Russell R. Paden
B.G.S., University of Kansas, 1992
the Department of Religious Studies
and the Faculty of the Graduate School
of the University of Kansas
in partial fulfillment of the requirements
for the degree of
Master of Arts.
In the late 1970s a controversial movement, commonly known as the Boston Church of Christ or Boston Movement, arose within the American Restorationist Churches of Christ. The movement was controversial because of its use of authoritarian discipling practices (meaning the close supervision of each member by another member) deemed abusive by numerous opponents and ex- members. The Movement developed an independent identity and became generally regarded as separate from the rest of the Churches of Christ by the mid-1980s.
The Movement received significant attention from the popular media and anti-cult organizations, but the most comprehensive studies of it have come from members of the Churches of Christ. These studies have taken the form of polemics denouncing the Movement and generally depicting it as wholly different from the Churches of Christ in doctrine, attitude, and practice.
This thesis argues that while the Boston Movement has introduced some practices that are foreign to and have origins outside the Churches of Christ, both bodies remain quite similar in doctrine and attitude. This conclusion is supported through an historical examination of the Churches of Christ and the Boston Movement detailing the forces that have shaped the attitudes and doctrines of both religious bodies.
Both groups have an attitude of "historylessness," meaning that they believe their religious beliefs and practices are above being influenced by anything extra-biblical, including the culture around them, contemporary social dynamics, or nearly 2,000 years of church history. In essence, each group believes that it has recreated the apostolic first-century church with all the perfection of the first ecclesiastical age.
Due in part to this sense of historylessness, Church of Christ authors who write against the Boston Movement are unable or unwilling to see that the attitudes and doctrines of the Boston Movement have roots in the Churches of Christ. These authors instead depict what they consider to be negative characteristics of the Movement as new and original creations of the Boston Movement alone and completely unrelated to the Churches of Christ. The conclusion of this study is that the groups are closer in attitude and doctrine than either cares to acknowledge.
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In the latter half of the 1970s, a new religious fervor began to develop in the Churches of Christ in the form of a discipling or shepherding movement. It seemed that a new vitality was being injected into the church, evidenced by renewed enthusiasm, deeper spirituality of the membership, and rapid numerical growth. By the mid-1980s this discipling movement was headquartered at the Boston Church of Christ and led by a young evangelist, Kip McKean.
As the membership of the movement began to multiply, so too did criticisms regarding its teachings, particularly those concerning authority in the church. Numerous reports of the church's abuse of authority began to surface, primarily from ex-members, to the point where the popular media and anti-cult forces succeeded in hanging the label of "cult" upon the movement.
By the late 1980s, the Boston Movement and the mainline Churches of Christ considered each other separate fellowships and refused to cooperate with one another in any manner. Each, in fact, seemed to view the Boston Movement as a completely new creation with little or no connection to the mainline Churches of Christ.
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The discipling movement led by Kip McKean is commonly known as the Boston Church of Christ. It has been known by a variety of names, including the Crossroads Movement, 1 Multiplying Ministries, the Discipling Movement, and, most recently, the International Churches of Christ. 2 Although outsiders often refer to the entire movement by the name of its founding congregation, the Boston Church of Christ, it will be useful here to use a term that distinguishes between the founding congregation and the movement as a whole. For the purposes of this study, the term "Boston Movement" will refer to all the churches and members affiliated with the founding church, the Boston Church of Christ. The term "Boston Movement" is not chosen arbitrarily, for the Movement's own literature is replete with references to itself as the Boston Movement.
The Boston Movement was born out of the traditions of the Churches of Christ, which in turn have roots in the Stone-Campbell American Restoration Movement of the nineteenth century. The Churches of Christ, officially in existence since 1906, have splintered over doctrinal issues into numerous factions, many of which do not recognize other fellowships under the Church of Christ umbrella. For the purposes of clarity, the term "mainline Churches of Christ" will be used to signify the majority Churches of Christ and will not include minority fellowships that, while still calling themselves Church of Christ, have separated themselves from other Churches of Christ and identify themselves as non-institutional, non-Sunday school, and one cup, among others.3 The mainline Churches of Christ number approximately one million members in the United States with 9,600 congregations.4
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Since the mid-1980s, the Boston Movement has been the target of growing criticism and charges of "cultism" by the popular media, anti-cult organizations, ex-members, and the mainline Churches of Christ. A plethora of newspaper and magazine articles have appeared all over the country (and around the world) that typically depict the Movement in a negative fashion. Numerous polemical books denouncing the Movement have also appeared, written primarily by mainline Church of Christ authors.
While an inordinate amount of polemical literature exists regarding the Boston Movement, very little has been written about its roots. Although the Boston Movement has a history traced back directly to the early 1800s and the American Restoration Movement, no author has attempted to trace the roots of the Movement back any further than the mid-1970s. Don Vinzant has attempted to trace some of the Movement's non-Restorationist influences,5 but a comprehensive history including its Church of Christ and Restorationist roots is missing.
What are the causes for this void? There are two, both tied to the fact that almost all the books regarding the Boston Movement have been written by mainline Church of Christ authors. First, a sense of "historylessness" permeates the Churches of Christ. Second, Church of Christ authors lack objectivity in analyzing Boston Movement doctrine and attitudes as an outgrowth (at least partially) of their own doctrine and attitudes.
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"Historylessness" refers to the view Churches of Christ hold of themselves as standing fast in the Primitivist or Restorationist tradition: they believe that, as a religious body, they have restored the ancient, first-century church, free from all the trappings of history and tradition. Not only do they believe they have resurrected the ancient church in its pristine state, but in exclusivistic fashion they believe they are the only religious body existing today that has done so and, thus, that they have a monopoly on Christian truth. The result of this attitude is that the Churches of Christ believe that their only history is the Bible and their only roots the first-century church. C. Leonard Allen describes this attitude well:
By this term historylessness I refer to the perception that, while other churches or movements are snared in the web of profane history, one's own church or movement stands above mere human history. One's own movement partakes only of the perfections of the first age, the sacred time of pure beginnings. While other movements lurch along through the quagmire of time, one's own movement strolls easily on the firm streets of eternity. While others stagger under the load of traditions bequeathed them by the past, one's own group has no real history and thus no load of tradition to shoulder.
This sense of historylessness works in powerful and subtle ways. In the process it creates exhilarating (and damaging) illusions. Among Churches of Christ it often has meant that we simply discounted eighteen centuries of Christianity as, at worst, a diseased tumor or, at best, an instructive failure.
And not surprisingly, the same attitude has led many people among Churches of Christ to dismiss their own history as itself irrelevant. For after all, if our origins come entirely from the Bible and our churches are New Testament churches, nothing more and nothing less, then we really need not bother ourselves with the recent past. Indeed, it too might simply serve to distract us from our true calling.
....Such is the allure of the sense of historylessness: either to dismiss church history altogether or, more subtly, to pass judgment upon it as if we ourselves were not part of its stream. In either case, most all of Christian history finally becomes little more than a tragic story of decay and corruption, a dark plot in which one can indeed discern people who seem to possess noble motives and admirable courage but all of whom are finally exposed either as villains or as naive pawns, and all implicated in the high crime of poisoning the pure stream of truth.6
Because of this sense of historylessness, when mainline Church of Christ authors write about the history of the Boston Movement, they do only what they have done in regard to their own history: they give it a meager acknowledgment at best.
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This attitude of historylessness explains the lack of recognition of the Boston Movement's Restorationist roots, but it does not fully explain why no analysis of the Boston Movement's more immediate Church of Christ roots exists. Church of Christ authors are the largest group of critics of the Boston Movement and find many of the practices and beliefs of the Movement quite distasteful. The Churches of Christ, believing that they alone have restored the "ancient order of things" are loathe to admit that many of the doctrinal stances and attitudes of the Boston Movement, with which they so disagree, actually have very clear roots in and connections to the doctrines and attitudes of the mainline Churches of Christ. Since the Churches of Christ believe they have resurrected the New Testament church in all its doctrinal perfection, it is difficult for them to view Boston Movement doctrine as an outgrowth or permutation of their own doctrine; instead they see it as an entirely new and unrelated creation of the leaders of the Boston Movement.
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The controversial nature of the Boston Movement biases the literature surrounding it. The literature falls into two categories: opponents writing against the Movement and current members writing for the Movement. A non-polemical treatment of the Boston Movement has yet to appear. This study will attempt to rectify that situation by presenting a historical and descriptive analysis of the Movement that delineates the attitudinal and doctrinal similarities between the mainline Churches of Christ and the Boston Movement. This will be accomplished by putting the Boston Movement into its proper historical perspective, including its roots in the American Restoration Movement and the mainline Churches of Christ.
While the mainline Churches of Christ and the Boston Movement both claim to have little in common and generally disavow each other, the Movement has very clearly built upon the teachings and attitudes of the mainline Churches. While this would seem to be a logical conclusion, simply because the Boston Movement was once an accepted, if controversial, part of the Churches of Christ, this is not the impression given by any of the literature written about the Boston Movement, even by its members. Instead a picture is painted of a Movement that is forging a completely new and different path wholly unlike the mainline Churches of Christ. It is my contention that the Boston Movement is more firmly rooted in the teachings and attitudes of the mainline Churches of Christ than either body would like to acknowledge; indeed, the Boston Movement could be described as a particularly intense or extreme version of the mainline Churches of Christ.
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The sense of historylessness that permeates the Churches of Christ has, for quite some time, clouded the objectivity of Church of Christ scholars when writing about the history of their own movement. Until quite recently, it was almost unheard of for a Church of Christ scholar to suggest that the teachings or doctrine of the modern church may have had roots in or been influenced by anything other than the Bible. But within the past few years, a handful of scholars seems to have overcome the attitude of historylessness to make a more critical self-evaluation. While not writing specifically about the Boston Movement, these authors present information and analyses of the Churches of Christ crucial to understanding the Movement's attitudinal and doctrinal development.
Four books (Discovering Our Roots, The Worldly Church, The Cruciform Church, and Distant Voices),7 all written or co-written by C. Leonard Allen, form a loosely associated series that constitutes the most scholarly examination to date of the extra-biblical forces that have shaped the Churches of Christ. Additionally, these books represent the most accurate analysis and candid view of the attitudinal and doctrinal stances of the Churches of Christ published to date.
Similarly, Walt Yancey's Endangered Heritage,8 very specifically examines numerous teachings of the Churches of Christ and attempts to delineate their historical influences. While Allen's books tend to paint the Churches of Christ with broader strokes, Yancey goes into much greater detail in his explication of Church of Christ doctrine.
As is the case with the Churches of Christ, a clear creedal or doctrinal statement from the Boston Movement is absent, but much of its teaching can be gleaned from two of its periodicals, UpsideDown magazine (formerly Discipleship magazine) and the Boston Bulletin. The Movement also maintains a large library of recordings of sermons by church leaders (many of which have been transcribed by opponents of the Movement) from which many of the tenets of the Movement can be drawn.
Marty Wooten, a prominent leader in the Boston Movement, wrote a doctoral thesis in 1990, The Boston Movement as a 'Revitalization Movement', and to date it stands as the most scholarly study of the Boston Movement even though it suffers from Wooten's biases as a leader in the Movement.9
Since the Boston Movement represents a schism from the mainline Churches of Christ, it is not surprising that the majority of its opponents have come from the mainline Churches of Christ. Even ex-members who have published negative accounts of their time in the Movement have typically been people who came from mainline Church of Christ backgrounds before joining the Movement and returned to the mainline Churches after leaving the Movement. The most notable of these is Jerry Jones.
Books in opposition to the Boston Movement have taken the form of polemics, and the works of Jerry Jones are no exception. A former elder of the Boston Church of Christ, Jones has published a three-volume series denouncing the Movement, entitled What Does the Boston Movement Teach?10 Although the books evidence Jones' biases as an ex-member and opponent of the Movement, they are useful because he attempts to systematize the doctrine of the Boston Movement and reproduces little-known and hard-to-come-by documents of the Movement. Additionally, he provides transcriptions of key speeches and sermons from the leadership of the Movement.
Standing apart from Jones' work is The Discipling Dilemma, edited by Flavil Yeakley.11 While also polemical in nature, it offers a crucial look at the non-Restorationist roots of the Boston Movement and provides the only psychological study of the Movement's members. In 1985, the leadership of the Boston Church of Christ "felt that the story of their amazing growth needed to be documented by a qualified church growth researcher."12 So that the research might be more credible, the leaders called on Yeakley, a member of the mainline Churches of Christ who was not affiliated with the Boston Movement. What the leadership did not anticipate was that after Yeakley completed his study, he would use the data as part of a book opposing the Movement.
Although these are my main sources of information, a large variety of other materials exists. In investigating the Boston Movement, I have drawn upon other polemical books, lesser-known Boston Movement publications, and ex-member accounts. I have also directly observed a Boston Movement affiliate, the Kansas City Church of Christ, and communicated with current members and ex-members around the country by telephone and electronic mail. In addition, I have drawn insight from my experiences as a former member of the mainline Churches of Christ.
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This study falls easily within the field of the history of religions. While this work will not primarily employ sociological or psychological methods, data will be used from others who have used these methods to answer the historical questions of this study.13
One might expect a study involving the Boston Movement to make normative judgments regarding its beliefs and practices and to address the charges of "cultism" that have been leveled against it. This work will do neither. It will be descriptive in nature, attempting to describe as objectively and accurately as possible the doctrinal and attitudinal roots of the Boston Movement in the Churches of Christ and the similarities between the two groups that still exist. This type of study is well described by Robert Baird:
Historical study attempts to describe the human past accurately, not to pronounce about it. History is not concerned to tell which views men have held are true or false and which are most worthy of allegiance. It does not pass moral judgments on the actions of men; it merely gives an accurate description of what they were. It might tell us some of the historical consequences of human actions and also some of their historical conditions, but to state these consequences are desirable or undesirable for man places one outside the descriptive discipline.14
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In the early 1800s, the first religious movement indigenous to the United States began. Voices cried out against institutionalized and denominationalized Christianity. These voices wanted not to be Methodists or Baptists or Presbyterians, but simply Christians. They wanted no human creeds or constitutions for their religious life, but only the Bible. What is striking about this religious movement is that these voices emerged almost simultaneously in "four widely separate locales under four different leaders, each initially unaware of the work of the others."15 Eventually they coalesced into the nineteenth-century Restoration Movement.
The history of the Restoration Movement has been told many times. While it is not the purpose of this study to comprehensively examine the Restoration Movement from its beginnings at the end of the eighteenth century to its disintegration as a unified movement in the twentieth century, it will be useful to review the primary foci of Restorationism and other highlights crucial to a study of the Boston Movement.
