of security as denomination. 

The implication of denominational merger is ultimately a single 
church. In a speech given October 22, 1957, as reported in the Ecumeni- 
cal Press Service of November 1, 1957, Dr. Geoffrey Fisher, Archbishop of 
Canterbury said that if the Church could speak with one united voice, 
thrones and crowns might falter. But, he warned, power is dynamite. 
"You can also realize what a terrible danger we ourselves could be in. 
I mean this sincerely, because if we were all one and united, the danger 
of the freedom to differ from the majority in power would be threatened, 
and there has always been in this history of the world a great value in 
minorities and differences of opinion. Please God some day there will be 
a united Church— in some sense united." 

We should remind ourselves that Alexander Campbell used to say 
that he was not preaching for the union of sects . but for the unity of 
Christians. The uniting of sects, Cam.pbell realized, might lead only to 
bigger sects. What he was seeking was a basis on which Christians can 

Councils can Challenge the Churchism of Denominations. 

If larger and larger denominations wciild only result in an intrenched 
churchism, the development of councils offers a different hope. If North 
American Protestantism cornes to be characterized by a denominational 
system radically modified by an extensive conciliar system, there will 
exist a series of checks and balances whereby those functions which be- 
long in ideal to the Church of Christ will be shared by two juxtaposed 
orders. The conciliar structure, at each of its several geographical reach- 
es—local, district, state, national and world— will represent the wholeness 
and integrity of the Church in a manner other than that in which the 
denomination represents the wholeness of the Church. The councils will 
provide structures into whose comprehensive hands there can be placed 
some of the churchly functions now divisively usurped by the denomi- 
nations. Just what interchanges should take place will have to be worked 
out prayerfully in the future, but it is the establishment of this conciliar 
counter-balance to denominationalism which is emersins; as the next 
great stage for North American Protestantism. 

Next Steps For Disciples .. ■ 

There is no reason why Disciples should not continue their con- .^ 

versations with the new United Church of Christ. But thev would be fv 

very deliberate— and certainly they should not prejudge the case and \\;; 

blind their own reason by asserting that "the union of churches of Christ i,'^', 

has no\\' taken place on a basis which compels Disciples to act or else ■■4/- 

abandon the pretense that Christian union is really important to them." ' ' 

If Christian Union is important to the Disciples, they will make very ' , 

sure that taking a step along one of the directions which may become v' • 

available does not later prevent them from moving even further toward ^ V^, 

unitv in another direction. The editor of the Christian Century is right 
when he says that before we decide to unite we better find out who we 
are. We had also better find out what the new United Church of Christ 1,. ' 

is. We must be deliberate lest once again we prove sudden swains sigh- 
ing for consummations which the other parties devoutly do not wish. 

Meanwhile, the conciliar road, whose engineering has already re- " ' 

ceived major contributions from Disciples of Christ, is being enlarged. 
The greatest achievements by Disciples, in the future as in the past, will ■,..'■1 

be made through the conciliar movement— at every level. It is the emer- 
gent structure which holds promise of bringing about that withering of • ' 
denominationalism which will lead to the transcending of denomination- 
alism. There are two ecumenical directions ahead for the Disciples, and ■.■ 
we should have some of our folk exploring each of these directions. But ,', 
the exciting road ahead is not denominational merger. It is the road of V, 
conciliar development. One cannot prejudge the future, and at last I may ' ■' 
rejoice ^^'ith the rest as we join the United Church. However, if the 
choice in the future is between a small group pleading for unitv while 
successfullv contributing to a conciliar movement and a fine large denom- //;'' 
ination secure enough to soft-pedal the need for Christian unit}', the for- ' ■ . 
mer will be the better by far, even though it is still constantly berated 
for not practicing what it preaches. 

( The article above by W. Barnett Blakemore is thought-provoking in 
a disconcerting and uncomfortable manner! Every paragraph could re- 
quire dissection, examination, and then some degree of approbation or ».> 
dissent. If one accepts his major premises, then he is bound to accept his 
conclusions. These premises must be examined carefully. It is not enough 
simplv to agree or disagree with the conclusions which are reached. If , • 
this kind of article does not excite interest, pro and con, among the Camp- 
bell Institute members, it would indicate that the members are simply 
not reading carefully the implications of such articles, or they are dead! 
Let's have some written reactions!— Ed.) 

A Priceless Citizenship 

E. K. Higdon, Quezon City, Philippines 
One dav a colcnel in the army and a preacher of the Gospel had a 
conversation that so impressed the preacher that he told a doctor friend 
about it. (The Physician recorded it in a book he wrote a few years 
later.) A mob in Jerusalem had seized him, when he was in the temple, 
St. Paul wrote, had dragged him out and were on the point of killing 
him. A colonel rescued him and had his troops take him into a barracks 
where the colonel commanded another officer to give him a preliminary 
hearing in the usual wav. That was to whip him, in order to find out 
whether he was guiltv^ of any crime. When they had bound him, Paul 
said to the officer, "Is it lawful for you to scourge a Roman citizen?" The 
officer went at once to his superior and asked him, "What are you about 
to do? For this man is a Roman citizen." The colonel, alarmed, hurried 
to Paul and said, "Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?" Paul replied, "Yes." 
Then the officer exclaimed in surprise, "I bought this citizenship for a 
large sum." Paul said, "But I was born a citizen." So the colonel released 
him and arranged for him to have a fair trial. 

Both men were proud of their citizenship. The colonel had paid 
cash for his freedom. St. Paul was born free. A man who had paid for his 
freedom might still have been bound by a slave mentality or, as an offi- 
cer in the army of that dav, might have been overbearing in the exercise 
of authority or harsh and cruel in human relations. A free-born citizen 
of the Roman Empire might have become a slave to social custom or 
to religious tradition or to intellectual confusion or to moral delinquency. 
But both the Christian and the colonel remained free. (Acts 22:22-30). 
They were intelligent citizens. 

Education should prepare men and women for intelligent citizen- 
ship. Intelligent citizens are also free men. I refer not merely to any 
one freedom, but to the sum of all freedoms, to human freedom. Such 
freedom is expensive and some citizens are unwilling to pay the price 
for it. 

It is customary these days to speak of the free world in contrast to the 
world that isn't free. Your country and mine belong to the free world. 
However, if the nations of the free world are to remain free, so as to win 
in the struggle against Fascism and Communism, citizens of those nations 
must pay the price for freedom. Both Filipinos and Americans have paid 
a large sum, a bloody price, you more recently than we. At all cost we 
must maintain our human freedom. 

St. Paul's pride in his Roman citizenship gives a special point to 

what he wrote to a group of Christians in the city of PhiHppi. He said: 
". . . Many have their minds set on earthly things. But our commonwealth 
is in heaven. We are citizens of Heaven: our outlook goes beyond this 
world.' Consider these sentences together with what he said about his 
birth. "I was born a citizen." "We are citizens of heaven; our outlook goes 
beyond this world." I submit two propositions suggested by these state- 
ments: First, education for citizenship must make men free; and second, "^ 
the Christian has a priceless citizenship, a higher loyalty than love of 
countrv, a citizenship that refines and exalts patriotism. 

What is involved in human freedom? First, freedom to think cre- 
ativelv. Unfortunatelv, not all university students have earned this free- 
dom. Universities are always in danger of becoming factories. Young 
persons enter as raw material and after four years or more come off the 
assembly lines as R.C.x\., Victors, Edisons, Philcos, Zeniths, Columbias, 
or Magnavoxes High Fidelity— either equipped with recordings also made 
in the factory or ready to tune in and accept whatever is on the air. That 
kind of education will not do for our day. If we cherish our citizenship, 
we must win the freedom to think. For example, as citizens of this Re- 
public, what can you contribute to the kind of international relationships 
that must obtain, if this or any other nation is long to endure? Theo F. 
Lentz points out in his recent book "The Science of Peace," that even 
cooperation within nations today has become, under the stress of war 
and preparations for war, cooperation for antagonism among nations. 
He savs, "We misorganize when we organize to antagonize one another." 
Furthermore, he claims that the gifts of science have come to us in the 
wrong order. For "we sought out the mysteries of atoms. We have ig- 
nored or trifled with the mystery of attitudes." Here is an area for cre- 
ative thought. One man who understands even a part of the mystery of 
interpersonal relationships influences millions and One who knew thor- 
oughly the hearts and minds of men changed the course of the ages. You 
need not be reminded, only three weeks after his tragic death, that the 
secret of Ramon Magsayay's place in the affections of the Filipino people 
was his understanding of the "mystery of attitudes." His sympathy with 
the common man came from profound insight into human need, sym- 
pathy born of experience, and fearless, independent thought. And be- 
cause he sought a peaceful Aisa and a free world, he cultivated the friend- 
ship and won the respect of the heads of democratic nations. It is no 
wonder that his death is mourned in every land where human personal- 
ity is held sacred and universal peace is the aim of men of good will. 
Magsaysay developed freedom to think. If you have not yet won that 
freedom, your value as a citizen of this republic is way below par and 
you have not yet taken out your first citizen papers for that higher citi- 




zenship, your membership in God's commonwealth, your priceless citi- 

Furthermore, education should produce citizens who have freedom 
to act adventurously. For illustration consider the practice of love in 
human conflicts. Love is the law of life. Jesus summarized all the com- 
mandments in the words: ". . . you shall love the Lord, your God, with all 
your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all 
your strength . . . You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Mt. 12:30, 
31). Christian love is more than soft sentimentality or wishful dreaming. 
It took Jesus to the stern reality of the Cross. Men practice it today, en- 
dangering their lives for high purposes. Three such men have recently 
received the 1956 Social Justice Awards of the National Religion and 
Labor Foundation. The Reverend John La Farge, S. J. Senator Herbert 
N. Lehman of New York, and the Reverend Martin Luther King— an 
eminent Catholic, a Jewish statesman and a Protestant Negro. The cita- 
tion said, "All three have made significant contributions in the fight for 
racial equality." 

The picture of King, the Negro minister, was on the cover of a re- 
cent issue of Time magazine and there was also a feature article about 
him. Although he is a Ph. D. from Princeton University, he was unknown 
a little more than a year ago outside his parish, the Dexter Avenue Bap- 
tist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. He, like Mohandas Gandhi, has 
placed the world in his debt by demonstrating in an explosive situation 
the techniques and the spirit of non-violence. In Montgomery this 28- 
year old quiet-spoken scholar conducted a year-long boycott of the 
transit company and won for his people the right to occupy any vacant 
seat on any public vehicle in the city. They repealed the Jim Crow law. 
But they did more than that. King is an expert organizer and administra- 
tor. He defeated the city officials in the courts, even though he was 
falsely arrested for speeding, was thrown into jail on other charges, was 
annoyed, insulted and threatened by telephone calls; and finally had his 
house damaged by bombs. After the bombing in an address to a mass 
meeting of Negroes, Dr. King said: 

"Christian love can bring brotherhood on earth. There is an element 
of God in every man. No matter how low one sinks in racial bigotrv, he 
can be redeemed . . . The strong man is the man who can stand up for 
his rights and not hit back." 

Dr. King, writing on "Nonviolence and Racial Justice," discusses 
five characteristics of the methods he and his colleagues used. Non- 
violence is not the method of cowards; it does resist. It seeks to win the 
opponent's friendship and understanding, not to defeat or humiliate him. 


'4 ■ '., 

Attack is directed against forces of evil rather than against persons who 
are caught in those forces. It avoids not only external physical violence but 
is based on the conviction that the universe is on the side of justice. It is 
appropriate here, to quote King's exact words: 

"This belief that God is on the side of truth and justice comes down to 
us from long tradition of our Christian faith. There is something at the 
very center of our faith which reminds us that Good Friday may reign .' ' 

for a day, but ultimately it must give way to the triumphant beat of the 
Easter drums. Evil may so shape the events that Caesar will occupy a 
palace and Christ a cross, but one day that same Christ will rise up and v,,, 

split history into A.D. and B.C., so that even the life of Caesar must be 
dated bv his name." 

The freedoms to think creatively and to act adventurously are not •!,' 

the only freedoms we need as citizens of free nations. Our education ' , 

should make us worthy of academic freedom, and should give us freedom 
from immediate self-interest, freedom from moral neutralism, freedom 
from the illusion that mankind can achieve its destiny only through the .' ■ 

social unit of the nation-state, freedom from fears of any kind, and a ',. 

deep concern for civil liberties for all. In the words of that army officer, ' ■ 

"This is an expensive citizenship. It costs 'a large sum'." i 

My second proposition is that the Christian has a priceless citizen- ';.; 

ship, a higher loyalty than love of country. It supplements and purifies 
his patriotism. It does not for a moment cancel the sound doctrine of ■• 

separation of state and church. This fact needs emphasis in every age but - ' 

our time presents a challenge to Christianity that makes compulsory the 
teaching of this profound truth. This principle of the higher loyalty, the 
priceless citizenship, the membership in the Commonwealth of God 
strengthened the faitli and stiffened the courage of the early Christians ;' ■ 

when they had to choose between Christ and Caesar. At that time the 
Christian had to decide whether he had any existence apart from his ex- 
istence as a citizen of the state. x\nd he made his decision known either 
hv burning incense to Caesar or refusing to do so and thus running the 
risk of himself being burned— or thrown to the lions. Today that is once ►> 

more the central issue— Christ or the nation-state? When a nation-state be- 
comes the god of the people, all higher loyalties go into the discard. 
Louis XIV may not have declared, "I am the State," But he believed in 
the divine right of kings. Today the nation says "I am the State." And 
now it is the divine right of government. 

What the early Christians did about this conflict of loyalties is re- 
corded in interesting detail by the unknown writer of the Epistle of 


Diognetus. He wrote probably in the second century of the Christian era 
when Christianity was still young: 

"For Christians are not distinguished from the rest of mankind eith- 
er in locality or in speech or in custom. For they dwell not somewhat in 
cities of their own, neither do they use some different language, nor 
practice an extraordinary kind of life ..."... the constitution of their 
own citizenship, which they set forth, is marvelous, and confessedly con- 
tradicts expectation . . . Every foreign country is a fatherland to them, 
and every fatherland is foreign . . . 

"Their existence is on earth, but their citizenship is in heaven. They 
obey the established laws, and thev surpass the laws in their own lives. 
They love all men, and they are persecuted by all . . . 

"In a word, what the soul is in the body, this the Christians are in 
the world. The soul is spread through all the members of the body, and 
Christians through the diverse cities of the world. The soul hath its abode 
in the body, and vet it is not of the body. So Christians have their abode 
in the world, and yet they are not of the world." 

And the author adds that these Christians are scattered throughout 
the world and thc)^ hold the world together. Isn't that one of the func- 
tions of Christians today? Someone has said, "The liberal democratic idea 
of liberty was freedom from restraint. The Christian idea of liberty is 
positive responsibility— not imposed from above but accepted in a posi- 
tion of relationship." We have to live in relationships. "Nations like per- 
sons can become ethical only in relationship. A world of national egos ex- 
panding in isolation is essentially an immoral world, and sooner or later 
the god of \^'ar, who is the incarnation of all immoralities, will take charge 
and conduct humanity to the arena in which these national egos, like 
bloated monsters, will put on a spectacle of the latest scientific technique 
and the most brilliant administrative skill in organizing mass slaughter 
as an edifying expression of the inner meaning of modern civilization." 
And that, mind you, was written in 1934! (Francis P. Miller, The New 
Religion of Nationalism, in "The Christian Message of the World Today"). 

The question is: Shall our relationships be narrowly national or shall 
we pay the price of that higher citizenship that is supra-national and 
supra-racial, membership in the Republic of God? The Christian commu- 
nity and the totalitarian state represent social loyalties that can never be 
reconciled. The statesmen of the world have recognized this fact. Wood- 
row Wilson once said what many of them would endorse: "If I did not 
believe that the moral judgment would be the last judgment, the final 
judgment, in the minds of men as well as the tribunal of God, I could 


not believe in popular government. " But Wilson did believe in popular 
government— and so do we because we know that the citizens of a true 
democracy may have a dual loyalty, an expensive citizenship in the nation 
and priceless citizenship in the Commonwealth of heaven. 

If some of you lack either, it is not too late to earn it. For this isn't 
the end. It is the beginning. And you might well say about your education 
what G. A. Studdert-Kennedy wrote about life: 

It is not finished, Lord. 

There is not one thing done. 

There is no battle of my life 

That I have reallv ^\'on. 

And now I come to tell Thee 

How I fought to fail. 

I cannot read the writings of the years; 

My eyes are full of tears. 

It gets all blurred and won't make sense. 

It's full of contradictions 

Like the scribblings of a child. 

I can but hand it in, and hope 

That thy great mind, which reads 

The writing of so many lives, 

Will understand this scrawl 

And what it strives 

To say— but leaves unsaid. 

I cannot write it over. 

The stars are coming out. 

My body needs its bed. 

I have no strength for more, 

So it must stand or fall, dear Lord!— 

That's all. 



The Treatment of Religion in 

Recent Introductory Texts 

in Philosophy 

Bert C. Williams, Orange, California 

Nine years ago tlie Hazen Foundation and the Committee on Re- 
ligion and Higher Education of the American Council of Education spon- 
sored a volume, College Reading and Religion,^ composed of thirteen 
chapters each dealing with a major college discipline and written by a 
specialist within the field. The whole was an attempt to evaluate the 
treatment of relio;ion in colleo;e texts. 

The chapter on "Problems of Philosophy" was written by Peter A. 
Bertocci of Boston University and included a series of criteria by which 
introductory texts in philosophy should be judged. They must "explain 
the essential scope and meaning of the Hebrew-Christian standpoint, 
without disregarding other influential religious world views. "^ Specifi- 
calh' this means "the belief in a Being, independent of man, who is the 
ultimate Source and Conserver of existence and values ... a person."^ 
The nature and attributes of this God, arguments for and against God, 
the case for human freedom, the case for personal immortality, the phil- 
osophical conclusions and ethical attitudes to which religious belief leads 
must be expounded. 

This paper attempts to continue the earlier study by examining in the 
light of its criteria six texts ^^4ljch have appeared within the present dec- 
ade. Their treatment of religion will be briefly summarized, their ade- 
quacv judged, and certain conclusions noted. 

Louis O. Kattsoff in Elements of PhiJosoplii/^ attempts to meet the 
need for "a general, philosophic introduction to the meanings of ideas 
and . . . the methods of criticallv analyzing and evaluating them."^ This 
anah'tic approach is well illustrated in a chapter devoted to "The Relig- 
ious Problem" which revolves about answers to six questions. 1. What is 
meant by "religion"? "A religion expresses a set of behavior patterns 
and beliefs as to the highest and best values; it concerns itself with 
enumerating and explaining them and not ^dth justifying them, except 
in a secondarv sense."*' 2. What is meant by the word "God"? Some 
characteristic adjectives used to modifv the word "God" are noted, and 
it is pointed out that these terms applied univocally to God are diffi- 
cult to accent— e.g., the notation of God as "father" or "creator." Addi- 


tional problems include the reconciliation of an unchanojinw: God and 
the act of creation, the reconciliation of an all-good and all-powerful 
God with the problem of evil, the affirmation of the existence of a Gcd 
whose nature is bevond human knowledge. 3. What is meant bv "God 
exists"? This means that "God is real"— that "there is a being God, having 
certain properties."'' 4. What is the evidence for the existence of God? 
The ontological, psvchological, cosniological, teleological, moral, and 
probabilitv arguments are stat-^d, but none of these is said to be logically 
valid since they all make dubious assumptions. 5. What are some of the 
solutions to the problems in j^hilosophy of religion? Ayer's positivism, 
Dewey's naturalism, Brightman's empiricism, and Hocking's idealism 
are all brieflv described. To his last question, 6. How do we know facts 
about God? Kattsoff gives no specific answ^er but points out that here 
we return to the basic problem of all philosophy, "How should one con- 
ceive reality?" 

Archie J. Bahm's PhiJosopJiij, An Introduction^ de\'otes a chapter 
to philosophy of religion which is defined as the "scientific studv of re- 
ligion" the general problem of which is "to discover the nature of religion" 
and investigate its "various characteristics and problems."-' The dis- 
cassion is organized about answers to a series of questions. Belief in God 
is not essential to religion since the essence of religion is the feelino; of 
oneself as an intrinsic part of a larger whole or the awareness of dut\" to 
oneself as involving p. duty to some higher intrinsic value in which he 
actually partakes. As to the truth of religion Bahm holds that "all ob- 
jects, including religious objects, have both realistic and subjectivistic 
aspects, such that the existence and nature of God cannot be either whol- 
ly explained or whollv denied either on realistic or subjectivistic bases 
alone. "1^ The origin of religion is best accounted for by seeing it "as in- 
volving an interaction between the inner and outer that requires constant 
mutual readjustment between them."^^ Worship as "an appreciative at- 
titude toward, or an actual enjoyment of values"^- and ritual as some form 
of means are both essential to religion. Salvation as "the saving or con- 
serving of what is good"^" is analyzed into three aspects— creation and 
recreation, preservation, and consummation— which have received \ary- 
ing historical emphases. Religious values are higher in that they are 
"those constituting one's own higher self"^^ yet they must be inclusive of 
the lower. Religious growth and creedal adaptability are stressed, and the 
student warned against contempt for former values or for those persons 
still at home in lower ptages. Religious and scientific knowledge are seen 
as compatible and our cultural schizophrenia lamented. The chapter con- 
cludes with a brief treatment of the God-idea as it has appeared in the 
Western tradition and gives a resume of twelve arguments for God. 


Hunter Mead's Types ami Problems of PJiilosophy—An Introduc- 
tion'^^ is organized about the "most basic and most inclusive"^'' world 
views, idealism and naturalism. The fundamental issue between them is: 
"Is the world-order at heart a mechanical order or a moral order? Is the 
universe similar to a vast mechanism, mindless, purposeless and conse- 
quently non-moral? Or is it a moral structure, operating in terms of in- 
telligent purpose, and in the direction of realizing values and ideals?"^'^ 
Against the background of this philosophical dichotomy the chief philos- 
ophical problems are discussed. 

God and immortality are dealt witli in two concluding chapters. Is 
God transcendent or immanent? If the scientific mind believes in God at 
all it will regard him as identical with nature. Is God finite or infinite? 
An infinite God confronts us with the frying-pan of evil, attempted es- 
cape from which may land us in the fire of pantheism. A finite God is 
realistic in its view of evil and melioristic relative to the future and man's 
efforts as a co-worker with God. Both theism and deism are presented as 
answers to tlie problem of God's personality. The traditional arguments 
for God are critically evaluated with the moral argument most highly 
regarded both in the light of science and personal experience. God as 
an intellectual concept has little relation to direct experience— God as an 
emotional experience cannot be handled by language, but this "must not 
lead us to conclude the unreality of the experience. "^^ 

A moral world-order makes immortality logical and necessary, an in- 
different universe makes the belief illogical and unnecessary. The attack 
on idealism's belief in immortality for being reactionary, otherwordly^ 
and disparaging social amelioration goes unanswered, but the attack on 
naturalism's denial for its materialism, sensuality, and philosophy of 
pleasure is answered decisively. "What we can believe about God and 
immortality appears to be determined by what we can believe about the 
nature of the world in general ... In the last analysis we believe what 
we can . . . each mind will have its own particular possibilities of belief."^^ 

Philip Wheelwright's treatment of religion in The Way of Philos- 
ophy-^ revolves about the grounds for religious belief and disbelief. The 
anthropological objection to religious belief is attacked on anthropologi- 
cal grounds for overemphasizing the factor of magic in what to the par- 
ticipants may have been sacramental and on logical grounds for commit- 
ting the genetic fallacy. The psychological objection which sees God as 
the projection of man's subjectivity is answered by Jame's emphasis upon 
the organic foundation of all of our states of mind. James' own 
theory of the subconscious as "the actual area of contact between the 
individual self and a higher transcendental power"^^ suggests a different 


religious role than that assigned it by Freud and Jung. In his arguments 
for God's existence Wheelwright states the classical arguments and ex- 
poses their weaknesses and reformulates each to bring out its "inherent 
(though partial, not coercive) validity. "^2 Thus a reformulated cosmo- 
logical argument suggests "a creative power not less but greater than 
minds as we know them;"^'^ a reformulated teleological argument sug- 
gests either "a purposeful but limited God" or "God as the ultimate good- 
ness which all things emulate, although with different degrees of ade- 
quacy according to their various natures ;"2'^ Hastings RashdalFs refor- 
mulation of the moral argument is seen as having "far greater validitv; "-^ 
the reformulated ontological argument sees all of our ideas as pointing 
beyond themselves— thus "the idea which is greater and more pervasive 
than all other ideas, giving greater life and richer significance to all the 
rest"^*' may well bear the mark of reality. 

Robert F. Davidson in Philosophies Men Live Bif-'^ has sought to 
"relate the study of philosophv to the life and problems of the student, es- 
pecially to his moral and religious problems. "^^ His text is organized 
about the lives and thought of some fifteen philosophers who are ar- 
ranged topically rather than chronologically. Thus there are four general 
traditions— "The Pursuit of Pleasure" beginning with popular hedonism, 
passing through altruistic hedonism, and concluding with the pessimism 
of Schopenhauer— "The Life of Reason" as portrayed by the Stoics, Spin- 
oza, and Walter Lippman— "The Urge of Progress" as found in the natur- 
alism of Nietzsche, the pragmatism of James, and the naturalistic hu- 
manism of Dewey— "The Compulsion of the Ideal" as seen by Plato, 
Aristotle, Kant, and Niebuhr. There is a sympathetic appreciation of all 
points of view as containing ingredients of value. The author's own point 
of view is Christian idealism and it is in terms of this that all other phil- 
osophies are evaluated. Though Reinhold Niebuhr is chosen as the ex- 
ponent of Christian idealism, as one who "combines in unusual fashion an 
appreciation of the enduring truth of the Christian faith with the recog- 
nition that to be vital and meaningful religion must deal honestly and 
courageously with the disturbing social problems of the world around 
us,"2^ he is also criticized from the viewpoints of conservatism and liber- 
alism. Davidson concludes that in our search for "a philosophy that will 
give to human life direction, purpose, and dignity" that "no philosophy 
that fails to meet the deeper needs of the human spirit— those that are 
moral and spiritual as well as rational— will satisfy us permanently."^" 

Harold H. Titus' Living Issues in Fhilosophif^ gives prominent 
place to religious interests. Thus in cosmology "if God is interpreted as the 
creative agency, the creative synthesis, or the elan of life that makes to- 
ward wholeness and personality, the view that God created the world is 


generally accepted.""'- Or "mind and life have developed in a world pro- 
cess which has always contained life and mind in some form."^^ In an- 
thropology "the Christian emphasis upon man as a creature whose whole 
life has meaning in a meaningful universe, upon the worth and dignity of 
each person, and upon love and social-mindedness in human relations, is 
sound and is very much needed in our society today. "'^'^ In metaphysics 
"there exists in the universe a power greater than man that makes for 
truth, beauty, goodness, and the development of persons" from which 
viewpoint "the moral and religious aspirations of the race, the Christian 
outlook upon life and the world, and the quest for companionship and for 
God are fundamentallv valid. "'^-^ A similar spiritual orientation is found 
on other problems. 

Two chapters are devoted specifically to religion. Religion had its 
origin in man's ciuest for the completion and fulfillment of life as he be- 
comes aware of a more ideal world in which life finds meaning and signi- 
ficance. It is "life of a particular qualitv . . . the reaction of a man's whole 
being to his object of highest lovalty."'^'' The Christian convictions that the 
world is meaningful, that God is personal, that man is of great worth, and 
that in Jesus we have an expression of the creative good will at the heart 
of the universe that is needed for personal and social reconstruction are 
commended to the student. The prevalence of evil and the unscientific 
nature of religious belief are rejected as conclusive objections to faith in 
God. God is held to be immanent, lawful and orderly, intelligent and pur- 
poseful, good and beneficent. This belief is substantiated by a series of 
arguments, traditional and modern. The belief in God makes a difference 
by meeting our needs for intellectual satisfaction, emotional enthusiasm, 
personal stabilization, and personal and social norms of living. 

On the basis of the data of this paper one may question Theodore 
Greene's view that "many philosophers . . . are convinced that all relig- 
ious beliefs lack objective validity and that it is therefore one of the ma- 
jor tasks of philosophy to unmask religious pretension, discredit faith in 
anv kind of a Deity, and develop a purely secular philosophy in which 
religion, at least in anv of its traditional forms, has no place."^'^ The phil- 
osophers examined are by and large "liberal" in that they do not reflect 
the absolutism and dogmatism of much rationalism, physical empiricism, 
anti-religious humanism, and anti-metaphysical logic and semantics. They 
have fulfilled their philosophic responsibility in seriously considering re- 
ligion. They have indicated constantly the relevance of philosophy to life 
and have sought to help students come to a personal and practical life and 
world view. If religion be thought of broadly as "man's attempt to relate 
himself to reality through comprehension and response"^^ then philos- 
ophy has moved closer to religion. 


In terms of Bertocci's specific criteria these texts fall short by largely 
disregarding both the religions and philosophies of the Orient. Though 
most approach religion in terms of our Western tradition there is a hesi- 
tancy to designate it specifically as Hebrew-Christian and considerable 
failure to give the student an historical acquaintance with the dominant 
religious belief of the West— "a Being, independent of man, who is the ul- 
timate Source and Conserver of existence and values ... a person. "''^^ The 
God-idea is dealt with generally without serious consideration of any 
specific historical revelation. The arguments for God are largely those 
of tradition with little effort to indicate any modern reformulations that 
they may have undergone. 

Immortality is inadequately handled in that it is ignored bv three 
authors, briefly treated by two, and given an at all satisfactory account by 
only one. Freedom is dealt with adequately only by three of the writers. 
Their conclusion is a compromise position between the extremes of com- 
plete determinism and indeterminism. 

All the texts deal with the problem of cosmic mechanism and tele- 
ology and the question of cosmic support for values. SoluticnS' of the 
metaphysical problem vary from an implied naturalism, through a pres- 
entation of divergent points of view without making a decision, to the 
view that "the 'arrival of life,' human purposes, and the quest for values 
all appear to indicate the need for a teleological rather than non-teleolo- 
gical interpretation of nature."^*^ 

One misses in some of these books a sufficient concern with the phil- 
osophical implications and ethical attitudes to which religion may lead. 
Most of them treat religion on a theoretical and abstract level. One won- 
ders whether religion is viable or whether it makes any difference in per- 
sonal and social life. 

A few general remarks in concliisicn, 1. Students certainly need more 
insight into religicn than that which is given in the average introcliictoiy 
course in philosophy to have any claim to a liberal education in this area. 
2. There is need for very close relations betv/een the religion and philoso- 
phy departments to effectively realize their ideal relation of complementa- 
tion. 3. There is a real need for philosophy majors and prospective phil- 
osophy teachers who have done some graduate v^^ork in religion so they 
may know how the other half lives. 4. Conversely the recommendation 
of the American Association of Theological Schools of Philosophy as a 
possible and desirable field of undergraduate concentration is a wise one 
with which preseminarians should be acquainted. 5. Both religion and 
philosophy departments could deepen insights and appreciations of their 
own Western traditions and escape from their Occidental provincialisms 


'•H ■ ;, 

by including courses opening up the world of Oriental philosophies and 
religions. 6. Ideal first-course textbooks do not exist in either the fields of 
philosophy or religion. There is a need— especially in our church-related 
colleges and seminaries— to explore curriculum procedures for studying 
conjointly these great areas of concern. 


1 College Reading and Religion, Yale University Press, 1948 

2 Ibid., 28f. 

3 Ibid., 29 

4 Kattsoff , Louis O., Elements of Philosophy, Ronald Press, 1953 

5 Ibid., iii 

6 Ibid., 407 
' Ibid., 412 

8 Bahm, Archie J., Philosophy, An Introduction, John Wiley and Sons, 1953 
i'lbid., 339 
1" Ibid.. 344 ^ 

11 Ibid., 347 

12 Ibid., 348 

13 Ibid., 349 . 

14 Ibid., 355 

15 Mead, Hunter, Types and Problems of Philosophy — An Introduction, (re- 

vised edition), Henry Holt and Company, 1953 

16 Ibid., ix 
1" Ibid., 87 

18 Ibid., 409 

19 Ibid., 436f. 

20 Wheelwright, Philip, The Way of Philosophy, The Odyssey Press, 1954 

21 Ibid., 488 

22 Ibid., 489 

23 Ibid., 491f. ' ■ - ' 

24 Ibid., 495 

25 Ibid., 498 • 

26 Ibid., 503 

2"^ Davidson, Robert F., Philosophies Men Live By, The Dryden Press, 1952 

28 Ibid., V 

29 Ibid., 411 

30 Ibid., 451, 454 

31 Titus, Harold H., Living Issues in Philosophy (second edition), American 

Book Company, 1953 

32 Ibid., 70 

33 Ibid., 101 

34 Ibid., 135 

35 Ibid., 325f . 

36 Ibid., 390 

3'' Greene, Theodore M., Religious Perspectives of College Teaching — In 
Philosophy, Edvi'ard W. Hazen Foundation, 5 

38 Ibid., 39 

39 Bertocci, College Reading and Religion, 29 

40 Titus, op.cit., 318 


Correspondence from Readers 

Editor of SCROLL: 

On Sunday I had occasion to refer to the Spring issue of the Scroll 
and read at that time the letters on "What Good Is the Campbell Insti- 
tute?" As I read these letters, I recalled immediately some "notes" I had 
found on the Sunday previous when I was going over some of my hus- 
band's (d. Feb. 1953) papers. I got out the notes and on the spur of the 
moment made a copy of them and enclose them as I think you might be 
interested in reading them. 

I would assume that the notes were made preparatory to a meeting 
when the question of membership in the Campbell Institute was under 
discussion. This must have been when my husband was working toward 
his doctorate or teaching at the Divinity School University of Chicago. 
This was before I knew him. I know that he was a reader and sometimes 
a writer for the Scroll in the days when Dr. Ames was the editor. I note 
one of the letters is from Charles' old-time friend Orvis Jordan. 

After my husband's death I continued to send "the three iron men" 
and must tell you at this point how much I liked the Spring issue. After 
our marriage, I had the privilege of serving with my husband in two com- 
munity Churches, so the questions of unity and ecumenicity are near to 
my heart. I know that Charles had been getting materials together for 
writing on the question of "Rethinking the Disciples," so when I read 
in the March issue of World Call about the Panel of Scholars to re- 
examine the doctrine, I was interested. Dr. Osborn's article is very il- 

I hope I am not being presumptuous in sending this and am not sure 
Charles would have wanted me to do it, but it did seem interesting to me 
and I thought it might be to you. 

Sincerely yours 
Lois B. Sharpe 

•'» < ■ 


To Mrs. Sharpe: 

(Your husband's notes are very interesting. Hope you keep alive his 
ideals— Ed. ) 


The Campbell Institute in its infancy filled the need for a radical 
swing of the pendulum away from the dominant attitude of the Disciples. 
This was indicated by the fact that the midnight sessions of the Camp- 
bell Institute were not recognized by the International Convention. The 
mood of our times has changed. We are sufficiently accepted by Bro- 
therhood leadership that we are no longer radically different. 

The major problem of our era is communication of the gospel to the 
ordinary church member in such a way as to cut through his legalism 
and his unconscious identification of Christianity with modern secular- 
ism and scientism. To work toward a solution to this problem in the Dis- 
ciples" context would be a considerable contribution by the Campbell In- 
stitute and might easily define its function of our times. 

A second contribution which the Campbell Institute might make is 
to act as the convener for a theological conference of young Disciples^ 
similar to the Baptists' Roger Williams Fellowship Conference. 

Sincerely yours, 

Dale Miller 

Drake Universitv 


Editorial Meanderings 

It is apparent from the records that a large proportion of the mem- 
bers of the Campbell Institute are not very careful about paving their /;," 
dues to the Institute. One's dues for membership also entitles him to a '/^ 
subscription to THE SCROLL. Postal regulations prohibit a journal < ',. 
from sending free copies to a constituency beyond a certain prescribed '■',•' 
limit. This announcement, therefore, is intended to warn those who have .,' 
not paid their dues that this is the last issue of THE SCROLL which ' .'• 
they will receive until they pay their just dues. There was a time not long 
back when the Treasurer of the Campbell Institute talked freelv and ,, • 
cleverly about members "becoming fiscal" by "sending two iron men" 
to the Treasurer's office. Along with these appeals came poetrv, cou- 
plets, clever prose, and other sorts of word combination which were 
supposed to tickle the fancy of the delinquent members and also break 
them loose from $2.00 which were to be dispatched immediatelv to the 
proper office. I am not sure just what effect these readable bits of poetry, 
etc., did for the coffers of the Campbell Institute, but they made good ,,, 
reading. Perhaps we should resort to some such method now! 

But this is it! Those delinquent members have had it! Kaput! If the\' " '', 

do not pay up, thev are not in good standing; thev will not receive any 
more issues of THE SCROLL; they are warming bv fires they are not 
willing to keep going! 

From the point of view of some of us, Edward Scribner Ames has 
had more profound effect upon the thinking of more Disciples than an\'- 
one in this religious movement since the time of Alexander Campbell and 
Barton W. Stone. While Dr. Ames is with us I should like to devote at 
least one entire issue of THE SCROLL to him— as a person, as a scholar, 
as a religious leader, as a college professor, as a Dean of the Disciples 
Divinity House, as a good friend. If anyone of our Comraderie has deep 
feelings about his associations with Dr. E. S. Ames, may I invite him to 
set down these reflections and send them to the Editor of the SCROLL. 



The Journal of the Campbell Institute 



Vol. XLIX 

Spring, 1958 

No. 4 

Edward Scribner Ames 

This issue of THE SCROLL is devoted almost entirely to Edward 
Scribner Ames. Subsequent issues will carry some hitherto unpublished 
materials which Dr. Ames wrote during the past thirty to thirty-five years. 
The following issue of THE SCROLL will also carry some further re- 
flections and commentaries from the friends and associates of Dr. Ames. 

The first part which follows, "The Great Quest— The Dawn," was 
written by E. S. Ames around 1940. This is the first chapter of the bi- 
ography of this great man; part of the writings will be "auto—" and part 
will be written by members of his family. It is hoped that the entire bi- 
ographv will appear as a full volume sometime in the future. Perhaps 
nothing vou ever read about Dr. Ames will portrav to you a clearer pic- 
ture of the child-like humility and eagerness which characterized his per- 
sonal traits. Throughout all his years, childhood and into maturity and 
old age, he has nurtured an eagerness to obtain knowledge. He is a wise 
man; indeed he is a very great scholar. It never mattered, however, the 
mountain of information which he possessed— he was constantly seeking 
for further answers. As a small child might ask, "why does the ball 
bounce?" "What makes the sun come up?" "Why does it rain?" etc., etc., 
ad-infinitum, Edward S. Ames would ask questions; and then seek an- 
swers for those questions. Many answers he never captured, but this did 
not deter him from asking, over and over again. 

The second part of this issue of THE SCROLL contains reflections 
and commentaries from the friends of E. S. Ames. You will note almost 
immediately that some of these statements are "dated" by their content. 
Some of the writers are now dead, having written their reflections in 
years gone by. I have been collecting these statements for almost ten 
years; some, indeed, are of that vintage now. Thev ought to make even 
more interesting reading in these latter days than thev would if they had 
appeared soon after their writing. Perhaps the one trait which you will 
note over and above any other is Dr. Ames' capacitv for deep and abiding 

Dr. Ames was, and is, a verv great man. What he has done in the 
area of intellectual progress for the religious and philosophical world, and 
the extensions he has made in the matters of human kindness, only God 
himself will ever know! Some believe that his influence on the thinking 
of Disciples, especially upon young, insipient theologues, is greater than 
any other person since the days of Alexander Campbell. How could one 
possibly measure the expanding circles of influence which E. S. Ames 

As one person who is incalculably grateful that he came under the 
influence of Edward Scribner Ames, I hope fervently that these few writ- 
ings about him will be only the beginning of studies which will attempt 
to take the measure of a Great Disciple! Sandburg, in writing about Lin- 
coln, said that a tree is best measured after it is cut down. This can be 
said, of course, about anv character who towers above his colleamies. 

We welcome other commentaries from the Comrades of the Institute, 
or any of Dr. Ames' old friends. If you have some unpublished materials, 
letters, or documents, which might appropriately be shared by us all, 
please send them to me.— Ed. 

The Great Quest - The Dawn 

Edward Scribner Ames 

Since man became even dimly aware of his simplest needs and of the 
dangers surrounding his life he has been engaged in the great quest. 
Through its urgencv he has built altars and temples in every land, he has 
written sacred books in all languages, he has danced and marched for his 
gods in every age, he has made himself drunk with wine and loosed all 
his elemental passions in a feverish hope, and again has crucified his 
flesh with the most terrible torments of ascetic discipline. Many have 
thought that the coming of civilization and especiallv of science would 
dissuade or deflect man from this quest but he only returns to it with 
calmer and wider vision. Vast numbers of persons still remain within 
the old faiths unaware of the changed world of thought. Others keep 
their old beliefs securely apart from their intellectual life. But a rapidly 
increasing company fearlessly seek to understand and to realize the most 
intimate religious ideals with all possible knowledge and experience. 
They are ready to forego some forms of consolation and of incentive, if 
necessary, on behalf of more practical and more consistent ideals. Such 
persons are unwilling to rest upon the opinion of majorities or upon the 
authority of long established custom. Their search is for self-evidencing 
and socially verifiable values. 

Men who have lived in the current of the world's thought during the 
last fifty years and have clung to the religious life have epitomized in their 
personal experience a profound ti*ansformation. This inner history doubt- 
less never has been just the same for any two individuals and still those 

who have been through it will not fail to recognize a genuine spiritual 
kinship with any one who portrays his own. Others who are striving for 
clear discernment of the meaning of life and for the deeper satisfactions 
will find interest and perhaps encouragement in the mirror of another 
friendly soul's self-revelation. No unique value is claimed for the ex- 
perience here recited. Whatever significance it possesses lies in its general 
and representative features, not in its peculiarities. Perhaps the justifica- 
tion for so personal and intimate a story lies in the greater interest which 
belongs to a concrete and intimate narrative, and in the atmosphere of 
realitv and genuineness which the personal form of statement conveys. 
One's willingness to perform the task may also be some proof of the 
strength and value of the newer outlook attained. 

I was born in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. I did not begin to realize that 
I was alive, however, until I found myself and my little world embedded 
in the village of Toulon, Illinois. I was then in my fourth year. Two or 
three impressions survive from the third year. The very earliest is that 
of breaking a tooth on a hard green peach in an orchard near Benton 
Harbor. Another is the mental picture of a horse the family drove. As 
I stood beside it the creature seemed perfectly gigantic, towering above 
me with its great bulk and inspiring the intensest feelings of curiosity and 
fear. The only other glimpse into that wonder world of infancy which 
I am able to identify is of a storm we encountered on Lake Michigan 
crossing to Chicago. I have since learned that we were aboard a little 
steamer, the Corona. Even now I seem to feel the roll of the vessel and 
the shuddering strain of her timbers. But most vivid of all is the deep 
sense of security when my father took me in his strong arms and soothed 
me. No svmbol of a kindly providence has ever been so real to me as that 
simple, natural act. The waves had not ceased and all the fury of the 
storm still beat upon us but my father was to me a guarantee of safety 
against it all. 

The more connected and clearly remembered events began to happen 
in Toulon. My father was pastor there of the Church of Disciples of 
Christ. Being the youngest of four children and five years younger than 
my brother, I was taken to Church on all occasions. In the Sunday ser- 
vices the music impressed me most. The leader of the volunteer choir 
was a stalwart farmer— John Brown. His voice was deep bass but he had 
the qualities of leadership and sang the hymns with a beaming face and 
soulful sincerity. I remember little or nothing of the Sundav School ex- 
cept that an organ was used. That was an important and even momen- 
tous fact for there were those who advocated its use in the church serv- 
ice also. A few older people cherished conscientious objections against it, 
however, and for a long time all deferred to them. At last a Sunday 

came when the innovation was introduced into the morning service but 
not without dramatic effects. As the tones of the organ filled the Church, 
one of the aged elders who had clung hardest to the old custom, rose from 
his pew and walked slowly, as if with broken heart, down the aisle and 
out of the door. He was the t\'pe of man who has made the churches of 
manv denominations subject to the will of small minorities. Their claims 
of conscience and piety have too often been allowed to hamper and ob- 
struct the progress which equally religious and more adaptable souls have 

Mv father's sermons seem to have left no clear imprint upon my 
earlier years except through their quality of earnestness and lofty faith. 
But the Sunday dinners with parishioners, especially with those who lived 
in the country, were memorable occasions to a small bov. The fried 
chicken and the preserves and the wonderful cakes and pies, judged in 
terms of a healthy bov's appetite, made feasts worthy of kings. And after 
dinner there were excursions about the place to see the fat hogs, the 
sleek horses, the colts and calves, and the watchful dogs. The great 
hav-mows of the barns were places of mystery and adventure. There 
would be no keener joy than on rainv davs to burrow into the hav and 
lie there listening to the patter on the roof, having the warmth and com- 
fort within magnified bv the thought of the cold and damp without. But 
the most impressive thing of all was the spirit of the people in their hearty 
hospitality and their religious enthusiasm. In the homes and at social 
gatherings there seemed to be a comradesliip and friendliness of a unique 
quality and degree. It gave me in earlv childhood the feeling that re- 
ligion bound people together in closer and more intimate bonds than any 
other interest. 

Mv father believed in religion in the home as well as in the Church. 
It was our custom to have familv pravers every morning after breakfast. 
We would read consecutive chapters, one each morning. From the time 
I could do so at all I took mv turn reading two verses. Often the storv 
was quite lost to me in my effort to count ahead and find the lines which 
would fall to me next time. When the reading was finished we sang a 
familiar hymn. How Firm a Foundation, O Thou Fount of Every Blessing, 
Awake My Soul, Stretch Every Nerve, or Joy to the World; Then we 
knelt for prayer. Father believed profoundly in prayer. It was for him 
the audience of the soul with God as directly and as naturally as a man 
talks with his friend. Nothing could be too large and nothing too small 
to present before his God. He praved for the nation, for the Church, 
and for the speedy coming of the Kingdom of Heaven; for the sick and 
those in distress and for the family, for our health and success and ulti- 
mate salvation. This ritual of morning pravers was more or less irksome, 

!■ .. 

especially to us bovs, but to a remarkable degree we took it as a matter 
of course and never tried to run away from it no matter how urgent the 
call of play or work. The influence of it was strengthened by our realiza- 
tion that it was sustained by the sincerest motives and beliefs. Sometimes 
I heard my father praving when alone and there came over me a kind of 
awe. He literally went into his closet and shut the door and prayed in 

But our religion had its happiest expression in singing hymns. Fre- 
quently on Sunday afternoon or during an evening the whole family 
would gather about the organ. Father played and we all sang. The 
range of his baritone voice and his knowledge of music made him an ex- 
cellent leader for our little group. He never was happier than at such 
moments. It was our habit to begin with the first hymns in the book and 
sing all of our favorites to the last page. Looking back with better un- 
derstanding of the responsibilities and anxieties he had to bear I am sure 
those hours of song meant far more than any of us children could imagine. 
Sometimes I noticed mother would slip aside into a chair and rock quiet- 
ly as if thinking of other scenes or wondering what the vears would bring 
to us. But her heart was entirely with us and she sang as long as her 
strength and voice permitted. Often at her work she hummed the same 
hymns softly and with almost unconscious fidelity to their spirit and mean- 

I had the good fortune to know that there were other interests and 
capacities in my father's character than those which could be seen in his 
sermons or his religious moods in the home. His religion is enhanced 
for me because I enjoyed other experiences more within my boyish ap- 
preciation. To others he may have seemed too serious, too preoccupied 
with his professional concerns. But he appeared in other lights to me. 
In summertime he tauo;ht me to make kites and went with me to the biff 
pasture nearby and helped to fly them. He would become thoroughly 
absorbed in the sport and sent up "messages" with as much zest as any 
one of us. In the winter he made figure four traps which we set for 
rabbits. When the telephone first began to be talked of we established 
a line of cord from the house to the barn with tin cans at the ends and 
proved the possibility of transmitting sound waves to greater distance by 
such a contrivance. 

There was genuine comfort in that plain, happy home of my child- 
hood. Among its delights there came days when I was not quite well 
enough to go to school but not ill enough to be kept in bed. Then I could 
lie on the couch in the living room and talk with mother as she moved 
about her duties or I could read the stories in the back of the school read- 

;■• li 

er which had not been spoiled yet by being given as lessons. On one such i \:. 

day a great event occurred. It was winter. The snow covered the ground :. | 

and a driving sleet cut one's face. As I lay there in the quiet house I • ., 

heard a low whine and something scratching at the door. When I opened 

it I found a little yellow dog, crying with cold and hunger. Mother had . ,'. 

no heart to refuse my wish to take him in. So we fed him and got the ice » '., 

out of his coat and let him lie under the stove. From that day we were 

fast friends. We belonged to each other. He had come to me and I 

had rescued him from a cold and cruel world. Who can tell what a 

faithful dog means to a young boy, especially to one who in spite of all 

love and human companionship feels that there is something lacking? 

He can tell things to his dog which no one else would understand. The 

dog will respond with secure silence and with his best caresses. So my 

dog Trip filled a real place in my soul and remains yet the symbol of 

dumb affection and good fellowship. 

I do not remember anv pronounced fears of those early years. The 
sharpest were connected with the disapproval of my parents or teachers. 
But I do recall great pleasure in one thing generally frightful to children. 
A thunderstorm induced a strange excitement but I did not feel impelled 
to run from it or to shut my eves against it. I have the recollection of a 
powerful fascination in watching the black clouds fill the sky and seeing 
them swept by great sheets or chains of lightning. The booming thunder 
brought a kind of glee and when the rain broke over the house in tor- 
rents I revelled in the sound of it on the windows and roof. It seems to 
me I had imbibed a kind of fatalism which made me feel that if the light- 
ning were to strike there was nothing I could do to ward it off. There 
were lightning rods on the house and we had praved God to keep us safe 
and the storm was a grand sight to see! 

Like every child of such environment I prayed earnestly for things 
I wanted. One of those pravers was never answered and a kind of aching 
void of unfulfilled dreams remains. That was a praver often repeated 
as I fell asleep— the praver that I might find tied to the hitching post in 
front of the house next morning a pony all bridled and saddled. 

There were also impulses quite at variance with the prevailing mood 
of the household. One of these was the idea of trying to set up communi- 
cation with "familiar spirits". The suggestion came from the biblical ac- 
count of Saul's interview with the Witch of Endor. I teased my father by 
hinting to him that I thought there might be something in it and I gave 
the impression as nearly as I could without actuallv lying that I thought 
I had established connections with one I called "Mike". The fears of my 
elders centered in the danger of my becoming obsessed with that kind of 

foolishness. There were times too when I drew my father into arguments 
about some passage in the Bible. One favorite text for this was the one 
which says that God had hardened Pharaoh's heart, and punished him for 
having a hard heart and refusing to let the children of Israel go. It was 
there in the Bible but it did not seem fair and does not do to this day, 
taken in the simple meaning of the phrases. 

Considerable curiosity belonged to me and in one situation might 
have been the undoing of us all. In the floor of an upper room I found a 
knot-hole and felt a great desire to see what was down in the dark below. 
I smuggled matches from the kitchen, lighted one, and dropped it down 
that hole. It made a momentary illumination which showed the plaster 
through the lath and gave me some idea of how the house was put to- 
gether. But I wanted more light and after having several matches go out 
I tried to get the whole pile to burn thinking that they would make a 
sufficient blaze to enable me to see the farthest corner. It never occurred 
to me that the house might burn down, but for some reason I regarded 
the performance as my secret and did not confide it to any member of the 
family until many years after we had removed from that home. 

During these early years there were increasing tokens of the con- 
nection of our family with people in other places. Letters came from my 
mother's relatives in Chicago and from mv father's in Wisconsin and in 
Boston. These were often read aloud and led to conversations about 
various uncles and aunts and cousins who seemed to live in a remote and 
consequently mysterious world. Those most frequently mentioned lived 
in the city and their mode and scale of life reflected a very different exist- 
ence. When visits were planned they became the topics of interest for 
months and in our home preparations went on for weeks in anticipation 
of them. If my mother's sister came she brought her bov of mv own age 
and we had rare times together in forms of play entirely new to him. 
One delight was to go into the garden, select a hidden spot in the tall 
corn where we could build an oven of bricks and make a real fire. We 
baked potatoes in clay and roasted ears of corn. Dressed up as Indians 
we lived in a dream world of mighty adventure, hunting, fighting sham- 
battles, gathering berries and going into the woods for nuts and slippery 
elm. On return visits the city was as full of novelty and excitement to 
me as the country had been for my cousin. The polar bear in Union Park 
and the strange creatures in Lincoln Park were objects of insatiable 
curiosity. We climbed the old water tower and gained a view of the city 
and the lake. But one of the most lasting memories is that of the odor 
of the tar used in laying the cedar block pavements. Wherever the 
faintest odor of tar is experienced the images of the city streets come 
quickly to my mind's eye. 

After one or two short periods of residence in the other towns the 
family were settled in Davenport when I was eleven years of age. While 
it was larger than the other places in which we had lived the two things 
which impressed me most were the river and the hills. The fascination 
of the mighty Mississippi never lessened. A family where I often went 
to play lived on the bluffs overlooking miles of the valley. During the 
long days of the summer vacation we spent hours under the spell of that 
scene. Steam-boats plied up and down the river and we boys gathered 
about the docks to see them come in and to watch the gangs of Negroes 
handle the cargoes. They worked to the rhythm of their songs, deft and 
contented. When the cables were loosened at the capstans every boy of 
us felt drawn to the docks in an unspeakable longing to make the journey 
up or down these winding miles of beauty and surprise. 

I can not forget the tragic fate of a boat which was lost in the raging 
waters one spring. The news spread through the city that a steamer 
going up stream had just passed the bridge when her engine broke and 
she drifted helplessly in the swift current down upon the stone pier and 
sank. The crew was lost. All that day at school my mind hovered over 
the picture of that spot and the disaster. In the late afternoon I went with 
other boys and stood on the bank, wondering and depressed. The feeling 
was the same as I had felt once before when I stood on the shore of an- 
other river and watched the angrv water swirl over the place where a 
man and his horse had drowned the night before. In neither case did 
the river change its mood. It rushed on with the same roar and fury. 
How strange that there was no sign or change! That men had died there 
made no more difference to the stream than the submerging of the stray 
logs which had broken from some raft. 

The reading of my childhood had small range. Juvenile books were 
not so plentiful and such fiction as could be had was under suspicion. 
Novels were taboo, especiallv dime novels. But in my father's library, 
among the commentaries and lives of the saints, I found two volumes 
which fed my imagination. These were the volumes of Dr. Kane's Arctic 
Explorations. How the simple wood-cuts stirred my soul. There were 
the great ice fields and the glaring snow, the dog sleds and the fur-covered 
men. The pictures bore out the stories of hardships and privation. At 
times unexpected openings appeared in the ice and necessitated long de- 
tours or threatened to set the party adrift in the treacherous sea. Or they 
had to climb sheer cliffs drawing men and dogs and sleds up icy walls 
to the plateau. These books gave me a sense of the possible novelty and 
adventure of life in places and circumstances entirelv remote from my 
world. There arose in me unlimited admiration for the men who could 
undertake such deeds of heroism. From that time nothing in all the 


literature of travel and exploration has had (|uite the same fascination and 
allurement as the records of arctic explorers. 

Two things happened within the year before I was twelve which 
made deep impressions and contributed to the precipitation of a definite 
religious experience. One was the illness and death of my older sister's 
husband. Thev had been to Colorado and California for his health but 
he was brought home realizing; that onlv a few weeks of life remained. 
Day after day he sat in his invalid's chair, helpless and patient, supported 
to the last bv unflagging love and devotion. We understood that it was 
God's will and that no one could explain why it should be so. Here was 
a mystery. When he was there no longer, a shadow rested upon us. 
Terrible things could really happen to our familv. 

The other event occurred in my school experience. A fellow from the 
other side of town provoked me into a fight at school. He was more ex- 
perienced than I and left no doubt of his victory. The Principal of the 
school saw that I had gotten m\^ punishment and did not add anything 
to it except to send me home with a note to my parents telling them what 
had happened. My mother was brokenhearted. Her keen family pride 
was wounded beyond expression. I saw mvself a base culprit for bring- 
ing such disgrace upon us all. The immediate result was a little better 
control of a hasty temper and a more wholesome respect for the other 

In |une after I was twelve I went with mv father one week-end to a 
little town where we had lived and where he was to preach. It was a 
glorious Sunday. I sat by an open window in the Church and felt the 
beauty of the world while a religious mood deepened within me. I had 
already more than half decided to join the Church that dav and at the 
close of the sermon when the customary "invitation" was given I went 
forward. My father was very happy and was deeply moved. That after- 
noon we went to the river out in the countrv where I had hunted and 
fished and swam, and was baptized. A great happiness possessed me. 
It was due partly to the feeling that the old sins were obliterated. Those 
"sins" were not great or numerous as mature souls assess them but to a 
shv, sensitive lad thev were mightv burdens from which release was real 
salvation. Partly it was the realization that I had done what my parents 
desired but it was also the sense of having put myself right with God and 
the universe as I understood it. I felt a closer kinship with Christ and 
with all the good spirits who had fought and labored in his cause. A deep 
peace filled my heart as the beauty of the June dav filled all the world. 
I had responded to a great summons. I was setting forth upon a far 


Edward Scribner Ames ~ My Friend 

Reflections and Commentaries on a Great Man 

Dear Dr. Ames: 

Through the SCROLL I take this opportunity to join with hundreds 
of other members of the House mv profound appreciation for the contri- 
bution you have made through your personal ministry and the leadership 
vou have given in the Disciples House. Both the Disciples House and 
the Universitv Church are in many respects the length and shadow of your 
great personality. 

When I think of you manv things come to mind, because of the im- 
print they made upon my life. I recall the friendly gracious manner you 
always had in every circumstance. I can not imagine you in any situa- 
tion where you were not a Christian gentleman in the fullest sense of 
both terms. I remember vour chats with the members of the House as 
you expressed your concerns about the role of the Disciples as a significant 
Protestant body in America. I can hear you again saying so distinctly, 
1 am disturbed" about this or that. Among the things that I remember 
so vividly and helpfullv were vour pravers in the University Church. I 
still marvel at the intimate and personal way in which you address God. 
Though philosophically you seem to have some reservation in describing 
God in the traditional personal wav, there was no question about your 
concept of God when you praved. 1 have always been impressed by the 
way in which you were able to integrate philosophy, psychology, theolo- 
gv, and religion. It seems to me that this is one of the highest achieve- 
ments any Chi-istian minister can attain. More than that you were able to 
integrate science and religion and I should have said that vou were able 
to pull together psychology, philosophy, theology, religion and science in 
a way that few people have been able to do. This has had a marked im- 
print upon my own thinking and life. 

So I take this occasion to thank you for what you did for me both in 
giving of breadth and depth of understanding so far as religion is con- 
cerned and more particularly the way in which this can be stated in the 
framework of the Disciples of Christ tradition. It is a joy to be able to 
say on such an occasion "hats off to a great Disciple of Christ, a great 
Christian statesman, a gentleman and a scholar." 

George Earle Owens 

I wish I could put on paper my estimate of Dr. Ames as a friend, 
a scholar, a teacher, a preacher and a Christian gentleman. 


I, with many others who love and honor him, do not go along with 
much of his philosophy but we do stand up to salute his Christianity and 
his ability as a teacher and counselor. 

My first personal contact with Ed Ames was when I was co-secretary 
of the Men and Millions Movement in 1914-1918. Early in that campaign 
I was in Chicago. I was not too well acquainted with our leaders and 
was awed by the distinction of such scholars as Dr. Ames. He invited 
me to have lunch with him. The impressions of that hour with him have 
never faded from my memory and gratitude. We have had many associa- 
tions and conversations since then but agreements and differences have 
been qualified by the impression of kindness, understanding and broad- 
mindedness made on that first occasion. 

For several years we were together in meetings of the Commission 
on Restudy of the Disciples of Christ. Here as in the sessions of the 
Campbell Club at International Conventions he "suft'ered fools" (as they 
must have seemed to him ) gladly, or at least with patience and considera- 
tion. I did not approve the Convention of the Campbell Institute or club 
meetings each year in connection with our International Conventions and 
said so in the Christian Evangelist. Always there was a quick response 
from Ed Ames. He protested that the meetings were not divisive but 
constructive. But his protests were alwavs kindly though vigorous. In 
the meeting of the Commission on Restudy he presented the liberal posi- 
tion in theology which he believed was the position of the Disciples of 
Christ. Such men on the Commission as T. K. Smith, Edwin Errett dif- 
fered from him violently but stood up to sav that they loved and honored 
him. The spirit of Ed Ames in all the discussions of widely diftering 
points of view did more than the discussions to reconcile some of the dif- 
ferences and kept the Commission together in its studies and reports. 

Some of his positions were shocking to the more conservative mem- 
bers but the sincerity, intelligence and fraternal spirit of Dr. Ames won 
respect if not conviction. I have the idea that in his teaching at the 
Divinity House what he is has meant more to his students than what he 

When my mother died, I received a letter from Ed Ames— a letter 
that I shall cherish as long as I live. It expressed the warm heart of the 
man rather than the philosophy of the critical thinker. It touched upon 
the human emotions of sorrow and loss rather than the philosophy of the 
critical thinker. It touched upon the human emotions of sorrow and 
loss rather than the philosophy of life and death. 

I think of Ed Ames as a gentle cynic and kindly critic. He sees life 
with a penetrating mind that faces all the facts of experience without 


timidity or fear. He challenges opposition and glories in it because he 
acknowledges the right of every man to think and to express his thoughts. 
He rises to debate like a champion and whether he wins his point with his 
opponent or not, he comes off the field with the respect and love of those 
who hear him. 

We read his books and violently disagree with many of his positions 
and lay them down disturbed by the thought there must be sometliing 
there to produce such a Christian. If he is a humanist, as manv think, 
then he has put something into humanism which all of us need. To my 
mind, he is more of a Christian than even his way of thinking can pro- 
duce. He has not been successful in concealing the greatness of his 
faith in the "simplicity which is in Christ." 

What I have written may have no value for what you are planning to 
write about Dr. Ames. I have hoped in writing to express my love and 
admiration for one who has taught me more by what he is than by what 
he teaches. 

Raphael H. Miller, Sr. 

There are so many things that one could say about Dr. Ames that 
one scarcely knows where to start. His sense of humor is wonderful. 
There is an incident which I might tell you. 

Some years ago Dr. Charles E. Merriam was announced to speak at 
the Rockefeller Chapel. Mr. Merriam had made it perfectly clear to 
those who asked him that he would talk on Sunday morning, provided 
it was not called a sermon. Anyway, he talked. 

