The Christian Studies Blog


The Resurgence of Calvinism

Posted by Dr. Keith Stanglin on January 19, 2017 at 9:30 AM

In 2009, Time magazine called “New Calvinism” one of the “10 ideas changing the world right now.”  This resurgence was famously documented in Collin Hansen’s book from 2008, Young, Restless, Reformed: A Journalist’s Journey with the New Calvinists.  The movement has certainly changed the face of evangelicalism.  Take, for example, the largest Protestant denomination in this country, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC).   


Pictured: Jonathan Edwards

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Topics: Restoration Movement, Calvinism

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Posted by Dr. Keith Stanglin on June 21, 2016 at 9:30 AM

Historically, outsiders to Churches of Christ have noticed the great unity and uniformity of faith and practice that characterize our fellowship. As Frank Mead put it, in his classic Handbook of Denominations in the United States, “Since the status of [their] institutions is unofficial, none authorized to speak for the entire church, their conformity in ideas and teachings is all the more remarkable.”  That is, despite the lack of institutional, denominational superstructure or adherence to a written confessional standard, Churches of Christ have traditionally maintained a surprisingly strong sense of identity.

This common identity is exemplified in the common observation that, until the late twentieth century, one could walk into almost any Church of Christ and predict exactly what would be done and said.

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Topics: About Austin Grad, Church History, Restoration Movement

Family Business in Australia

Posted by Dr. Keith Stanglin on June 2, 2016 at 9:30 AM

I recently had the opportunity to travel for the first time to Australia to look after some “family business.” 

First of all, the “spiritual family business.”  I was invited to Melbourne to teach a course for the Klesis Bible Program.  Klesis, under the capable direction of Benny Tabalujan and Alan Rowley, is an organization dedicated to serving and supporting Churches of Christ throughout Australia, southeast Asia, and beyond.  Among the many partners and consultants involved with Klesis is Austin Grad’s own resident Aussie, Allan McNicol. 

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Topics: Personal, Church History, Restoration Movement

Liturgy, a Heartfelt Script

Posted by Dr. Keith Stanglin on January 21, 2016 at 9:30 AM

Most Churches of Christ are accustomed to what might be called a “low-church” style of worship.  The phrase “low-church” can mean a variety of things, but it certainly includes the idea that words should be, or at least should appear to be, unscripted.  Prayers especially should be extemporaneous.  The assumption is that a written prayer that is read cannot be heartfelt.  Is this right?

The impulse in Churches of Christ to shun a scripted liturgy is one that goes back to the Protestant Reformation.  At the dawn of the Reformation, the worst liturgical displays of the Western Church featured priests mumbling prayers from a Latin script that the congregation often, and the priest himself occasionally, could not understand.  Reformers, following Paul (1 Corinthians 14), insisted that the word should be intelligibly spoken for all to hear and understand.  So they all eventually translated their liturgies into the vernacular.

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Topics: Church History, Restoration Movement, Worship

Retrieval Theology and the Restoration Movement

Posted by Dr. Keith Stanglin on August 25, 2015 at 9:00 AM

What is a “restorationist?”  Am I a restorationist?  Are you one?  I don’t know how many members of Churches of Christ actually self-designate as “restorationists.”  My guess is, not many.  I generally try to avoid the term.  It’s a cumbersome word that is not self-explanatory to most Christians and, even worse, may be used to pigeon-hole and to dismiss the whole group as “primitivist” and therefore irrelevant. 

To clarify, “restorationist” objectively describes the churches spawned by the so-called “Restoration Movement” (commonly called the “Stone-Campbell Movement” these days, though I have misgivings about the historical accuracy and propriety of that term).  These churches and Christians sought to restore the faith and practice of the first-century church.

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Topics: Teaching Moment, Church History, Restoration Movement

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