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With the end of the Revolutionary War, John Wesley declared the emancipation of the Methodists in America from his control, but left Francis Asbury as superintendent of the American Methodist churches. Asbury changed his own title to Bishop and centralized control of the American Methodist churches. Many Methodists chafed under Asbury's control (some viewed it as a dictatorship), and chief among these was James O'Kelly.16
In 1792, at the first Methodist General Conference, O'Kelly pushed for a resolution for the right of appeal to the conference for preachers who felt themselves unjustly treated by the bishops.17 When his resolution failed, O'Kelly led the first notable schism within Methodism and formed the Republican Methodist Church. After a few months the group renamed itself the "Christian Church" and declared that the Bible was its only creed, that all ministers were equal (there were to be no bishops, superintendents, or presiding elders), that the laity as well as the clergy were allowed to interpret scripture, and that each congregation was completely independent. O'Kelly's "Christians" were centered in Virginia and North Carolina, but would later join forces with another "Christian" movement on the New England frontier.18
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In 1792, Elias Smith, twenty-three years old and nearly bereft of any education (theological or otherwise), was ordained a Baptist minister. For ten years Smith preached for Baptist churches, all the while diligently improving his education through private study. As he independently studied the New Testament, he became convinced that "man-made" creeds and standardized bodies of doctrine as tests of fellowship were wrong. He thought instead that the churches should "abandon all their theological systems as tests of orthodoxy, and their overhead ecclesiastical structures as bonds of unity, and restore the simple faith and practice of the primitive church."19
Abner Jones was also a Baptist who, like Smith, rebelled against the Calvinistic Baptist doctrine around him. An occasional preacher, Jones searched for a fundamental simplicity in Christian doctrine that would eliminate the necessity of elaborate creeds.20 Jones broke with the Baptists in 1801 and established an independent church in Lydon, Vermont, to which he would give no other name except "Christian Church." Jones was joined by Elias Smith in 1804, and by 1807 they had established fourteen Christian churches in the New England area. In 1827, a writer to the Advocate and Messenger gave a description of the Christian churches started by Smith and Jones:
We mean to be New Testament Christians, without any sectarian name connected with it, without any sectarian creeds, articles, or confessions, or discipline to illuminate the Scriptures. . . . It is our design to remain free from all human laws, confederations and unscriptural combinations; and to stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free.21
By 1811, the Christian churches of Smith and Jones came into contact with some of the Christian churches of James O'Kelly and found themselves like-minded enough to join forces. This coalition, often referred to as the "Christian Connection," finally joined up with Barton Stone and his "Christians" in 1826.22 Stone later spent several years attempting to reconcile the Christian Connection with Alexander Campbell, but mutual distrust between Campbell and the Connection caused the effort to fail.23 While some members united with Campbell and Stone, a large majority of the Christian Connection broke away in 1831 and 1832. One hundred years later, the Connection merged with the Congregational Churches, most of which in 1957 united with other churches to become the United Church of Christ.24
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Converted to Christianity at the age of nineteen, Barton Stone dedicated his life to the ministry. In 1793, he applied to the Orange Presbytery for a license to preach (which was not granted until 1796), and while waiting for ordination wrestled with the option of becoming an itinerant preacher. Deciding that a fixed ministry would be more productive than an itinerant one, Stone settled down and became the minister for two frontier congregations in Kentucky, Cane Ridge and Concord.25
In 1801, after witnessing religious revivals in western Kentucky, Stone and other men organized the Cane Ridge Revival, the largest and most famous of the camp meetings of the Second Great Awakening. Estimates of attendance vary widely, although most put it between ten and twenty-five thousand. The Cane Ridge Revival had a particularly strong effect on Stone. Amidst the singing, praying, preaching, and fellowship of Cane Ridge, Stone was struck by the lack of sectarian consciousness. He perceived a singleness of purpose that was not hampered by doctrinal or creedal distinctions. Cane Ridge made a deep impression on him and spurred his desire for Christian unity.26
In 1803, Stone--along with others involved in the Cane Ridge Revival--withdrew from the Presbyterian Synod of Kentucky and established the Springfield Presbytery. At first they insisted that they had withdrawn from the Synod only and not from the Presbyterian Church itself, but shortly thereafter they found themselves printing and preaching against the whole system of doctrine and church organization of the Presbyterian Church.27 Within ten months of forming the Springfield Presbytery, Stone and the other leaders decreed its dissolution and produced a document called The Last Will and Testament of the Springfield Presbytery.28
The Last Will and Testament called for the Springfield Presbytery to "sink into union with the Body of Christ at large," for the church to "resume her native right of internal government," and for "people to have free course to study the Bible" and "take the Bible as the only sure guide to heaven." At the same meeting that produced The Last Will and Testament, it was agreed to adopt the name "Christian" to the exclusion of all sectarian names. While The Last Will and Testament was not a call to primitivism, it was a clear repudiation of any ecclesiastical authority beyond the Bible and the local congregation.29
While the Stone movement advanced the restoration of the primitive church, its approach was quite different from that of Alexander Campbell. Stone's restoration amounted more to a rejection of historic traditions than to a positive reconstruction of primitive Christian practices, as Campbell advocated.30 Freedom was a foundational theme for Stone's Christians. It was a freedom from the encumbrances of history embodied in creeds, clerics, and traditions. Based on this theme of freedom, the Stoneites rejected theology itself, and consequently the movement was largely without dogma, form, or structure. The most important features of primitive Christianity for Stone's followers were Christian character and Christian freedom.31
Stone dedicated himself to spreading the gospel, planting churches, and training preachers; by the end of 1804 there were at least eight Christian churches in Kentucky and seven in southwestern Ohio. After merging with the Christian Connection in 1826, the combined movement numbered over 12,000 by 1827.32
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In 1807, Thomas Campbell resigned his Seceder Presbyterian pastorate in Ireland, left his family under the charge of his nineteen-year-old son Alexander, and sailed for America. Thomas immediately located the Associate Synod of North America, which represented the Seceder Presbyterians in America, and was appointed to the Presbytery of Chartiers in southwest Pennsylvania.33 While in Ireland, Thomas Campbell had witnessed tremendously bitter division among the Seceder Presbyterians. The Seceders were broken into Burgher and Anti-Burgher parties,34 and each group was further subdivided into New Light and Old Light parties,35 so that there were New and Old Light Burghers and New and Old Light Anti-Burghers. While all parties claimed to adhere to the Westminster Confession, much of their division was caused by differing interpretations of that Confession. Campbell had worked diligently, but unsuccessfully, to reunite the Burgher and Anti-Burgher factions before he left Ireland.36
There is no need to go much beyond Campbell's personal experiences in Ireland to understand his eventual rejection of sectarianism and the use of creeds and confessions. Once in America, his unorthodox views began to be known, and he was brought before the presbytery and then the synod on charges of heretical teaching and for procedures not in harmony with the rules of the church. Among other things, Campbell was found guilty of rejecting confessions of faith as terms of Christian communion. The presbytery trying Campbell correctly perceived that he thought the divisions within the church were scandalous and that the cause of most of those divisions was humanly contrived creeds.37
In 1808, Campbell was suspended from preaching and later that year formally broke with the Seceder Presbyterians. He continued to preach as opportunities presented themselves, and in 1809 met with a group of sympathizers to form a society with himself as its head. The result was the Christian Association of Washington. The Association chose a suitable motto: "Where the Scriptures speak, we speak; where the Scriptures are silent, we are silent."38 They also decided that Campbell should produce a document to express more fully the principles and objectives of the Association.39 The result was the Declaration and Address.40 Along with The Last Will and Testament of the Springfield Presbytery, it stands as the most important document of the Restoration Movement because it contains at least "the germ of nearly all the basic ideas of Restorationism."41
The Declaration portion of the Declaration and Address contains four basic ideas.42 The first is the right of private judgment: individuals must be allowed to judge for themselves the meaning of revealed truth in the scriptures. Second is the sole authority of scripture--people are bound by the Bible alone and not any human interpretation of it. Third and fourth, the Declaration condemns sectarian division and cites human opinion as the source of such divisions:
Our desire, therefore, for ourselves and our brethren would be that, rejecting human opinions and the inventions of men as of any authority, or as having any place in the Church of God, we might forever cease from further contentions about such things; returning to and holding fast by the original standard; taking the Divine word alone for our rule; the Holy Spirit for our teacher and guide, to lead us into all truth; and Christ alone, as exhibited in the word, for our salvation; that, by so doing we may be at peace among ourselves, follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.43
The Address portion of the Declaration and Address is, for the most part, a tract on Christian unity:
The Church of Christ upon earth is essentially, intentionally, and constitutionally one; consisting of all those in every place that profess their faith in Christ and obedience to him in all things according to the Scriptures.44
It continues with the idea that the New Testament is a perfect "constitution for the worship, discipline, and government" of the modern church and that nothing ought to be an article of faith or a term of communion that is not expressly taught by Christ and his apostles. Campbell reveals his primitivist motive and lays out a plan for the restoration of the apostolic church in its pristine state when he states:
All that is necessary to the highest state of perfection and purity of the church upon earth is, first, that none be received as members, but do profess their faith in Christ and obedience to him in all things according to the scriptures; nor, secondly, that any be retained in her communion longer than they continue to manifest the reality of their profession by their tempers and conduct. Thirdly, that her ministers, duly and scripturally qualified, inculcate none other things than those very articles of faith and holiness expressly revealed and enjoined in the word of God. Lastly, that in all their administrations they keep close by the observance of all divine ordinances, after the example of the primitive church, exhibited in the New Testament; without any additions whatsoever of human opinions or inventions of men.45
It is clear from the Declaration and Address that Campbell believed there was only one path to Christian unity: a return to the primitive, apostolic church. As long as human creeds and opinions were allowed in the church, there would forever be sectarianism and denominationalism, and such division in Christendom was abhorrent to God.
By 1811, the Christian Association had constituted itself as the Brush Run Church (named for its location in the Brush Run Valley in Pennsylvania). By this time, Thomas Campbell's son, Alexander, had arrived from Scotland,46 and Thomas was greatly relieved to find that even though he and his son had been separated for almost two years, they had arrived at very similar theological and doctrinal conclusions, leading both to leave the Seceder Church. In the newly established Brush Run Church, Thomas was chosen as the sole elder and Alexander as the preacher.
Notwithstanding Thomas' prominent role in the beginnings of the Restoration Movement, Alexander's influence soon began to overshadow his father's. While Thomas set many wheels in motion, he seemed more than content to let his son put many of his ideas into practice.
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In his Declaration and Address, Thomas Campbell had called for a return to essential and apostolic Christianity as the means of unifying all Christians, but he did not specify exactly how this was to be done. With a certain amount of naivete, he did not even acknowledge that this would be a difficult endeavor. Despite clear indications that some judgments would be required as to what constituted the essentials of the faith and what were human opinions, the Declaration and Address neither attempted to make those judgments nor constructed a mechanism to aid in such determinations.47
The task of the systematic and rational reconstruction of the apostolic church fell to Alexander Campbell. It was primarily he who delineated the essentials and non-essentials of primitive Christianity48 and provided a mechanism for what he believed to be the proper interpretation of the Bible. His reconstruction centered on the first major doctrinal issue to face him: baptism.
Alexander accepted the position of minister to the Brush Run congregation in 1811, and by 1812 he began wrestling with the issue of infant baptism. In Seceder Presbyterian tradition, Campbell and his father Thomas were both pedobaptists, but the birth of Campbell's first child seemed to initiate his consideration of the scripturalness of infant baptism. Campbell spent many months studying the subject and came to the conclusion that the only proper form of baptism was immersion and the only proper subjects for baptism were adults. Campbell's impetus for his position came from the Restorationist ideals presented in his father's _Declaration and Address_: "Where the Scriptures speak, we speak; where the Scriptures are silent, we are silent." Alexander believed that the scriptures clearly spoke of adult immersion baptism, but were silent regarding infant baptism. Having reached this conclusion, Campbell (and eventually the rest of the Brush Run Church) was immersed.
In 1823, Alexander Campbell engaged in public debate with Presbyterian minister Rev. W. L. Maccalla. Until this time, Campbell had been primarily concerned with the form of baptism (immersion, not sprinkling) and the subjects of baptism (penitent adults, not infants). In the Maccalla debate, Campbell laid out for the first time a doctrine of baptism for the remission of sins:
I know it will be said that I have affirmed that baptism "saves us," that it "washes away sins." Well, Peter and Paul have said so before me. . . . The blood of Jesus Christ then really cleanses us who believe from all sin. Behold the goodness of God in giving us a formal proof and token of it, by ordaining a baptism expressly "for the remission of sins". . . . Paul's sins were really pardoned when he believed, yet he had no solemn pledge of the fact, no formal acquittal, no formal purgation of his sins, until he had washed them away in the water of baptism. To every believer, therefore, baptism is a formal and personal remission, or purgation of sins. The believer never has his sins formally washed away or remitted until he is baptized.49
Campbell's doctrine of baptism for the remission of sins became the cornerstone of his movement and later the cornerstone of the entire Restoration Movement, the Churches of Christ, and, eventually, the Boston Movement.
Campbell continued in his labors to restore all facets of primitive Christianity, and his message spread throughout the western reserve as he itinerated throughout Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, and West Virginia. This expansion of Campbell's movement was partly due to his personal evangelism, but also resulted from his public debates and voluminous publishing, which included numerous books and two journals50--altogether numbering about sixty volumes. Campbell's converts often called themselves "Disciples," but many times were known to outsiders as "Campbellites."
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Alexander Campbell and Barton Stone met in 1824 and began to entertain the idea of a merger between their two groups. By 1832, a group of 12,000 of Campbell's Disciples and 10,000 of Stone's Christians51 met in Lexington, Kentucky, and within a few years they joined to form the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).52
The union produced a Christian body that emphasized biblical primitivism and the necessity of uniting all Christians, rejected creeds and sectarian or non- scriptural names, practiced believers' baptism by immersion, and recognized only two ordinances, the Lord's Supper and baptism.53
The union proved numerically successful, and the earliest reliable figures for the total membership of the Restorationists show 192,323 members in 1860.54 This represented nearly a nine-fold increase in membership in less than thirty years and, unlike churches of European origin, the growth of the indigenous Christian Churches owed nothing to immigration.55
Much of this growth can be attributed to Alexander Campbell, who emerged as the Movement's undisputed leader after the union. His religious thought rapidly permeated the Movement through his oratorical abilities and numerous publications.
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Campbell was certainly a product of his time. Although he claimed to "have endeavored to read the Scriptures as though no one had ever read them before me" and was "against being influenced by any foreign name, authority, or system whatever,"56 he still read the Bible as a grandchild of the Puritans, a child of European and American Enlightenment, and an ardent disciple of John Locke and the Scottish Common Sense philosophers who adopted Locke's thought.57
Campbell approached the Bible in a very rationalistic and scientific fashion, reflecting the influence of Locke and of Bacon's inductive method. Revelation was perceived by Campbell in only intellectual terms; that is, revelation was not a matter of the emotions, but simply a matter of knowledge. Since knowledge only came through the senses, God communicated his divine truth through only a sensory medium: the written word, the Bible.58 To Campbell, the Bible became simply a collection of facts that would yield the same conclusions to anyone employing the proper scientific interpretive method.
The Bible is a book of facts, not of opinions, theories, abstract generalities, nor of verbal definitions. It is a book of awful facts, grand and sublime beyond description. These facts reveal God and man, and contain within them the reasons of all piety and righteousness, or what is commonly called religion and morality. The meaning of the Bible facts is the true biblical doctrine.59
All the differences in religious faith, opinion, and sentiment, amongst those who acknowledge the Bible, are occasioned by false principles of interpretation, or by a misapplication of the true principles. . . . Were all students of the Bible taught to apply the same rules of interpretation to its pages, there would be a greater uniformity in opinion and sentiment than ever resulted from the simple adoption of any written creed.
Great unanimity has obtained in most of the sciences in consequence of the adoption of certain rules of analysis and synthesis: for all who work by the same rules, come to the same conclusions. And may it not be possible, that in this divine science of religion, there may yet be a very great degree of unanimity of sentiment and uniformity of practice amongst all who acknowledge its divine authority? Is the school of Christ the only school in which there can be no unanimity--no proficiency in knowledge? Is the book of God the only volume which can never be understood alike by those who read and study it?60
To Campbell it was very simple: if everyone interpreted, read, and heard the Bible preached according to scientific principles, then everyone would come to the same understanding of the Bible and thus restore the unity of Christ's church.61
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Although the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) would officially represent a unified movement for seventy-five years, Campbell's theme of unity through restoration began to fracture as early as the 1840s.62 In the 1830s, both Campbell and Stone were disturbed by an exclusivistic trend running through the Movement. A movement founded on the principle of uniting all Christians naturally presumed that there were other Christians to unite outside the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).63 In 1835, Campbell lamented that some Disciples were more concerned with denouncing the errors of those in the denominations than with preaching the gospel.64 He commented further on this "furious zeal for orthodoxy" in 1837.
Some of our brethren were too much addicted to denouncing the sects and representing them en masse as wholly aliens from the possibility of salvation --as wholly antichristian and corrupt. . . . These very zealous brethren gave countenance to the popular clamor that we make baptism a savior, or a passport to heaven, disparaging all the private and social virtues of the professing public.65
Stone expressed a similar sentiment in 1836:
Some among ourselves were for some time zealously engaged to do away with party creeds, and are yet zealously preaching against them--but instead of a written creed of man's device, they have substituted a nondescript one, and exclude good brethren from their fellowship, because they dare believe differently from their opinions.66
The exclusivism that both Campbell and Stone recognized in the 1830s continued to grow over the following decades. This exclusivistic faction never comprised a majority within the whole of the Restoration Movement, but it did eventually dominate the Southern churches, which became the Churches of Christ.