The next day he met Dr. Ames at the Quadrangle Club and said to 
him: "Did you notice I spoke in the big Chapel yesterdav?" Dr. Ames 
said: "Yes, I noticed; how much did you get for it?" To which Merriam 
said, "Why nothing, of course." Ames, "Well, you are a scab." 

Merriam and Ames have had a kind of running, bantering process. 
Merriam says that he and Ames had an agreement that whoever died 
first, the other one would say something at his funeral. And he says that 
this has kept Ames alive five years longer than he otherwise would have 
lived, because he was afraid of what Merriam would say. 

Merriam spoke at the eighty -year celebration of Dr. Ames. He re- 
counted these tales and many others. He was really tops. The whole 
occasion was excellent. Rabbi Mann was at this celebration and spoke, 
saying that he had made a great deal out of Dr. Ames' Religion. In fact, 
he said that he had read it so frequently and quoted from it so often with- 
out quotation marks that as a matter of fact Dr. Ames was a kind of in- 
formal Rabbi to his ( Rabbi Mann's ) congregation. 


It strikes me that Dr. Ames' book ReU0on is one of the great docu- 
ments of recent years. It has been reprinted several times, as you know. 

Samuel C. Kincheloe 

I think I ought to say that I have known Dr. Ames rather intimately 
for the past thirty or forty vears. Our friendship has been unbroken 
throughout this period in spite of frequent clashes of opinion on theologi- 
cal and other subjects. I took most of my graduate work at Princeton 
where I was educated as a lotzian, and where I was also trained to re- 
gard the social interpretations of Comte, and the Durkheim School as an 
abomination unto the Lord. I think Ames imbibed some of these views 
at Yale or perhaps later in Chicago, and that thev definitelv influenced his 
thinking, hence the cleavage, in one at least, of our major points of view. 
There were other respects in which our ideas coincided to a remarkable 
degree. When I published my first book, "The Religion of Christ," 
(Revell, 1910), it was about the same time that Ames got out his "Divinitv 
of Christ." Some writer in the Centurv actuallv double-columned pas- 
sages from both books to prove their similaritv. Of course, there were 
other passages which would have shown considerable dissimilarity if thev 
had been brought together. It was about this time that there was con- 
siderable excitement over the Sarvis case, and Ames was brought into the 
picture because his church indorsed the China missionarv. I can recall 
a public meeting in which J. B. Briney, who was one of the protagonists 
of the fight both against Sarvis and Ames, read a passage from the "Divini- 
ty of Christ, " and after he had finished it he threw the book on the table 
beside him with the statement, "there croes mv Savior." I recall another 
meeting in Indianapolis, at which Ames was present, and as was not in- 
frequently the case he ran afoA\'l of some of his theological friends on other 
issues. W. |. Lhamon launched into a vigorous prohibition speech, which 
Ames felt was unnecessarilv vituperative. When W. J. sat down, he arose 
and observed that the Apostle Paul evidentlv took issue with the previous 
speaker, because it was on record that he advised his friend Timothy to 
drink a little wine for his stomachs sake. No sooner were the words out 
of his mouth, than Lhamon stood up and said, "My name is not Timothv. 
and there isn't anx'thing wrong v/ith mv stomach." The audience enjoved 
a good laugh in which Ames joined verv heartilv. 

I recall riding on a day coach from Chicago to Des Moines with no 
companion but Ames. We argued vigorously, and had a perfectly good 
time. I insisted that his radical ideas were only appealing to university 
students, and that thev would be entirely unacceptable to the masses of 
the people. I said something to the effect that his philosophy might at- 
tract considerable numbers of students and teachers on the Chicago 
campus, but that they would prove a complete failure out in the sticks. 


I can still remember that in spite of the lurching of the train, Ames arose 
to his full six feet and announced with the closest approach to strong 
language that he ever used that he would resign his place at the Univer- 
sity, and go out among people and prove that his philosophy was adapted 
to their needs. These were the days when there was no Pension Funds 
and no Social Security, I therefore counseled him not to do it, until he 
had accumulated enough for a retirement fund. After his work on re- 
ligion appeared, I wrote a review of it for my page in the Christian Evan- 
gelist which I entitled the Dual Personality of Dr. Ames. I tried to show 
that there were two sides to Ames nature. The one thoroughly positivis- 
tic, and phenomenalistic, the other profound and mystical and spiritual. 
I did not of course think Ames to agree with this article, but to my sur- 
prise he took more kindly to it than I had dared to imagine. In the 
meetings of the Commission to Restudy the Disciples, of which I was 
chairman for several years, it was one of our customarv diversions to in- 
cite Edward Scribner Ames and Charles Clayton Morrison to a theologi- 
cal duel. Sometimes it lasted a whole day, and it was always highly en- 
tertaining, and often to no slight degree edifying. Morrison in those days 
was a good deal of a High Churchman, and Ames was a thorough-going 
democrat always with a very small "d". As a result, conservatives and 
radicals in the group would sometimes applaud one side and sometimes 
the other. Ames was popular for his interest in the people, and Morrison 
what many of those considered his more vital faith. No matter how 
sharp the clashes became, they always ended in perfect good humor and 
in an undisturbed atmosphere of fraternity. 

Frederick D. Kershner 

I have known Dr. Ames for a great many years but never known him 
intimately. I have come in contact with him at conventions and in other 
gatherings but perhaps my most intimate contact was in the summer of 
1936 at the University of Chicago. 

Two things have always impressed me about the man. One is a 
little personality quirk by which he "telegraphs" ahead when one of those 
wrv, dry bits of humor is about to emerge. You no doubt have noted 
how in speaking he will stop in mid-flight open his mouth and seem about 
to speak while his countenance lights up, and then let go with some light 
shaft of dry humor. This I consider humor at its best. His type of joke 
is not a bombshell that puts everybody under the table but a light wit- 
ticism announced beforehand by his facial expression but keeps his hear- 
ers on the qui vive. 

The second impression I have of the man is that he becomes the 
center of every group that he enters. There is something about his 


intellectual make-up, his intelligent understanding and his spiritual sta- 
ture that causes people to organize their attention around him wherever 
he goes. And thev seem to do so without anv conscious effort on his part. 

If I were to add a third paragraph it would be the one which I 
imagine many others have also mentioned. Though for years he was 
vilified and berated by the conservative forces in our brotherhood, he has 
frequentlv been called the best Disciple of them all. I mean he has, 
perhaps more than any other leader among us, caught the real purpose 
and spirit of the original Campbell movement, as it was before lesser 
minds and narrower spirits took it over. Thomas Campbell and Alex- 
ander in his earlier years before he got so deeply into theological con- 
troversv, were catholic Christians in the best sense of the word. Thomas 
Campbell particularly was an ironic spirit who sought peace and unity. 
Edward Scribner Ames taught the best tliere was in the Declaration and 
Address and became the living exponent of it in the davs when we were 
about to be overwhelmed bv fundamentalism. 

I realize that I am not giving you much but these are my impressions 
of a very great man. 

James A. Crain 

I have no finer friend in my whole circle of friends than Dr. Ames and 
I remember my contacts with him with the keenest pleasure. His shafts 
of humor served in many instances to restrain us when we were becoming 
Don Quixotes. One day while walking down Michigan Avenue with 
him, he said with his quizzical humor, "Jordan, how long do you think it 
will take the Disciples to capture Chicago?", I was at that time the Dis- 
ciples' Superintendent of this city, and that remark considerablv deflated 
me. He has been a most important influence in removing from modern 
religion the magic and superstitution, and giving to it realism and use- 
fulness. I do not have to agree with him on all of his ideas to say that 
he has been the most important influence in my religious thinking. He 
belongs not only to his own religious fellowship, but in a larger sense to 
the Christian world; and whatever honor we pay him will be well de- 

Your idea of printing some of our impressions of E. S. Am:;^s is ex- 
cellent. It should be done now while hi has a chance to straighten us 
out, and while he may enjoy the admiration which many of us have 
for him. I have lived in the same city with him for over fifty years, and 
for fort)' years have served with him on the Board of the Disciples Divini- 
ty House. I bear witness to the great influence he has had in the shaping 
of mv life. 


You are quite right in assigning him a foremost place among the 
Disciples scholars of our times. I think I have read all of his books, and 
one summer I studied in a university class where he taught the psychology 
of religion. It has influenced my work as a minister much. 

However, it is to his qualities as a personality that I give cheerful 
witness. His sense of humor kept him from the extremes that mark the 
careers of so many radical thinkers. I remember once at a national con- 
vention he said to me: "I am going to sell J. B. Briney a subscription to 
the Christian Century." Briney was then one of the most effective war- 
horses of orthodoxy. I expressed my scepticism about his ability to make 
such a sale. What was the amazement of a little knot of us preachers when 
the sales talk was made, and Briney took out his purse and paid for a 
subscription. When taken to task by the conservative breatlii-en for this 
action, Briney said, "I have got to have something to attack, haven't I?" 

His open-mindedness was illustrated bv taking me one night to at- 
tend all the street meetings we could find. He said, "I will listen to any- 
thing once." So we heard pleas for anarchy, socialism and wound up with 
the gospel fulminations of Midnight Mission Bell. I missed my last train 
home, so we stayed all night in the Y.M.C.A. Hotel. Our patient wives 
believed our story the next day! 

His courage in those days put heart into us all. I will not profess that 
I alwavs agreed with him, but a lot of us came to believe that we were 
expendable in the cause of liberty and truth. A man could not enjoy his 
comradeship, and then "pussy-foot" in the midst of religious discussion. 

As a guide to young preachers his advice was most valuable. He 
built up a great church in a most difficult environment, and at the same 
time was a teacher of such merit that he became head of the philosophy 
department of his university. His labors those days were herculean, and 
from his experierices as a church builder he had much to offer us. 

His loyalties could always be counted on. He was no less loyal a 
Disciple then were some who thought they did God's service in defaming 
him. His reasons for being a Disciple in a confused religious world were 
convincing. The loyalty to his religious fellowship was no less marked 
than his loyalty to his friends. He could sometimes wound to help, like 
any good surgeon does, but he never ceased his efforts to help men to 
find their true selves. 


This is the way I see him after knowing him more than a half century. 
Mav his zeal for sound scholarship and his love of religion be an abiding 
heritage of the communion he has served so well. 

Orvis F. Jordan 

Your request sets memories in motion. Mine go back to the decade 
of 1910 when a great man preached magnificent sermons from the pulpit 
of a little church which the students called "the pill-box". At 5722 Kim- 
bark the same great man rode his youngest ( little Polly ) about the house 
on his broad shoulders while his lovely Mabel looked smilingly on. Not 
exactly printable memories but precious ones which those who have them 
are happy to recall and to share with you the while you are assembling 
the more distinguished ones. 

Helena M. Nye 

I am too hard driven to do justice to your request. I have known, 
admired, loved and honored Dr. Ames for fortv years or more. I am 
with him almost every summer up at Pentwater. I regard him highly. I 
would place him as one of the first three of contemporary leaders who 
have contributed much and in many ways, to higher thinking and nobler 

I would speak first of his wonderful smile. It is simply charming. 
There is something winsome about it, and a little chuckle usually accom- 
panies it. He lives above the fog of partisanship, and is a stranger to in- 
tolerance. There is a good deal of the seer about him. He is the best 
exponent of his own philosophv of anv preacher with whom I am ac- 
quainted. I enjoy getting him and Charles Clayton Morrison together 
either at my own place or at Dr. Ames' "castle by the lake." I enjoy 
pitting one against the other. Charles is dogmatic and fiercely partisan; 
Ames is reasonable, tentative, and at the same time anything but equivo- 

I wish I had the time and opportunitv to write down for vou anec- 
dotes and illustrations. Better, I would love to have you drop in on us 
at Pentwater any time after August 15th, where we will be until October 
1st, and will be keeping company with the learned Professor and— to use 
a much abused term and use it now with the fidlest meaning— great hu- 

Edgar DeWitt Jones 

I have known Edward Scribner Ames as a valued and true friend 
for nearly fifty years and think of him in the highest terms. He is not a 
picturesque character— has no eccentricities that make good copy— but is 
a gentle, quiet, earnest, scholarly man who has a genius for friendship. 


His most outstanding trait is loyalty, loyalty to his friends and to the 
church, especially to the Disciples. In his long pastorate he was such a 
faithful shepherd that he put under obligation to him nearly all his flock— 
and always sincere and helpful and quiet. 

It pained him to be told that the University Church was built on per- 
sonal loyaltv to him and of course this was only a partial exaggeration, 
even if partly true. He likes to think of the University Church as com- 
posed of people who were devoted to a cause and not to a man. 

Anecdotes about him are hard to recall. He attracted people by 
liking them and by making them like him. 

It was as an earnest advocate of "liberal" religion that he was at his 
best, and he was at his "super best" in his interest in young preachers and 
students for the ministry and especiallv the ministrv in the church of 
Disciples. There is a host of them and much of what they are thev owe 
to Ames. 

A leader he certainly is and has been. The Campbell Institute is the 
pride of his life and its continuity and influence would not exist today but 
for the quiet, wise, intelligent work of Ames. 

He will have more than one monument. One is the beautiful church 
building— dedicated debt-free and the harmonious congregation worship- 
TDing in it. Another is the Divinity House ( sharing the honor with 
others. ) But one thinks above all of the succession of young preachers 
\\'hose careers he helped to shape and whose debt to him they eagerly 

Ellsworth Paris 

I presume that my appraisal of Dr. Ames will duplicate that which 
you will receive from many who have not been of the inner circle, but 
who have loved and admired him. As you probably know, I was not a 
student of Dr. Ames, and our fellowship has been very infrequent and 
somewhat recent. 

The Disciples of Christ needed a philosopher, someone who loved the 
mo\'ement but who could interpret it in the light of basic philosophy. 
For a century we knew that the movement was more than a theological 
opinion. The great scholarship and deep insight of Dr. Ames to take us 
back to John Locke and the renaissance has been something for which 
the Disciples will always be the richer. He has placed the Disciples of 
Christ in the perspective of the philosophical stream and at the same 
time has done nothing to discount our original genius for Christian unity. 

As State Secretary of Ohio before Dean Ames' retirement, I had the 
privilege of considerable correspondence with him in the matter of lo- 


eating young men from the Disciples' Divinity House in their first pastor- 
ate. This man, who to some may have seemed cold and intellectual, was 
revealed to me as one having the warmest personal interest in the students 
who had passed through the Divinity House at Chicago. He was anxious 
that no man be placed beyond his depth, insisting that each man should 
start humbly in a modest position and prove his worth. 

The capacity of Dean Ames for personal friendship has been amazing. 
The combination of both teacher and pastor has given him abundant 
opportunity to express this genial spirit which has made him beloved to 
so many of us. 

I would also like to mention my personal appreciation for his sense 
of humor. I cannot recall in all my acquaintance any man whose smile 
could burst forth as sunshine and reveal so much of his own keen sensitivi- 
ty to that which can best be solved by laughter. I recall on one occasion 
he referred to himself as the man who could write letters to both God 
and the Devil. There was the ironic touch, of course, to this because 
there were those who felt that he was on good terms with each . 

It is carrying coals to New Castle to refer to his brilliance. His in- 
terests have been wide and his learning goes deep into the reservoirs of 
human knowledge. Furthermore, such learning has seemed never to have 
oppressed him. There are the erudite personalities for whom learning 
seems a burden. For Dean Ames his learning has been a lift and not a 

I have often asked myself the question, how does one live to be an 
octogenarian? Perhaps knowing Dean Ames with his completely radiant 
personality, his devout Christian faith, and his love of his Christian fel- 
lows, will prove to be the best answer, at least he is my answer. 

Gaines M. Cook 

I am glad to respond to your request. I have the highest admiration 
and affection for Dr. Ames. Many characteristics of Dr. Ames have im- 
pressed me. For one thing he has always been a most impressive figure 
in any company, not onlv in his physical, but in his intellectual and per- 
sonality stature. 

Though highly sophisticated, his simplicity and almost child-like 
naivete in response to the most commonplace objects and events of ex- 
perience has always been refreshing in the extreme. This no doubt arose 
from his extraordinary sensitivity to his world and his appreciative re- 
sponse to the significance of its details. 

Through the years he has stood as the embodiment of the best ele- 
ments of liberalism, not only among the Disciples, but in the larger cultur- 


ai world. He achieved a rare synthesis of the best humanistic insights 
with deep and compeUing convictions to which he has ahvays adhered 
with unswerving loyalty. I suspect that he, more than any other, has in- 
terpreted and has given dynamic influence to the liberal trend among the 
Disciples. I recall vividly as a student the figure of Dr. Ames at the 
Louisville Convention pleading for the right to maintain a living link on 
the mission field as the representative of University Church surrounded 
bv the traditionalists and obscurantists that were challenging his right to 
do so. I also recall that for years he was shunned by program commit- 
tees as a convention speaker because of his liberal views, but that of re- 
cent years his presentations have been sought after by conventions and 
conferences throughout the brotherhood. 

Of course I recall his preaching tlii'ough the years I was a member 
of University Church. It had an intellectual content and at the same 
time a profound spiritual character. He never worked his sermons out in 
detail before delivery, so that his mind was creatively at work before the 
audience. It was always a distinct pleasure to me to watch his mind 
work as it fashioned ideas in the pulpit into a logical and consistent order 
of discourse. 

In a unique sense, University Church was the embodiment of Dr. 
Ames' spirit. The freedom, vitality, and profoundly religious quality of 
life in University Church has been an overt expression of his functional 
concept of religion. I have never seen its equal elsewhere. 

Through his writings Dr. Ames has made an incalculable contribu- 
tion to a rational understanding of the nature and function of religion in 
personal and social experience. 

His capacity for friendship is one of the most outstanding characteris- 
tics. His sensitivity to human relations, his empathy, his understanding 
and his personal loyalty have endeared him to those who have had the 
good fortune to be numbered among his personal friends. 

Not least attractive in his personality has been his sense of humor- 
always subtle and unobtrusive, but deliciously flavoring his discourse and 
shining through his personal relationships. 

So, do a good job. You have a noble subject! 

William Clayton Bower 

I have had no close personal association with Dr. Ames as I did my 
graduate work at Yale. I have only one recollection of ever meeting and 
talking personally with Dr. Ames. It was at the end of my first year in 
Seminary at Yale. I was in Chicago during the summer and attended 


University Church one Sunday. I had had correspondence with him and 
following the service when I spoke to him he remiCmbered me and made 
some such comment as "All good men eventually get to Chicago." I 
reminded him that some good men also got their start at Yale, remember- 
ing that he was one of the first Disciples to attend the Divinity School 
at Yale and to organize the Campbell Club there. 

I feel that in his writing and speaking he has emphasized a certain 
segment of our Disciple heritage which is particularly important for us 
to remember in these days. He has undoubtedly influenced the liberal 
wing of our brotherhood more than anv one person even when much of 
this influence has been indirect. 

Edwin L. Becker 

I wish I could give you something of real human interest on Dr. Ed- 
ward Ames. I am a great admirer of him. He is not only a great preach- 
er, scholar and philosopher, but a man with a warm heart and a lovable 

John H. Booth 

Dr. Ames, through his public career, has stood for the open mind in 
the whole realm of knowledge. The interesting thing, however, has 
been his complete loyaltv to the Disciples of Christ. Moreover, those 
with whom he differed always respected him most highly. Some years 
ago he was a guest of the Greater Cincinnati Disciples Ministers. We 
were amazed that a large group was present from the Cincinnati Bible 
Seminary and the Restoration Movement— and nearly everyone sub- 
scribed to the SCROLL! In every sense of the word this was a rare love 

Some vears aw, at one of our Midwestern International Conventions, 
Dr. Ames was leaning pretty heavily on his cane. In the hotel lobby. Dr. 
Abe Cory said to him: "Ed, what is your trouble?" Dr. Ames replied, "I 
have water on my knee." Dr. Cory replied: "Well thank Cod, it is not 
on vour brain!" 

You would be safe in saying that Dr. Ames has had an enormous 
effect on his generation. One dav while in Dr. Albert Coe's class in the 
Psychology of Religion, at Union Seminary, I quoted from Dr. Ames' book 
on this subject. Dr. Coe turned aside from his notes and paid to Dr. 
Ames a glowing tribute as one of the greatest leaders in the field. 

Kenneth B. Bowen 

What ahvays impresses me is how gracefully he wears his greatness. 
There is not a trace of pomposity in him. He has all of the prophet's 
zeal and fire without having lost humanness and good humor. He can 


chide himself without weakening the force of what he is saying. For 
instance while speaking or writing in dead earnest about a great theme 
or idea he is apt to come out with something like this: 

"The more I hear mvself talk on this the more convinced I become." 

"I was greatly impressed by an idea I heard in a sermon, preached 
by myself, a few weeks ago." 

Dean Ames has empathy as well as sympathy. He not onlv feels for 
a friend or student in trouble, he feels with him. His friendliness is 
free and cordial, but not effusive. 

It is somewhat strange to me that while his speeches and conversa- 
tion sparkle with good humor and fun that is sometimes hilarious, very 
little of this is apparent in his writing. 

One runs into difficulty if one tries to parrot Ames' philosophv in a 
pastorate. As a philosophical system, and as a religious faith. Dean Ames' 
Christianity does not seem to me to be readily adaptable to the parish situ- 
ations in which I have served. It is not evangelical enough. It assumes 
our chief enemies to be a militant fundamentalism on one hand and a 
sceptical rationalism on the other. For these, it is an effective weapon. 
But my chief worry is a theologically orthodox indifference, and plain old 
religious illiteracy. This has made some of the hot debates we used to 
have at the House seem completely academic from where I now stand. 

But the influence of Dean Ames as a man and as a thinker is in the 
bloodstream of everv minister who has studied under him. 

Hunter Beckelhymer 

Two things which I have most appreciated in Dr. Ames. The one 
was his magnificent intellectual reach; the other, his sense of humor. 

Every contact I have had with him, I have remembered, "God has 
had a way of raising up, in everv generation, certain tall men, looking 
up to whom, the masses are lifted bv the look." 

Homer W. Carpenter 

I knew Ed Ames at Drake, and have been grateful to think of him 
as a friend during all the vears since then. I remember the promise he 
gave at Drake, the promise of all that he has since become. I think at 
one time when he was a student, there was some anxiety about his health. 
He was fortunate in his decision to continue his studies at Yale, and in 
his choice of Philosophy. He was fortunate in his marriage and in going 
to Chicago, and no one can estimate the value of his service in connection 


with Divinity House. He has done so much, in so many different ways, 
and all of the highest quality. 

But best of all is his bovmdless capacity for friendship, that constant 
flow of warm affection in which so many have shared. He is truly a great 
and good man. 

CM. Chilton 

Here is one story which I have always liked: 

As our Commission on Restudy of the Disciples of Christ re-assem- 
bled for an afternoon session. Dr. Ames with his inimitable twinkle in 
his eye began in this way: "As I was talking with Dr. Lemmon during 
the lunch hour, I was greatly impressed by a remark of mine." 

Another thing I remember is one which concerns the International 
Convention at I^ichmond, Virginia, in 1939. Dr. Ames was staying at 
the Board of Higher Education Hotel, the John Randolph. After he had 
checked out, the manager came to Dr. H. L. Smith, then secretarv of the 
board, with a problem. The hotel office had through mistake put on 
Dr. Ames' bill a rather considerable amount of liquor. After he had paid 
the bill without looking at it and left the city, they discovered that the 
charo;e should have been made to another guest. 

Again I recall that a young woman who joined his church a few years 
before he retired spoke to me with great appreciation for his warm, 
sparkling personality. Quite honestly and with a wholesome laugh she 
said, "I certainly would have liked to have known that man twenty-five 
years ago." 

Important as Dr. Ames has been as a teacher and a philosopher, his 
greatest gift has been that of friendship. Others could wish to exclude 
him, but he always exercised the veto and included them in his fellow- 

I have always been impressed by the subtle and friendly character 
of Dr. Ames' humor. He could always laugh at himself and seemed to 
enjoy no joke quite as much as one in which he is the victim. 

I hope that these scattered comments may be of some help. They 
fall very far short of expressing my own feeling for Dr. Ames. 

Geo. Walker Buckner, Jr. 

I am delighted to know that some adequate recognition is going to 
be given to the career of Doctor Ames. I have a number of distinct 
recollections concerning his helpfulness and some of his attitudes. 


On two occasions when I had expected to re-enroll in Chicago in 
pursuit of my doctorate, financial difficulties obliged me to send in word 
that I would not be able to be there for the period that I had contempla- 
ted. The Disciples Divinity House had a scholarship program designed 
to help single men who were candidates for the B. D. degree. I did not 
qualify under either count. On both of the occasions referred to Dr. 
Ames sent me a check for enough money to cover the main expense for a 
quarter at Chicago. Each time he simply said that this money was from 
"funds other than those of the House." I am sure the money was his 
own personal gift but he never gave an opportunity for discussing the 
subject. You can see that I owe him a great deal, not only because of the 
financial help but also because of the unsolicited interest and encourage- 
ment. I have no doubt that he helped many other students in much the 
same way. 

The principal recollection concerning Dr. Ames that is held by aU 
those who have known him over a long period of time is his vniswerving 
lovaltv to the inherent values in the freedom enjoyed by the Disciples o£ 
Christ. He could have had many honors by affiliating with larger and 
better known religious groups, but his interest in an open search for truth 
caused him to believe that there was more to be gained by the use of the 
attitudes and processes of our Brotherhood than in any other place. This 
does not mean that he was always honored for such a position. With the 
possible exception of Dr. Herbert L. Willett, Dr. Ames has probably suf- 
fered more personal attack and vilification than any other man in our 
history. As with Dr. Willett, however, he always maintained a quiet calm 
and an attitude of good will in the midst of unsought controversy. 

We remember his constant good humor and appreciation of stories 
and jokes that had a real point to them. Only once do I recall seeing him 
semi-perturbed. At a luncheon in the House, we were discussing some 
charges against the Chicago men, and I more or less brightly remarked 
that some people probably thought the reason was that we had certain 
twisted aims. He promptly caught the word allusion and said to the 
group that all remarks should be pertinent rather than impertinent. I 
think that he had a measure of very real personal dignity which he did 
not care to have violated. Perhaps you are aware of the method he de- 
vised for congratulating mothers concerning their new babies without 
doing violence to his own high regard for the truth. He would dutifully 
wait at the hospital room until the brand new infant was brought in for 
inspection, and, after an appropriate, careful scrutiny and a slight pause, 
he would say with great emphasis upon the second word, "That is a baby!" 

I started my work at Chicago v/hen our daugher, Pat, was about to 
celebrate her first birthday. When we took her to the House for intro- 


diiction to the group, we mentioned her name, but Dr. Ames immediately 
dubbed her Mary Ann and he has continued to call her that to the present 
day, now nearly thirty years removed from the original episode. 

I hope that you can mix these recollections with some of your better 
stories in your account. They are very fond memories for me. 

A. T. DeGroot 

He is a very colorful personality but since I think of it, one very 
difficult to capture in the meshes of personal incidents. Unfortunately I 
did not have any work under him while I was at the University of Chica- 
go, but did attend the services of his church quite regularly. I found his 
preaching stimulating and highly interesting. While his preaching was 
characteristically philosophical, yet the human interest appeal running 
throughout brought it down to earth where one lives his daily life. 

Inasmuch as my ministry has been a considerable distance from 
Chicago I have not been thrown with him in any very personal associa- 
tions. I endeavored at one time to secure him for a series of lectures in 
my church at Chattanooga, Tennessee, but was unable to work the ar- 
rangements out, much to my regret. 

o o o » o 

My observations about our good friend, Dr. Ames? 1 always think 

of him as the "autocrat of the luncheon table." There at those Wednes- 
day noon luncheons he probed our minds, perhaps trying to see if there 
were anything in them worth exhibiting to the world— at the same time 
contributing his own insights into a multitude of problems and areas of 
thought. His intellectual vigor is a constant source of amazement to 
me. The way his mind keeps working, in spite of physical infirmities, 
gives me confidence that some part of us will continue beyond the com- 
plete death of the body. 

Dr. Ames makes me think of a verse from the Book of Job (I think) 
—"Is not the integrity of your ways your confidence?" That's what he 
is— a man of integrity, singleminded in his devotion to truth, wherever the 
quest for truth may take him. He is one man, with many facets, extend- 
ing his life in many directions, but keeping them all related to the center. 

Lloyd V. Channels 

This is a very large assignment— to tell you what I know about Ames. 
I have known him since he was 22 years old; and I, 18. We were stu- 
dents at Yale, he a graduate student in Philosophy, I a junior in the Col- 
lege. Then we both came to Chicago and took our Ph. D's. We both 
taught at Butler for two years, and during the one year of overlap, while 
we were there together, I roomed and boarded at his house. 


At the time of Ames' retirement. The Disciples Divinitv House Bul- 
letin published some articles bv various persons giving their impressions 
of him at various periods. If \'0u do not have a copy of that, you had 
better write to the House for it. You will find my contribution there. 

(We hope to republish all of these earlier impressions— Ed. ) 

W. E. Garrison 

Congratulations upon your pursuit of "antic-dotes" about Dr. Ames. 
For a long time, I had hoped someone would do just what vou are doing. 

I am not sure that I can be of too great help to vou. However, do 
not forget the "sparkle in his eye." It seems to me you can capitalize on 
this and go to some length about how his eves shone and his voice had a 
certain lilt to it when he was explaining the real core and center of the 
Disciples of Christ movement— Christian unitv. 

Do \'ou also remember how if you ever asked him to autograph one 
of his books that he would put something to this eftect: "Yours in the 
true faith." I know several of the books on my librar^' shelves have such 
written in them and I co\'et them greath-. 

Then, do you remember the leading questions that would be his in 
order to get you to express vourself and to think through the problem. 
I'll not forget the times when we had lunch together, either just the two 
of us or three or four or more. His was alwavs a scintillating conversation 
but in it there were these questions which made vou think and thus was 
the great desire to express vourself concretely, intelligently and enthusias- 

Of course, you will want to reiterate his great love for the University 
of Chicago, though he was an alumnus of Yale and Drake. He was al- 
ways fearful of losing "some of our good voung men" if thev went to 
school in New Haven. They were surrounded bv Congregationalism with 
a Calvinistic aura and therefore, he alwavs wanted them to go to school 
at Chicago where thev would "feel" the Brotherhood. Another thing 
which it seems to me \'ou will want to bring to the attention of vour 
readers is the fine hospitalitv of their home. I remember that I was the 
first student to attend Chicago from Chapman College. It, in those days, 
was a long way from Los Angeles to Chicago. Yet, ne\'er once did I feel 
a stranger in what I was warned would be a liberal and cold atmosphere. 
This was due to Dr. and Mrs. Ames' warm hearts. The times spent in 
their home will be a cherished memory. The\' were always sure that you 
met the better people of the University Church and the campus. 

And, having worked with him at University Church, I'll not forget 
his participation in social affairs. The Friday night parties were always 


highlights to which he looked forward. At the dancing period which 
followed the entertainment hour, he was always in the midst, dancing 
with the very young high school girls and also with the older maiden 
ladies. He was a striking figure on the dance floor (I daresay you will 
want to say that he was always a striking figure at any social affair-.) 

Myron C. Cole 

The relatively few direct contacts which I have enjoyed with Dr, 
Ames have been very pleasant. I think he is a great gentleman and 
scholar. His advocacy of a liberal religion and his demonstration of what 
it could mean in both church and school have been outstanding. 

As I recall it, he relates with gusto that he preached his first sermon 
for the second time at the Christian Church in Ames, Iowa. 

Jack Finegan 

There are so many aspects of Dr. Ames' nature, so many sparkling 
facets to his personality, that he can be a favorite subject for bull sessions 
whenever House men get together. Let me just ramble: 

First, let me say, that I don't think any of us appreciated our Brother- 
hood one-tenth as much when we began our House training as when 
Dr. Ames got through with us. You will recall his oft-cjuoted remark that 
"no matter what our faults as a school, when we get through with a man 
he is still a Disciple." 

I think we all remember how much Dr. Ames loves a joke on him- 
self. Remember the story he used to tell about a conversation between 
Mrs. Ames and Mrs. C. C. Morrison? Mrs. Morrison: "My husband has 
two sermons but he uses the same text all the time." Mrs. Ames: "My hus- 
band has only one sermon but he changes the text every Sunday." 

I also remember how he would laugh at any witticism directed 
against him. At the luncheons he frequently told stories about his grand- 
children. When his first grandchild (I forget the name of Van Meter's 
baby— was it Scribner?) was of pre-school age. Dr. Ames often told some- 
thing about him. Dr. Garrison would stir in his chair and inevitably begin 
a story about one of his grandchildren— "one of my five"— with a wry look 
at Dr. Ames. Dr. Ames enjoyed such repartee. 

I don't know whether we ever appreciated or understood Dr. Ames' 
philosophy, but his greatest impact upon me and, I think, most of the 
students, was his winsome personality. A House anecdote of long stand- 
ing was the comment that "if the Almighty does not look like Dr. Ames, 
we'll be disappointed." We used to go to some of the ceremonies at 
Rockefeller Chapel just to see Dr. Ames process in his hood and robe. 


His friendliness, though he was very far from ostentatious, was real. 
Who is there who was not called into his office to talk over personal prob- 

The only slight display of his affection towards me came at a time 
when he knew I might be troubled about illness in my family. I was 
sitting by the piano in the fellowship room while someone was playing. 
Dr. Ames stood behind us for a minute and put his hand on my shoulder. 
A slight thing to remember, I suppose, but in Dr. Ames a real sign of affec- 
tion and understanding. 

His interest in "his boys" and his desire that they be happy in their 
ministry was so extreme that it could be embarassing. When he saw any 
of his boys out in the field, he never failed to take them aside to see how 
they were getting along. He had his eye on a half dozen splendid pastor- 
al opportrmities across the nation and time after time saw to it that one 
of his boys had the chance to go there if he so desired. 

I strongly suspect that Dr. Ames' private loans to poverty-stricken 
students were beyond number. I don't know this, because no one ever 
was permitted to tell of anything done for him by Dr. Ames. But I am 
convinced that students called home by the death of a parent, by illness, 
or some other emergency had their way paid by Dr. Ames. No doubt 
most of these loans were retiuned, but I don't think Dr. Ames intended 
that they should be. 

Well, that is enough for the time being. Best of luck. 

Dan B. Genung 


Administrative Meanderings 

Some of us who have the responsibiHties of carrying on the routine 
business of The Campbell Institute are becoming deeply concerned about 
the status of the Institute and its journal. The Scroll. 

First, let's discuss dues. We operate on a fiscal year (presumably, if 
we operate on any kind of an ordered financial plan!) Dues for 1958-59 
become payable anytime after julv 1, 1958. Some "members in good 
standing" have not paid dues to the Institute for years on end! Does this 
indicate plain, unmitigated negligence; or does it indicate that these 
delinquents have lost their interest in the Institute and no longer wish to 
continue as a part of the fellowship? We wish we knew. Paul Kennedy, 
our Treasurer, would like very much to know where you stand with 
respect to your interest in membership and in your continuance to re- 
ceive issues of The Scroll. Postal regulations prevent us from sending 
interminable numbers of the issues to members who do not pay their 
dues. We are saying with grim reality: If you want to continue as a 
member of the Campbell Institute, and if you wish to receive The Scroll, 
"get on the ball"! Send your dues ($2.00 per year) to Paul Kennedy, First 
Christian Church, Holt and Vine Sts., Ontario, California. 

In subsequent issues of The Scroll and at the International Conven- 
tion, some of us want to discuss the real raison-d'etre for the Institute. 
Are there no more religious and intellectual frontiers to assail and con- 
quer? Have we arrived? 

THE SCROLL, The Bulletin of the Campbell Institute, published quar- 
terlv— Summer, Fall, Winter, Spring. 

OFFICERS 1957-58 

President: Leslie L. Kingsbury, Manhattan, Kansas 

Vice-President: George Beazley, Jr., Bartlesville, Oklahoma 

Secretary-Treasurer: Paul B. Kennedy, Ontario, California 

Editor of Scroll: W. Marshon DePoister, Orangre, California 

The Dues of the Campbell Institute are $2.00 per year, including sub- 
scriptions to THE SCROLL. 


m SCfiOLL 

The Journal of the Campbell Institute 



April 21, 1870 
June 29, 1958 


Vol. XLIV 

Autumn, 1958 

No. 2 

A Memorial Service For 
Edward Scribner Ames 

Ou June 29, 1958, the final curtain was lowered on one of the most 
significant and beautiful life-dramas in the long history of the Disciples 
of Christ. For more than sixty years, Edward Scribner Ames served the 
causes of religion and education for the Disciples of Christ as no other 
Disciple has doiie since the time of Alexander Campbell. During this 
period he literally became the symbol for a liberal approach to religion 
among the Disciples of Christ. He also became a symbol of a classic 
fusion of high religion and important education. He never served the 
principles of a stereotype in either religion or education. When Robert 
M. Hut chins, Chancellor of the University of Chicago, appointed E. S. 
Ames to the Chairmanship of the Department of Philosophy, someone 
pointed out to Hutchins that Ames was also a preacher. Hutchins replied, 
"Do you mean to tell me that the man I have just appointed as Chair- 
man of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Chica go is 
also a preacher V TThen Hutchins was assured that Dr. Ames was, 
indeed, a full-fledged preacher, he exploded, "TS^ell, he is a h — of a 
preacher I ' ' He was not at all irreverent about the explosion. It was his 
own way of saying that Edward Scribner Ames did not fit the stereot}T)e 
of a "preacher." E. S. Ames refused to be poured into anyone's mold. 
He was a thorough individualist ; and yet he had more concern for the 
feelings and thoughts of other individuals than anyone could ever 

The following pages of THE SCROLL are "A Service of Remem- 
brance," presented in memory and honor of a truly great man. The 
services were presented at the University Church of Disciples of Christ, 
which Dr. Ames loved so dearly. Indeed, the LTniversity Church is a 
monument in stone to him. We regret that Dr. Ir^-in E. Lunger did not 
have a part in the services. Dr. Lunger was the immediate successor of 
Dr. Ames in the pulpit of this great church. Dr. Lunger was unable to 
make plane connections for the precise time of the services. For more 
than fifteen years, Irvin Lunger carried on the great liberal traditions 
and emphasis of the University Church. 


May I have the privilege of saying something even more personal than 
the usual areas of an editorial? Every statement in the Service of 
Remembrance is a beautiful testimony to the significance, the loveliness, 
the impressiveness of a great life which was lived among us for so many 
years. Each person who contributed to the services took some facet of 
Dr. Ames' life and made it live for us. Dr. Barnett Blakemore's words 
seem to have peculiar relevance to some of the inner secrets of Dr. Ames' 
greatness. His descriptions of the temperament and character of Dr. 
Ames almost make it appear that there, once more, stands our great 
friend, talking to us, admonishing us, gently chiding us, but always 
loving us, even with all our foibles ! 

It is with great pride and humility that we present these Words of 
Remembrance to the hundreds of friends of Edward Scribner Ames. 
Dr. Ames used to talk with us about the real presence of "invisible 
friends" — even Paul and Jesus. Stanton said of Lincoln when Lincoln 
lay dead, "Now he belongs to the ages." I do not know of any other 
Disciple about whom this classic statement more nearly applies. He will 
always be alive and vigorous and active. Many of us will feel that we 
could not live long enough to be sufficiently grateful for the influence 
of this man upon us ; nor indeed be grateful enough for his love and 

— ^W. Marshon DePoister 

A Service Of Remembrance 

University Avenue and 57th Street, Chicago 


Memorial Service For 
Edward Scribner Ames 

Thursday, July 3, 1958 
3:00 O'clock 


The Lord is my Shepherd 

Love Divine 

A Noble Life 
SCRIPTURE READING : I Corinthians 13 

Where 'er You Walk 


The Wanderer's Night Song 

Selections from Finlandia 

Faith of our Fathers 

For All the Saints Who From Their 
Labors Rest 

Rise Crowned With Light 

Hazel Atherton Quinney 



J. J. Van Boskirk 

B. Fred Wise 

Harold E. Fey 

B. Fred Wise 

David M. Bryan 
Hazel Atherton Quinney 

Harold E. Fey 
Hazel Atherton Quinney 

Hemy and Walton 


Hazel Atherton Quinney 

J. J. Van Boskirk 
Charles Morris 

Harold E. Fey 

W. Barnett Blakemore 

B. Fred Wise 

David M. Bryan 

In the Service 
Organist, University Church of Disciples of 

Executive Secretary, Chicago Disciples Union 
Professor of Philosophy, University of 

Editor, The Christian Century 
Dean, Disciples Divinity House 
Minister of Music, University Church of 

Disciples of Christ 
Minister, University Church of Disciples of 



Edward Scribner Ames 
As Philosopher 

Mr. Ames wrote, that to be vital, ' ' a religion must be virile, realistic, 
sane, and gay." Well, religious clothes also reveal the man, and I can 
think of no better characterization of Edward Scribner Ames than as 
virile, realistic, sane, and gay — provided of course that the religious 
quality itself not be forgotten: the quality which in Mr. Ames' view of 
religion is the commitment and devotion to the forces in nature and in 
man which conserve and enhance human values. . 

Others,, however, will speak of Mr. Ames as a religious man. I shall 
speak more specifically of him as a philosopher in the University of 
Chicago. It happened that my first contact with the University, and 
with philosophy as a possible profession, was through Professor Ames 
thirty -six years ago. I had finished a Bachelor of Science degree at 
Northwestern, and had been told that I might do well to do some work 
with the philosopher George H. Mead of the University of Chicago, 
because of my growing interest in signs and language. So I decided to 
explore the situation, even though I was then somewhat suspicious of 
philosophers and hardly intended to become one myself. It so happened 
that Professor Ames was student adviser in 1922 at the time of Fall 
Quarter registration. I told him of my doubts concerning philosophy, 
of ray interest in science, and even suggested that I might want to write 
a thesis on Nietzsche. And then from him came that incredibly wonder- 
ful, wry, comprehensive smile ! Here was a religious man who was a 
philosopher, who welcomed science in relation to philosophy, and who 
would even permit a young upstart to consider a thesis on the author 
of The Antiekristl That smile certainly in part determined my career. 
(Incidentally, the thesis on Nietzsche was never written and never 
further considered.) 

Those w^ere the days of what William James called the "Chicago 
School of Philosophy," and of which Mr. Ames was the last surviving 
member. He had decided to be a minister in the Disciples of Christ after 
his graduation from Drake College. He then entered the Yale Divinity 
School, though, as he later wrote, "without much encouragement from 
the denominational leaders." Here it is best to let him tell the story 
of his contact with philosophy in his own words : 

"During that year I began to realize that manj^ problems raised in 
theology are dealt with more fully and freely in philosophy. I borrowed 
money from my sister and plunged into courses with George T. Ladd. 
We read Pfleiderer's Philosophy of Religion and I was asked to write 
a paper on the Hebrews. In that task it dawned upon me, like a great 
light, that the religion of the Hebrews had evolved, and that its evolution 
moved with the changing fortunes of the tribes and nation. I also read 
Schopenhauer's World as Will and Idea. He shook me out of my com- 
placent optimism and showed me the abysmal craving, cruelty and 
cunning in the human heart. More important, he set forth the deeper 
nature of the will as impulse, desire, habit, and partly conscious action. 
Being forced thus to look at all life from a new and contrasted point of 
view, and to gain some conception of the complex, tangled, and desire- 
driven human world, I was thrust out upon deep and wide seas of 
inquiry and reflection." 

' ' Then I came upon William James. His Principles of Psychology had 
just been published and we went through it in a seminar. His range of 
scholarship, penetrating analyses, lively and intensely human rewriting 
of psychology without a soul, opened the field of the new science just 
then entering upon an epoch of the prof oundest significance in all fields, 
including religion." 

"An appointment to a special fellowship at the new University of 
Chicago brought me to Chicago for the last year of graduate study. With 
Professor Tufts I made a special study of English philosophy and 
discovered the intimate relation between Locke's Essay on the Human 
Understanding and the religious thought of Alexander Campbell. Here 
were revealed the sources of my own religious inheritance and new 
insight into its empirical character. For two years, as instructor in the 
Disciples Divinity House and as privat-doeent in philosoplw I had 
opportunity to carry research in that field and establish a point of view 
of permanent fruitfulness. " 

' ' After three years as professor of philosophy and pedagogy at Butler 
College I returned to Chicago in 1900 to accept the pastorate of the 
Church of Disciples, near the University. I was soon invited to assist 
again in the department of philosophj^, and later became a regular part- 
time instructor. My interests naturally led to specialization in the 
psychology and philosophy of religion while also giving courses in 
psychology, ethics, logic and the history of philosophy," 


It need hardly be added that Mr. Ames became in time a professor 
in the Department of Philosophy and served for some years as its 

It is to be noted, as the preceding quotations make clear, that Pro- 
fessor Ames' interest in philosophy centered primarily around the 
philosophy of religion. This was part of the division of labor character- 
istic of the early Chicago group. Addison Moore concerned himself 
primarily with logic and the theorj- of laiowledge, James H. Tufts with 
ethics and political philosophy, George H. Mead with the philosophy 
of mind, Edward Scribner Ames with the philosophy of religion. Only 
John Dewey attempted the whole gamut of philosophy. It is natural to 
think of him as the leader of the group, and in a sense this is true. But 
the influences worked both ways. Tufts, Mead and Ames were ' ' on their 
own" prior to contact with Dewey. Dewey has acknowledged his great 
indebtedness to Mead. It was Tufts who suggested to Dewey the plan 
of the Ethics of which they were joint authors. And although I do not 
know whether Dewey had Ames explicitly in mind when he wrote his 
views on religion in A Common Faith, the position he takes is essentially 
the position which Ames had elaborated many years earlier in his major 
books, The Psychology of Religiovs Experience and Beligion. 

If we ask, then, what was Ames' philosoph3^ I think we would have 
to say that it was what he shared in common with his colleagues Dewey, 
Mead, Tufts, and Moore, plus his distinctive elaboration of these views 
when applied to religion. It seems to me that this was essentially Mr. 
Ames' own conception of the relation between his work as a minister 
and as a philosopher. To quote from him again : 

"I am often asked how I can teach philosophy and be a preacher. 
Everyone seems to sense the difficulty. To some extent the acuteness 
of the problem is a reflection upon both schools and churches, for it 
suggests that they are both somewhat withdrawn from real life where 
thinking and action are closely interactive. In my experience the church 
has been a kind of laboratory for observation and cultivation of the 
living processes of religion, and the university has been a place for 
systematic study of them and of similar phenomena from many sources, 
in the light of psychology and philosophy. I have grown to have in- 
creasing appreciation of this rare combination and to feel the value of 
each interest for the other." 


My own work was not in tlie philosophy of religion and fell under 
Moore's and Mead's direction rather than Ames! But his qualities as a 
teacher remain vivid with me, and were indeed the qualities of his 
colleagues. The problem was the central thing, and what others had 
thought about it was only a starting point. Student and teacher were 
drawn into a common inquiry, and both had their say. There was no 
lesson to be simply learned, but a work to be done, and done in common. 
Philosophy was taken seriously, as of human importance. It was not a 
matter of play or of recitation. The teacher drew the student out and the 
student the teacher. Ames' smile was always at work, and never a whip. 
One had the sense of being in the presence of a humanly large man. 

The mutual relevance of science and religion which Edward Scribner 
Ames so much emphasized has become an important present-day con- 
cern. Conferences on the East Coast and the West Coast now make it a 
recurrent theme. Nothing that I have heard or read in these discussions 
seems to me to have negated or gone much beyond Ames' own position. 

Finally, to let Mr. Ames himself speak again : " ' The world is young, ' 
I heard a chapel speaker say years ago, and the word precipitated into 
clearness many impressions until that moment vague, and induced a 
mood of acceptance and expectancy which has remained." 

And, indeed, the mood of acceptance and expectancy did remain with 
Edward Scribner Ames. When I saw him a few months ago, the smile 
was still the same. One felt he was himself entire in that smile. 

— Charles Morris 

(All quotations are from Mr. Ames' article "Theory in Practice," in 
Contemporary American Theology, vol. 2, edited by Vergilius Ferm. 
Kound Table Press, Inc., 1933.) 


Edward Scribner Ames 
inister And Churchman 

Edward Scribner Ames lived a full and gracious life. He was a friend 
of multitudes, including particularly former students and members 
of the University Church of Disciples, yet no person was ever lost in 
the crowd to him. He was a scholar who influenced the thought of a 
generation, yet he loved persons above abstract ideas and saw^ in each 
person individuality and the capacity for transcendence. Some Indiana 
farm people who met him once at church, after he had ceased to preach, 
remember him and talk about his kindness to this day. He was a man, 
but his greathearted and outgoing spirit have given many of us a deeper 
understanding of the love of God, of the meaning of fatherhood. 

Dr. Ames was a Christian w^hose life incorporated faith, hope and 
love ; a churchman who loved the church and did much to strengthen the 
fellowship of Christian people ; a minister w^ho was a shepherd and an 

Dr. Ames was a Christian. He w^as the product of Christian com- 
munity, and was himself a center of Christian influence and fellowship. 
He used the liberty that is in Christ in different ways than most other 
Christians of his day used it, but he nevertheless took his stand within 
the Christian community and spoke to it. Moreover, he showed forth in 
his own life the faith, hope and love which are the marks of a Christian. 
Multitudes who could not understand his books, as well as the many who 
could and did understand, found strength in his kindliness, in his gentle, 
unfailing humor, in his outgoing personal concern for all sorts and 
conditions of men, including themselves. He had enemies, even within 
the church, but he loved them too and in time came to be loved by many 
of them. 

Dr. Ames was a churchman. He believed in churches and gave a good 
part of his life to the organization, growth, instruction and nurture of 
the University Church of Disciples of Christ, which stands as a living 
memorial to his dedication. He was not insensitive to the claims of 
wider Christian fellowship, but believed they were invested, and on this 
concept built his view of Christian unity. He believed the church has 
a mission to the university, that faith and learning are not necessarily 
antagonists but can complement each other in the service of truth which 
is also the service of the God of all truth. 

Dr. Ames was a minister. He assumed the responsibility of nurture 
for the spiritual needs of men, w^omen and children. He applied to his 


own life the principles he urged on others, and his devotion to his 
beloved wife and family was extended in scarcely diminished degree to 
the larger family of this local church. He believed that the worship of 
God in the congregation of men and women of faith was so important 
that he devoted years to planning and building this church. His concep- 
tion of the ministry is symbolized by the simplicity and dignity of a 
sanctuary in w^hich fellowship is stressed above liturgy, in which the 
table of the Lord's Supper is central. 

W. E. Garrison, his friend for 65 years since both were students at 
Yale and his associate and colleague in the church and the University of 
Chicago, at my request wrote for this service his comment on Dr. Ames' 
"special gift for encouraging and guiding young men preparing for the 
ministry. He stimulated their thinking and quickened at once their 
critical and their appreciative powers. He disturbed the complacency 
of those who needed this service while deepening their understanding 
of the nature of religion and revealing to them the rich and rewarding 
possibilities of religious leadership. He w^as not interested in turning 
out little Amesites. Though his students loved and revered him, few 
if any of them emerged with a replica of his theology. He gave them 
what was much better — the desire and capacity to find their own. To 
these and to an uncountable company of others who heard him preach 
and pray, he w^as a mighty force for good, a stimulus to intelligence 
in the spiritual life, an exponent and exemplar of religion pure and 
undefiled. His voice is stilled but his w-orks do follow him." 

And now in this memorial service we are compelled to confront the 
fact of mortality and to ask ourselves Job 's undying question : "If a 
man die, shall he live again?" I would not be true to my own deepest 
convictions if I did not in this situation express my own belief that the 
answer is Yes. Every life has dimensions that reach beyond time into 
eternity, and certainly that is true of the life whose earthly pilgrimage 
is now ended. This is something more than immortality of influence. 
This is the resurrection, the continued existence in some living form of 
the person : the triumph in which ' ' death is sw^allowed up in victory ' ' 
through Jesus Christ. So it seems fitting to close with words from 
another stalwart teacher and shepherd of souls : ' ' For I am persuaded 
that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, 
nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any 
other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God." 
(Romans 8:38-39.) 

— Harold E. Fey 

Edward Scribner Ames 

There is a bewildering richness of material when I think of the 
varied and valuable services Dr. Ames rendered to many generations 
of students, to a church, to a university community and a city, and 
of the long period of my own intimate association with him. 

Our friendship began sixty-six years ago this coming September when 
we were both students at Yale. He preceded me one year in transfering 
to Chicago to continue his graduate work, and it was he who persuaded 
me to continue mine. I lived in his house and ate at his table for a year 
while we were both, briefly, teaching in Butler University. It was chiefly 
he, as Secretary of the Board of Trustees of the Disciples Divinity 
House, who brought me back from the Southwest to be its Dean. Later, 
for a period of many years, he was "the administration" and I was 
"the faculty" — to use his own whimsical and perfectly accurate phrase. 
For twenty years he was my pastor. Always he was my friend. 

I could speak at length and with enthusiasm of the creative energy 
that Dr. Ames infused into his pastorate, the unique quality of the 
church that developed under his ministry, and of his no less unique 
direct approach to the problem of Christian unity. But I leave that for 

As a thinker and teacher in philosophy his influence was far-reaching. 
In the Disciples Divinity House he exercised a special gift for encourag- 
ing and guiding young men preparing for the ministry. He stimulated 
their thinking and quickened at orice their critical and their appreciative 
powers. He disturbed the complacency of those who needed this service, 
while deepening their understanding of the nature of religion and 
revealing to them the rich and rewarding possibilities of religious leader- 
ship. He was not interested in turning out little Amesites. Though his 
students loved and revered him, few if any of them emerged with a 
replica of his theology. He gave them what was much better — the desire 
and capacity to find their own. To these and to an uncountable company 
of others who heard him preach and pray, he was a mighty force for 
good, a stimulus to intelligence in the spiritual life, an exponent and 
exemplar of religion pure and undefiled. 

His voice is stilled, but his works follow him. 

— W. E. Garrison 

Statement By 
Rabbi Louis L. Mann 

Sinai Temple — Chicago 

Chieag'o Sinai Congregation joins me in expressing our deep apprecia- 
tion for what Edward Scribner Ames was to us. 

In his passing our Community, our University, liberal religion every- 
where has lost a champion and a friend. We are all the poorer for his 
passing even as we are richer for his having been. As I am detained at 
the hospital for a few days, I must pen these lines instead of speaking 

Edward Scribner Ames, through his writings and teaching enriched 
and deepened my thinking and my concept of religion. His interpreta- 
tion of religion included all and excluded none. He was often saddened 
but never discouraged because the arbitrary artificial man-made distinc- 
tions between man and man so often obliterated the God-made resem- 
blances. AVe pray that a portion of his spirit may descend upon all of 
his colleagues. 

I personally felt so close to him and felt so greatly indebted to him, 
that when I heard of his passing, there flashed before my mind first the 
words of the Psalmist : ' ' God has given his beloved sleep, ' ' and then 
the words that King David uttered at the passing of one of his generals : 
"Know ye that a prince and a great man has fallen this day in Israel." 
He taught and lived the Judeo-Christian tradition with all of its 
prophetic insight and moral stamina. With Shakespeare I may say : 
"I shall not look upon his like again." 

He never caused a tear to flow save when he died. 

His memory will be a blessing because his life was a benediction. 

The Rabbis of the Talmud say that there are two kinds of immortality ; 
first, the immortality of our hopes and secondly, a rational, visible, 
demonstrable immortality — the immortality of influence. Each one of 
us infkiences to some degree, infinitesimally small or overpoweringly 
great as the case may be, everyone with whom we come into contact. 
This moral "chain reaction" never ceases. 

The Talmud then points out that the teacher above everyone else is 
the exemplar of this never-ending influence. They then quoted the book 
of Daniel to substantiate it : " They that be wise shall shine as the bright- 
ness of the firmament and they that lead many to righteousness as the 
stars forever and ever. ' ' They amplified it by saying, ' ' the righteous are 
alive even after death — alive in influence for the good." 


Edward Scribner Ames 

In 1894, at the first meeting of the newly constituted Board of 
Trustees of Disciples Divinity House, a 24 year old graduate student 
was named Head Kesident. There being no residence to head, he was 
set at the task of raising funds. The relationship which began with that 
appointment between Disciples Divinity House and Edward Scribner 
Ames lasted sixty-four years and ended only with his death at the age 
of eighty-eight last Sunday. In those sixty-four years not only had the 
residence been built ; other properties had been acquired, the financial 
resources of the House were brought to well past one million dollars, its 
graduates and former students came to be numbered in the hundreds, 
and its friends made legion. By far the larger part of the realization 
of the idea of a Disciples Divinity House at the University of Chicago 
was the work of Dr. Ames. 

In writing to Dr. Ames' family this week, Mr. Arnold B. Keller, 
President of the Board of Trustees of Disciples Divinity House said : 

"Dr. Ames left a precious heritage both in ideas and institutions. 
His work in developing Disciples Divinity House has enabled 
hundreds to follow after him and to further the finest kind of 
religious expression. We shall share in that heritage because by 
building great institutions he has given us significant and meaning- 
ful work to do. Indeed, he has left us inspired teachings to transmit 
to future generations. Your father's influence has only just begun. 
It will endure for more years than any of us can realize, for 
Disciples Divinity House will be furthering the causes for which he 

In one respect the scope of Dr. Ames ' accomplishments can be grasped 
through the statistics of his relationships to institutions. For thirty-five 
years he was a member of the department of philosophy of the Univer- 
sity of Chicago, serving some years as head of the department and retir- 
ing as Professor-Emeritus. He was a charter member of Universitj' 
Church of Disciples of Christ. He became its minister in 1900 and 
retired forty years later as Minister-Emeritus. In 1901 he became a 
member of the Board of Trustees of Disciples Divinity House, serving 


for many years as its secretary. In 1927 he became Dean of the House, 
retiring in 1945 as Dean-Emeritus. He was a charter member also of the 
Campbell Institute, an association of liberal ministers and laymen, 
amongst the Disciples of Christ. In the latter half of his life he served 
as editor of the monthly bulletin of the Campbell Institute, a journal 
named THE SCROLL. His devotion to that editorship was one of 
several ways in which his influence was spread. Besides these associa- 
tions there were professional and social relationships lasting through 
long periods of years. 

The summary of statistics and facts regarding Edward Scribner Ames 
had become impressive while he was still a young man, and continued 
to accumulate throughout his life. But it is not in length of years that 
greatness lies. What makes the years memorable is that they held a 
career in which a man gifted with strength of body, mind and spirit 
graciously poured out the talents that had been given him in service 
to God, to his fellows and friends, and to his family. 

Dr. Ames' personal qualities are clearly discernible in his career 
as Dean of the Disciples Divinity House. He came into that position 
just as the Disciples house was being built. It was a critical time for the 
organization. Construction costs were exhausting the funds of the 
corporation. Furthermore, a way of life and inner character had to be 
given to the institution, in order that men who came to study there 
would be truly nurtured. The deanship of Edward Scribner Ames was 
characterized by marked success in meeting both of these problems. His 
portrait rightfully hangs in the central position of the Founders' corner 
in the Common Room of the Disciples Divinity House across the court 
from this church. Both problems were met because E. S. Ames was not 
first a builder of institutions, but rather he was first a builder of men, 
and all the institutions he served, he served because they enhance the 
human soul. 

With few exceptions no one ever met E. S. Ames without some en- 
largement of person — either he was enlighted by instruction, or his 
spirit was enhanced, or his life was given new force and direction. A 
man who is today a college president wrote these words ten years ago : 
"My first meeting with Dr. Ames was most opportune. I had reached 


bottom in a long period of spiritual and mental bewilderment. It seemed 
as if unscalable walls were hemming me in. It was Dr. Ames who showed 
me the doorways leading through them, and made possible for me a 
positive, dynamic, creative faith where only doubt, bewilderment and 
frustration existed before." These words reflect the experience of a 
man who needed a mentor willing to spend many hours with him in 
finding the answers to intellectual j)roblems, and in E. S. Ames he had 
found such a man. 

Dr. Ames had an aptitude for moral persuasion in exactly the right 
Avay at exactly the right moment. A student whose doctoral dissertation 
had been rejected a few days before was beginning to entertain feelings 
of self-pity. Dr. Ames sensed it and redeemed the situation with a single 
sentence: "You must remember that this business of getting a Ph.D. 
has something of the character of a game to it ; get back in there and 
fight." Three months later the student had his doctor's degree. 

In dealing with troubled souls, Dr. Ames would summon tremendous 
sensitivity. He had vast resources of tenderness with which to comfort 
the bruised and distressed. A well-known missionary once wrote these 
lines : " A friend of mine who had to return from the missionary field 
because of poor health found that many persons misinterpreted his 
motives. They were cold and critical and thought he had turned his 
back on his life work because of modern ideas. Coming almost new and 
strange to the University Church, he found in Dr. Ames a friend and 
a source of encouragement for rebuilding his life around a new pro- 
gram." E. S. Ames could intuitively sense a daunted spirit and usually 
knew how to restore it. 

• But the full scope of his powers is best seen in his ability to deal with 
the kind of young men and women whose spirits were by no means 
daunted but who were about done with the Christian faith. For B. S. 
Ames the worst tragedy was a man of power lost to the Christian cause. 
This was for him the supreme work of the devil. Both within the church 
to which he ministered and in the school he led were to be found 
a remarkable proportion of the kinds of people who usually are not 
to be found in churches, but who were in Dr. Ames' church and 
school praising and confessing God with an utter and constantly new- 


found sincerity — themselves surprised and joyful that religious faith 
with which they had been almost done had been restored to them, and 
with power and glory as they had never known it before. Some of these 
were persons of aesthetic sensitivity whose earlier experiences with 
religion had led them to suppose that religion was always philistine 
and barbarous, and that beauty and faith could have no participation in 
each other. A member of his church tells that she was drifting away 
from religion, largely because the communion service as she had always 
experienced it was not only routine, but crude and tasteless. Then one 
morning she came to Dr. Ames' church, and in the communion service 
by virtue of the way he administered it, she was present at a feast of 
beauty. The simple elements of bread and wine were made majestic, and 
here eyes and ears heretofore enraptured by other arts discovered for 
the first time that truly the worship of God is the finest of all the fine 
arts, and that until worship has become fine art, it is not a worship fit 
to offer to our God. His own spirit could discern where others missed 
it — the religious faith in so-called secular prose and poetry. The whole 
world of literature was available to this Christian minister as he sought 
to prepare his people for every experience that could come to them. 
And who could forget if they had ever heard him read them as he did 
a number of times in sermons from his pulpit these words of Walt 
Whitman 's : 

"Come lovely and soothing death, undulate round the world, 
Serenely arriving, arriving. In the day, in the night, 
To all, to each, sooner or later delicate death. 

