Facts Concerning the New Testament Church, a tract by P. H. Welshimer

24 page tract (as paginated by the publisher this count includes covers), stapled, 3 1/8 by 5 3/4 in.  Undated, this printing is no earlier than 1937 given the ad in the rear for Cecil James Sharp’s Personal Evangelism (1937).  Claude Spencer (Author Catalog) by 1946 knows of four printings of this tract, all with pictures of Bibles on the cover.  He doesn’t know of this printing, no. 3252.  The cost of this one, per hundred, is $2.50; it is significantly higher than the .75 per c of the ones Claude knows.  So, maybe even late 40’s?

Welshimer, Facts Concerning the New Testament Church front cover

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Welshimer, Facts Concerning the New Testament Church ads 1

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Welshimer, Facts Concerning the New Testament Church back cover

Small Improprieties and Annoyances: A Quote Without Comment from Benjamin Franklin

J. A. Headington and Joseph Franklin. A Book of Gems, or Choice Selections from the Writings of Benjamin Franklin. St. Louis: John Burns, 1879, p. 409-410:

To pour the wine, or divide it into several cups, before thanks, at the Lord’s table.  We thank the Lord for the cup, and not cups.  Thanks should invariable be given for the one cup, while the wine is in the one cup.

For some one to start and push his way out through the assembly while an invitation is pending.  This is a most manifest impoliteness and disorder.

For some one that has eat about three dinners at once, to doze and nod in time of preaching, and in the midst of the exhortation, just when the preacher is trying to make an impression, to stretch his limbs, gape and crowd up to the pulpit, and get a drink to extinguish the fires burning within him.  This is ridiculous.

To see some great strapping saphead get up in the middle of a discourse, and go stamping out, thus interrupting the whole audience.  If these could see themselves as others see them, they would be very clear of showing themselves, as they frequently do.

To see a beautiful young lady sit in time of preaching, and then stand in time of invitation, with her mouth spread and a broad and supercilious grin upon her face.

To see some fellow draw his watch and snap it at the preacher, as he shuts down the case, as much as to say, “I consider it is time you would stop.” [410]

To see a lady sit and play with her infant, in time of preaching, laugh at its little pranks, and try to induce others around her also to laugh at them.

To see a lady get into a quarrel with her babe, in time pf preaching; slap it, jerk it, hold it, and this keep it squalling for about half an hour.  If the preacher can keep the thread of his discourse, in a case of that kind, he is a pretty good preacher.

To have some man standing near the preacher, in time of prayer, chewing an enormous quid of tobacco, and about once in half a minute, hear a large spoonful of the filthy spittle splash upon the floor.

The Church Revealed in the Scriptures, a broadside tract from Ozark Bible College, ca. 1942-1944

Ozark Bible College called Bentonville, Arkansas, home from 1942 to 1944. I suspect KC Ice picked up this broadside on one of his tours. He built his own travel trailer and with his 1933 Willys he pulled it hither and yon from Ohio to Florida to California, and back…more than once. Coming or going from central Ohio to California he no doubt pulled in to Bentonville and set up for the night.  If his stay there was anything like his ca. 1925 visit to David Lipscomb College in Nashville, Tennessee, he camped off to one side of the campus and spent a couple days visiting classes and chapel.  (At Lipscomb they called on him to lead prayer in chapel, which he did).  After spending a few days touring and talking he moved on. This newsprint sheet of slightly squattier dimensions than an 8.5 by 11 sheet of paper was folded and added to a stack of other papers.  He brought it all home to keep and read and store and treasure and file away and reread someday. I keep it in one of my stacks of paper, with many others like it, to read and store and treasure and file away and reread someday.

For a bit more about Ozark Christian College, now located in Joplin, Missouri, click here.

Lining out the hymns

This clip illustrates the old-time practice of ‘lining out’ hymns.  Used in congregational singing in worship from the 17th century onward, it is still practiced in some quarters today.  The lyrics are on the YouTube page.

Henri on power, love and leadership

Yesterday Josh Graves posted on his blog this quote from Henri Nouwen:

One of the greatest ironies of the history of Christianity is that its leaders constantly gave in to the temptation of power—political power, military power, economic power, or moral and spiritual power—even though they continued to speak in the name of Jesus, who did not cling to power but emptied himself and became as we are. The temptation to consider power an apt instrument for the proclamation of the Gospel is the greatest of all. . . . What makes this temptation of power so seemingly irresistible? Maybe it is that power offers an easy substitute for the hard task of love. It seems easier to be God than to love God, easier to control people than to love people, easier to own life than to love life (In the Name of Jesus, 58-59).

I agree with Henri that power is an attractive and easy substitute for love.   It is easy, but I don’t think “ease” captures all that is at work here.  It is easy to substitute power for love because it is easy to get a big head.  Such is a peril of being in front, of being visible and noticed and lauded and applauded.  With a big head, folks get confused that leadership=power.   Power is easy and attractive because when it is all about me I must somehow maintain and enlarge this focus on myself to ensure that it remains all about me.   How do you maintain or enlarge focus on self?  Easy…you use power.  You leverage popularity (or at least visibility) into power.  It is a short slide from visibility to narcissism to power.  So begins the manipulation, scheming and conniving.  So begins the politics of self-preservation.