While Alexander Campbell was alive, he was regarded as the arbiter of orthodoxy for the Movement. There were dissenters, but no one ever approached the level of influence that Campbell wielded within the Movement. With Campbell's death in 1866 and the end of his tremendously influential journal, the Millennial Harbinger, in 1870, several leaders, most with their own journals, arose within the Movement. These second-generation leaders often represented opposing views within the Movement and attempted, through their journals, to rally followers to their points of view. The more conservative, exclusivistic groups looked to such men as David Lipscomb in Tennessee and Austin McGary in Texas and their journals (the Gospel Advocate and the Firm Foundation, respectively) as the new arbiters of orthodoxy. While Campbell had laid out the essentials of the faith for the Disciples, these more conservative second-generation leaders began to "expand the list of what they considered to be fundamental Christian doctrine."67 These leaders agitated the entire Movement over such issues as instrumental music, missionary societies, open communion, pew renting, dancing, theater attendance, located preachers, Sunday Schools, salaries for preachers, and baptisteries inside the church buildings.68
At the beginning of the Restoration Movement, the main emphasis was Christian union through the restoration of the ancient order.69 As the Movement approached the end of the nineteenth century, there was a sense among those in the more conservative faction that they had arrived--that Restorationists alone had recovered primitive Christianity in all its perfection. For them, the emphasis of the Movement shifted from uniting the Protestant denominations to reproducing the first-century church, including duplicating "as exactly as possible the forms and methods of the ancient faith. To deviate at even one point was to court divine displeasure."70 Where Restorationists had once cried, "Come and search with us," a smaller number began insisting, "Accept our position or worship in error." As this smaller, conservative faction moved into the twentieth century it became even more exclusive and sectarian, boldly proclaiming, "Accept our position or be lost."71
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Alexander Campbell had argued that adult immersion baptism for the remission of sins was the only proper and biblical form of baptism, but still conceded that there were those among the unimmersed who could be saved.72 After Campbell's death--particularly in the 1880s and 1890s--more liberal factions moved beyond Campbell's teachings and began advocating open membership or open fellowship with the unimmersed in the denominations and sects.
This view was intolerable to the more exclusive, conservative factions. Led by Austin McGary, the conservatives developed a rigid view of baptism. McGary's journal, the Firm Foundation, was established for the very purpose of championing his views on baptism:
The Firm Foundation . . . was established to convince the world that baptism is of no value unless administered with the express understanding, on the part of both the administrator and candidate, that it is for the remission of sins, and is administered for that express purpose.73
Although David Lipscomb opposed such a rigid doctrine of baptism, McGary's view won out among the conservatives. Led by McGary on this issue, the conservatives began to doubt that immersion simply in obedience to God was enough to save.74 Lipscomb challenged McGary, saying that if McGary's views on baptism were carried to their logical conclusion, Alexander Campbell himself could not be numbered among the redeemed. McGary fired back that unless Campbell had been baptized for the remission of sins, he had no assurance of heaven.75
T. W. Caskey chronicled some of the baptism and rebaptism practices among the conservatives that resulted from McGary's teachings:
The trouble among us is water, water, water! A preacher, who has not brains enough to conjure up anything new or startling, on any other doctrine, command, or promise, like a frog, has just enough to plunge into the water. It is a great pity he has enough to plunge out again and trouble others with his plunge. . . . Some of them have plunged three or four times, and plunged others as often, and, yet, not one of them is drowned, but are on the lookout for some preacher among us to invalidate all their plunges, and give them another chance to plunge. . . . . The "Firm Foundationist" says: If you believed that you were pardoned before baptism, it is not worth the wetting you got when the thing was done. And it won't remedy the mistake for you to admit that you made a mistake in believing that you were pardoned when you believed in Christ. . . . No mental process can correct this mistake. . . . This can only be corrected by a physical act. . . . One of the "InFirm Foundationists" preached in this community that all baptisms were no baptism at all when the subject bowed his head when the question was asked; that he must repeat in full that which the eunuch said; that an assent given in any other way invalidated the baptism. He will find that another of them near Dallas, thinking the confession had been made, baptized a lady. He was reminded of his mistake when about leaving. He said, 'It is no baptism,' and under they went again.76
For the conservatives, baptism increasingly became the key to the proper relationship with those outside the Restoration Movement. The conservatives' rigid understanding of what constituted a valid baptism made it virtually impossible to recognize the validity of other religious bodies or include their members among the saved.77 Lipscomb had already said as much in 1878 when he stated, "To join a sect or party in religion is a crime against God."78 The outcome of such thought is stated by Arthur V. Murrell:
The founding fathers of the Restoration Movement sought the dissolution of all denominations but did not doubt that Christians were to be found in all of them; in fact, they coveted their aid. Now the radical legalists could see no Christians in the sects, and sought, not their aid, but their complete capitulation to the "one, true church."79
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The more conservative party was located primarily in the South and eventually became known as the Churches of Christ. While this more conservative branch became increasingly exclusive, the rest of the Movement-- centered in the upper Midwest and later known as the Disciples of Christ--increasingly accepted unity in pluralistic diversity and subtly downplayed a strict adherence to the concept of unity through the restoration of the pure apostolic church.80 In the simplest terms, the Churches of Christ became more exclusive while the Disciples became more inclusive; the Churches of Christ became more rigid in their interpretation of the Bible while the Disciples became less so.
As the two groups diverged further in thought and practice, a formal split seemed inevitable and came officially in 1906. Many factors influenced the split, and as numerous scholars have noted, the dissension had roots that ran back almost to the very beginning of the Stone-Campbell union. The separation was certainly more of a process than an event.81 The least of the issues affecting the end of the unified movement were open membership and valid baptism. Scholars have, almost to excess, attempted to dissect the factors involved in the formal split between the two groups. The issues were multifaceted and there were many components to the dissolution. Many of the intellectual divisions were inescapably influenced to at least some degree by social, political, and economic factors.82 Nevertheless it is hard to deny Arthur V. Murrell's contention that the most prominent factor was attitudinal in nature, namely the growing exclusivism of the Churches of Christ.83
Of the many controversies surrounding the split between the Disciples and the Churches of Christ, missionary societies and instrumental music were the most prominent. The Churches of Christ had raised the Campbellian slogan of "where the Scriptures speak, we speak; where the Scriptures are silent, we are silent," to almost scriptural status84 and could not find references in the New Testament to missionary societies or to the use of instrumental music in worshipping God. While the conservative factions continued to fight (and divide) over other essentials of the faith, all those in the conservative, Church of Christ camp affirmed the sinfulness of introducing musical instruments into the worship service and missionary societies into the church.
When David Lipscomb (speaking for the Churches of Christ) was queried in 1906 by the Bureau of the Census as to whether there were a religious body separate from the Disciples of Christ known as the Churches of Christ, he replied in the affirmative and went on to explain that as the Restoration Movement churches spread and increased in number,
many desired to become popular also, and sought to adopt the very human inventions that in the beginning of the movement had been opposed--a general organization of the churches under a missionary society with a moneyed membership, and the adoption of instrumental music in the worship. This is a subversion of the fundamental principle on which the churches were based. . . .
These disciples The Churches of Christ have separated from the "Christian Churches" that grew out of the effort to restore pure primitive Christianity, by remaining true to the original purpose and the principles needful to develop it, while these Christian churches have departed from this end and have set aside the principles of fidelity to the word of God as the only and sufficient rule of faith and practice for Christians.85
With his reply to the Bureau of the Census, Lipscomb formalized the division that had already existed for a number of years between the Churches of Christ and the Disciples of Christ. The United States Religious Census for 1906 listed two separate religious bodies, the Disciples with 982,701 members and the Churches of Christ with 159,658.86
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The Churches of Christ made up only fourteen percent of the total Restoration Movement when they separated from the Disciples, and the separation cost them most of their church buildings and almost all of their colleges and educated ministers. For several decades the Churches of Christ were almost unknown outside the South.87 That would change with World War II.
The war scattered members of the Churches of Christ all over the globe, and they quickly realized (probably for the first time) that few outside the United States had even heard of these Southern Churches of Christ.88 The end of the war returned members to the United States imbued with a new missionary zeal. Between 1945 and 1965, this renewed interest in evangelism catapulted the Churches of Christ into the status of one of the fastest growing religious movements in America.89
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Even after the separation from the Disciples of Christ, those in the Churches of Christ continued to disagree over proper observances of the silences of Scripture. In fact, beyond basic doctrines of the Christian faith, the only issues different factions within the Churches of Christ could agree on were those that caused them to split from the Disciples of Christ in the first place: instrumental music and missionary societies.90 Old arguments revolving around whether to have located preachers or Sunday School continued, but new conflicts also arose regarding whether to use one cup or multiple cups in the Lord's Supper, whether churches can pool their funds for joint efforts, whether individual congregations can support institutions such as orphanages and Christian colleges, whether church buildings can be used for "secular" activities such as weddings, funerals, or potlucks, whether church buildings may even have facilities (such as kitchens) for such activities, and a host of other issues.91 The list of doctrinal minutiae that caused dissension in the Churches of Christ seemed endless. Carl Etter echoed this sentiment when he stated that the Churches of Christ were best described by the term "incidentalists."
The merest incidental in the daily experience of New Testament character is magnified into a matter of great importance and around it is built an article of faith for the unwritten creed."92
These various controversies produced numerous schisms within the Churches of Christ; the factions breaking away doubted the salvation of those remaining and would not fellowship with them as Christians.93 By the 1920s, a separate body of one-cuppers (those who thought the only scriptural way to partake of the Lord's Supper was with one cup) formed their own fellowship; by the 1930s a non-Sunday School group had formed.94 Controversy over premillennialism, one of the few issues of the larger Protestant community to also affect the Churches of Christ, caused a small premillennialist faction to chart a separate course by the 1930s.95 When an "anti" (against church support for institutions) group appeared in the 1960s, at least twenty other schisms had already taken place within the Churches of Christ.96 It is rather ironic that one of the heirs of the Stone-Campbell unity movement would be distinguished as "a group of small, warring sects which are little denominations within a denomination," as Carl Etter observed.97 Another detractor referred to the Churches of Christ as "the unity schism."98
As with Thomas Campbell's Declaration and Address, no mechanism existed to determine which silences of scripture were binding and which were simply opinion. Michael R. Weed comments,
Churches of Christ have failed to devolve an adequate approach or system for resolving doctrinal conflicts and addressing significant issues. We are not, contrary to impressions, more disputatious than other groups. We simply have no adequate way of dealing with controversies or finding functional solutions.99
The Churches of Christ viewed doctrinal correctness (the perfect restoration of the apostolic church) on the smallest matters as of supreme importance; one's Christian identity and salvation came to rest on being correct in all doctrinal matters.100 With such a view and no clear-cut method to settle differences in biblical interpretation, the Churches of Christ could scarcely avoid continued division over seemingly trivial issues.
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While the Boston Movement is a product of the American Restoration Movement, it is more directly a product of the mainline Churches of Christ. The mainline Churches of Christ--specifically of the 1960s and 70s--provided the immediate backdrop and milieu for the development of religious thought that undergirds the Boston Movement. Understanding the doctrines and attitudes that characterized the mainline Churches of Christ of this period is crucial to understanding the character of the Boston Movement.
While the Churches of Christ affirmed the Restoration Movement's rejection of "manmade" creeds, it became apparent to many within and without the Churches of Christ that by the 1960s and 70s they had developed a very potent creed, even though it was unwritten and unofficial. Walt Yancey explains:
Since the Church of Christ claims to have no creed there is no official list of doctrinal items to which reference can be made. Of course, most members will admit privately to themselves that the Church of Christ does have a creed, a very strong creed (in fact probably stronger than that of most other religious groups), to which both individuals and congregations must subscribe in order to be accepted as a member of the community. The creed appears in countless books, sermons, periodicals, Sunday school literature and other places where Church of Christ people write about their doctrine. But there is, indeed, no official list.101
Laurie L. Hibbett echoes Yancey's sentiment:
There is a word of even stronger taboo among Church of Christ members, however. This is the word "creed." It is denied by the group that they have a creed. Actually, they have a rigid creed known to all of them. They find unaccountable satisfaction in the fact that their creed is not written.102
The unwritten creed and the nearly universal attitudes of the mainline Churches of Christ in the 1960s and 70s can best be described within the framework of these five broad categories: (1) historylessness and traditionlessness, (2) exclusivism, (3) approach to the Bible, (4) baptism, and (5) instrumental music.
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Hughes and Allen blame much of this sense of traditionlessness on the fact that the Churches of Christ occupied a region (the South) once dominated by Barton Stone and his message of freedom from "historic tradition" long before anyone had heard of Alexander Campbell. Hughes and Allen claim that,
When the amorphous and structureless Stone tradition finally began absorbing the more regimented theology of Campbell after 1823, a subtle transition occurred: the reality of radical freedom slowly evolved into a rhetoric of radical freedom.
Eventually this rhetoric performed a double function. In the first place, it obscured from the eyes of these Christians the very real dogmas, forms, and structures that were developing in their midst. Put another way, their Common Sense perspectives rendered their emerging traditions essentially invisible, at least to themselves. When on occasion they recognized their traditions, moreover, they viewed them as essentially biblical, primitive, and apostolic and not in any sense the traditions of a particular people in a particular time and a particular place.
In the second place, the rhetoric of radical freedom finally became a dogma in its own right. In this way, their presumed lack of tradition became itself a tradition, their rejection of theology became a fundamental theological maxim, and their zeal to escape the constraints of history became the substance and core of the particular history of this particular people.
Since those early days, members of Churches of Christ often have assumed they are a people with no history and no tradition, a people whose only roots lie in the Bible itself. Yet Churches of Christ are heir to a long line of believers whose chief tradition has been their resistance to tradition.104
This view led most in the Churches of Christ to believe that the American Churches of Christ were fully identical to the primitive, first-century church and to feel that little was left to do except defend the gains of the past.105 The view of traditionlessness fueled the exclusivism of the church, and both attitudes were supported by a distinctive approach to the Bible.
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Exclusivism in the Churches of Christ had many manifestations. Part of the unwritten creed was that one had to be a member of the Churches of Christ to be saved.
Is it absolutely necessary to be a member of the Church of Christ in order to go to heaven? The standard 20th century Church of Christ answer to that question has been a resounding "Yes, you must." It might be argued by someone that not everyone believes that, however at least for the last 30 to 50 years most have believed this, or at least most teaching has been to this effect. In fact, this is the one attribute by which we are most widely known.
. . . . Is it necessary for one to be absolutely perfect regarding all doctrinal issues in order to go to heaven? Must one have a perfect understanding of all doctrinal issues and be perfect in his execution of all the ordinances in order to go to heaven?
The contemporary Church of Christ position amounts to an answer of "Yes" to all of these questions.
. . . . We have in effect said to the world, "We are perfect in doctrine. If you want to go to heaven come over and be perfect with us."106
Members viewed the Churches of Christ as the church universal. When a member spoke of "The Church," he was referring to those churches that had a sign out front that said "Church of Christ," which was the church universal. It was clear to any outsider that members thought of themselves as the only true Christians and the only true church and that all others would go to hell.107
David Edwin Harrell, Jr., representing the Churches of Christ, delivered one of the Reed Lectures in 1966, held under the auspices of the Disciples of Christ Historical Society. A representative from each of the three main branches of the Restoration Movement (the Churches of Christ, the Disciples of Christ, and the Independent Christian Churches) was asked to come speak at the lecture on the contribution of each religious body to the church universal. Part of Harrell's speech illuminates the exclusivism of the Churches of Christ:
Any man who believes that he can find literal truth in the Scriptures must also believe that those who do not find the same truth are wrong. What follows is that such people are sinful. The next logical conclusion is that they will go to hell. . . . It is frequently assumed that they believe that all who do not accept the truths which they find in the Bible will be lost. All members of the Churches of Christ do not have such an attitude, but I do. . . . But I do recognize that the logical consequence of a legalistic concept of truth--the kind of mind which would cause one to quibble about instrumental music--is the condemnation of those who refuse to accept the revelation.
