Several, several years ago, I began my journey into Christian blogging. The first thing I did was Google the then-existing Church of Christ websites to see whether there was room for one more blogger.
I quickly learned that the field was already crowded with talent and deep spirituality. Edward Fudge and Al Maxey had large audiences but weren’t blogging (and still aren’t), John Mark Hicks was on hiatus (no longer, thank goodness), and this outrageous preacher in Arizona was brilliantly blogging on theology, the history of the Stone-Campbell Movement, and life in ministry. I figured that anyone with the audacity to call his blog “The Stoned-Campbell Disciple” could not be long for the Church of Christ world. I immediately subscribed to his blog.
Bobby explains the “stoned” part of his blog’s title in this 2006 post (think “stoned” in the First Century biblical sense). The “Joe Camel” logo idea did not last long (thank goodness) and was soon replaced with the Bobby-on-motorcycle logo above (or something very close to it). Of course, now the web site is downright Spartan, with no picture or logo at all. (Surely, this cannot last.)
And, I’m just guessing, but I suspect that I’ve linked to Bobby’s writings more than any other blogger in the several years that I’ve been doing this. Bobby doesn’t write all that regularly, but when he does, he says something well worth reading — and often very memorable.
He and John Mark Hicks are close friends (despite having very different personalities), and they both have done great work in digging up fascinating lessons from Restoration Movement history — but not just history, deep insights into the scriptures from our spiritual antecedents. Indeed, no contemporary historian could properly teach the history of the Movement without reference to their work.
This is from his August 20, 2013 post “Paul and the Unquestioned Authority of the Old Testament.”
When Paul has a question he naturally turns to the Scriptures (not the Old Testament) for the answer. Rarely does Paul say “I” declare this by the authority given to me as an apostle. Paul simply does not do that. Paul uses, and argues from, Scripture for everything. Just a few interesting statistics to tickle your fancy and as an effort to just show how frequently Paul does resort to the ‘Old Testament.” In many English translations it is hard for the reader to know that Paul is not using his own words but those of the first 76% of the Bible. It would be helpful if a modern translation put every direct quotation in a different font or italics.
In the epistles with Paul’s name on them, however, there are more than 180 quotations or references to the “Old Testament” by the apostle. That is a lot but even that does not give the full extent of the story. The single book of Paul’s that many preachers assume shows that Paul is doing away with the Old Testament, Romans, has the highest number of references with 84. The second highest is the one that some preachers still believe Paul wrote (but didn’t) is Hebrews which has 83 quotations or references to the “Old Testament.” Beloved that is a lot of Old Testament. Certainly way more Old Testament than what I am exposed to in most restoration or evangelical pulpits. When was the last time you heard a sermon with 84 quotations from the “OT?” First Corinthians (if I am counting right) has 26. Galatians has 14 and Ephesians has no less than 12. Craig Evans in his Noncanonical Writings and New Testament Interpretation lists 31 pages of quotations, references, and allusions to the OT, what Protestants call the Apocrypha and related writings in the NT … that is 31 pages! (see Appendix Two, pp. 190-219). That is a lot of information Paul and the other writers of the NT are using and expect their readers/hearers to know. Even if one argued with the validity of this or that reference the sheer cumulative evidence demonstrates that Paul, and the rest of the “NT” writers assumed that their readers/hearers would catch a large number of ideas that simply go unnoticed by us today … it’s like having only one out of every five words not blacked out to us! We get so used to only seeing every fifth word that we actually begin to think it makes sense.