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Posted by Dr. Keith Stanglin on June 22, 2017 at 9:30 AM

From the early days of the Restoration Movement, Churches of Christ and Christian Churches distinguished themselves from their near neighbors on the American frontier with a noticeably robust ecclesiology, reflected in, among other things, the theology and practice of baptism.  Alexander Campbell and Walter Scott’s “high” view of baptism stood out in the context of the Second Great Awakening, wherein salvation often came to be connected to a subjective experience of the Holy Spirit that was externally manifest in ways other than baptism. 

For evangelists like Charles Finney, someone could respond by approaching the “anxious seat.”  All of this took place apart from water baptism.  Campbell’s association of believers’ baptism with salvation was denigrated by most evangelicals as “baptismal regeneration” and seen as a regression to salvation by works.  In the eyes of many evangelicals today, baptism “for the remission of sins” is still regarded as a false teaching that undermines justification by grace through faith.

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Topics: About Austin Grad, Church History, Restoration Movement, Christian Studies Press, Baptism

Technology, Media, and Preaching: A Review of Why Johnny Can’t Preach

Posted by Dr. Todd Hall on May 12, 2016 at 9:30 AM

Aldous Huxley’s dystopian novel Brave New World portrays a populace subjugated not through force, but instead through sensuous, mindless pleasure and entertainment. Unlike Orwell’s vision in 1984 of book-banning committees and the like, Huxley portrays a society overrun by trivial “information” which crowds out any would-be subversive material—including the humanities, and of course the Bible. Ultimately, unrest in the population is controlled through a highly structured delivery of entertainment and a drug called “soma,” which creates a mood of complete indifference. Writing in 1985, Neil Postman quoted Robert MacNeil’s observation that “Television is the soma of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World,” to which Postman adds “Big brother turns out to be Howdy Doody.” (Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business [New York: Penguin Books, 1985], 111. 

Though not concerned with totalitarian rule, T. David Gordon’s book Why Johnny Can’t Preach: The Media Have Shaped the Messengers provides further evidence that Huxley’s vision of the West’s future is correct. The sheer weight of triviality in modern American discourse—from so-called news programs to the vapid yet ubiquitous “reality” shows—has crushed the ability to address the deeper, more important questions of life. Unlike other books which simply present the problem, Gordon offers constructive advice for ministers hoping to speak a word of hope in a culture of indifference.

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Topics: About Austin Grad, On-Topic Today, Teaching Moment, Christian Studies Press

A New Book on the Lord’s Prayer

Posted by Dr. Keith Stanglin on November 19, 2015 at 9:00 AM

 A former Roman Catholic, who was a member of the Church of Christ where I once served as a minister, expressed to me his appreciation for our church’s respect for Scripture and for the simplicity of the worship assembly.  But I remember one Sunday, while speaking with him in the building’s foyer, he asked me about something that truly puzzled him.  He wanted to know why we didn’t say the Lord’s Prayer.  After all, it’s a biblical prayer, one that Jesus taught his disciples to pray.  So why haven’t Churches of Christ traditionally recited the Lord’s Prayer?  

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Topics: About Austin Grad, Scripture Passage, Christian Studies Press

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