This doctrinal stance places obvious limitations on a speech on the relation of "my group" to the "Church Universal." From my theological point of view, the group to which I belong is the church universal.108
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By the twentieth century, the Churches of Christ were firmly rooted in two rules of biblical interpretation: (1) silence of the scriptures, and (2) command, example, and necessary inference. J. D. Thomas stated that command, example, and necessary inference have "in general been accepted by all of us since the beginning of the Restoration period of church history."109 While the silence of the scriptures purported to provide a rule for what was not acceptable Christian practice, command, example, and necessary inference gave authority for what was required for Christian practice, both corporately and individually. Any command, example, or necessary inference in the New Testament--as interpreted by the Churches of Christ--became an absolute rule for the faith and practice of the church. Rubel Shelly gives an example of this method of interpretation in regard to the Lord's Supper:
Authority is established by example. Consider the observance of the Lord's Supper. The Scripture records the command of Jesus to the effect that his followers must remember him by eating the Lord's Supper. (I Cor. 11:24-25). But the commandment does not instruct us as to when this memorial is to be observed. We learn of the time of its observance from an examination of the actions of the earliest Christians. Their example serves to instruct us. Acts 20:7 is the first New Testament passage to specify a day on which the church gathered to eat the supper. If the day of this observance was unimportant, why did Luke take the trouble to mention it? Furthermore, his Greek construction (with the definite article) implies habitual action. Therefore this was a regular assembly, the stated purpose of which was to eat the Lord's Supper. There can be no reasonable doubt that this passage definitely links the Lord's Supper to the Lord's Day. From this example of the early church we have divine authority for Sunday observance of the Lord's Supper and for Sunday observance only. We have no authority to observe this memorial on Tuesday night or daily. Our authority is for Sunday observance and to go beyond what is authorized is to commit sin.110
Undergirding these rules of interpretation was an approach to the Bible that owed much to Alexander Campbell. His scientific, rationalistic view of scripture was quickly absorbed by the most conservative branch of the Restoration Movement. Just as Campbell relied heavily on the Baconian inductive method for biblical interpretation, so too did the Churches of Christ. This is evidenced by J. D. Thomas' _We Be Brethren_, published in 1958 and considered a standard on biblical interpretation by the Churches of Christ. Thomas opens the section on method by praising Francis Bacon and his inductive method "for discovering truth."111
Like Campbell, the Churches of Christ also viewed the Bible as a collection of facts. Common was a "concordance approach" to the Bible which indiscriminately strung together New Testament texts based on the appearance of a single English word or phrase with little or no regard for the historical context, the author's intention, or the literary form or function.112 Thus, disconnected texts could be strung together into codified doctrinal "facts."
For with this method the New Testament became essentially a law book or divine constitution for the church, with most of the doctrinal "facts" reduced to a level of equal importance. The Bible became atomized, broken up into separate little bits of doctrine which could be codified into law. It became a document filled with workable formulas, neat blueprints, a document above all eminently rational and suited, many thought, to the new scientific way of knowing.113
This view of the Bible had consequences not only for the mainline Churches of Christ, but also for the Boston Movement, which would also emphasize doctrinal perfection and human performance.
The focus began to fall heavily on obeying the laws, building by the blueprint, working the formulas, and knowing all the right "facts," in short, upon human knowledge and performance.114
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Alexander Campbell's view of baptism, with additions made by Austin McGary, was the majority opinion among the membership of the Churches of Christ of the 1960s and 70s. Adult immersion was the only proper form of baptism, but certain stipulations for a valid baptism were added. Baptism had to be for the remission of sins. A person who was baptized believing he was saved before baptism, was baptized simply in obedience to God, or was baptized in a denomination was considered to have an invalid baptism and would have to be rebaptized. For example, even though Baptists emphasize adult immersion, a person from a Baptist Church who joined a Church of Christ would have to be rebaptized since he probably was not baptized for the remission of sins. This person from the Baptist Church would not be considered to be saved until baptized properly.
Since the Bible teaches that baptism is for the remission of sins, those who are baptized for some other reason are not baptized as the Lord teaches; and if that kind of obedience must stand, then anything else would have to stand, too. Yes, the Bible teaches that one can be "re-baptized" if he was mistaken in that which he did at first.
. . . . It is scriptural to baptize any penitent believer who has not done what the Bible teaches with reference to baptism. If a man confesses his faith in Christ and is baptized, but later realized that he was not prompted by the right motive, or did not really understand what he was doing, it is scriptural to baptize him upon a confession of his faith; for, if he did not do what the Lord requires the first time, he was not, in reality, baptized.115
Although the Churches of Christ claimed it was Christ who saved, their teachings seemed to almost imply a doctrine of baptismal regeneration, granting a special efficacy to the act of baptism itself. It was (and is) common belief among the membership that a person is saved at the time he is baptized and not before, and that only those baptized by immersion as adults for the remission of sins are among the elect. It is considered virtually impossible to be saved without a scriptural baptism as interpreted by the Churches of Christ. Of all the doctrines espoused by the Churches of Christ during this period, none was considered more important than baptism.
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One of the few areas of agreement among the various schisms within the Churches of Christ remains one of their most visible characteristics: the absence of instrumental music in the worship services. The stance of the Churches of Christ on this issue had not changed significantly since the formal split from the Disciples of Christ in 1906. Still standing on the silence of the scriptures, the Churches of Christ continued to adhere to the teaching that the use of instruments in the worship service was a sin. Those who used instruments could not be fellowshiped and for the most part were not even considered Christians.
To play mechanical instruments in Christian worship is to go beyond what Scripture authorizes and to commit sin. This is no mere matter of opinion or inconsequential difference of interpretation, for what is at stake is not so much the presence or absence of a piano in a church building but the far more fundamental matter of the authority of the Word of God.
. . . . Yes, instrumental music in worship is sinful and serves as a valid test of Christian fellowship. One cannot "walk in the light" of truth while refusing to respect Scriptural authority on this matter and therefore cannot be in fellowship with God or his faithful people in using instrumental music in worship.116
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The Churches of Christ, born of a nineteenth- century American religious movement to restore primitive Christianity and unify all of Christendom, became, in the twentieth century, a movement that had lost its unity motive and instead emphasized a rigid adherence to its own view of the apostolic church. By the middle of the twentieth century, the Churches of Christ were characterized by tremendous growth and evangelistic zeal, but also by extensive infighting. As the Churches of Christ pushed into the 1960s and 70s, they continued to be characterized by a spirit of exclusiveness and intolerance that bordered on spiritual arrogance, firmly believing that they alone had restored primitive Christianity in its doctrinally perfect state. To be among the elect, one had to be a member of a Church of Christ and adhere to a rigid unwritten code of doctrine, much of which often seemed trivial, at best, to outsiders. Upon this backdrop, a new schism appeared within the mainline Churches of Christ, claiming that the Church had lost its fervor and purporting to usher in the true restoration of the New Testament church. This new group declared its members to be the only saved (even to the exclusion of the members of the mainline Churches of Christ), developed an even more rigid teaching of baptism, and expanded the list of requirements by which one might be counted among the elect.
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The 1960s and 70s were a tumultuous period not only for the nation at large, but also for the Churches of Christ in America. What had been a highly evangelistic movement on the Western frontier in the nineteenth century and a thriving religious body in the first half of the twentieth century appeared to be growing stagnant.117 The rate of membership growth had slowed,118 there was less of a concern for reaching the unchurched in the United States or for sending missionaries into foreign countries,119 and much of the church's energy was focused inward in attempts to preserve "sound" doctrine.
The changes in the Churches of Christ from the first half of the century to the second are well illustrated by articles appearing in the Firm Foundation. In 1951, there seemed to be nothing but optimism for the state of the Churches of Christ:
The church has grown phenomenally, in the last decade. We have hundreds of young preachers well instructed, well prepared and full of zeal and courage, who are carrying and will carry the gospel message to the ends of the earth. We have more and better buildings and equipment to provide the programs and development of the present generation. More and better schools and colleges conducted by our brethren are available for the education of our young. We enjoy more and greater prosperity among the membership of the church than ever before in its history.120
By 1966, the Firm Foundation's outlook for the Churches of Christ was not nearly as enthusiastic:
In most of the periodicals and in most sermons one hears we are told that the church of Christ is in bad shape. We learn how little the church is doing, the apathy that exists in the membership, the terrible sterility in the eldership, the utter uselessness of deacons, and the spiritual inertia of the preachers. Probably all of these claims or charges are justified.121
In addition to the apathy in the mainline Churches of Christ, there seemed to be a small but growing "youth rebellion" among the membership. Reacting to the perceived stagnation and lack of spiritual fervor, a small group within the mainline Churches (largely college age) began pushing for a deeper spirituality and renewed evangelistic zeal. Johnny Ramsey, writing in the Firm Foundation in 1966, criticized this new youth rebellion.
In many ways this youth rebellion poses the gravest problem of our decade because much of it comes under the guise of deeper spirituality. On some college campuses . . . you can find members of the church who belittle anyone who walks in the old paths and desires to keep the ancient landmarks just like they have always been. Some of these super-spirituality boys and girls come back to their home congregation with a cynical, self- righteous attitude that certainly is not compatible with their claim of "Holy Spirit guidance." In their prayer-cell movements they bemoan the fact that "brethren back home just don't know how to worship--they are just like the Pharisees." . . . Some of these enlightened ones even have to meet early on Sunday morning for their own worship prior to the humiliating experience of having to assemble with lesser-informed brethren.
When some of the youth leaders get a chance to be heard in the assembly they often lead songs no one else knows or take the familiar ones at such a fast speed no one can keep up--or they hum a stanza or two--to capture the proper aesthetic atmosphere. The sermon that follows is almost totally void of Scripture (for they are led by a superior inner light and quoting the Bible is old-fashioned.) If you don't watch them, a young lady may lead the closing prayer! These crusaders let it be known that everyone needs to serve the Lord exactly as they do--door-knocking, prayer-cells (whatever that is), and with tears flowing freely all the while. According to the impression left by some, any sincere preacher or member should shed a bucket full of tears at every service!
. . . . Another characteristic is the necessity of special names for their work. Brethren, why can we not just have the church at work instead of "Faith Corps," "Operation Doorbell," "Prayer-Cell," "House of the Carpenter," Exodus This and Exodus That?
. . . . It is high time we take a good long look at our youth rallies, summer camp emphasis, the burning of crosses and lights-out devotionals. When we have to simulate situations to stimulate spiritual fervor we face the serious danger of a synthetic religion. Let's return to the simple pattern of Christianity and leave the extra appendages alone.122
While the actual extent of the apathy, stagnation, and declining growth rate among the mainline Churches of Christ is debatable, it is clear that this perception existed among many within the Church, particularly the younger generation. Many of the youth of the Churches of Christ were looking for new vitality in the Church and a deeper and more meaningful spirituality. A new campus ministry in Gainesville, Florida, would provide all of that.
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In 1967, a campus ministry program, Campus Advance, was introduced at the University of Florida. While Church of Christ campus ministries prior to this time had served mainly as a "holding fence" to protect Christian student members from the worldly influence of the secular college, Campus Advance was a pilot project emphasizing a strong evangelistic thrust. The campus ministry was directed by the 14th Street Church of Christ (later renamed the Crossroads Church of Christ) in Gainesville, Florida, and run by a newly hired campus minister, Chuck Lucas.123 Borrowing from a variety of sources, including parachurch campus ministries such as the Navigators and Campus Crusade and books like Robert Coleman's The Master Plan of Evangelism,124 Lucas developed a highly successful method of evangelism later termed "discipling."
Lucas employed two practices as the cornerstone of his brand of discipling: prayer partners and soul talks. Prayer partners paired up new converts with more mature Christians. The more mature Christian was to give spiritual direction to the new Christian in a one-on-one relationship. Soul talks were small group Bible studies designed to discuss Bible-related issues with non-Christians. Chuck Lucas explains:
Members of the Soul Talks attend consistently, invite visitors, and assist the leader with relevant comments on the topic. The leader selects appropriate topics and scriptures for each week's evangelistic Bible discussion. . . . While there are many Soul Talks available at different time and places during the week, the average member attends only one Soul Talk per week. Soul Talks provide every member of a congregation an opportunity to be personally involved in an organized evangelistic outreach. In our ministry we have found it to be the most effective tool or method of personal evangelism that we've ever used or heard of. . . . While designed specifically to be evangelistic and to reach non-Christians, the Soul Talk is valuable for Christians in learning more of God's Word, and especially for recent converts and young Christians.125
Marty Wooten comments that in addition to evangelism, the soul talk leader was responsible for seeing that the expectations of the elders and ministers of the congregation were implemented by the members of the soul talk and was therefore given delegated authority over the members in the group.126
The result of these practices was a highly successful ministry whose membership grew rapidly. So successful was the program that the Crossroads Church of Christ set up its own school of ministry and trained over 80 individuals for full-time ministry.127 Denunciations soon followed the successes, however. Charges of "cultism" from the secular media128 and Church of Christ periodicals129 began to surface in the late 1970s. Critics claimed that prayer partners and soul talks, which emphasized "in-depth involvement of each member in one another's lives,"130 led to manipulation and abuse of members.
Although the Crossroads Church of Christ ended up opposing the Boston Movement by 1988,131 the relationship between them is clear: (1) the leader of the Boston Movement, Kip McKean, was converted and trained at Crossroads by Chuck Lucas, (2) many of the other leaders of the Boston Movement were trained at Crossroads, and (3) Crossroads developed the blueprint for the methods that were later expanded and refined by the Boston Movement.132
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Converted through Campus Advance in 1972, Kip McKean began to dream of entering the ministry.133 The Crossroads Church and the tutelage of Chuck Lucas made a great impact on McKean and shaped his view of how Christ's church should operate.
The innovations of "one another Christianity," evangelistic small group Bible studies, and the vision of dynamic campus ministries were put on my heart through the powerful preaching of Chuck Lucas and his associate, Sam Laing. The seeds of discipling were placed in my life as I saw personally how one man could affect another's daily lifestyle and eternal destiny for God.134
Like many others at Crossroads, McKean was trained to begin campus evangelism programs similar to Campus Advance in established mainline Churches of Christ around the nation. In 1976, McKean was invited to initiate such a program at Heritage Chapel Church of Christ in Charleston, Illinois, to reach the campus at Eastern Illinois University. Though successful (he increased student membership from 20 to 180 in three years), the local newspaper explored charges that "tactics of manipulation and control were being used in the church program." The leaders of the congregation supported McKean, saying they did not "apologize for wanting to share Christ with people."135
In 1979, the Lexington Church of Christ, just outside Boston, was a struggling congregation which had shrunk to 30 or 40 members and was plagued with financial problems and low morale.136 The church had been considering closing its doors for good when they invited Kip McKean to become their pulpit and campus minister. McKean brought new vision to the floundering congregation. He employed the techniques he had learned at Crossroads and honed in Charleston to spearhead a new evangelistic outreach to the Boston area college campuses.
The results were dramatic. In just two years the church, renamed the Boston Church of Christ, increased its numbers to 300 members.137 In 1981, Kip McKean felt the Lord had placed on his heart a "vision for the world" which included establishing "pillar churches" in key metropolitan centers of the world that could in turn evangelize the cities around them.138
McKean began fulfilling that vision in 1981 by planting a pillar church in London, England, followed by a planting in Chicago in 1982 and another in New York City in 1983.139 The process of multiplication continued as churches planted by Boston began to plant churches of their own, until by 1993 the Boston Movement claimed a membership of 45,000 members in 139 congregations located in 55 different nations.140
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While the Boston Movement still shares most of its core doctrinal views with the mainline Churches of Christ, there are certain practices and beliefs that are unique to the Movement and do not have roots in Restorationism nor in the Churches of Christ. Most of these distinctive views revolve around the practice of discipling and include related issues such as authority and church polity.
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The practice of discipling, as discussed here, is certainly not a new concept, nor is it unique to the Crossroads Church of Christ or the Boston Movement. Flavil Yeakley describes the type of discipling employed by Chuck Lucas and later the Boston Movement:
The word "discipling" is used in this movement to mean much more than making converts. It is used primarily to describe a system of intense training and close personal supervision of the Christians being discipled. Disciples are regarded as being superior to mere Christians. Disciples are said to be Christians who have received special training. There is an intense one-on-one relationship between the discipler and the Christian being discipled. The discipler gives detailed personal guidance to the Christian being discipled. This guidance may include instructions concerning many personal matters of a totally secular nature. . . .
Discipling is hierarchical. There is a clear distinction between the discipler and the person being discipled. A Christian might have many peer relationships, but only one person is that Christian's discipler. That discipler is the person who must be imitated and obeyed. After a Christian has been discipled for a while, that Christian is expected to start discipling others. The result is a pyramid of relationships that resembles a multi-level marketing system.141
Discipling or shepherding movements, as they are sometimes called, have surfaced and had varying degrees of success in many Christian denominations over the years. Two significant shepherding movements--Christian Growth Ministries and Maranatha Ministries--made the rounds in charismatic circles during the 70s, and a similar movement began in 1967 in the Catholic Church in the form of intentional communities.142
The full extent of the influence of other discipling movements and books about discipling on Crossroads and the Boston Movement is not clear. The Boston Movement rejects the idea that discipling is a method, ardently proclaiming that it simply stems from a proper interpretation of the Bible. It is often claimed by the leadership that they have "rediscovered" ancient New Testament teachings that have not been practiced by anyone else in contemporary times. For these reasons, it is difficult to discern the direct influences upon the Movement, for the Movement is reticent about giving the appearance that its teachings come from humans and not from the Bible.
