Books Of Value For Church Libraries

Standing For Their Faith: A History of Churches of Christ in Tennessee from 1900 to 1950 by William Woodson

David R. Kenney

Someone once told me it was good that Christians had never heard of Alexander Campbell. This person was attempting to demonstrate that people are going to the Bible, rather than the restoration leaders, for authority in religion. While I understand the point, it is short sighted. It appears we are upon another division on the use of mechanical instruments of music in worship. How has this resurfaced? My response is the lack of emphasizing the history of the Restoration Movement. A generation has arisen similar to the ones in the book of Judges—they were not taught the lessons of the past and are repeating the mistakes of prior generations.

Standing For Their Faith, is a good reference work for the major challenges confronted in the state of Tennessee during the first half of the 20th century. The division between churches of Christ and the Christian Church was recognized in the U. S. Census of 1906. While the lines of division had been settled, the fight for the truth was still raging. The issues of this period not only include instrumental music but also the Missionary Society and Premillennialism. 

In relation to instrumental music, one of the statements quoted in the book is from H. Leo Boles at one of the Unity Meetings between the Christian Church and churches of Christ in Indianapolis in 1938. His speech included the point that the Christian Church, not churches of Christ, left the NT pattern: 

“Brethren, this is where the churches of Christ stand today; it is where unity may be found now; it is where you left the New Testament; it is where you left the churches of Christ, and it is where you can find them when you come back. On this ground and teaching, and only on this, can scriptural unity be had now; on these basic principles of the New Testament Christian unity may always be had.” [Woodson, p. 83]

Apparently there are a number who want to compromise the NT pattern and fellowship religious bodies that use the instrument. In fact, some say the only basis for fellowship is the belief that Jesus is the Son of God. There are several groups that are clearly not to be fellowshipped that believe Jesus is the Son of God, e.g., the Mormons. This road was the same traveled by those of 1906, and it should be a warning to those who desire to pursue the same path. 

William Woodson holds a doctorate in Church History. He has served as the head of the Bible Department at Freed-Hardeman College and Dean of Biblical Studies at David Lipscomb University. This book is an excellent primer on the background of the past events that will equip us to deal with future challenges on the horizon. -29 Flora Dr., Bedford, OH 44146-2011. For previous book reviews, visit

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