Praised be the fathomless universe, for life and joy, 
and for objects and knowledge curious, 
and for love, sweet love — but praise, praise, praise, 
for the sure enwinding arms of cool-enfolding death. 
Dark mother always gliding near with soft feet. 

Have none chanted for thee a chant of fullest welcome? Then I 
chant it for thee, I glorify thee above all, 

I bring thee a song that when thou must indeed come, come un- 


Approach strong deliveress, 

When it is so, when thou hast taken them I joyously sing the dead, 

Lost in the loving floating ocean of thee, 

Laved in the flood of thy bliss. 

And the soul turning to thee, vast and well veiled death. 
And the body gratefully nestling close to thee. 

Over the tree tops I float thee a song. 

Over the rising and sinking waves, over the myriad fields and the 

prairies wide, 
Over the dense-packed cities all and the teeming wharves and the 

I float this carol with joy, with joy to thee death." 

Part of Dr. Ames' aesthetic quality was a wonderful sense of humor. 
Dr. Ames used to delight in telling about the first time he broke through 
the restraints of a rigid puritanism and attended the theatre on a Sun- 
day. It was an Easter performance of Parsifal, and he found in that 
fact some calming of his conscience. For conscience Dr. Ames did have. 
And some there were who were saved for religion because at last they 
had found an example of integrity. For persons who had come to believe 
that religion was nothing but cant, that religious organization was 
irredeemably caught into corruption, what they found and experienced 
in Dr. Ames restored their ability to yearn for the good life in the 
moral sense for themselves and others. 

E. S. Ames never gloried in the righteousness he had. He sougth no 
personal justification by a claim to goodness. In this he was thoroughly 
Christian — he was saved by his faith not by his works. But the good 
works and the goodness were there, visible in such fruits of the spirit as 
kindliness and joy and forbearance and family affection and craftman- 
ship, lack of procrastination, self -discipline at work. These things were 
unmistakably present because they can not be hidden. But there were 
other dimensions of morality there also — and woe betide the man who 
provoked them. Dr. Ames could reprove and rebuke and chastise, but 
he never did it in public. If it was necessary to fight, he had stomach 
for a fight, but he never did that in public either. He could do Avhat 


had to be done, but in so far as it could be saved, human dignity was 
saved. We are not speaking in this regard of human perfection. E. S. 
Ames would be the first to assert that there is no such thing, but we 
are recalling a moral stature far above the average, devoted to the cause 
of Christ, which for many a young man held back his cynicism about 
religion and gave him some hope of attainable worth to which his own 
life might be devoted. 

Most of all Dr. Ames wanted to win inquiring minds for the Christian 
cause. Time after time when men had given up religious inquiry and 
decided to go into some other discipline, he would win them back to 
the intellectual love of God and the pursuit of the highest truths. I 
think it is fair to say Dr. Ames believed that as between the brillant 
atheist or inquiring agnostic on the one hand, and the right authoritar- 
ian and the stupid sentimentalist on the other hand, the cause of Christ 
was safest in the hands of the atheist and the inquiring agnostic. They, 
at least, might find the truth where it was unlikely the authoritarian 
would do so. 

Against all authoritarians, E. S. Ames brought the argument that 
they most dread, the argument that truth and validity can never be 
established by reference to anything in the past, but that the test always 
lies in the future. Never anything that has been, but only consequences 
that will follow establish truth or value. These are the hard teachings 
which the world does not like to hear : ' ' Test the spirits. By their fruits 
ye shall know them. Each man's work will become manifest, because it 
will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each 
one has done." 

This pragmatism is the despair of all traditionalism and of the 
traditional bulwark of conservatism and orthodoxj^ but it frees the 
future from all that which is dead and places the criteria out ahead 
of us. E. S. Ames' pragmatism was full of hope, and though he might 
disclaim the term, it was fully eschatological. 

His pragmatism was also an expression of the intellectual integrity 
of his religion. If there was any one class of persons whom E. S. Ames 
drove to frustration, it was those professional religionists whose stock 
in trade is emotionally freighted and virtually obscure words and 


symbols Avitli which they manipulate other peoples' behavior and feel- 
ings. Such words and symbols had no power whatsoever over E. S. Ames, 
and he taught others how to be free from them. These precious signs 
he helped man rebuild in order that they might become once again 
man's instruments for fashioning good instead of being his bondage 
to life-confining institutions. The conventional religionist found to his 
dismay that there was no way he could handle this man who wore no 
marks of submission — no religious symbols anywhere about his person. 
He believed that there was no such thing as religious vestment except 
the noble life, the simple faith, the open heart and hand, the lovely 
litanies that all men understand. The source of his freedom was the 
knowledge that no term, no phrase, no thesis is truly understood until 
its practical implications have become crystal clear. No amount of 
logical coherence with other terms, phrases or theses, no correspondence 
with things as they are — neither of these renders up meaning. Meaning 
is clear only in consequences. Philosophical and theological authoritar- 
ianism alike, and the sentimentality they breed, were banished by this 
man for whom the practical is the realm in which truth is tested. 

But there is something inadequate about having discussed E. S. Ames 
in these analytical terms. Aesthetic and moral power, intelligence and 
freedom — truth, goodness and beauty. Yes, these are the dimensions. 
But to know Dr. Ames personally was always to meet the full man — to 
see and experience all of these things working together at once. 

A scholar wrestling with truth, yes, and we might well have met in a 
University Hall to memorialize him. A seminary dean struggling to 
help aspiring ministerial students build morale and morality. Yes. And 
We might well have met in Disciples House Chapel to remember him. 
A man who understood beauty in human relationships, the fine art 
of human association with friends and family. Yes. And we might well 
have met in his home to memorialize him. 

Biit most of all, all of these things together. And for E. S. Ames there 
was but one place where they all met in perfection and full accord — in 
the heart of God, who is truth and goodness and beauty. God who is real 
as Jesus of Nazareth was real ; God who is ideal as a holy spirit redeem- 


iiig- the world by discerning the good within it ; God who is personal, 
God and Father of us all who makes us, and in whom we live and move 
and have our being. And where best could we gather to remember 
Edward Scribner Ames, but here in this church which he built and in 
which he labored to show forth to us the God, real, ideal, and personal, 
who is our strength and our salvation. 

■ . — W. Barnett Blakemore 

A Funeral Prayer 

(From E. S. Ames' Own Notes) 

Oh God, great spirit of love and comfort, we turn to thee in our times 
of deepest need. We need strength beyond ourselves when the storms 
overwhelm us; we need love when those who have loved us with under- 
standing and unmeasured affection are taken from us. 

We w^alk all our lives in the midst of mystery and wonder, and when 
our day is spent and the evening comes and the sun has set on the far 
horizon, may the afterglow illumine the sky. 

We celebrate here a long and fruitful life. For this life we give 
thanks. For its well-springs of intelligent love, for its courage and charm 
and fidelity, we give thanks. 

We rejoice in the remembrance of this life fulfilled in dignity, honor 
and rich friendliness. The impulses of generosity have been quick and 
strong; they have radiated streams of help and healing which flow on 
in unnumbered lives beyond all days and distances. 

As flowers bring their beauty and fragrance into this shadow and 
silence, so may the loveliness of remembered blessings brighten this day. 



A Few Of The Scores Of Telegrams And Messages Of Sympathy 

And Understanding Which Were Sent To The Ames Family 

At The Death Of Edward Scribner Ames 

My deepest sympathy to you Damaris, Adelaide, and Polly in the loss 
of your father. He was one of my choicest friends to whose memory I 
am deeply indebted for inspiration and intellectual stimulation. May 
you be comforted by the sure knowledge of a life so well lived to the 
benefit of a great host of colleagues and students. 

— Roy G. Ross, General Secretary 
National Council of Churches 

Personally and on behalf of the staff of the Christian Board of 
Publication we extend to you our sympathy at the passing of your 
father. Dr. Ames's distinguished service to the church across the years 
was an inspiration to all of us. His friendship will be treasured by us 

— W. H. Cramblet, President 

Our best love and sympathy to all the family. 

— Sam and Evah Kincheloe 

The United Society joins with me in extending deepest sympathy to 
you in the death of Dr. Ames. He was one of the truly great leaders 
of the Disciples of Christ and has left an indelible mark upon our 
brotherhood and world Christendom. His influence will continue to 
inspire and direct us through the books he has written and the institu- 
tions he has helped to establish and maintain. May the God of all comfort 
strengthen and keep you in this hour of sorrow. 

— A. Dale Fiers 

Please accept my sincere condolences and deep sympathy on the death 
of your father. 

— Richard J. Daley, Mayor of Chicago 


::: n. 

: i ' .; r- ).-n 

m scRO 

The Journal of the Campbell Institute 

Winfred E. Garrison 

Robert M. Hutchins 

Virgil E. Foster 

W. Marshon DePoister 


W. B. Blakemore 


Glenn R. Johnson 

Montana School of Religion 

Montana State University 


Vol. L 

Spring, 1959 

No. 4 



Whence, Whither And How? 

By Winfred E. Garrison 

Some years ago I wi'ote a little book under the title, Wlience and 
Whither the Disciples of Christ. The two questions are closelv related. 
Both are pertinent to present thinking about the Campbell Institute. I 
have been asked to write a few words on this duplex topic, and I have 
added a codicil on "How." First then, 


During the national Convention at Springfield, Illinois in 1896, 
the Campbell Institute was organized by fourteen men, one of whom was 
a woman. If any are now alive who remember Albertina Allen Forrest, 
they will understand whv I put it that way and that it implies nothing 
derogatory to that remarkable and brilliant lady. We all were, or 
very recently had been, graduate students in theology or some closely 
related field, mostly at Yale or Chicago and some of us at both. Our 
number, fourteen, was virtually identical with the number of Disciples 
who had done graduate work of this nature in any university or theo- 
logical seminary. It must be remembered that up to that time it had 
been universally assumed that any young minister who had a bachelor's 
degree from one of our colleges or had finished the course at the 
College of the Bible (then not a graduate school) was fully equipped 
for his life-work. I mvself had been described in print as a young 
man who had gone "to have his education topped-off in the uncongenial 
atmosphere of a sectarian university." 

These fourteen, of whom I am now the sole survivor, felt both 
the loneliness and the exhilaration of pioneers. To tell the truth, we 
perhaps took some sinful pride in our loneliness and in the dangerous 
distinction of venturing into untrodden paths. We formed the Institute 
to organize our loneliness into a fellowship, to encourage one another 
in the pursuit of scholarly ends when we entered upon our tasks, and 
to reinforce our devotion to what we conceived to be the main objective 
of the Disciples of Christ. 

Article II of the Constitution adopted in 1896 stated the object 
of the Institute in these words: 

The purpose of this organization shall be: (1) to encourage 
and keep alive a scholarly spirit and to enable its members to 

help each other to a riper scholarship by the free discussion 
of vital problems. (2) To promote quiet self -culture and the 
development of a higher spirituality among the members and 
among the churches with which they shall come in contact. 
(3) To encourage positive productive work with a view to 
making contributions of permanent value to the literature and 
thought of the Disciples of Christ. 

I have so many times heard Dr. Ames say that I wrote this article of 
the Constitution that I have come to believe that I really did. Anyway 
it is a good statement of what we had in mind. 

We took our scholarly intentions seriously. The Constitution pro- 
vided for the division of the members into five "chambers," each devoted 
to a particular department of study, and each with a "head" to prod 
the others to "riper scholarship" and "productive work." I was the first 
head of the chamber of "church history, missions and comparative 
religion." So far as I know, I never had a successor, for this phase of the 
organization soon faded out. However, the mutual encouragement to 
productive scholarship did not fade out. The membership grew, but 
slowly for a time, for graduate study was a requirement and candidates 
had to be elected. There was never any theological test but most of us 
were, in fact, "liberals" as judged by the then current ultraconservative 
standards of the Disciples. The Christian Standard fought us for years 
as a coterie of young and reckless radicals who, in spite of their irrespon- 
sibility and unimportance, rated an immense amount of space in the 
paper and somehow managed to boost one another into important 
positions of leadership. On the other hand, the editor of the Christian- 
Evangelist— my father, J. H. Garrison— gladly accepted election as an 
honorary member. The terms of membership were soon widened. By 
1921 any college graduate could register as a member without the 
formality of election. Meetings were open to all. The claim that it was 
a secret society with sinister designs no longer had any plausibility. 
Still, the estimate of it by many as a band of dangerous liberals persisted 
as long as the Christian Standard was a factor in the life of the brother- 
hood. The membership was still farther widened to include practically 
anybody who wanted to join. 

Meanwhile the little trickle of ministerial students to universities 
and seminaries was growing to a flood, and we were developing some 
solid and scholarly graduate seminaries of our own. The scholarly 
minister or professor vdth more than a bachelor's degree was no longer 

lonely. Sound graduate training certified by a B.D. or Ph.D. from an 

■," '■ :, approved institution became the normal equipment for ministers of the 

!_.;'. '..ii' ■■.. better churches and professors in our colleges. Furthermore, several 

I'-', ; , universities and seminaries have begun to hold summer institutes for 

' .'1 . ( ministers which offer attractions with which the annual meetings of 

';;',.)*.,' the Institute in Chicago could not compete on equal terms. What 

'':•'• function then, if anv, is left for the Campbell Institute under these 

'» 'I ■ ' '' 

;' changed conditions? It is a fair question. 

, i 


; . After all the obviously superseded functions have been written off, 

there may remain some things that the Institute can do besides merely 

■ •. continuing its more than six decades of existence. I have the feeling— 

■,, • and it is not wholly a sentimental attachment to an organization with 

' ' which I have been connected for three-fourths of my life— that there 

-■•.'>';.; is still something for it to do. I suggest a few reasons why it mav still 

■ ■ ; ■ be useful: 

,1 ,' 1. It is good for vounger and older men with kindred interests 

to have a place of meeting on equal terms for the mutual stimulation of 

their minds, the exchang-e of their ideas, and the cultivation of their 

' sense of comradeship in their intellectual and spiritual endeavors. I 

i know this from experience at both ends of the scale. In the early years 

, ' , of the Institute we were all relatively young men, but I was the youngest 

by a considerable margin. What it meant to me to have such fellowship 
with my seniors— men like Willett and Ames and Clinton Lockhart and 
Levi Marshall— is past all reckoning or telling. The classroom relation 

[ between professors and students, and the summer conference situation 

between distinguished conference lecturers and eager participants, are 
excellent, but they are something very different. I know also how good 
it is for the older men, now that I have become one of them, to have 
this kind of fellowship and intellectual interchange across the zones of 
m' age. The Institute can still provide an unequalled field for such a meeting 

of minds and hearts on a scholarly level without distinction of status. 

2. Most intelligent Disciples— including all Institute members, so 
far as I know— are heartily in sympathy with the Ecumenical Movement. 
We recognize that its objective, a United Church, has been our objective 
ever since the dissolution of the Springfield Presbytery and the publica- 
tion of the Declaration and Address. So the Disciples of Christ have 
rightly thrown their full weight into the Ecumenical Movement and 

have come to be recognized as among its most enthusiastic supporters. 
This is splendid. But there has developed a certain type of ecumenical 
theology and ecclesiology which is very different from that which has 
historically been central and structural in the thought and program of 
the Disciples. This is not to say that it may not be right. Perhaps we 
need to change our concept of what kind of church a United Church 
would be and how it is to be attained. But at least we ought not to do 
this by inadvertence, or out of sheer fraternal good nature, or because 
we have let our own thinking be overwhelmed by the prestige of the 
ancient churches and the reputation of great names in European 
theology. Believe me, this is no imaginary danger. We need some forum 
or agency for the critical consideration— sympathetic and friendly, of 
course, but rigorously critical examination— of developments within the 
whole ecumenical movement. At present there is no group or organiza- 
tion better equipped than the Campbell Institute to carry on such 
studies competently and with that complete freedom that has always 
characterized its proceedings. 

3. The Institute, of course, never passes resolutions, attacks or 
defends specific policies, or tries to throw its weight around in determin- 
ing the programs of the Disciples of Christ or their agencies. There 
is need, however, of a free field for the frank discussion of these things. 
The Institute has had a unique value in providing such an arena. The 
need continues and the Institute is as capable of helping to meet it as 
it ever was. Its "midnight sessions" at the conventions, for example, have 
furnished some of the most interesting sessions over the past thirty years. 
They have an established reputation of being occasions where anything 
that needed an airing could get it, where anyone who had anything to 
say could say it, and where any opinion on any side of any pertinent 
question could be freely expressed— and would probably be just as freely 
answered. This freedom of discussion has also characterized the summer 
meetings of the Institute, though with not so large an audience, and it 
oan be a feature of The Scroll. 


If these are useful functions which the Campbell Institute can 
perform, what are the methods by which it can perform them? I offer 
only a few suggestions without discussing them and will leave it to 
others to amplify and elaborate. 

1. Continue the organization with its membership, as now, open 
to any who are interested in joining. 

; ', 2. Continue The Scroll and enlarge it so far as contributions and 

.'..',; ', cash permit. Members are dilatory about sending articles or even 

i'.--'^.*:''' ;,;",; paragraphs. (I know, because I edited it for four years and had to 

v''''Vs,; write most of it myself.) 

■'■ ';''',i, 3. There should be a summer meeting. This might be at Chicago 

, 'i;,' . as heretofore (my natural preference), or from year to year it might 

■ ; ,,' go to one and another of our academic centers. I say this without 

' consultation or authority, but Butler Drake, Phillips, the College of 

''1, the Bible (Lexington), or T.C.U. might be willing to be host to the 

meeting, perhaps in connection with an institute or short course. 

; • 4. Regional meeting have often been suggested but I think have 

' , ; never been tried with much success. They might be tried again, at least 

■ ' in a few cities in which there are several members who could attend 
,,' ' without much travel. 

■ 5. Night meetings after evening sessions of the International Con- 

vention should be continued and taken seriously as a major activity. 

, ';, 6. Members need to experience a revival of zeal for productive 

■ , scholarship. This was one of the initial aims of the Institute. Most 

members of the Institute study and think in scholarly fashion. A few 
, • . write books. Some write sermons and lectures. Many apparently do not 

• write at all. It will be good for them if they will cultivate or revive the 

habit of putting their best ideas into writing and sending them some- 
where for publication or offering them at the next meeting of the 
Institute. If the ideas are good enough and the writing brief enough, 
send them to The Scroll. 

Can A Free Society Survive? 

Robert M. Hutchim, New York City 

The American people have reason to be grateful to you and the 
organizations you represent for having led them through another battle 
to secure the blessings of liberty for them and their posterity. Even 
highly placed politicians and powerful engines of the press, persuaded 
partly by you and partly by the Supreme Court, now talk quite a 
different language from that which they were using two or three years 
ago. As Mr. Auden has it, thanks to you, 

"Brisker smells abet us, 
Cleaner clouds accost our vision 
and honest sounds our ears." 

In the perspective of the last thirty-five years, the American people 
have even more cause to be thankful to you. Largely as a result of your 
efforts the vast aggregations of underdogs who were the object of the 
solicitude of nineteenth-century liberalism have been elevated to a 
position where they are no worse off than the rest of the population. 

But it must be admitted that you are a minority, or, I should prefer 
to say, an elite. If you want any evidence beyond the scars you bear, 
I would remind you that the total annual budget of the American Civil 
Liberties Union is only a little bit more than the amount that would be 
regarded as a modest annual stipend for a moderately successful execu- 
tive in the major industries^ of the United States. 

I think it fair to say that the American is seldom much interested in 
freedom and justice for other people, including other Americans. The 
Bill of Rights often appears to concern only those who find that they 
they can make some personal use of it. 

Editors, publishers, and broadcasters are interested in the First 
Amendment because under this banner they may be able to extort more 
news from the Defense Department and send reporters to China. I 
sympathize with these ambitions, but I cannot fail to note that with 
some honorable exceptions editors, publishers, and broadcasters have 
not been much interested in other amendments, or even in those parts 
of the First Amendment which do not mention them. They have 
customarily condemned those who plead the Fifth Amendment and 

,t ' 

have deprecated the suggestion that a fair trial might require the 
ehmination of cameras from the courtroom. 

Eccentric sects hke Jehovah's Witnesses are interested in the free- 
dom of rehgion, but they are not much interested in the freedom of the 
press or any of the rest of the Bill of Rights. 

Communists and other people likely to be investigated by Congress 
are interested in the Fifth Amendment, but not in the freedom of the 
press, or freedom of religion, or any other amendment. 

Criminals are interested in the Sixth Amendment, but not in the 
freedom of the press, or freedom of religion, or any other amendment. 
They are not even much interested in the Fifth. They know that when 
the object of the prosecution is to send a man to jail, rather than to 
blacken his reputation, it will not attempt to prove its case by the silence 
of the defendant, but by outside evidence. 

Extreme states' righters are interested in the Tenth Amendment, 
but not in First, Fifth, or Sixth. 

People who are not or who do not expect to be publishers, members 
of eccentric sects, communists, criminals, or extreme states' righters are 
not likely to be much interested in civil liberties. In fact doubt has been 
expressed in the highest quarters as to whether the Bill of Rights could 
be adopted today. 

It is not surprising that a feat of imagination and intelligence of 
which only you and the organizations you represent are capable is 
required if one is to interest oneself in the legal rights of others. The 
law is a difficult, technical subject. It is not always immediately intel- 
ligible even to those who have devoted their lives to its interpretation. 
Moreover, people who are in trouble with the law are likely to be 
unpopular, or even unattractive, and a feat of courage, as well as 
imagination and intelligence, is called for if one is to identify oneself 
with them. But I think the principal reason why civil liberties as 
traditionally defined and defended do not interest the American is that 
they are inadequate to express the true dimensions of the problem of 
freedom and justice today. 


In the first place, we have developed to a fine point in recent years 
the art of ruination by due process of law. Many teachers in New York 

and elsewhere, for example, are not teaching today because they refused 
to answer questions put to them by a board of education. They were not 
dropped because there was anything wrong with their teaching, or 
because there was anything proved wrong with their politics, but 
because they were "insubordinate." The process was due; the ruination 
was complete. 

In the second place, even when the law is clear, the issues may 
remain. The example before our eyes is civil rights in the South. The 
question is not what the law is, but how to get it obeyed. 

In the third place, we live in a new society, but we use the old 
words as though conditions were the same and all we had to do was to 
figure out the contemporary application of the old words in accordance 
with accepted canons of legal interpretation. But it is impossible, for 
example, to say what the Founding Fathers had in mind in framing 
the religious clauses of the First Amendment, and even if we knew, it 
might not help us much in deciding whether schools that did not then 
exist should be given assistance of a kind that was not then dreamed of. 

Jefferson placed his hopes for the free society on education, self- 
employment, and local govenment. In last month's Foreign Affairs, 
Robert Oppenheimer correctly calls the American educational system 
a half-empty mockery. Seventy-five per cent of us now work for others. 
And anybody who seriously advanced the idea today that local govern- 
ment was a training ground for civic virtue would be instantly com- 
mitted to an institution for the feeble-minded. 

The Bill of Rights was designed to protect the citizen against the 
government, against the organized majority. But government is not what 
it was in the pre-industrial age, or even in the industrial age before the 
world was polarized. The bureaucratic society is one in which the citizen 
is remote from the center of power and largely helpless in dealing with 
it. It is a society characterized by the absence of personal responsibility, 
one in which, to paraphrase Mr. Truman, the buck never stops. The 
gravest decisions can be taken without anybody's knowing how it all 
happened. Foreign policy is the obvious case. Forces that may be let 
loose at any moment without any participation by the citizen are so 
enormous and so destructive that all he can do is to try to forget them. 

At the same time that the state extends its powers on some fronts 
it seems to be withering away on others. The cumbersome and ineffective 

efforts of government to deal with institutions that it itself has 
chartered; the failure of government in a field like education; the doubts 
and hesitations of government that have followed the decision of the 
Supreme Court on segregation in the schools may be attributed in part 
at least to the unreasoning notion that the state should wither away as 
fast as possible. In the case of institutions chartered by the government, 
it is sometimes difficult to tell who is controlling whom. The infiltration 
of government by the institutions it should control has become an 
American commonplace. 

Since the adoption of the Constitution centers of private power have 
sprung up that are bureaucratized as the government and that are as 
influential, perhaps even more influential, in the lives of the citizens. 
A. A. Berle, Jr., has raised the question whether the pension trusts that 
have crept up on us unaware may not turn out to be a menace to 
economic freedom. Clark Kerr has asked how the union member, who 
was to obtain freedom and justice through the union, may now obtain 
freedom and justice hi it. 


The remorseless tendency of an industrial system, in which every- 
thing depends on smooth cooperation within large groups, appears to be 
to produce men who are not free in any real sense, and who may not 
even want to be free. We may say that the aim of industrialization is to 
get rid of men altogether, except as consumers, and in the meantime to 
make them interchangeable parts of the industrial machine. This has 
certain advantages in the field of civil liberties as they have been 
traditionally understood. Who cares about the race, color, creed, or 
politics of an interchangeable part? It may be that the industrialization 
of the South will do more to end racial discrimination there than all the 
legislation and preaching of the last fifty years. 

But the interchangeable man is not a man. Since he is not, freedom 
and justice are of little interest to him. His aim must be to achieve 
peace, security, and success by being interchangeable, that is, through 

Perhaps the most important reason why Americans are not interested 
in freedom and justice is that we are not altogether clear about what 
they are or how they can be invoked to illuminate our present situation. 


A generation ago the Michigan Supreme Court condemned the sugges- 
tion of Henry Ford that a corporation might have other motives than 
profit. Last year Walter Reuther condemned the automobile manu- 
facturers because, he said, their only motive was profit. Gardiner Means 
has remarked that contemporary economic theory cannot account for 
any of the major phenomena of contemporary economic life. And on 
the most basic of all issues, what is America, what do we stand for, we 
are not doing much better. With the rest of the world looking for leader- 
ship to the United States we have not been able to make striking con- 
tributions on any but the economic and military levels. Ideas and ideals 
that we suppose were clear to our ancestors have tended to become 
forms of words that are useful as rhetorical flourishes or political weapons 
but that have little visible effect on our daily lives. 

The severity of the shock to American public opinion administered 
by the announcement that a Russian satellite was circumnavigating the 
globe can be taken to mean that we had confidence only in our tech- 
nological superiority, in our power and wealth, and, when that was 
shaken, we had nothing to fall back on. In particular, we could not fall 
back on the superiority of our theorv of society, because we could not 
clearly remember whether we had a theory, or what it was, or why it 
was superior. 

Last week here in Washington at the large meeting on foreign aid, 
we were repeatedly warned that Russia, in pursuit of world domination, 
was attempting to encircle the United States. We were urged to give 
other countries money as one means of repelling this threat. But almost 
all the speakers felt it necessary to end on a higher note: they said we 
must have faith. There was some slight lack of clarity about what we 
were to have faith in. At times it seemed to be free enterprise. At other 
times it seems to be the Declaration of Independence. Yet since many of 
the nations to be aided do not have free enterprise, or do not adhere 
to the Declaration of Independence, I may be mistaken about this. 

One eminent speaker said that our superiority to the Russians con- 
sisted in this, that we were a nation that believed in God, a remark which 
would have come as a shock to James Madison and which caused 
some stir among the unbelievers in the room. He went on to add that 
our natural ally was Islam, because it also believed in God, a statement 
not enthusiastically welcomed by the Jewish members of the audience, 
with whom the unbelievers joined. 



I hasten to say that I am in favor of foreign aid, of free enterprise, 
and of the Declaratition of Independence. As to God I hope through 
Father Lally to estabhshed my innocence by association. I am also in 
favor of accepting the challenge of Dr. A. J. M. van Dal of The Hague, 
Secretary-General of the International Commission of Jurists, who a year 
or two ago called for a simple set of fundamental principles expressing in 
a readily understandable way the common denominator of our legal- 
political beliefs. He said the democracies lacked definite purpose and 
clear conceptions of what they stood for and did not believe in an)' 
deep-rooted ideal. He said this situation often resulted in too much 
improvising, too much taking a stand on incidental issues, too much 
changing of ground, too much confusion, disagreement, and disappoint- 

The fact is that social actions affecting freedom and justice have 
so far outrun social thought about them that those who would do some- 
thing about freedom and justice are compelled to try to bring thought 
about them up to date. We should not be deceived by the present lull 
on the front on which you have been fighting or by your success in the 
battle you have just won. The latent know-nothingism in this country 
can rise to the surface at any time in response to any crisis, at the call 
of any sufficiently gifted or fortunate demagogue. The disease cannot 
be cured by dealing only with the symptoms. Nor can it be cured by 

General Bradley has said that the central problem of our time is how 
to employ human intelligence for the salvation of mankind. The human 
intelligence that produced the hydrogen bomb should be equal to the 
task of saving us from it. So the intelligence that has given us our 
marvelously complex and productive civilization and that democracy 
which has been a light to the world for almost two hundred years should 
be equal to the task of creating the understanding and the dedication 
that the survival of the free society in the second half of the twentieth 
century requires. We may have enough faith in our fellow-citizens to 
believe that understanding and dedication will gO: hand in hand. 

(The above article is a talk by Robert M. Hutchins to the National 
Civil Liberties Clearing House, Tenth Annual Conference, Washington, 
D. C. Robert M. Hutchins is the President of the Fund for the Republic, 
and the article is being reprinted here with his permission.) 


'The Most Wasted Hour?" 

hy Virgil E. Foster 

Editor of the International Journal of Religious Education 

and author of "How a Small Chvuch Can Have Good 

Christian Education" (Harper, 1956, $2) 

(This article is written in response to the article in LIFE 
magazine, February 11. 1957, by Wesley Shrader, called, "Our 
Troubled Sunday Schools." Denominational and other magazines 
are at liberty to print it if it will be useful to them. It will be 
appreciated if each magazine using it will send a copy of the 
issue in which it appears to A. L. Roberts at 257 Fourth Avenue, 
New York 10, N. Y. ) 

The Sunday morning church school hour has been labeied "the 
most wasted hour in the week" in an article by Wesley Shrader, of Yale 
Divinity School, in the February 11 issue of LIFE magazine. The author 
is not trying to damage Protestant Christian education by the negative 
picture he gives of Sunday schools. He tries, rather, to jolt local churches 
into taking drastic action toward improving their educational programs. 
A forthright facing of the situation will bring the acknowledgment that 
there is too much truth in the picture he presents to permit complacency. 
Severe as is his shock treatment, it is all to the good if it arouses churches 
to greater sincerity and thoroughness in their teaching ministry. Un- 
fortunately, Dr. Shrader seems to have investigated more carefully the 
negative reports about Sunday schools than the facts about the great 
strides that are being made in developing effective Protestant Christian 

The picture of emptiness, idleness, and waste which the article 
presents is not new. Christian education leaders, ministers, and alert lay 
leaders know that some of what goes on under the name of Christian 
education is terribly shoddy. They know that many teachers come to 
Sunday school poorly prepared, if at all; that many churches are content 
to use inferior materials; that many parents send their children and 
young people to Sunday school without sowing any significant seeds 
of respect or expectancy. The leaders have been calling these conditions 
to the attention of their churches for years. Furthermore, they have been 
following this up with far-reaching help in developing effective educa- 
tional work. 

13'' I", 

.fi '■ '■ . ;; 

I ■ ', 


"■/■.I *■ ■•' 

Dr. Shrader goes on to indicate some of the things that need to be 
done to improve the situation, and tells of several churches which have 
developed effective Christian education. 

The LIFE article does a most inadequate job of reporting the 
tremendous sti'ides that are being made toward correcting the conditions 
it describes. Many churches have established Sunday schools which give 
an entirely different picture from the negative one given by Dr. Shrader. 
This is true far beyond the few churches he mentions in the positive 
part of the article, and this progress is not confined to the few denomina- 
tions to which he refers with favorable comment. 

For every story the article tells of children and young people giving 
negative testimony concerning the effect of the church school in their 
lives hundreds could be told of their peers in whose lives the church 
has been the doorway to a radiant life of faith. 

In contrast with the stories of teachers who do a tragically superficial 
job of teaching, there are hundreds of thousands of teachers who take 
training for their work every vear, who prepare carefully and well in 
advance, and whose teaching is warm with loving concern for the 
children or young people in their classes. 

Over against the reports of poorly equipped churches are the 
thrilling stories of others which are spending large amounts of money to 
provide spacious, well-lighted ventilated rooms for their church schools. 
Over half a billion dollars is spent on new church buildings each year 
and a significant portion of it is going into church school facilities. 

There is truly a tragic amount of parent disinterest; but there is an 
increasing number of churches with parent education programs which 
are helping families to put Christian teaching and worship at the heart 
of their home life. 

But rather than marshal arguments to refute the picture presented 
in LIFE, the greater wisdom calls for the churches to look at their own 
programs honestly to see whether they are doing the four things Dr. 
Shrader suggests as being essential. Are they "strengthening their cur- 
riculum?" Are they using the curriculum materials prepared especially 
for them by their denominational leaders and are they using them as 
they are intended to be used? Are they securing "trained professional 
leaders?" If they cannot afford to secure a trained director of religious 
education, are they securing the help of professional persons to train 
and coach their teachers? Are they "training lay leaders" by sending 


them to training conferences, workshops, and laboratory training schools? 
Are they providing them with resource books and magazines for week in 
and week out study? Are they "making the home a part of the Sundav 
school?" Or are they among the churches who have become easily dis- 
couraged and no longer trv to get parent cooperation? 

The Lai/ Witness 

At the heart of Protestant Christianity lies the faith in the priesthood 
of all believers. There is the conviction that even though lacking some- 
what in organization, skill, and polish, the most effective witness is that 
which arises out of a dedicated and redemptive fellowship of believers. 
There is confidence that whatever this fellowship lacks in method— and 
it need lack nothing in method— can quickh^ be outweighed by the 
warmth of a witness born out of first-hand encounter with God in Christ 
Jesus and in the Scriptures. 

Dr. Shrader gives the impression in his article that much of the 
work of lay leaders in the Sunday schools is inferior. He should remember 
that lay people saw the need of the Sundav school before the clergy 
saw it, and got the movement under wav in this country nearly a centur)' 
and a half ago largely without the help of the clergy and without their 
blessing. It was lay leaders who carried the movement forward during 
those long decades when there was no professional Christian education 

Of course, ti'ained and skilled lav leaders are essential. And for the 
inspiration of those who have let the stream of progress pass them by, 
let it be known that this year is the hundredth anniversary of the begin- 
ning of leadership education in the churches of America. Begun by a 
minister who was determined that his church should have the benefits 
of trained Sunday school leaders, the movement has expanded steadily 
through the years. During 1956 approximately 300,000 church school 
teachers and officers took training courses in order to acquire skill for 
their work. 

The last fifteen years have brought phenomenal growth in leader- 
ship education. Training conferences giving basic courses for teachers 
have grown steadily. Workshops have been developed in which leaders 
analyze their own problems and learn teaching skills. Laboratory training 
schools and demonstration school give leaders training through observa- 
tion and practice teaching. Institutes give brief refresher training and 
elementary training for new teachers. Clinic teams visit churches, 


J'; '■'..■i* .''■ 

. ; .1 . / 

observe, and suggest ways of improvement. In-service training for 
coaching leaders on the job has been expanded beyond statistical mea- 
surement. Monthly workers' conferences and weekly departmental teach- 
ers' meetings have become effective training media in many churches. 

Substance For The Witness 

The LIFE article might well have pointed out that the last fifteen 
years have brought the most solid and extensive experimentation and 
development in church school curriculum in Christian history. It can 
be stated safely that more money and energy have been spent in develop- 
ing curriculum materials during those years than in all previous years 
of the Sunday school movement. And this development has not been 
confined to the denominations named in the LIFE article. 

The curriculum field has been expanded to include parent education 
materials, teachers' magazines, and supplementary aids. Visual and pro- 
ject materials for pupils have been prepared. The publication of 
supplementary reading and resource books has expanded almost like an 
explosion. The preparation of audio-visual materials, guides, and equip- 
ment probably has been the most rapidly expanding activity within the 
church during those fifteen years. 

Curriculum materials are being re-examined and revised constantlv 
in order that they may be kept in line with the best developing insights 
in the fields of theology, biblical scholarship, psychology, teaching 
method and group procedures. 

The denominations together have prepared a common curriculum 
for use in emergency areas, such as those around military establishments, 
and cooperate in the production of a common curriculum for vacation 
church schools and weekday schools of religion. 

More Time For The Witness 

Recognizing that one hour on Sunday morning, even though used 
to fullest effectiveness, is not enough, churches have pressed for more 
time. Many of them have extended their church school sessions to one 
and a half hours, two hours, and even three hours on Sunday morning. 
Other have supplementary sessions during the week. 

While churches are evaluating their Sunday schools it is well to 
recognize that the Sunday school is not the onlv Christian education 


program. Vacation church schools are steadily increasing in number. 
They provide from one to four weeks of concentrated Christian educa- 
tion during the summer. 

Weekday religious education on released time had its beginning 
nearly forty-five years ago, but has had an accelerated growth during 
recent years, in an effort to give boys and girls more religious education, 
and in the context of their weekday life. This is not a substitute for the 
Sunday school, but a supplement to it. There is the added advantage that 
weekday schools reach many children not receiving any other religious 

One of the significant developments of the last fifteen years has 
been the expansion of the church's outdoor activities and the coming of 
a whole new approach to Christian nurture in the out-of-doors. These 
are no longer indoor programs moved outdoors. They are a distinctive 
kind of Christian education. In 1955, over 650,000 persons went to church 
camps and conferences. 

One of the very important phases of Christian education is the young 
peoples' program. Yet the LIFE article might have said that the Sunday 
evening youth fellowship represents the second most wasted hour of the 
week. Many youth groups do waste their precious opportunities on 
Sunday evening. On the other hand, the phenomenal growth of the 
youth fellowship movement across the world would never have come 
through any desire to gather at the church for "horseplay" or to huddle 
around the radio and TV for shudder-and-shiver mystery programs. In 
their youth fellowships, young people who used to be thought of as 
"the hope of the church tomorrow" are having a profound experience of 
being a vital part of the church today. To be svu-e, many youth groups 
have poor leadership and accomplish little. But the drive behind the 
Christian youth movement is a deep concern for the discovery of the 
meaning of life, and for the responsibilities of a Christian in the modern 
world. There is endless testimony to this effect from young people 

Church school, youth fellowship, camp, vacation church school, 
weekday school— wasted? They can be. They are in some places, some- 
times. But they are also among the serious hopes for a Christian, peaceful 
world— when the people of individual churches take their Christian 
witness seriously and use the best materials and leadership training 
available. If Dr. Shrader's article contributes to that end it will perform 
a great service. 


, ! The Chimera Of Christian Unity 

•■'!.*■''■"; "Some Basic and Explicit Problems in Mergers" 

,.' '. ' W. Marshon De Foist er. Orange, California 

^''/i,; Last September, a multigraph appeared on ISSUES IN UNITY. 

' ';.^ ■ ■ This composite amalgamation of material was assembled by the Council 

;' ,,'' on Christian Unity of the Disciples of Christ. This was, and is, pre- 

; ' paratorv material for 10 Area Consultations on Christion Unity, of 

-=',''"- which this is one of the Consultations. These materials and Consultations 

'' are sponsored jointly by: . 

\ , ' The Division of World Mission 

: The Division of Home Mission 

. ,' . , Tlie Council on Christian Unity 

;;i v, - The All Canada Committee 

' ., Brite College of the Bible 

, The College of the Bible at Lexington 

I ' The Disciples Divinity House, Chicago 

, ,, ■ The Divinity School of Drake University 

, ' The Graduate Seminary of Phillips University 

, ' Lynchburg College 

Northwest Christian College 
Christian Theological Seminary, Indianapolis 

' , Christian Missionary Society of Southern California 

For reasons which may be apparent as we proceed, may I share with 
you once more the "Presuppositions ... of the Consultations"? 


The Consultations are projected on the basis of some specific 
; presuppositions: 

1. that as Disciples of Christ we are committed to the local congrega- 
tion as the working base of the Una Sancta, but not the only nor in 
itself adequate manifestation of the Church Universal; 

' • 2. that as local congregations we are committed to cooperation in local 

and regional councils of churches, but do not hold these to be the 
final and fullest form of unity; 

3. that as a people of common interests and with a specific responsi- 
bility in North America and abroad, we are committed to the 


Brotherhood as an instrument of fellowship and fulfilment, but not 
the only, nor the fullest instrument of fellowship and ministry; 

4. that as a communion we are committed to the fellowship of churches 
in the National and World Councils of Churches, and to other 
organizations in the ecumenical movement, but we press on toward 
fuller and more adequate realizations of the One, Holy, Catholic 

5. that as children of one God we are committed ultimately to the 
realization of one Church, one body, one faith, that this world may 
believe in one God; and to this end, these consultations are planned 
to consider our responsibility and direct our efforts. 

Like most general statements and "presuppositions" which are sup- 
posed to inhibit irritations, this is tantamount to saying that we are all 
in favor of "love, marriage, and democracy." Something like the following 
"presuppositions" might have had more relevance— certainly they would 
have been more provocative! 

1. that as Disciples of Christ we are committed to the local congrega- 
tion as our institutional base of operation, but we recognize that 
we are only one demonination among many others and we must 
recognize that in some areas of church polit\' and religious philos- 
ophy perhaps other denominations are closer to "truth" than are we; 

2. that as local congregations we are committed to cooperation in local 
and regional council of churches; and we recognize that effective 
cooperation involves compromise— a great deal of it!— and that if we 
are to be truly cooperative we must be prepared to give up some 
factors which we have held dear to our Disciple hearts for lo these 
many years; 

.3. that as a communion we are committed to the fellowship of churches 
. . . and to other organizations in the ecumenical movement, but we 
recognize that there probably will never be an institutional structure 
for One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church, and that if such a 
structure ever could be effected ( which history refutes ) it probably 
would not be a good thing; 

4. that we shall never be able to "restore" any kind of a primitive 
organization in a modern setting and call it "the original basis for 
a Christian Church," for history refutes the very possibility of such; 



5. that unity will never be achieved among Christians by reference to 
any "original source," certainly not Biblical passages. 


;J'. 6. The Disciples of Christ shall be forever committed to the tasks of 

iff, conferences, consultations, discussions, cooperation, compromise, 

,' and innovation— to the end that we shall make our little contribution 

■' in our quest toward ultimate Truth, which we shall never achieve 

but which is always a worthy goal to seek. 

It is highly presumptions to assume that many of the basic and 
. explicit problems of Christian unity could be presented in one brief or 

; 'V abstract. And if they were presented, adequate discussion and analysis 

would be even more presumptions. It is my purpose, therefore, to call 
■ ' attention to only a few and particularly troublesome issues and bottle- 

necks. Some of these issues are real and objective; some are only pre- 
sumed and apparent. 

I should like to avoid much of the theological and philosophical 
factors involved in these discussions; for these factors, by and large, 
excite and interest only theologians and philosophers. I should say that 
most of the clergy, practically all church laymen, and 101% of all 
"sidewalk superintendents" couldn't care less about the fine-spun filigree 
i, of theological presumptions with respect to interdenominational as- 

sociations and perhaps eventual unity. 

The oft-repeated questions involve one main theme, though not 
often articulated: "How would a merger or a union affect me, my status, 
m,y church organization and its status among other denominations? All 
verbal filigree, double-talk, esoteric sentimentalism are meaningless 
except for people who love that kind of talk and substitute these 
approaches for intelligent and understandable concepts. Even as discern- 
ing and erudite a person as Charles Clayton Morrison would do well to 
i; study cultures anthropologically, historically and sociologically, as well 

as theologically, if he is to be able to delineate the factual from the 
fanciful, the objective from the abstract, the sensible from the idiocy. 

Even some of the earliest historians realized that fact had to be 
separated from fancy, even as wheat from chaff, and that in order to do 
this it was necessary to see the organization of the church in the light 
of the current and historical sequences. It is impossible to separate 
theory and theology from culture! Even so, many theologian try. May 


we at this point borrow a point from James E. Sellers as he writes in 
the most recent issue of KOINONIA concerning "A New Look at 
Christian Unity— or, Cyprian and Pogo as Confederate Theologians/' Mr. 
Sellers writes: 

For years, of course, Protestants have been more or less 
guilt-ridden by their divided state. We are apt to pause before 
the Fathers, in a self-conscious moment, and recall that "Unity" 
was one of the fundamentals of the ancient Church— the first 
item in the countdown for all the patriarchs. We read Cyprian, 
for example, and wince at the judgment he seems to be laying 
up for us. "Unity cannot be severed," he declares, "nor can one 
body be separated by a division of its structure, nor torn into 
pieces, with its entrails wrenched asunder by laceration. What- 
ever has proceeded from the womb cannot live and breathe in 
its detached condition, but loses the substance of health." {On 
the Unity of the church.) 

Men are self-important even about their depravity, and we 
forget that Cyprian was not writing for the ages, much less for 
us (though his work has endured). He was battling for the 
Church's very existence against a clear and present danger. For 
Cyprian, in 251 A.D., disunity was already a bothersome and 
perilous fact. If the Church had been effectively one, as our 
illusion of a past "Colden Age" suggests, we may be sure that 
Cyprian would never have penned a single word proclaiming 
the virtues of oneness. 

Nevertheless, Cyprian thought he knew what kind of unity 
the beleaguered Church ought to have. And his views would be 
healing to Protestants, if we could get around his use of what 
has become for us a loaded phrase. Cyprian expressed his ideal 
in the following rule of thumb: "There is one episcopate diffused 
through a harmonious multitude of many bishops." (Epistle to 
Antonianus About Cornelius and Novation.) Unfortunately, 
many of us never get farther, in analyzing this formula, than the 
word "'episcopate." 

. . . What both factions miss, caught up in the spell of the 
word "bishop," is Cyprian's actual description of working unity. 
The Church is "divided by Christ through the whole world into 
many members." Although the Church is one, it is "spread 


abroad far and wide into a multitude by an increase of fruitful- 
,, .. ness." We can find here, without doing too much violence to 

"■•;!''i,,.'- Cyprian, a practical ideal for Protestants: 


As there are many rays of the sun, but one light; 
and many branches of a tree, but one strength based in 
its tenacious root; and since from one spring flow many 
streams, although the multiplicity seems diffused in the 
liberality of overflowing abundance, yet the unity is 
still preserved in the source. 

For approximately 150 years the Disciples have been preaching and 
even haranguing about Christian Unity— prating about "where the 
Scriptures Speak and where the Scriptures are silent we are silent," etc. 
etc. etc., ad-infinitum, ad naiiseiim. During these 150 years we have been 
instrumental in producing no unions between anyone, even ourselves. 
There have been two schisms in our group (I almost used the word 
"denomination"— which we are!), and we are in imminent danger of a 
third rift. 

It is all well and good to talk about the God-given Word, the 
Eternal Presence, the Abiding Spirit, Koinonia, a Community of 
Churches, Union in Faith, etc. etc., but unless pragmatic implementation 
is not only implicit but also explicit all our talk adds up to pleasant 
semantic pasttime on occasions such as this one we are now experiencing. 

It is a painful stab at the heart of a thorough going and loyal 
Disciple of Christ to have it said that the concept of "Restoration of 
original Christendom" is dead. But it is! Let's give the concept a decent 
burial, close ranks, and go on— just as we do when a loved-one has lost 
earthly existence. Dr. Langdon B. Gilkey, Professor of Theology at 
Vanderbilt Divinity School, has skillfully laid open an old wound to 
examine it: "... if anything characterizes the Church, it is history. 
The Church above all is the community which through history preserves, 
preaches, witnesses and lives the Gospel; its essence, its function, and its 
realit}^ are historical. And the problem of its unity can, therefore, only 
be understood clearly when its relation to its own embeddedness within 
history is understood. This is the most basic reason that the earhj 
Disciples' theories of unity must be rethought." (italics mine— WMD.) 

It is my painful duty to submit to this group and to the Disciples at 
large that in all bodies of Christians, Selfishness, Vested Interests, 


Egoism, and obtuse psychological patterns of "Truth" are the real bottle- 
necks through which occasionally trickle intelhgent words of humility 
with respect to Unity and Mergers. Let us ask ourselves a serious ques- 
tion: Suppose every one of the major tenets of the Disciples of Christ 
(those attributes which really distinguish us from other denomiations ) 
were suddenly to be wiped out, does anyone really believe that Chris- 
tianit)' would cease tq exist through the medium of other institutional 
structures? As I have given thought to this problem I cannot think of a 
single unique tenet or position in religious thought which the Disciples 
have cornered and which other Christian bodies do not have. There was 
once such a tenet but we have long since forgotten about it, except as 
historians and philosophers will occasionally bring it to light. This was 
the concept of the application of Lockian empiricism to the structure of 
religion. Alexander Campbell did, indeed, believe in this somewhat 
unique feature, but this beautiful idea was quickly quashed by the 
legalistic verbiage which quickly sprouted around our institutional roots. 

May I, therefore, submit to you some basic issues of ecclesiastical 
and personal vested interests: 

1. What NAME shall be attached to an institutional structure of 
religion? We may, indeed, say that "... a rose by any other name," 
etc., but we do not really believe that. We even say with Gertrude Stein: 
"a name is a name is a name, is a name!" Writing the preparatory 
materials for these conclaves. Dean W. B. Blakemore of the Disciples 
Divinity House of the University' of Chicago, speaks of "Specific Issues 
in Church Merger" and he very clearly analyzes some of the problems 
with respect to a merger with the United Church of Christ. One of these 
problems is the matter of an appropriate name for any merger or union. 
Dean Blakemore says, "The Disciples historically have made such an 
issue over names that perhaps it is best if in this paper we make no issue 
of the name of the United Church of Christ. However, there is an issue 
there, and we should be aware of the fact that for many denominations 
the name of the new denomination is presumptions. Of course, they 
have always had this same feeling with respect to our use of the name 
Christian Church!" 

Who is to say what the proper name should be for a group of 
people who purportedly are followers of the spirit of Jesus, the Christ? 


This item always raises many other questions. What is the nature of 
the ministry? Who is eligible for a ministerial position in the organiza- 


\ tion? Should there really be a professional, paid ministry? Who will 

. ^ determine the standards for ordination? Who will apply these standards 

J .; and actually ordain? Is ordination in one denomination valid and equal 

^, <',' to the ordination in another denomination? If we believe we ought to 

1 ;,f! have a trained and professional ministry, who will train and educate the 

V i; insipient theologues? 


Always one of the most troublesome problems in contemplating any 

' *'; merger or union of an organic nature is that matter of spread of money 

, ,, which goes beyond the boundaries of the immediate church. In the 

I ; '. merger of the Congregational-Christian Church with the Evangelical and 

' ■ Reformed Church this poses one of the most troublesome and even 

pernicious questions. It sounds so simple, but it may well be the straw 

' which will break the camel's back. The Bmis of Union has little to 

say about this except that a Committee of Twenty should be appointed 

■ to bring forth suggestions on methods of solicitation, collection and 

• disbursement of missionary, benevolent and administrative funds. I wish 

them luck! 


|, These are always areas for discussion and frequently for bitter 

debate. What are the specific mechanics and steps by which one may 
attain full fellowship with a religious organization? What must he 
periodically re-affirm in order to maintain full fellowship— presumably 
by announcing to his colleagues and to the public that, "this I still 
believe." What specific initiation rites must be experienced before one is 
reallv "kosher?" These questions, and many other related ones, have 
plagued religionists ever since before the days of Abraham! 

Again, Dean Blakemore raises this problem with respect to the 
i; merger between the Congregational-Christian Church and the Evangeli- 

cal and Reformed Church which has partly been consummated in the 
title of The United Church of Christ. The intricacies of this problem 
, , are cited by Dean Blakemore as he discusses the definition of member- 

\ ship in Article No. VII of the Basis of Union. 

All persons who are members of either communion at 
the time of the union shall be members of the United Church. 
Men, women, and children who shall be admitted into the fel- 


lowship of the United Church through baptism and profession 
of faith according to the custom and usage of each congregation 
prior to the union. When they shall have been admitted they 
shall be recognized as members of the United Church. 

Dean Blakemore's further comment on this is, "Now this in a real sense 
only adds confusion, because we now have one standard for membership 
in the universal fellowship of the one holy catholic church, and another 
basis for membership in the congregations of the United Church. 

Anyone who has the categorical answers to these tricky problems, let 
him stand forth and speak! Pax Vobiscum! 


Always there appears a problem in institutional religion concerning 
the requirements of restatements of creeds, catechisms, etc. The question 
hinges around first, should there be creeds or anything like creeds in 
the stated requirements of the group? The other aspect impinges on the 
first; if one does admit creeds, catechisms, etc., what should be the 
requirements about testing one's knowledge of their meaning and what 
should be required in their periodic restatement? 

Again, Dean Blakemore raises the question whether Article II in the 
Basis of Union constitutes a creed or not. This Confession (or creed) is 
as follows: 

We believe in God the Father Almighty, Creator and 
Sustainer of heaven and earth and in Jesus Christ, His Son, our 
Lord and Savior, who for us and our salvation lived and died 
and rose again and lives for evermore; and in the Holy Spirit, 
who takes of the things of Christ and shows them to us, renew- 
ing, comforting, and inspiring the souls of men. We acknowledge 
one holy catholic church, the innumerable company of those 
who, in every age and nation, are united by the Holy Spirit to 
God in Christ, are one body in Christ, and have communion 
with Him and with one another. We acknowledge as part of this 
universal fellowship all throughout the world who profess this 
faith in Jesus Christ and follow Him as Lord and Savior. 


Here is the spot where inflexible Disciples of Christ are most likely 
to gag and sputter if it is ever proposed that some compromise or alter- 



■ A "■'. 

ing of our stated position is in order. There are many real and 
fundamental bottlenecks for the Disciples in the matter of union and 
merger, but perhaps none upon which the Disciples are more un- 
compromising or inflexible than on this one issue. It remains to be seen 
whether our various Councils on Christian Unity, Consultations, ministers 
and laymen will come to real grips with this aspect of the problem or 
whether we shall continue to pretend that it does not exist. 


This problem is very closely related to No. 2 above, that of training 
and ordination standards. When is a minister a bona-fide minister? Will 
there be free exchange of clergy members by cooperating communions? 
If there are hesitancies in accepting the clergy of each other, upon what 
will these differences be based and how may they be resolved? 


This problem is, if anything, even more serious than the questions 
precipitated by the issues of Baptism. I should like, again, to refer to 
Dean Blakemore's wisdom as he discusses this problem with respect to 
the involvements between the Congregational-Christians and the E. and 
R.'s. As we know, these two bodies have a consistently different view- 
point concerning the meaning of Congregationalism. Dr. Blakemore 
points out: 

Historically there have been two distinct interpretations of 
what Congregationalism is. 

One of these asserts that all power and responsibitily 
originates in the congregations; other elements of the church 
have power and responsibility only as the congregations have 
granted them that power and responsibility. This is the theory 
that usually is operative in those who insist that our state and 
international conventions should be conventions of the churches 
in order that the will of the churches can be carried out. This is 
a very popular point of view among Disciples today, and it is 
precisely the point of view put forward by the Cadman group 
which sought to prevent the merger that resulted in the United 
Church of Christ! 


The other theory of the meaning of congregational poHty 
is the one which asserts that while the congregation has its own 
sphere of autonomy, every other level of church life has its own 
autonomy, and all of these must be safeguarded. This is the 
theory that is held by these Congregationalists who have 
furthered the merger; it is a theoiy as old as Congregationalism 
itself and has been revived in our day by Douglas Horton and 
others. There is not time at this point to develop this theory in 
detail. All that can be done is to say that it refutes both the 
idea that there is some central power such as papacy or epis- 
copacy from which all power derives, and the idea that all power 
derives from congregations. In other words, it refutes both the 
top-down and the bottom-up theories of power and authority by 
asserting the emergence of new powers, responsibilities, and 
authority at every level of organization as that level of organiza- 
tion comes into being. The fact that the United Church of Christ 
accepts this moderate definition of congregational polity rather 
than the radical Congregationalism which is so very wide-spread 
amongst the Disciples of Christ raises a very sharp issue with us 
as we contemplate merger with the United Church of Christ. 
The position of the United Church implies far more freedom 
than the typical Disciple is likely to want to grant for such 
units as UCMS, Board of Church Extension, and all other 
agencies, and certainly far, far more than our Independents, 
who represent the most extreme possible form of Congrega- 
tionalism, would accord. 


With respect to these questions, we must at once recognize that 
there has never been any universal agreement concerning the person of 
Jesus. The nature of the church has always been a matter of intense 
debate. The clergy and laymen alike have never been able to reach a 
universal dogma about the hierarchical nature of the clergy. We are 
also fully aware of the fact that relying on Holy Writ as a source of 
unification has been a will-o-the-wisp. Dr. DeCroet, and many others, 
have long since pointed out that returning to the Scriptures for an 
absolute pattern of an institutional structme is divisive and not unitive. 


./I '' '■ . 


''";■,; . ', Although these items are deeply immersed in theological double- 

;.;.(',■■; talk, they still are relevant questions for plain-vanilla clergyman and 

.:,' ""■!■", lavman. 

■1 *.'';,, 


Theological differences at the present time are little more than the 
differences between Tweedledum and Tweedledee. Yet they divide the 
Christian heritage, split up the faithful, confuse the outsider, and engage 
in a wasteful and expensive competition, for members and money that 
greatly weakens respect for religion and reduces the ministry of all 
churches to a condition of prestige poverty and social inferiority and 
even public scorn. The enormous cost of upkeep, the extravagance of 
some missionary departments, the overheads of the boards, secretaries, 
field secretaries, archdeacons, bishops, presiding elders, and a swarm of 
paid officials who do no pastoral work but go about laying grievous 
burdens upon the ministers of all denominations in order that the 
competition may be kept up, are a few of the evils of the present divided 
state of the Christian churches in America. This condition is both dis- 
graceful to America and injurious to our civilization. It presents religion 
without dignity and without intelligence. 

Any scheme of corporate unity is beyond the diplomatic skill at the 
present time of even the most astute ecclesiastical leaders. It is not a 
matter of practical politics. If it is, as is so often asserted, the divine will, 
then it is on a par with the other great and ultimate ideals. "Be united" 
can only be compared with "Have all knowledge," or "Agree on Ultimate 
Truth," or "Sustain perfect charity," or "Be devoid of prejudice." It 
belongs to the eternal categories. It is an excellent aim, but a mystical 
attainment. The individual mav have the feeling for it, but he cannot 
materialize or demonstrate it. 

"If there were only one church in the world," President Dwight of 
Yale used to say, "I would feel that I had a call from God to go out 
and start another one." 

In every department of human knowledge except religion the at- 
tainment of truth has now for a long time been regarded as progressive. 
In religion it was and is yet conceived as something long since fully 
revealed, fixed and final. It is only in comparatively recent times that 
intellectual religious men have come to think of religious knowledge as 


being in the same category with all other knowledge, a matter of pro- 
gress. Religion may not be presented solely for the edification of the 
intellectual, but there is no use in alienating them! 

With its hundreds of millions of followers it is surprising that there 
is as much unanimity of opinion in Christianity as there is. There are 
racial divisions and cultural divisions, college presidents and savages, 
statesmen and jailbirds, intellectuals and masses of unwashed peasants, 
all over the green world, and all alike claim a share in the benefits of 
religion as their most precious heritage. Probably no two people have 
quite the same ideas on the subject! 

Cardinal Newman, after his conversion, felt that truth was to be 
found not in the Via Media but in extremes. Certainly the extreme posi- 
tions in the matter of religion are more readilv stated and easier to 
grasp. To attempt a synthesis of the extremes of recognized theological 
positions, to unite in a single authoritative body the churches, is a dream 
similar in kind to the schemes to eliminate poverty, to create a universal 
language, to destroy capitalism, to perfect governments, to make democ- 
racy safe for the world, to determine taste, to reach Utopia. It is the 
delight of secretaries, the despair of honest men. Clergymen, always 
incurable idealists on the lookout for good homiletic material, fall for 
it regularly. Its deficiency supplies the explanation for inefficency. 

The best that can be done is to oini at the ideal. Keep working 
toward the ideal. Keep talking about the ideal. Make proposals whereby 
a start can be made toward the ideal. It is well to remember that char- 
acter is to be judged not by what it is but by what it tends to become. 
Let results take care of themselves. 


■ ^ 

Disciple Dilemmas 


Opportunities For Doing Some 


by W. B. Bhkemore, Chicago 

In an earlier issue of Tlie Scroll, there appeared from mv pen an 
article entitled "Our Ecumenical Dilemma." This paper presents three 
more areas wherein our Disciple histor\' and tradition now places us 
in dilemma. 

By pointing up our dilemmas I do not intend to be pessimistic, but 
rather to be helpfully optimistic. The Editor of The Scroll has asked me 
to write a word concerning the future of the Campbell Institute. It seems 
to me that the future of the Campbell Institute is what it has always 
intended to be in an\' future— to pro\ide an encouraging arena for 
thinking through the problems that should be thought through— and 
which might not be tackled otherwise. Rather than develop at length 
some "program" for the Institute, though that task needs to be done, I 
will point out in this paper three major problem areas about which 
Institute members should be thinking and writing. Others can make 
suggestions of other relevant topics— and if we get to work on them, the 
Editor of The Scroll wdll have more than enough copy to keep his pages 
filled— and if we think stronglv and write relevantly an audience will be 
attracted and the journal will make its way— almost. No "little magazine" 
ever quite makes its way, and since The Scroll is one of the biggest 
'little magazines" in the field of religion it has always needed some 
help— and probably always \\all— but it is a ver\' %\'orthwhile enterprise 
to help. 

Nor do I mean to suggest that these areas of dilemma are areas in 
which our history and tradition have proven to be wrong. I mean to 
suggest that they are areas in which we are in a state of dilemma. We 
don't know whether our historic position is right or wrong. We know 
only that these are areas in which our historic position is challenged. 
Therefore we are "hung up" and will not know either what to think or 
what to do in these areas until we join the issue and find our way 
through to more clear insights. 


Besides the Ecumenical Dilemma discussed earlier, there is dilemma 
for us in the following situations: 

1. Traditionally we have affirmed the individual and his right to 
be inwardly directed, but we exist now in an "other-directed" age. 

2. Traditonally we belong to the Enlightenment stream of rational- 
ism. Today that stream has been largely discredited by the findings of 
recent psychology. 

3. Our brotherhood was largely fashioned on the frontier to meet 
frontier conditions. Those conditions have not existed for seventy years, 
and today we are caught in the cross currents of a changing America 
with equally strong and contrary trends of urbanization and ruralization. 
There is urbanization at the technical levels of our civilization, and an 
amazing ruralization of customs and mores which is penetrating deep 
into the hearts of our cities. 