However, it does seem clear that Coleman's The Master Plan of Evangelism has strongly influenced the Movement. In his D.Min. thesis, long-time leader in the Movement, Marty Wooten, uses Coleman's book to define discipling as the "philosophical foundation" of the Crossroads and Boston movements.143 Wooten's thesis also quotes a letter written to Chuck Lucas from the eldership of a congregation that had hired a minister, Steve Gooch, trained by Lucas at Crossroads. The letter complained of difficulties experienced with Gooch and his use of The Master Plan of Evangelism as a basis for his evangelistic programs.144
It also seems apparent that various campus ministries have had an influence on the methods of the Boston Movement. Don Vinzant writes that in the late 1960s, a mainline Church of Christ campus ministry organization known as Campus Evangelism tried to adopt some of the techniques of Campus Crusade. One of Campus Evangelism's leaders even trained with Campus Crusade. Chuck Lucas was also actively involved with Campus Evangelism at this time. Vinzant believes that some of the techniques Lucas introduced at Crossroads came directly from Campus Crusade.145 The idea that campus ministries were influential upon the Boston Movement is bolstered by a survey of church history printed in the Movement's Discipleship Magazine. In the section of the article dealing with 1700 to the present, the only two religious movements deemed worthy of mention are the Restoration Movement (which includes the Churches of Christ) and the rise of campus ministries such as InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, Campus Crusade for Christ, and the Navigators.146
Critics have given lists of books or movements that supposedly have influenced leaders of both the Crossroads and Boston movements. In actuality, the evidence for a direct connection between the Boston Movement and outside writings and other movements is often scarce. That is not to say that there is no correlation, but some critics cite a book or movement that promotes practices similar to those used by the Boston Movement, proclaiming it as an influence on the Boston Movement without actually establishing any direct influence.147 As Vinzant notes, it may indeed be more than coincidence that Gainesville, Florida, was home not only to Crossroads, but also to another 1970s discipling movement, Maranatha Ministries, but the details of such connections will not be known until one of the "inner circle of founders" wants to tell it.148
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The "pyramid of relationships" that Yeakley stated exists in discipling churches created a hierarchy in the Boston Movement that was completely foreign to the Churches of Christ. While individual congregations within the mainline Churches of Christ practice strict autonomy and have no outside headquarters, boards, or individuals to whom they answer, the Boston Movement operates quite differently. There is a definite hierarchy of churches and church leaders based on McKean's plan of pillar churches. In 1988, McKean appointed nine World Sector Leaders, each responsible for a different sector of the world. In 1989, a World Sector Administrator was appointed to oversee the finances of each sector.149 The World Sector Leader is typically the Lead Evangelist (this is the Boston Movement's term for a pastor or minister) of the pillar congregation, and other congregations in that sector are accountable to the pillar church and the World Sector Leader. The nine World Sector Leaders are in turn accountable to Kip McKean who, since 1990, has overseen the Los Angeles Church of Christ and has served as World Missions Evangelist for the entire Movement.150
Based on its interpretation of the second and third chapters of the book of Revelation, the Movement adheres to a "one church, one city" model.151 They believe it is unscriptural to have more than one congregation per city. Typically, but not always, a church affiliated with the Boston Movement will simply take the name of the city as its name, as the Los Angeles Church of Christ and the Chicago Church of Christ have done.
The polity within each congregation is also organized in a hierarchical fashion. Each congregation is divided geographically into sectors or quadrants with a Sector or Quadrant Leader (the terminology varies from congregation to congregation). The sectors are further subdivided into zones, and the Sector Leader oversees the Zone Leaders. Zone Leaders oversee individual Bible talks (what were called "soul talks" at Crossroads) and the Bible Talk Leaders. The Bible Talk Leader oversees the individual members of his Bible talk.152 This form of church government is in sharp contrast to the mainline Churches of Christ, which typically have a minister and often elders who serve as the leaders of a single congregation, with no other church hierarchy above them.
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Key to understanding the Boston Movement is the concept of discipleship. The Movement sees a sharp distinction between "the world's" view of a Christian and a true disciple of Christ. Marty Wooten wrote,
In the Boston movement, "disciple" was soon to gain momentum and come to represent those who are faithfully following Christ in contrast to someone in another congregation who had been immersed baptized for the forgiveness of sins but never repented and took on the lifestyle and purpose of the early disciples, that is, making disciples of all nations.153
Boston Movement Missionary Andrew Giambarba echoed those sentiments:
Every single member of every congregation must be committed to making disciples. If any are not, then they are not disciples themselves. And if they are not disciples themselves, then they will not be going to heaven.154
As these comments show, the most important characteristic of a disciple, according to the Boston Movement, is making other disciples. McKean knew, from his training and observations at Crossroads, that one of the most important elements for making and keeping disciples was the prayer partner relationship. McKean says he was challenged to keep the growing numbers in the Boston Church of Christ (which exceeded the Crossroads Church) faithful, and felt that the prayer partner approach practiced at Crossroads was not "directive enough," since prayer partners were technically optional and members chose their own partners. McKean changed the name to "discipleship partners," made the practice mandatory, and set up a system whereby partners are chosen for new converts by the leadership of the congregation. The partners are to have daily contact and meet weekly.155 Discipleship partners are not considered optional according to the Boston Church of Christ Bulletin: "Similarly we expect every member to be discipled by a more spiritually mature Christian who is given the authority to teach him to obey everything that Jesus commanded."156 And Kip McKean stated,
We need to make it abundantly clear is sic that every brother in the congregation needs to have a discipleship partner. To not have a discipleship partner is to be rebellious to God and to the leadership of this congregation.157
As stated, the Boston Movement does not view its teachings as anything less than completely biblical. This holds true for the practice of discipleship partners as well. The practice is viewed as a divine plan. In a class co-taught with Kip McKean, Scott Green explains that Christ was discipled by God:
We see in John 15:9 that Jesus himself was discipled by His Father. Why was that important? Because discipleship is an eternal spiritual plan. It is not an invention of the Boston church. It is not an interesting way of looking at the Bible. It is not an interesting way of taking apart the scriptures and finding a neat method. . . . I have never seen anything like what is being done in this movement and it is because we are restoring an eternal plan. Amen! An eternal plan. Jesus himself was discipled by the Father.158
The practice of discipleship partners is important due not only to its perception as a divine plan, but also because it is assumed that new converts do not know what is best for them and so need spiritual guidance by the leadership of the church, specifically in the form of a discipler, who will know what is best. As Kip McKean has written,
The person that you are discipling must believe, must trust that you are out for God and their best interest. Because you see there is going to be some advice they will not understand. But if they trust that you are out for God and their best interest, they will obey.
Secondly, they must believe emphatically that your judgment is better than theirs. This is so important. How can you tell someone what to do when they are even unsure of what is going on unless they will obey by trust that your judgment is better than theirs? . . . So the premise seems clear. Friendship which builds trust which allows you to be able to guide them and to mold their lives.159
Eric Mansfield, a Zone Leader in the Chicago Church of Christ at the time of his writing, echoed McKean's sentiments:
We must accept that we are not objective about how we come across to others or how we think. We need help to see where we are at in our spiritual maturity. An awesome disciple is one who assumes his discipler is more objective and accurate about his life than he is.160
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Integrally intertwined with its teachings on discipling is the Boston Movement's teachings on authority, as pointed out by World Sector Leader Marty Fuqua:
You take authority out of discipling relationships and you have nothing. You have a palsey walsey, non-Christian relationship, is what you have. You have a directionless relationship that, because it is directionless, goes nowhere.161
It is clear that in the first eight or nine years of the Movement, the leaders quite openly held to a rigid teaching on authority in the church. New converts were instructed that they must obey their disciplers in all matters, including matters of opinion. To rebel against the leadership of the church--especially one's discipler--was to rebel against God. Al Baird, a leader in the Movement, stated that members were "to submit and obey the leaders even when they are not very Christlike."162 Joe Garmon, an evangelist who led the Seattle church planting, stated that since Jesus submitted to sinful men to the point of death, Christians should likewise submit to authority in the church, and that Jesus did not accept "abusive authority" as an "excuse for disobedience."163 Speaking to a crowd in Denver, Kip McKean stated that the evangelist was to be obeyed unless "it violates Scripture or your conscience. But other than that, in all opinion areas, you obey."164 On another occasion, McKean stated that,
Even if the evangelist calls you to do something that disobeys your conscience, you still have an obligation to study it out and prayerfully change your opinion so you can be totally unified.165
One of the most extreme examples of this teaching is evidenced in a speech given by Joe Garmon, while a Zone Leader at the Boston Church of Christ:
To be discipled means you deny yourself. You make a decision that self is willing, ready, and is going to die. And you give up yourself. You give up your desires, your ambitions, the things that you want in life, and you decide to live your life fully and completely to God--not doing what you want, not doing the things that are pleasing to you, but doing what God wants you to do. That means that when your House Church Leaders says to you, "You need to change this. You need to give up that. You need to do this," it doesn't matter to you. If your House Church Leader came in and said, "I want everybody in here to wear a red shirt," then everybody has to wear a red shirt. You don't care. It doesn't matter to you. "Yeah, but can he tell me that?" What does it matter to you if you have given up yourself?166
It should be noted that the leadership of the Boston Movement later stated that Garmon's "red shirt" comments were wrong167 and in fact the leadership has often admitted that abuses of authority have occurred in the Boston Movement over the years. In 1992, McKean himself stated that his "initial thoughts" about biblical authority were incorrect and that members should not be called to obey and follow church leaders in matters of opinion.
What the exact teachings on authority are today in the Boston Movement is difficult to discern. By 1990, the leadership proclaimed that there had been some abuses of authority and that some earlier teachings on authority and submission were wrong.168 The Movement claims to have relaxed those teachings since then and also states that discipling relationships are no longer one-over-one relationships but are now peer relationships with both partners discipling each other. Despite these claims, however, those who have recently left the Movement claim that the teachings on authority have not changed substantially and that discipling relationships are still a one-over-one relationship. Ex-members tell of Movement disciplers and leaders totally controlling their lives, telling them whom to date, how to spend their money and free time, whether or not to visit family on vacations, where to move, and which jobs to take, among other things. Daniel Eng, an evangelist who left the Movement in June 1991, wrote the following in a letter dated 4 February 1993:
There has been talk of the Movement changing, but the sermons and attitudes of the top leadership remain the same. This is confirmed innumerable times as I continue to meet ex-members everywhere with testimonies of authoritarian abuses, etc., even till today."169
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It is not surprising that in a country that so values its freedom, a religious group that even gives the hint of restricting the freedoms of its members would come under criticism. The attacks on the Boston Movement have two sources.
The first source is anti-cult groups and ex-members who have attacked the Movement primarily on the basis of its teachings and practices regarding authority and discipleship partners. It is the intimate and daily influence in members' lives by the Movement that has led to charges of "brainwashing" and "cultism." The controversy surrounding the group is evidenced by data supplied by the Cult Awareness Network, a nationwide anti-cult group, which states that during a six-month period in 1992, the Boston Movement was the third most inquired about group (Satanism and Scientology were numbers one and two, respectively) among those who call for information regarding various "cults."170
The second source of criticisms is from the mainline Churches of Christ. Besides the more general charges of "cultism," the Churches of Christ, preeminently concerned with correct biblical doctrine, have attacked the Boston Movement's teachings on authority and discipleship not only in the context of abuses, but also in the context of correct biblical exegesis. Additionally, the mainline Churches have assailed the Movement's hierarchical organization, its teachings regarding baptism, its exclusivity, the leadership of Kip McKean, the overt enthusiasm and hand- clapping in worship services,171 and, in general, anything that the mainline Churches of Christ view as extra-biblical. While the mainline Churches stand firm upon Thomas Campbell's admonition of "where the Scriptures speak, we speak; where the Scriptures are silent, we are silent," Kip McKean stated that,
I believe very different than that. I believe that you should be silent where the Bible speaks. God has made it clear. And speak where the Bible is silent. In areas of opinion, you are allowed to do anything.172
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The relationship between the mainline Churches of Christ and the discipling ministries (both Crossroads and Boston) has always been rocky. From the outset both discipling movements were predicated upon the assumption that the members of the mainline Churches were not as committed as they ought to be and not evangelizing the world as they ought to be. In essence, Crossroads and particularly Boston were proclaiming to be forging the road to true Christianity and restoration. This could be nothing but an affront to a religious body that believed it had already perfectly restored the first-century church.
During the 1970s and early 80s, the Crossroads Church of Christ trained for the ministry many who eventually ended up in positions in mainline Churches. What often resulted were congregations that were embroiled in controversy as to which evangelistic method was best or even scriptural, the existent one or the new one being espoused by Crossroads. Many congregations physically split over controversies stemming from the introduction of Crossroads methodology.173 The introduction of Boston Movement teachings by Boston-trained ministers produced similar results. As the Boston Movement grew in prominence (and as it became more controversial) it encountered more and more resistance when it attempted to introduce Boston methodology into mainline Churches. By 1987, the Movement began the practice of "reconstructions." Jerry Jones explains:
Any congregation that wanted to come under the leadership of the Boston Church of Christ had to submit to reconstruction. In a reconstruction, the existing "corporate church" is dissolved and renamed in accordance with the city in which it is located. Most (if not all) of the present leaders resign their positions and are sent to other ministries for retraining. The Boston Church of Christ sends in leaders to help in the reconstruction, with some of these imported leaders remaining to lead the church. Anyone who wants to be a member of this "new church" must "recount" the cost. During this interview, his conversion and commitment to Christ are questioned. This "interview" and "recounting the cost" results in the rebaptism of many "Christians."174
The belief that the Boston Movement engaged in "cultic" practices, the division they caused in many congregations, and their belief that the mainline Churches lacked any true spirituality, along with the belief of the mainline Churches of Christ that the Boston Movement had deviated too far from the scriptures, all led to the mainline Churches considering the Boston Movement a separate fellowship by the mid- 1980s. By 1988, mainline Church of Christ preacher and Boston critic F. H. "Buddy" Martin concluded,
In dealing with the Boston . . . Movement, I feel that we can no longer consider them brethren. This is a very painful and difficult decision. In my investigation, I have had to come to this decision because of the error being taught and the departures from the Word of God. They have totally and completely apostatized from the teaching of the Word of God on so many doctrines we can no longer afford to count them as brethren. This is especially true when it comes to the matter of baptism.175
The Movement's belief that the mainline Churches were spiritually dead (to the point of costing them their salvation), were not evangelizing the world, and were mired in tradition instead of being rooted in scripture led the Boston Movement to in turn consider the mainline Churches a separate fellowship. Although there has never been any formal break in relations, McKean has stated that it was in late 1986 and early 1987 that influential congregations and publications in the mainline Churches stopped considering the Boston Movement as part of the mainline Church of Christ fellowship.176
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While the teachings on discipling, authority, and church polity are innovations originating outside the Churches of Christ, the vast majority of the teachings and practices of the Boston Movement remain analogous to those of the mainline Churches of Christ. A worship service in each group looks very similar: both groups partake of the Lord's Supper every week, do not use instruments in the worship service,177 believe in baptism for the remission of sins, and put a premium on the correct interpretation of scripture. While the core doctrinal beliefs remain similar, it is attitudinally that the groups remain most alike.
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It is rather ironic that the mainline Churches of Christ, who are known for their exclusivity and their claim to be the only true Christians, would produce a group even more exclusive than themselves. The Churches of Christ of the early 1900s completely shunned the remainder of the Restoration Movement, believing that only they were the true restorers of the New Testament church. The Boston Movement has done the same to the mainline Churches of Christ, claiming that they are now the true restorers.
By 1988, many leaders in the Movement were stating publicly that they did not believe those in the Churches of Christ to be saved. Joe Garmon claimed that "the vast majority of people in the Church of Christ are not saved."178 Gordon Ferguson, an evangelist for the Boston Church of Christ at the time, wrote, "My personal conviction is that many of those in 'churches of Christ' have never been biblically repented, have never become disciples, and are thus not Christians."179 At a San Diego Conference it was stated that the faculty of Abilene Christian University (a Church of Christ institution predominantly staffed by mainline members) were not Christians and not saved.180
In 1987-88, a teaching termed "Remnant Theology" began to emerge. The Boston Movement believed itself to be a faithful remnant being called out of a dead or dying church, namely the mainline Churches of Christ. According to the Movement, just as the Reformationists were a faithful remnant called out of the Catholic Church and the Restorationists a remnant called out of various Protestant churches, so too was the Boston Movement the one true and faithful remnant of the Churches of Christ.
