Christian Leader columnist George A. Klingman has this to say in reply to query number 20,005:
“What is that which is perfect and when is it to come?”
That which is “perfect” is the eternal, the infinite, the absolute; the state in which we shall see “face to face” and no longer through a glass darkly. “Now we are children of God, and it is not yet made manifest what we shall be. We know that, if he shall be manifested, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2). We do not know when this glorious change shall come. Now we are finite, limited, handicapped by a body of flesh–then we shall “fully know as we have been fully known.”
Christian Leader, “Query Department”, February 24, 1920, page 5.
I wasn’t looking for this in the first place…just another happy discovery…and didn’t notice any reply to the query, or Klingman’s answer, in later issues. It comes and goes…read slowly or you’ll miss it.
Klingman in February 1920 does not identify Paul’s ‘perfect’ with the completed canon of the New Testament. For him it is the eschatalogical completion of God’s purpose for believers: in the glorious ‘not yet’ they fully know Christ face to face. Now we experience incompleteness, then we will know fullness.
Now, how representative or exceptional this position is in 1920 among the readership of F. L. Rowe’s Leader I cannot say. Whether and how this agrees …or not… with the query departments of Firm Foundation, Gospel Advocate, Christian Standard, Christian-Evangelist, American Christian Review or any number of smaller papers, I cannot say. Nearly every commentary on 1 Corinthians published by Disciples or Church of Christ folk still awaits publication in 1920. So do most of the lectureship speeches at the colleges and universities.
It will be a welcome contribution to the literature for someone to trace the history of interpretation of this text (1 Corinthians 13.10) across the Stone-Campbell traditions.