Individualists in an '^other-directed age." The terms "inner-directed" 
and "other-directed" are rapidlv becoming familar. They are terms 
devised by Dr. David Riesman, formerly professor of sociology at the 
University of Chicago, now at Harvard University. He uses the terms 
to indicate a radical change which has occurred in the American char- 
acter during this century. Dr. Riesman points out that prior to 1900 the 
typical American was a person \\'hose conduct and behavior was deter- 
mined by something inside of him. That something was either a well 
indoctrinated set of rules and principles, or it was the individual's own 
personal expectations. When men moved out onto the lonely frontier they 
either had their own principles built into them, or they collapsed. During 
the last century a man lived by these precepts— many of them learned at 
his mother's knee— and the direction of the influence was always from 
the individual towards society. Men were building and rebuilding society 
according to their own inward character. 

Dr. Riesman in his masterpiece. The Lonely Crowd, fully documents 
his thesis that within this century there has come a radical change 
which means that the influence now runs from the society to the 
individual. The typical American of today does not turn inward to 
discover what should be done. He looks outward and asks, "What does 
society expect or need of me?" He has given up the autonomy of his 


forefathers and seeks instead to fulfill the demands of his society, his 

peers and his "group." In contemporary America, everyone is some kind 
;, of "corporation man." The "other-directed" man expects the group to 

' ■. which he belongs to give him very definite indications regarding conduct 

and belief. In a society where each man is supposed to be his own 

fil guide, the "other-directed" man finds no meaning in life. Following are 

' ' some famous old Disciple slogans. Each of them implies an individualism 

,1 of the kind which is now largely gone from the American character. 

i' As a result, each of these slogans now feels antiquated, or wishy-washy— 

and we find that we do not often use them. They represent an attitude 

which has put us in a dilemma. 

"Every man shall be free to interpret the Scriptures without let or 

"No one can speak for the Disciples. Every man has a right to his 
own beliefs." 

"There cannot be a heresy trial amongst us." 

"We are bound together by a simple confession of faith and 
I obedience to the Christ." 

But today's man wants more than these slogans offer. He wants a 
theology. He wants things "spelled out." He expects the group to tell 

! . him what to believe— or at least to indicate some major directions of his 

belief. Today's students in Disciple seminaries are anxious about the 
Disciple position. We have even come to the point where a "Panel of 
Scholars" has been formed to help discover what are our beliefs. Such 
' a panel would have been unthinkable forty years ago. At that time, a 

Disciple "Congress" might meet, but it would be characterized by 
strongly personal statements from dominant individuals. The idea of a 
panel which might derive a restatement of the Disciple position is 
definitely the product of an other-directed age and not the product of 
our historic attitudes. We may eventually reaffirm our traditional in- 

•< dividualism. But at present it places us in a dilemma, and we are making 

the attempt to discover whether we can adjust and begin to behave in 
ways satisfactory to the "other-directedness" of the contemporary Ameri- 
can personality. 

Enlightenment and Irrationality. The classic Disciples definition of 
faith is that it is belief in testimony. As anyone who has had a short 


introduction to our history knows, this definition of faith was adopted 
by Alexander Campbell on the basis of the sensationalist psychology of 
John Locke. With this definition of faith, one approaches the Bible as 
a record of historic facts which provide the testimony on which faith 
is based. This classic approach to the Bible, especially to the record of 
Jesus' life, is still the approach used by most Disciples. For the great 
majority the biblical record is taken uncritically. For others, textual, 
historical, and higher* criticism are important; but they never abandon 
the idea that it is possible to discern the outlines of the historical Jesus 
and on this basis of fact to discern the object of faith. In respect to the 
character of faith, there never was any significant difference between 
the conservative Disciples and the liberal. Both appealed to a reasonable 
basis of Christianity in the gospel facts— for some those facts were to 
be found only within the biblical word, but for many they might be 
found also in the world at large. 

The Disciples definition of faith is only one aspect of their rational- 
ism. They have always hoped to have a reasonable religion. They want 
to be practical. They want what they do to be rid of every least trace 
of magic, myth, and superstition. They have always wanted to be able 
to talk about Jesus in a natural, historical kind of way, and to see in 
him the embodiment of the rational man. Above all they have wanted 
a religion based on fact. 

Today, this kind of Enlightenment rationalism is sharply criticised 
from at least two sides. Historicism and objectivity have had to give 
some ground in the recognition of the mythical character in which much 
of our knowledge exists, particularly our knowledge of the more concrete 
things such as life, and self, and the universe, and God. The second 
attack has come from the newer psychologies which have discerned the 
frailty of the human thinker. He is caught, not only in historical and 
social relativities, but in very personal and egoistic relativities. Dr. Sig- 
mund Freud began a revaluation of the trustworthiness of the human 
mind. While psycho-analysis may have led to an extreme criticism of our 
mental powers, it has made it impossible any longer to adopt the idea 
of a mind competent to grasp truth without any alloy of personal and 
sociological bias. Unfortunately, the Disciples of Christ must admit that 
the last significant synthesis of their thought— namely the "liberal" 
synthesis worked out by the Chicago school— was pre-Freudian. It 
rewrote the psychology of Christian experience in terms of the psychology 
of William James, but it never tackled the implications of the work of 
the psycho-analysts. Today we proceed with our enlightenment theology, 
and still talk about faith as if it were a response to some clearly presented 



historical facts. That is our traditional way, and we know that it is out- 
grown. We do succeed in communicating the gospel, but it is happening 
in spite of our traditional rationalism and definition of faith, not because 
of it. ' ' 


The "Frontier" and the "Rural-Urban" Cross Currents. It is nearly 
thirty years since W. E. Garrison wrote Religion Follows the Frontier. 
This book remains a landmark of Disciple history because it showed the 
way in which our moyement was, for nearly a century, shaped, by the 
frontier. The frontier proyided the challenge which the Disciple ministry 
met. In one sense, the frontier was our leader and we were its followers, 
not only geographically, but ideologically and emotionally. Then, sud- 
denly the frontier was gone. In its place there rapidly deyeloped a 
complex ciyilization. 

The frontier was closed in the 1890s. Men mourned its loss, and 
as recently as twenty years ago they were telling us, "Do not weep, there 
is a new frontier on which you can work; the frontier today is the inner 
city, the slum, the growing metropolis with all its problems." When these 
statements were made it sounded as if we were being told, "Since there 
is a new 'frontier,' the principles derived on the original frontier still 
apply." Unfortunately, that is not the case. The term "frontier" when 
applied to the problems of the city is not a guiding concept but only an 
inspiring metaphor. The Disciples of Clirist haye had a hard time learn- 
ing how to minister in the great cities. We remain predominantly a 
county-seat moyement. 

Furthermore, we haye become utterly confused in the cross-currents 
of vu-banization— ruralization in contemporary American life. Most of 
us haye been so amazed at the technical urbanization which has carried 
electricity and the teleyision to eyery corner of the land that we haye 
been blind to the ruralization which has carried onto college campus and 
into eyery city square the mores of the last century. The signs of the 
new ruralization, which is a phenomenon of the 1940s and 1950s, are 
numerous. Ecologically, it is to be seen in the great influx of "south- 
erners" into "northern" industrial centers, or, more properly stated, of 
folk moving from non-industrial to industrial centers. Despite the great 
mixing of populations which ensues, there is a marked increase of 
regionalism at the present time. Partly it is abetted by the approaching 
centenary of the Civil, War. Even more marked as an instance of the 
new ruralization is the virtual rejection by the young people of the 


forties and fifties of the courting and marriage patterns of their im- 
mediate forefathers. The March, 1957, issue of Harpers Magazine 
carried an article entitled American Youth Goes Monogamous which 
points out that despite the lurid headlines of the daily paper, American 
youth generally has revived the sexual practice of its nineteenth century 
great-grandfathers— courting only one girl, and an early marriage, with 
its concommitant radical lowering of sexual temptations of an illicit 
character— and an upswing in the size of families. 

A fourth evidence of the new ruralization is the spectacular rise 
of fundamentalism, notably in its Southern Baptist and Church of Christ 
forms. The resurgence of these two groups in particular is interesting 
because they represent a nineteenth century rural form, whereas the 
Nazarenes and Assemblies of God, which are to be understood as a 
twentieth century emotional response to the insecurities of an industrial 
civilization, give some evidence of being in trouble except where they 
have modified in fundamentalistic and sober directions. Now, it might be 
supposed that the Disciples of Christ would profit from a period of 
ruralization. But this seems to be not the case. It is the Southern Baptists 
and the Church of Christ who are profiting. The Disciples were a 
frontier people— a frontier town people. In the twentieth century, the 
frontier town is largely gone. It has a slight counter-part in the growing 
edge of the great metropolitan centers, and there, if we write about the 
positive elements in our tradition, we are not in a dilemma at present. 

I do not want to be misunderstood with respect to the presentation 
of these dilemmas. I indicated in an earlier Scroll that in the long run 
we may discover that our simple plea for Christian unity is right. It may 
yet be shown that our relatively optimistic estimate of man as a rational 
creature can be maintained. It may yet be shown that there are virtues 
in individualism which our "other-directed" age lacks, and that those 
virtues must be re-affirmed. But the present ti-ends of thought put us in 
a dilemma on these points. With respect to them we are today in the 
minority. We must find out whether on each of these points we should 
depart from our tradition and shape a new view, or whether we have 
the truth and should stick by it. With respect to the four areas of 
dilemma— ecumenicity, rationalism, individualism, the frontier— there is 
only one area in which it is obvious that we must re-examine and re- 
construct, namely, with respect to the frontier. For good or ill, it is 
obvious that population is rapidly increasing, and we are going to be 
more and more urbanized in our civilization— though it is by no means 
clear, despite the new trends of ruralization, what we shall become 


. ; A Letter To Dean Blakemore 


^^'■Vj'i ,;';' affiliated with 

;: vi' ;5;: Montana state university 

'■ ''':''i/' Missoula 

< K' ■■;' May 26, 1958 

Dr. W. B. Blakemore, Dean 
Disciples Divinity House 
University of Chicago 
Chicago, Illinois 

Dear Mr. Blakemore: 

A friend sent me the winter edition of The Scroll which included 
vour article on the next steps ecumenically for the Disciples of Christ. I 
am not a member of the Campbell Institute (though I would like to be) 
and I did not find any address in the publication for writing to the 
editor, so I am taking the liberty of writing directly to you to express 
my reactions. 

From this article and the one in the Dec. 4 issue of The Christian 
Century I gathered that the hope of the conciliar movement as a vital 
expression for Chi-istian unity lies at least partially in their assuming 
some of the ecclesiastical functions of the churches which are now 
cherished denominationally. I assume that this would have to begin in 
such areas as missionary outreach, establishing of comity plans for new 
areas, and such realms of activity as are now at least partially under 
council jurisdiction. But regardless of the particular areas where this 
would take place, I believe that there are some fundamental difficulties 
that must be recognized. 

First, councils are generally based on cooperation of Christians who 
have a similar approach to Christian outreach in the world. Their 
purposes seem to be generally in the realms of activity rather than in 
realms of worship or fellowship. When they are brought into these latter 
areas they almost always seem to break down. For example, here in 
Missoula the Episcopal Church is a member of the Missoula Council of 
Churches, but when the council considers a program such as a union 
Good Friday or Thanksgiving service, they must do it without the 
cooperation of the Episcopal group. 

A second major problem is that there are no councils which are 
themselves all-inclusive. The prime example nationally is the NCC and 
the NAE. Between these two councils is a spirit as strong, or stronger, 


than the spirit of denominationahsm that would exist between super- 
sized denominations. The American Council of Christian Churches adds 
another group to this field. The growth of councils, in other words, 
seems to offer the same kind of dead end as the growth of denominations 
by merger— there are some areas where Christians seem to be so far apart 
that they will not soon come together. 

Your article mentioned a "conciliar instinct" of Disciples. I wonder 
if this has not been the instinct of looking for the easy way out of a 
problem. Too many people have turned to councils because they offer 
opportunities of apparent expressions of unity without the dangers of 
losing one's denominational bias. They are often mentally a substitute 
for unity. Could this be our "conciliar instinct?" It has allowed us to 
work with those who differ on matters of baptism, organization, or 
ministry, without any giving up of our own biases or asking them to 
give up theirs. 

In your article you make a statement of the comparative values 
of our contributions both to the conciliar movement and in the area of 
denominational merger. It seems to me that the value of "efforts" in 
either area is not nearly as important as the value of insights and 
attitudes which we might contribute. I believe the contribution of these 
is important in both areas, along with our "efforts." After all, the value 
or lack of value of efforts is a rather pragmatic judgment, and will 
depend on many factors. The values of attitudes and ideals are much 
more specificallv related to the attaining of Christian unity and will 
hold regardless of the practical aspect of whether a particular structure 
"works" or not. 

There are some of us who, as Disciples, have done some penitential 
breast beating not because we have failed to merge with anyone else, but 
because we have become so denominationally minded that we ourselves 
raise barriers to Christian unity— regardless of how it might be expressed. 
There is indeed need for penitence whenever we find that we have 
allowed ourselves to be separated from other Christians. We can say 
that it is others who have shut us out, but this is only a salving of the 
conscience for the walls we have erected— walls of demanding immersion 
as the only possible interpretation of baptism, of demanding that the 
Lord's Supper is a memorial and not a partaking of the physical body of 
Christ, of negating all value in the act of infant baptism, and so on. We 
say glibly, "We have no creed but Christ," but in most of our churches 
we have established a pattern of teaching just as rigid as that of the 
most credal denominations— though perhaps not covering as many points 
of theological dogma. 


, The difference between growth of councils and denominational 

. j \, merger as two roads to Christian unity is not a difference of kind, but 

.•:i^'' ' y onh' one of means. These are the vehicles in which we move, rather 

'':!'' than the road we intend to follow, and both vehicles meet the same 

; '' ;;^ problems and obstacles. If it is true now that the councils do not have 

','*)," the churchism of denominations, then it is also true that when the 

i,i /' councils take over churchly functions they will be subject to the same 

,'| churchism. If it is true that "merger does not radically alter . . . the 

' ' churchism of denominations" because of a more jealous guarding of 

'' ( prerogatives by the larger group, then it is also true that growth of 

councils does not radically alter the larger divisions which exist between 

major groups of denominations today because each large council will be 

: ' more jealously guarding its own position of liberalism, fundamentalism, 

, , or orthodoxy. 

Unity is not necessarily a matter of structure. There is no structure 
available, whether it be super-councils, super-denominations, or super- 
anarchy, that can provide unity. Unity is and must be a unity of the 
, ' spirit of Christians. If there is unity of spirit, then it will probably be 

expressed structurally as Christians who feel they are together seek to 
, work together. But the form of structure here is of secondary importance. 

The only question is, "What form will best express and expedite our 
", united work as Christians?" 

We need to continue to work for Christian unity in every way 
, ' ' possible. If the only means available is that of conciliar relations, then 

we must use them. If denominational merger offers the only opportunity, 
then we cannot deny it. If it should appear that our best method would 
be to dissolve our own organizations and infiltrate the denominations, 
then this ought to be our plan. But just as the existence of a single 
person not committed to God ought to spur us ever to evangelistic 
efforts, so a single division among Christians ought to spur us to what- 
ever action is possible in uniting all Christians as the visible body 
of Christ. 

I would appreciate any Information that you might give me con- 
cerning membership in the Campbell Institute. I will leave it to your 
own discretion whether this letter should be forwarded to the editor of 
The Scroll as one answer to his request for comments. 


Glenn R. Johnson 
Montana School of Religion 
Montana State University 


Reflections On Blakemore's 
''Ecumenical Next Steps'' 

Dr. Blakemore's article on "Ecumenical Next Steps" may well be a 
landmark in Disciple thought. It captures a mood which has been 
slowly growing in stature in ecumenical conversations— namely that each 
denomination must truly stand for its unique insights without shame or 
apology. This is possible in "conciliarism" as it can never be in "merger" 
unity. The purpose of this series of comments on Dr. Blakemore's thesis 
is to point out three contemporary supports for the idea of conciliarism. 

The first support comes from present-day theologians who emphasize 
the incarnation. This doctrine asserts that God and His revelation were 
hidden in Christ, that God did not and does not reveal Himself 
absolutely through some event or word which can be externally grasped 
and confined by the Church. As long as Christians continue to believe 
in such an incarnation, various Christians are likely to find different 
interpretations of that which is hidden. No person or group can ever 
be quite certain that he has penetrated the entire secret. Thus, he must 
always be engaged in conversations with others whose conception of 
God's Truth is unlike his own. This serves as a theological basis for 
conciliarist ecumenicity. 

A second support comes from the study of church history. Dean 
Sydney Mead of Chicago's Meadville Seminary has engaged for years in 
a friendly debate with his colleague, James Hastings Nichols, about 
American ecumenicity. Nichols stresses the Old World idea of a single 
Church as the ideal form of Christianity. Mead thinks this does too 
little justice to God's continued revelation which in America has taken 
the form of "the American experiment." In this experiment, God is 
working out new patterns for the Church, patterns of which American 
Christians should be proud even if they do not coincide with old 
World precedents. The Disciples of Christ, in spite of the oft-repeated 
boast of being the earliest denomination originated on American soil, 
have too often been ashamed of failure to participate in Old World- 
style mergers as a measure of ecumenicity. 

A third support stems from the example offered by the American 
system of political parties as a means of discovering political truth. In 
this system each party has a truth for which it is responsible in its 
appeal to the citizenry. Neither party, however, can ever disregard the 


\'t 'Wr 

existence of or work to destroy the total effectiveness of the party 
holding the opposite point of view. Inherent in the system is the tension 
between the definitions of truth as given by the opposing groups. Grant- 
ing all the criticisms which can be levied against mobs or crowds voting 
as to what is really true, there is still a legitimate Christian sense in 
which the individual churches as custodians of different facets of the 
truth need to enter into a discussion in much the same sense as political 
parties do. 

As a sort of footnote it should be pointed out that we Disciples 
ought not to be too happy about conciliar ecumenicity. All too many of 
our attitudes are not only opposed to mergers; they are opposed also 
to effective councils. We are never free from the institutional pride 
which corrupts and frustrates Christian fellowship. We have much to 
learn about responsible participation in conciliar ecumenicity. 

We can be grateful to Dr. Blakemore for reminding us of the 
direction in which we may profitably move. 

(Authorship of the above is either unknown or misplaced. Will 
author please step forward and acknowledge himself.) 

THE SCROLL, the Bulletin of the Campbell Institute, published 
quarterly in July, October, January, and April. 

The Campbell Institute founded in 1896 is an association for 
ministers and laymen of the Disciples of Christ for the encouragement 
of scholarship, comradeship, and intelligent discipleship. 

OFFICERS, 1959-60 

President: George G. Beazley, Jr., Bartlesville, Oklahoma 
Secereary -Treasurer: Paul B. Kennedy, Ontario, California 
Editor of Scroll: W. Marshon DePoister, Orange, California 


The Officers of the Institute 

The Dues of tlie Campbell Institute are $2.00 per year, including 
subscriptions to The Scroll. 

Correspondence concerning manuscripts and other editorial items 
should be sent to: The Editor, Chapman College, Orange, California. 
Correspondence concerning membership and dues should be sent to: 
Rev. Paul B. Kennedy, First Christian Church, Holt and Vine, Ontario, 




The Journal of the Campbell Institute 

George G. Beazley, Jr. 


Howard E. Short 

Loren R. Fisher 


WilHam C. Howland, Jr. 

WilUam J. Nottingham 

Vol. LI Summer, 1959 No. 1 


The Editor of the Scroll for 1958-59, W. Marshon DePoister, found 
it necessary to resign from that position because he was leaving Chapman 
College, Orange, California to go into private business. It has fallen to 
your president, therefore, to get out this summer number of The Scroll. 

We appreciate the service which Marshon has given the Campbell 
Institute during these past two years as editor of The Scroll. This has 
often been a discouraging task, since members are lax in sending in 
material for publication and those solicited often find it necessary to 
refuse. We know Marshon will continue his interest in The Scroll and 
hope he will continue to send in thought provoking articles like those he 
has written in the past. 

The current issue of The Scroll contains a number of articles on a 
wide variety of subjects. The first is one by your president outlining his 
understanding of the task that lies before the Campbell Institute at the 
present time and some of the plans that have been made in discharging 
his duty. The second is an article by the editor of The Christian Evangelist- 
Front Rank, which he kindly consented to write on the topic we are using 
as our theme this year. The third is a stimulating essay by Loren R. Fisher 
on a subject of great interest now. Loren is professor of Old Testament 
in the Graduate Seminary of Phillips University and recently received his 
Doctor of Philosophy degree from Brandeis University. The fourth is 
a paper by William C. Howland, Jr., which he, as head of the section 
discussing "Specific Issues in Church Merger" at the Area Consultation on 
Christian Unity at Phillips University, read to those present. Your presi- 
dent heard this paper and felt that all of you would profit from reading 
this penetrating treatment of issues sometimes dodged. The last is an article 
by William J. Nottingham, dealing with an interesting project with which 
he is closely associated. 

We hope all of you are thinking and reading and that these activities 
will issue in papers for The Scroll. Francis Bacon proffered the advice that 
"Writing maketh an exact man". We think you need this discipline. We 
think you should share the results with The Scroll. 

George G. Beazley, Jr. 


First Christian Church, Bartlesville, Oklahoma 

In 1896 the brotherhood of churches now called the Christian 
Churches (Disciples of Christ) was in grave danger of degenerating into 
a sect. The broad movement out of which these churches had been precipi- 
tated had originally been vital and creative. Its leaders had been interested 
in blazing new trails in Christian unity and church polity. While many of 
their presuppositions about the scriptures did not differ markedly from 
those of the rest of the theologically contented Christendom, and while 
their thought was unaffected by the continental movements in biblical 
studies, that were to produce a major revolution in our understanding of 
the Bible, Barton, Stone, Thomas and Alexander Campbell, and Walter 
Scott did go to the scriptures with an expectancy of finding forgotten 
truths and with an excitement that kept their listeners and readers in a 
permanent state of argument and debate with those who preferred con- 
serving the status quo to venturing into a new understanding of that on 
which the Bible spoke. 

Now this had changed. In his latter years Alexander Campbell had 
been more interested in reliving the creative days of his past than in 
rethinking his earlier position. Nevertheless, it was his more immediate 
past that he relived. His living presence kept those who had progressed no 
farther than his Christian Baptist position from using his words for their 
purpose. With the close of the Civil War and the new conditions born 
out of the bitterness of reconstruction, and with the expansion of an 
exploding industrialization of the nation, those who saw the purpose of 
the brotherhood as the task of restoration and who saw no necessity for 
the church modifying its rural prejudices to make itself effective in a more 
sophisticated and urbanized culture, not only reaffirmed the Campbell of 
the Millenial Harbinger period but returned to the youthful destroyer of 
all organizational procedure of the Christian-Baptist era. The assumption 
of all of these leaders, rampant against open communion, musical instru- 
ments in worship, and paid and settled ministers known as pastors, and 
indeed of many men who did not share their hate against organization, 
was that the early years of our movement had completely explored and 
restored the church of the New Testament period and that no new truth 
about the nature of the church, which they saw as uniform and thoroughly 
crystallized, was possible. The two groups differed in the principles of 
application. The more conservative faction felt that where the scriptures 
did not speak innovation was prohibited. The more progressive faction 
felt that where the scriptures did not speak innovation was permissible and 
must be expected. With a few notable exceptions, however, both were 
agreed that the fathers of our movement had explored all possible interpre- 
tation of the New Testament church and had discovered the one pattern 
by which it was organized and the two definitely described ordinances 
which it observed. Almost no one ever asked if the church was really as 
uniform as those excited and creative early nineteenth century reformers 

felt it was and if its faith was so easily congenial to the psychological and 
governmental presuppositions of John Locke, who had so surely, though 
indirectly, shaped the frame of reference in which they thought. 

It is a fact of our history, deplored by some and regarded as cathartic 
by others, that the two factions separated in 1906, to form the Disciples of 
Christ and the Churches of Christ. That this inevitable separation took so 
long to become open was due to three factors. Our traditional plea for 
unity made us self conscious about schism and reluctant to own up to a 
division that actually had existed since shortly after the Civil War and 
that had been urged upon us by some of the leaders of the more conserva- 
tive faction. The rapid expansion of our numbers and our penetration 
into the vast reaches of territory acquired by our government in 1803 
and 1848 had kept us so busy with evangelism and the founding of new 
churches that we did not have time to carry our division into open breach. 
Equally important, or perhaps more determinative, was the fact that, while 
the leaders had defined their stand on this issue, the lay people, and even 
many of the ministers, were not fully cognizant of the difference and conse- 
quently were not sure where they stood. 

While this question was in ferment and long before the formal division 
of 1906 had taken place, forces in Christendom and movements in the 
culture of America were forcing upon the Disciples of Christ another issue 
that was to lead to another division among them, a division now very real 
and inescapable, but which has not yet become formal. These forces were 
just appearing on the horizon in 1896 when thirteen young men and one 
young woman formed The Campbell Institute. This society, which was for 
mutual encouragement in scholarship, in personal religious living, and in 
publication, was both a symptom of these forces and one of the main 
channels by which they made themselves felt in the brotherhood. It was 
not self-consciously such a channel, for despite the many accusations 
brought against it by its detractors. The Campbell Institute was never 
intended to be used as a technique for power nor a method for the 
education of others. It always has been and is today merely a forum 
for the free discussion of any and all issues involved in Christian thinking, 
living and church government and a mutual association for people who 
wish to encourage one another in a search for truth through an atmos- 
phere of friendly freedom. Dr. W. E. Garrison, the one surviving member 
of the original fourteen, has told the story of the origin of The Campbell 
Institute, both in The Disciples of Christ, a History, which he and Dr. A. T. 
DeGroot authorized, and in the Spring 1959 issue of The Scroll which is 
part four, volume fifty of this magazine through which The Campbell 
Institute has encouraged free discussion through publication. 

The first of these movements which was forcing a new issue on our 
brotherhood was the rise of the new biblical studies in Europe and their 
importation in America, where they produced scholars like William Rainy 
Harper and Benjamin W. Bacon who made their own original contributions 
to these researches. Like Stone, the Campbells, and Scott, these new 
scholars in Europe and America went back to the Bible to see what it really 
said. Like our early leaders their mood was one of expectancy and excite- 

ment. Like these, they stimulated expectancy and excitement in others. 
Like the fathers of our movement, they had slight respect for churchly 
pre-conceptions, no matter how hoary with age or how sacrosanct in the 
eyes of the clergy. They followed where their discoveries led, unmindful 
how many sacred cows were slaughtered in the process. Their learning, 
however, was much more elaborate than that of our early leaders. Most of 
them were thoroughly versed in the new literary criticism that was discover- 
ing levels of composition in the Homeric poems, were proficient not only 
in classical Greek and Hebrew but in the new lexical aids that had come 
through the discovery of the lost papyri in the sands of Egypt, were 
acquainted with other near Eastern languages, only dimly known in the 
early nineteenth century, and had a larger grasp of the world in which the 
Hebrews and early Christians had lived and thought, because archaeology 
was opening up a knowledge of that world that had not been available to 
men since its collapse in the fifth century A.D. The frame of reference in 
which these men thought was different from the Lockean world of Stone, 
the Campbells, Scott and the whole Jeffersonian-Jacksonian era of Ameri- 
can history. Some of them, such as Anstruc and Strauss were children of 
the Enlightenment, but of a more radical wing than Locke had represented. 
The others were conditioned by the Kantian view of man and its theological 
expression in Schliermacher and Ritschl and by the Hegelian view of 

The impact of this new force in Christendom made itself felt among 
the Disciples in many waves, the first two of which raised vast reprecussions 
among us. The first occurred in the late eighteen nineties and early nine- 
teen hundreds and emanated from the newly formed Disciples Divinity 
House at the University of Chicago. Its chief voice at the first was H. L. 
Willett, one of the charter members of the Campbell Institute. 

It was inevitable that sooner or later the Disciples should be brought 
into the circle of this exciting quest, which in many ways resembled their 
own beginnings. It was also inevitable that they would display two reactions 
to it. Some would welcome it, recognizing in it a late nineteenth and early 
twentieth century parallel to what their early leaders had attempted to do 
in the early nineteenth century. Others would regard it with fear and 
hatred, believing that all major truth about the New Testament church 
had long ago been discovered and that only disaster could come from 
opening up problems they had long since regarded as settled and closed. 
J. W. McGarvey, then President of the College of the Bible at Lexington, 
Kentucky, was the leader of this dissenting group. Through a column in 
the Christian Standard he attacked it with all the bitterness and logic his 
pen could command. 

It is one of the ironies of history that it was in the seminary where 
McGarvey had so long served that the second wave of excitement over this 
new technique should come. Here A. W. Fortune, E. E. Snoddy, and 
W. C. Bowers acquainted students with the new methods of Biblical study. 
The results were the same. Some welcomed the new techniques; others 
felt that all the solutions had already been found. Quite unwittingly their 
opponents played the same role in the twentieth century which the enemies 

of Stone, the Campbells, and Scott had played almost one hundred 
years earlier. 

The second force pushing our brotherhood into this new division was 
the rise of the ecumenical movement in Christendom. This movement was 
not unrelated to the new methods of biblical study, for reaction to these 
techniques and the findings brought about through them cut across denomi- 
national lines and made church leaders realize that the old divisions, while 
real and important, were in many instances less basic than this new con- 
servative-progressive division in Christendom. Men of different denomi- 
nations frequently found they had more in common with each other than 
they did with other men within their own historic church. 

The Disciples had been born out of a passion for unity. It was 
inevitable they should be attracted by this new movement. Now, however, 
a latent issue became evident for those who had the eyes and the realism 
to see it. Which was the most important, the goal of unity or the technique 
of restoration? And even if the technique of restoration should prove to 
be once again the key to unity, was the New Testament church, which 
they were attempting to restore to be the one the Campbells felt they 
had rediscovered in the early nineteenth century, monolithic in the rigidity 
of structure and doctrine, or was in the church, diverse in polity and doc- 
trine and unity only by its belief that God had revealed himself through 
Jesus Christ to save men, which contemporary examination of the New 
Testament was revealing? 

Two factions again resulted. One said that restoration was our reason 
for existence and that the only unity possible was that obtained through 
conformation to the New Testainent church the Campbells were sure they 
had found. The other admitted that upon re-examination the church of 
the New Testament seemed quiet different from what the Campbells 
claiined it to have been. These felt, therefore, that unity was our main 
reason for being and that only the freedom of doctrine and of polity prac- 
ticed in the New Testament churches and its principle of brotherly love, 
transcending all human definition of truth (even that of the Campbells) 
could bring unity to Christendom. To this they felt called to witness. 

In the Ainerican scene, these two forces in Christendom were paralleled 
by a third force that made division inevitable. The frontier had passed, 
and American life was becoming more urbanized. Two world wars were 
to bring it into closer contact with the thought of other cultures than 
its own. Such urbanization and internationalization have usually led to 
two reactions. Some welcome the insights brought by such expanding 
horizons and seek to understand, appreciate, and influence the new culture 
growing therefrom. Others wish to retain the old values of the receding 
culture and seek to reject, combat, and withdraw from this new culture. 

Among the Disciples of Christ, generally speaking, those who have 
seen restoration as the prime goal have adopted this latter attitude. It is 
only logical that they should do so, since it was this receding culture that 
created the framework out of which this type of restoration was born. In 

atmosphere and size they seek to retain, even in the metropohtan centers, 
rural churches. In preaching they present the understandings of the past 
with monotonous repetition. They train their ministers in small un- 
accredited Bible schools largely out of touch with contemporary thinking. 
While they are willing to adopt some of the techniques of the culture of 
which they are a part, such as its means of mass communication and rapid 
transportation, they do not feel that that culture has any positive values 
to give to the church. Though Stone, the Campbells, and Scott had 
accepted the new Lockean psychology and the new Jeffersonian-Jacksonian 
concept of democracy as valuable aids in the reformation of the church, 
these self-appointed guardians of their insights reject the positive values 
which the new psychology and politico-economic thinking of our age might 
have to offer. 

Among the Disciples of Christ, generally speaking, those who have 
seen Christian unity as the prime goal have welcomed the insights coming 
from the secular culture of which they are necessarily a part. They see an 
inter-related world means inter-relation in missions and in church relations. 
They see that urbanization is a fact. At least their inore thoughtful mem- 
bers see that a rural church may offer consolation and peace of mind and a 
type of social security to its members but that it cannot confront its culture 
with a gospel that, while retaining its own essence unimpaired and without 
apology, will express itself in terms that will be understandable to that cul- 
ture and will, therefore, be able to bring judgment on its sins and make 
strong its virtues and, above all, give meaning and therefore salvation to 
those whose lives are a part of it. 

The Christian Churches (Disciples of Christ) are by no means the 
only Christian body in America facing this division among its leaders and 
its membership. Every old-line denomination in America that is really 
coming to grips with this problem has either already experienced open 
rupture or has a division within it threatening rupture. The recent 
rumblings in the Southern Baptist Convention are only the latest procla- 
mation that even a denomination that has thought of itself as thoroughly 
united is feeling this tension. 

Because of our immersion in the rapid expansion that the so-called 
revival of religion in America has brought about, and because of our long- 
standing argument over independent or organized missions and the current 
discussion over open membership, the great danger to the Christian 
Churches (Disciples of Christ) today is that these sideshows may detract 
our attention from the real issues that are dividing us. The tensions over 
these lesser matters grow out of the main issue and are, therefore, im- 
portant. They are, however, not the real issue, and need to be seen for 
what they are, concrete expressions of the main cause of tension. If a 
breach must come (and this author, for one, thinks it inevitable), we should 
see that it comes over the real issue, not over symptoins, and that all under- 
stand where the crux of the problem lies. Otherwise, we will have another 
division started before this breach has become clear. If it can be 
avoided (as some believe), let it be because we have found a principle large 


enough to transcend a real division, not a panacea that will keep teinporarily 
quiet the noise over agencies and over church polity. 

It is for the purpose of encouraging its members in the scholarly 
study that makes issues such as these clear, of urging frank publication of 
their findings so that all may know the differing views, and of cultivating 
in them the deep Christian humility that can alone enable a group to 
survive such discussion that the Campbell Institute was called in to being 
and has continued to serve the brotherhood for over sixty years. It is to 
discuss fundamental issues in an atmosphere of frankness and sincerity but 
also of brotherly tolerance and understanding that the Campbell Institute 
has and will continue to hold its meetings. 

Its present leaders hope to do this service to the brotherhood in four 
ways. In states where there are enough members, it is encouraging "mid- 
night sessions" at state conventions, similar to the traditional ones held at 
the International Convention. These will discuss problems which are both 
too hot and as yet too little understood for the regular session. At certain 
well-known gatherings of ministers, such as the Hoover Lectures on 
Christian Unity at the Disciples Divinity House in Chicago and the Summer 
Conferences at the Union Theological Seminary in New York, it plans 
to gather ministers of the Christian Churches (Disciples of Christ) to listen 
to panels of their own members and to other leaders in the realm of theo- 
logical education discuss the movements in world Christianity today. 
Through the pages of its quarterly. The Scroll, it will offer all an oppor- 
tunity to publish their thoughts on any issue before us and to read what 
others of similar or radically different views may think. Through its 
traditional "midnight sessions" at the International Convention, it will 
create an opportunity for discussion on the above mentioned issues and any 
others which the ministers and the laymen of the Christian Churches 
(Disciples of Christ) wish to discuss. At the 1959 convention in Denver 
it will hold two sessions. They will be in a hotel parlor (to be announced 
at the convention) on the evenings of Monday, August 31st and Tuesday, 
September 1st. At the first, a panel of leaders will discuss "The Impact of 
Contemporary Theology on the Disciples of Christ". At the second, a 
panel will discuss "The Impact of Current Biblical Thinking on the Dis- 
ciples of Christ". At both, following the presentation by the panel, the 
meeting will be thrown open for discussion from the floor. 

In the words of the western movies and of T.V. shows, "The Camp- 
bell Institute rides again". Its enemies are the ones it has always fought: 
sectarianism, provincialism, and the willingness to hide differences under 
a blanket of the pretense that they do not exist. Its friends are the old 
ones it has proclaimed for years through the insignia on the front of The 
Scroll: Eleutheria, Aletheia — freedom, truth. 


Editor of The Christian EvangeHst-Front Rank 

It's always a pleasure to say something in The Scroll because its st)4e 
is so folksy and it stands in a class by itself. When writing for other 
journals which may come to mind, one has to be more careful lest the 
editor feel that what he produces is not compatible with the desired style. 

Unless the president of our august organization, the Campbell Club, 
had agreed to let me write of my impressions on this theme just as I might 
speak about them in informal conversation, I should not have attempted 
to say anything. There are two chief reasons why I am not undertaking 
a scholarly research into this subject. The first is that space does not 
permit such a presentation. If you don't know what the second reason is 
I feel all the better about it. 

First, I want to say that I doubt seriously whether contemporary 
theology has yet made any real impact upon Disciple thought. Here I 
am weighing carefully the word "impact." It sounds like a hard word. 
Road-builders have a tool they call an impactor and when it gets through 
impacting, the road-bed is solid. In this sense of the word, I don't think 
there is any solid influence of any one particular contemporary school of 
thought which can be said to have impressed itself upon Disciples suffi- 
ciently to alter their direction. 

Without waiting any longer, I must repeat the trite phrase that the 
Disciples are not a theological people. A lot of us wince at that old saw 
nowadays. Sometimes we get out of it by saying that anyone who believes 
anything is a theologian. But I think we know what the saying meant. 
It meant that our insistence upon the use of common sense and rational 
philosophy as practiced by Alexander Campbell, in particular, and empha- 
sized by many of our fellow-members in the twentieth century, militated 
against a set theological system. Some have said, of course, that this tech- 
nique in itself is one kind of theological approach. 

One of my colleagues used to say, "It's a lonely life," referring to his 
work as a professor of theology. Yet, this same person has told me that it 
has been one of the greatest pleasures of his life to have his field "recog- 
nized" by some of the brethren, at least, in the past decade. 

Therefore, I would say, that the whole impact of theological talk and 
writing in the past quarter of a century has, at least, created enough 
excitement among Disciples to make it possible for a man to be a professor 
of theology in a theological seminary without apologizing for his chair. 

Now I must turn to some impression of the influence (I shall use that 
word instead of the word "impact" for reasons stated above) of some of 
the various movements upon our people, as it appears to me. My second 
main point would be, therefore, that continental theology has certainly 
made its mark upon us. It is a little difficult to give it a name. Let me give 
a bit of personal history. 

About 1932, near the end of my seminary days, a prominent scholar 
spoke favorably at chapel one day about Kierkegaard. He claimed famili- 
arity with the man's writings and also seemed favorable to them. 

A much more rash young man than myself made it a point, a few days 
later, to offer the speaker something written in German, for his criticism. 
The chapel speaker replied that he did not read German. Now this 
student told me that he knew that only one small reference from Kierke- 
gaard had been translated into English at that time. I will say that he did 
not embarrass the professor by giving him this information. 

What I am saying is that at that time, it had become fashionable for 
people to speak of their close acquaintance with Kierkegaard whether it 
was true or not. The flood-gates opened from that time on. Three new 
"B's", Barth, Brunner and Bultmann, took the place of the old musical 

It's all very confusing, really. Today we speak quite glibly of exis- 
tentialism. Reading backward from current definitions, we see that every- 
one is an existentialist. I would recommend highly the article by Richard S. 
Ford, "Existentialism: Philosophy or Theology?" in Religion in Life, 
summer, 1959, and also Roger L. Shinn's little book. The Existentialist 
Posture, (Association Press). If you want to understand where we all are. 
Disciples and all, in the face of this quarter-century of new impact, these 
two pieces of reading will orient you considerably. 

But there is more than existential theory and philosophy in the 
influence of these continentals upon us. We don't talk very much now 
about form criticism and historical criticism, but certainly these two 
disciplines have left their mark upon practically every student of religion. 
Having been recently exposed more to the writing of fundamentalists and 
evangelicals than I was up until the present year, I have been surprised 
at the use they make of these disciplines. 

We will have to say that the impact of continental thought in all its 
forms have been rather largely second-hand upon us. Perhaps it is a little 
too early for us to have contributed a recognized scholar to theological 
circles which use this language. We have several good men who know 
what they are doing, I have no doubt about that. 

The reason I have mentioned this is that when a thing is second-hand, 
so to speak, its impact is always dissipated to some degree and very often, 
diverted in directions not entirely in keeping with the original system of 
thought. This is entirely in keeping with Disciple practice. One would 
hardly expect to find a "school of theology" among us. 


The third chief thing I want to speak of is the influence of the self- 
named "evangelical" theology of our time. I have heard one of their 
foremost leaders speak more derisively of fundamentalists, in informal 
conversation, than I would be willing to do myself. The "gimmick" of 
these evangelicals is that they are Biblical scholars, first-rate theologians, 
using all the tools of the trade, leaving fundamentalists far behind, and 
yet they have come out at the opposite point of view from those whom they 
call the modernists or liberals. 

It is difficult to assess what influence this thought has had upon our 
people, but I have a feeling that it has considerable effect upon those who 
feel better if they can cling to something which they consider old and 
dependable and more "true to the Book," under the aegis of scholarly 

Having stated three general conclusions, I would like to record some 
of the random samples that have come to my mind, which formed the 
basis of the positions stated. 

The last dozen sermons I have heard, some in local churches, some in 
conventions, leaned heavily to the program of the church, urging indi- 
viduals to get into the activity more fully. There was a present note of 
urgency that seemed quite existential and a conviction that progress is 
possible which was quite in conflict with at least some neo-orthodoxy. 

The language has crept in. One may sit in a group for hours and 
never know what the conversation is about, if he isn't hep to kerygma, 
I-Thou, Qahal, space-time continuum, the leap of faith, existence, ecclesia, 
encounter, the wandering people of God, and such. 

There is nothing wrong with this procedure until a person starts 
using it to impress others (or himself), like the person mentioned earlier 
who wanted people to feel that he was well-acquainted with Kierkegaard. 
One meets individuals who know what they are talking about, those who 
think they know and those who know that they don't know but want to 
make an impression. Certainly the language of current biblical theology 
is used in the brotherhood. 

There is considerable evidence that we are quick to pick up any 
evidence that a neo-orthodox theologian has confirmed a belief we already 
held. Witness the willingness of a journal to publish an article explaining 
Karl Earth's views on immersion as the New Testament baptism. Earlier 
memories of his views loosely called "modernism" by many of the readers, 
were buried under the resounding cheers for the new Barth. 

Actually, it will take a generation to assess the import of current 
theology upon us. But a student could begin right now, reading sermon 
manuscripts, Encounter articles, convention resolutions and letters to the 
editor and find enough to satisfy any decent professor's demand for 
a term paper. 




The Graduate Seminary - Phillips University 

There have been many attempts in recent years to restudy or rethink 
the position of the Disciples of Christ.^ This is an on-going process and 
we should constantly be at it. Not only should we rethink but we should 
allow the Gospel to judge us and reshape us. Over the years we have 
increased in size and our name is now well known, i.e. in most sections 
of this country. However, I am reminded of the teachings of Rabi Hillel 
who said, 

A name made great is a name destroyed, and he that in- 
creases not decreases, and he that learns not is worthy of death . . .^ 

The use of the paradox may be current but not new! The teaching is 
certain; it is so easy to rest on our "good" name and refuse to advance. 

The purpose of this paper is to briefly note the effect of current 
biblical studies on the thinking of Disciples — or would that be too brief? 
Perhaps we should change this statement to a question. What should be 
the effect of these studies on our thinking? 

In the past we have talked a great deal about our witness to New 
Testament Christianity. This is still important, but we must be very careful 
that our witness is not to a set of "dated" interpretations of the New Testa- 
ment. We do not always have to be novel, but our faith demands that we 
must be sound. Again, I want to refer to the Mishnah: 

. . . there may be a new jar that is full of old wine and 
an old one in which is not even new wine."^ 

It is just possible that some of our old positions and especially our slogans 
might be old and empty jars! 

Ideally, this study should probably include the influence of modern 
theology on Disciple thought. Especially since W. Pauck has used us as an 
example of a non-theological church.^ However, space will not permit 
even a complete paper on biblical studies (Though I doubt if we can keep 
theology out!). Many fields of biblical studies will not be included, e.g. 
the very important Coptic texts from Nag Hammadi^ or the recently pub- 
lished Akkadian texts from Ugarit.'' In fact, I want to limit this discussion 
to the field of Dead Sea Studies. Even this is hardly a limitation, but 
v/e can draw some good examples from this material which will illustrate 
some very important results in current biblical studies for us — this time 
old wine in old jars! 

Again allow me to quite from Rabbi Hillel: 

If I am not for myself who is for me? and being for mine 
own self what am I? and if not now, when?^ 


I am not interested in being over-critical of the Disciples. In light of the 
above teaching, I would say that we must stand for what we believe, but 
we had better know what we believe and what we are! If we do not measure 
up in any real sense to the church of Jesus Christ, when will we? We had 
better look alive or many younger ministers will not be with us to answer 
this question. 

The Dead Sea Scrolls are not an easy field of study. Too much has 
been written about them. One needs to read the scrolls. This presents a 
language difficulty, but if needed many of the non-biblical scrolls have 
been translated.' In addition two books can be highly recommended: 
Frank M. Cross, "The Ancient Library of Qumran" (Doubleday) and 
Krister Stendahl (ed.), "The Scrolls and the New Testament" (Harper). 


It has been known for many years that the teachings of Jesus are not 
necessarily new to him. One may read some of the same teachings that 
Jesus used in the Mishnah. The previous quotes from the Mishnah are 
good illustrations of this fact. This does not detract from the teachings of 
Jesus; it makes them all the more real. Besides, Christianity is not based 
upon a new list of teachings, but rather on a new act of God in the Person 
of Christ. 

The Dead Sea Scrolls furnish us with more material for biblical studies. 
The people of Qumran (the site near the Dead Sea where the people lived 
who hid the scrolls in the caves) also taught many of the same things that 
Jesus was teaching. It is not necessarily a question of borrowing but rather 
one of common backgrounds. For example, it would be a mistake to say 
that Matt. 5:5, "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.", 
is unique (even in emphasis) with Jesus. It is not necessarily unique to 
the people of Qumran, but even as Jesus was interested in this thought 
from Ps. 37:11, so the people of Qumran were interested in it — as seen 
from their coinmentary on this psalm. This means that the teachings of 
Jesus were very real and quite conteniporary. 

However, the question is still before us. What is unique about Christi- 
anity? Many have tried to answer this question. ^° None have been too 
successful. Disciples who have emphasized "essentials" (incidently, a bad 
change in the slogan which was "in Faith unity") should be interested at 
this point. What does the unique have to do with the "essentials"? or better 
the Faith? The relationship must be important, but it still remains unclear. 
There are many essential things in the New Testament that are held in 
common with the Old Testament, and with Rabbinic Judaism, e.g. a faith 
in Yahweh (unless we are hopelessly succumed to our own brand of Mar- 
cionism!). At the same time the unique things can be very essential 
or maybe only historical accidents. The difficulty that is before us is 
increased because we have been speaking of "essential things." 

Now, if we speak in personal terms the situation becomes clear. 
G. Florousky is right when he says, (referring to recent attempts to 
demythologize) , 


In fact, the modern plea is but a new form of that theo- 
logical liberalism, which at least from the Age of the Enlighten- 
ment, persistently attempted to disentangle Christianity from its 
historical context and involvement to detect its perennial "es- 
sence" ("das Wesen des Christentums") , and to discard the 
historical shells.^ ^ 

This does not mean that we do not need to understand history. Rather it 
means that history is "co-personal" and that we must understand persons 
and their events in context. A man does not just love the "essence" or the 
"unique" in his wife, and he is little more than beast if he only holds 
dear the things that she has in common with other women. He must 
relate himself to her existentially as a complete person — for better or 
worse. Now let us illustrate from Qumran. 

The Manual of Discipline indicates that baptism was important to 
the people of Qumran. It was also important to John's ministry. However, 
this does not mean that Christian baptism was not different. The form 
may not be unique, but it is the person of Christ that gives it Christian 
meaning. What does this say to Disciples or any other Christian group? 
It does not say that form, symbol, or even myth are unimportant, for these 
carry meaning.'- However, it does show us the importance of a correct 

The Lord's Supper is very important in the life and worship of the 
Disciples. Is the supper unique? After reading Karl Kuhn's article "The 
Meal"^^ in which he compares the meal of the Essenes at Qumran with that 
of the Christians, one sees that there are many things to rethink on this 
point. Kuhn does not carry the comparison too far. In fact he would say. 

The analogy of the meals is no more conclusive than, e.g., 
that of the community of goods, practiced by both groups. In 
Palestinian Christianity, Jesus of Nazareth and the redemptive 
significance of his person is the creative element. ^"^ 

This being the case it still does not deminish our interest in the details of 
the meal, and on the basis of Kuhn's article we would have to think 
seriously on the question of ever making it a meal with Passover meaning. 

Thus we see that we are in as impossible position when we insist on 
too many unique things (or did both groups get the same blueprint?). 
Rather, we should insist on the importance of the Person of Christ who 
lived in a very real situation. Krister Stendahl says, 

It is true to say that the Scrolls add to the background of 
Christianity, but they add so much that we arrive at a point where 
the significance of similarities definitely rescues Christianity from 
false claims of originality in the popular sense and leads us back 
to a new grasp of its true foundation in the person and the events 
of its Messiah.^' 


There are many more questions that could be asked at this point, e.g. what 
kind of church poHty is really New Testament? Or in other words, why 
was the "twelve" so important to both groups? Or do we violate our 
progress thus far in asking these questions? I think not. Especially if we 
remember that our faith is personal. If Disciples are still interested in 
early Christianity they must face these questions, but if they are only 
interested in their conclusions of the past, the questions will have little 
interest (this means liberal as well as conservative conclusions!). 


Do we preach the birth stories of Matthew and Luke as a part of the 
early proclamation or kerygma? I suppose that many do not do this, but 
others do it in many ways without really thinking. We, as well as others, 
tie these stories together in a very clever way at Christmas time so that our 
children can spend a very difficult time in future years disentangling them. 
What have these stories in common? Only Jesus. 

The Dead Sea Scrolls help us with this problem. For ages men have 
thought that somehow Matthew's birth account was connected with the 
Blessing of Balaam in Num. 24.^^ I, personally, was convinced of this, 
because Balaam was a "magi" of the East. In addition, in the Akkadian 
language the cuneiform sign for a god or a divine king would be the star. 
Thus, we have in Num. 24:17 "... a star shall come forth out of Jacob, 
and a scepter shall rise out of Israel; . . ." Matthew saw in this verse a 
messianic reference. But was he alone? From the Scrolls we have a 
Testimonia, i.e. a list of Old Testament passages which are understood by 
this congregation to be messianic. ^^ Num. 24:15-17 is among these passages! 
The "star" and the "scepter" seem to refer to the priestly and the royal 
Messiahs which were expected at Qumran.'^ Now it may very well be 
that Matthew's interest in the "star of Jacob" stems from his desire to 
present Jesus as a priestly Messiah. ^^ In fact, Matthew is interested in his 
book in presenting Jesus as a three-fold Messiah: a prophet like Moses 
(note the Sermon on the Mount), a king (in the line of David), and a 
priest. This is maintained elsewhere in the New Testament as well. Now, 
the Essenes of Qumran expected three separate persons. Therefore, it 
seems that Matthew presents Jesus as one who fulfills and combines these 
various expectations, and his birth story becomes very meaningful in light 
of his purpose. But we need to see this birth account from still another 
point of view. 

Traditional Judaism had very little if any place or use for the Suffer- 
ing Servant of God as seen in Deutero-Isaiah, but the people of Qumran 
thought of their teacher or perhaps of themselves (the One of God) as 
this servant. ^*^ The New Testament is still different because it seems to 
combine the vocation of the Suffering Servant with that of their three-fold 
Messiah. However, the early Christians were like the people of Qumran 
in that they were also in some way this servant, because they were expected 
to carry on and complete the mission of the Suffering Servant.-' Now, in 
some places in the Old Testament (e.g. Micah 4:6-10 or Is. 66:7-9) the 
figure of the servant is changed to that of a pregnant one who must suffer. 


In a very interesting hymn from Qumran the congregation — perhaps in 
the person of their teacher — is compared to a "woman in travail. "^^ 
It seems that through the struggles and hardships of "preparing the way" 
this congregation will give birth to the "Wonderful Counsellor." The 
Daughter of Zion even the Virgin of Israel brings forth the Messiah!-^ 
But, these thoughts should not be strange to the Christian. Rev. 12 pictures 
the church in the same role. W. H. Brownlee also points out that Paul is 
thinking in this way when he says in Gal. 4:19, "My little children, with 
whom I am again in travail until Christ be formed in you!"-^"* It is the 
church that must bring forth Christ. Again, Brownlee must be given credit 
in his excellent article for relating this to John 16:21,22 (however, he 
follows John Chamberlain in this). In this passage sorrow will turn to joy 
for "a man (anthropos) is born into the world." The use of man here is 
messianic and refers to the resurrected Christ, and the church must con- 
tinue to bring Him forth! This then is a very symbolic birth story and 
the Scrolls have helped us to see it. It really comes as no surprise because 
Luke represents Jesus' baptism as well as his resurrection as a fulfilment 
of Ps. 2:7, ". . . You are my son, today I have begotten you."-^ Thus, the 
birth of the Messiah is extremely important to the mission of the church — 
in fact it is its mission! This is an additional reason for viewing 
Matthew's account as symbolic and full of messianic meaning. If we are 
interested in the details of the birth of Jesus we must look to Luke, but 
even this is suspect. Luke relates his account so very close in form and 
content to the birth of Samuel that one wonders if Luke is in this way 
interested in the composite character of Samuel who was at least a prophet, 
priest, and judge! 

I think that all Christians want to know the real meaning of the Bible, 
but that is just the problem — ^ what is the real meaning? For instance, 
what do the words "forty years" mean in the Bible? Most now realize that 
here we are usually dealing with a "generation." In the same way some of 
us have used the birth stories as tests of fellowship — detailed narratives! 
Others have not seen their importance for Christology and Messianic birth 
by the church as she completes what remains of His suffering and m.ission. 


The Disciples have usually been Neo-Marcionite in their views of ihe 
Old Testament. In fact the term New Testament Christianity is rather 
confusing. It was not the New Testament that made them Christians but 
it was Christ. The New Testament was not their book, they produced it. 
The Old Testament was for both the Essenes and the early Christians 
their most important book. They were saturated with its content and 
thought forms. To study the law seemed to be the highest good. These 
two groups did not see in the Old Testament a different God, a different 
purpose, or a different love. From our point of view both groups misunder- 
stood the Old Testament in many places, but no more than it is misunder- 
stood today. In fact the Testimonia, where we see passages of scripture 
isolated from their context, would remind us to be patient with New 
Testament writers when they use a passage out of context, because in 
many cases that is probably the way they viewed it. After a study of the 


Commentaries of Qumran in which almost every verse of scripture is 
applied to their own times the New Testament writers seem to have 
restrained themselves rather well. Incidently, several things such as Paul's 
predestination (or is that a bad word?) seem a bit different when viewed 
in light of the extremist at Qumran. However, I am not overlooking their 
inconsistency in this matter nor Paul's — after all they were persons and 
not systems I 

The use of the Old Testament and other apocryphal works reminds us 
that the theological thought forms of the first century were rather 
consistent and Hebraic. Even the language of John's Gospel seems to fit 
this pattern. Logos seems to be losing its Hellenistic significance. The 
Hebraic sense of Word, implying act or event, is now seen as very im- 
portant. The Suffering Servant concept that we have discussed above is 
another thought form that is instrumental in the entire ministry of Paul. 
He even takes his missionary commission from the second Servant Song 
as seen in Acts 13:47. Thus a better understanding of Old Testament 
thought is imperative, because the New Testament writers lived and 
breathed it. 

From the biblical texts found at Qumran we have information that is 
a great value in the study of various textual traditions. Also, some texts 
reveal a rather popular character, and others have been copied by rather 
careless scribes. It seems that by the time of Qumran the canon was well 
established (though not officially) and little time is left for Maccabean 
Psalms as was once thought. These are only a few of the reasons why 
the Scrolls are so important for the Old Testament. 

Once again, what does this have to do with us? Must we also look at 
the Old Testament and see the events of our own times? For them the 
prophets were always speaking eschatologically, and they were living in the 
last days. No, we do not have to think in these terms, but it does help us 
to understand the situation that the early church had such a difficult 
time in overcoming. Namely, that the end was soon to come. This should 
remind Disciples that the early church grew in many ways and all was not 
delivered in perfect form at Pentecost. The response of the early 
Christians to Christ is very important, but so is the improved response 
inaportant which is ever on-going. 


We have left many things unsaid, but these are a few examples of how 
one area of biblical studies is contributing to important understandings. 
It seems like Disciples must be interested if they are alive? We must 
advance; we must invest. However, I do not necessarily mean in bigger and 
better programs. We must have the courage to suffer even the agonizing 
task of rethinking if we are to present Christ to our world. All must partici- 
pate. Again let me quote from Rabbi Hillel: 

Say not, when I have leisure I will study; perchance 

thou wilt never have 1 

ave leisure 



Jesus was always very urgent in his demands. If something was worth 
doing it was worth doing now. If not now, never! 


1. Aboth, 1:14 (These Mishnaic quotes are all according to Danby's trans.). 

2. Note William Robinson, Churches of Christ (Disciples) and the Ecumenical Age 
(The Berean Press) and also the article by Langdon Gilkey, "The Imperative for 
Unity; A Re-statement" in Issues In Unity (The Council on Christian Unity). 

3. Aboth 1:13 

4. Aboth 4:20 

5. W. Pauck, "Theology in the Life of Contemporary American Protestantismi" 
Religion and Culture, ed. by Walter Leibrecht (New York, Harpers, 1959.) 

6. The best place to get a start on these studies is probably in a book ed. by F. L. 
Cross, The Jung Codex, Three studies by H. C. Puech, G. Quispel, and W. C. 
van Unnik, (London, A. R. Mowbray, 1955). 

7. See my article "An Amarna Age Prodigal" Journal of Semitic Studies, April, 
1958, where an illustration is given of their importance. 

8. Aboth 1:14 

9. See T. H. Gaster, The Dead Sea Scriptures in English Translation, (Garden 
City, Doubleday, 1956) and Millar Burrows, The Dead Sea Scrolls and More 
Light on the Dead Sea Scrolls, both (New York, The Viking Press, 1955 and 

10. William A. Beardslee, "Identifying the Distinctive Features of Early Christianity" 
A Stubborn Faith ed. by E. C. Hobbs (Dallas, SMU Press, 1956). He reviews 
the views of Harnack, Nygren, Cullmann, and Bultmann. 

11. Georges Florovsky, "The Predicament of the Christian Historian", Walter Lei- 
brecht, op. cit. 

12. Amos Wilder, "Scholars, Theologians, and Ancient Rhetoric" Journal of Biblical 
Literature, March, 1956, page 9, note "Poetic truth is inseparable from poetic 

13. Karl G. Kuhn, "The Lord's Supper and the Communal Meal at Qumran", The 
Scrolls and the New Testament, ed. by Krister Stendahl (New York, Harpers, 

14. Ibid., p. 86. 

15. Krister Stendahl, "The Scrolls and the New Testament: An Introduction and a 
Perspective" ed. by Krister Stendahl, op. cit., p. 17. 

16. Krister Stendahl, The School of St. Matthew, (Uppsla, Almqvist & Wiksells, 
1954), p. 136. 

17. J. M. Allegro, "Further Messianic References in Qumran" Journal of Biblical 
Literature, p. 183f. 

18. Frank M. Cross, Jr., The Ancient Library of Qumran (Garden City, Doubleday, 
1958), p. 112. 

19. I have a detailed paper on this that is forthcoming. 

20. W. H. Brownlee "Messianic Motifs of Qumran and the New Testament", New 
Testament Studies, Nov., 1956. He has written a great deal on this subject. He is 
right when he equates the teacher with the servant, but this still doesn't make the 
teacher a Messiah. 

21. This needs a fuller treatment, but a great deal has been written. 

22. Ibid., p. 23f. 

23. Ibid., p. 24, note 2, "In Matthew and Luke the application of the prophecy is 
changed from the corporate Virgin Israel to the personal Virgin of Israel — The 
latter being regarded as representative of the former." 

24. Ibid., p. 25. 

25. Luke 3:22 (and note other texts) and Acts 13:33. 

26. Aboth 2:5. 


First Christian Church, Fort Smith, Arkansas 

This paper is not intended to replace or to supersede the paper pre- 
pared by Dean Blakemore and included in your Study Document. It is 
rather the intention here to supplement and enlarge upon some of the 
issues which Dean Blakemore includes and to raise some issues with which 
he does not deal. 

The paper professes to be neither original nor complete but consists 
of a compendeum of some of the thinking and writing being done in this 
field. It does not seek so much to answer questions as to raise them. It 
assumes that the nature of the unity we seek is some organic relationship 
to sister denominations. 

— I — 

The first specific issue to which we shall refer, an issue that would 
affect not only our relationship to the United Church of Christ but our 
union with half of Protestantism, is the question of Baptism. 

The Basis of Union for the United Church of Christ reads: "All 

persons who are members of either communion at the time of the union 
shall be members of the United Church. Men, women and, children shall 
be admitted into the fellowship of the United Church through baptism and 
profession of faith according to the custom and usage of each congregation 
prior to the union. When they shall have been admitted they shall be 
recognized as members of the United Church."^ 

As Disciples of Christ this immediately faces us with three problems 
in relationship to Baptism: 1) For want of a better term "believer's bap- 
tism" as opposed to "infant baptism," 2) The mode of baptism by immer- 
sion as opposed to sprinkling, 3) The definition of baptism as a symbol or 
a sacrament. 

Someone has written that "the effort to understand the meaning of 
unity has brought all of our evidence of disunity under judgment," and 
this is certainly pertinent at the point of baptism. Differences at the point 
of the concept and practice of Christian baptism presents one of the really 
stubborn problems of our disunity and requires a constructive adjustment, 
if not a change of understanding and practice, as a prerequisite to an 
inclusive unity in Protestantism. 

The problem which baptism presents to a united church arises from 
the fact that the divergent opinions concerning it lead to separatist and 
exclusive practices that divide and keep us apart. Almost without exception 
some form of baptism is required for admission to the church. This is 
statedly true of the newly formed United Church of Christ. However, 


within the universal agreement that baptism is not only an acceptable but 
a commendable practice there is the sharpest of disagreement as to what 
is properly to be called and considered Christian baptism. 

The most fundamental issue at stake here is that of the question of 
"believer's baptism" versus "infant baptism." Disciples and Baptists, and 
some other groups have long defended believer's baptism and have vigor- 
ously opposed any ceremony for infants which bears the name or meaning 
of baptism. On the other hand both the Congregationalists and the 
Evangelical and Reformed churches along with a great portion of Protes- 
tantism have contended that infant baptism is not only meet and right, but 
that its practice involves and symbolizes a very important aspect of the life 
of the Christian community which is easily overlooked and lost if such a 
practice is not followed. 