This is the purpose of the remnant--to evangelize the world. The intention of God's promise to Abraham was that ultimately God's chosen people would "go make disciples of all nations..." The identity of the remnant is found in its mission. It is not just a coincidence that the controversy over the remnant has emerged at the same time we are witnessing such evangelistic successes among many discipling churches of Christ. Churches that have seeking and saving the lost as their primary focus are part of the remnant; churches that do not have this focus simply do not qualify. Understanding the identity of the remnant today is not difficult once we recognize a church's purpose.
The commitment to fulfill God's purpose is why the true remnant will never completely bond with those who are still "in captivity" among the dead churches of Babylon and Assyria. . . . God has gathered and will always gather His remnant in order to fulfill His plans. A serious mistake being made is confusing this gathering with a "church split," when in actuality it is God's remnant making their way back to the promise sic land with God's promise to Abraham once again on their hearts.181
The Boston Movement rejects not only the Churches of Christ but the remainder of Christendom as well. For the Boston Movement, the true test of a Christian is whether or not one is a disciple, and by the Movement's definition this means a believer who is converting others in significant numbers to the Movement's specific doctrinal beliefs. The members of churches that are considered spiritually lethargic or dead are assumed to be unsaved, for if they were composed of true disciples, they would not be spiritually lifeless. A common remark from Boston members is that only the Boston Movement is composed of serious Christians, while other churches and denominations are merely "playing at church."
The Movement assumes that it is the only true movement of God in existence today. Members who consider leaving the Movement are told that they would be leaving God and that they cannot be a faithful disciple in another church.182 College-age members are urged not to go home for the summer if no Boston Movement church exists in their hometown,183 as no other church is suitable even on a temporary basis. An evangelism manual for the Movement states that candidates for baptism should be made to understand "that it is not God's will for him to attend any other church."184 A certain level of spiritual arrogance exists among the membership, for they believe they are the only true Christians, the only ones serious about their devotion to God, and members of the only true movement of God.
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The sense of historylessness among the membership of the Boston Movement is more difficult to discern than it is in the Churches of Christ. Church of Christ authors are hardly able to recognize the historylessness so prevalent in their own movement, much less in the Boston Movement, and outside observers are often more concerned with what they view as "cultic" practices. Additionally, as a religious movement, the Boston Movement is barely fifteen years old, and therefore there is less literature to glean from and less time for attitudes, such as historylessness, to develop than in the Churches of Christ. Despite this, attitudinal patterns toward their own history within the Boston Movement are quite similar to those within the Churches of Christ.
As mentioned, the membership of the Movement believes itself to be the only movement of God in existence today. But more than that, members believe they are the only true movement of God to have existed since the first century. These attitudes are reflected in the following excerpts from a book by a leader and missionary in the Movement, Andrew Giambarba. These comments are not unique, but quite representative of comments made by many leaders in the Movement.
The nations stand in awe. In "our days," God has begun a movement of His people unparalleled since the dawn of Christendom. Through His Spirit, God is amazing the nations as they witness the establishment and phenomenal growth of discipling churches of every populated continent of this planet. Never in the course of human history since the first century A.D. has New Testament Christianity had such a profound and far-reaching impact on our world. Nations stand in awe, peoples stand in awe, even the enemies of the cross stand in awe of what God is accomplishing through his church. . . .
From the first meeting between Kip McKean and the Lexington Church of Christ emerged a movement of God in the twentieth century greater in scope and impact that sic even Luther's Reformation. . . .
The world has not been evangelized since the first century because there have not been men and women willing to pay the price. Why not? Why has no other religious movement since the first century accomplished what Jesus did? BECAUSE NO ONE HAS DONE WHAT JESUS DID--make disciples who felt His convictions, viewed a lost world through His eyes and strove with His perseverance. The Holy Spirit has guided and God has blessed the movements initiated by Kip McKean through the Boston church because disciples have been made according to the definitions of Jesus. . . . May you be challenged to follow in the steps of the true disciples of the first century ... and of the twentieth.185
Discipleship Magazine published an article about church history by two leaders of the Movement entitled "You Might Be Fighting God," which seems to stand as the authoritative view for the Movement.186 The article was later included in a manual on making disciples as the "Church History" section.187 The thrust of the article is summed up by the authors:
The church of Jesus began in a great way and had great impact, but eventually came a drift sic from the exciting truths that turned the world upside down. Yes, there have been heroic personalities. There have been those with great courage who from time to time rose up and insisted on returning to the Scriptures. There have been people consumed with the mission of Jesus, but there has been much tragic confusion and division because, in reality, many were fighting God and not submitting to him.188
This quotation is particularly interesting in light of C. Leonard Allen's description of the sense of historylessness that exists among the Churches of Christ:
Christian history finally becomes little more than a tragic story of decay and corruption, a dark plot in which one can indeed discern people who seem to possess noble motives and admirable courage but all of whom are finally exposed either as villains or as naive pawns, and all implicated in the high crime of poisoning the pure stream of truth.189
By Allen's description, it would seem that the same sense of historylessness has been passed, intact, from the mainline Churches of Christ to the Boston Movement. "You Might be Fighting God" makes many sweeping statements about the trends and currents of church history. The first three centuries are explained as a period of growth accompanied by te introduction of false doctrines, summed up by the statement "we can see fairly early a trend toward resolving matters with human logic, not with a careful study of Scripture."190 The period from A.D. 312 to 1500 is essentially defined as a period of complete apostasy, while Luther's influence is summarized by saying that although he took a stand against an "intimidating system," his reforms "did not lead to discipling relationships nor to the reform of his own character." The English Reformation is discounted with the observation that in the Church of England "there was never any real passion for Biblical Christianity," while it is claimed that the Boston Movement might have the "closest kinship" with the Anabaptists, since they made the "greatest move toward a biblical church" by expecting disciples "to help one another actually obey all the teachings of Jesus."191 The article winds up its survey by claiming that the last 300 years of Christianity are simply characterized by denominationalism and a loss of faith.192
It seems clear that the sense of historylessness has been transmitted from the mainline Churches to the Boston Movement. If anything, the Movement's sense of historylessness is more extreme than that found in the Churches of Christ. While the Churches of Christ would denounce the vast majority of church history, they would not be so quick to claim that they were the only true movement of God to have existed since the first century. Many in the Churches of Christ would argue that small-- almost unknown--pockets of true believers, who understood the Bible the way the Churches of Christ do, have existed throughout church history. It may be that those in the Churches of Christ remember Alexander Campbell's rebuke of those in the Restoration Movement who claimed that they were the only true movement of God. Campbell stated that if that were true, then,
For many centuries there has been no church of Christ, no Christians in the world; and the promises concerning the everlasting kingdom of Messiah have failed, and the gates of hell have prevailed against his church!193
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While such phrases as the "silence of the scriptures" and "command, example, and necessary inference," are not bandied about in the Boston Movement as they are in the Churches of Christ, the Movement's approach to scripture is still deeply rooted in the influences of Alexander Campbell and the mainline Churches. While McKean has repudiated the idea of the silence of the scriptures, it is clear that the principles of "command, example, and necessary inference" are still in wide use within the movement, even if the terminology is not as common.
I believe that we should be silent where the Bible speaks and speak where the Bible is silent. In other words, a Christian should simply obey where the Bible speaks and only speak (have opinions) where the Bible is silent. In building a life, a church or a "system" for a movement, we are "free" to do anything the Scriptures do not specifically, by command, by example or by necessary inference prohibit.194
The "proof-text" approach to the Bible permeates the Movement and is evidenced in its manuals on evangelism195 where, for every point in the numerous teaching outlines, scriptural references are listed as confirmation of the correctness of the teaching, often with little regard to context, historical background, or the intention of the author. There is no overall theological framework evident in the Movement, but instead an atomization and codification of bits and pieces of scripture (a concordance approach) to produce a new law. Like Alexander Campbell, they believe that if everyone simply understood the Bible correctly, then everyone would reach the same conclusions, namely those of the Boston Movement.
While this approach is almost identical to the approach used by the mainline Churches, the two groups have reached different doctrinal conclusions. As Michael Weed has noted, this divergence occurs because the approach to scripture employed by the Churches of Christ lacks any system for addressing doctrinal conflicts. He further states that "more fundamentally, serious theological reflection is not done in any coordinated, responsible, and representative fashion."196 While Weed is referring to the Churches of Christ in general, this observation can be applied specifically to the Boston Movement.
Like Campbell and Lipscomb before him, McKean is the arbiter of orthodoxy for his movement. Unlike Campbell and Lipscomb, who had opponents within the Restoration Movement who offered varying doctrinal conclusions, McKean has no such challenge to his authority from within the Boston Movement. All doctrinal conclusions stem from and are approved by McKean. He believes that he has "rediscovered" numerous first-century Bible doctrines that have somehow been lost over the centuries.197 McKean also asserts that he is "following the pattern of Paul's role in the first century" by directing the churches in the Boston Movement.198
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Prior to 1985, the Boston Movement's teachings regarding baptism differed little from those of the mainline Churches of Christ. Baptism was for the remission of sins and one could not be saved without or before being baptized. Baptism as practiced and taught by other denominations was not acceptable, since it was assumed that only the Boston Movement and the Churches of Christ taught that baptism was for remission of sins. Additionally, a person had to understand baptism correctly at the time of baptism for it to be valid--a retroactive understanding of baptism (without being rebaptized) was insufficient for salvation.
Leaders in the Boston Movement often speak in terms of "progressive revelation"--not in the sense that God continues to reveal spiritual truths, but that the Boston Movement continues to "discover" or "rediscover" Christian truths in the Bible that no one else has discovered in the modern era.199 In 1985, the Movement claimed that it rediscovered important teachings regarding baptism. Gordon Ferguson, a leader in the Movement, taught that the early Restoration leaders had rediscovered the correct form of baptism (immersion) and the correct design (for the forgiveness of sins) while the Churches of Christ had rediscovered the need for a correct understanding of baptism at the time of baptism and not after the fact. Ferguson concluded that the Boston Movement had now rediscovered another New Testament truth regarding baptism: that one must also be a disciple before being baptized.200
During the period of 1986-87, the Movement began to experience a rash of rebaptisms due to the new teaching initially developed by Kip McKean. He began to teach that a person must be a disciple before baptism in order for the baptism to be valid. Baptism for the remission of sins, even for someone converted and baptized within the Boston Movement in previous years, was no longer good enough. If the person had not been a disciple before baptism and had not understood the need to be a disciple before baptism, then that baptism was invalid and that person was not saved. McKean elaborated on this theme at a Women's Retreat in 1987:
I really believe, sisters, we need to get it on straight who is a candidate for baptism. It is the individual who is a disciple. You say, "Well, now, brother, that's not been taught through the years so often in the Church of Christ." What does the book say? You say "Well, now, brother, we didn't even use that terminology back in the early days at Crossroads." . . . I think we also need to appreciate our roots in the Crossroads church. But you've got to understand that we are a process of restoration. The Holy Spirit is working and it is not that new truths are being revealed, but that old truths are becoming clearer. . . . The Bible says that after they converts are baptized (and you only baptize disciples), then you are to teach them to obey everything the Lord has commanded. You see, I think we've got to really get it on straight right here. Why do people who come into our fellowships have so much struggle when they come in? . . . I think they are uncomfortable when they come on in because they have never been disciples in the first place. You see what happens is after a period of weeks and months, maybe even years, in our fellowship they get hammered around enough they eventually become disciples, but just for the first time have they become disciples. They think, "Well, I'm still okay because I was baptized to get saved many years ago." Let me tell you something, if you have struggled to come into our fellowships, and even now you're a high-powered sister, I praise God that you are a disciple. But all the commitment in the world, and even being a disciple, does not save you. You must respond to Jesus with the commitment of a disciple and then and only then can you be baptized to be saved.201
Central to understanding the Movement's position on baptism is its use of Matthew 28:18-20, considered to be a "pivotal text in the theology of the Boston Movement."202
Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you."203
Tom Jones, a staff member at a mainline Church of Christ (who later joined the Boston Movement), explains the Movement's view of this passage:
Some have argued from Matthew 28:19-20 that the only candidate for baptism is someone who has already become a disciple. The argument seems to run this way: "Jesus said, 'go make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.' We can see then that we are to first make disciples, then baptize them, and then teach them more. This means that no one should be baptized who is not already a disciple. And if you were baptized before you became a disciple, then your baptism was not valid."204
The result of this teaching was threefold. (1) All baptisms outside the Boston Movement (including those in the mainline Churches of Christ) were automatically assumed to be invalid since the Movement believed they were the only modern group to have a correct understanding of baptism. (2) The validity of baptisms within the Boston Movement prior to 1985-86 became suspect, since the teaching had not yet been "rediscovered" at that time.205 (3) A large portion of the membership of the Movement was rebaptized, including a number of prominent leaders.
Probably no single doctrinal position held by the Movement has been criticized--in the context of biblical interpretation--as heavily as this rendering of Matthew 28:18-20. Church of Christ Bible scholars are quick to point out what they believe are grave errors in the Movement's reasoning, both grammatically and theologically.206 Even Marty Wooten agrees that "an in-depth exegesis of the passage is lacking within the movement."207
Equally troubling to outsiders is the large number of leaders in the Movement who were rebaptized starting in the fall of 1986.208 The Movement avoids advertising the fact that leaders such as Roger Lamb, Marty Wooten, Al Baird, and Gloria Baird were all rebaptized,209 since many people question how elders, evangelists, and missionaries who have been with the Movement almost from the beginning could suddenly declare that they had not been Christians and had not been saved during all their years of leadership in the church. So strongly does the Movement view past baptisms as invalid that both McKean and Baird have stated that there are no such thing as "rebaptisms;" only baptisms of persons with correct understanding are even acknowledged. Kip McKean at the 1987 Women's Retreat stated,
A lot of people ask questions, "Why have some of the sisters been rebaptized?" Let me tell you something. No one has been rebaptized around here. Not a single person has been rebaptized around here. I only believe in the one baptism.210
Al Baird expressed similar sentiments:
Now you may ask, "Why do we have as many quote 'rebaptisms' as we do?" Number one, I don't think there is any such thing as rebaptism. There is only one baptism.211
Baptism is a focal point for the Movement, for it signifies the point at which a person is saved and officially joins the church. It is also the instrument by which growth is measured--the literature of the movement is replete with tables of statistics of the number of people baptized during various time periods.212 Finally, baptism is a means by which to relate to the rest of the Christian community, for even if someone outside the Boston Movement shows all the characteristics of being a disciple, valid baptism (by the Movement's standards) is always the final measurement for determining who is and is not a fellow Christian.
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Due in part to the slowing growth rate of the mainline Churches of Christ, which started in the latter half of the 1960s, some began to perceive a growing languor within the churches. In response, campus ministries began to turn to other models of evangelism that had proven successful for other Christian ministries. Chuck Lucas took the methods of those groups and added other discipling principles, thus defining the Crossroads Movement. Building upon teachings learned at Crossroads, Kip McKean developed a highly successful method of evangelism that has enabled the Boston Movement to plant churches worldwide.
There are teachings of the Movement that plainly originate outside the Restoration tradition, but while both the Churches of Christ and the Boston Movement would be hesitant to admit it, the core doctrinal beliefs of the Boston Movement remain similar and the attitudes remain almost identical to those of the mainline Churches of Christ. While both groups continue to attempt to distance themselves from each other, clearly the groups have many more similarities than dissimilarities.
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What began in the early 1800s as a movement to unite all of Christendom devolved by the twentieth century into a body of believers that had broken away from the majority of the Restoration Movement only to produce continued and frequent fracturing within its own fellowship. While the early restorers proposed unity based on a return to primitive Christianity, the Churches of Christ shifted to unity based on equivalent understanding of correct doctrine as rightly interpreted from scripture. Many schisms arose, all accepting correct doctrine as a basis for unity, but all coming to varying doctrinal conclusions, causing them to form their own bodies. Rather prophetically, Robert Richardson, biographer and friend of Alexander Campbell, noted in 1847 that expecting people to unite on the basis of a like understanding of the Bible would simply assure continued division in the Christian community.213
The primary methods of biblical interpretation employed by the Churches of Christ (silence of the scriptures and command, example, and necessary inference) contained no means or mechanism for dealing with doctrinal disagreement. This hermeneutic, along with proof-text and concordance approaches to the Bible, contributed to the massive splintering so characteristic of the Churches of Christ and its satellites. The way in which the Churches of Christ often atomized scripture, breaking it down into diminutive portions of new law, left numerous areas of doctrinal minutiae upon which to disagree (such as the one-cup controversy), any of which could be and often was considered a major tenet of the faith. Once the Churches of Christ proclaimed themselves the true restorers of the first-century church (to the exclusion of all others), with all the correct doctrines of the apostolic age, few options were left for members who disagreed or came to differing doctrinal conclusions. Only one doctrinal conclusion could be considered correct and all other conclusions were considered contrary to the teachings of God. As a result, numerous branches of the Churches of Christ all believe that only their branch is the true restorer of the New Testament church, only their branch has the correct doctrines of the first age, and only their membership can safely be counted among the elect. With this background it is hardly surprising that yet another faction within the Churches of Christ, the Boston Movement, would arise and make these same claims that have been made numerous times before by all the various segments of the Churches of Christ.
