A revolution has been occurring in churches of Christ. It's presence is strong in the pulpit, as evidenced by the blogs and facebook posts of my preaching colleagues. The revolution has trickled down into the pews (or chairs), but isn't nearly as widespread there. Or maybe it is, but fear of conflict and strained relationships keep many in the closet. So a host of frustrated preachers have waited many years for the rest of the church to catch up.
This revolution rejects the past legalism and sectarianism that sadly characterized our movement for many years and still does in some places. The revolution is critical of a hermeneutic that employs command, example, inference, and arguments from silence as the last word on establishing biblical authority. It refuses to read the New Testament as a legal text, pattern, blueprint, or checklist recognizing that the literature is far richer and more multi-nuanced than that. The revolution is not a rejection of biblical authority, but an approach to establishing it that respects the diversity of genres, cultural contexts, and the occasional nature of the New Testament documents.
I first heard warnings about the so-called "New Hermeneutic" back in the early 90s. While a gross misnomer, the term was a label given to "change agents" who employed a non-legalistic reading of the Scriptures. From the start of the controversy I felt that I had come into the Stone-Campbell Movement for such a time as this. I accepted the legalistic and sectarian approach in the earliest days of my Christian walk, but soon rejected the approach once I learned to think for myself. It has been a most liberating shift.
Perhaps "Reformation" is a better word than "Revolution." Every movement, like a family who lives in the same house for decades, should periodically sift through accumulated clutter and discard excess baggage. In churches, this is called Reformation, the term most commonly used by the Campbells to describe their nascent movement.
This blog began over seven years ago as yet another voice echoing the call to reform. Since then I have posted only sporadically about whatever topic struck my fancy at the moment. My blog traffic and reader interaction has gradually suffered.
So I now return to the beginning as I chronicle the journey of a nonconformist. I not only promote nonconformity to secularism, but to traditionalism, legalism, and sectarianism. Some changes will include posts that are more autobiographical, shorter posts, more frequent posts, a more accessible prose, fewer protracted series, and hopefully more attention to spiritual formation. So join me as one more voice heralds the reforming of hermeneutics, vocational ministry, and our own lives.