In years past the Reformed theologians have agreed with the 
Roman Catholic and Lutheran bodies in the practice and defense of infant 
baptism. Today there is within their ranks a heated discussion taking place 
over this very practice. It has been said that the only point upon which 
Barth and Brunner completely agree is in the rejection of infant baptism 
as a valid practice within the life of the church. Barth does not ask for 
rebaptism as in Anabaptist days, but instead of "infant baptism", a baptism 
which on the part of the baptized is a responsible act." Emil Brunner goes 
so far as to say, "The contemporary practice of infant baptism can hardly 
be regarded anything short of scandalous." In response to Barth and 
Brunner a new defense of the practice of infant baptism has come from 
two of the most distinguished Continental New Testament scholars of our 
day, Jeremias of Gottingen, and Oscar Cullman of Basel. ^ 

Disciples of Christ since the days of Alexander Campbell have rejected 
infant baptism as a valid practice. The arguments in defense of this 
position have been many. There has been the practical argument raised 
by the simple scrutiny of the obvious fact that there is real reason for 
questioning a practice that finds millions of persons who were once bap- 
tized as infants, who now as adults have no active relationship to the 
church. Baptism was something that happened to them as children without 
their consent or seeking. As adults their lives correspond in no visible way 
to the inherent meaning and obligation of their baptism. The number in 
this category is largest where there is a state church. Still we are very much 
aware of it as a part of the phenomena of the contemporary scene of 
church life in our own country. At the same time, there are few who would 
argue that our skirts are completely clean at this point for there have been 
innuinerable cases in which individuals who have experienced "believer's 
baptism" have to state it colloquially "strayed from the fold!" 

Too, the Disciples being a New Testament people and resting their 
authority for faith and practice in the Scriptures find no foundation for 
this practice there. Nowhere in the New Testament is there any specific 
mention of infant baptism as such. It may be correct that the word "hinder" 
in the verse "Let the children come unto me and do not hinder them", 
may have acquired a technical definition and use in the early church in 


relation to the baptizing of infants, as Cullman argues. Yet there is not 
conclusive evidence that Jesus meant by the opposite of "hindering" 
children the "baptizing'' of them. True, some of the households mentioned 
in the New Testament which received baptism may have included infants 
or small children, but we are never told explicitly this is true. An appeal 
to these incidents as a New Testament basis for the practice of infant 
baptism finds itself on pretty shaky ground. 

A third factor dear to the heart of Disciples has been the relation- 
ship of faith to baptism. We have reasoned that if we are saved by faith 
and that baptism is related to the process of salvation, that faith then must 
be a prerequisite for receiving baptism. To ascribe to a month old infant 
some kind of personal faith is to make a reckless use of that word. Where 
does faith play its part in infant baptism we ask? To say that the faith 
of some one else, the parents, the congregation, the Church, or Christ 
himself, is substituted for that of the child is to make a mockery of our 
understanding of faith and spiritual religion. Again, however, we in our 
practice of the baptism of children from the ages of seven to twelve under 
the guise of "believer's baptism" have opened ourselves to something of the 
same criticism and attack. 

The United Church of Christ, however, feels that there is ample basis 
for the community of the church practicing the baptism of infants. Their 
basic arguments involve this understanding. Baptism is the rite of entrance 
into the "People of God." The development of infant baptism arose from 
men attempting to think through implications of the rite of entrance into 
the community of the church. Ultimately the Jewish precedent was fol- 
lowed. In each case an adult was not received into the holy community 
until a person had shown his desire that this should be done through an 
expression of his own faith. But the children of parents who belonged to 
the holy community, it was reasoned, should be received at once with the 
expectation that through the experience of being related to the holy com- 
munity and receiving instruction, and devout living in a household of 
faith, faith would follow. It is quite true that this concept did not develop 
specifically out of any New Testament example. It was, however, the 
logical development of the meaning of baptism as reception into the 
"People of God." While later aspects have crept into the practice which are 
unfortunate, nevertheless, it was founded on a true insight into the com- 
munity of God. We are not related nor do we solely live in the household 
of God as isolated individuals, but in the context of families which God 
has ordained and established. 

Baptism, the argument runs, symbolizes a call of God to his people to 
be his own. Just as male Hebrews were circumcised at birth to repressnt 
their initiation into God's chosen people, so all infants, born of parents 
who have subscribed to the new covenant, should be given the Christian 
successor to circumcision, baptism. Naturally the infants cannot under- 
stand the death-and-resurrection significance of baptism; but their parents 
should, and in training their children they should make it possible for 
them to live in the light and the spirit of this truth rather than in a sense of 
bondage to death. The children are a part of God's true community and 


should be able to know this even before they take the church membership 
vows that confirm their relationship to the community.^ 

Baptism symbolizes the giving of the Holy Spirit. But it does more 
than syinbolize. It actually imparts the spirit. And here we come face to 
face with the "symbol" versus "sacrament" views. To neglect baptism is 
to neglect a means of grace that God has used effectively and mightily. 
To deny baptism to infants in Christian homes is to deny them access to 
this means of grace. If God so loves us as to give us baptism, why should 
we withhold from the children of believers this expression of His love. 

In baptism God has uniquely provided a way for the church of the 
new covenant to signify openly what God does personally and privately 
when he calls a person to belong to him in Christ. Baptism is a ready 
witness that the individual is called into the community of believers. 
Baptism becomes a means for the right ordering of God's church, for by it 
we can signify who is in the church."^ 

Who is to say how and when the Spirit calls a person into his church? 
Would it not seem a restriction on the Spirit to require that baptism be 
administered only after a certain age has been reached? It would seem 
more in the spirit of grace to baptize all infants of believing parents, and 
perhaps to err occasionally, than to postpone this rite and deny its benefits 
to those infants and small children who are under the Spirit's call. 

'Tn defending the validity of infant baptism we seek to recognize the 
great truth of the gospel that God's loving grace always precedes our turn- 
ing to him. Our faith is always a response to the antecedent grace of God. 
It is going too far to say that only infant baptism conserves this truth. A 
Baptist may likewise recognize that it is not his faith which has earned the 
divine gift. But when an infant child receives the sacrament of divine love, 
it is a vivid demonstration that the gift has not come through any merit 
but is a free bestowal of grace. Activist Americans need this reminder that 
the action of God always comes first. All that we can possibly do is to 
respond to what God has done for us in Christ."^ 

Gustaf Aulen has written in this regard, "The Baptism of infants shows 
us how our membership in the Church has its basis not in our own 
endeavors and efforts, but solely in the divine love and grace, and there- 
fore, also how this membership is quite independent of human judgments 
and decisions . . . For the justification of infant baptism it is not necessary 
to refer to isolated incidents in the New Testament. The justification has 
its foundation in the Gospel itself as the Gospel of the free and undeserved 
grace of God. This Gospel and the baptism of infants belong together."^ 

From the Oberlin Report came this statement, "The distinctive mark 
of those whose traditions include infant baptism is that baptism is the out- 
ward sign and seal that the child has now entered into the fellowship of 
the covenant people and/or the means of grace whereby the child is 
grafted into the Body of Christ. The significance of baptism is not to be 
found immediately in anything done by the child."'' 


This then is but a part of the "beHevers" versus "infant" baptism con- 
flict which we as Disciples cannot ignore. 

We cannot, however, stop here. A second major area of controversy 
involves the mode of baptism. Baptism, we have said, is the corporate 
action of the church by which it receives new members into its fellowship. 
In a large segment of Protestantism the manner of administering baptism 
is optional. We as Disciples have practiced only baptism by "immersion." 

There is general agreement that the Greek word "baptizo" means 
literally to "dip repeatedly." Still there are some passages where it can be 
interpreted to mean only "wash" in a general sense and cannot possibly 
require a complete immersion. (Mark 7:3,4; Luke 11:38; Acts 16:33) 
While this is true there is not much question that in the earliest days of 
the church the form of baptism was that of immersion. Surely this is pre- 
supposed in Romans 6:34 when Paul declares, "do you not know that all 
of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his 
death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death." "If 
dying and rising with Christ" is the only symbolism to be seen in baptism, 
there can be no question that total immersion expresses this more aptly 
than any other mode. However there are other images related to baptism 
such as "new birth" which are not so easily identified with nor symbolized 
by immersion. 

There are those who claim that immersion was not insisted upon very 
long in the early church, if this was ever the case. The earliest specific 
description which we discover related to the mode of baptism is that in the 
Didache, ascertained to be an early second-century document. This manual 
of the early church directs that the church should baptize "in running 
water; but if thou hast no running water, baptize in other water, and if 
thou canst not in cold, then in warm. But if thou hast neither, pour water 
three times on the head. (7:1-3)" This seems to be evidence that no spe- 
cific mode of baptism was compulsory. A supplementary confirmation of 
this argument comes from the fact that the earliest baptistries unearthed 
by archeologists were not deep enough to permit the total immersion of 

Some Disciples and Baptists have another defense for total immersion. 
They appeal to the words which Matthew ascribes to Jesus when he insists 
that John should baptize him. "Thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all 
righteousness." (Matthew 3:15). They underscore the word thus and 
conclude it to mean that Jesus was suggesting that a particular mode of 
Baptism, immersion, was necessary if one was to fulfill all righteousness and 
be validly baptized. Such contentions, argue others, are hardly worthy of 
refutation. For them the righteousness of God is not fulfilled by adhering 
to an arbitrary form of baptism. Obviously the word "thus", they contend, 
refers to the necessity which Jesus felt to come to John's baptism, not to a 
particular mode or form of administering that baptism. Jesus, they feel, 
would have come as readily had John been sprinkling or pouring. 

The fundamental fact of faith in regard to baptism is the act of 
transformation that can be accomplished. To identify any particular pattern 


or mode as the only mark of true baptism is to substitute an outer form for 
an inner reality. It is to establish a legalism in relation to that which is 
the prime activity of God's grace and spirit. 

A third aspect which we simply mention here is whether baptism is to 
be understood as a sacrament or a symbol. The Disciples' position has 
always been nearer that of the view of symbol. Our affinity here would 
be closer to the Congregational tradition than to that of the Evangelical 
and Reformed. 

At the point of the Disciples and immersion, C. C. Morrison has some 
interesting comments to make. Having discussed the adamant stand of the 
Episcopal Churches' attitude toward apostolic succession and the historical 
episcopate, he concludes by saying that the Episcopalians feel they are 
guarding this particular practice and tradition for the church. While in 
one sense they recognize the ordination of other groups, in another sense, 
they feel a divine responsibility to keep the succession pure for the church. 

He goes on to draw this analogy. "The immersionist denoininations 
are in much the same position as the Episcopal Church in respect to the 
historic episcopate. The analogy is precise. The immersionist bodies — 
Baptists, Disciples and numerous others — have traditionally thought of 
themselves as holding in trust for the whole church the practice of immer- 
sion, as the Episcopalians similarly feel that the hold in trust the whole 
church their historic Episcopate . . . 

The analogy extends even further. The rest of Protestantism reacts to 
the special acclaim of each of these groups in an identical manner. It 
regards each with virtual indifference. The rest of Protestantism (including 
the Episcopalians) regards the itnmersionist claim as an unwarranted 
inference from the New Testament writings and spurns with repugnance 
the idea that Christ commanded the physical act of immersion in water as 
a condition of fellowship in his church. Likewise, the rest of Protestantism 
(including Baptists, Disciples and other immersionists) holds the historic 
episcopate and the concept of apostolic succession as a nonessential, though 
venerable, institution and considers its own manner of ordination as fully 
valid. "^ 

This further word from Morrison is included to stimulate your think- 
ing. He says, "The Disciples originated as, in a true sense, an ecumenical 
movement. But their thinking later congealed into a sectarian pattern of 
the New Testament church which must be restored as the true basis of a 
united church. The exclusive practice of immersion became, not necessarily 
the most important, but certainly the most conspicuous feature of this 
pattern church . . . (Consequently), Instead of being a movement for 
church union they became one of the major problems to its attainment. "^° 

He goes on to report, however, there is a new resurgence of the 
original Disciple zeal for unity. "With respect to immersion baptism, 
Disciples churches in increasing numbers are accepting unimmersed mem- 


bers of other churches without rebaptism. The motive for this is not 
proselytism, but the desire to 'practice Christian union' within their own 
fellowship without pressing their exclusive practice of immersion to the 
point of sectarian dogma." 

The question is this, can we find that essential freedom within a united 
church that will allow for differing attitudes toward baptism? Can we 
agree that there must be a freedom regarding the mode of baptism and as 
wide a latitude in the interpretation of baptism as exists within the New 
Testament itself? Can we acknowledge that it is God who acts in baptism, 
and that he does not restrict his blessing to one mode or to one exclusive 
interpretation? For we as Disciples, as we seek to discover our place in 
the Ecumenical Church and as we consider union with other denominations, 
this is one issue which we cannot ignore. It requires our most thoughtful 
and prayerful reconsideration. 

— II — 

A second issue which along with baptism seems to me to be crucial 
in our consideration of union with the United Church of Christ, and an 
issue which Dean Blakemore refers to in his paper, is that of the form a 
United Church will take in terms of polity and structure. 

Granted that the Church must have some form if it is to be a definable 
body, what should that form be? Is it determined by the course of 
historical development and, therefore, subject to change under new circum- 
stance, or has God in his wisdom decreed one necessary form which is an 
essential mark of the Church? 

For instance the Presbyterians are wedded to presbyteries, Methodists 
affirm the desirability of episcopal supervision; the Disciples of Christ 
have held out for the independency of a congregational type structure. 
The Anglo-Catholic group hold to the necessity of the episcopacy because 
that office is understood by them to involve apostolic succession. And out 
of this malaise of structures, we are faced with two mutually exclusive 
positions which claim the sole validity for the particular form of the church 
— the freer Protestant churches versus the Anglo-Catholic tradition. 

To make this more concrete by illustration, both Southern Baptists 
and the Anglo-Catholics are saying that all others should surrender to the 
truth as they see it. The only alternative for either of them, according to 
their own opinion, would be disloyalty to the gospel; and no Christian can 
in good conscience ask for that. God wills unity; of this they are sure. 
However, they are equally sure that God wills unity according to their form 
and structure. The rest of us drift somewhere to and fro on the miisty 
flats in between these two extremes. 

The Basis for Union of the United Church provides for Conferences, 
Associations, and Synods beyond the local congregation, these groupings 
having some authority resident within each division, established to conduct 
their business in their own way. The basic unit of the organization is the 
congregation, the local church. The government of the United church 

is exercised through Congregations, Associations, Conferences, and the 
General Synod in such wise that the autonomy of each is respected in its 
own sphere, each having its own rights and responsibihties in principle. 
The constitution which will be drafted after the consummation of the union 
shall further define them but shall in no wise abridge the rights now 
enjoyed by congregations. 

The question is where does this leave us, the Disciples of Christ? 
While, in oractice we have not adhered to it, we have held the theory 
that regards the local church as invested with complete independence and 
autonomy, and have rejected every form of connexionalism which involves 
any ecclesiastical bond or union between local congregations and the church 
as a whole. 

Our position along with other congregationally formed groups has 
rested on the conviction "1) that the New Testament knows no other 
empirical church except the local congregation. 2) that these congregations 
were independent and autonomous, there being no organized or recognized 
churchly interdependence among them. 3) that the emergence of organi- 
zation (assumed to be sometime after the New Testament period) repre- 
sented an apostasy from the order established at the beginning, and 4) that 
this New Testament pattern is normative and mandatory upon the church 
for all time".^'^ 

Recent investigations in the field of Biblical study and scholarship 
have all but blasted our balloon of dependence upon the New Testament 
as a proof text for our form of church polity. The fact is that according to 
the New Testament itself, the individual congregations were not entirely 
independent. True, there was no formal organization into diocese or 
presbytery or denomination. There was no one pattern of integration by 
which their unity found expression. Yet at two points, as pointed out by 
Clarence Tucker Craig, there were distinct limitations upon the autonomy 
of the local church. These lay in the authority of the apostles and the 
primacy which was exercised by the church at Jerusalem. In the case of 
the apostles, it was the personal and moral authority of these who alone 
could bear firsthand witness to the revelation of God in Christ Jesus. 
In the case of the Jerusalem church, it was a parental solicitude for the 
churches to which it had given birth and which recognized in love the 
mother's right to guide her own children. The point here, however, is not 
as to the kind of authority that was exercised but the fact that it was recog- 
nized by the local congregations.^^ 

That is to say, even in the earliest period of Christianity, no local 
church claimed independence and autonomy. Such a claim would have 
been repugnant to the churches themselves. They had as yet no ecclesi- 
astical organs through which to express their interdependence and unity, 
but they were one church, the veritable body of Christ, and were being 
guided by the Holy Spirit to the attainment of a structure through which 
their unity could be given empirical manifestation and guarded against 
division into multitudinous anarchy. In a word, the church was ecumenical 
from the beginning. 


Returning to the congregational idea, whether we are willing to admit 
it or not, we so-called congregational denominations which are hopeful of 
possible inclusion in the ecumenical movement, are only theoretically com- 
mitted to this principle. In actual practice we are not truly congregational, 
we have an organized unity of local churches for which there is no 
specific pattern in the primitive church. The body that comes nearest, 
according to Morrison, to the actual practice of the independence and 
autonomy of the local church is the Churches of Christ — our own abortive 
child. They live in their shell under the illusion that they have actually 
restored the primitive church, and they are antagonistically indifferent to 
the ecumenical movement. The fact is that those of us who claim Congre- 
gationalism differ from the connexional denominations only in degree 
despite our loud protest and rabid defense to the contrary. 

Look at our own church for instance. We transact our denominational 
affairs in great popular mass meetings of our members who attend as indi- 
viduals, though, in each case an informal gesture is made toward the idea 
that each person "represents" his local church. Several years ago we 
supplemented our mass convention with the Committee on Resolutions 
consisting of more than two hundred persons appointed on a proportional 
basis by the state conventions. This committee sits continuously throughout 
the entire period of the convention. To it all reports of agencies, all 
resolutions and matters of business are referred and brought back to the 
main convention with recommendations. You see at this point, for just 
one example, we Disciples have substantially modified the extreme Congre- 
gationalism to which we do homage. Our state conventions too, have 
come to some degree to be responsible intermediaries between the churches 
and the Brotherhood. Even our long time practice of ordination by one 
local church is coming to be seen as a usurpation of a function which 
rightly belongs to the church as a whole. 

And whether we want to admit it or not — all of this is a far cry from 
the infant church of the New Testament which "radical Congregationalism" 
theoretically claims to "restore". Still, however, let us be careful to recog- 
nize that it is equally a far cry from those denominations which frankly 
avow the principle that every local church is an organic part of the whole 
church, with responsibilities which transcend its independence and auton- 
omy. But let us repeat. The difference between the two is a matter of 
degree and of order and of true democracy, rather than sacred principle. 

At this point, it might be well to say that for a long time the Congre- 
gationalists have been the lest congregational in the congregational group. 
Their associations have been recognized by local churches as having a 
legitimate interest in the ordination of a minister, in calling him to a parish 
church and installing him in it. Their General Council has been fairly 
representative of the association and local churches. Consequently, the 
step into the form of government and structure of the United Church is 
not near as long a step as it would be for Disciples. 

Again I want to quote from C. C. Morrison as a stimulus to our think- 
ing for it is so contrary to what we as Disciples have theoretically held. He 


says "As for the claim as to which is the more d.em.ocratic, the congrega- 
tional or the connexional, the advantage would seem to lie with the con- 
nexional. The difference between them in actual practice is one of degree 
instead of principle. That is to say, in one group the democratic process 
is provided with more orderly and dependable procedures than in the 
other. This difference appears in the ecclesiastical functioning of the 
denomination as a whole. Both types of denominations have the same 
kind of agencies — missionary, educational, evangelistic, philanthropic, 
public relations, ministerial pensions, social action and the rest. These 
agencies are functions of the unity of the denomination. They represent 
the interdependent integration of its local churches. 

One would expect, in the case of the denomination which makes high 
claim for the autonomy and the independence of the local church, that its 
local churches would desire and assert their democratic right to participate 
effectively in directing the operations of these agencies. It does not appear 
that they have such a desire. At any rate, they allow a great mass meeting, 
consisting of those members of their churches who wish to attend (and who 
usually pay their own expense), to hear reports of the agencies and approve 
decisions made by ad hoc committees or by the agencies themselves. Only 
a small fraction of the local churches are "represented" in these mass 
meetings which are always overloaded by those from the churches in the 
immediate region where the convention is held. This loose and relatively 
irresponsible procedure is the basis on which the claim of superior democ- 
racy is made. But it is not truly democratic. It results inevitably in the 
concentration of responsibility in the hands of those who are interested in 
exercising it. Not infrequently, this has resulted in the virtual control of 
the policies of the whole denoinination by an elite group . . . 

To claim that its churches are free in such a system is an affront to 
democratic intelligence. They can be truly free only in a system in which 
the delegated or representative principle inherent in democracy is provided 
by a polity that evokes from the grass roots of the local churches their 
advice and consent. This the denominations of the connexionalist type 
grant to their local churches in an orderly procedure through presbyteries 
and synods (the particular name is immaterial) in which each local church 
is reoresented. For this reason, it must be claimed on behalf of the Presby- 
terians, Lutherans, Episcopalians and Methodists that they are more demo- 
cratic than their congregational neighbors."^"* 

What form a united church should take we must discover. Whether 
the United Church of Christ is the direction we must decide. But it is 
obvious, I think to everyone, that a united church, emerging from the disso- 
lution of the churchism of the denominations, must itself assume a struc- 
ture or form all its own. It need not and should not be an elaborate form. 
But it should provide those orderly procedures that will enable the church 
to enjoy an integrated ecclesiastical fellowship and to act as a whole in those 
matters which are the true functions of the whole church. That this is 
possible without restricting local autonomy in these matters which are the 
true functions of the local congregation is universally recognized. But all 
parts of the church must be integrated on the broad principle of their 


transcendent obligation to the whole church. It is quite unthinkable that 
any part of the church should set itself up as absolutely independent and 
autonomous. Least of all could local congregations so consider themselves. 
Nor can the whole church consider itself superior to or independent of the 
local churches. 

We must search and we must find an acceptable and adequate structure 
for the church. An appeal for radical independency from the basis of the 
biblical practice itself is no longer adequate. To believe that the Bible 
contains what is essential for salvation does not carry with it the corollary 
that the forms of the organization it presupposes are immutable. 

A static biblicism which is unresponsive to new needs and does not 
recognize a continuing guidance by the Holy Spirit is an enslaving chain 
which we have no right to wear. God did not die and then bequeath a book 
containing a permanent and unchangeable charter for his Church. What 
is appropriate for a child is not necessarily adequate for an adolescent or 
adult. So likewise, the forms which were appropriate for the first genera- 
tion of believers are not necessarily adequate for all time. Even though there 
were no limitations upon congregational independency in New Testament 
times, it would not follow that the church was unjustified in developing 
them later. 

No church should be so wedded to its present forms that it cannot 
make concessions to those who come from other backgrounds. Some sacri- 
fices must be made for the greater good the effective realization of the one 
Church of God. 


1. The Basis of Union of the Congregational Christian Churches and The Evangeli- 
cal and Reformed Church with The Interpretations. Published jointly by Executive 
Committee of the General Council . . . page 9, Section VII 

2. Clarence Tucker Craig. The One Church, Abington Cokesbury, New York 

Copyright 1951, Page 79 

3. Ibid., Page 82 - 85 

4. George L. Hunt, Rediscovering the Church, Associated Press, New York 

Copyright 1956, Page 84 - 94 

5. Craig, op. cit.. Page 93, 94 

6. Gustaf Aulen, The Faith of the Christian Church, Muhlenberg Press, Philadelphia 

Copyright 1948, Page 379-385 

7. Paul S. Minear, The Nature of the Unity We Seek, Bethany Press, St. Louis 

Copyright 1958, Page 197 

8. Tucker, op. cit.. Page 86. 

9. C. C. Morrison, The Unfinished Reformation, Harpers, New York 

Copyright 1953, Page 167 

10. Ibid., Page 168, 169 

11. Ibid., Page 169 

12. Ibid., Page 175, 176 

13. Craig, op. cit.. Page 60 - 68 

14. Morrison, op. cit., Page 180, 181 




The world-famous Michelin tourist guide introduces Marseille with 
the following description: "Twenty-five centuries make Marseille the oldest 
of French's big cities. Today it is second in population. Admirably situated 
in a great bay surrounded by limestone bluffs, it is singularly appealing 
with its animation and gaiety overflowing throughout the downtown area, 
especially along the famous Canebiere and around the Old Port. 

"First among the seaports of France, it owes everything to the Mediter- 
ranean, which extends along the beautiful drive around the Corniche and 
which can be admired not only from the heights of Notre Dame de la 
Garde but from the city, itself, preferably at sunset. Marseille is also a 
great industrial center featuring oil refineries, soap factories, flour and 
cereal production, and steel mills. 

"The creation of new port facilities and the development of the 
Rhone River, the Berre basin and the oil port of Lavera, the importance of 
which grows with the arrival of oil from Africa, will make Marseille one of 
the foremost European ports." 

The character of this exceptional city is further depicted with a special 
warning to the tourist to drive with extreme caution. Traffic, reflecting 
the temperament and spirit of the population, is described as "intense" 
and "disconcerting" ... to say the least! 

Six hundred years before Christ, Phocian adventurers landed here. 
Greek merchants brought prosperity. Rome stretched the mantle of 
authority and protection over the little city-state. Skin-divers of the 20th 
century have found the remains of those ancient times off the coast. 

European history can be traced through its annals from the rivalry of 
Caesar and Pompey to the Nazi occupation, from the Crusades and the 
Black Death to visits of the Forrestal and the arrival of Moslems from 
war-torn Algeria. The presence of the fez and burnoose in the colorful 
crowds is, in fact, the reason for the presence of CIMADE — ecumenical 
service organization of the French churches — in Marseille. Crossroads 
of Europe, Africa, and the Near East since time immemorial, Marseille 
represents an acute social problem today in view of French-Algerian rela- 
tions and challenges the Church of Jesus Christ to justify its long associa- 
tion with European civilization. About 12,000 North African laborers 
are employed in the vicinity of Marseille, and between 1500 and 2000 fami- 
lies live in the tenements along Rue d'Aix or in one of the numerous shanty- 
towns stuck in odd corners throughout the city and called bidonvilles by 
the French. A bidon is a large tin can. Another 17,000 are estimated to be 
in transit through Marseille, and the number arriving and departing for 
North Africa each month is from three to four thousand. Forty percent 
cannot speak French, the vast majority are illiterate even in Arabic, and 
they are all suspects of terrorism in the eyes of the police who patrol in 


pairs or groups of three and are prompt to look into every commotion or 
assembly on the streets. 

True to its spirit and method, CIMADE is interested in the dis- 
inherited regardless of race, religion, or politics, as someone has said: "sans 
profile". It works through a team which lives as closely as possible to the 
people, and it attempts to realize the love of Christ in a real encounter 
with the conditions of their existence. It hopes to be at the same time a 
means of God's grace for the "reconciling of the nations" and the mani- 
festation of the prayers of countless Christians who carry the suffering of 
North Africans upon their hearts. 

The tragedy of French-Algerian tensions affords no simple analysis 
and no unambiguous solutions. In the opinion of the present writer, history 
often presents not only a point of no return but also a point of no issue. 
Justice becomes injustice through reaction, and the eventual consolidation 
of power justifies itself within a favorable contex. The Christian revelation 
recognizes the inevitability of historical impasse but also its redemption, 
which is to say the suffering of Christ for humanity and the confirmation 
of the value of man's life under the worst possible circumstances. And the 
suffering of Christ, like the resurrection, takes place not only in the distant 
past but "in eternity" and therefore in the new life of every Christian. 
The Christian is not only reconciled in the midst of impasse and given 
hope in place of dispair; he becoines a part of the reconciliation, a sign 
of judgment and grace, and a creative element by the grace of God the 
Creator. Hence, political ignorance is no excuse, and political wisdom is 
not enough; for the Christian, the seriousness of the world's problems are 
reflected in the love which God causes to mount up in his heart, which is 
God's self-manifestation in the world and which results in lives of service, 
intercessory prayer, and shared sorrows and joy. 

CIMADE began its work here two years ago at the invitation of the 
Protestant ministers of Marseille, with after-school activities for children, 
evening reading classes for men, and home-making instruction for women 
and girls. The team includes two young women — one a nurse born and 
reared in Algeria, the other a social worker, daughter of a French admiral 
— two young men from Switzerland, an Arab-speaking "brother" from the 
Protestant community of Taize, a part-time worker for teen-age boys, and 
a handful of volunteers. The main center is in the shabby neighborhood 
of Rue d'Aix not far from the port, in the heart of the vice and crime of 
Marseille. The narrow backstreets are crowded with Arab venders. Packs 
of olive-skinned children scurry among the boxes and push-carts. Over- 
head in the twisting alleys, bird-cages, clothes lines, housewives banging 
shutters and gossiping in shrill voices across the window-sills give the 
impression of a "casbah". The warm Mediterranean sunlight streams along 
orange-tiled rooftops and down among weather-beaten buildings. 

Through a long, dark archway, past the doorways of several work- 
shops, and down a set of stairs troop thirty to sixty children five evenings 
each week. Undisciplined and bursting with energy, they are patiently led 
by songs, games, and crafts to discover new capacities within themselves 


and within society. Every Thursday and every other Sunday, they are taken 
on an outing in the countryside around Marseille, Thursday rather than 
Saturday being the day that school is out in France. In the summer, there 
is a chance to go to camp, and on holidays there is always something special 

Every night except Sunday, from 6 to 10 o'clock, in an adjoining room, 
twenty to thirty Algerian and Tunisian men apply themselves to learn to 
read and write. Rough-hewn white-washed beams form a low ceiling; 
worn brick and cement floors show the great age of the buildings, formerly 
an olive oil mill. There is something equally anachronistic in the illiteracy 
of these adults. What a liberation of the spirit to be able to sign their 
names! What a relief to be able to understand their paychecks! How 
much self-respect to be able to read the newspaper! 

In the midst of reading a passage in the Laubach books or the ele- 
mentary stories in the children's reader, a friend interrupts with a whisper, 
and an earnest discussion in Arab follows; the two retreat half-embarassed 
into the ante-room, leaving the volunteer puzzled. The instructor, German- 
born Frere Ulrich of Taize, sticks his head in the doorway and explains 
that it was the reader's turn in the CIMADE showers. 

During the afternoons, the women team-members rsceivs Moslem, 
wives and mothers at the center or q,o to their homes for instruction in 
sewing, childcare, or the three R's. The acceptance of Europeans in their 
apartments represents a notable gain in bridging the gap between two 
widely different worlds. At the same time, it opens a window of sorcery and 
superstition. In the North African community in Europe, especially in 
Marseille where there is not even a mosque, Islam has only a superficial 
place in the lives of the people. In spite of its being a religion of the Book, 
there is illiteracy. In spite of its prohibitionism, there are alcoholics. In 
spite of its divine providence, there are fortune tellers, evil spirits, and 
witchcraft. Fear and sadness haunt their lives. 

On the outskirts of Marseille, an encampment of concrete quonset 
huts, called demilunes, and emergency housing serves several hundred 
families. CIMADE installed a barrack and remodelled an old "40 and 8" 
railroad car (quarante hommes ou huit chevaux) of World War I fame 
with the help of an ecumenical work camp. Two Swiss laymen from Lous- 
anne live and work there, conducting a program similar to that at Rue 
d'Aix and the club-room for adolescents at Boulevard des Dames. Volun- 
teers help with a nursery two mornings each week. A men's group meets 
evenings. A wading pool and play-yard are enjoyed by the children in 
the summertime. 

The work of CIMADE is financed with the help of sister churches in 
other lands through the World Council of Churches. Close contacts are 
maintained with the governmental agencies, private charitable organi- 
zations, and the Roman Catholic missions. CIMADE also works among 
Moslems in Dakar, Algiers, various remote sections throughout France, 


and is planning a post in the slums of Lyon. In addition, its work includes 
refugees from Eastern Europe, students from portions of the French Com- 
munity in Asia and Africa, the French working class in certain areas, 
prisoners and ex-convicts. It is the Church World Service and World 
Council of Churches representative for France, with a constant emphasis on 
Christian unity. Marc Boegner, widely known among leaders of the ecu- 
menical movement, is president of CIMADE. 

THE SCROLL, the Bulletin of the Campbell Institute, published 
quarterly in July, October, January, and April. 

The Campbell Institute was founded in 1896 as an association for 
ministers and laymen of the Christian Churches (Disciples of Christ) for 
the encouragement of scholarship, personal religious living, and publication. 

OFFICERS 1958 - 59 

President: George G. Beazley, Jr., Bartlesville, Oklahoma 
Vice-President: Robert A. Thomas, St. Joseph, Missouri 
Secretary-Treasurer: Paul B. Kennedy, Ontario, California 


The Officers of the Institute 

The dues of the Campbell Institute are ^2.00 per year, including 
subscriptions to The Scroll. 

Correspondence concerning manuscripts and other editorial items 
should be sent for the present to George G. Beazley, Jr., First Christian 
Church, P.O. Box 117, Bartlesville, Oklahoma. Correspondence concern- 
ing membership and dues should be sent to Paul B. Kennedy, First 
Christian Church, Holt and Vine, Ontario, California. 




The Journal of the Campbell Institute 

Ralph G. Wilburn 

George Earle Owen 


Paul Gary 


Robert H. Boyte 

Robert Wilmont Williams 

Charles Otis Lee 

George G. Beazley, Jr. 

^ol. LI FALL, 1959 No. 2 


Dear Reader 

It is with a somewhat red face that I sent you the 1959 
Fall Issue of The Scroll in the first months of 1960. Illness, 
coupled with a full schedule as pastor, are the excuses I must 

Once again the material will be characterized by variety, 
Vfe have a large number of interesting articles, Ralph Wilburn, v/ho 
always gives us somiething to think about, has produced an excell- 
ent article, "Reflections on the Unity 'we Seek." This article is, 
in substance, the lecture which Ralph gave at the Consultation on 
Christian Unity at the College of the Bible, Ar^ril 7-10, 1959, 
George Earle CX-ren, who has long ago convinced us of his administra- 
tive ability and his gift for seeing missions in the theological 
and philosophical context, proves that he also courts the muse in 
his Three Poems and is a creator of no mean ability. 

At my request Paul Gary has given us his imipressions of and 
reflections on the first panel held at Denver, Actually the title 
of the discussion was "The Impact of Contemporary Theology on the 
Christian Churches (Disciples of Christ," but this does not prevent 
the article frcra bringing to us the incisive analysis and sound 
thinking which those of us who know Paul have come to expect of him. 

This fall, my good friend and able associate in the ministry, 
Bob Boyte, had been beefing to me about the understanding of the 
multiple ministry reflected in som.e of the questionnaires he had 
been receiving. I twisted his arm and got him to put down his own 
reflections in an article for The Scroll . The result is the usual 
{penetrating discussion which he produces. "The Night I Resigned 
from the Human Race" is a thought-provoking poetic morality by one 
of our chaplains, Robert Wilmont Williams. I think you will enjoy 
reading it as much as I have. Ko part of this poem may be repro- 
duced without the permission of the author. 

Last of all your long-winded Editor and President has out- 
lined the program which the officers of The Scroll have projected 
for this year. I'fe hope you will approve, for we are very excited 
about i t . 

You will notice that The Scroll is printed in offset press 
this time. CXir bank balance is too low for set type, and we wanted 
you to have all four issues. 

Yours for free discussion. 

George G. Beazley, Jr. 


Ralph G. Wilbur n 
College of the Bible, Lexington, Kentucky 

Vfe begin \\'ith the assumption that the essential nature of the 
church is determined by the revelation of God in Christ. Why are 
vre justified in beginning with this assumption? Because the unique 
thing about the Christian community is that the si±!stance of its 
life is derived from the prophetic moment of its beginning: the 
fellovrship-f orming influence of Jesus as Christ. 

The church is not an institution; it is the "people among the 
people" which has heard and committed itself to the call of God's 
V/ord in Christ, and which is conscious of the abiding presence of 
His Spirit in its midst, to judge, to redeem, and to reconcile man 
to God and to one another. The church is a fellowship of persons 
in Christ, the vital center of v/hich is the spirit of Christlike 

I. From this assumption it follows that the basic character of the 
togetherness of this community is determined by the act of God in 
Christ, which gave it birth, and by l^;hich it grows and is sustained ,! 
in history . 

The unity of the church is therefore a given unity. It is a 
unity of God's making. 

Ehiring the past quarter century, the popular, liberal view of 
the church as a mere voluntary religious association or a mere 
human contrivance growing out of the natural need for fellowship, 
has steadily lost ground, due mainly to developments in theology anc 
biblical studies. As a result of the shift toward greater evangel- 
ical def initeness in recent theology, the church has been rediscov- ', 
ered, as the community of God's creation. 

It follows from this God-given character of the church that 
its unity cannot be correctly understood merely as growing up from 
below, as a summation of sociological adjustments, however much 
these are involved. If the unity of the church were merely some- 
thing which religious men meet and decide upon, we would be at lib- 
erty to choose what class or race should be included, and what ex- 
cluded. But church unity is not so determined. The church is the 
Body of Christ ; it is a gift coming down from above. This redemp- 
tive act of God establishes the unity of the church as a power of 
reconciliation, breaking down the barriers, so that "there is nei- 
ther Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is nei- 
ther male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus."-'- 

On the basis of this Christological foundation, I should likei 
to do two things in this article. First, point out the fallacies 

1 Galatians 3:23. 

of two basic types of unity, to which the church, in wide areas of 
her life, has adhered, types which persist to this very day, irr.ped- 
ing the growth of a more adeguate manifestation of the unity which 
God has given us. Second , we shall describe briefly two fundamen- 
tal aspects of true Christian unity. 

II. The Fa 1 lac;/ of the Authoritarian Type of Unity . 

The first erroneous type of unity is the authoritarian type. 
By the authoritarian type, I mean the kind of church togetherness 
in which the basic bond which unites the group is, in fact and con- 
fession, something other than, and in addition to, the Lordship of 

This external authority other than Christ, which serves as a 
bond of unity, may find expression in a variety of things. It may 
take the form of centralized church government, which clamps down 
upon the local congregation, unduly restricting its freedom, as in 
Roman Gatholicismi. It may center in a creed, a body of dogma, or 
in the Bible itself, giving assent to which is made a requirement 
for church membership, as in both Catholic and Protestant Orthodoxy. 
Or again, it may find expression in terrriS of a uniform pattern of 
liturgy, which is regarded as the only valid form of worship. 

Whatever the variations on the theme, the genius of this auth- 
oritarian type lies in the belief that some specific external f onn 
(polity, creed, Bible doctrines, liturgical order) is essential to 
the being of the church. It therefore sets about to establish the 
cherished form as part of the very essence of the church, and 
therefore also the very bond of her unity. 

Throughout the centuries, Roman Catholicism, the State 
churches of Protestantism, and the free churches also, have clung 
to this notion of unity as uniformity. Because Roman Catholicism 
states this concept of unity so clearly, her position should serve 
as a constant reminder of how easy it is for the church-centered 
approach to \inity to lead to an idolatrous clericalism, which dis- 
torts the truth of church unity into an excuse for institutional 
pride and presumptuous self -adoration. 

It may be seriously doubted, however, whether Protestantism 
is yet vAiolly free from this idea of unity as uniformity. To what 
extent, I wonder, is it true that Protestants, as well as Catholics, 
would like for the Great Church to be a kind of enlarged model of 
their own denomination? To lAat extent do Protestants who insist 
upon "union on the truth" really mean "the truth as our denomina- 
tion sees it?" Lutherans would like a united church, but in accord- 
ance with the Augsburg Confession. The Episcopalians want unity, 
but on the basis of the historic episcopate, and perhaps also 
Apostolic Succession. Disciples want unity, but they would like it 
so that everyone submits to immersion and to "the ancient order of 
things," as Disciples understand it. 

One of the main road-blocks to unity is this traditional ten- 
dency to bind the faith absolutely to some particular form of its 
expression. We have now become aware, however, of how profoundly 
all human thinking about these forms of expression is eniaeshed in, 
and detenr.ined by, the processes of history. All thinking is color- 
ed by ones point of view, which point of view is shaped by the time 
and space and condition of the individual, enmeshed in the partic- 
ular context. 

If all Christians could appropriate this modern insight and 
recognize the historical limiations which characterize all forms of 
expression of the Christian faith, we might be able to get the 
authoritarian fly out of the ec\:mienical ointment. We still believe 
that Thomas Campbell was correct vhen he said, "Resume that precious, 
that dear-bought liberty, wherewith Christ has made his people free; 
a liberty from subjection to any authority but his own in matters 
of religion. "■'- 

These, then, are the major fallacies in the authoritarian type 
of unity: (1) It is wedded too closely to some particular form of 
the faith. It needs to learn that no definition of doctrine or 
church structure can legitimately be regarded as irreformable and 
valid for all time. (2) It tends to idolatrize Christ. By "idol- 
atrizing" Christ we mean that it fails to distinguish clearly be- 
tween the living Word of God, which i£_ Christ, and man's response to 
this revelation. This failure leads it to bind Christ inseparably 
to some particular expression of His saving power, thereby imparting 
to this form of expression divine qualities, which belong solely to 
Christ. The result is an idolatrous attachment to relative relig- 
ious forms. Protest against this idolatry was indeed the element of 
truth in the traditional Disciple slogan, "No creed but Christ;" 
though the biblicism of the Disciple fathers prevented them from 
carrying out the implications of this slogan as thoroughly as they 
might have done. (3) This authoritarian type of unity not only 
fails to promote the right of Christian liberty, but it actually 
tends to stifle this liberty by clamping down upon it from without. 
Ihis reveals its lack of Christian love and its spirit of sectarian 
exclusiveness, which shows how far removed this authoritarian type 
of unity is from the heart of the gospel. Even God Himself refuses 
to violate the freedom of man vdiich He created. God gives HiEiSelf 
to us in the only way that He can, so as to win our response in 
freedom , namely, in the suffering of the Cross. In this gospel 
light of the modus operandi of God, how terribly wrong Christians 
are to think that they possess the right to give expression to this 
gospel, in an authoritarian way, which contradicts the character of 
the working of God, by clamping down from without and attempting to 
deal with dissent by methods of coercion! (4) The authoritarian 
type shows that it is operating with a distorted view of revelation, 
as something objective, something fixed and frozen, and finds little 

Thomas Campbell, Declaration and Address (Indianapolis: 
International Convention of Disciples of Christ, 1949), pp. 14-15. 

5 f 

room in its theology for the continuous work of the Holy Spirit, 
who in prophetic souls may disclose needed self-criticism and new 
insights for further correction and growth. r.s Walter fershall 
Korton says, "Honest dissent is the Church's sensitive antennae, 
through which the Holy Spirit helps us to 'keep abreast of truth' 
as we face 'new occasions' in each generation."! 

III. The Inadeguacy of the Reductionist Unity of Rationalism . 

A second major type of unity is also inadequate. Vfe may call 
this the reductionist type. This pathway to unity represents the 
broad spirit of rationalism. It says: reduce the basis of common 
agreement to the least common denominator. Agreement on these few 
essential points of doctrine is all the unity that we vrant or need! 

The philosopher, Leibnitz, was one of the early advocates of 
this approach. Standing on the watchtower of the new seventeenth 
century rationalism, Leibnitz, in his discussions on unity with 
Bossuet, Catholic Bishop of Meaux, summoned all Christians to boil 
down the essentials to a basic minimum, and regard all other theo- 
logical differences as insignificant. 

Liberal Protestantism, determined by Enlightenment' rati onal- 
ism, has made much of this reductionist approach to the problem of 
unity, by simplifying the confessional requirements for unity. 

Now there is both truth and error in this reductionist ap- 
proach. If it is fair to construe the theological import of this 
reductionist plea as an affirmation that the basic content of the 
faith has power to unite Christian people, then the plea is true. 
The very fact that the World Council of Churches became possible on 
the basis of church agreement that "Jesus Christ is God and 
Saviour" would seem to prove that the plea is true. And, of course, 
it did establish the right of liberty. 

History has shown, however, that modern rationalism did not 
always move toward Christ. The spirit at work in this modern 
surge of liberty sometimes cultivated an attitude of theological 
indifference. Adolf Harnack made explicit what was implicit in 
this reductionist method when he contended that the message of 
Jesus was "simpler than the churches would like to think .... 
The Gospel, as Jesus proclaimed it," said Harnack, "has to do with 
the Father only and not with the Son."^ The reductionist road 
seems thus to end in the plea for nothing more than the fatherhood 
of God and the brotherhood of man, as the ground of unity. And the 
humanists go one step further; they trim away the idea of God, for 
after all this is a theological belief; they want a unity based 
solely on the belief in human brotherhood. 

-"• The Christian Century , July 10, 1957. 

^Adolf von Harnack, What is Christianity ? (New York: Harper & Bros. 
Publishers, 1957), pp. 143-44. 

Now we freely grant that it is legitimate for social clubs 
and coiranunity gatherings to hold together by the vague feeling that 
"the more we get together, the happier we'll be." And it is equal- 
ly consistent for those of the Hindu religion to follow the call to 
this vague type of unity, for the central principle of Hinduism is 
that all religions and philosophies, equally, represent broken 
lights of Eternal Truth. Hence, for some 2700 years India has been 
the home of this boundless kind of religious tolerance. 

But now, is Christian unity really nothing but the humanism 
of Hinduism? If so, perhaps we should cease witnessing to the 
gospel and propagate the doctrine of Hinduism. Is it not stretching 
things a bit to say that Christians can dip their hands in that from 
which the gospel silently turns away? 

This unity of indifferences shows itself to be lacking in 
evangelical depth and' in the quality of imperativeness. This is the 
first thing wrong with reductionist road to unity: it contains a 
tendency away from the gospel, toward the unity of indifference. 

There is also a second thing wrong with it. Although the 
formation of the V/orld Council demonstrates the validity of one as- 
pect of the reductionist plea, other aspects of it have been shown 
to be inadequate and unrealistic. The actual growth of unity in 
ecumenical Christianity has shown that the amount of Christian con- 
viction and practise, which we share in common, is amazingly large. 
In this sense, the advocates of the reductionist type have lost the 
battle, and their plea has been outmoded by historical fact. The 
fundamentals have, of course, supplied a basis for cooperation and 
discussion; but in themselves they are not sufficient to supply us 
with the fullness of faith and life, which belongs to real growth 
in unity. 

Vfe must therefore overcome the negative attitude toward theol- 
ogy, which was generated by reductionist rationalism. The fullness 
of unity will not be achieved by theological indecisiveness. There 
is a function which theological statements can perform., other than 
being used legalistically as instruments of division. They are nec- 
essary for the growth of really significant unity, in the sense 
that they represent movement in the right direction. The way to 
unity is not doctrinal uniformity; but it is the way of coming in- 
creasingly closer to the center of the gospel of God, through the- 
ological clarity and understanding. 

If the road to a fuller and more perfect manifestation of the 
unity we have in Christ is not by theological reduction to a skel- 
eton creed, but rather by direction toward the center , God's re- 
demptive act in Christ, perhaps confessions, in this sense , are of 
vital importance. If so. Disciples must ask themselves anew: what 
does this mean in reference to the confessional implications of the 
traditional slogan, "No creed but Christ." 

These two roads to unity have been tried and found wanting: 
an oppressive uniformity, which idolatrizes Christ; and a reduction- 
ist vdiittling down to the least common denominator, which moves away 
from the redemptive center of the gospel. 

IV. Two Dimensions of Unity Implied by the Church's Christolocical 
Basis . 

We turn now, more positively, to characterize briefly two fun- 
damental aspects of a unity that is grounded in God's mighty act of 
redemption in Christ. 

First of all, if the church is a fellov/ship in history, but a 
fellowship of faith in Christ, bound together and empov/ered by the 
continuing presence of the Holy Spirit, a community v.hich shares in 
the eternal life of God, there are two dimensions to the church's 
life, and therefore also to her unity: the inner and outer dimen- 
sions. An adequate concept of unity must keep in view the distinc- 
tion between these two dimensions. 

Part of our ec\imenical task is to promote a fuller realization 
of the inner dimension of unity, which has to do vath the life that 
all Christians share in common: the gift of grace, the cultivation 
of life "in the Spirit," growth in Christlikeness, in short, sharing 
fully in the life of God, as He gives Himself to us in the covenant 
community. The New Testament refers to this dimension of unity as 
the "fellowship of Jesus Christ", ■'■ or the "fellowship of the Holy 
Spirit. "2 

Vfe are grateful to the seventeenth century pietists for plac- 
ing the emphasis on this inner dimension. Pietism insisted that 
Christianity is primarily an individual experience and life, and 
that all who are truly saved, whatever sect or name, are really 
"one in Christ." The Dutch Poet Jeremias de Decker, a friend of 
Rembrandt, expressed it aptly, when he said: 

"Do you believe that your church gives salvation 
Condemning mine as heresy and sect? 
God has his friends in each denomination 
From every one Christ chooses his elect. "3 

The Church, however, is not merely a spiritual entity; it is 
not a Platonic Idea. The church is a concrete, empirical community 
in history. It is a real part of the life of the world. And this 
means that its destiny is to be realized in_ history . At this point, 
the outer institutional aspect of the church's life comes into view. 
Here we are confronted with a baffling diversity: doctrinal, eccles- 
iastical, liturgical diversity. 

■■■I Corinthians 1:9. 
2ll Corinthians 13:13. 

^As quoted by W. A. Visser T'Hooft, Our Ecumenical Task in the Light 
of History (Geneva: John Knox House Association, 1955), p. 10. 

Important as the spirit of Pietism is, by way of reminding us 
of the inward spiritual center of the church's life, it will not do 
to say that this is all the unity we need. All praise and honor to 
Brother Zinzendorf, the celebrated Moravian pietist, vjhen he ex- 
claimed, "I\fe will not let ourselves be imprisoned within any sect." 
But he was much too one-sided vdien he added, "We have only to do 
with the hearts of men. . .and our basic purpose is to realize the 
high priestly prayer: That all may be one."l 

Since there is only one church, it is imperative that its in- 
ternal unity be reflected and realized, more adequately, by external 
structures which do justice to it. True, the Christian community is 
bound to an authority which transcends the relative forms that ex- 
press it. But so long as these outer forms are such that they pre- 
vent those who have been received into the Body of Christ from 
sharing fully in work and worship, they are violating, and indeed 
separating themselves from, the real inner unity of the church, the 
bond of which is Christlike love. To the extent that this is true, 
the church must confess her failure to be_ the church, as God intends 
it. And to the extent that the church allows herself to be deter- 
mined by, racial, national, social, and ideological barriers, vJiich 
alienate men from each other and block the growth of mutual love, to 
this extent she must confess her failure to be_ the community where 
the Spirit of Christ reigns. The churches can scarcely help fulfill 
Christ's ministry of reconciliation so long as their own life man- 
ifests the spirit of unreconciled partisanship. 

Now as to the matter of dealing theologically with the divis- 
ions in the outer form of church life, I must beg to differ with 
some of our leading minds in the cause for unity, who evaluate the 
theological conferences vi\ich, for example, have been prom.oted by 
Faith and Order, by admitting that such conferences have done much 
good, in that the participants have come to a better understanding 
of one anothers' positions. But, these men add, "the diversity of 
convictions about doctrines, church polity, forms of worship, and 
'orders' is not a shade less after two decades of intensive and al- j 
most continuous study and discussion under the most friendly and 
favorable conditions." 

Well now, several Disciples could be named whose fixation on 
an immersionist mode of baptism has been broken by this precise 
method of theological discussion. Nor should we forget the fact 
that forty times in the past forty-seven years two or more churches 
have merged to become one, seventeen of which mergers have brought 
together churches belonging to different confessional groups. Such 
mergers have become possible only by modification in church polity 
and by adjustment in confessional affirmation. 

Furthermore, the Lutheran and the Reformed churches in 
Germany and the Netherlands have reached significant agreements on 
the meaning of the Lord's Supper, as a result of persistent theolog' 

llbid. , p. 11. 

2w. E. Garrison, The Qxiest and Character of a United Church 
(Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1957), p. 208. 

ical discussion. These agreements are expressed in eight articles, 
drawn up by the Commission on the Lord's Supper of the EJD, ar- 
ticles received and approved by the Evangelical Synod on July 25, 
1953- The report of the Commission represents the result of ten 
years of theological effort, in which modern insights in theology, 
biblical exegesis, ecclesiastical and theological history, coi^bined 
with the new sense of unity and responsibility in ecumenical 
Christianity, have significantly altered the modern understanding 
of this sacrament, resulting in real advance in the cause of unity, 
in Germany. In view of the longstanding cleavage betv/een the 
Lutheran and the Reformed wings of Protestantism, this ecumenical 
consensus represents a most encouraging achievement. And the 
point is: it is the product of theological conversation I 

We would argue then, that for growth in a profound kind of 
unity, theological development is indispensable, though, of course, 
such growth must always take place within a climate of genuine free- 
dom. Indeed, it is most encouraging that in terrr.s of the theolog- 
ical aspect of the church's unity, we are already a substantial 
distance beyond a vague sense of oneness v/hich consists merely in 
sharing in common the empty name of "Christianity", or in agreeing 
that "Jesus is Lord." Something of the extent of theological agree- 
ment is evident in the words of the pre- Lund Commission on the 
Nature of the Church : 

Every communion holds that the Church is not a 
human contrivance, but God's gift for the salva- 
tion of the world; that the saving acts of God in 
Christ brought it into being, that it persists in 
continuity in history by the presence and power of 
the Holy Spirit. Every communion likewise believes 
that the Church has a vocation to worship God in 
His holiness and to proclaim the Gospel to every 
creature, and that she is eguipped by God with the 
various gifts of the Spirit for the building up of 
the Body of Christ. And every communion believes 
that the Church is composed of forgiven sinners, yet 
through faith already partakes in the eternal life 
of the Kingdom of God. These agreements cover the 
Church's origin, the m-;stery of the Church's present 
being, and the Church's goal. They ascribe to the 
Church both a divine and a human element; both a 
possession and an anticipation of the age to come. 
They imply an insistence upon the holiness of the 
Church without any identification of this with a 
mere hiiraan raoralism^; and insistence upon the 
visibility of the Church without obscuring the 
tension between the Church as it is now, and the 
Church as it is destined to become. 

I Zur Lehre vom heiligen Abendmahl (Munchen: Chr. Kaiser Verlag,1953) 
2Faith and Order Commission Paper No. 7, The Church, p. 13. 


We submit that here is a quite substantial theological bond 
of unity, to v/hich we all bear vatness, which is happily free from 
the evils of dograatisir,, and yet is considerably beyond a pietistic- 
ally vague Jesus-faith or a reductionist rational creed. 

In regard to the theological character of unity, these are al 
ways the two distortions to avoid: the pietistic fuzziness of the- 
ological indecisiveness, on the one hand; and the frozen wastes of 
doctrinaire dogmatism, on the other. By religious sentiraentalism 
the Church lapses into theological vagueness and obscurantism; by 
dogmatism her religious life crystallizes into formalism. By both, 
the Church forfeits her capacity to serve the cause of true 
Christian unity. 

V. The Need for Unity to be Catholic in Substance, but Protestant 
in Principle . 

Closely correlated with the inner and outer dimensions of 
unity stands another pair of principles demanded by a unity that is 
grounded in God's redemptive act in Christ. If the terms are cor- 
rectly understood, we may call these the "catholic" and "protestant" 
elements of the church's unity. To borrow Paul Tillich's phrase, 
the unity of the church must be catholic in substance, but protest- 
ant in principle. 

By the word "catholic", in this context, we mean the substanc 
of Christian history and tradition, in its total sweep through the 
centuries, including the witness of Scripture, the mind of the his- 
toric church, the great Confessional Statements of the faith, church 
order, the sacraments, and the devotional life. I'lhy now must this 
catholic scope characterize the church's unity? 

First of all, because Christianity is a continuing community 
in history, and it becomes blunted and distorted whenever it at- 
tempts to cut itself off from its historic roots. God has willed to 
complete the revelation of Himself in Christ through these historic- 
al means of Scripture and the witnessing. Christian community. Tra- 
dition therefore is an_ integral part of the togetherness of the on- 
going Christian community, in history. A unity which omits this 
catholic substance of the church's life thereby shows that it is op- 
erating with a distorted doctrine of Christ and a questionable doc- 
trine of the Holy Spirit, for the assumption would then be that one 
could share fully in the Holy Spirit, in a sectarian isolation, 
which loses a sense of organic oneness v/ith the viioleness of the 

Protestants must banish the illusion of the restoration idea, 
which misled many to ignore the bulk of tradition entirely and at- 
tempt to derive their life exclusively from Scripture. Vfe cannot 
and ought not think that we owe nothing to the past. We cannot and 
ought not act as if there were no Christian history. It is an il- 
lusion to think that we can begin de_ novo . The unhistorical outlook 



of restoration groups must be transcended by greater historical 
realism. The unity of the church can be v.hat it ought to be only 
if Protestants, and Catholics, and the Orthodox overcome their frag- 
mentation of the Body of Christ, and learn to embody the vdaoleness 
of the church. 

And Protestants must also recover the Catholic idea that the 
church is an integral part of God's redemptive work in the world, 
and that in a real sense the church is_ a bearer of God's grace. The 
church is a historic community by means of which, normally, God 
carries forward His redemptive work. As Emil Brunner puts it, "The 
Hew Testament Ecclesia . . . is divine revelation end salvation in 
action. "^ 

Yet at the same time, the church's unity must be Protestant in 
principle. V'hat do we mean by this? We mean that Christ the Lord 
is infinitely greater than our finite response to Him. Christ re- 
mains what He is: the transcendent Lord of his body the church. He 
is not only the Lord iri_ the church; He remains, at all times. Lord 
over it. 

The Protestant principle is the principle of prophetic judg- 
ment against all forms of human pride, all fonr.s of ecclesiastical 
self-adoration, all forms of human self-sufficiency. Protestant 
Christianity says that Christ the Lord is the dynamic source of all 
spiritual fulfillment in the church, but that this creative source 
cannot be identified with any form of its fulfillment. The Lordship 
of God in Christ is realized, concretely, in and through the church, 
yes--this is the truth of Catholicism. Yet never perfectly, never 
adeguately, but always in a way in which the empirical church itself, 
together with the entire world, stands under the judgment of His 
transcendent Word--this is the truth of Protestantism. So that as 
Daniel Day Williams says, "a radical application of the Protestant 
principle does not mean abolition of form and tradition but a con- 
tinual openness to reformation in the light of fresh encounter with 
God's Word and Spirit. "^ 


In conclusion, we suggest that a kairos has been reached in 
ecumenical growth; the time is ripe to carry through three revisions 
in the outer structure of the church's life. First , the formation 
of some new church structures which will make possible a more forth- 
right mutual recognition of one another's Ministries, leading to 
more pulpit interchanges, both temporary and permanent. Second , 
more definite theological developments must take place, so that a 
mutual recognition of one another's baptisms and memberships can be 

■'■Emil Brunner, The Misunderstanding of the Church (London: Lutter- 
worth Press, 1952), p. 10. 

^Daniel Day Williams, What Present-day Theologians are Thinking 
(New York: Harper & Brothers, 1952), p. 132. 


more frankly and securely established, and so that inter-corniTiUnion 
can become more frequent and more meaningful. Third , som.e revision 
must be made in the matter of church polity and government, which 
will make possible a greater unity in the total corporate v/itness 
of the church, as she calls all men to the fellov/ship of the one 
body in Christ. 

These minimial needs for revision in the outer dimension of the 
church V70uld seen: to be demanded by the inner reality of the church's 
unity. And we believe that they can be achieved, if the Christolog- 
ical basis of unity, which we have discussed, be taken seriously, 
if all would face up to the cultural relativity of the different 
confessional bodies and recognize that a single uniform church 
structure is not an essential element in the unity of the Church 
Universal, and if they vrauld remain critically aware of the fact 
that although variety is inevitable, it is valid only if it is not 
allowed to generate a spirit of exclusiveness, which disrupts the , 
organic bond that unites us all, members equally of the family of 


George Earle Owen 
United Christian Missionary Society, Indianapolis, Indiana 

The Nature of God 
("Now abide th faith, hope, love") 

Our God is a God of faith. 
Faith in man. 
Vian lives by faith. 

Faith's so related to man's nature and need 

That God sent His Son as the Vford and the Deed 

Of a living faith. 

♦ •*«*« 

Our God is a God of hope, 
Hope in man. 
Fan lives by hope. 

Hope's so related to man's nature and need; 
That the Gospel's the bread on which he may feed 
His abiding hope. 


Our God is a God of love. 
Love for nan. 
^an lives by love. 

Love's so related to man's nature and need; 
That God's Kingdom will come and evil recede 
By redeeming Love. 



To Do God's Vill 
( Operation Obedience 

Out in the desert 

My faster stayed, 
Fasted and prayed. 
For forty long days 
To find the ways 

To do God's will, 

Out of the garden 

Ky Savior went 
With struggle spent 
But purpose bent 
With full intent 

To do God's will. 

Cut on Golgatha 

Was Christ crucified 
By friends denied 
Tortured till he cried 
But bravely he died 
To do God's will. 

Out of the grave 

My Redeemer came 
Gone the shame 
Glorious his name 
Invincible his claim 
To do God ' s wi 1 1 . 

Out of my leisure 

Have I time to meet 
Temptation in retreat 
The Devil to defeat 
My submission to complete 
To do God's will? 

Cut of my prayer 

Am I able to find 
The Christ-like mind 
Steeled but resigned 
And ever inclined 

To do God's will? 

Out of my suffering 

Have I perceived 
When deeply grieved 
How joy's received 
And tension relieved 
To do God's will? 


Cut of my duties 

Have I discerned 
Cbedience is earned 
Strength is returned 
'When I've learned 

To do God's will? 

Lord Stretch Our Lives 

CXir minds grow dull with idle thought, 
Cn what we v,, not what we ought. 
Lord stretch our minds till we can see 
How sm.all we are, how big we may be. 

Cur hearts grow gross with selfish care 
Cn what to eat, and what to wear. 
Lord stretch our hearts till we can feel 
The needs of others, and love's appeal. 

Our souls grow starved for spiritual fare, 
A dynamic faith, and a life of prayer. 
Lord stretch our souls till we can find 
A place for Thee in our crowded mind. 

Cur wills grow lax from indecision. 
From following the crowd and not thy wisdom. 
Lord stretch our wills till we can say, 
Not what I want, but what I may. 

Our lives grow petty with small affairs. 
With trivial things and worldly wares. 
Lord stretch our lives till we can grow 
To the spiritual heights and goals we know. 



Paul Gary- 
Phillips University, Enid, Oklahoma. 