What is somewhat surprising is that the mainline Churches of Christ cannot see themselves in the Boston Movement. The mainline Churches have often criticized the Boston Movement's peculiar and unscriptural teachings on baptism, exclusivity, failure to carefully evaluate scripture, and faulty proof-texting method of approaching scripture. For example, these criticisms were made by Douglas Hall, a mainline member, in his master's thesis on the authoritarian theology of the Boston Movement written at Abilene Christian University (a mainline institution).214 Hall gives no indication that these characteristics either exist or have existed in any form or degree in the mainline Churches, but assumes that these are errors of the Boston Movement and the Boston Movement alone. Ironically, however, all of Hall's charges against the Boston Movement can be and have been leveled against the mainline Churches of Christ, often by the larger Christian community.
While the similarities between the Boston Movement and the mainline Churches of Christ persist, they are virtually unrecognized. The main reason for this has already been stated: most of the material regarding the Boston Movement is written by mainline Church members who are either unwilling or unable to recognize their own attitudes and doctrines as manifested in the Boston Movement. Additionally, no in-depth study of the Boston Movement has been done by someone (scholar or otherwise) not affiliated with the Church of Christ tradition. The few outsiders who study the Boston Movement usually use mainline Church members as their primary sources of information and therefore usually accept without question the notion that there is little or no relation between these religious bodies.
The exclusivistic attitude of both groups is evident even with a superficial study. Each group has declared itself the true inheritor of the Restoration Movement, the one true apostolic church, and the only body of real Christians in existence today. To leave the group is to put one's soul in grave jeopardy.
Tied in with the exclusivism of both bodies is their sense of historylessness. Each group continues to view the totality of church history as a great apostasy in which the church almost never held to the correct teachings of scripture. Each group acts as though it has existed in a vacuum, completely untouched and untainted by any outside influences such as the culture around it or the streams of history. It is as though they believe they have made a jump in time from the first-century church to the present, and the intervening years have had absolutely no influence on their beliefs or practices.
Both have a legalistic approach to the Christian faith. Both have created an unwritten law or creed which must be faithfully adhered to by all, down to the smallest detail. While the tenets of the law differ slightly among the groups, little if any latitude is allowed in either. Every point of doctrine within each group, no matter how minute, is considered a salvation issue. For example, the use of instruments in the worship service for the Churches of Christ is often thought to put one's soul in grave jeopardy, while the lack of a discipleship partner in the Boston Movement would have the same effect. The right of private interpretation (which was one of the goals of nearly all of the early Restoration leaders) is virtually nonexistent in either group.
This approach to church doctrine is bolstered by a rationalistic view of scripture handed down directly from Alexander Campbell. He believed that if all approached the Bible properly (scientifically and rationally), all would come to the same conclusions. As a result, once doctrinal conclusions are reached in either body, it is assumed that (1) they are the only accurate and Godly conclusions from scripture, and (2) those who disagree are simply not approaching the Bible correctly or honestly. This sort of thinking has produced in both a "cart before the horse" theology which involves the "production of biblical proof-texts to support an already existing doctrinal framework."215
Baptism continues to be central to both bodies. The mainline Churches and the Boston Movement both consider adult immersion to be the only proper form of baptism, agree that it is for the remission of sins, believe a person must have a correct understanding of baptism for it to be valid (even though the "correct understandings" differ), and have made it the ultimate test of salvation. Just as Austin McGary's doctrine of baptism was built upon Campbell's teachings regarding baptism, so too is the Boston Movement's doctrine of baptism rooted in the teachings of the Churches of Christ. The Movement has added a new component to the Church of Christ teaching: one must be a disciple before baptism. Any imprecision in an understanding of that fact will automatically invalidate one's baptism.
The inescapable conclusion is that while both the mainline Churches of Christ and the Boston Movement would like to disavow each other and claim that they have nothing to do with each other, either doctrinally or cooperatively, they do in fact share a common doctrinal and attitudinal history that continues to permeate both religious bodies. Just as the Churches of Christ built upon and added to the teachings of the Restoration Movement--sometimes taking its teachings to extremes never intended by Restoration leaders--so too has the Boston Movement built upon and added to--also, often to extremes--the teachings of the Churches of Christ. Just as a sect may be described as a particularly intense version of its parent religion,216 so too is the Boston Movement, in many ways, a particularly intense version of the mainline Churches of Christ.
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1. This term has been used due to the key role of the Crossroads Church of Christ in the history of the Boston Movement. The term is a misnomer since the Crossroads and Boston Churches of Christ have now severed all ties and the Boston Movement has become its own distinct movement.
2. The September 12, 1993, issue of the Boston Bulletin announced that the Boston Movement was officially adopting the name the "International Churches of Christ." The movement within and without is still commonly referred to as the "Boston Movement."
3. Other schisms within the Churches of Christ have produced groups that maintain separate fellowships, but the non-institutional, non-Sunday school, and one cup groups make up 91% of all the congregations that maintain separate fellowships within the Churches of Christ. Mac Lynn, comp., Churches of Christ in the United States (Nashville: Gospel Advocate Co., 1991), ix.
4. In 1991, Mac Lynn stated that there were 1.2 million members of the Churches of Christ, with 13,000 congregations. Of this number, he wrote that 9,600 congregations could be counted as "mainline" congregations and not various splinter groups such as non-institution, non-Sunday school, one cup, or discipling. Unfortunately, Lynn does not indicate what he believes to be the total membership of the mainline churches alone. Flavil Yeakley, commenting on Lynn's 1980 statistical information for the Churches of Christ, stated that there were 10,165 mainline congregations (of 12,706 total Churches of Christ) and 965,439 mainline members (of 1,206,799 total members). Lynn indicates a 3.5% increase in membership in all of the Churches of Christ between 1980 and 1990. Taking the 1980 figure of 965,439 and adding a 3.5% increase gives a fair estimate of the membership of the mainline Churches as close to one million. Lynn, Churches of Christ in the United States, ix, xiii. Flavil R. Yeakley, Jr., Why Churches Grow, 3d ed., (Broken Arrow, OK: Christian Communications, Inc., 1979), iv-v.
5. Flavil R. Yeakley, ed., The Discipling Dilemma: A Study of the Discipling Movement Among Churches of Christ (Nashville: Gospel Advocate Co., 1988).
6. C. Leonard Allen, The Cruciform Church: Becoming a Cross-Shaped People in a Secular World, 2d ed., (Abilene, TX: ACU Press, 1990), 5-6.
7. C. Leonard Allen and Richard T. Hughes, Discovering Our Roots: The Ancestry of Churches of Christ (Abilene, TX: ACU Press, 1988); C. Leonard Allen, Richard T. Hughes, and Michael R. Weed, The Worldly Church: A Call for Biblical Renewal, 2d ed., (Abilene, TX: ACU Press, 1991); Allen, The Cruciform Church; C. Leonard Allen, Distant Voices: Discovering a Forgotten Past for a Changing Church (Abilene, TX: ACU Press, 1993).
8. Walt Yancey, Endangered Heritage: An Examination of Church of Christ Doctrine, rev. ed., (Joplin, MO: College Press Publishing Company, 1991).
9. Martin Edward Wooten, "The Boston Movement as a 'Revitalization Movement'" (D.Min. thesis, Harding Graduate School of Religion, 1990).
10. Jerry Jones, What Does the Boston Movement Teach? vols. 1-3 (Bridgeton, MO: By the author, 12880 Bittick, 1991-93).
11. Flavil R. Yeakley, ed., The Discipling Dilemma: A Study of the Discipling Movement Among Churches of Christ (Nashville: Gospel Advocate Co., 1988).
12. Ibid., 23.
13. Robert D. Baird, Category Formation and the History of Religions (The Hague, Netherlands: Mouton and Co., 1971), 29-31.
14. Ibid., 33.
15. Allen and Hughes, Discovering Our Roots, 101.
16. Winfred Ernest Garrison and Alfred T. DeGroot, The Disciples of Christ: A History (St. Louis: Christian Board of Publication, 1948), 84-85.
17. James DeForest Murch, Christians Only: A History of the Restoration Movement (Cincinnati: Standard Publishing, 1962), 32.
18. Richard M. Tristano, The Origins of the Restoration Movement: An Intellectual History (Atlanta: The Glenmary Research Center, 1988), 42. Garrison and DeGroot, The Disciples of Christ, 86.
19. Garrison and DeGroot, The Disciples of Christ, 88.
20. Murch, Christians Only, 32.
21. Quoted in Garrison and DeGroot, The Disciples of Christ, 90.
22. It should be noted that the exact nature of this unity is under question. Garrison and DeGroot claim that these separate movements were merely aware of each other and viewed each other as waging a common cause. More contemporary works such as Tristano's seem to indicate a closer working and organizational relationship. It is difficult to know the exact nature of the relationship between the various groups since most of the major Restoration histories give varying accounts.
23. Tristano, The Origins of the Restoration Movement, 42.
24. Some Restorationists give little attention to the legacy of the Christian Connection since it followed its own path as early as 1831. Even so, it is evident that the Christian Connection played an important part in Restoration history, not only for espousing Restorationist ideals years before other Restorationist leaders did, but for the significant influence these earlier movements had on the thought of Barton Stone, particularly in the area of Christian unity. Tristano, The Origins of the Restoration Movement, 42.
25. Henry E. Webb, In Search of Christian Unity: A History of the Restoration Movement (Cincinnati: Standard Publishing, 1990), 51.
26. Ibid., 55.
27. Garrison and DeGroot, The Disciples of Christ, 108.
28. The document is dated June 28th, 1804, and both Stone and Richard McNemar have been credited with its authorship, although it is signed by four other leaders of the Springfield Presbytery as "witnesses." Murch, Christians Only, 88.
29. I have used a copy of "The Last Will and Testament of the Springfield Presbytery" found in Charles A. Young, Historical Documents Advocating Christian Union (Chicago: The Christian Century Co., 1904), 19-26.
30. Allen and Hughes, Discovering Our Roots, 104.
31. Ibid., 104-05.
32. Garrison and DeGroot, The Disciples of Christ, 112, 115.
33. Ibid., 129.
34. The division centered on the question of whether members of the church should swear an oath to adhere to the "religion presently professed in this realm." Those who supported the oath became known as Burghers.
35. This division developed over the issue of the power of civil magistrates in religion.
36. Robert Richardson, Memoirs of Alexander Campbell, vol. 1, (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, 1868), 55-57; reprint, (Indianapolis: Religious Book Service, n.d.).
37. Tristano, The Origins of the Restoration Movement, 68. A full accounting of the proceedings is supplied by William Herbert Hanna in Thomas Campbell: Seceder and Christian Union Advocate (Cincinnati: The Standard Publishing Company, 1935; reprint (Joplin, MO: College Press, n.d.).
38. Richardson, Memoirs of Alexander Campbell, 1:236. This motto still stands as the hallmark axiom of the mainline Churches of Christ.
39. Garrison and DeGroot, The Disciples of Christ: A History, 140.
40. Thomas Campbell, Declaration and Address of the Christian Association of Washington (Washington, PA: Brown and Sample, 1809) is the original edition. I use the edition printed by Young, Historical Documents Advocating Christian Union, 71-209.
41. Tristano, The Origins of the Restoration Movement, 70.
42. Tristano astutely breaks the document into four basic parts and therefore his summary will be used here. The Origins of the Restoration Movement, 70-71.
43. Campbell, Declaration and Address, in Young, Historical Documents Advocating Christian Union, 73-74.
44. Ibid., 107-08.
45. Ibid., 113-14.
46. Thomas Campbell's family had been shipwrecked off the Scots Hebrides in Scotland and were delayed ten months before reaching America.
47. Tristano, The Origins of the Restoration Movement, 76.
48. Allen and Hughes, Discovering Our Roots, 106.
49. Alexander Campbell, A Debate on Christian Baptism, Between the Rev. W. L. Maccalla and Alexander Campbell, in Which Are Interspersed and to Which Are Added Animadversions on Different Treatises on the Same Subject Written by Dr. J. Mason, Dr. S. Ralston, Rev. A. Pond, Rev. J. P. Campbell, Rector Armstrong, and the Rev. J. Walker (Buffalo: Campbell and Sala, 1824), 134- 35.
50. The Christian Baptist (1823-1830) and the Millennial Harbinger (1830-1863).
51. The figures for both groups have been variously estimated between 8,000 and 12,000 each. See Murch, Christians Only, 110, and Daniel G. Reid, et al., ed., Dictionary of Christianity in America (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1990), s.v. "Campbell, Alexander," by Terry L. Miethe.
52. As already mentioned, Barton Stone had joined with the Christian Connection in 1826, but the majority of those left when the union with the Disciples was proposed. Although there was mutual distrust between Campbell and the Christian Connection, the primary reason for the Connection's departure was their distrust of Campbell's formulation of baptism. They felt that Campbell's "baptism for remission of sins" was essentially baptismal regeneration, and this was unacceptable to them.
53. Tristano, The Origins of the Restoration Movement, 110.
54. Garrison and DeGroot have done the most accurate and comprehensive analysis of numerical growth for the period including and prior to 1860. Garrison and DeGroot, The Disciples of Christ, 324-329.
55. This nine-fold increase far exceeded the national population increase for the same period, from 12,866,000 in 1830 to 31,443,000 in 1860. Garrison and DeGroot, The Disciples of Christ, 327.
56. Alexander Campbell, Christian Baptist 3 (1826): 229.
57. Allen, The Cruciform Church, 25.
58. Tristano, The Origins of the Restoration Movement, 139.
59. Alexander Campbell, The Christian System: In Reference to the Union of Christians, and a Restoration of Primitive Christianity, as Plead in the Current Reformation, 4th ed., (Bethany, VA: McVay and Ewing, 1835; reprint, Cincinnati: H. S. Bosworth, 1866), 18.
60. Alexander Campbell, "Tracts for the People-No. III," Millennial Harbinger (1846): 13.
61. Tristano, The Origins of the Restoration Movement, 142.
62. Allen and Hughes, Discovering Our Roots, 108. Garrison and DeGroot, The Disciples of Christ, 404.
63. See Alexander Campbell's follow-up response to the Lunenburg Letter in "Any Christians Among the Sects?" Millennial Harbinger (1837): 561.
64. Campbell, "The Crisis," Millennial Harbinger (1835): 600.
65. Campbell, "Any Christians Among the Sects?" 564-65.
66. Barton Stone, "Desultory Remarks," Christian Messenger (December, 1836): 182.
67. Yancey, Endangered Heritage, 71.
69. Arthur V. Murrell, "The Effects of Exclusivism in the Separation of the Churches of Christ from the Christian Church" (Ph.D. diss., Vanderbilt University, 1972), 57.
70. Ibid., 80.
71. Ibid., 81.
72. See Alexander Campbell, "Any Christians Among Protestant Parties," Millennial Harbinger (1837): 411- 14.
73. F. G. Allen, "Silence Broken," Firm Foundation 3 (March 1886): 1.
74. Murrell, "The Effects of Exclusivism," 106, 108.
75. David Lipscomb, "The Office of Baptism," Gospel Advocate 39 (December 20, 1897): 820-21; in Murrell, "The Effects of Exclusivism," 107-08.
76. T. W. Caskey, "Re-Baptism in Texas and Arkansas," Christian-Evangelist 31 (October 11, 1894): 649.
77. Murrell, "The Effects of Exclusivism," 110.
78. Lipscomb, "Can a Person Serve God in a Sect?" Gospel Advocate 20 (October 31, 1878): 680.
79. Murrell, "The Effects of Exclusivism," 110.
80. Allen and Hughes, Discovering Our Roots, 109.
81. Webb, In Search of Christian Unity, 407.
82. See David Edwin Harrell, Jr., "The Sectional Origins of the Churches of Christ," Journal of Southern History 30 (August 1964): 261-277.
83. Murrell, "The Effects of Exclusivism."
84. Russel N. Squire, Where is the Bible Silent: Essays on the Campbell-Stone Religious Restoration of America (Los Angeles: Southland Press, Inc., 1973), 22.
