The Church of Christ, at this present hour, is host to a multitude of frustrated and disenchanted ministers and scholars. From the inside of ministry, the veneer of our movement disappears and the blemishes take center-stage. Discouragement is common. In response to this state of affairs, we asked an eclectic cast of authors, ministers, and scholars to answer the question, “Why did you stay within our movement?” The result is a diverse set of answers which we hope will create some hope for the future of our people.
Table of Contents
Preface, Scot McKnight
Introduction, Benjamin J. Williams
I Stayed for the Restoration Plea, Everett Ferguson
I Stayed for the Love of Scripture, Jeremie Beller
I Stayed for the Christ in the Church of Christ, Matthew Dowling
I Stayed for the Charity, Steven C. Hunter
I Stayed for the Water, Grant B. Sullivan
I Stayed for the Table, Scott Elliott
I Stayed for the Singing, Benjamin J. Williams
I Stayed for the Wild Democracy, John Mark Hicks
I Stayed for the Wedding, Chris Altrock
I Stayed for the Light, Ron Highfield
I Stayed to Bloom Where I Am Planted, John Wilson
I Stayed for the Inheritance, Chris Rosser
I see a new spirit poured out among many Churches of Christ leaders, preachers, and congregants: a spirit of casting aside that idealized image and learning to live into the reality of what devoted, dedicated Christians actually do accomplish this side of glory. It’s not the ideal, but it is at times breathtaking. It is not perfect but the very imperfections at times reveal the glory of the power of the gospel at work in the Churches of Christ. It is not glory itself, but it is at times glorious.
This book is a collection of stories of those upon whom this new spirit is being poured out. Yes, it is the Spirit of God awakening many in the Churches of Christ that God wants faithfulness, not perfection; that God wants biblically-based churches that never become heaven itself; that God wants people to stick it out with one another. For in the sticking it out with one another the true nature of the church becomes manifest to our world: ordinary people following Jesus together this side of glory who witness to the grace of God both by their obedience and their confessions of sins.
This book, then, told me the deepest and truest story I’ve seen yet of the Churches of Christ.
Julius R. Mantey Professor of New Testament, Northern Seminary
About the Author
Benjamin J. Williams began preaching as a teenager for churches across rural Oklahoma. His education includes a B.S. in Astrophysics from the University of Oklahoma and the M.Div. from Oklahoma Christian’s Graduate School of Theology. He has recently been accepted to begin doctoral work in Philosophy and Apologetics at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Benjamin is a pulpit minister who works work with the Glenpool Church of Christ in Glenpool, OK. He is long-time blogger and more recently the co-host of the Low Church Lectionarian Podcast.
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