The panel members could hardly have been chosen for better 
ideological balance: Dr. W. E. Garrison, respected everywhere as 
scholar-philosopher and Cb.ristian historian, an "inpenitant lib- 
eral", by his own assertion, represented the "old liberals". 
Robert Thomas, Pastor of First Christian Church, St. Joseph, Miss- 
ouri, who, although he did not state his position as clearly as 
did Dr. Garrison, by implication would probably be classified as 
typical of "young liberals." Walter Sikes, who might by somie be 
classified as a "penitant liberal", by word and deed aligns him- 
self with those who seem to advocate an energetic program of unity 
of denominational groups. Mr. Sikes seems quite readily to em- 
brace contemporary theology, although one should be hesitant in 
classing him with the thoroughgoing neo-orthodox. Dr. Ronald 
Osborn, church historian and student of the ecumenical movement 
should probably be categorized as a modern Disciple who wants to 
bring "the plea" into the modern setting of the current ecumenical 
climate. Not a theologian or a philosopher by profession, he is 
probably the most objective of the four panelists. 

The issue proposed. The Impact of Theology on the Disciples 
of Christ , was never defined in any workable dimension. Theology 
was never clearly defined. Dr. Sikes did suggest that it was, as 
he seemed to think is too often the case, taken to mean contemp- 
orary European theology or neo- orthodoxy. None of the panelists 
except Dr. Osborn seemed to be considering the theological content 
in Disciples' history. The topic. The Impact of Theology , appar- 
ently was taken to mean that this "Impact" is a historically 
recent event. 

Again, except for Osborn's remarks, one could have supposed 
that the Disciples had never had a theology. As a matter of his- 
torical fact, has there ever been a time in v^ich the Disciples 
have not had a theology? A clear Biblical theology seems present 
in the movement from the beginning, if we mean by this, a consider- 
ation of the Biblical writings in their wholeness, or as they are 
relevant to God's purpose for man and the universe. Discussion 
about the "Law of Pardon", seems to be theological in nature and 
we have never been found lacking in such discussion. One can hard- 
ly read the Christian System and the Scheme of Redemption , without 
sensing a type of Systematic Theology. Our absorption with Church 
history indicates a historical theology. Yet, we seem to speak of 
"The Impact of Iheology" as if somehow we had been outside of it 
and only recently have we felt its impact. If there was a "liberal 
theology", then certain groups among us had it. 

How can a panelist then say that theology has had no impact 
on the Disciples and probably won't have, in view of their disin- 


terest, in the future? It seems obvious that he means contemporary 
theology or more likely, neo-orthodoxy. His statement must be 
taken as rhetorical. Then there is the implication that neo- 
orthodoxy is the only contemporary theology; which ignores the 
presence of several emerging theological schools of thought. The 
exception to this was contained implicatively in Dr. Sikes' re- 
marks when he called attention to the fact that we have had and do 
have many statements of faith. 

After Dr. Csborn's historical statement, Vjc . Thomas made, 
what may have been a rhetorical statement that, "theology had made 
no impact on Disciples", for which he was devotionally grateful and 
indicated that he hoped it never would. It was apparent that he 
meant: (a) That contemporary European theology had not made much 
headway among us; (b) that we had not and should not be beguiled by 
scholars into any common statement of faith. He was anxious that 
our traditional liberties be not abridged by any such denomination- 
al "fences". Our "liberty" is sacred and can only be secured by 
maintaining the one common ingredient, belief in Jesus as the son 
of God. This is all we have and all we need. 

Dr. Garrison graciously agreed that theology had made an im- 
pact upon Disciples in that they are thinking and talking more 
about theology but warned against such thinking and talking if it 
led to any weakening of our traditional liberal position. He seem- 
ed to be saying with our liberal fathers that traditionally we 
stand firmly upon ecumenical ground and should not desert it just 
when the ecumenical movement seems ready to accept our traditional 
position. Our liberty is based upon, and preserve.d by, the breadth 
of our traditional acceptance of all who come on the groimd of the 
confession of Christ. We had first proposed this broad and liberal 
base and should not now renounce it for any "statement of faith" by 
which we might match like "statements" by others. 

Dr. Sikes appeared to accept our status as one Christian 
group among others. Vte ought to recognize our status and formulate 
a "testimony" of our position in clear and definite terms so that 
both we and others might know what we believe. It is not clear 
whether he was asking for a doctrinal statement which would be 
binding upon all Disciples or vdiether he wanted a definitive state- 
ment of our traditional faith and practice to which the great major- 
ity could freely subscribe. It seemed clear to this writer that he 
was asking only for the latter. Both Garrison and Thomas seemed to 
infer that he was proposing the first. In any case, it was plain 
that they were against either of these, if one may judge by the 
vigor of their rebuttal. 

Dr. Osborn seemed to hold that a practical approach to the 
current ecumenical movement would reguire some shift in structure 
and some consolidation of Disciple forces and a more compact defin- 
ition of our beliefs and aims. 


Itte Liberal sentiment expressed v.'as typical of that school of 
thought; our personal liberty must be preserved. There must be no 
surrender to creedal statements that would curtail our freedom to 
behave as we please and freely express ourselves on all matters 
other than the central doctrine of Cainrbell's declaration and 
Stone's formula for freedom. This was repeated many tines and re- 
inforced from the floor in at least one quite lengthy statement. 
It was strikingly clear, that however much they may disagree other- 
wise with the Fundam.entalists, in this point the Liberals are in 
agreement with them. At the sane time, we should recognize that 
the Liberal is much more consistent in his practice of this prin- 
ciple than is the Fundamentalist. 

Cne striking feature of the Liberal viewpoint is their appar- 
ent idealism regarding the liberty we have under our traditional 
position and their insistence that such a formula will be produc- 
tive of unity. 

Can we really say that our talk of liberty is other than ab- 
stract? Do we not have not one but many tests of faith that have 
and are being used as tests of fellowship? Do we have a workable 
program of unity or are we engaging in wishful thinking? In one 
town of 40,000, there are five congregations of "our people", all 
of vdiom hold to "the plea" and embrace the "broad principles" of 
both Campbell and Stone and yet refuse fellowship of any kind with 
one another. teny young ministers vAio accept this "broad principle" 
of brotherhood and fellowship, go out to minister in the field only 
to be "read out" on the basis of some local or regional creed, 
(statement of faith). Agencies attempting to do our missionary work 
under our traditional "position" find themselves suspect and caught 
in the cross fire of our multiplicity of "creedal statements". Yet 
two great sections of the Disciples, the Liberals and the Fundamen- 
talists still seem to believe that our "plea" in the context of its 
historical structure is the only way by v^ich unity can be achieved. 
Ihis theological and structural "laissez-faire" is what we should 
offer the ecximenical community. 

What our multiple and divisive local creeds have cost in terms 
of ministerial recruits and other important areas is difficult to 

The issue seem^s to be: Is "cooperation" of autonomous indiv- 
iduals and local congregations on a "life and work" basis as far as 
we wish to go or shall we venture, at least, a common testimony of 
our position on the level of "faith and order"? Would a comprehen- 
sive statement of o\ir traditional "theological" position be destruc- 
tive or our traditional "witness" of unity devoid of theological 

Again, can we so neatly separate "life and work" from "faith 
and order", except in the abstract? Doesn't experience indicate 
that they inevitably become intangled in any concrete situation. 


Isn't such a theory of separation based on the presupposition that 
what we believe, (faith and order), need not be relevant to what we 
do, (life and work)? Is such a presupposition realistic? 

(Footnote: We are avrare of the danger of a report of this 
nature. It is almost certain to oversimplify and distort 
to some extent. We can only say that the above constitu- 
tes our impression for whatever it may be- worth. ) 


Robert H. Boyte 
First Christian Church, Bartlesvi lie, Cklahona . 

A conservative estimate, based on the 1953 Year Book of the 
Christian Churches (i^isciples of Christ) shows there are at least 
four hundred churches in the brotherhood that are served by more 
than one minister or full-time staff person. As our churches con- 
tinue to grow, both in size and in variety of program, this number 
will increase. The growth of the m.ultiple ministry is paralleled 
by the growth of educational buildings in America. Just as the ed- 
ucational building of the average church has grown from a lean-to 
on the back of the sanctuary to a multi -storied structure of steel 
and glass, so the multiple ministry has grown from "someone to help 
out the preacher" to a full-fledged ministry. 


The presence in a church of two full-time staff people has 
created noticeable tensions. Although no proof is required, the 
rapid turnover of directors of Christian education, associate min- 
isters, ministers of youth, and similar personnel, attest to its 
presence. V^henever Christian education workers get together, the 
tensions of their jobs are either the announced or unannounced 
topic. An analysis of this problem seems to be a favorite among 
seminary students in the field of Christian education. Studies of 
"Staff relationships", of the "Status of the Director", of the 
"Role of the Minister of Education", and similar problems are fre- 
quently pursued. These studies are buttressed by the results of 
elaborate questionnaires, broadcast across the brotherhood. 

These questionnaires go beyond the expected queries of sal- 
ary, parsonage, vacation, and "fringe benefits". In a petulant 
tone they inquire, "Vfere you installed vAen you began your work at 

your present church? If so, when: Sunday morning , Evening , 

Other . " The extreme of this tendency is seen in one question- 
naire which lists twenty- four aspects of the director's job (vaca- 
tion church school, counseling, youth program, etc. ) with the re- 
guest to do three things: (1) Check the ones you are requested to 
do. (2) Niimber in order of importance those you consider your 



greatest contribution. (3) NuirJoer in order of importance how you 
think the minister would rank your contributions. 

The direct approach asks, "Your status in the church: Go- 
worker ; accepted, but not as a co-worker ; uncertain ; 

other . " (It is interesting to note that the surveys scarcely 

question the presence of tension, they simply set out to measure 
it. ) 

Although the tension is common to many churches and many 
people are involved in it, there have been few efforts to ease it. 
It has not been solved; it has only been made tolerable. "The 
patient has not improved, but he's resting easier." 

The usual way in which this problem is is by a strict de- 
lineation of duties. I^any ministers and directors agree that this 
is the easiest way out of a difficult situation. The minister leaves 
the education program of the church strictly alone; the director 
clings to his "job analysis." With each v7orking as hard as possible 
in his own area, and keeping a speaking acquaintance with the other, 
the work of the church is supposed to proceed. Under such condi- 
tions, an individual situation may fluctuate between two extremes. 
On the one hand, the director may become a specialist in a partic- 
ular area of the church's life or, on the other hand, he may be- 
come a minister to a small church of his ovm that is a part of the 
larger church. If this portrayal appears over-drawn, recall the 
saying, "I'm too old to work with the young people; I let my direc- 
tor do that." Or, on the other hand, recall the concern of many 
directors to be called "Minister of Christian Education." 


Before we offer some suggestions to solve the problem of the 
multiple ministry, let us reflect on the entire situation and what 
it means for the Protestant ch\irch in America. The trend toward 
the strict delineation of duties, formal staff meetings and the 
like is a direct transferral of the methods of big business to the 
religious world. (Is there much difference between the senior min- 
ister meeting with the associate ministers of education, evangelism 
and membership, and the president of a large corporation meeting 
with the vice-presidents in charge of public relations, sales and 
research development?) The virtues of efficiency and smoothness 
sought in the business world have been attained in the church by 
this formation of the multiple ministry. To be sure, coiriaunication 
is needed and efficiency is a worthy goal. But this resemblance to 
big business is too close to be ignored. 

What this drive for efficiency does to the ministry is even 
more crucial than the similarity to big business. The increasing 
specialization of the ministry is not unlike the specialization of 
the medical profession. In both cases specialization has resulted 
in the loss of personal relationships. The specialized minister, 
like the specialized physician, is known for what he knows and can 



do, not for what he is. Personal relations have given way to a 
selling of services. 

Cnce ministers become known for the services they can render, 
rather than for the persons they are, the ministry has capitulated 
to what Erich Froram has called our "commodity-conscious culture." 
No longer is the minister primarily a person, but an organizer, ad- 
ministrator, educator or whatever. The Protestant minister has 
been one of the last representatives of a personalistic culture. 
But with the sharply drai-m lines of responsibility on many church 
staffs, this too has gone. 

There is another cultural phenomenon related to the multiple 
ministry--a contemporary one of status-seeking. One presumes that 
now the religious educators will find a less weighted word than 

"status" to describe what they are seeking in the church. But in 
the days prior to Vance Packard, educators were not ashamed to be- 
moan their lack of "status." V.'hat an irony--the same group that 
was weeping over its lack of status was simultaneously clamoring for 
the title of "Minister", which originally meant "servant!" 

So we see that two of the problems that plague our culture 
have found a comfortable home within the church itself. Rather than 
a refuge from the exploitation of personality, the church has be- 
come the place where personality has been sold for the sake of a 
smoothly operating machine. Rather than seek meaningful relation- 
ships with the minister, the commodity- conscious church asks, "What 
do you have to offer? . . . Can you direct a financial drive? . . . 
Can you organize a youth program?" So it should not be surprising 
that the minister called on such a basis begins to bear the marks 
of the "status seeker," another blight on contemporary society. 

This points to a further example of the capitulation of the 
church to the norms of the culture. The ministry in America has as- 
sumed the characteristic of the old American image, the rugged in- 
dividualist who created his empire by the force of hard work and 
high ideals. It is not surprising that the culture which exalts the 
"go-getter" and the "organizer" would ask for similar attributes in 
its ministry. Progessiveness, drive, zeal, fervor are among the 
qualities sought today in the Protestant minister. 

The tendency toward the conformity of the Protestant minis- 
try to the American dream has not only led away from the Protestant 
view of the priesthood of believers, but it has pressed an unbear- 
able load on the minister himself. The nature of his ministry is 
largely determined by the demands of his culture. He must play the 
role which he has been assigned. This is the role of the activist, 
the live-wire. So when he attempts to minister to people's needs, 
it is not as a trained priest of the priesthood of believers, and 
certainly not as the representative of the concerned community. 
He must do_ something, at least say something, that will bring re- 
sults. This places the minister in a dilemma. Not having the full 



course of seven sacraments from which to draw, yet with the situa- 
tion demanding action and results, the minister becomes a "priest 
without sacraments" or better, a priest with "do-it-yourself" sac- 
raments. His sacraments are the hearty sm.ile, the firm handshake, 
the well-timed story, the ready advice. Eschewing holy garments, 
his vestments are the departrent store copy of \vhat the well- 
dressed executive is wearing. Richard Niebuhr sums him up in one 
phase, "Pseudocharismatic personality." 

The church's function is to proclaim meaning and wholeness 
and salvation to a lost world. Let us hope it can listen to its 
own message and regain some meaning and health itself. To para- 
phrase Paul, "How are they to hear the message of wholeness from a 
fragmented preacher? Md how can m.en preach unless they are v/hole?" 
Unless the gospel can offer salvation to the church who would pro- 
claim it, it is pov/erless to save the world that is not interested 
in hearing it. 


The Protestant heritage speaks a needed word to today's dis- 
tressed ministry. It spells out the meaning of the priesthood of 
believers in the day of the multiple ministry-. This means that the 
church doesn't have one minister, or two or three, but that the 
church has a ministry . Transcending the concern for status, and 
overarching the cry for efficiency, is the plea for a ministry of 
the church . 

The insights of textual studies and Biblical criticism lead 
us to look at the church with fresh eyes. Sinful and petty though 
it be, it is this witnessing community which enables us to stand in 
relationship to Christ. Studies show that our individualistic ap- 
proach to the ministry is not only inadeguate, it is unBiblical. 
It is the ministry of the church, not the ministry of the preacher, 
called forth by our new understandings of the Biblical message. 

So the first thing the multiple ministry must understand is 
that the ministry of the church is not limited to a professional 
staff. When this is understood, the local church ceases being the 
stage for the exhibition of prima donnas and becomes the headguar- 
ters where trained laymen oversee and participate in the far-flung 
ministry of the church. The ministry of the church is neither to be 
coveted by one man nor fought over by two. It is an act of love to 
be shared by the entire fellowship. The task of administering such 
a deed can be sufficiently humbling to enable tvro men, though ambi- 
tious and sinful, to work together in harmony. 

The priesthood of believers also implies that the non- 
professional ministry can often be more effective than the profes- 
sional sort. As James Hastings Nichols has said, "The ministra- 
tions of the clergyman, in fact, may not be the most effective ex- 
pression of the reconciling power in the community. By the visible 


integrity of their lives, housewives may often minister Christ more 
effecitvely to each other than can a clergyman whose housekeeping 
experience is desultory." 

The superiority of the nonprofessional ministry is frequent- 
ly attested to today. Often the minister is suspect. He is regard- 
ed as a Holy Joe and a money raiser. In today's cynical era, he is 
considered to be (and frequently is ) a man on the make, an eccles- 
iastical organization man. To those who see the ministry in such a 
light, the vmaffected concern of the layman attracts where all the 
experience and knowledge of the clergy repels. The "mutual minis- 
try of believers" can take the edge off professional jealousy and 
status seeking, and let the multiple ministry recognize the depth of 
the church's purpose. 

The doctrine of the priesthood of believers enables the min- 
istry to see itself as it really is--as sinful and anxious, as well 
as sincere and humble. But the cloak of goodness and moral perfec- 
tion has been thrust on the Protestant minister for so long that he 
is beginning to feel at home in it. Only when the minister sees 
this cloak for what it is can his ministry become genuine and only 
when participants in a multiple ministry realize their own and ac- 
cept each other's pride will the multiple ministry overcome its 


With this analysis of the multiple ministry today and this 
reminder of the richness of the Protestant interpretation of the 
ministry, let us offer a few suggestions as to what can be done 
about the problem. Since the multiple ministry today is most nearly 
confined to the pastoral and educational ministry these suggestions 
will be related to those two phases of the multiple ministry. 

The first suggestion is that the religious educator must rep- 
resent a ministry, not a program; he must be a minister, not a "di- 
rector." The educational ministry of the church must seek to in- 
volve itself with lives, not merely with programs. This also im- 
plies that the educational ministry of the church must minister in 
traditional forms to the entire congregation. Although the ministry 
today takes on many organizational aspects, these aspects have not 
replaced the simple, face-to-face relationships of the pastoral call 
in times of need, trouble or joy. No amount of successful program- 
ing can take the place of this sort of relationship. 

Often the educational ministry of the church has resembled 
a pressure-block, or at best a clique, rather than a ministry. To 
make its contribution to the valid multiple ministry Christian ed- 
ucation must use its greatest characteristic, the power to change 
lives, to recreate the church. For this to happen it must sacrifice 
its love of professional attitudes and jargon for a pastoral rela- 
tionship to the entire church. 



The second suggestion relates to the pastoral ministry. If 
the multiple ministry is to become the able servant of the church 
the pastoral ministry must recognize and come to terms with the 
understandings and insights of Christian education. The pastoral 
ministry must understand that Christian education has come of age. 

The aims of Christian education and the pastoral ministry 
are probably closer now than at any time since the beginning of the 
Christian education movement. Today Christian education sees its 
task as primarily theological. But providing theological discus- 
sion and theologically based curriculum is only part of its task. 
The task is not finished when theology is discussed. It must also 
be appropriated. It is not sufficient, for example, to hold a dis- 
cussion about acceptance. There must also be an atmosphere where 
acceptance can occur. Thus the church becomes the proving ground 
for theological insights. 

For some pastoral ministers a confrontation with this sort 
of Christian education would be their first experience with theology. 
This is a noteworthy reversal. In the past the educational ministry 
has represented just a haloed variety of progressive education. 
Freguently today it is the most theologically astute group in the 
church. So for the multiple ministry to be a united ministry the 
pastoral wing must understand that the Sunday school is ready to 
join the church. It must realize that the days of "Jesus Vfents Vb 
For a Sunbeam" are gone. It must recognize that Christian educa- 
tion represents more than a fertile field for evangelism. Christian 
education is now a theological discipline. 

Ihe third suggestion is pertinent to the administration of 
the local church sei-ved by two or more ministers. These ministers 
must be more vitally related to one another than a fonrial staff 
meeting would indicate. Their relationships with one another must 
be characterized by companionship and comradeship, rather than by 
lines of responsibility. Their meetings must be freguent, informal 
and open. They must deal with program matters, of course, but they 
also must be concerned with pertinent information of the parish, and 
what is egually important, with the interests and activities of one 

And finally, the ministry (be it single or multiple) must 
understand that the final responsibility of the church rests not 
with the ministry, but with God. The church neither belongs to the 
ministry nor finally depends upon it. It belongs to Christ. It is 
dependent on the love of God. 

The multiple ministry enables the church to express this 
love in particular ways and to an increasing number of people. It 
enables the church to provide a balanced ministry to all its mem- 
bers. It provides for a cross-fertilization of ideas in the church's 
program and prevents the awful loneliness of the ministry. It is 
regrettable that this ministry is so often cons\uned by jealousy and 


pointless competition. If the multiple ministry were true to its 

Protestant heritage and sensitive to the projections of culture, 

the church could become C3irist-centered, not preacher-centered, and 

even the ministry could participate in the joy of the Christian 



Robert VJilmont V/illiams 
Chaplain, Fort Campbell Kentucky 

Roil the waters of a stream 
And you have a muddy creek; 
Roil the waters of a dream 
And you have a nightmare. 

Dreams are the strangest things. 

They speak a language all their ovm. 

Rich in imagery. 

Tongues that speak in code 

The deepest thoughts of the human heart. 

Accents ludicrous yet meaningful. 

Even a nightmare is but the inner self 

Knocking on the door of consciousness. 

Demanding to be heard. 

There is nothing nightmarish about parades. 
They have alv/ays delighted me: 

The circus parade-- 
Blaring band, clowns with grease-smeared faces and big feet. 
Elephants locked together in slow processional symphony; 

The small town parade- - 
High school band, notes both blue and otherwise, but wonderful. 
Dignitaries on horseback, gueen and her attendants in convertibles; 

The military parade -- 
Precise marching, roll of drums, commands, execution of commands. 
Display of colors, national anthem, trooping the line-- 
Parades have always delighted me. 

But the parade I dreamed about one night- - 

The night I resigned from the human race-- 

Was not delightful at all. 

It was far different 

From any I had ever seen. 

I say that was no ordinary parade. 

For before me that night 

The whole human race, past, present and future 

Passed in revue. 

But the yesterdays, todays and tomorrows were all intertwined. 

This parade did not start with Adam. 


May I invite you into ray dream? 
Will you sit, as I sat. 
Before the second-story window 
And watch this strange procession 
Coming down ^^in Street of my home town? 
Will you open the window a little more, 
And hear, as well as see, this parade? 

In the distance I heard a rumble like thunder. 

But unlike thunder, it was in rhythm-- 

A pulsating, "Thrud, Thrud, Thrud, Thrud," 

Unlike any sound 1 had ever heard. 

"llirud, THRUD, THRUD, THRUD," 

The sound grew louder, much louder. 

But I could not see the source. 

I saw only a cloud, a black foreboding thing-- 

That cloud was dust!-- 

A dust cloud bigger than that of Jehu's chariot. 

And yes, I had heard the sound before-- 

Marching feet striking the pavement; 

There must be thousands of them. 

Together they struck the pavement 

A cacophonic "THRUD, THRUD, THRUD, THRUD." 

With each "Thrud," 

Ihe buildings heaved in awful rhythm; 

But still I could see only the cloud. 

It came ever closer, until 

Out of the cloud emerged a vehicle. 

An awesome thing as wide as the street. 

So long I could not see the end of it. 

It moved slowly, irrepressibly. 

Gathering everything in its path 

Like a train with a huge cow-catcher. 

Casting objects on either side. 

The crowds, in hushed frenzy. 

Flattened themselves against the buildings. 

I drew back from my window to keep 

The grotesque thing from scraping me as it passed. 

Inscribed in multi-colored letters, six feet high. 
And at my eye level, were the words, 

Looking below the huge words I saw 
Scenes depicted by life-sized puppets 
On v;ide, wide cinemascope stages. 


The first scene was a village with four churches. 

The people engaged in v;orship. 

The minister of one going busily 

To the doorways of the others, saying, 

■■'Come, join my church; 

I'fe are right; you are wrong. 

If you join my church, you'll go to heaven; 

If you don't, you'll go to hell." 

Hundreds went about their business 

Outside the churches 

Completely oblivious to them. 

And the churches to the hundreds. 

Mother scene, noisy, dimly lit. 

Showed hundreds of dead 

Strewn along the streets of Budapest, 

Russian Tanks, engines idling, 

Vftiile Krushchev, vodka glass in hand. 

Proposed a toast : 

"To you, our Hungarian friends. 

Whom we love so much 

Ihat we could not allow you to hurt yourselves." 

The awesome vehicle moved steadily on, 

fxid a nev; scene cam.e into view; 

In the slums of a large city 

A wealthy owner of tenement houses 

'^ines to a tenant, 

"Okay, so your roof leaks. 

Your toilet don't work. 

Your light switch ain't any good. 

The furnace is on the bum 

And your kids 're cold. 

'/\ihaddaya want for seventy bucks a month-- 

The Valdorf Astoria?" 

The fourth scene: 

Two people --a man, a woman. 

They are standing at a bar. 

The man winks slyly as he speaks: 

"So what if you're married? 

What your old man in Korea 

Don't know won't hurt 'im. 

You just might find me 

A nicer dish than him anyway." 




Had become deafening by now. 

As the rear wheels of 'Thou Shalt Covet' passed. 

Then thousands of raaged, sunken-cheeked people 

Of every color and nationality trudcred by 

With a ';THRUD, THRUD, thrud, thrud." 

I winced as I saw that 

There was no laughing or joking. 

Even among the children. 

After an endless procession of beaten people. 

Another vehicle approached. 

Much smaller than the first. 

Across the top of it were the words 


This vehicle had only two stages, two scenes. 

It had dollars, pounds, francs, marks. 

Pesos and yen glued on tentatively 

So that they fluttered in the breeze. 

On the first stage were two bearded men, 

Dressed in first century tunics. 

"What will you give me," the first man \«;hispered, 

"If I deliver himi to you? 

Twenty pieces, huh? 

Can you up it to thirty? Good. 

Then, the man 1 kiss is your man." 

And to himself, 

"Hmm, thirty pieces of silver! 

What I can't do with all this m.oney!" 

I wept as I said to myself, "Can anyone be that low? 
Can a man love money more than his own decency?" 

The second scene showed a well-dressed m^an 

of forty. 
The calendar on the wall read January 1945. 
The man said to his wife, 

"Dearest, if this war goes on two more years. 
We'll be rich. Rich! Do you hear?" 
Looking more closely, I knew that 
I had seen the man many times. 
He looked like me . 
I hated him. 

"Thrud, Thrud, THRUD, THRUD," and there followed 

A solemn procession of the dead of many wars. 

Who had died because som.ebody was greedy. 

"Oh God!" I pleaded, "Please don't let it happen again!' 

• «**«« 


Suddenly another huge vehicle arrived. 

Imprinted on it in blood in many places 

V/as the phrase 


The vehicle was a mile long. 

Had one continuous stage on which live actors 

Depicted the hate scenes of the aeons: 

The amphitheater in Rome, 

VJhere fierce lions devoured real Christians, 

V/hile thousands looked on amused; 

The Inquisition, 

Where scores died several deaths each 

before the big one. 

Because they dared disagree with a system; 

The Indian wars, where mutual hatred 

Cf new and old Americans 

Caused the beginning of the end 

For a whole race of people; 

Ihe War Between the States, 

With neighbors fighting neighbors, 

Relatives fighting relatives. 

And hatred so fierce 

That a hundred years would not heal the scars; 

And then a stinging stench rose to high heaven-- 
A horrible odor coming from the ovens of Dachau, 
As millions of Jews were cremated alive 
Before my very eyes, just because they were Jews; 

American cities where words like 

Wop, Kike, Nigger, Kraut, 

Haole, Spik, Bohunk and Gook 

Abounded in uttered and unuttered hatred. 

All on one fantastic stage they came-- 

Poison gas. 

Jelly bombs. 

Atom bombs. 

Hydrogen bombs, 

I C B Ms, 






World Wars 





"NO!!" I screamed at the top of my lungs. 



My eyes had seen enough; they were blind. 

All I could hear was 

The mighty TKRUD of many feet-- 

Then an awful silence. 

"V:'hat's happened?" I implored. 

"The first parade is over," a man said, 

"3ut another one is coming." 

"Another parade?" I asked. 

"Yes," he said, "Another." 

Then a miracle happened. 

My sight came back 

As suddenly as it had gone. 

I saw a second procession approaching. 

This time there was no THRUD, 

This time there was no cloud of dust, 

Ihis time the crowd stayed in place. 

This time there were no vehicles. 

But a simple procession of horsemen. 

Here came the first one. 

I had seen him before-- 

Tall, lean, bearded. 

Legs dangling below the stirrups. 

"This nation cannot exist 

Half slave and half free," 

He said simply. 

Some fifty yards behind 

Came a second horseman. 

Dressed in clericals. 

He seemed to be praying : 

"For it is in giving that we receive. 

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned. 

And it is in dying 

That we are born to eternal life." 

I nodded my head in assent as 

The Assisian rode by. 


Then came a host of others, one by one, 
Some speaking and some not-- 

oister Kenny, Jonas Salk; 
Gautama, J'foharamed; 
Koses, Paul; 
Luther, Vtesley; 
Bach, Beethoven; 
Galileo, Newton; 
Darwin, Freud; 
Spurgeon, Fosdick; 
Da Vinci, Michelangelo; 
Plato, Kierkegaard; 
Shakespeare, Whitman; 
Augustine, Daraiem; 
Franklin, Wilson; 
Ghandi, Schweitzer-- 

And still they came. 
Great persons of history. 
One at a time. 
Without pomp, 
I'/ithout ceremony. 

Following these came 

A mighty host of unknown greats. 

Those whose names 

History had forgotten to record. 

Their faces were wonderfully bright 

VJith faith, courage, hope and joy. 

Finally He arrived. 

In a simple white robe. 

Riding on a donkey. 

The crowd grew deathly guiet. 

"Peace I leave with you; 

Ky peace I give unto you. 

Not as the world gives 

Give I unto you." 

The parade ■was over. 

"God, oh God, " I cried, 
"Thou Who didst create me. 
And breathed into me 
The breath of life; 
Forgive me my blasphemy. 
Make me a very real part 
Of the human race-- 


One who will do one man's shaie 
In healing the woes of huiaanity. 
Make me Thine instrument." 

I fancied I heard in the distance 
A still, small voice, which said: 
"Granted, my son. Granted." 

Copyright, 1959 
by Robert Wilmont Williams 


Charles Otis Lee 
Jackson, Mississippi 

Speaking of Alexander Campbell, I have recently been think- 
ing of him which, to me, is in somewhat of a new light. Campbell's 
"Sermon on the Law" is the key. 

As far as I know, the fact that Alexander Campbell was a 
thorough-going legalist is rather well established. His famous 
Sermon on the Law was not .a sermon against legalism, but rather 
against the authority of the Old Testament in relation to the on- 
going of the Church. To him a new law had been established which 
repealed the statutes and ordinances of the Old Testament in their 
entirety. To him "All arguments drawn from the Hebrew law in re- 
gard to"--present church practices--''are irrelevant and immaterial." 
(1). Alexander's stand in this respect seems also to have been the 
convictions of the other "Horsemen" of the Restoration movement. 
They believed that the New Testament contained within itself all the 
rules and regulations necessary for the operation of the church. 

Thus in his Sermon on the Law, Mr. Campbell seems to have 
completely missed the central point in Paul's argument in his let- 
ters to the Galatians and later to the Romans. Paul was arguing 
against the ability of law as law to bring salvation. To him salva- 
tion could com.e only through the indwelling of the Spirit of Christ 
--a vitally different concept. 

With the rejection of the Old Testament and the espousal of 
the New Testament as our one, only and complete authority, the Old 
Testament became virtually an unknown book to our Brotherhood. We 
were "New Testament" Christians. Even for the purposes of Scripture 
the Old Testament was, at best, only second class. As such our 
Brotherhood was greatly impoverished religiously by such rejection. 

Yet, in the long run our fore-fathers served us well in this 
connection. Through the years we had been saved from the fanatical 
approach toward an understanding of the Old Testament vA\ich was 


then and still is prevalent in numerous denominations. Accordingly, 
when the historical method of studying the Old Testament began to 
gain ground ^^re could become a part without having to undo a lot of 
inhibitions which dogaed the footsteps of students from other de- 
nominations. I rem.ember well the thrilling experiences which were 
nine in being able to set in Dr. JMP Smith's classes at the Univer- 
sity of 'Chicago while he "opened up to us the Scriptures." From 
that, and in somewhat the same manner, I have learned to interpret-- 
and better interpret, I believe--the messages of the various writers 
of the New Testam.ent. In my opinion our great need today is to 
strive to implement the salient principles of real Biblical re- 
search into the membership of the Church as a whole. 

Neither religion as a whole nor the Church in particular has 
been "the same, yesterday, today and forever." The Old Testament 
did not make the Jewish faith, but the Jews through constant borrow- 
ina from existing concepts outside and inside Palestine through the 
centuries, and through constant revisions made the Old Testament-- 
especially the Pentateuch- -what we have it today. The same is true 
of the New Testament-- it did not make the Church, but the Church 
made the New Testament. Constant battles were fought in the de- 
veloping of the faith. First, it was the guestion as to whether the 
new movement was to be just another sect within Judaism, or cosmo- 
politan. Then, as the church moved out into the Gentile world it 
met up with Greek philosophy, the Roman yen and genius for organiza- 
tion, and the sacramentalism of the mystery cults which surrounded 
the >Jediterranean basin. It had to pass through the ebb-tide of a 
dying eschatological hope and the whole movement was saved only by 
the genius of the developing Catholic faith to switch to new 

Vfe Disciples have prided ourselves on being a "Bible people." 
I hope we continue to be such, but not the kid of Bible people who 
go to the scriptures with a_ priori conceptions and seek confirma- 
tion for such beliefs through proof-texts sometimes wonderfully ad- 
justed and, at times, quite out of context. I hope we will be the 
kind of Bible people who will want to see how the Bible really came 
into being, from v;hence the various concepts came and how they were 
moulded into the many high concepts of religious faith found--as 
our own forefathers would say--"in the Old Book." Then, and only 
then can we begin to make constructive judgments and work out pro- 
posals for the meeting of our many present problems--religious, 
governmental, social, etc., etc., etc. 

(1). P 166 "The Disciples of Christ--a Histcry"--Garrison & 



George G. Beazley, Jr. 
First Christian Church, Bartlesvi lie, Oklahoma 

The history of most religious movements is the journey from 
a creative response \vith little form to a tired formalismi v;ith 
little joy. In the beginning is the passionate personality caught 
up in creativity as he reacts against the preceding formalism of the 
faith. In the ending is the casuistic schoolmaster educating men in 
the minutiae of a system built to preserve and make available to 
minds that never wonder the insights which the founder discovered 
with joy and awe. During the first period, a kind of creative an- 
archy reigns, as lesser men are kindled by the creative fire that a 
prophet has kindled and themselves blaze with new conflagrations, 
vrfiich they would never have experienced if someone greater than they 
had not lighted the flame. During the last period, the fire is 
carefully housed in a furnace, and men have its heat channeled to 
them only by carefully regulated ducts, viiile fire drills have been 
carefully taught, so that the blaze may be quickly extinguished when 
it gets out of control. 

In the history of Christianity this cycle has been repeated 
many times. No doubt it will go on repeating itself until the con- 
summation of the ages, \A\en the Lord of time shall send his vision 
to all men and shall vjrite his law on the hearts of all those eager 
to know hovj to combine prophetic passion with the routine of daily 

It was thus Christianity began. The new wine that fermented 
in Jesus' response to God burst the old wineskins of Pharisaic 
Judiasm. The earthly Jesus was extinguished, as a fire too much out 
of control, but the risen Lord of the church, however, continued to 
set fires in the lives of men. The early pages of the Acts of the 
Apostles have all the excitement and creativity and all of the anar- 
chy that are usually engendered in men possessed with a functifying 
idea. When it seemed that some regularity in administration was 
necessary, the apostles appointed seven deacons, saying "Vie can't 
take time off from this exciting business to administrate rules," 
But at least two of the administrators could not be content to reg- 
ulate. Stephen got himself stoned, but not for failing to regulate 
tables for Hellenistic widows. Men may be dismissed for errors in 
administration. They are seldom martyred for them. Philip got so 
excited over these creative seeds that he sowed them in Samaria and 
in the heart of an Ethopian eunuch. There is no record he ever 
filed a report on the condition of Hellinistic widows or suggested 
machinery by v^ich more justice could be obtained in the distribution 
of their food. It was administrative anarchy, but who would expect 
flames that fell from heaven to be content to burn on quiet and well 
regulated hearths. 


Cf course, not ell apostles are Peters or Johns; not all ap- 
pointed adrainistrators Phillips or Stephens. The larger, plodding 
mass alv/-ays wants the divine creativity reduced to a few simple 
rules that can be taught and learned, so that all men may know how 
to handle their fretting lives. A raging fire is a glorious thing, 
but it consumes ir.ore fuel that most men can supply, and it can 
easily become disastrous. So, the brother of the Lord, ap- 
pears. Tne very reason for choosing him to head the comjriunity sug- 
gests the triumph of hierarchal order over anarchical creativity. 
He is the legal successor in the ^;essianic line, the blood brother 
of the one whose blood was spilt because his creativity would not 
yield to community control. And in the guiet but persistent way of 
all the legally minded, he sets about regulating, preserving and 
making respectable and teachable the insiahts of his gifted brother. 
Cf course, much that caused Jesus to be recoanized as the Christ was 
lost in this process, but ycu cannot expect the tissues of a conmun- 
ity, even the elect comiPLunity of the church, to be able to bear the 
strain exerted by a wine that continues to ferment indefinitely. 
Cur last glimpse of the church at Jerusalem, in this early period is 
James urging Paul to pay the expenses of four men under vows and to 
be purified in the temple, that the caretakers of formalism might 
knov; that Paul vras not, as some said himi to be, a new incendiary 
like Jesus. 

Yet the whole career of Paul had shown that he was a new 
passionate rebel like his master, that he could provide more fuel 
for the blaze than anyone since his Lord had first kindled it. The 
torrential Greek of his letters, which defies the formalism of gram- 
mar, bespeaks another voyager not content with a well charted sea. 
'hen the creative anarchy becomes a discreative confusion, as at 
Corinth, he knox-js hov; to bring it back under control by the force of 
his personality and by the guieting effect of his well trained lieu- 
tenants like Titus. But he can never be content to cultivate long 
the field he has planted, and he is so allergic to records that he 
cannot even remiember whom he has baptized. 

It is thus the New Testament starts, with its most creative 
literature, the genuine letters of Paul. It ends with the Pastoral 
Epistles, vAiere only a few genuine and fragmentary notes of Paul oc- 
casionally break through that structure of careful regulation, which 
som.e follower has formed as the setting for them.. Here we find no 
hymns to love as in I Corinthians, no creative theology rooted in an 
awareness of man's existential situation as in Romans, no outbursts I 
in behalf of Christian freedom as in Galatians. Here is good adviceJ 
about appointing officers, rules to protect against heresy, encomium 
on the antiguity of the well-regulated faith. The fire has been 
carefully regulated. The anarchy is being reduced to the beginnings 
of hierarchy. 

There are many such stories in the history of the Christian 
church. The Reformation is another. It starts with the full- 
blooded Luther making Wittenberg's church door resound with the 
blov7s of a hammer struck by an indignant prophet. It ends in the 



well-regulated orthodoxy of Protestant ocholasticisri, trying to 
make justification by faith, the priesthood of all believers, and 
divine election rational. It starts v/ith the discovery of the 
freshness of the Greek New Testament and with the desire to get the 
explosive words into the vernacular of ever^' nation, so that the 
plowboy may be filled v/ith the new wine of the gospel. It ends 
with theories of the literal inspiration of the scripture and the 
effort to harmonize the differences I'.hich Luther had never cared to 

This cycle repeats itself once more in the beainninr/s of our 
movement. Cane Ridge is full of the divine fire. It is the anar- 
chial Spirit again pouring itself out on the sons of men. This 
Spirit reduced to nothingness the carefully vrorked out distinctions 
between Methodists, Baptists, and Presbyterians. Barton Vv. Stone 
saw and rejoiced. He never forgot that vision, end he continued to 
believe that no amount of laws, logically deduced from literature 
of the New Testament, could make up for the absence of a fiery loy- 
alty to Christ which m^ade laws superfluous in the life of the be- 

Thomas Campbell felt it too when he dispensed with Presby- 
terian regulations about the Lord's table and, in a burst of compas- 
sion for God's divided flock, invited all to the Lord's table. The 
divine fire flowed from his pen as he v;rote another declaration of 
freedom under the creative insight that the church was essentially 
and intentionally one. 

The rage that comes from God and knows no regulation came in- 
to Alexander Cam.pbell's heart as he flung doi^m that token of formal- 
ism at the Lord's Table and stalked in fury from a church that 
would set limits to the grace and love that God had poured out in 
the cross of Jesus Christ. The divine fire that will not be regula- 
ted glowed from the page on which he penned "Let us make the doors 
of the church as vjide as the gates of heaven." 

It filled the heart of Walter Scott as he sought to evangel- 
ize the Western Reserve. It had already spoken to his rebellious 
Scotch heart, as he galloped through the Greek New Testament and 
saw a wild gospel unlike the tame well-regulated ones he had heard 
from the pulpits of his day. 

Hardly had the divine anarchy begun, however, before formal- 
ism began to creep in. Sometimes the very minds that had been con- 
sumed by the raging fire built the furnaces where it v;as to be reg- 
ulated. Thomas Campbell could not be content with essentially and 
intentionally one. He had to add "constitutionally" with its invi- 
tation to casuistic legalism. The Alexander Campbell who had wanted 
to widen the doors of the church began to narrow them again with his 
new law and the restoration of an imaginary polity, vd^ich that turb- 
ulent church of the New Testament had never possessed. It is no ac- 
cident that texts from Matthew and Acts became nxiinerous, and Paul's 
doctrine of faith, the church, and the Spirit were reduced to 


shadows of their real selves. Scott could soon begin to believe 
that a convenient five point sermon outline was the rule of en- 
trance into the early church, despite the fact that a divine 
variety was evident in the descriptions of conversions in the Acts 
of the Apostles. 

Some have said that without the organizing and regulating 
genius of Alexander Campbell, the Christian movement of Stone 
would have lost itself in complete formlessness. Perhapis this is 
so. Maybe there have to be Jameses and men like the author of the 
Pastorals. Maybe there have to be Restorationists and Orthodox 
theologians. But whenever these become the rule, there have to be 
new Pauls and new Luthers. 


The history of our movements from its beginnings to the 
eighteen-seventies and eighties is the march from the anarchy of 
passionate creativity to the hierarchy of well-regulated formalism. 
This may be heresy against orthodox Discipleism but it is true. No 
more proof should be needed than the contrast of the joy of the 
early days of glorious unity which Stone describes with the jangle 
of contention by those men who were writing articles on the door- 
plate given to Isaac Errett by his friends. Our membership during 
that period grew by leaps and bounds, but in the effort to reduce 
the dreams of our fathers into a formula that could be easily 
taught, we lost our creativity and our joy. 

V»hen renewal came, it came, as it had come for Stone and the 
Campbells, when we met in receptive creativity Christians of dif- 
ferent viev^oints from our own. Let us never forget that it was at 
Cane Ridge where Baptists, Methodists and Presbyterians worked to- 
gether in creative interpenetration that Stone's dream was born. 
Let us never forget that it was on the Pennsylvania frontier where 
Presbyterians of differing brands were gathering together that 
Thomas Campbell saw that the church was essentially one. Let us 
never forget that it was in the meetings of the followers of the 
Haldanes in Edinburgh and in the experience of the creative inter- 
change of nev7 theological ideas in the university that Alexander 
Campbell began to react deeply against the formulations of the 
Presbyterian Church of his day. 

Once again it was when our young men of the last quarter of 
the nineteenth century began to study in Yale and return to Chicago 
that the cross-fertilization came about that produced a new burst 
of creative energy among our people. For Willett, Ainslie, Ames, 
Morrison, and Garrison have been to the Christian Churches (Disci- 
ples of Christ) in the twentieth century what Stone, the Campbells 
and Scott were to them in the nineteenth century. These five, of 
course, v;ere not all. There were many more in this period, just as 
today our historians are discovering neglected leaders beside the 
big four in our early days. These new pioneers shattered the form- 
alism into v;hich we had congealed at the close of the nineteenth 
century as the big four had shattered the formalism into \i3iich the 


Presbyterians of the frontier had congealed at the beginning of 
that century. It was their love of the old wineskins that created 
the Independents in thnt period. It v;as the desire for nev; wine 
on the part of the bulk of our leadership thst brought the Chris- 
tian Churches (Disciples of Christ) out of sectarianisir, and back 
into ecijunenicity . 

Half a century and more has elapsed since the beginning of 
that last creative burst. Today v;e are facina sr'ain the old prob- 
lem with w^hich the church must wrestle over and over again. How 
are we to keep free enough not to smother the new creativity with 
which we may be blessed, while maintaining enough form to enable 
us to responsibly act as a brotherhood, both for our internal good 
and that \-ie may play our particular part in ecumenical circles. How 
are we to leave opportunities for the acceptance of the new in- 
sights that our more venturesom.e minds will discover, end yet fit 
OUT faith into a curriculum that can be taught to those ^^i^ose minds 
can accept only a vrell ordered m.orality and a theology limited to 
relatively sim^ple concepts? How are we to produce a ministry 
through whose spirits will blow the ecumenical winds of God and 
call forth prophetic utterances, and yet see that we do not ordain 
screwballs who use freedom, as an excuse for irresponsible conduct 
tov/ard rheir own congregations and toward the brotherhood at large? 

It is this basic problem and its ramifications that the 
officers of your Campbell Institute have chosen as the theme for our 
discussions during 1960. We hope that you will find it stimulating 
and relevant. V/e trust you will argue it avidly in your state 
meetings and in your private conversations, that you will write 
your reactions to it and let us print them in The Scroll , that you 
will encourage your friends who are not members of the Institute to 
become part of it and join in the discussion, and that you will 
gather en masse for the discussion of this theme at the Internation- 
al' Convention at Louisville. 

It is our feeling there are three major problems involved in 
this issue, so we have asked the convention to allow us three post 
sessions. Vfe intend to present a panel on each of these problems on 
one of these evenings. 


The first of the three problems which the Campbell Institute 
plans to discuss during 1960 is the rise in our brotherhood of the 
Independent faction and its relation to the main body of the 
Christian Churches (Disciples of Christ), which, in the discussion 
of this problem^, is usually given the title "The Cooperatives." 

The very titles by which we distinguish these two groups 
shows the confusion in most people's minds in regard to this issue. 
The titles seem to indicate that there is something within the 
brotherhood from which one portion of our membership seeks to be in- 
dependent and with which the other portion, the majority of our chur- 
ches, wish to cooperate, and that this is the basic issue between 


If most people were asked what this "something" is, they would 
probably reply the United Christian Missionary Society, which the 
Independents lovinaly designate U. C. Mess, using the old tech- 
nioue of the label to prevent and pervert a thoughtful considera- 
tion of the problem. 

Even the Independents can scarcely claim that they desire 
to be independent of all missionary organization any longer, since 
they form evangelistic associations and set goals for the number of 
competing churches they hope to establish in town in v.hich, as they 
express it, "there are no loyal New Testament Churches." i=nd ^Aile 
the main body has never denied that they feel cooperation through 
responsible agencies, created by the brotherhood as a v;hole and re- 
porting to them through the International Convention of Christian 
Churches (Disciples of Christ), is the most orderly, efficient, and 
democratic way of handling those tasks too large for the local 
church, they have consistently defended the freedom of the local 
church to govern itself in matters of polity and doctrine and to 
include vri thin its membership Christians of widely differing theo- 
logical views. 

It is quite true that the conflict over the management of 
missions has been the most frequently discussed issue growing out 
of this division among us. It is now, however, the basic issue. 
This becomes evident when one reads the attacKS of the Independent 
factions on the main body of the Christian Churches (Disciples of 
Christ) or on a particular missionary, chiurch, or minister within 
this main body. when the attack is made, it always comes from^ the 
assumption that there is a well defined and easily determined set of 
theological rules which have been broken by the United Christian 
Missionary Society, or by a particular seminary, church, or m.inister 
and that by the breaking of this set of rules they have proven them- 
selves to be no longer worthy to remain within the brotherhood and 
should be chased out. It should be obvious that this is wrha t the 
terms "loyal" and "not loyal" mean to the Independent faction. A 
less violent but somewhat similar group within the main body veer 
toward this position when they use the terms "traditional" and "not 
traditional", even though they would not engage in the excommunica- 
tion of those not following the set of rules which the Independents 

Actually the Independents belong to that larger group within 
Christendom which believe that the cement which brings a denomina- 
tion together is basically doctrinal and that a creed (written or 
unwritten) is necessary to test the right of individual ministers, 
seminaries, or agencies to remain within the denomination. Of 
course, the Independents abhor the word "creed", but they do not hes- 
itate to draw up lists of questions by which ministers can be tested 
which is only the reality without the name. They proclaim in their 
sermons and their advertising that they are "non-denominational", 
but v;hat they mean by this is that they are the one true, apostolic, 
primitive church, while all those differing from them are, in vary- 
ing degrees, apostate. Vflien stated in this way, it is evident that 
the basic concept of the Independents of the way in which differing 



opinions on matters of doctrine and polity are to be handled is 
very similar to that of the Roman Catholic Church. The essential 
difference is only that the Roman Church, with its rigid consis- 
tency, has vested the authority for determining the doctrine and 
polity in the hands of one man, the pope, while among the Indepen- 
dents there are many popes, agreeing generally, but at odds on some 
minor points. 

That the above paragraph is not a caricature or an attempt 
to damn by association can be easily seen when we ask ourselves 
what are the main objections which the Independents raise to the 
agencies, seminaries, publications, or ministers whom they attack? 
It is always that they have departed from the true faith by teach- 
ing doctrines or by engaging in practices that are not taught in 
the New Testament and v;hich are, therefore, forbidden to the New 
Testament Church. This, of course, assumes that the New Testament 
Church had a well defined body of doctrine and polity v^ich was ob- 
served in all places, at all times, and that the writings contained 
in its twenty-seven books are literally inspired and are in the na- 
ture of a legal constitution from which particular applications can 
be deduced. It is also assumed that these doctrines and this polity 
I are so clearly taught that there can be no reasonable doubt about 

their nature, and that when an agency, seminary, church, or minister 
jl departs from them, they are doing so purely out of ignorance or out 
t of a perverted desire to impart a false theology into a group of the 
]: churches that should, as they say, "remain true to the Bible." 

It should further be observed that the polities and doc- 
trines to which the Independents most violently object are those 
which recognize the status of other denominations and treat them as 
a real part of the body of Christ. Thus the attack on the United 
Christian Missionary Society grew mainly out of the willingness of 
this agency to cooperate with other groups in comity agreements in 
the mission field and in the fear that they were receiving into our 
mission churches as members persons from churches that did not prac- 
tice immersion. For this reason they have created independent mis- 
sionaries of their own, whom, by rigid financial control, they could 
prevent from engaging in these practices. The attack on certain 
seminaries was primarily concerned rath the failure of those semin- 
aries to insist that there was one, consistent, easily recognized 
pattern of polity and doctrine in the New Testament and their failure 
to teach this mythical pattern. It was for this reason that they ob- 
jected to the use of the critical methods of biblical study, which 
were developed in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and are ac- 
cepted by most creative biblical scholarship. These studies proved 
ithe Bible to be a living book, mediating the revelation of God in 
Jesus Christ to us, not a carefully worded legal constitution, unaf- 
fected by history, or by the human beings who penned it. The Inde- 
pendents did not care to have biblical studies ever progress beyond 
:the Christian Sys teir. of Alexander Campbell, the New Commentary on 
Acts of Apos t le s by KcGarvey, or The Divine Scheme of Redemption of 
Milligan. Since the College of the Bible at Lexington, Kentucky was 
the first of our seminaries to become interested in and use the 


results of modem biblical scholarship (The Disciples Divinity- 
House at the University of Chicago had espoused the pattern about 
two decades earlier but the Independents considered it only a new- 
radical experiment, not one of our ovm seminaries), it was for 
many years the whipping boy of The Christian Standard . To combat 
this the Independents forraed a group of "3ible Schools", beginning 
with Cincinnati and steadily increasing in number. These carefully 
insulated themselves from all secular .learning, that might cause 
any doubt of their basic proposition, and rejected all biblical 
scholarship that did not agree with their certainty that they, and 
they alone, understood the nature, doctrine and polity of the New 
Testam.ent Church. 

It is not hard to see why the National Council of Churches 
or the World Council of Churches would be anathema to this group. 
These Councils recognize the il!hristian nature of all the coopera- 
ting churches and assume that only when we pool our insights can 
we more fully find the truth God reveals to us, that only when we 
cooperate, can we effec+^ively preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to 
those who have not heard. To a group convinced that it alone has 
the true doctrine and polity, such cooperation, with its comity 
agreements on the mission field and in the large cities, is un- 
thinkable. None of those churches in America which believe that 
they alone are the true church would go into these councils, and 
when the Christian Churches (Disciples of Christ), through its In- 
ternational Convention, became a part of these bodies, the Indepen- 
dents had another reason to bear a grudge toward the Cooperatives. 
Naturally any translation of the Bible produced under the auspices 
of such organizations and by scholars trained in the new biblical 
learning and unvdlling to concede that a rigid scheme of doctrine 
and polity could be easily seen in the New Testament were not ac- 
ceptable to this group. 

Churches snd ministers came iinder fire because of their 
support of such agencies and their willingness to accept modern 
biblical and secular learning. However, the unpardonable sin of 
some of these churches and ministers was their willingness to ac- 
cept as members Christians from churches that did not practice 
their form of baptism, for they held that it is utterly inconsis- 
tent to include persons at the Lord's table and then deny them ad- 
mission to miernbership in the congregation without rebaptism. The 
Standard Publishing Company became more and more the spokesman for 
these objections. The Independents rejected the Christian Board of 
Publication, since its relation v/ith inter-denominational agencies 
was friendly and since it sought to incorporate into its church 
school materials the discoveries in technique and in biblical study 
that had come to be generally accepted by the scholarly world. 

Unfortunately these basic issues between the Independents 
and the main body of the Christian Churches (Disciples of Christ) \ 
are not clearly understood. Instead of seeing the conflict as an 
issue between a group who believes in rigid adherence to a well de-' 
fined system of doctrine and policy and a group that allows freedoir- 


in all matters of doctrine and policy and requires only acceptance 
of Jesus as Christ and Lord, allowing this loyalty and the corrdTiand 
to love to hold the church together, many assume that the problem 
lies merely in differences in details, v^iiich can be compromised 
and thus the rupture healed. It is this latter view that has prorrp- 
ted the so-called Consultations on Internal Unity that have been 
held in some states. Some ministers and churches have seen the is- 
sue as merely their relationship to the missionary society of their 
state and their support of the national agencies. Not having prob- 
ed to the reason for the rejection of these agencies by the Inde- 
pendents, these Cooperatives attempt to defend this support purely 
on the basis of efficiency and sometimes cling to a theology v^hich 
is hardly distinguishable from that of the Independents whom they 
are opposing. Often they are forced into a kind of Christian 
schizophrenia where they accept Presbyterian, Methodists and Gon- 
gregationals as sincere Christians, cooperate with them in mission- 
ary endeavor, and read their theologians and biblical scholars with 
appreciation and at least as much acceptance as they accord their 
own, yet still cling to the idea that there is a rigid pattern of 
doctrine in the New Testament and stretch the word doctrine until it 
actually includes polity also. Thus they offer unity and coopera- 
tion with one hand and withdraw it with the other. Often this fail- 
ure to be consistent leads even the brotherhood agencies into lu- 
dicrous action. Thus on its dust jacket the Christian Board of 
Publication describes Hilligan's The Divine Scheme of Redemption 
not as an interesting document illustrating a particular period of 
our history but as "a clear exposition and defense of the 'scheme 
of redemption' as it is revealed and taught in the Holy Scriptures", 
despite the fact that the acceptance of the position of this book's 
thesis would cause the rejection of the principles on which the 
Christian Board of Publication and the United Christian Missionary 
Society exist. 

In a decade when ^-re shall undoubtedly be considering again 
our part in the ecumenical movements of our day and accepting, re- 
jecting or postponing the invitation of the United Chirrch of Christ 
to become a part of this effort for Christian unity, it is very im- 
portant that the Christian Churches (Disciples of Christ) understand 
the basic issues that are causing internal disunity and that its 
ministers and lay people choose either the way of an unv;ritten 
creedalism or the liberty which our forefathers set out to find for 
the church. Though an effort has been made here to set forth the 
basic issues and point out some of the confusions and complexities, 
only open discussion between differing viewpoints can illuminate all 
of the problems involved. This is one of the things -vdiich The 
Campbell Institute hopes to promote in 1960. 


Closely related to this problem of internal unity is the 
matter of the education and the ordination of the ministry. How 
shall ordination take place? Who shall do it? How can we insure 
that those who are ordained are not mere sectarians, but true min- 
isters of the body of Christ? Who shall examine the candidates, or 


shall they be examined at all? On what shall they be examined- - 
education, loyalty to agencies, theological positions? How can 
we prevent any commission on the ministry from becoming an examin- 
ing presbytery? Is the minister responsible to God alone, to the 
church he is serving, or to the brotherhood of which he is a part? 
If he is responsible to all of these, does his individual con- 
science, the local church he is serving or the brotherhood deter- 
mine the type of minister which he should be? How shall he be 
selected, trained or disciplined? All these knotty problems call 
for consideration lest we drift into a policy we have not intended. 

VJhile we have always had these problems vdth us, they have 
been augmented both by our efforts to deal with the Independent 
sect within us and by our relation vath the ecumenical movement, 
where we find that other churches with a well-defined ministry ask 
embarrasing questions about our own. An increasing number of sin- 
cere laymen and ministers within our brotherhood would greatly cur- 
tail some of our hard-earned freedoms if, by so doing, they could 
thwart the effort of the Independents to take over churches that 
are now a part of the m.ajor body of the Christian Churches (Dis- 
ciples of Christ). Cn the other hand, some Independents Icbby for 
a delegate convention with rigid control of the churches and the 
ministers, hoping to capture it and exclude those ministers and 
churches whom they condemn as not true to the pattern of the New 
Testament Church. 

It seems almost inevitable that in the next few decades we 
shall curtail our liberty of action, which has issued in license 
more often than we like to think. Our greatest danger is that in 
so doing we may create centers of power that will fall into the 
hands of persons that may be quite as irresponsible as the maver- 
icks they seek to corral. 

It is a pattern too prevalent to be accidental that censor- 
ships which set out to control a literary pornography generally end 
in condemning great but controversial works of art, while losing 
interest in the trash that is too worthless to call any attention 
to itself. It is the nature of greatness that it becomes a cyno- 
sure for all eyes and provokes controversy. Our past history 
should warn us that it is the Aitks, the Morrisons, the Garrisons, 
and the Ainslies who are the targets at vA\ich the mediocre let fly 
their darts. The heretics of Podunk seldom arouse the ire of any 

Thus when we create commissions to examine candidates, we 
want to hedge about their freedom to inquire with statements of 
God-given freedoms that must be respected and give any harassed 
candidate some supreme comission to vA^ich he can appeal if he feels 
these freedoms have been violated. If we fail to do this, we shall 
merely insure the triumph of mediocrity in the ministry and rein- 
force the present tendency to think that the ideal minister is the 
one who attains organizational "success" and never gets into con- 


To discuss the complexities involved in this thorny prob- 
leiTi of how to create a responsible ministry that will yet be pio- 
neering is the second issue which The Campbell Institute hopes to 
hold up to our brotherhood in 1960. 


Closely allied to the preceding t^vo problems is the mat- 
ter of brotherhood structure. 'The Interr.ational Convention of 
Christian Churches (Disciples of Christ) meeting in Denver in 
August 23-3ept ember 2, 1959, received a report from, the Board of 
Directors of the International Convention stating, "It is the 
present intent of the Board of Directors to bring to the Assembly 
of the International Convention vrhen it meets in Louisville, 
Kentucky, a recommendation calling for the creation of a represen- 
tative Commission on Brotherhood Structure. This recommendation 
V7ill be detailed as to how such a commission shall be structured, 
what its functions are to be and how it shall operate so as to 
secure the widest possible Brotherhood participation." At the 
meeting in Louisville, October 21-26, 1960, we shall be presented 
with this recommendation and shall vote upon it. It seems highly 
probable that such a commission will be created. Its task will not 
be an easy one. 

CXir membership has alvrays been characterized by its diver- 
sity. Almost everyone among the Cooperative group is agreed that 
we need a m.ore responsible structure. In this view a larger niomber 
of Independents than one might expect heartily join. However, ^.tien 
it comes to the matter of what constitutes a more responsible struc- 
ture, the famdliar diversity reaches m.ammoth proportions. 

Some feel we need a statement of our beliefs. The more 
bold will even define this as a creed. Most of the main body will 
say that this must not be used as a test of fellowship. The Inde- 
pendents seem less conceined about this danger, recognizing that 
this has always been the reason for and use of creeds. Some, 
prizing freedom as our supreme heritage from the past but agreeing 
with the Independents as to the nature and normal use of such a 
statement, feel that to accept any official statement of faith is 
to court a relapse into the very situation whose errors brought the 
protest and program of our fathers into existence. 

The delegate convention is a form of structure for ;^ich 
there is a rising sentiment. Despite the fact that previous at- 
temps to make this form work among our churches has heretofore end- 
ed in a fiasco, many feel another effort to establish this form 
needs to be attempted. The reasons given for desiring a delegate 
convention vary. Some feel that we must be able to speak with more 
authority as a group. They are particularly sensitive to our in- 
ability to speak with power on social issues. Others feel that the 
appointing of delegates would give more sense of responsibility 
both to the churches that appoint and to the delegates that are 


appointed. Still others feel that, unless a delegate convention 
can be formed, we can give no responsible answers to those who 
brine before us opportunities for organic unity with the Church 
Universal or some portion of it. 'Ihic problem of how a mass meet- 
ing can decide to restructure itself into a delegate convention is 
itself a formidable one, even should such a proposal meet with a 
majority response. 