85. David Lipscomb, "The 'Churches of Christ' and the 'Disciples of Christ,'" Gospel Advocate 49 (July 18, 1907): 457.
86. United States Department of Commerce and Labor, Bureau of the Census, Religious Bodies, 1906 (United States Printing Office, 1910), 236.
87. Yeakley, Why Churches Grow, 5.
88. Robert Meyers, "Between Two Worlds," Voices of Concern, ed. Robert Meyers (St. Louis: Mission Messenger, 1966), 251.
89. Flavil Yeakley had originally claimed (in Why Churches Grow, 1) that the Churches of Christ were the fastest growing religious body in America for the 1945- 65 period. Yeakley states that, based on current available information, if he were rewriting the book today he would say that among the larger religious bodies of the period, the Churches of Christ were one of the fastest growing. Telephone conversation with Flavil Yeakley, 15 December 1993.
90. Murch, Christians Only, 310.
91. Russ Dudrey, "Restoration Hermeneutics Among the Churches of Christ: Why Are We at an Impasse?" Restoration Quarterly 30 (1988): 20.
92. Carl L. Etter, "In Search of Freedom," Voices of Concern, 107. Although this book was published in 1966, Carl Etter's essay was taken from an article he wrote in 1945 for the West Coast Christian.
93. Dudrey, "Restoration Hermeneutics Among the Churches of Christ," 20.
94. J. Gordon Melton, The Encyclopedia of American Religions, 2 vols., (Wilmington, NC: McGrath Publishing Comp., 1978), 1:406-08.
95. Robert E. Hooper, A Distinct People: A History of the Churches of Christ in the 20th Century (West Monroe, LA: Howard Publishing Co., 1993), 48.
96. Murch, Christians Only, 310. Some have speculated that there may be hundreds of small schisms within the Churches of Christ today. In 1991 Lynn listed five sub- bodies of the one-cuppers alone. Lynn, Churches of Christ in the United States, xiii.
97. Etter, "In Search of Freedom," Voices of Concern, 107.
98. "Unity schism" is paraphrased from John B. Boles, The Great Revival: The Origins of the Southern Mind, 1787-1805 (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1972), 147-63; paraphrased by Dudrey, "Restoration Hermeneutics Among the Churches of Christ," 20.
99. Michael R. Weed, "A Tradition at Risk," Christian Studies (Spring, 1991): 52.
100. Allen, Hughes, and Weed, The Worldly Church, 62.
101. Yancey, Endangered Heritage, 37-38. Although Yancey is a contemporary author, the unwritten creed that he writes about was even more prominent in the 1960s and 70s than at the time of his writing in 1987.
102. Laurie L. Hibbett, "A Time to Speak," Voices of Concern, 58.
103. J. Harvey Dykes (by the author, 1944).
104. Allen and Hughes, Discovering Our Roots, 109-10.
105. Allen, Hughes, and Weed, The Worldly Church, 32.
106. Yancey, Endangered Heritage, 220-21.
107. Martha Armstrong noted in 1966 that she felt this had been the position of the Churches of Christ since at least 1932. "The Heart Has its Reasons," Voices of Concern, 230.
108. Robert O. Fife, David Edwin Harrell, Jr., and Ronald E. Osborn, Disciples and the Church Universal, The Reed Lectures for 1966 (Nashville: Disciples of Christ Historical Society, 1967), 35.
109. J. D. Thomas, We Be Brethren: A Study in Biblical Interpretation (Abilene, TX: Biblical Research Press, 1958), 6.
110. Rubel Shelly, Liberalism's Threat to the Faith (Memphis: Simple Studies Publishing Company, 1972), 48.
111. Thomas, We Be Brethren, 13.
112. Allen, The Cruciform Church, 33.
113. Allen, Hughes, and Weed, The Worldly Church, 62.
115. Leslie G. Thomas, What the Bible Teaches-The Answers to Your Questions, vol. 1, (Austin, TX: Firm Foundation Publishing House, 1961), 32.
116. Shelly, Liberalism's Threat to the Faith, 64.
117. Douglas Leon Hall, "Authoritarian Theology in the Boston Church of Christ: A Short-Circuit of Christianity" (M.A. thesis, Abilene Christian University, 1991), 14.
118. Yeakley, The Discipling Dilemma, 70.
119. Hooper, A Distinct People, 289.
120. F. O. Howell, "Pointing the Way to Peace," Firm Foundation 68 (23 January 1951): 4-5.
121. Dan Reddick, "What About Balance?" Firm Foundation 83 (8 November 1966): 707.
122. Johnny Ramsey, "The Youth Rebellion," Firm Foundation 83 (18 October 1966): 661.
123. Rick Rowland, "The History of Campus Ministry," Campus Journal 32 (Summer, 1990): 7-8.
124. Robert Coleman, The Master Plan of Evangelism (Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1963).
125. Chuck Lucas, "Soul Talks," At the Crossroads, 14 October 1979, 1, 3; quoted in Wooten, "The Boston Movement as a 'Revitalization Movement,'" 85-86.
126. Wooten, "The Boston Movement as a 'Revitalization Movement,'" 86.
127. Ibid., 46.
128. See the following articles which appeared in the Gainesville Sun on 17 February 1979: Bob Arndorfer, "Crossroads: Its Dramatic Growth Is Accompanied by Reputation of Aggressiveness, Mind Control," B1-B2; Bob Arndorfer, "Commitment Exists, Pressure Does Not, Says Lucas," B1-B2; Maryfran Johnson, "Ex-Crossroader Assists People In Leaving Religious Groups," B1-B2. See also Jeanne Pugh, "Fundamentalist Church Gathers Campus Converts . . . and Critics," St. Petersburg Times, 21 July 1979, 1, 4.
129. See the following articles which appeared in the Gospel Advocate in 1979: T. Pierce Brown, "Cultism in the Church," (22 February 1979): 114,121; Ira North, "Comments from the Editor," (24 May 1979): 331-35; Harvey Floyd, "The 'Total Commitment' Evangelistic Movement," (15 March 1979): 161, 168-69.
130. Wooten, "The Boston Movement as a 'Revitalization Movement,'" 86-87.
131. Jerry Jones, What Does the Boston Movement Teach? vol. 2, 8-10. In August 1990, the Crossroads Church of Christ issued a statement of repentance for past abuses in an attempt to once again be accepted by mainstream Churches of Christ. Glover Shipp, "Crossroads Seeks Restoration," The Christian Chronicle 47 (August 1990), 1, 4.
132. Wooten, "The Boston Movement as a 'Revitalization Movement,'" 43.
133. Kip McKean, "Revolution Through Restoration," UpsideDown 1 (April 1992), 6.
135. Daniel Terris, "Come, All Ye Faithful," Boston Globe Magazine, 8 June 1986, 42.
136. Wooten, "The Boston Movement as a 'Revitalization Movement,'" 49.
137. McKean, "Revolution Through Restoration," 13.
138. Ibid., 8-9.
139. Ibid., 9.
140. Randy McKean, "Glory: 1993 World Missions Leadership Conference Report," Boston Bulletin, 12 September 1993, 2.
141. Flavil R. Yeakley, Jr., "Church Growth Research Concerning the Discipling Movement Among Churches of Christ," in The Discipling Dilemma, 1-2.
142. Don E. Vinzant, "Roots of the Modern Discipling Movement," in The Discipling Dilemma, 130ff.
143. Wooten, "The Boston Movement as a 'Revitalization Movement,'" 64-67.
144. The Elders, Fishinger and Kenny Rds. Church of Christ, OH, to Chuck Lucas, 30 November 1981; in Wooten, "The Boston Movement as a 'Revitalization Movement,'" 59.
145. Vinzant, "Roots of the Modern Discipling Movement," in The Discipling Dilemma, 137.
146. Tom Jones and Roger Lamb, "You Might Be Fighting God," Discipleship Magazine, Spring/Summer 1991, 22.
147. See Maurice Barnett's list of what he believes to be influences upon the Crossroads and Boston Movements in The Discipling Movement: A Study of the Neo- Crossroads Philosophy among Churches of Christ, 2d ed., (Phoenix: By the author, 3928 West Colter St., 1989), 2- 5. Vinzant gives a more generalized study of the historical influences of discipling in "Roots of the Modern Discipling Movement," in The Discipling Dilemma, 123-40.
148. Ibid., 137.
149. McKean, "Revolution Through Restoration," 12-13.
150. The leadership of Kip McKean is a point of some contention with members of the Boston Movement. Many members and leaders of the movement often claim that Kip McKean is not in charge of the movement and does not make decisions unilaterally for the Movement. All ex- member accounts, McKean's own statements, and the available evidence overwhelmingly point to the fact that the Boston Movement is, in effect, McKean's movement and that while he no doubt relies on the advice and input of his underlings, it is McKean who runs the Movement.
151. McKean, "Revolution Through Restoration," 8. The "one church, one city" doctrine may have been adopted from the teachings of Watchman Nee and his "Local Church" Movement which flourished in China between the 1920s and 1950s.
152. The Bible Talk Leader will be male unless it is an all female group.
153. Wooten, "The Boston Movement as a 'Revitalization Movement,'" 70.
154. Andrew Giambarba, Bent on Conquest (Boston: Boston Church of Christ Printing, 1988), 7.
155. McKean, "Revolution Through Restoration," 8.
156. Al Baird, "Authority and Submission," part 5, Boston Bulletin, 4 October 1987.
157. Kip McKean, "Discipleship Partners," 1988 Boston Leadership Conference, Audio Cassette.
158. Scott Green, "Discipleship Partners," 1988 Boston Leadership Conference, Audio Cassette.
159. McKean, "Discipleship Partners," Audio Cassette.
160. Eric Mansfield, "How to be an Awesome Disciple," Chicago Fire, 14 May 1989.
161. Marty Fuqua, sermon at the San Diego Church of Christ, 18 September 1992, Audio Cassette, quoted in Jerry Jones, What Does the Boston Movement Teach? vol. 3, 21.
162. Al Baird, "Authority and Submission," part 7, Boston Bulletin, 18 October 1987.
163. Joe Garmon, "The Attitude of Christ Jesus, Part I: The Call To Be Like Jesus," Boston Bulletin, 25 September 1988.
164. Kip McKean, Reconstruction of the Denver Church of Christ, May 1988, Audio Cassette; quoted in Jones, What Does the Boston Movement Teach? vol. 1, 9.
165. Kip McKean, "Why Do You Resist the Spirit," Boston Seminar 1987, Audio Cassette.
166. Joe Garmon, Reconstruction of the Brockton House Church, Fall 1988, Audio Cassette; quoted in Jones, What Does the Boston Movement Teach? vol. 1, 7-8.
167. Al Baird, "A New Look at Authority," UpsideDown, March 1992, 19.
168. See Jones, What Does the Boston Movement Teach? vol. 2, 11 and Wooten, "The Boston Movement as a 'Revitalization Movement,'" 95.
169. Daniel Eng, "Open Letter from Daniel Eng," in Jones, What Does the Boston Movement Teach? vol. 3, 75.
170. Calls were from July to December in 1992. Figures were released by the Cult Awareness Network in April 1993; in Charles S. Clark, "Cults in America," CQ Researcher 3 (7 May 1993): 390.
171. Barnett, The Discipling Movement, 54.
172. Kip McKean, "The Super Church," World Missions Leadership Conference, July 1992, Audio Cassette.
173. Mark Smith, "Lessons Learned From the Crossroads Controversy," Gospel Advocate 132 (October 1990): 54.
174. Jones, What Does the Boston Movement Teach? vol. 2, 39.
175. F. H. (Buddy) Martin, Multiplying Ministries Movement: A Six-Part Informative Lecture Series (Houston: Memorial Church of Christ, 1988), 29.
176. McKean, "Revolution Through Restoration," 11.
177. The belief that it is wrong to use instruments in a worship service is not as strongly held in the Boston Movement as in the Churches of Christ. My conversations with current members of the Movement lead me to believe that within a short period, the use of instruments will be an acceptable practice.
178. Joe Garmon, "Reconstruction of the Brockton House Church," Fall 1988, Audio Cassette; quoted in Jones, What Does the Boston Movement Teach? vol. 1, 28.
179. Gordon Ferguson, "Progressive Revelation, Part IV: Disciple's Baptism," Boston Bulletin, 29 May 1988.
180. Tom Brown, "What Kind of Man Is This?" San Diego Conference, 7 January 1988, Audio Cassette; quoted in Jones, What Does the Boston Movement Teach? vol. 1, 26.
181. Marty Wooten, "The Remnant Controversy," Discipleship Magazine, Spring 1988, 5.
182. I have yet to communicate with an ex-member or read an account by an ex-member who was not told that if he left the Movement he would be leaving God.
183. Carlene B. Hill, "Church Grows Amidst Controversy," New England Church Life, December 1987, 10.
184. Douglas Jacoby, ed., Shining Like Stars, 2d ed., (London: London Church of Christ, 1990), 234.
185. Giambarba, Bent on Conquest, preface, 2.
186. Jones and Lamb, "You Might Be Fighting God," 22.
187. Randy McKean, ed., Making Disciples, rev. ed., (Woburn, MA: Kingdom Media Resources, 1992).
188. Jones and Lamb, "You Might Be Fighting God," 18.
189. Allen, The Cruciform Church, 6.
190. Jones and Lamb, "You Might Be Fighting God," 19- 20.
191. Ibid., 21.
192. Ibid., 22.
193. Campbell, "Any Christians Among Protestant Parties," 411.
194. McKean, "Revolution Through Restoration," 7.
195. See Jacoby, ed., Shining Like Stars; McKean, ed., Making Disciples; and Tom Jones, ed., Deep Convictions (Woburn, MA: Kingdom Media Resources).
196. Weed, "A Tradition at Risk," 52.
197. McKean, "Revolution Through Restoration," 14.
198. Kip McKean, "McKean Becomes Missions Evangelist, Brown to Lead Boston," Boston Bulletin, 26 June 1988.
199. See Gordon Ferguson, "Progressive Revelation, Part I: The Concept Explained," Boston Bulletin, 1 May 1988, for a full explanation of this concept.
200. Gordon Ferguson, "Progressive Revelation, Part IV: Disciple's Baptism," Boston Bulletin, 29 May 1988.
201. Kip McKean, "Perfectly United," 1987 Women's Retreat (Boston), Audio Cassette; quoted in Jones, What Does the Boston Movement Teach? vol. 1, 25-26.
202. Wooten, "The Boston Movement as a 'Revitalization Movement,'" 186.
203. The New International Version is used here due to its popularity in the Movement.
204. Tom Jones, "Was My Baptism Valid?" unpublished article, Huntsville, AL, 8 May 1987, 2.
205. The exact dating on this issue is in question. Jerry Jones believes that this new teaching was never propagated prior to June 1985 (What Does the Boston Movement Teach? vol. 3, 75). It is not clear at what point in time converts baptized within the Movement were considered to have a correct understanding of baptism that would ensure their salvation.
206. See J. Paul Pollard's analysis in Jones, What Does the Boston Movement Teach? vol. 2, 47-49.
207. Wooten, "The Boston Movement as a 'Revitalization Movement,'" 186.
208. Jones, What Does the Boston Movement Teach? vol. 3, 13.
209. See the sections on baptism in all three volumes of Jerry Jones' What Does the Boston Movement Teach?
210. McKean, "Perfectly United;" quoted in Jones, What Does the Boston Movement Teach? vol. 1, 26.
211. Al Baird, "Go and Baptize Disciples Only," 1987 class in Boston, Audio Cassette; quoted in Jones, What Does the Boston Movement Teach? vol. 1, 25.
212. It should be noted that while the Boston Movement seems quite meticulous about keeping accurate figures as to baptisms, attendance, growth, etc., the practice of rebaptisms has skewed many of the growth calculations after 1987, since the Movement often lists the rebaptisms of an established member along with the baptisms of new members, thereby artificially inflating the number of new converts for any given time period.
213. Allen, Distant Voices, 72. Summarized from Robert Richardson, "Reformation-No. IV," Millennial Harbinger (1847): 503-509.
214. Douglas Leon Hall, "Authoritarian Theology in the Boston Church of Christ: A Short-Circuit of Christianity" (M.A. thesis, Abilene Christian University, 1991).
215. Graham N. Stanton, "Presuppositions in New Testament Criticism," in New Testament Interpretation, Essays on Principles and Methods, ed., I. Howard Marshall (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdman's Publishing Company, 1977), 62.
216. Robert S. Ellwood and Harry B. Partin, Religious and Spiritual Groups in Modern America, 2d ed., (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1988), 27.
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