Preserving Resources

Check old boxes, trunks, attics, and shelves . . .

Bruce Daugherty

“The younger generation of the great household of faith have little knowledge of the vast amount of literature that has been left to them by the pioneers of the Restoration.” Fred Rowe, publisher of the Christian Leader, wrote this in the preface of J. W. Monser’s Types and Metaphors of the Bible. It rings as true today as when it was originally written in 1936. One of the great blessings of making a study of the Restoration movement is to become acquainted with a great many articles, books, and tracts which can aid and assist Bible students today; but that help is only possible if those resources are preserved and not lost through carelessness or indifference.

The purpose of this article is to ask readers to check old boxes and trunks in attics or to search forgotten dusty shelves and preserve these valuable writings of the pioneers. Tragically, younger generations often throw out these writings that were precious to their parents. Instead of consigning them to the waste bin or the burning pile, would you donate these to young preachers, church libraries, or to school libraries like those at Ohio Valley University or the West Virginia School of Preaching?

Most individuals are aware of the writings of prominent men in the Restoration movement like Thomas and Alexander Campbell, Barton Stone, and Walter Scott; but many are unaware of the many preachers and authors who followed them. Benjamin Franklin, Moses Lard, David Lipscomb, J. W. McGarvey, and J. F. Rowe are just a few of the important writers who served as a bridge from the pioneers to the 20th century.

In addition to papers like The Gospel Advocate, Millennial Harbinger, Christian Messenger, and Christian Evangelist, check and see if you have old copies of American Christian Review (also known as the Apostolic Review) and Christian Leader which was published weekly in Cincinnati from 1886 to 1932, and then bi-weekly from 1932-1947. In addition to editing the Leader, Fred Rowe also published more than 100 books, song books, and tracts under F. L. Rowe Publishing, or The Christian Leader Corp. Publishing. Many church leaders and preachers in the Upper Ohio Valley utilized materials from Rowe publishing.

By preserving these resources from the past, we take action against repeating the folly of Rehoboam. Do you remember the tragedy of the son of Solomon? Rehoboam would only listen to the voices of his generation, and, thus, he lost the majority of his kingdom (1 Kings 12:6-11). By gathering these resources, we allow the voices from the past to have the possibility to enter into the discussions we are having today. We can be helped by the wisdom that previous generations could pass on to us. Let us not be arrogant in what Elton Trueblood called the “tyranny of the contemporary.”

The apostle Paul knew the value that the Old Testament had for New Testament Christians: “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through the endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” (Romans 15:4). The writings of the past can instruct us today. This is possible, if we preserve these resources. – 1003 Clairmont Avenue, Cambridge, OH 43725. (740) 432 7486.

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