Kuch of our traditional structure was determined by the 
American frontier. Sociologically our churches were rural. Now, 
like all of /jnerica, we have rapidly become urbanized. The fron- 
tier and much of its spirit has disappeared forever. Indeed, much 
of the attraction of the Independent position to some of our m.em- 
bership is the appeal to a nostalgic ruralism, i-ath its effort to 
return to the "good old days" that are nov; gone forever. How does 
a church movement rooted sociologically in the American frontier 
and philosophically in Enlightenment adapt itself to being the 
seventh largest Protestant denomination in an America that has be- 
come urban and industrial and in a world where existentialism has 
become the dominant philosophy? How does a group of people accus- 
tomed by their heritage to think of the church as a local congre- 
gation simply ruled by mass votes and by directly responsible 
elders and deacons deal with an ecumenical movement ;\rhere wide di- 
versity^ of policy creates problems of church unity vi^ich can be 
shrugged aside only at vast peril to an embattled Christendom in a 
post- Christian culture? How can the ministry of a group who were 
convinced that the New Testament was a simple and straight -forward 
book, legislating doctrine and policy for the church in all life's 
situations, adjust itself to a Biblical scholarship vAiere all prob- 
lems are complex and where all Questions tend to find theological 
rootage? How can a movement ivith no real sense of the nature of i 
historical timie, some of whose leaders felt they could jump over 
eighteen centuries of history and restore, in the nineteenth cen- 
tury, the imagined pristine purity of the primitive church, find 
its place in a Christendom where the relativizing effect of history 
on all human concepts is axiomatic? 

It is the recognition of the difficulty of answering these 
questions that has created a Panel of Scholars, a Commission on the 
Theology of Mission and other such groups for study. Restructure 
is not a simple process. More is involved than bringing order out 
of chaos. To explore the complexity of these problems and allow 
open discussion, dedicated to truth and freedom, to suggest answers 
is the third task to which The Campbell Institute looks forward as 
it enters its sixty-fourth year of existence. 


THE SCROLL, the Bulletin of the Campbell Institute, published 
quarterly in July, October, January, and April. 

The Campbell Institute was founded in 1896 as an association 
for ministers and laymen of the Christian Churches (Disciples of 
Christ) for the encouragement of scholarship, personal religious living, 
and publication. 

OFFICERS 1959-60 

President: George G. Beazley, Jr., Bartlesville, Oklahoma 

Vice-President: G. L. Messenger, Stillwater, Oklahoma 
Secretary-Treasurer: Paul B. Kennedy, Ontario, California 


The Officers of the Institute 

The dues of the Campbell Institute are ^2.00 per year, including 
subscriptions to The Scroll. 

Correspondence concerning manuscripts and other editorial items 
should be sent for the present to George G. Beazley, Jr., First Christian 
Church, P.O. Box 1177, Bartlesville, Oklahoma. Correspondence con-^ 
cerning membership and dues should be sent to Paul B. Kennedyj'l 
835 East G Street, Ontario, California. 


The Journal of the Campbell Institute 

William Clayton Bower 

Orvis F. Jordan 


Ralph G. Wilburn 

Richard Johnson 

George G. Beazley, Jr. 

/ol. LI WINTER, 1960 No. 3 



Dear Reader : ■ ' ' ■ 

While my face is no longer the bright shade of red that suf- 
fused it when I sent you the Fall 1959 issue of The Scroll during 
the first months of 1960, it is still a strong shade of pink as I 
send you the Winter 1950 issue in April. I might paraphrase Robert 
Browning and say, "Ch to be in January, now that spring is here." 
By the Summer 1960 issue, I hope to be back on schedule and not de- 
sert it again. 

Of course, if these issues are to reach your desk, those of you 
who are behind in your dues must send them to Paul Kennedy. Even 
with offset press the cost is much above that of the past, and with- 
out the traditional "two iron men" from each man, we can't put in 
print the interesting collection of articles that we are now amass- 

The present issue begins a series of articles by a group of our 
older leaders, whose long service among us enables thera to write 
with deep penetration on signs of progress and development among the 
disciples to give us some analysis of the problems now before our 
people. The suggestion for this series came from. Dr. Irvin Lunger, 
president of Transylvania College and a long-tim,e member of the 
Campbell Institute. Your editor was most grateful for it. Origin- 
ally, we had planned to print these essays as a single issue of Tne 
Scroll . However, the busy schedule of some of these "retired" (???) 
leaders of our brotherhood kept them from sending me their essays in 
time for this issue, so v;e are printing only two essays in this is- 
sue to whet your appetite for those that are to come. 

Our third article is a paper read by Ralph G. Wilburn at the 
annual Pastors' Conference of the Disciples of Christ of Kentucky, 
convened at the College of the Bible, Lexington, January 11, 1960. 
This is too good a paper to be heard only by the ministers of one 
state, and Ralph has granted me permission to use it as an article in 
Tb,e Scroll . It deals in a practicable and understandable manner with 
a problem about which many of our ministers are thinging. 

Richard Johnson, head resident at the Disciples Divinity House 
at the University of Chicago and a recent B.D. graduate at the 
College of the Bible, Lexington, Kentucky has written our fourth 
article. Originally it was a paper done for a class in New Testament. 
I After reading it, I asked Dick to let me print it, and he was kind 
enough to let me do so. It is a truly scholarly exegesis of a dif- 
ficult passage. It is my hope that other students who are doing this 
type of work will send their best papers to me for possible inclusion 
in our magazine. I feel that one of the duties of The Scroll is to 
encourage publication of worthy work by our scholars in training. 

The final article is by your editor. I hope you v;ill find it 
interesting. It is my conviction that the reading of the works of 
our contemporary greats in the literary field would give us a much 
better comprehension of the questions our civilization is asking. 
Only if we know these, can we relate God's event in Jesus Christ to 
our world. 

Don't forget your "two iron men". We need them. 

Yours for free discussion. 

George dj Beazley, Jr. 


Williai?. Clayton Bower* 
Lexington, Kentucky. 

The century and a half since the origin of the Disciple- Move- 
ment has been one of profound intellectual and social change. This 
has been increasingly true since the beginning of the tv^/entieth cen- 
tury, and is likely to be more so in the future, not only in the 
magnitude of these changes, but in their tempo. The ef f ectiveness-- 
even survival--of an institution or movement depends upon its cap- 
acity to adjust to these changed conditions and to meet, as Toynbee 
would say, the challenges which they present. Institutions or move- 
ments which fail to m.eet these challenges are doomed to become mere 
survivals or to lose their effective functioning as constructive 
forces in the contemporary world. Therefore the necessity of con- 
tinuous reappraisal of purposes, organization, and procedures. 

The Disciples had their origin in the early nineteenth century 
in a reaction against sectarianism^. To the founding fathers sec- 
tarianism was not only an unfortunate historical development of 
Protestantism, but a sin in that it contravened the intercessory 
prayer of Christ and rendered ineffective the persuasive witness of 
the church. There were two basic ideas in the origin of the 
Disciple movement. The primary one was a plea for the union of all 
Christians. It was not their idea to start another denomination but 
to propose a rallying ground to ^^;hich all followers of Christ of 
whatever creed or polity could repair. It was this idea and hope 
which led them to adopt the oldest and m.ost inclusive title, 
"Christian" or "Disciples of Christ." For them this title did not 
connote that they were the only Christians, but that they were 
Christians only. 

The second idea was the proposal that as a means for accomp- 
lishing this end all followers of Christ should go back beyond all 
historic creeds and polities to the New Testament and restore the 
New Testament as the only rule of faith and practice and the New 
Testament church in its beliefs, ordinances, and way of life. Thus 
they proposed that there be no creed but Christ and in all matters 
of opinion complete liberty. 

During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries there have been 
many changes, both intellectual and social. Koiern science has 
given us revolutionary conceptions of nature, of man, and of the 
cosmos. Meanwhile, modern historical and biblical scholarship has 

♦Professor Emeritus of the Divinity School of the University 
of Chicago. 

given us a new understanding of the origin and nature of the Bible, 
of the character of the New Testament churches, of the development 

of the church, and of the evolution of 'Clhristian doctrine. 

No less fundamental and rapid have been the social changes, 
both in the nation and throughout the world. These changes involve 
industrial, interracial, international, and intercultural relations. 
Increasingly states and regions have become one nation. Out of 
many races, cultures and nationalities one world has emerged. 

Meantime, there has been a pronounced development in co- 
operation among the churches in local comir.unities, in state and 
national Councils culminating in the World Council of Churches. In 
increasing instances there have been mergers of branches within 
denominations and of denominations themselves. Most significantly, 
there has emerged the concept of the ecumenical church embracing all 
faiths and polities v/ithin Christendom., 

So, it turns out that at mid-twentieth century the Disciples 
are no longer a lone voice pleading for Christian unity. Ironical- 
ly enough, they have in some instances been an obstacle to union by 
alloinng the means to take precedence over the end. 


The fact that the Disciples have designated the sixties as "A 
Decade of Decision" is evidence that the leadership of the Brother- 
hood is aware of these changes, of the challenges which they pre- 
sent, and of the necessity of re-examining our position in relation 
to our origins and to contemporary movements in Christendom. Among 
the issues about which this rethinking centers some half-dozen 
crucial ones may be pointed out. 

First , the reconstruction of Brotherhood polity. In the be- 
ginning the Disciples were extremely individualistic. The local 
congregation was wholly autonomous and recognized no central auth- 
ority. Such co-operation as existed was entirely voluntary. In 
the early twentieth century there were churches within the Brother- 
hood which refused to co-operate in any common undertaking. By mid- 
century these non-co-operating churches withdrew to form an indepen- 
dent body known as the Churches of Christ which later split into two 
bodies. Conventions of the co-operating churches have been composed 
of individuals rather than delegates of the churches and possess no 
authority over the individual congregation. 

Meantime, as common enterprises developed along with common 
relationships with other religious bodies and the community, the 
Brotherhood was consolidated into a corporate existence comparable 
to that of a denomination among denominations. Thus there has 
evolved a second level of church polity above that of the local 
churches. The original polity, or lack of it, made no adequate 
provision for this new level of corporate relations and respons- 

Consequently the Disciples are now faced with the need of 
developing a new corporate structure that will provide for these 
new intra-church and extra-church relations and responsibilities. 

Second, there is the necessity of integrating the functions 
and relations of the various agencies within the Brotherhood. 
Historically, each of these agencies grew up to meet a particular 
need, with its own objectives, organization, personnel and program. 
As a result there has been much overlapping, competition, and 
omission. This duplication and competition has caused no little 
waste of personnel, effort, and money, together v/ith inefficiency. 

Cbviously, the time has come for the leaders of these agencies 
to sit down together to analyze the needs for which the Brotherhood 
is responsible, to take stock of resources of personnel and finance, 
to define and allocate functions and responsibilities, and to pro- 
vide for unmet needs. The result of such a rational procedure 
would be a well-rounded, balanced, and comprehensive program of 
purpose and action. 

It is a matter of much significance and promise that a Council 
of Agencies has been set up and is at work on this problem. 

Third , the need of developing the lay membership of the 
churches. This is, on the whole, a responsibility of the local 

The Disciples began as a lay movement. Each member of the 
local church stood in immediate relation to God and shared equally 
in the privileges and responsibilities of the congregation. 

It is not surprising, therefore, that the early Disciples 
were anti-clerical. They believed in a lay and unsalaried ministry. 
They rejected such ecclesiastical titles as "Reverend," "Father," 
or "Doctor" as smacking of Romanism. They looked askance at ordin- 
ation, not only as being unnecessary in a lay organization, but as 
having the connotation of an ecclesiastical hierarchy. 

The emphasis upon the development of the lay membership does 
not mean, as the early Disciples assumed, that a professional and 
trained leadership is unnecessary. The function of leadership in a 
lay movement is to stimulate ideas and purposes, to help the group 
become sensitive to opportunities and responsibilities, and to help 
the group to plan its enterprises and to organize its resources for 
carrying its purposed action through to fulfillment. 

The development of responsible lay participation involves a 
creative concept of administration. In contrast to thinking and 
purposing and programing on the part of an authoritative clerical 
overhead which imposes its ideas and plans upon the laity, creative 
administration starts with the experience of the membership from 
which thinking, purposing, and planning emerge under the stimula- 
tion and guidance of trained professional leaders, the co-ordination 

of this thinking and purposing into a consistent and balanced 
program by a representative administrative board, and the commit- 
ment of these programs to the lay membership for execution, under 
trained leaders as counselors. 

Fourth , the need for the recruiting and training of a com- 
petent leadership. This leadership is of two kinds: non-profes- 
sional lay leadership and professional leadership. 

For training non-professional leaders the local church can do 
much with its own resources through training classes and in-service 
guidance. But primarily the church at large must look to higher 
education in its undergraduate colleges. The early Disciples were 
prolific in establishing such colleges without due regard to dis- 
tribution, financial support, academic standards, or permanency. 
As a result the mortality of these colleges was high. But through 
the Board of Higher Education and its co-operating colleges stan- 
dards of excellence are being raised and adequate financial support 
is being sought through contributions of the churches, private 
gifts, and grants from industries. 

For professional leadership the Brotherhood must look primar- 
ily to its growing number of graduate theological seminaries. The 
early Disciples were anti-theological and regarded with suspicion 
graduate study in seminaries. Instead, they depended upon the 
undergraduate college of liberal arts, with special emphasis upon 
Greek and Hebrew so that the "living oracles" could be read in their 
original tongues. 

But the church in our generation can no longer depend upon 
undergraduate training for its professional ministry, nor upon 
training in the seminaries of other communions. The recent develop- 
ment of its seven seminaries and houses in universities, is a prom- 
ising response to this imperative need. There remains much to be 
done in the development of these institutions, in the recruiting of 
young men and women for the ministry, and in securing adequate finan- 
cial support. 

Fifth , there is a growing feeling that there should be made 
explicit a body of convictions for which the Disciples stand in re- 
lation to other religious bodies and the ecumenical church, while 
at the same time avoiding a creed. In the World Co\incils Disciple 
representatives find themselves at a disadvantage in the eyes of 
other religious bodies and in their own eyes because they have no 
such authentic formulation. 

Nevertheless, while the Disciples could never consent to the 
adoption of a creed, they do stand for certain fundamental convic- 
tions and principles while insisting upon complete liberty in hold- 
ing to widely differing opinions. To achieve such a consensus while 
not only tolerating differences but regarding them as assets in an 
extremely difficult undertaking and requires a high degree of in- 
tellectualand religious maturity. Perhaps herein lies one of the 


greatest contributions which the Disciples could make to current 
religious thought at a time when neo-orthodoxy has made some in- 
roads on Disciple leaders trained in other than Disciple semin- 

Sixth , in the light of its origins and genius, no religious 
group should more gratefully v;elcome and wholeheartedly participate 
in the ecumenical movement than the Disciples. This was the 
dream that glowed in the hearts of the founding fathers. That it 
has arisen outside the Disciple Brotherhood and is coming into be- 
ing on other grounds than that proposed by the Campbells and Stone 
should not lessen Disciple response to it or enthusiasm for it. 
The unity for which Christ prayed and for v^ich the Disciples have 
pled is in a way to be realized, whatever the obstacles that may be 
encountered or however long the vision may be delayed. In this the 
Disciples should take heart, be grateful for the promise of the 
fulfillment of a dream coming true, and contribute unreservedly to 

Practically, the ecumenical union of all Christians should 
begin in the local church in an inclusive membership in which there 
is a warm, welcome to all sincere followers of Christ irrespective 
of previous denominational affiliation, race, or culture. It 
should extend wholeheartedly to fellowship and co-opieration with 
other religious bodies in the local commiunity and nation, as well 
as to fellowship and co-operation in the world-wide fellowship of 
■Christians. In such a fellowship tolerance gives way to under- 
standing and appreciation and differences are regarded, not as li- 
abilities, but as assets for a richer and fuller Christian exper- 

In some such ways the Decade of Decision should be for the 
Disciples an occasion for re-examining the foundations of their 
faith, of their plea for Christian union and the method of achiev- 
ing it, of their organizational structure, of their self perpetua- 
tion through the recruitment and training of a competent leadership, 
and for recommitment to the fulfillment of the intercessory prayer 
of our Lord for the union and witness of His followers. 


Orvis F. Jordan 

It was in 1892 that I became a member of a Disciples church, 
and in 1899 I took charge of my first church as pastor. Over this 
span of years so many things have happened among the Disciples that 
it will be hard to say what things have been formative in their in- 
fluence. Among ray books are bound volumes of parish papers with 
much news of various Chicago churches covering a period of about 


fifteen years, but more important are bound volumes of the 
Campbell Institute Bulletin for six years, beginning with October, 
1910. Preceding this for two years Dr. E. S. Ames had published 
for the Campbell Institute the Scroll which was more than a journ- 
al to be regarded as a house organ; it was a journal for general . 

This journal, of which I do not have the files, was immedia- 
tely attacked by The Christian Standard and The Christian Evangel- 
ist. It was about this time that Dr. C. C. Morrison became editor 
of The Christian Century, for a time a journal for Disciples. The 
great attack upon the Campbell Institute came at this time, and 
the membership statistics showed that it lost about ten per cent. 
The guestion was, should the Campbell Institute continue as an or- 
ganization? This was ansv/ered affirmatively. To keep a little j 
over a hundred members in touch with one another through some 
m.edium of communication was required. For six years the Campbell 
Institute Bulletin served this purpose. I was on an editorial com- 
mittee with George Campbell, who later asked to be relieved, and 
for most of six years I was editor. The organization had various 
"chambers", and in each of a half dozen or so of these appeared 
short book reviews pertinent to the department. V.'e had a depart- 
ment of news of the members. In 1916 Dr. Rmes resumed the Scroll. 

In the fall of 1910, the national convention was held at 
Topeka. In a signed article in the Bulletin I reported my impres- 
sions of this convention: "There are but few of our men who do not 
speak of this convention as the most progressive of our history. 
It is true that many of the things against which we have always 
protested were there. There was the same rag-time music, the same 
irreverence in the audience, the same mob psychology in the bus- 
iness meetings, and a lack in many of the addresses of any strong 
intellectual grip upon our problems." This judgment could be doc- 
lomented with memories that may well be allowed to perish. 

I contrast this with a recent experience in a national conven- 
tion at St. Louis. I had not attended a convention in several years, 
though through all the years keeping my name in the year book as a 
Disciple minister. I was surprised and delighted with the changes 
that I observed. Only a few of the old-timers were there. A new 
ministerial force was on hand, neatly groomed, courteous and intel- 

The convention had none of the wild oratory of the old days, 
but a far more effective kind of piiblic address. I shall not say 
that all of the speakers shovred discernment of the great religious 
problems of our age, but I heard no rabble-rousing speeches of 
which we had all too m>any fifty years before. The effort to exclude 
from fellowship a theological opponent was not to be found. There 
were only the differences of courteous men who were on the quest of 
the truth. I came home from this latter convention convinced that 
the Disciples could not be made into a narrow-minded sect. They 
were on the way to make a great contribution in the history of 
world Christianity. ... 


The most important force in bringing about this change was 
education. At the beginning of this century a nvmiber of Disciples 
went to the divinity school at Yale, and a few to Harvard. These 
set up the Disciples Divinity House with the cordial cooperation 
of President Harper of the University of Chicago, To this day 
Disciples still study religion in the eastern universities, and 
more lately at Vanderbilt University. The Disciples initiated 
Bible chairs at some state universities which led some men into 
the ministry. In recent years standardized schools of theology 
have been established in four or five locations. Short course in- 
stitutions of very conservative teaching have with one or two no- 
table exceptions died out. The result is that today the Disciples 
have more ministers with full professional education than ever be- 
fore in their history. 

Another great force in changing the Disciples from the pattern 
of 1910 has been the growth of ecumenical interest. It was at the 
Topeka convention in 1910 that the "Council on Christian Unity" 
was founded and Peter Ainslie was made its leader. He traveled 
widely, and invited ministers of different denominations to meet 
him in America's leading cities. He had no cut-and-dried plan for 
the unity of church. His was a program of conference and prayer. 
He has been succeeded by other great leaders. The National Council 
of Churches has Roy Ross as its head. John Harms has just completed 
fifteen years of most successful leadership in the Church Federation 
of Greater Chicago. Dr. W. E. Garrison has had a very great influ- 
ence on the World Council of Churches, In the community church 
movement may be found many Disciples ministers. Dr. Bower in his 
day was a great force among the leaders of religious education. Dr. 
Emory Ross leads the ecumenical strategy in Africa, 

In these days every denomination seems to be afflicted with 
controversy. For the Disciples I have seen a great change in this. 
Once the biblical literalists controlled the conventions, and oc- 
cupied most of the important pulpits. Now there is a fringe of 
non-cooperators, almost altogether the product of short course 
schools. Fifty years ago the conservatives published the most 
widely circulated paper, and sold most of the Sunday school sup- 
plies. Now the brotherhood publishing house occupies this field. 

Once men of liberal views were kept off of convention plat- 
forms, and finally found themselves so professionally besmirched 
that they left our fellowship and sought churches in other denomin- 
ations. We lost in this way some men of very large ability. It 
seems to me that there is but little or this kind of loss today. 

Since 1897 the Disciples 4tave doubled their membership. The 
achievement in the Congo is one of the outstanding events of world 
missions during the past fifty years. Though the missionary society 
has been the target of constant attack during the past half century, 
it has rendered a good account of itself, and we provide leadership 
in African missions still. 


It is impossible to give any statistics with regard to the 
practice of open membership. Northern Baptists have over twelve 
hundred such churches. Have the Disciples less than these? This ,•* 
practice has ceased to be a matter of debate as it was fifty years " 
ago, when Dr. Ames recognized "members of the congregation" and 
Dr. Morrison received unimmersed believers into full membership in 
the Monroe Street Church of Chicago . 

In the files of the Bulletin fifty years ago we were complain- 
ing that Disciples did so little writing. Harold Bell Wright got 
out a series of popular novels some of which were best sellers; t 
Macfarlane wrote some novels of less circulation, but more real 
merit. The best of his writing was "Those VJho Came Back." In these 
days Vachel Lindsay wrote "Abraham Lincoln Vfelks at Midnight", and 
many another poem of exceptional merit. Probably the greatest re- | 
ligious poet of the fifty years was Thomas Curtis Clark who read 
the proofs of The Christian Century for a living. In 1910 Dr. Ames 
published his "Psychology of Religious Experience." With a better 
educated ministry, where are our books now days? C. A. Garriott 
two years ago got out "Making the Most of the Time", a prize winning 
book. Emory Ross has a new book on Africa. It looks like the 
Disciples literary well is running dry. 

There is another area in which the Disciple of today may feel 
a deep concern. That is in the matter of evangelistic zeal. For 
several decades of our history we doubled membership every ten years. 
We have doubled in the last sixty years, but in the later years our 
growth has been but slight. The day of platform evangelism and 
"revival meetings" ie now gone, perhaps forever. All too few 
churches have found a substitute for these methods. But almost half 
of America is still to be reached with the appeal of religion. Lib- 
eral religion can learn something from the catechetical methods of 
the older churches, and it alone can hope to meet the doubts and 
problems of that part of America that is alienated from the churches. 
Religion does not need to be rationalistic to be reasonable. The 
unchurched in America are not unwilling that religion shall have the 
warmth of emotion, if it is disconnected from the cranky and the 

So we enter the Decade of Decision. If the leaders of this 
movement will study the methods of churches that have grown great in 
recent years, and hand these methods on to the rest of us, the 
Disciples shall once more be counted among the effective evangelical 
forces in American life. 

Through the years we have had our period of interest in the 
social gospel. Alva W. Taylor spent a dedicated life in behalf of 
this cause, and we have provided other great leaders. This provided 
a harvest, the institutions for the care of orphan children and the 
aged across the country. Few denominations have excelled us in this 
regard. Our local churches have often been community churches in 
the sense that they discerned the social needs of their commiinities, 
and afforded leadership in meeting these needs. The last great 



concern of Paul V7as to gather a fund for the relief of impoverished 
saints in Jerusalem. The church cannot omit this kind of concern 
from its program, and hope to be recognized as a New Testament 

What may we hope for the future of our religious movement? 
Kore tolerance so that the man who deviates from established pat- 
terns of thought and action shall be influenced by conference and 
brotherhood. It is our greatest scandal that we who have talked so 
much about Christian unity have had so little unity among ourselves. 
To read our history and realize that a section of Mormonism came 
from our ranks, a sect called the C3iristadelphians, the anti-organ 
churches and more lately the "independents", should make us realize 
that we have a unity problem in our own ranks. 

VJhile I left the Sunday school of an emotional sect to accept 
the sweet reasonableness of a Disciples church, I have begun in 
these later years to develop some hunger for a bit more mysticism. 
There are realities in the spiritual universe that I may never have 
discovered. I could covet for the whole Disciples movement a 
humility that will make it ready for fresh spiritual discoveries. 



Ralph G. Wilburn 
College of the Bible, Lexington, Kentucky- 

Christianity is not a philosophy; it is something more than 
any philosophy can ever hope to be. Christianity is a religious 
faith, generated by, and inseparably bound up with, a particular 
experience of God through His own act of self-revelation in Jesus 

And yet, because that vAich is here disclosed is ultimate 
truth, the Logos of all reality, this faith is relevant to the 
whole of existence. Theology must therefore become philosophical, 
in order to clarify this relevance. Ideology thus finds it to be 
not only fruitful, but imperative to carry on conversation with 
philosophy, as it seeks to clarify and to understand the philosoph- 
ical aspects and implications of its own message. 

We are here concerned with only one particular modern philos- 
ophy, namely the philosophy of existence, which was fathered, first 
of all, by Soren Kierkegaard, the melancholy Dane of the nineteenth 
century, and which tertin Heidegger, Jean Paul Sartre and others 
have popularized in the European scene. But we cannot concern our- 
selves with the whole of this philosophy. We are here concerned 
with it only in regard to its practical implications for Christian 
theology and the task of preaching. 

What now is "the philosophy of existence?" Well, in our cc»n- 
mon sense view of things, the word "existence" has only one simple 
meaning. A thing either is, or it isn't, as common sense sees it; 
and this is all the meaning there is to the term "existence." In 
the philosophy of Existentialism, however, the term "existence" has 
a much more complex meaning; the term is loaded with the qualities 
of personal dynamic, responsible freedom, and infinite possibility. 

Ihus things do not exist, for Heidegger; they are merely "on 
hand' or "being-ready- to-hand" (Zuhandenheit ). Heidegger's ontology 
revolves about the human siibject. His account of the nature of 
things moves from the point of view of the human subject oub«rards and 
then back again to the human subject. In contrast to common sense 
realism, one sees remnants of Idealism in Heidegger's view of real- 
ity. One cannot even talk about reality except as it appears to 
some mind . How could reality be a meaningful affair, except to some 
mind for whom it is meaningful? 

Ihus, for example, Heidegger does not think of a hammer as so 
much wood and steel, as common sense would define it; a hammer is 
rather a "tool," something to be defined in terms of human purpose . 
Says ffeidegger, "The tool related to other tools is an elaborate 
system of regular serviceable, but modifiable relations, is the 


typical thing or object in the world." Heidegger thus not only 
defines reality in relational terms, but makes the relation of all 
things to human existence his ontological center of gravity, so to 

This is why Heidegger and the other Existentialists reserve 
■the use of the term "exist" to hxoman beings alone. Only persons 
are "in-being," or have "being-in-the-world. " You see, this 
human kind of existence is really unique; it is a reality that is 
on the move, on the make, dynamic. It is a reality that possesses 
the quality of self-consciousness, self-reflection, and self- 
determination, in freedom. Man's being is open to him.self. 

To say thus that man exists means that in some way he stands 
outside the world of things. As Freidrich Karl Schumann of the 
University of Munster puts it, the world is something more for man 
than a mere container for beans and potatoes. 2 That man is in the 
world means more than the fact that he is circumscribed by spatial 
limits. In the case of man, to_ be_ in the world means to "dwell," 
to "sojourn," as in the Latin habitare .3 Man's existence is af- 
fected by the world. The relation here is one of mutual dynamic 
determination. Sartre stresses the same uniqueness of human exis- 
tence when he says, "Man is ... a project v^ich possesses a sub- 
jective life, instead of being a kind of moss, or a fungus, or a 
cauliflower. "4 

When William James confronted the intellectual girations of 
speculative philosophy with the question, "What difference does it 
make to us in living our lives?" he struck out in the direction of 
the philosophy of existence. Man is the kind of being v^ich is 
animated by spiritual zeal and concern. Man's involvement in, and 
interrelatedness with, his environment of things and persons, in 
thought, word, play, business, and politics (being-in-the-world) is 
summed up by Heidegger in his doctrine that the inner essence of 
man's being is Care ( Sorge ) . It is the basic nature of man's being 
that it "always engages and spends itself in the world of its Care 
(Sorge). "5 This German word "Sorge* is difficult to translate. It 
embraces the basic ontological moods of uneasiness, trouble, grief, 
sorrow, anxiety, conscience, guilt, and death. 

Enough said to indicate that the philosophy of existence 
places the dominant emphasis on the concrete individual, animated by 
passionate concern ( Sorge ). He exists for himself as possibility. 
The future enables him to be concerned about his potentiality of 
Being and to "project" himself into the "for the sake of himself." 
"The primary meaning, i.e. the inner possibility of Existentiality 
as such is the future. "6 

A human being, says Sartre, is a being that makes himself. 
He is not ready-made at the start. "Man is nothing else but that 
which he makes of himself. "7 "ihe self," says Louis Lavelle, "is not 
a reality that is given , but a reality that seeks itself ."^ It is 


one of the fundamental assertions of the philosophy of existence, 
says Jean Wahl, that "We are, without finding any reason for our 
being; hence, we are existence without essence."^ Accordingly, 
man's task is to create essence and meaning, to create it out of 
nothing , nothing but his own creative, but tragically lonely free- 
dom--a nauseating predicament, according to Sartre. By saying 
that existence precedes essence, says Sartre, "we mean that man 
first of all exists, encounters himself, surges up in the world 
and defines himself afterwards. If man as the existentialist sees 
him is not defineable, it is because to begin with he is nothing. 
He will not be anything until later, and then he will be what he 
makes of himself . "^O 

This existentialist notion of man a^ siibject is of course 
derived primarily from Kierkegaard, for >^om the central concern 
always was: "total human existence in its movement in time, as the 
prime dimension of all concrete reality. "^^ Kierkegaard's major 
anthropological thesis is that man's nature is an objectivity that 
is alien to him; man's task is to appropriate his own nature and 
thus to become a subject ; his task is the appropriation of an ob- 
jectivity, becoming si±)jective. This means that transcendence is 
of the very essence of the self or siibject. As James Brown puts 
it, the subject "not so much is_ as has been and is_ not, and will 
be what it now is_ not . It is somehow a possibility poised between 
two nothingnesses. "i^ 

Chambers Twentieth Century Dictionary (1952) defines Exis- 
tentialism as a "term covering a number of related doctrines deny- 
ing objective universal values and holding that a man must create 
values for himself through action and by living each moment to the 

What now are the practical implications of this philosophy 
of existence relative to Christian theology and the task of the 
ministry? There are several of course; but I should like to deal 
briefly with five such implications. 

Existential philosophy has led to an understanding of rev- 
elation as eschatological event or "salvation occurrence" (to use 
Bultmann's terminology); and it has made possible a recovery of the 
biblical concept of the Living God . 

Under the impact of the existential revolt against the old 
metaphysics, theology has abandoned the orthodox idea of revelation 
(which really presupposed the old metaphysics), as a set of infal- 
lible, eternal truths of a Platonic sort, once for all delivered to 
the saints. Following along existential lines, theology has adopted 
what seems to be a more biblical view of revelation, a view of rev- 
elation as dynamic event, involving the creative participation of 

the subject. 


Subjectivity is of course construed in different ways by 
Heidegger and by Kierkegaard. As Brown says, for Kierkegaard "sub- 
jectivity is a characteristically defined exercise of human thought 
and will in face of a particular, indeed unique Cbject; a blend of 
activity and passivity evoked in believing hearts and lives by the 
entrance of the Eternal into history as an individual Kan."-'-^ 

In Kierkegaard one finds the emphasis that "truth is sub- 
jectivity," but this is the kind of subjectivity that stands in 
dynamic relation to the Eternal One. Following this line of 
thought, Brunner, Barth, Bultmann, Tillich and others have developed 
the idea of revelation as a dynamic, personal encounter between man 
and God, an encounter challenging man to response, to the decision 
of faith. God's self-revelation, so conceived, is the answer to 
man's existential predicament and estrangement. 

In the Galatian Epistle Paul wrote, "Now before faith came , 
we were confined under the law, kept under restraint until fait h 
should be revealed . "^^ Bultmann comments on this passage by saying, 
"This expected 'revealing' has now become a thing of the present 
(Now that faith has come); this does not mean that now a hitherto 
unknown teaching about faith is being expounded, but that it now has 
become a possibility, and in those who have faith, a reality-faith 
has made its appearance, for this is just what 'be revealed' 
{^''/xmoi^tf.\\/'rr rerBa-t, ) or its noun 'revelation' {i^rroM ^v f ci^ )^ 
and also 'be manifested' ( 4> c t- £/^ ^o <r- da- (^ -Roma. 3:21), mean when 
used as eschatological terms-appear on the scene, become possibil- 
ity, or become operative. "^5 

These dynamic terms of Bultmann-''appearing on the scene," 
"becoming operative," 'TDecoming effective"-indicate the basic way 
in which revelation is now being construed, not as some objective 
thing, such as book, creed, church, or sacrament, nor yet as a mys- 
tical instreaming psychological influence, but as eschatological 
event. Revelation, as the saying goes, is "the mighty act of God' 
in history, whereby through definite historical media God actually 
confronts an individual and addresses him with a word of judgment 
and of hope. The "Word of God" in this encounter contains an ultim- 
ate claim upon one and a victorious word of promise, as Paul put it, 
"it is the power of God for salvation.'l^ 

To say that a revelatory event is an existential event 
means that it is an event in which something of pro- 
found significance happens to the consciousness of the 
receiving subject, in his 'being-in-the-world. ' There 
can be no such thing as a wholly factual or objective 
revelation. This would be a contradiction in terms. 
There is no revelation until there is revelation to 
someone, in a concrete, socio-historical situation of 
concern. Revelation remains uncompleted if no one re- 
ceives it. It is completed only if it finds fulfill- 
ment on the subjective side of the relation.^' 


When God discloses Himself to an individual in a revela- 
tory event, the whole of the subject's personality is affected.^ 
As Paul expressed it, the subject is "apprehended" {^aris ^^ /y« j-n;) . 
^^ That is, the subject is grasped or laid hold of by the manifes- 
tation of the mystery, with the result that his mind is illumined 
concerning some ultimate meaning of life and his heart responds in 
obedient love. To love God, Paul wrote, is to be known by God. 
And to know God, through the revelatory experience, is "to be known 
by God. "19 

It is the personal integrity and validity of the 
subjective aspect of true revelation v^ich forever 
distinguishes it from false revelations. It for- 
ever excludes what Tillich calls "a non 'existential 
concept of revelation. "'^^ The false revelation of 
church dogmas, for example, v^ich are imposed on 
the individual conscience in an authoritarian way, 
does not meet the test of this demand of true 
revelation for subjective perception and integrity. 
Such authoritarian claims must therefore be re- 
jected, insofar as they lay claim to revelatory 
value. ^1 

Correlated with this concept of revelation as existential 
event stands the new emphasis on the biblical idea of the Living 
God, known in the I-Thou relation. In contrast to the old philo- 
sophical approach to the problem of life's Ultimate, where we dealt 
with a composition of propositions about God, as an object of the- 
oretical knowledge, the entire problem of our knowledge of God is 
now thrown into a new dimension. The subject-object dimension of 
reality is not the dimension from which proper categories can be 
drawn to explicate the religious knowledge of faith. For at its 
heart, the religious relation is something infinitely deeper than a 
relation in the I-it dimension of reality. In the I-it dimension, 
as Martin Buber says, "I perceive something, I am sensible of some- 
thing, I imagine something. "^^ But one steps into another dimension 
of being when he no longer knows something, but instead utters the 
word "'Diou.'' When subject addresses subject, man "takes his stand 
in relation." Here indeed we approach existence at its deepest 
level, in the meeting of an "I" with "Thou." 

Here then we come upon a profound aspect of God's transcen- 
dence of the sub ject- object structure of the phenomenal world. Is 
not Buber correct when he writes that "God is the Being that... may 
properly only be addressed, not expressed?" ^ To a degree this is 
true of our fellowmen. They confront us, not as objects, but as 
s\ibjects; here subject faces subject. And vrfien they are present, 
the second person mode of speaking is alone appropriate. Of course, 
in their absence we do speak to another about them, in the third 
person. But the Eternal One is always present; He is ranni- pre sent. 
As John Baillie reminds us, "God is the Eternal Thou by vdiom we are 
at every moment being addressed. "24 ihis is real transcendence, for 


by his very nature, the "Thou" cannot become an "it." Knowledge 
of the Thou as Thou cannot therefore be a subject's knowledge of 
an object, in the phenomenal sense of the siib ject-object correla- 
tion. The Gcd who is known in the experience of revelation is not 
just another object of knowledge. He is rather "the exclusive 
Thou of prayer and devotion. "25 ^^ ^g ^^e Living Lord of biblical 

It seems to me that there are profound and far-reaching im- 
plications here for the task of preaching. '/Jhat the preacher 
should be trying to do is to bring about the fulfillment of revela- 
tion, as personal encounter, in the lives of those to whom he min- 
isters. His preaching should scraehow contain kerygmatic power, 
power to serve as a stimulus, so that through him and what he says, 
God can actually find his hearers and lift them into that communion 
with Himself vhich constitutes the relation of faith. Something 
like this must have been what Paul had in mind when he wrote that 
God is pleased "through the folly of what we preach to save those 
who believe. " " Sometimes the Spirit moves people mightily 
through preaching; at other times the sermon seems to be as "dry as 
dust„ ■ Sometimes the sermon is over-intel lectualistic, in the 
sense that the preacher fails to remember that the thought- content 
of his sermon is not, as_ such , the Word of God. The preacher may 
engage in profound philosophical inguiry and argumentation (a lux- 
ury which is quite proper in its place), but this is not necessar- 
ily a medium of revelation. He may affirm with great theological 
gusto the orthodox dogmas of "the faith of our fathers" (history 
too is a legitimate study in its proper place), but the dogmas of 
orthodoxy are, in themselves, not revelation. He may present the 
teaching of Scripture, but Scripture, qua Scripture , is not revela- 

Revelatory preaching is that preaching in which and through 
which God succeeds in finding the listener and becomes his God, in 
the relation of faith. It is that kind of preaching in which the 
preacher remains aware of the existential character of Christian 
truth and allows Christ to spjeak and act, through the unworthy in- 
strument of his preaching. It is that kind of preaching in which 
the preacher shares the conviction of Paul: "We are ambassadors 
for Christ, God making his appeal throu^ us." 27 


Existentia l philosophy has helped us to see more clearly 
vAiat is meant by the kind of understanding which is involved in the 
experience of faith . 

Existentialists distinguish sharply between subjective truth 
and objective truth. They do not deny that scientific method can, 
and does, lead to a valid knowledge of objective truth about our 
world. This is all to the good, of course. But as David Roberts 
puts it, the Existentialists "insist that in connection with ultim- 
ate matters it is impossible to lay aside the impassioned concern of 


the human individual . They are calling our attention to the fact 
that in the search for ultimate truth the vdiole man , and not only 
his intellect or reason, is caught up and involved. His emotions 
and his will must be aroused and engaged so that he can live the 
truth he sees. "28 

Say then that the existential emphasis is a cure for the 
disease of "spectatoritis. " The existential point of view is the 
arena point of view, as opposed to the balcony outlook. How, for 
instance, could the detached on- looker in the balcony of ancient 
Rome's Colosseum really know what it meant for the Christian mar- 
tyr to wrestle with the wild beasts? How can I, from my detached 
position, as a mere observer, really know v^at it meant for the 
German Christian clergy and the Jews to be subject to the tortures 
of Hitler's concentration camp at Dachau, even though I visited 
there, after the war was over, and gazed in horrified amazement, at 
its efficient gas chamber, its ovens, and the graves of the ashes 
of its thousands upon thousands of victims? Only the person who is 
himself involved in such ultimate life-situations can really know 
what they mean. 

Now this existential teaching, that the deeper truth about 
life is known only through the personal involvement of one 's entire 
being in it , has helped us to recover the biblical meaning of 
faith, after a period in which the auro of sanctity which surround- 
ed scientific knowledge tended to cause us to lose sight of the 
depth-dimension in the knowledge of faith.. We no longer view faith 
in doctrinaire terms, as intellectual belief in the truth of church 
dogmas of Bible doctrines. Faith is a matter of personal decision. 
It is a decision made as a result of the fact that one's very being 
is grasped by the dynamic encounter with the living God, who con- 
fronts us in Qirist. One's entire being and destiny are involved in 
the experience of being confronted by the gospel of God. It is no 
longer a case of merely knowing about something, and saluting it 
from afar; it is a case of being grasped by a living truth, in a 
decisively personal way. 

No one has expressed this existential character of the 
truth of God's revelation in Christ more clearly than the Apostle 
Paul, i^en he wrote, "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no 
longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life that I 
now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who J.oved 
me and gave himself for me. "^3 

This is saving faith. It is the personal involvement of 
one's whole being in the truth of the gospel. It is surrender and 
commitment to the call and challenge of God, in Jesus as Christ. 
It is the responsible response of obedient love to the mighty act 
and disclosure of God's love, by which God Himself finds us, where 
we are, and claims our lives for the purpose of His holy Love. 




Ihirdly, the existentialists have opened our eyes to the 
tragic and contradictory stuff of v^ich human selfhood is made . 

Nietzsche's classical phrase "God is dead" has proven to be 
prophetically true, for millions of modern men. The meaningless- 
ness, the sheer nothingness of life, without God, is reflected in 
much of modern literature and art. It finds particularly poignant 
expression in the plays of Sartre, the novels of Kafka and 
Hemingway, and the poetry of T. S. Eliot. It is dominant motif in 
Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire . 

From Kierkegaard forward, existentialist thinkers, like 
depth psychology, have been exposing the terrifying depths of the 
h\iman soul--its guilt, anxiety and despair, its fear and trembling, 
its suffering and torment, and in the last analysis its ultimate 
nothingness which is creeping over the modem mind like the icy 
winds of winter. All of which confirms Nietzsche's prophecy that 
modern man has been "groping his way in an infinite nothingness." 

Th.e thought of Sartre is especially revealing. Sartre de- 
clares that he is an atheist, and yet, as Wilfred Desan says, "more 
than any other philosopher he has emphasized the extreme need of the 
Absolute without, however, conceding the existence of an absolute 
Being as a remedy to this obsession. "^9 Sartre's play, "Lucifer and 
the Lord" is strangely preoccupied vrith the idea of God. Existen- 
tialists like Sartre seem to be suffering from an inward torture of 
soul, tortured by the thought that God really does not exist, yet 
nevertheless must be. 

The Russian, Fyodor Dostoievsky, out of his insight into the 
problematical character of human existence, challenged the nineteen- 
th centxiry liberal faith in the perfectibility of man. Dostoievsky 
was shipped off to Siberia in 1849, where he spent four years in a 
convict camp. Here he gained profound insight into the soul of the 
Russian people. Here he had to face up to the strange mixture of 
good and evil in the human heart. But here, too, Dostoievsky recov- 
ered his faith in Christ. The popularity of his novels show that 
he has uttered a word about the nature of man that needed to be 
spoken. He has eloquently exposed the suffering and torment, as 
well as the glory and hope of man, through the resurrection. 

Now church people, especially American church people, often 
find themselves repelled by this existential unveiling of the tragic 
depths of the human soul. But church people have too often lived in 
a theological, make-believe world of easy-going optimism. So much 
has this been true that some optimistic liberals of a generation ago 
even eliminated the word "sin" from their theological vocabulary. 
But as David Roberts aptly words the question. 

What good can possibly come from turning away from 
these irrational and demonic forces which are menacing 


folk in our time so savagely? Why should we be 
unwilling, or unable, to face squarely the life of 
man in all its vulnerability, edginess and estrange- 
ment? And how may the healing powers of the 
Christian gospel ever come to grips with the dark 
forces of sin, despair, and death unless and until 
these forces are brought radically out into the 
open by our searching thought? Only if we acknowl- 
edge them for what they are can we make any effective 
answer to them. Here it seems that even the atheistic 
existentialists have a picture of man-in-the-world 
to share with us, which we refuse to face only at 
grave peril to ourselves and our own message. 

"We may say then, that the existential analysis of man^s pre- 
dicament has made it possible for Christianity to recover the real- 
istic biblical view of man, not only as a finite child of nature, 
subject to mortality and the threat of non-being, but also as a 
sinner. Much clearer than a generation ago, Christianity today is 
aware of man's tragic misuse of the anxiety which stems from his 
freedom of spirit, by which man places himself in contradiction 
against his fellows, divided within his own self, and estranged 
from the eternal God, 


A fourth reason -why Christianity finds itself profoundly 
interested in existentialism lies in the fact that more than any- 
thing else, existentialism represents a protest against the collec- 
tivistic forces of our modern world, v^ich are destroying the inner 
integrity of the individual, and causing him to lose his very soul , 
by submerging him in the crowd . 

Modern anonymous man tries to escape from the terrifying ■ 
freedom of being a_ responsible individual , by finding a false secur- 
ity in the crowd. He sacrifices his responsibility for self-direc- 
tion and allows his being to be shaped by an other-directed patteim 
of behaviour. 

With biting irony Kierkegaard wrote against this collecti- 
vistic trend of modern times. Listen to this passage from his book. 
The Sic kness unto Death ; 

Only let us hold together and secure ourselves by I 

seeing to it that the Parson preachifies in this 1 

way. And if there should be any individual who ^ 

ventured to talk differently, an individual who 
was foolosh enough to make his own life anxious 
and responsible in fear and trembling, and should 
then want also to worry others--then let us secure 
ourselves by regarding him as mad, or if need be, 
by putting him to death. If only there are many 


of us engaged in it, it is not wrong, v^at the 
many do is the will of God. This wisdom, we 
know by experience--for we are not inexperienced 
youths, we do not throw out ill-considered words, 
we talk as men of experience, and know that hither- 
to all men have submitted to this wisdom, kings 
and emperors and their excellencies. By the aid 
of this wisdom all of our cattle have been bred 
up--and, by jove, God shall also have to submit 
to it. The thing to do is to become many, a vi\ole 
lot of us, if we do that, then we are secured 
against the judgment of eternity. ^■'■ 

Perhaps more than anything else, the existentialists want 
to rescue the individual from this "inauthentic" or fraudulent kind 
of existence, which Heidegger calls "The ubiquitous dictator of 
human affairs." Says Kierkegaard, "One might say that I am the 
moment of individuality, but I refuse to be a paragraph in a sys- 
tem." The existentialists thus drive man back to his most basic 
inner problems. They demand that one learn what it means to be a_ 
responsible individual , how to use his ultimate freedom, how to 
face up to the threat of non-being and death. They demand that one 
wrestle with these deep problems of human existence until he finds 
the answers for his own existence, and not take them over, second- 
hand, from somebody else's experience. Whether the existentialist 
is religious in out- look or not, he is always one who fights for 
the rights of the individual, against the crowd, for the individ- 
ual's uniqueness, freedom and self-transcendence. 

You see, this is why Rudolf Bultmann finds so much in ccxn- 
mon between the Christian gospel and the existential view of human 
existence. Bultmann contends that the Apostle Paul was an existen- 
tialist when in Galatians, chapter 4, Paul argued that in pre- 
Christian experience, we were "children and slaves to the elemental 
spirits of the Lhniverse," that is, says Bultmann, not yet respons- 
ible subjects . But Christ came, says Paul, so that we might receive 
"the adoption of sons," that is, that we might become responsible 
subjects and face up to our own personal responsibility for the form 
of the world and our own destiny, under God. 

Here, then, is a basic aspect of the philosophy of existence 
which is present already in the classical Protestant emphasis on 
personal faith, the right of private judgment, the rejection of ex- 
ternal church authority, and that liberty vA\ich means, to quote 
Luther, that "the Christian man is lord over all and subject to none. 
At this point Protestant Christianity should recognize that it has 
an ally in the modem philosophy of existence. 

The fifth and final point of contact between Christianity 
and existentialism has to do with the idea of freedom. 


Atheistic existentialists, of course, think that man rea- 
lizes his destiny only by mastering self, without inventing any im- 
aginary relation to God. %n's freedom is thus a dreadful pre- 
dicament, for it is viewed against the ontological backdrop of 
absolute nothingness. As Alexandre Koyre expresses it, "Through 
anguish we discover the foundation of Nothingness on which we are 
perched, or from which we are come--an ocean of Nothingness, from 
which we painfully emerge for a time, but which is alwavs there to 
swallow us, and in which we are always about to sink. "22 Little 
wonder that Heidegger and Sartre feel that man is condemned to be 
free, for such freedom is a terrifying condemnation. Religious 
existentialists, however, like Luther, Kierkegaard, Pascal, 
Gabriel Marcel, Rudolf Bultmann, and Paul Tillich, contend that 
genuine freedom is fulfilled only by overcoming the estrangement 
of self -centeredness, and finding the New Being in Christ, a Being 
with God's Holy Will of Love at the center. So that, instead of 
being bottled up in our freedom, or perched on "an ocean of Noth- 
ingness," Christianity declares freedom to mean openness toward, 
and capacity for, harmonious integration with the will of the 
Eternal. True freedom is freedom for God. The issue is not whether 
one is free or unfree. The issue is whether man's ultimate freedom 
is a tragic situation, or in fact, a hopeful relation. As Roberts 
says, "The issue.... is not freedom against something else, but free- 
dom without God verses freedom with God,''^^ 

Indeed, the Christian belief in God emphasizes human free- 
dom, in the most radical way. It says that God gave man this free- 
dom, and that He still cares so much that He Himself comes to us and 
offers Himself in the only way that He can, so as to win us, in 
freedom, namely, through the patient suffering on the Cross. In the 
Cross God takes upon Himself the burden of our guilt, breaks through 
the wall of our selfishness and pride, and releases us from the 
prison house of self-centeredness, for a life of Christ-like love of 
one's neighbor. 

So if Christianity has learned much from the philosophers of 
existence, it also has a redemptive word to proclaim to these men. 
Christianity challenges Heidegger and Sartre's contention that the 
freedom of true self-affirmation means a denial of God. Vlhy, pray 
tell, should true self-affirmation mean a denial of God, the God 
whose creativity is the ground and source of self-hood? Heidegger 
and Sartre seem to be victims of the very disease which they seek to 
diagnose. In opposing heteronomy, they have fallen headlong into 
the trap of autonomy, and passed by the healing power of theonomy, 
which saves us from the pierils of both heteronomy and autonomy. 

The Christian gospel declares that the redemptive remedy for 
the spiritual sickness which grows out of man's self-love is to_ be 
delivered from it by the power of the New Being in Christ. The 
death and resurrection of Christ is symbolic of what happens to us 
in this transfiguration: the old self-centered self is shattered 
and crucified, and the new being-in-Christ is resurrected, bringing 
to man the true liberty of sonship in the Kingdom of God. Perhaps 


no message of the ancient gospel, which declares that "if the Son 
makes you free, you will be free indeed. "^4 


* This paper was read to the annual Pastors' Conference of the 
Disciples of Christ of Kentucky, convened at the College of the 
Bible, Lexington, Jan. 11, 1950. 

1 H. J. Blackham, Six Existentialist Thinkers , p. 89. 

2 Gunther Bomkamm, Rudolf Bultmann, and Friedrich Karl Schumann, 
Die christliche Hof fnung und das Problem der Entmythologisierung, 
p. 50. 

3 Martin Heidegger, Existence and Being, p. 42. 

4 Walter Kaufraann, Existentialism from Dostoevsky to Sarte , p. 291, 

5 Heidegger, op . cit ., p. 54. 

6 Ibid., p. 94. 

7 Kaufmann, op . cit ., p. 291. 

8 As guoted by James Brown, Subject and Object in Modern Theology , 
p. 13. 

9 Kaufmann, op. cit . , p. 290. 

10 Brown, op. cit . , p. 84. 

11 Ibid ., p. 91. 

12 Ibid., p. 159. 

13 Galatians 3:23. 

14 Rudolf Bultmann, Theology of the New Testament , I, 275. 

15 Romans 1:16. 

16 Ralph G. Wilburn, The Prophetic Voice in Protestant Christianity, 
p. 134. 

17 Philippians 3:12. 

18 Galatians 4:9. 

19 Paul Tillich, Systematic Theology, I, 127. 

20 Wilburn, op. cit ., pp. 134-5. 


21 Martin Buber, I and Thou , p. 4. 

22 Ibid . , p, 81. 

23 John Baillie, Our Knowledge of God , p. 21. 

24 mrtin Buber, Two Types of Faith , p. 130. 

25 I Corinthians 1:21. 

26 II Corinthians 5 :20. 

27 David E. Roberts, Existentialism and Religious Belief, p. 7 
23 Galatians 2:20. 

29 Wilfred Desan, Ihe Tragic Fjnale , p. 179. 

30 Roberts, op. cit ., p. 335. 

31 Soren Kierkegaard, The Sickness unto Death , pp. 202-203. 

32 Wahl, op. cit ., p. 45. 

33 RdDerts, o£. cit ., pp. 339-340. 

34 John 8:36. 



Richard Johnson 
Disciples Divinity House, University of Chicago 



The account of the Transfiguration is so rich in imagery 
that it is perhaps inevitable that interpreters should arrive at 
rather diverse conclusions as to its meaning. Our plan will be to 
survey some of these interpretations, to continue to an exegetical 
study of the Transfiguration in Mark, and finally, on the basis of 
this study, to attempt a conclusion as to its meaning for the sec- 
ond Evangelist. 

(1) A number of scholars view the Transfiguration as a 
misplaced resurrection story. Bultmann writes, "Dass diese Legende 
eine ursprunglich Auferstehungsgeschichte ist, ist langst erkannt 
worden. . . . "■'■ This line is also taken by the French scholar, 
Maurice Gougel, and apparently had its origin in the work of 
■Wellhausen.3 Meyer goes so far as to find the origin of the resur- 
rection faith in the Transfiguration story. He states, "The Resur- 
rection and the appearances of the Risen Lord have grown out of the 
Transfiguration; it is the final root of Christianity. *4 

There are two main arguments for viewing the Transfigura- 
tion as a misplaced resurrection story. First, supporters of this 
view point out that the Transfiguration account seems to break into 
a natural connection between Mark 3:34-9:1 and 9:llff. It is true 
that these passages still seem to form a connected whole when the 
Transfiguration is removed, but this is only proof of the possibil- 
ity that the Transfiguration is out of place. If our interpreta- 
tion of the Transfiguration is correct, we shall see in the next 
section of this paper that the Transfiguration fits very well into 
its present context, and by no means appears to break the narrative.^ 

The other argument centers around the use of the Transfig- 
uration in the Ethiopic text of the second century Ap>ocalypse of 
Peter . Here, it is argued, the Transfiguration is placed in a post 
resurrection setting. It is difficult, however, to see why we 
should assume that this late apocalypse is more reliable than the 
three Synoptics which are unanimous in placing the Transfiguration 
during the life of Jesus. But even if such an assumption is made, 
Boobyer has argued convincingly that in the Etheopic text of the 
Apocalypse of Peter the Transfiguration is presented as an ascension 
story rather than as a resurrection appearance, and that the two 
cannot simply be equated.^ 


Of course, the standing objection to any attempt aimed at 
interpreting the Transfiguration in terms of Resurrection is that 
such a reading cannot explain many details in the account such as 
the presence of toses and Elijah, the cloud, the tabernacles, etc. 

(2) Others have seen the Transfiguration as a prefigura- 
tion of the Ascension. We have just mentioned that the Transfig- 
uration appears to be treated as an ascension story in the 
Apocalypse of Peter . Davies forcefully argues that Luke sees the 
Transfiguration as a prefiguration of Ascension. He is able to 
make a formidable case, but we still must ask if this is the only 
significance which is given to the narrative. Davies himself ar- 
gues on the basis of Acts 1:11 that Luke views the Ascension as a 
prefiguration of the Parousia. If the Transfiguration is a pre- 
figuration of the Ascension, and the latter prefigures the Parousia, 
then the Transfiguration itself must have eschatological implica- 
tions as Davies goes on to indicate. Thus, even if we accept 
Davies judgment that Luke views the Transfiguration as foreshadow- 
ing of Ascension, and decide that Luke's interpretation of the 
Transfiguration also holds true in Mark, we do not completely ex- 
plain the Transfiguration on that basis, but rather gain support 
for the fourth position we will outline, namely that the Transfig- 
uration is a prefiguration of the Parousia. 

(3) A large group of scholars read the Transfiguration as 
a confirmation of the messiahship of Jesus. Bernardin describes 
the account of the Transfiguration as, "...a fiction of the later 
Jewish Christian community, composed as a result of the dispute with 
the Jews over Jesus' Messiahship. ... *10 The point to note for our 
purposes is not Bernardin's denial of the historicity of the account, 
but his attempt to find the purpose of the Transfiguration in its 
affirmation of Jesus' messianic role. 

Another such scholar is Ernst Lohmeyer. Originally he at- 
tempted to trace the origin of the account to two separate sources. 
On the one hand, he maintained, it rested on a Jewish tradition 
v^ich linked Moses and Elijah with the coming of the Messiah. 
But the Transfiguration itself was Greek in origin and rested on 
similar accounts in the Mystery Religions. ^^ g^^ -^y y^g time of the 
writing of his commentary on Mark, Lohmeyer apparently had abandoned 
this theory, and interpreted both sections on the basis of Jewish 
tradition. ■'^3 jj, both cases Lohmeyer found the central intent of the 
story in its affirmation, "...dass Jesus des Messias, der Bringer 
und Vollender der Endzeit ist; in seinem irdischen Leben haben 
einmal alle Prophezeiungen und Ewartungen sich verwirklicht. . . . * 

These interpreters base their conclusions on two lines of 
evidence. Ihe context of the passage seems to fix the event as a 
Divine confirmation of Peter's confession which is made in the pre- 
vious chapter. And various details of the story, which we will ex- 
amine in our exegesis of the passage, such as the mention of six 
days, the presence of Moses and Elijah, the setting on the mountain, 



the reference to the tabernacles, the cloud, etc., can be traced 
to Jewish eschatological and cultic traditions. 

Perhaps the most exciting work in this area has been done 
by Harald Riesenfeld. Basing his investigation on Mowinckle's 
theory of an original New Years day Enthronement Festival under- 
lying much of the Jewish cultus, Riesenfeld finds eschatological 
motifs in the festival, and finally finds traces of this cultic 
tradition in the Transfiguration account. The Transfiguration, he 
writes, ". . .refentie une application de certains symboles de 
I'intronisation messianique a la personne de Jesus. "■'•^ It is an 
Enthronement of Christ in which His divine kingship is proclaimed 
and his messianic role affirmed. Although certain scholars have 
criticized Riesenfeld for his, "...application to the New Testa- 
ment of unproved assumptions about the Jewish cultux. . . ", 1° the 
evidence for Mowinckle's theory continues to grew, and Riesenfeld 
has made an important contribution in investigating its implica- 
tions for the interpretation of the Transfiguration. 

(4) A final group of scholars look forward from the Trans- 
figuration rather than backward to find a clue to its meaning. In- 
stead of seeing the event as primarily a fulfillment of Jewish 
messianic expectation, they view it as a pref iguration of the fu- 
ture glory of Christ. F. C. Grant says of the Transfiguration 
that, " was preliminary to and pointed forward to the ccjTLing 
of Christ 'in glory', at the Parousia". Perhaps the most com- 
plete defense of this view is presented by G. H. Boobyer in his 
book, St. Mark and the Transfiguration Story . -*-^ 

Defenders of this position are able to summon evidence in 
two areas. First, they attempt to find traces in early Christian 
eschatology of the same elements in the Transfiguration account 
which exponents of the last point of view traced to Jev,lsh escha- 
tology. Vfe will note some of these in our exegesis of the Trans- 
figuration in Mark. 

A second argument for interpreting the Transfiguration as 
a pref iguration of the Parousia is a rather large amount of evi- 
dence that it was so regarded by many in the early church. Since 
our exegesis will concentrate on the Transfiguration account in 
Mark, perhaps we should here examine some of these other sources 
which seem to interpret the Transfiguration as looking forward to 
the Parousia. 

We have already noted Davies claim that Luke sees the Trans- 
figuration as prefiguring the Ascension, and that in Acts 1:11 Luke 
sees the latter event as pref iguration of the Parousia. Tl\ere is 
good reason to believe that the Transfiguration is also presented as 
a pref iguration of the Parousia in II Pgter. The chief emphasis of 
the book appears to be eschatological.-'-^ The statement which im- 
mediately follows the Transfiguration account seems to point to its 
eschatological significance. "You will do well to pay attention to 



this as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and 
the morning star rises in your hearts," (II Peter lsl9)^^ 

We have seen that in the Ethiopia text of the second cen- 
tury Apocalypse of Peter the Transfiguration is treated as an As- 
cension account. There is also evidence that the account is made 
to point to the Parousia. The title of the whole work seems to be, 
"The Second Coming of Christ and Resurrection of the Dead (which 
Christ revealed unto Peter) who died because of their sins, for 
that they kept not the commandment of God their creator. ''^■'- The 
revelation which is given comes as a response to the request, 
"...Declare unto us what are the signs of thy coming and of the end 
of the world. . . o "'^2 And Boobyer has made a careful study of the 
elements in the account which appear to point toward the 
Parousia. 2^ 

Finally, there is a statement by Origen which indicates that 
he knew of some who interpreted the Transfiguration in terms of the 
Parousia. Speaking of Jfetthew 16:28 he writes, "Some refer these 
things to the going up... of the three disciples into the high moun- 
tain with Jesus apart; and those who adopt this interpretation say 
that Peter and the remaining two did not taste death before they 
saw the Son of Man coming in his own kingdom and in his own glory. 
For when they saw Jesus transf igiired before them so that His face 
shone, etc., they saw the Kingdom of God coming with power". ^ 

We should conclude this brief survey by pointing out that 
the four positions outlined are not necessarily mutually exclusive. 
Thus, Ronald Preston comes close to combining the first and the 
fourth positions. Although he does not find the Transfiguration to 
be a misplaced resurrection story, he does interpret it in terms of 
both Resurrection and Parousia. "There has been discussion as to 
which of these last two emphases (Resurrection or Parousia ) is pri- 
mary, but it is a minor question compared with the fact that both 
are there. "^ And Ramsey combines the last two of the positions we 
have outlined. Transfiguration is both fulfillment of Jewish mes- 
sianic expectations and pref iguration of future glory. Stating his 
general agreement with Boobyer he continues. 

