I have been to one of my favorite seminars. It lasted over two months. It came in book form; Things Unseen by Leonard Allen. Wow! Although the book came out in 2004, I'm just now getting to it. What a help.
One of the things that drew me into the Church of Christ fellowship was the heroic vision of two men; Alexander Campbell and Barton W. Stone. Mistakenly, I assumed those two to be flawlessly pure in their attempts to take us back to the Bible. Too, I believed the contamination of their efforts came later by various church leaders. Things Unseen exposes the polluted, though unconscious, approach Campbell and Stone had as the originals. This explains much of their fruit; division, suspicion, and lack of discipleship.
Leonard does a superb job of plowing up against the corn. Remarkably, this scholar writes in terms even I can understand. How he can level formidable charges against us without harshness could only be explained by his possession of the Spirit of Christ. While he succeeds in revealing our flaws, he equally offers the solution; we must shift from Biniterian (Father/Son) to Trinitarian (Father/Son/Holy Spirit) in our theology.
Not only is he fully aware of where we have been and as well as are, he has his pulse on where we are going. The dilemmas touched on here, along with others, will continue to press and swell as Churches of Christ move further into this new era. As the pressures and tensions mount, many traditionalists will retrench further into the comforting confines of their traditional doctrinal system with its stark exclusivism. Progressive leaders with a high tolerance for tension will continue to work creatively with the tradition, attempting by fits and starts to shape it into something new. Between these two groups will be a steadily shifting, increasingly diverse, generally affluent middle group, loyal to the tradition but uncomfortable with its harder features and key parts of its traditional theology. A sizeable and motley group of others, weary of the growing tensions, will simply let go and find themselves free falling in the grace of God and, willy nilly, into the church catholic.
I find one disappointment in Leonard's book which I've decided to point out. It ended.
Whether an aged church leader or a young pup, Things Unseen will clear away some brush and weeds we perpetually face in sorting through what we believe.
I highly recommend you contact firstname.lastname@example.org and get the book now.