Love, on the other hand, says it is not all about me.  In fact, it is not about me at all…it is about you.  While power strives for the good of self, love seeks the good of another.  Henri’s theological point is well-put: Jesus did not cling to power but emptied himself.  The text underneath this is the hymn Paul quotes in Philippians 2.1-11.  Leaders who would be Christian will take seriously this truth not only in word but in deed. I commented on Josh’s post that what makes Henri’s quote all the more powerful (no pun intended) for me is that he turned his back on power for sake of those who in the eyes of this world have nothing to offer narcissistic people.  I find that truly powerful, and I respect it.

Alexander Campbell as a speaker

I’m up late reading…this paragraph caught my eye:

He trusted the common person to comprehend his most seminal and profound concepts.  He did not save his groundbreaking ideas for educators or the clergy, but freely shared them with the rank and file.  He did not have one message for the elite and another for the ordinary folk.  He wrote and spoke as if he would be understood by all.  He was a man for all seasons and for all people.  Whether in a mansion in New Orleans or a coal miner’s shack in Kentucky, his manner was the same.

This from Leroy Garrett, “Campbell, Alexander (1788-1866)” Encyclopedia of the Stone-Campbell Movement, page 113.

This appeals to me because I value the autheticity Garrett’s describes in AC.  In my own teaching, for example, I hold very dear the notion that as a teacher I should try my best to bring the light of my academic study to bear on the task of indoctrination in a church setting.  (I conceive of indoctrination in all of its best senses…I do not use it pejoratively here at all.  If indoctrination is the conveyance of the grand story of God to the people of God…and it is…then I am all for it.  The term needs to be rehabilitated from the practice of “fundamentalists” and rescued from the vocabulary of the “elite”).    I also hold dear the notion that people are people are people are people.  None better or worse, none more or less deserving of my time or energy.  I cringe when I sense that preachers or teachers brush off audiences as  inept or simple or unworthy.  On occasion I have sensed that from speakers and more so, I have heard in person comments like that from preachers and teachers.  How disappointing.

To those who think they have some insight to share, please do so with competence, sensitivity and grace.  Hold the dismissiveness and arrogance, please. Everyone has something to learn…not just the ‘uneducated’…If you love those who love you, what reward do you have?

Something to think about.  Back to my reading.

Survey Says

While I may have blogged little in the last six weeks, I did think about it.  One of the things I mulled over was the survey on the side-bar to your right.  Here are the results of the latest survey:

In the ‘other’ category three responses were submitted:

1. combination of exegetical with motivational (modern-day application)    
2. If they’re done well, I like and appreciate all of the above.    
3. Postmodern – meaning: screwing up all these categories!
1. What type of teaching (as in Bible classes or Sunday School), as a general rule, best speaks to you?
  answered question 15
  skipped question
60.0% 9
13.3% 2
Doctrinal:   0.0% 0
20.0% 3
13.3% 2
Other (please specify) 3

Interesting. First off, if you participated…thank you.  I appreciate it.   As a one-time paid-minister and now-sometime volunteer teacher I have a stake in this that goes beyond curiosity.  I am curious what best speaks to people, but more than that I take my teaching seriously and any feedback is helpful and welcome.  My own experience in teaching, not to say my personal preference, tracks right along with the results above.  Laura and I, if I can speak for her here, agree with anonymous ‘other’ poster #’s 1 and 2 above.  We appreciate most anything done well, and try to learn from everyone no matter what.  We try, sometimes it is easy, sometimes not.  I try as a teacher to teach well, although these categories aren’t so rigidly separated from each other in any particular class I teach.  For example, Sunday we were in Colossians 1 and looking back over it, my teaching wove together exegesis, exhortation, inspiration, and theology.  Whether I did it well isn’t for me to judge, I’m just making the observation that the categories aren’t always so neat.  Furthermore, if done well, I don’t think that matters.

Anyhow, so far as it goes, thanks for participating in my little survey.  Check the side-bar to your right, a new one is up.  I’ll leave it up a while and I would appreciate your input.

Checking in from the hill

Just a moment to check in and give an update from the Stone-Campbell Journal Conference, now underway in sunny Cincinnati at Cincinnati Christian University.promo_graphic

CCU is a city on a hill…literally.  I’ll post a picture tomorrow.  It is also a city on a hill figuratively and spiritually.  though portions of the neighborhood have declined (not all of though), they have invested in the campus facilities and appear to remain committed to staying.  I suppose it might be more advantageous, for the wrong reasons, to relocate.  But it appears they are here to stay.  I have met several CCU grads and they are all top-notch people: men and women who love God and are committed to God’s mission.  I’m blogging now from the student center and I’ve overheard two conversations about ministry and today’s class in Romans.  Neat.

In addition to taking in the day’s academic offerings (J. J. M. Roberts, Mark Ziese and Tremper Longman gave fine keynotes), I judged the undergraduate paper competition.  My fellow judges were Mark Hamilton from ACU and John Wineland from KCU.  My presentation on CEWD went well, I think. 

I also browsed the library and spied a couple books on their sale table that will very likely make the return trip to Nashville with me.  I bought a copy of Mark Powell’s new book on Papal Infallibility.  Mark teaches at HUGSR in Memphis.  I also picked up a couple books to review for the Journal.

I like this conference because of the kind and fraternal spirit: everyone is involved in biblical and theological studies, has some kind of heritage and commitment to the Stone-Campbell movement, and is involved in education or ministry in some fashion.  There is a sense of shared ministry and lots of collegial encouragement.  I wish I had been in on something like this as an undergrad.  I renewed acquaintances and even met a few folks with whom I have corresponded for one reason or other.  It has been a nice full day of ‘shop talk’: Biblical theology, church history, Stone-Campbell matters, and the like.

More tomorrow…I’m out to find that great picture.