But the significance of the event is not wholly 
futurist, and Boobyer seems to fall into a false 
simplification when he so treats it. The Trans- 
figuration does indicate that the messianic age 
is already being realized: Jesus is_ the Messiah, 

" , Kingdom of God is_ here, the age to coiik is 
breaking into the world. ^^ 


T5ie Glory of God in Christ 

And after six days Jesus takes Peter and James 
and John and leads them up a high mountain, pri- 
vately alone. And he was transfigured before 
them, and his garments became glistening, exceed- 
ingly white, as a fuller on earth is not able to 
brighten them. And Elijah and Moses appeared to 
them and they were talking to Jesus. (Mark 9:2-4) 

The passage is rich in symbolic overtones. Even the 
phrase "after six days" may have cultic significance. B, W„ Bacon 
has written an article tracing the numerous uses of the term in the 
Old Testament. Creation was, of course, done in six days with 
rest on the seventh. Man was commanded to work six days with rest 
on the seventh (Ex. 20:9, 23:12; 31:15| 34:21j 35:2; Lev. 23:3; 
Deut. 5:13, etc.). The Hebrews were to gather manna six days and 
were told that on the seventh it would not appear (Ex. 16s26). The 
Feast of the Tabernacles was celebrated for seven days (Lev. 23:34; 
23:42; Deut. 16:13). Note that this may lend some small support for 
Riesenfeld's view that the Transfiguration should be interpreted in 
terms of a Jewish Enthronement Festival, for he regards the Feast of 
the Tabernacles as a later derivation from an original Enthronement 

T^ere is nothing, however, to specifically connect these 
uses of "after six days" or "on the seventh day" to our passage. If 
the phrase "after six days" is to be seen as derived from Old Testa- 
ment tradition, perhaps the most likely possibility for its deriva- 
tion is its use in Ex, 24:16, "The glory of the Lord settled on 
Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days; and on the seventh 
day he called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud^o Tliere is 
much to link the Transfiguration with the Sinai event. The very 
presence of Moses in our passage may be a hint in this direction. 
The setting for both events is a mountain. The cloud and the voice 
coming from the cloud appears in the third portion of ^ferk*s Trans- 
figuration story. Even the Transfiguration of Christ itself may 
have some connection with the fact that the skin of Moses' face 
shone when he descended from Sinai (Ex. 34:29). 

The three apostles, Peter, James, and John seem to form a 
special group in fferk^s Gospel. At key points they appear alone 
with Jesus. T^ey are with Jesus at the healing of Peter's Mother-in- 
law (1:29). They are again permitted to be with Jesus at the raising 
of the nobleman's daughter (5:37). In the "little apocalypse" it is 
they whom Jesus tells of the coming fall of the temple (13:3). Fin- 
ally, it is these three v^o are permitted to go with Jesus to Geth- 
semane (14:3). In the third portion of our exegesis we will note the 
key disclosure ^ich is made to them in the passage before us. 

Goguel suggests that, "it seems as though the idea of the 
three intimate friends of Jesus may have served as an explanation of 
the fact that for so long tradition ignored the story of the Trans- 
figuration and the Synoptic Apocalypse". But another suggestion 
seems more likely. "'Sxe idea of this group might be the reflection 


of the part played by Peter, James and John in the Primitive 
Church". 29 i^js is especially possible if James has been mistaken 
for James the brother of Jesus. Then these three would be the 
three Paul says were "reputed to be pillars* in Gal. 1:9. 

Do these three then form some kind of an esoteric group 
within the circle of apostles? If this is the case it is clear 
that they are not given special privilege for themselves, but 
special duty to perform on behalf of others. This is made clear 
by the story of the request by James and John to sit on the right 
and left of Christ in His glory. With this request they have mis- 
understood their mission. They are called to "drink the cup" 
Christ drinks and to be baptized with His baptism- -which may refer 
to His death, and they are told, "whoever would be first among you 
must be slave of all". (10:44) The events at which they are alone 
with Christ include times of agony (14:3), predictions of coming 
catastrophy (13:3), healing (1:29), and new life (5:37). It has 
been suggested that the three apostles are given their special role 
because in early tradition all die as martyrs. 3*^ Perhaps >fark in- 
tends to show that they have been given glimpses of the suffering 
to vriiich they are called and the glory v«^ich comes through it. 

There is a possibility that the form of a.i/a.<pe^uj which we 
have translated "leads" has cultic significance. In the majority 
of cases in the LXXa^^^ijz^^isJ translates the Hebrew words '^ r r 
in the hiphil or^ ^ ^ • ?T -i' -^ in the hiphil can be used in 
the general sense of "to cause to go up", but the idea of causing 
sacrifices to go up to God seems to have led to a technical use of 
the term for offering up sacrifices. "") ^ P is normally em- 
ployed in the latter technical sense. The same is true of 
au<i4^'/>'^ in the New Testament. In a few passages the term is 
employed in the general sense of "leading up". But often the tech- 
nical sense of "offering up" a sacrifice is intended as in such 
passages as Heb. 7:27; 9:23; 13:15; James 2:21; I Pet. 2:5, 24.^^ 
There is at least a possibility that in a passage so loaded with 
symbols as the one before us that avAdtf'O is intentionally used 
to imply sanething of its technical sense of offering up a sacrifice, 
If what we have said in the preceding paragraph about the nature of 
the mission v^ich is given to the three disciples is correct, then 
such a use of a-yAdt/iiO would make sense. This possibility should 
be kept in mind when we approach the exegesis of the second portion 
of our passage. 

Much has been written in an attempt to identify the par- 
ticular mountain vrfiere hbrk places the scene of the Transfiguration. 
A more important question would be whether we can find theological 
significance in the setting. But mountains are the scene of so 
many events in the Bible that we could find support for almost any 
of the interpretations of the Transfiguration we have outlined, on 
the basis of this setting. Those who see the Transfiguration story 
as a misplaced resurrection story feel they can identify the moun- 
tain as the one in Matt. 28:16. Those who see the Transfiguration 
as a pref iguration of the Ascension can point to the mountain in 


Acts 1:12. ItiosG who seek traces of Jewish eschatology in the 
Transfiguration can point to the fact that both Moses and Elijah, 
who appear in our passage, and who we will see are figures in 
Jewish eschatology, receive revelation on mountains (Ex. 19:20-24 
and I Kings 19:11-13). Those who seek traces of early Christian 
eschatology in the Transfiguration can point to mountains in Matt. 
24:3ff; Mark 13:3; and Rev. 21:10, as the scene for eschatological 
revelation. In regard to what we have already seen of the role of 
suffering in our passage we might point to the mountains of Gethse- 
mane and Golgotha (Mark 14:32; 15:22) as the scene of suffering. 

Perhaps the most likely identification of the significance 
of the mountain is that which connects it with Moses' experience on 
Sinai. We have already noted other elements which link the Trans- 
figuration accoxint with the account of Moses on Sinai, and if we 
make any identification of the mountain with mountains in tradi- 
tion, perhaps there is the most to be said for Sinai. 

The verb used for the Transfiguration itself , /ucr(^,t^o^j>i'oJ ^ 
does not help us much in the interpretation of what took place. In 
Classical Greek there is a document from the first century B.C. 
which uses the verb for being transformed f''> 0>jf>'-<^^ ibea.-u 
In the New Testament it describes a change in form, but does not 
describe the nature of the change. 

The account continues that His garments became glistening, 
exceedingly white". cttlK/^i/j ^ a form of which we have translated 
"glistening" is used in Classical Greek for the glitter or gleam of 
polished surfaces. ^^ In the LXX it translates the Hebrew words, ^^ 
^ l! ^ which means a flame or the flashing point of a sp>ear,'* 
J3 Xiq which means to gleam or glitter, and ^ ^ /? which is used 
to describe burnished brass. Apparently Mark intends that the 
clothes were vA\itely shining in an unusual way. In Matt. 17:2 
Jesus' face also shone, and in Luke 9:29 not only His clothes but 
also, "the appearance of his countenance was altered". Before mak- 
ing a decision as to •^he meaning of this startling appearance we 
should note that ''^^^ '^"^ (white), which appears in this phrase, is 
elsewhere in the New Testament applied to clothing only with refer- 
ence to the clothing of angels (Matt. 28:3; Mark 16:5; John 20:12; 
Acts 1:10) or to the garments of saints in glory (Rev. 3:4,5,18; 4:4; 
6:11; 7:9,13). 

It seems likely that Mark intends something specific by 
Jesus' transformed appearance. We have noted that it may have some 
connection with Moses' shining face in Ex. 34:29. This is especial- 
ly possible with regard to Matt, who says that Christ's face also 
shone. Perhaps Luke gives the best interpretation of what is meant 
when he links this transformed appearance of Christ to His glory 
(19:32). Jewish eschatology is rich in references to the i " f * of 
the >fessiah (I En. 49:2; 61:8; II Bar. 30:1), and in Dan. 7:9 the 
"raiment" of the Son of I^n is "white as snow". Similar words are 
used to describe the saved (II Bar. 51:10, 12; 4 Ezra 7:97; Dan. 12:3; 
En. 38:4; 50:1; 62:15). 


Tt\e tenn (^"^a- is also caught up by Christian eschatol- 
ogy and Boobyer has shown that wherever the term is used elsewhere 
in the S5moptics, with the exception of Luke 2:9, it is used with 
reference to the Parousia (Mark 3;38; 10:37; 13:26; l>fatt, 16:27; 
19:28, 24:30; 25:31; Luke 9:26; 21:27 and 24:26) It seems unques- 
tionable that the transfigured appearance of Christ has signifi- 
cance in both Jewish and Christian eschatology. 

This section of our passage ends with the appearance of 
Moses and Elijah. Interpreters often see the role of Moses and 
Elijah in our passage as simply representing the law and the proph- 
ets. Bradcock writes, "^foses is naturally assumed to represent the 
law, and the phrase 'the law and the prophets is so familiar that 
it is assumed almost as a necessary corollary that Elijah represents 
the prophets", ^ The significance of their appearance is then seen 
to be that of pointing to Jesus as the fulfillment of the iniiole Old 
Testament traditiono 

It seems likely, however, that we can be more specific 
than this in our identification of the role of Moses and Elijah in 
the Transfiguration. Many Old Testament heroes are expected in 
Jewish eschatology to appear at the coming of the ifessiah, e^g., 
Ezra (4 Ezra 14:9), Baruch (2 Bar. 76:2), Jeremiah (2 Mace, 2:1), 
Enoch, Noah, Sherm, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Test, Benj. 10:5,6). 
A tradition developed that Elijah (II Kings 2:1) and Moses (The As- 
sumption of Moses- -perhaps based on Deut. 34:6 which says of Moses 
that "no one saw his grave*) were translated into Heaven without 
death. Perhaps for this reason they play a special role in Jewish 

Elijah appears as an eschatological figure in Mai. 4:5, 
"Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and 
terrible day of the Lord comes". In the case of Ptoses, Lohmeyer 
cites a quotation from Jochanan ben Sakkai in which God says to 
Moses, *'Wenn ich den Propheten Elias senden werde, sollt Ihr beide 
zusammenkommen". But that passage is of an uncertain date. 
Foakes Jackson and Lake point out that the Samaritans, basing their 
hopes on Deut. I8:10ff. and 34:10, expected the return of Moses. 
And there may be some eschatological implications when he is called 
■naZ &i cb in Dan. 9:11, although this may be pushing evidence too 

Traces of the expectation of the return of Elijah appear 
in the New Testament in such passages as hfark 6:15; 3:28; 9:11; 
15:35f.; hfett. 11:14; 16:14 and John 1:21. And some scholars believe 
that the two witnesses of Rev. 11:3-18 are to be taken as Elijah and 
Moses. If this is the case then the two figures can be attributed 
a role in early C3iristian eschatology. 

If our attempt to link the Transfiguration with the Sinai 
experience of Moses is correct then Jesus is taken as the new Moses 
who will again lead his people in triximph. The traces of Jewish es- 
chatology in Mark's account of the Transfiguration cannot be denied.j 



The event stands as divine confirmation of what Peter confessed at 
Caesarea Philippi. The messianic role of Jesus and his glory is 
made manifest to the three chosen apostles, and, if Riesenfeld is 
correct. His divine kingship is proclaimed. 

Nor is it strange that we should find these same elements 
appearing in early Christian eschatology and find early Christian 
tradition interpreting the Transfiguration in ternis of Christ's 
Parousia. It is natural that many elements of Jewish eschatology 
should find their way into the eschatological thinking of the early 
Christian community. We have found that nearly all the elements in 
the story can be found in both Jewish and Christian eschatological 

As to which of these aspects (the proclamation of Jesus' 
messiahship or the pref iguration of His Parousia) is primary we can- 
not say with assurance. To us it appears that both are there. Per- 
haps we are confronted with the familiar tension between "realized* 
and "futuristic" eschatology. Ws will see that the remaining por- 
tions of the Transfiguration account seem to make sense only if both 
elements are taken to be implied by the passage. Christ is proclaim- 
ed as the Messiah who has come and who will return to consummate the 
Kingdom which has already begun in Him. Ihe glory of God in Christ 
has broken into the world, yet its fulfillment awaits the future. 

The Impatience of Man 

And Peter responding says to Jesus, 'Master, it 
is good that we are here and let us make three 
tabernacles, one for you, one for Moses and one 
for Elijah'. For he did not know what to re- 
spond for they became afraid. (J^rk 9:5,6) 

Riesenfeld, of course, sees Peter's suggestion that the 
apostles should build tabernacles for Jesus, Moses and Elijah as an 
Enthronement. But even if his theory is rejected, the offer has 
much the same meaning. The Feast of the Tabernacles seems to hare 
taken on eschatological dimension in Zech. 14:16-21. So even if the 
theory of an Enthronement festival is rejected, much the same point 
can be made on the basis of the Feast of the Tabernacles. Ftirther, 
references to tabernacles abound in Jewish eschatology. Jahweh had 
tabernacled with His people of old (Ex. 33:7-11; Num. 12:5,10; Deut. 
31:14,15; Num. 11:24,26). The people looked forward to the time 
when He would again tabernacle with them (Ezek. 37:27; 43:7-9; Joel 
3:21; Zech. 2:10 f.; 8:3,8; Tob. 13:10). 

This line also finds its way into early Christian escha- 
tology. God has Ris ^ k 'I 'y y' in Heaven {Rev. 13:6 cf. Heb. 8,9), 
and will have it among men (Rev. 21:3). Peter's offer, then, is to 
enthrone the Lord and proclaim his divine kingship (Riesenfeld), or 
fto build the tabernacles proclaiming God's presence once more among 
men and to fulfill the glory of His Son the Messiah. 


Why then does Mark seem to rebuke Peter for his re- 
sponse? According to Halford Luccock, "Behind his (Peter's) words 
there is the desire to prolong the experience*. ° Peter's mis- 
take is that he wishes to remain caught up in such a glorious ex- 
periences. But such an interpretation seems to be more dependent 
on romantic thought than on the New Testament. 

A better clue can be found if we consider Mark's state- 
ment that, "he (Peter) did not know what to respond for they be- 
came afraid". Why should the, three apostles be afraid? This is 
Mark's only use of the term, eT^<f> o/3,us (to fear). But another re- 
lated verb for fear, ^ oA 6-' o/^o^l. is used more often. The most im- 
portant uses of the term for our purposes are those where the term 
relates to Jesus and his followers. In 4:41 and 6:50 Jesus' disci- 
ples are said to be afraid v^en he stills the storms. In 5:15 his 
followers are afraid at the healing of the demoniac. In 5:33 the 
woman with a flow of blood is afraid after her cure. In 9 :32 the 
disciples are afraid when they hear that the Son of Man must suffer. 
In 10:32 the followers are afraid v*ien they learn that in the King- 
dom the first shall be last and the last first. Finally, in 16:8 
the women are afraid after the discovery of the empty tomb. As 
Riesenfeld says of the disciples, 'Leur crainte est rapportee dans 
1' intention de faire ressortir un manque de foi, I'incapacite de 
comprehendre la portee messianique des paroles et des acts de 
Jesus". ^' They are afraid v*ien they confront the mystery of 
Christ's messianic acts. And, more important to us, they are 
afraid when they confront the necessity of messianic suffering 
(9:32; 10:32). 

Much the same results are yielded if we survey the other 
instances where Peter seems to come in for criticism in Mark. In 
10:28, after Christ's description of the difficulty involved in en- 
tering the Kingdom of God, Peter responds, "Lo, we have left every- 
thing and followed you," as if to say he had done enough to achieve 
entrance. He fails to understand the radical nature of the sacri- 
fice which he is called to make, and v^at Jesus says in verse 27 
about the impossibility of man making such a sacrifice on his own. 
Again in 14:66 ff. Peter refuses to take the path of suffering and 
denies Christ. 

Two of the instances where Peter seems open for criticism 
for his lack of understanding nay have special connections with our 
passage. In 8:32 after His confession, Peter "began to rebuke* 
Christ for predicting His suffering. Since the position in lark's 
Gospel of Peter's confession and the Transfiguration seems to make 
the latter the divine confirmation of the former, it would be nat- 
ural for Peter to make the same mistake in both passages. In 8:28 
it is Peter's complete unwillingness to accept the necessity of 
messianic suffering that calls forth the anger of Jesus. 

Riesenfeld points to the relationship between our passage 
and the Gethesemane incident. ^° Both involve Peter, James and John. 
Both are set on mountains. Just as Peter "does not know what to 



respond to Him" in our passage, in the Gethsemane account "they 
(Peter, James and John) did not know what to respond to Him". 
(14:40) Here Peter goes to sleep in the face of suffering (14:37, 
40,41). In all these instances, then, including the two which seem 
especially related to our passage, Peter's failure consists in his 
refusal to accept messianic suffering. 

When Jesus' followers become afraid, it is usually fear of 
his messianic acts or messianic suffering. When Peter appears to be 
open for criticism in other passages it is due to his failure to ac- 
cept the necessity of messianic suffering. We should note here that 
Bernardin believes that the appearance of Moses and Elijah in our 
passage is used to point to messianic suffering, ■'- but he presents 
no real evidence for his view. But even if we reject Bernardin 's 
theory, when we add to the observations we have just made about the 
source of fear on the part of followers of Jesus and the nature of 
Peter's failures in other passages, the implications which we noted 
in our exegesis of the first section of our passage may be implied 
by the verb, d-v a<p>t^uJ ^ and what we there noted about the na- 
ture of the mission to which the three apostles are called, Peter's 
response becomes clear. Once again he refuses to accept the neces- 
sity of messianic suffering. He wishes to enthrone Christ and to 
proclaim His lordship and glory now. Or he wishes to tabernacle God 
and bring in the glory of the last days now. In his impatience, 
Peter fails to remember that this can happen only in God's time, when 
He constructs, "a tabernacle not made with men's hands". And 

Peter fails to accept the fact that the chosen path to that glory is 
the path of suffering. Peter does not "know what to respond" for he 
is afraid of the role of suffering^and refuses to accept the fact 
that the Messiah must also suffer. 


It is for this reason that we believe that Transfigura- 
tion must in some sense point to future glory. Peter's fear and his 
response appear to make sense only if this is so. It is Peter's im- 
patience and fear of suffering which cause him to respond as he does. 
He wants to take the natter into his own hands, to tabernacle God on 
his terms, to bring the glory and lordship of Christ now, for he 
fears the messianic suffering viiich Jesus has recognized as the key 
to His mission. 

The Assurance of God in Christ 

And a cloud came overshadowing them, and a voice 
came out of the cloud, 'TMs is my Son the Beloved. 
Listen to Him'. And suddenly, looking around, they 
saw no one except Jesus alone with them. (9:7,8) 

"Qie term cloud ( ^^V^ ^) is another loaded term. Even 
in Classical Greek ^6^<?- '^ 'j took on supernatural significance. 
There are references to clouds of sorrow and of death. ^^* jn the J.E. 
material in the Pentateuch 1 ^ ^ becomes a sign of the presence 
of Jahweh which leads the Israelites on their journey (Ex. 13:21,22; 


In the LXX ve^^U usually translates the Hebrew | :^ ^ . 


34:5; 14:20; 19:9; 33:7-11; Num. 10:34; 11:25; 14:14; Deut. 1:33; 
4:11; 5:19, etc.). As in our passage, Jahweh often speaks out of 
a cloud (Ex. 24:16; 34:4-7; Num. 12:5-8; Deut. 13:15-21). 

Perhaps vre should understand the cloud to be no more 
than a sign of God's presence, but there are also passages which 
link clouds with Jewish eschatology. In Dan. 7:13 a cloud appears 
in connection with the coming of the Son of Man. In 4 Ezra 13:3 a 
cloud serves as transportation for the Man from the Sea. In 2 Bar. 
53:1-12 and in 2 Mace. 2:7,8 clouds appear in passages which ob- 
viously refer to the glory of the last days. And Moulton and 
Milligan cite evidence that the later Jews called the Messiah the 
Son of the Cloud. ^^ 

As is the case with so many of the elements of Jewish es- 
chatology which we have seen reflected in our passage, the presence 
of clouds is taken over by early Christian eschatological thought. 
The Son of Man will return on clouds according to such passages as 
Matt. 24:30; 26:64; hfark 13:26; 14:62; Luke 21:27 and Rev. 1:7. 
And, "we who are alive, vdio are left, shall be caught up together 
with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air". (I Thess. 
4:17) Also Riesenfeld calls attention to the cloud in Acts 1:9 in 
the account of the ascension, v^ich, as we have seen, Davies argues 
is connected by Luke to the Transfiguration. We should finally re- 
call what we have said earlier about the cloud and the voice from 
the cloud in the account of Moses on Sinai as one of the elements 
wt.ich are common to that story and our passage, and which may imply 
that Mark viewed Jesus as the New hoses who would lead His people to 
new glory. 

The presence of the cloud in both Jewish and Christian 
eschatology strengthens our contention that the Transfiguration has 
eschatological significance and is both a fulfillment of Jewish es- 
chatology and a pref iguration of the Christian Parousia. 

In the midst of the fear expressed in verse 6, cOTies a 
voice of assurance from the cloud saying, *"Ihis is my Son the Be- 
loved. Listen to Him". Mark may have had in mind Psalm 2:7 when 
writing the first part of this quote or perhaps Gen. 22:2 if our in- 
terpretation of the implied suffering in this passage is correct. 
Branscomb suggests that the second half of the sentence is based on 
Deut. 18:15, but the phrase is too short for us to make absolute 

More important is the pivotal nature of the disclosure 
which is made. Jesus is called Son of God six times in the Gospel, 
and only five if we omit that phrase from the title as do manj^ im- 
portant^ ^BS. J.n 1:11 a ^oice from Heaven says to Jesus^ ^^ i^ ^ ^<-'>''^ 
^cv o a.yu-n f^r<i%^ l^ c/,1 €vWi<rii,-a. _ rphe use of the second person 
singular seems to indicate that the disclosure is nade privately to 
Jesus. At the very beginning of Mark's Gospel, Jesus is made aware 
of His mission as Son of God. 


The next two times Jesus is called Son of God, He is 
given the title by evil spirits. (3:11 and 5:7). These supernat- 
ural beings seem to know His identity, but so far as man is con- 
cerned, it remains unknown. So far only Jesus (and these super- 
natural spirits) are aware of His true significance. 

The next mention of Jesus as Son of GodJ,s in the pas- ^ 
sage before us. ^s we have se,en the voice says, ovra e-'Tc^ o u^es 
Aiouo 'Ijanyo-,^ a i^0L,4-T£ A^-rot ^ ^g first part of 

the quotation is the same as that at baptism except for the subtle 
change from the second person_siijgular *you are* { '^t) «■'■• ) to the 
third singular "this is" ( ot) TO^ c-o-/'i^)^ Instead of being a pure- 
ly private message as was the case at baptism, the disclosure of 
Jesus' divine sonship is now made to the inner group of disciples 
whom we discussed earlier. Note also that this is almost exactly 
the mid-point of Mark's gospel. At the beginning, the nature of 
Christ's mission was made known to Him. Now the circle of those 
who know Him as Son of God is widened to include the three intim- 
ate disciples. 

The final reference to Jesus as Son of God comes near 
the end of Mark's Gospel. This time the centurion at the crucifix- 
ion says, "Truly this man was a Son of God!" (15:39) Now a com- 
plete outsider has learned of Jesus' divine sonship. We have gone 
from a private disclosure of His sonship to Jesus himself, through 
a disclosure to the three inner disciples in our passage, to the 
knowledge of Jesus' role by an outsider. 

It is for this reason that we are inclined to reject at- 
tempts to view the Transfiguration as a misplaced resurrection 
story. The progressive disclosure of Jesus' sonship, with key 
points coming at the beginning, middle, and near the end of the 
Gospel seems too effective to be mere chance. At least for ftork 
the Transfiguration belongs where it appears in the text. 

For our interpretation of the passage the important 
thing to notice is that this phrase is the only answer v^hich is 
given to the fear of verse 6. The voice merely points to Christ as 
Son of God and commands the disciples to listen to Him. This can 
be understood only if we view the eschaton as partially realized in 
Christ. We have seen that for the total interpretation of the 
story it must in part point to future glory. But the reason why 
Christ as Son of God can be assurance is that the glory has begun in 
Him in the present. He who is to come has come. The Kingdom which 
is to be fulfilled in the future has begun now. 

If our interpretation of the previous portion of the 
passage is correct, the command to listen to Christ may be a charge 
to hear His words about messianic suffering. It is perhaps signif- 
icant that the next words spoken by Jesus to the disciples after a 
charge to them to be silent concerning what they had seen include a 
reference to suffering. 'Elijah does come first to restore all 
things; and how is it written of the Son of man, that he should 


suffer many things and be treated with contempt?" (9:12) 

The passage comes to a close with the observation that, 
"suddenly, looking around, they saw no one except Jesus alone with 
them". He is the only assurance the three disciples are given. 
In Him the future glory has broken into history. They can face the 
suffering to -vAich they are called because He suffers with them, 
and indeed, takes their suffering upon Himself. 

It is now clear why we have held, against those who see 
the Transfiguration as a misplaced resurrection appearance, that 
the passage fits well into its present context. Mark has concluded 
chapter 8 with Christ's challenge, "If any man would come after me, 
let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me," (8:35) 
and with Christ's saying about those who are ashamed of Him and His 
words. Is not Peter, in our account, seen to be an example of 
those who are ashamed of Jesus' words concerning the suffering v^ich 
He, as Messiah, must face? Then in 9:1 fferk has Christ say, "Truly, 
I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death 
before they see the kingdom of God come with power". Is not Peter 
again, in our passage, an example of one who is shown the glory of 
God in Christ breaking into the world even now so that messianic 
suffering no longer needs to be a source of embarrassment but of 
triumph? As in its context, the dual themes of suffering and glory 
are joined in the event of Transfiguration. 



We have combined the third and fourth positions described 
in the opening section of the paper. The Transfiguration both 
points to the fulfillment of Jewish eschatological hope which has 
begun in Christ, and prefigures the Parousia v^en His glory will be 
fully manifested. We have rejected attempts to read the Transfig- 
uration as a misplaced resurrection story. But we can accept those 
interpretations which see the Transfiguration as pointing forward to 
the Resurrection and Ascension in so far as these events are taken 
into the context of the whole theme of Christ's coming glory which 
is prefigured by the Transfigured Christ. In a certain sense then, 
our interpretation has the merit of also being able to take into ac- 
count themes from the first two interpretations of the Transfigura- 
tion which we outlined. 

Ihe Transfiguration points to the glory of God in Christ, 
which both has come and is yet to come. This glory is inaugurated 
in the coming of Christ into the world. Yet such glory can be 
broTight to fulfillment only through the hard path of the suffering 
on the cross and suffering yet to come. This glory is no cheap 
solution which furnishes painless answers to the problems of exist- 
ence. It costs. It can be won only through the suffering of the 
Messiah and the suffering to which we are called in His name. 


The Transfiguration points to the impatience of man. We 
are embarrassed by the suffering of Christ. With Peter we fear the 
suffering to which we are called. With him we try to take matters 
into our own hands. We grow impatient with God and call for the 
glory now. 

The Transfiguration, however, also points to the assur- 
ance of God in Christ. Even in our impatience and fear He does not 
abandon us. In Christ we are assured that the important battle has 
been fought and won and that the final victory will belong to God. 
We can accept the suffering of Christ for it is not defeat but vic- 
tory. We can accept the suffering to v;hich we are called for He has 
suffered with and for us. The Transfigured Christ meets us pointing 
the way to victory through suffering, and He indeed marches before 
us along that way. 


1 Bultmann, Rudolf, Die Geschichte der Synoptischen 
Tradition (Gottingen, Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, 1921) p. 157. 

Of. Theology of the New Testament Vol. I (New York, Scribner, 1954) 
p. 27. 

2 See Goguel, Maurice, The Life of Jesus (New York, 
Mflcmillan, 1944) p. 343 and "Esquisse d'une interpretation du recit 
de la transfiguration". Review de L'Kistorie des Religions, 81 (1920) 
p. 157. 

3 Ramsey, Arthur Michael, The Glory of God and the Trans- 
figuration of Christ (New York, Longmans, 1949) p. 102. 

4 Cited by Clarke, William Kemp Lawther, New Testament 
Problems (London, SPCK, 1929) p. 34. 

5 See also the arguments against such a view in Boobyer, 
George Henry, St . Mark and the Transfiguration Story (Edinburgh, 
Clark, 1942 ) p. 13. 

5 James, M. R. , The Apocryphal New Testament (Oxford, 
Clarendon, 1955) pp. 511-21. The Transfiguration is also a post 
resurrection event in the Pi s t i s Sophia , Doc. I. 4a-8b. 

7 Boobyer, op. cit . , pp. 14f. 

8 Davies, John G., He Ascended into Heaven (London, 
Lutterworth, 1953) pp. 39 ff. 

9 Ibid ., p. 41. 

10 Bernardin, Joseph B., "The Transfiguration", Journal 
of Biblical Literature, 52 (1933) p. 139. 

11 Lohmeyer, Ernst, "Die Verklarung Jesu nach dem Markus- 


Evangelium", Zeltschrif t fur die Neutestamentlich Wissenshaf t, 21 
(1922) p. 200. 

12 Ibid ., pp. 205 ff. 

13 Lxjhmeyer, Ernst, Das Evangel ium des Markus (Gottingen, 
Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, 1937) pp. 173-81. 

14 Lohmeyer, "Die Verklarung", op . cit . , p. 202, 

15 Riesenfeld, Harald, Jesus Transfigure (Lund, Hakan 
Oilssons, 1947) p. 265. 

16 Ramsey, op . cit . , p. 103 n.2. 

17 Grant, Frederick C. , An Introduction of New Testament 
(New York, Abingdon, 1950) p. 225. 

18 Boobyer op. cit . See also "St. fterk and the Trans- 
figuration", Journal of Theological Studies , 41 (1940) pp, 119-140. 

19 See the discussion of this epistle in McNeile, A. H., 
An Introduction to the Study of the New Testament (Oxford, ClarendOT, 
2nd ed. 1953) pp. 244ff. 

20 For a more complete discussion of the eschatological 
elements in the Transfiguration account in II Peter see Boobyer, 
St . Mark and the Transfiguration Story , op . cit . , pp. 43-47. 

21 James, op. cit . , p. 510. 

22 Ibid ., p. 511. 

23 Boobyer, St^. Mark and the Transfiguration Story, op. 
cit . , pp. 30-40. Also note that Boobyer argues that according to 
the Muratorian Fragment, the Apocalypse of Peter was accepted as 
canonical by Rome. He feels that since Rome may have been the 
place of the composition of Mark that the interpretation of the 
Transfiguration in the apocalypse is an especially valuable clue to 
its interpretation in Mark. 

24 Origen's Commentary on hfatthew book XII, 31. 

25 In Richardson, Alan, A Theological Word Book of the 
Bible (New York, Macmillan, 1958) p. 269. See also the similar 
treatment in Schniewind, Julius, Das Evangel ium nach Markus 
(Gottingen, Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, 1952) p. 122. 

26 Ramsey, op . cit ., p. 119. 

27 Bacon, Benjamin Wisner, "After Six Days", Harvard 
'Geological Review , 8 (1915) pp. 94-121. 

28 Goguel, The Life of Jesus , op . cit ., p. 343 n.4. 



29 Ibid., p. 343. 

30 The tradition that Peter died a martyr is well kncwn. 
Papias quoted by Eusebius records the martyrdom of John. If James 
has been confused with James the brother of Jesus a tradition of 
his martyrdom is recorded by Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews , 
XX.9.1. Some scholars find hints of the martyrdom of James and 
John in Mark 10:35-39; 9:33-40 and Luke 9:54-56. 

31 Hatch, Edwin and Henry A. Redpath, A Concordance to 
the Septuagint (Oxford, Clarendon, 1897) pp. 84,5. 

32 Brown, Francis, S. R. Driver and Charles A. Briggs, A 
Hebrew and English lipxicon of the Old Testament (Oxford, Clarendon, 
1957) p. 749. 

33 Ibid., 883. 

34 Arndt, William F. and F. Wilbur Gingrich, A Greek- 
English Lexicon of the New Testament (Chicago, U of Chicago Press, 
1957) p. 62. 

35 Hence Lohmeyer concludes, " ist sonst ein 
kultisches Wort fur die Darbringung von Opfern". ( Das Evangel ium 
des Markus , op. cit . , p. 174 n. 2.) 

36 Diodorus Siculus, Historicus , Bekker, Dindorf and 
Vogel, ed. Leipzig 1838-1906. Cited by Liddell, Henry George and 
Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon (Oxford, Clarendon, 1940} 
p. 1114. 

37 Arndt and Gingrich, op. cit_. ^ p. 513. See also Ramsey 
who says, "The word, tells of a profovmd change of form 
(in contrast with mere appearance), without describing its charac- 
ter", (op. cit., p. 114). 

38 Liddell and Scott, op . cit . , p. 1645. 

39 Hatch and Redpath, op. cit. , p. 1291. 

40 Brown, Driver and Briggs, op . cit . , p. 529. 

41 Ibid., p. 843. 

42 Ibid ., p. 387. 

43 Bradcock, F. J., "The Transfiguration", Journal of 
Theological Studies, 22 (1921) p. 321. 

44 See, for example, Ronald Preston's statement that, 
"The law and the prophets are at the same time fulfilled and super- 
seded and the representative forebears agree that it is so, and 
witness that it is in Jesus, the Messiah, the divine Son, that God's 


revelation is now to be seen". (In Alan Richardson, op. cit., 
pp. 268,9). 

45 Cited by Lohmeyer, "Die Verklarung Jesu..." op. cit . , 
p. 139. 

46 Foakes Jackson, T. J. and Kirsopp Lake, The Beginnings 
of Christianity (London: Macmillan, 1920) pp. 404-6. 

47 Branscomb, B. Harvie. The Gospel of Mark , Moffatt 
Series (London, Hodder and Stroughton, 1937) p. 162; Boobyer, St . 
>fark and The Transfiguration Story, op . cit . , p. 72; "St. Mark and 
the Transfiguration" , op . cit . , p. 132 

48 In Buttrick, George Arthur, ed. The Interpreter's 
Bible , Vol. VII (New York, Abingdon, 1951) p. 776. 

49 Riesenfeld, op. cit ., p. 285. 

50 Ibid ., p. 282, .. ^ , 

51 Bernardin, op . cit . 

52 Apocalypse of Peter, Jaines, o£. cit . , p. 519. 

53 Along this line Alan Richardson writes, "...Peter did 
not yet fully understand; he did not yet realize that the Christ 
must suffer...." ( An Introduction to the Theology of the New 
Testament (London, SCM, 1958) p. 183). 

54 Liddell and Scott, op. cit ., p. 1171. 

55 Hatch and Redpath, op. cit ., p. 943. 

56 Moulton, James Hope and George Milligan. The 
Vocabularly of the Greek New Testament Illustrated from the Papyri 
and other Non- Literary Sources (London: Hodder and Storughton, 1930) 
p. 425. 

57 For the observation concerning the way in which Mark 
shows the progressive recognition of the significance of Jesus 
through his use of the title "Son of God", I am indebted to Beazley, 
George G. , Jr. Portraits of Jesus in the Gospel of bfark (Unpub- 


Bacon, Benjamin Wisner. "After Six Days", Harvard Theological 
Review. 8 (1915) 94-121. 

The Beginnings of Gospel Story. New Haven, Yale U. 

Press, 1909. 


Bernardin, Joseph B. "The Transfiguration", Journal of Biblical 
Literature. 52 (1933) 181-189. 

Boobyer, George Henry. "St I'lark and the Transfiguration", Journal 
of Theological Studies, 41 (1940) 119-140. 

St. >fark and the Transfiguration Story. Edinburgh, 

Clark, 1942. 

Bradcock, F. J. "The Transfiguration", Journal of Theological 
Studies. 22 (1921) 321-326. 

Branscomb, B. Harvie. The Gospel of I^rk. Noffatt Series. 
London, Hodder and Stroughton, 1937. 

Bultmann, Rudolf. Die Geschichte der Synoptischen Tradition. 
Gottingen, Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, 1921. 

. Theology of the New Testament. Vol. I. New York, 

Scribner, 1954. 

Buttrick, George Arthur, ed. The Interpreter's Bible. Vol. VII. 
New York, Abingdon, 1951. 

Clarke, William Kemp Lawther. New Testament Problems. London, 
SPCK, 1929. 

Creed, J. M. " Review of Die Verklarung Jesu by Josef Holler and 
Die neutes tament 1 i chen Berichte uber die Verklarung Jesu by 
Joseph Blinzer", Journal of Theological Studies. 39 (1933) 

Davies, John G. He Ascended into Heaven. London, Lutterworth, 

Goguel, Maurice. "Esquisse d'une interpretation du recit de la 

transfiguration*. Revue de L'Historie des Religions. 81 (1920! 

. The Life of Jesus. New York, Macmillan, 1944. 

Gollwitzer, Helmut. Die Freude Gottes. Berlin, GMBH, 1940. 

Gould, Ezra P. The Gospel According to Mark. ICC Series. New 
York, Scribners, 1896. 

Grant, Frederick C. An Introduction to New Testament Thought. New 
York, Abingdon, 1950. 

Kenny, Anthony. "The Transfiguration and the Agony in the Garden", 
Catholic Biblical Quarterly. 19 (1957) 444-460. 

Lohmeyer, Ernst. Das Evangelium des >krkus. Gottingen, Vandenhoeck 
und Ruprecht, 1937. 


. "Die Verklarung Jesu nach dem >farkus-Evangelium", 

Zeitschrift fur die Neutestamentliche Wissenschaf t. 21 
(1922) 135-215. 

Richardson, Alan. An Introduction to the Theology of the New Test- 
ament. London, SCM, 1958. 

, ed, A Theological Word Book of the Bible. New York, 

Macmillan, 1953. 

Ramsey, Arthur Michael. The Glory of God and the Transfiguration 
of Christ. New York, Longmans, 1949. 

Riesenfeld, Harald, Jesus Transfigure. Lund, Hakan Ohlssons, 1947 

Schniewind, Julius. Das Evangelium nach Markus. Gottingen, 
Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, 1952. 

Taylor, Vincent. The Gospel According to St. Mark. London, 
Macmillan, 1957. 

Thornton, Lionel Spencer. The Dominion of Christ. London, Black, 



George G. Beazley, Jr. 
First Christian Church, Bartlesvi lie, Oklahonia 

In 1954 was published one of the greatest conimentaries ever 
written on the events that Christians consider central for under- 
standing the revelation of God's purpose to man and for lifting man 
from the confusion of his natural condition to the peace of one who 
is experiencing in his life the salvation that God desires to give 
to all. Yet this commentary will never be read by many ministers, 
will be misunderstood by others who do read it, and is not likely to 
ever become a text studied in our seminaries. I speak, of course, 
of V.llliam Faulkner's significant novel, A Fable . 

The word "commentary" has been chosen deliberately, for this 
book, like all works of art, is a commentary, not an exegesis. An 
exegesis expounds the meaning of the records of an event or of a 
work of literature. It seeks to see the sentences in the context of 
their environment, to elucidate words deriving their meaning from 
vanished situations, to explain the meaning of the text, to make it 
clear. An exegesis is a work of scholarship and of reason. A com- 
mentary is not too concerned with the earlier form. It seeks to re- 
live the event, perhaps xmder other forms. It seeks to enter into 
the serenity or the anguish that it had when it was coming into being. 
It wishes not so much to outline the event and its meaning as to 
|give it back the dynamism it had when it was happening. The tools 
of the commentator are not scholarship and reason but sympathy and 
imagination. To comment on the Passion Week is the aim of Faulkner, 
and far better than any who have tried this before, he has succeeded. 
Not perfectly--no one can do that--but far better than others, for 
he, above all other authors, is the one who can make his readers not 
observe his characters, but be_ them. 

i Many have assayed to retell this most important of stories, 
iisnd most have failed miserably. Sometimes they have failed because 
they have set the story inside another story, so that Jesus and his 
sacrifice have ceased to be central. These authors have become so 
involved in the revenge of their Ben Hur or so concerned with the 
spiritual struggle of their Marcellus that the divine event becomes 
nerely the mainspring for moving some secular action. Sometimes 
they have failed because they have filled in the gaps in our written 
jospels and have thereby destroyed the stark simplicity of tragedy 
^hich is one of the evangelists' most powerful, if lonconscious, 
literary devices for making us feel the religious importance of this 
secularly unimportant event. 

Faulkner makes neither of these mistakes. He avoids the 
Latter by transposing the event into the twentieth century, where 
lis involved emotional orchestration will not be out of place and 
' /here he can use his tried and proven literary style to its fullest; 
"or no modern writer can ever hope to achieve the sincere and art- 
Less simplicity of the Gospel according to Mark. He avoids the 


former mistake by making his corporal (who is the syrri)ol of Jesus) 
the central and dominating character of the book, for even in 
those passages when he does not appear as a character, we are al- 
ways conscious that the corporal and the event which he has pre- 
cipitated are the things that give meaning to everything else. The 
result is that Faulkner's "fable" gives us insights into man's 
dilemma vrfaen he is both immersed in his world and confronted by his 
savior that have been egualled by few theologians, exegetes, or 
preachers and that have never been surpassed by any novelist that 
has attempted to comment on the meaning of this event of events. 

No one can pretend that Faulkner is an easy author to read. 
His prose is filled with the moving bombast of Southern oratory as 
well as with the anguish of one who has felt disillusionment and 
who, in his solitariness, has sought for the answer to the violence 
and miscarriage of justice that he has observed around him. Many 
v;ould never have expected Faulkner to be attracted to the New 
Testament. He has been an author who has created tale after tale of 
war, lust, rape, murder, and mob violence. His characters are gen- 
erally ones we should not care to welcome into our homes to meet our 
wives and to dandle our children on their knees. Joe Christmas 
seeking to escape the curse of his mixed blood, the raped Temple 
Drake fascinated by her sin like a bird by a snake, Jason Compson 
rejoicing in his callousness. Colonel Sutpen driving toward his ob- . 
jective with the fated self-destruction of a character from Greek 
tragedy, even the gently cynical character, sometimes called Gavin 
Stephens, sometimes Horace Benbow ineffective in his devotion to 
justice. We should not care to make bosom companions of these 
twisted and thwarted people, but even when seeing them in the midst 
of their sin, we cannot but admire their vitality. 

In the midst of Faulkner's terrifying gallery of portraits 
and violent plots, we cannot but see his faith in man. He, rather 
than T. S. Eliot, maintains the tradition of the American affirma- 
tion (seen before in Hawthorne and Twain) that with all his bitter- 
ness, meanness, foolishness, and rapine, man has within him a force 
that is not defeated either by the circumstances without or by his 
sins within, a force that strives and seeks even though it does not 
find, and that finds its realization in action, not in the disillus- 
ionment of a talkative cocktail party. . 

Many would never have expected that Faulkner would have been 
attracted to the New Testament; yet isn't this exactly where we 
should have expected him to be attracted? Certainly the Biblical 
story is full of violence, rapine, and lust. The David of the 
Samuel books would not be welcomed into our homes to meet our wives 
lest they might become Abagails or Bathshebas, and few of us tell 
our children the story of Judah and Tamar. Even the New Testament 
knows its Magdalene and the woman taken in adultery, and countless 
masses and peace-of-mind sermons have not been able to remove the 
violence from the crucifixion or from the stoning of Stephen. It is 
true that the world Faulkner writes about is a violent and unpleasant 
one, but so was the world of Aeschylus and Euripides, of Shakespeare 



and Webster, of Hawthorne and Melville. Indeed, so is the world of 
Dachau, Hiroshima, and Heartbreak Ridge. Life is not always 
pleasant, but it is always dynamic. Men remain victims of their 
lusts and yet rise above them. So Faulkner has found his world 
and the Christian Bible and has related them with few dogmas but 
many suggestions, and A Fable is the result. 

It would be as futile to retell the plot of A Fable as to at- 
tempt to describe VanGogh's Sunflowers or to catch in outline 
Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. A work of art is created to be seen, 
to be heard, to be read, to be experienced, not to be talked about. 
The story is simple. A corporal persuades a regiment to refuse to 
attack, stops a war, and is executed for treason with the approval 
of the people he had tried to save. It's all there: the two 
thieves, Mary Magdalene, the crown of thorns, Peter and Judas, and 
the resurrection--even Paul--sometimes in a different form--but 
there none the less, and, what is most amazing, told with the utmost 
reverence and without the effect of contrivance. Through it all runs 
a penetrating insight into the dilemma of man, the trying temptation 
of Gethsemane, and the reason for the necessity of the cross. 

j The high point, as all have observed, is the scene between 
the corporal and the general --between Jesus and God some have 
thought, but I am not at all sure. It seems to me it is more nearly 
iDetween man in his created world and Jesus, between the ideas of 
'adaptation to environment and of revolt toward heaven, between man's 
precariously achieved civilization and the hopes and passions that 
Uould burst it apart, sometimes in the form of lust, but here in the 
'"orm of overwhelming compassion and love. This scene has been com- 
pared with Dostoevsky's Grand Inguisitor scene in The Brothers 
j Caramazov and justifiably so. Some have called Faulkner America's 
>xistentialist novelist, and certainly this scene is a powerful ex- 
.position of man's condition when he faces the civilization that he 
las dragged so painfully from primitive barbarism and then finds 
limself confronted by a Christ who insists that man can be separated 
'rom his folly, even as that folly takes his life. Faulkner is not 
.. conventional Christian, and one cannot say his novel is a document 
if the Christian faith, but in his honest puzzlement, in his presen- 
ation of the stark opposites of meliorism and the folly of the cross 
ives more faith than in half the creeds. 

Read A Fable; reread it. You may not find answers, but you 
ill see more clearly the guestions to which we must seek to relate 
od's answer in his Word, Jesus Christ. 


THE SCROLL, the Bulletin of the Campbell Institute, published 
quarterly in July, October, January, and April. 

The Campbell Institute was founded in 1896 as an association 
for ministers and laymen of the Christian Churches (Disciples of 
Christ) for the encouragement of scholarship, personal religious living, 
and publication. 

OFFICERS 1959-60 

President: George G. Beazley, Jr., Bartlesville, Oklahoma 
Vice-President: G. L. Messenger, Stillwater, Oklahoma 

Secretary-Treasurer: Paul B. Kennedy, Ontario, California 
Editor: George G. Beazley, Jr., Bartlesville, Oklahoma 


The Officers of the Institute 

The dues of the Campbell Institute are ^2.00 per year, including 
subscriptions to The Scroll. 

Correspondence concerning manuscripts and other editorial items 
should be sent for the present to George G. Beazley, Jr., First Christian 
Church, P.O. Box 1177, Bartlesville, Oklahoma. Correspondence con- 
cerning membership and dues should be sent to Paul B. Kennedy, 
835 East "G" Street, Ontario, California. 


The Journal of the Campbell Institute 


George Earle Owen 

Winfred E. Garrison 

Homer W. Carpenter 




Darrell K. Wolfe 

Parker Rossman 

Vol. LII SUMMER, I960 No. 1 


Dear Reader : i 

Though somewhat late (and this is almost a tradition with 
"The Scroll"), you have in your hands the summer issue of our mag- 
azine of Christian discussion. You will notice that it is number 
one of volume fifty-two. To live fifty-two years in a v/orld where 
the life-expectancy of magazines is not high is an accomplishment. 
To have served a useful purpose during those fifty-two years is an 
even higher one. To be healthy and to have a reasonable life- 
expectancy for a number of years to come is even more unusual. 


I believe this issue of "The Scroll" contains much that 
will interest you, its readers and those from whom its lifeblood 
(both financial and intellectual) comes. We begin with an article 
by George Earle Owen on one of the recent consultations on internal 
disunity. Since he was present as a very active participant, he 
speaks with real existential concern on this issue. I'iany of you 
must be wondering whether or not these meetings are serving any use- 
ful purpose and, if so, vrhat. His article may help you to decide. 
Or it may make you write an answering article for "The Scroll". 
Either way, it will have fulfilled its purpose. J 

Following this penetrating article are two in our series 
on the future of our brotherhood. Tv;o more of those who have served 
us faithfully and well for many years. Dr. W. E. Garrison and Dr. 
Komier "W. Carpenter, have answered our request for their evaluation 
of the past and prognosis for the years to come. Each article well 
expresses the individuality of men worth knowing. Peruse them, care- 

At my request Darrell Wolfe has tried to give us some in- 
sight into the books which Bethany Press is publishing and hopes to 
publish. This article should be interesting to all Disciples but es- 
pecially to the members of the Campbell Institute who have the itch 
to write that others may read. It is a very helpful analysis of the 
books you can expect to publish and the book needs in our brotherhoo( 
that ought to be met. 

The final article by Parker Rossman tells of the fascinat- 
ing experiment in continuing education which the Christian Churches 
(Disciples of Christ) have under way. Campbell Institute members 
are certainly the kind of people who will be interested in this ven- 
ture. I am glad I asked Parker to do this article, because I believi 
you will be glad to read it. 

At the end are tv;o important announcements. Read them 
first, then write out your check for this year's dues. After that 
you can return to the articles with greater enjoyment and look for- 
vrard to the International Convention with great anticipation. 

Yours for discussion. 



George Earle Owen 
United Christian Missionary Society- 
Indianapolis, Indiana 

(Report on the Second Wichita Consultation on 
Disunity Among the Disciples of Christ. ) 

By the Way of Preface 

Freedom is man's most precious possession. It is also 
his most dangerous possession. It is both a gift and an achieve- 
ment. It is this gift of God that makes man a moral creature. To 
violate this inalienable (not alien in a moral universe) right is to 
run contrary to creative purpose of God, something even God vd.ll not 
do. Freedom is also hammered out of man's experience and as such it 
is culturally, politically, and even religiously conditioned. As 
such it is an achievem.ent. The Disciples of Christ have achieved by 
congregational government a great deal of freedom. One conseguence 
has been the loss or lack of real responsibility and maturity as a 
brotherhood and a fragmented fellowship. A basic guestion or area 
for further discussion in the context unity and disunity is the 
nature of the freedom we possess. 

Given freedom, faith and love are the only really satis- 
factory moral responses free, moral, and responsible (an acknowledg- 
ed tautology) creatures can make to one another. Ken live and re- 
spond to one another in terms of their basic beliefs and faith. 
Faith brings men together and it also separates men. Adherence to 
certain beliefs, interpretations of the Bible, and traditions lead 
some Disciples to patterns of independency, others to patterns of 
cooperation. Any discussion of the problems that separate and unite 
us must center in the beliefs that pull us apart and the beliefs 
that hold us together. This means further study of the nature of the 
church, of the unity we seek, of authority, the Bible, and the like 
that serve as the frame of reference and assumptions upon which our 
beliefs are based. 

lly own address or paper on "Unity and Diversity Among 
Cooperatives" was structured along this line. It dealt with the na- 
ture of the following: the Church, democracy, freedom, community. 
Christian unity, organization, cooperation, neutrality, stewardship, 
truth, and authority. Then followed the corresponding principles: 
of rediscovery (instead of reformation), of representation, of self- 
criticism., of ecumenicity of unification, of expediency or need, of 
leadership, of Christian witness, of responsibility, of integrity, 
and of respect for personality. This, of course, represents some- 
thing of the spectrum of my o^^m colored philosophy. 

• At the heart of our Christian religion and of the Church 
is the concept of fellowship- -"I-Thou" relationships,' worship, com- 
munion, brotherhood and the like. Whatever violates Christian 

fellowship violates all these areas of human and divine relation- 
ships. Vilhat are the boundaries of Christian fellowship? To what 
extent should what one believes be made a test of fellowship? 
These and similar questions led me to entitle this report as I did. 

VJhy, I'h.o and VJhat 

In response to the request of the editor of The Scroll 

I am glad to report on this consultation and add ray assessment of 
its character and value. The readers of The Scroll may be interest- 
ed to know why such a three day encounter of independents and co- 
operatives was held as well as something about its program and per- 
sonnel. The first V/ichita Consultation was called as a result of 
the Area Consultations on Christian Unity sponsored by the Council 
on Christian Unity and the Division of Home Mission and the Divis- 
ion of V.'orld Mission of the United Christian Missionary Society. 

Both the Wichita Consultations were also held in part to 
help some of the brethren in Kansas and Oklahoma ascertain the place 
and role of independent pastors and groups in the organized life of 
our brotherhood. Influential in calling this consultation v/ere some 
of the faculty of t-fenhattan Bible College, which is hovering betvreen 
independency and cooperation. In a state planning conference in 
Kansas prior to both the Wichita meetings this question arose: 
could Manhattan Bible College join the Kansas Christian Missionary 
Society in its Decade of Decision askings and program without iden- 
tifying itself with the cooperative agencies and church? This means 
supporting all the agencies in Unified Promotion. 

This is the problem all independent churches and groups 
face: can they buy the values of cooperation without paying the 
price? Can independents have the advantages of cooperation without 
their responsibilities? State leaders in Kansas and Oklahoma, where 
a laissez faire attitude toward this issue has prevailed for so long, 
are dissatisfied with it. Neutrality is no longer tenable or 

It is interesting that the following states were represen- 
ted in this conference: Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, 
Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, 
Vfeshington, D.C. and Virginia. Of the 225 registered for the con- 
ference, 179 were from outside of Wichita. It is significaht that 
there were 114 ministers in this conference, 6 college professors, 7 
state and national staff members, 1 chaplain, 2 missionaries, and 8 
ministers' wives. It was originally intended that this would be a 
rather "top level" conference and so the laity were not represented. 
One of Dr. Donald MriGavran's statements to the group was that this 
division is caused largely by ministers and not by the laity. One 
layman observed that the laity of the churches is caught up in a 
gigantic tug-of-war between independents and cooperatives. 

The program was fairly well divided between cooperative 
and independent representatives. Dr. C. K. Thomas of Phillips 

University had four addresses on "The Nature of the Church." The 
writer was asked to speak on "Ifriity and Diversity Among Cooperatives" 
to be followed by an address by Dr. Charles Gresham on "Unity and 
Diversity j'^jnong Independents." Likewise, I was asked to speak on 
"The Reason for and the Position of The United Christian Missionary 
Society," to be followed by a statement by Woodrow Phillips of 
Czark Bible College on "The Reason for and Position of Direct Sup- 
port ^;issions." Dr. Dean Walker of Killigan College spoke on the 
"Prospects of a Divided Brotherhood," while Dr. A, Dale Fiers of the 
United Society spoke on the "Prospects and Consequences of the 
United Brotherhood." In the same way. Dr. Robert Tobias spoke on 
"The Possibilities and Problems of the Ecum.enical ^ioveraent," v;hile 
Dr. James DeForest Lurch of Christianity Today spoke on "The .Altern- 
ative to the Ecumenical Kovement." Fred Thompson from Chicago, 
Englex-^ood Church, spoke on "Local Autonomy as' a Problem of Brother- 
hood Unity." One of the most helpful addresses was by Dr. Lloyd 
Taylor on "The Sociological Factors in our Brotherhood Problem." 
There were two sermons, one by an independent minister, Floyd 
Strater, "The Glory of the Ch.urch," and one by Dr. Tom Parish, a co- 
operative minister, on "The Nature of Church Kembership." 

The Planning Committee was made up of the following: 
James Carr (I-ianhattan Bible College), chairman, Dyre Campbell, V.'. L. 
KcEver, Ting Champie, Clifford Hauxwell, Sam Hamilton, Tom Parish, 
Charles Gresham., Don Evans and Cecil Swindle. The ironic spirit of 
Ting Champie gave to this consultation a friendly tone and spirit. 
The meeting was held in the beautiful Broadway Christian Church, in 

By the Way of Bias 

A report and appraisal of this consultation was well made 
by E. E. Bri dwell in the April 3, 1960 issue of THE CHRISTIAA^ 
EVANGELIST. Mr. Bridwell had the advantage of being outside of the 
discussions, that is not as a participant, and perhaps can be more 
objective. I admit that I am somewhat biased and this report will 
reflect a certain bias. In one of my preliminary statements in the 
discussion, I began with the acknowledgment that I have a very def- 
inite predisposition toward cooperative work -which is reflected in 
all I think and say. Not to admit a bias is to prejudice the dis- 
cussion. The very title of the discussion indicates this problem. 
It was referred to as a consultation on internal unity. It would 
have been much more honest to refer to it as a consultation on the 
internal disunity and unity among the Disciples of Christ. As a mat- 
ter of fact, when the program chairman invited me to speak on the 
program he suggested I ought to begin with the assumption that there 
is no division among us. This to me is very unrealistic and prej- 
udices any real discussion of the issue and problem. Biases did be- 
gin to show up in the initial assignments of topics. Originally I 
was asked to speak upon "Open Ifembership, " and "The Theology of the 
United Society." I declined to speak upon these topics since they 
were obviously loaded and were not conducive to the kind of consulta- 
tion I understood was to take place. One of the important dicta of 

Immanuel Kant was, "To know is to judge." Biases are inevitable. 

One of the first evaluations of the conference is that it 
represents a changed cliirate in regard to the relationship between 
cooperatives and independents. A title for this report could be 
listed as "From Debate to Discussion." It should be noted that 
this climate is not universal. It is reflected in states like 
Kansas and Oklahoma. Cne will not find the same climate in Illinois 
and Pennsylvania. It means there was a disposition for discussion 
which in itself is wholesome. As a consultation this meeting was a 
means of establishing better commiuni cation between cooperatives and 
independents, and for those who are trying to lean on the fence. 
At least it was a forum where points of view could be presented, 
challenged and questioned, and discussed. Cne of the values of 
this particular Conference was small discussion groups where a real 
encounter could take place. There was some criticism of the way in 
which the discussion groups were constituted- -having cooperatives 
and independents choose from numbers so that the discussion groups 
would be equally representative of both cooperatives and indepen- 
dents. This is the perennial problem of endeavoring to assure . 
equity. The writer was asked to report along with James DeForest 
Kurch on the Wichita Conference to the Indianapolis Ministers' 
Association. The general feeling of the Indianapolis group and of 
the two reporters was that the channels of communication should be 
kept open wherever possible. If this consultation and others can 
do this they have value, even if the prospects of real unity and 
cooperation look rather dim. 

Having said that, I must go on to say that the kind of 
communication that needs to take place must have more depth than the 
one at Wichita had. One hesitates to say this, and yet he feels he 
should, the discussions were on a rather superficial level. This 
is sometimes true where rather strikingly different points of view 
meet for the first time on an equal footing. Each person present 
was asked to fill out an evaluation sheet in regard to the possibil- 
ity of another consultation, hy own observation was that if we are 
to meet again we should do so for at least two weeks. Vfe cannot 
adequately commune mth one another until we know one another, 
understand one another, respect one another, and love one another. 
VJe cannot readily trust people we do not know. Also one cannot go 
into issues sufficiently without the opportunity to clarify what he 
says and possibly to modify vAtat he says. All of this means, that 
reading papers and answering questions without real dialectic en- 
counter tends to be superficial. It is true that a number of people 
fouTLd this conference to be helpful. The reason why a number feel 
that very little was accomplished was due to the fact that the 
issues were not grappled with realistically. 

Here are some samples of what was said on the evaluation 

It has been uncomfortable, wonderful, heartaching, 
and elevating--something like medicine. (Independent) 

Excellent! It establishes intelligent, high-level 
conversation. It shows where we now stand and 
what we need to do. (Cooperative ) 

Stimulating, informative, challenging, humbling, 
affording new hope that we might not yet be ready 
for divorce proceedings. There were in this 
conference corrective influences. (Independent) 

Valuable, greatly needed, one vitally necessary 
step that we may at least forstall further 'slip- 
ping over into division'. (Cooperative) 

Excellent! Best thing that's happened since I 
entered the ministry 22 years ago. This is our 
best road to complete unity if we can get some 
1,000 top preachers to attend. (Independent) 

This is the only 'honest' program among our 
people I have attended in a long time. 

(Cooperative ) 

I believe we have moved toward mutual understanding, 
if not agreement. Som.e doors of conversation are 
opening which were closed. As long as comm.unica- 
tion is possible, unity is possible . (Independent ) 

Very worthwhile; splendid spirit. I believe we 
are closer together because of comiTtUnication. 

(Cooperative ) 

I do believe that some definite prejudicial 
barriers have at least been lowered, if not 
broken down. Vfe have accomplished some realiza- 
tion to brotherhood in Christ though not in 
methodology. (Independent) 

The consultation has been of great value in 
giving free exchange of viewpoint, opportunity 
of meeting friends who hold different positions 
and of having fellowship with Christians not 
normally provided. Out of this comes hope for 
better relations. (Cooperative) 

Valuable as an opportunity for face-to-face, 
frank discussion of our dif ferences--critical 
evaluation of policies and trends. Helpful in 
creating personal friendships across party lines, 
thus directing attention away from personality- 
oriented animosities toward issues. Something 
like this is needed if we are to stop the drift 
toward division within our ranks. (Independent) 

There was only one who said "drop it". Nine were "dis- 
couraged"; sixty-five were "hopeful" and "encouraged"; seventeen 
were "enthused". 

By the Way of Clarity 

In order to face issues and discuss them with clarity 
the terms need to be defined. Because I endeavored to define what 
I understood a cooperative to be, it was alleged, and this may be 
true, that I made cooperation a test of fellowship. Personally, I 
do not believe in any kind of neutrality. I believe one is either 
cooperative or independent. The endeavor to slide back and forth 
between independency and cooperation only adds to the problem. One 
may believe in a general way about cooperation, but as cooperation 
is used to describe a group of people who believe in cooperative 
missions, in ecumenical relationships, in supporting the National 
and 'world Council of Churches one is talking about a definite point 
of view and position. These marks are very clear and it may be 
rather hard for some independents to recognize this but what it 
m.eans is support of cooperative agencies. 

Loaded v/ords v/ere used to identify one group and by con- 
trast, to indicate that if one did not accept this, then he belongs 
to another camp. Both Dean Walker and James DeForest Piurch invoked 
the infallibility of the Bible and then went on to say and assume 
that if one does not accept the infallibility of the Bible he does 
not accept the Bible. Most liberals were charged as having repudia- 
ted the Bible. It would be helpful to have a paper or an article 
on what infallibility means, particularly for those who use it so 
loosely and freely. I was present for a consultation of this kind 
between cooperatives and independents in Fdchigan where this term 
was freely used. ivhen pressed the independent