I do not write as regularly as I would like on this blog, but I have determined that that is the way that it is going to be until I become independently wealthy and quit my regular job. I’m still waiting for a benefactor who wants to support my desire to study all day.
This is a little late, but I was able to speak at Lipscomb’s Summer Celebration at the beginning of July. This was actually the first time that I had been to Summer Celebration, and I was able to hear a couple of other lectures on church history involving British Churches of Christ and E. A. Elam. I wish I could have heard more, and maybe I will in the future.
As far as presenting, I was in a 2 day session on the history of Nashville Churches of Christ with John Mark Hicks, Mac Ice and Chris Cotten. The others addressed Nashville’s beginnings, church planting and the development of wealth and power within Nashville churches. I spoke on the institutional conflict in Nashville with the full title being, The Church and Good Works: The Institutional Conflict in Nashville (1945-1965). As with each of my fellow presenters, I had much more material than time.
In preparation, I spent a lot of time reading as much original material as I could from the Gospel Advocate, Bible Banner/Gospel Guardian, Firm Foundation, Apostolic Times, pamphlets and tracts. I’ve grown up hearing about this debate, reading the argumentation and hearing sermons presented from a polemical standpoint. This was the first time, however, I was able to read this much original material and see the historical development and the significant events that shaped the division. For the first time I also tried to truly understand where each side was coming from. I think I was able to see what was important to each side, and why they reacted with such passion in their respective side of the debate. My preparation for this particular study afforded me a chance to not only see the broad sweep of the debate, but also how the debate played out in a particular location in specific congregations. I wish I could have more resources to understand this aspect of Nashville, but I think this city provides as full a picture as any other.
After my lecture, I have taken a little break, but I would like to get back into some more research on the churches in Nashville. During his speech, Mac made a plea to “Save the Paper” in the form of any old bulletins, articles, tracts or information – the kind of stuff that may easily get thrown away. I’ll repeat his sentiment here. If you have any old tracts or information related to Nashville churches or the institutional debate, I would love to see them. Just add a comment or send me an email. Thanks!