Several months ago, the Abilene Christian University bookstore found a stash of old inventory and put it on sale for next to nothing. I ordered one of everything, and to my delight, got Leroy Garrett’s autobiography, A Lover’s Quarrel, for 50 cents. What a bargain!
Many have likely never heard of Br. Garrett, but he is one of the founders of the progressive movement in the Churches of Christ. He was a change agent before there were change agents.
Many of his writings are now on the internet. His most significant book is The Stone-Campbell Movement, which is the most influential of all the Restoration Movement histories. If you haven’t read this book, find it and read it.
The book is beautifully written and well-researched. It’s far more honest than most of its competitors, many of which are highly biased.
Garrett invented the term “Stone-Campbell Movement,” giving due credit to Barton W. Stone and the fact that many other American denominations consider themselves restoration movements.
But back to his autobiography. My favorite part is the story about Garrett being arrested on the orders of the leadership of Freed-Hardeman College just to keep him from talking to their students.
Garrett and Carl Ketcherside started what is now sometimes called the progressive movement. All they did was teach the scriptures on unity and grace — and they were branded liberals, heretics, and apostates for their trouble. We owe much to these men.
Anyway, the autobiography ends with an appendix called “What I Want for Churches of Christ,” and there he makes several pleas for our future. And these pleas are well worthy our attention. We’ll take them up in the next several posts.