Posts by Bryant Perkins

Posts by Bryant Perkins

Quill pen on an old book in a library

Alexander Campbell and the Baptists

While Thomas Campbell was separated from his family, establishing himself—and a burgeoning reform movement—in America, they had an eventful 30 months themselves. Their first attempt at a voyage was shipwrecked off the coast of Scotland. That night, while awaiting rescue, Thomas’s 20 year old son Alexander Campbell (1788-1866) made a decision he had often contemplated: he would devote his live to ministry. It was too late in the year to attempt to cross the Atlantic again, so the Campbells settled…
Bible and praying hands

Thomas Campbell’s Declaration and Address

While the various men we have written about in the past few weeks – O’Kelly, Smith, Jones, and Stone – were aspiring to be simply New Testament Christians in the United States, the principal figures of the fourth and final movement to examine were still in the British Isles. Thomas Campbell (1763-1854) was a Presbyterian minister in Ireland who became increasingly dissatisfied with the divisiveness of his denomination: he was not just a Presbyterian, but an Old Light, Anti-Burgher, Seceder…

Early-American Restoration Movements

For the last few weeks, we have had a series of articles covering the roots of the Restoration Movement. We looked at its spiritual predecessors in the Middle Ages; we saw more direct influences in the Reformed tradition, especially as delivered through the Puritans, as well as the Anabaptists. All of these factors were present in Europe, of course. But certain features peculiar to the American experience, particularly in the aftermath of the Revolution, made it ripe for the Restoration…
open book

Renaissance, Reformation, and Restoration

The Renaissance When we divide world history into discrete periods – realizing, of course, that nothing, in reality, is ever as neat and tidy as it appears in a textbook – the ebb of learning that characterized much of the Middle Ages is followed by the Renaissance (c. 1300-1517). The dependence on institutional authority that defined much of medieval life for common people – not least in the church – was rejected for an individualism manifested primarily as faith in…

The Danger of Anger

We all know the type of pithy little sayings that you find on church signs sometimes. Perhaps you have seen this one: “Anger is just one letter short of being danger.” It’s true; anger can be dangerous. And I imagine most of us experience times when we lose our tempers, because anger is one of the most difficult emotions to control. It’s like the comic book character, the Incredible Hulk. Normally he is a mild-mannered scientist, Dr. Bruce Banner –…
Water and reflections

James Harding on (Re)Baptism

We celebrate Independence Day this week, a time to reflect on the beliefs and actions of our Founding Fathers. In a similar way, I think it is profitable to occasionally consider the views of our fathers in the faith. James Harding was a preacher, writer, and educator in the late 19th and early 20th centuries; Harding University is named for him. This is from the July, 1900 edition of his publication “The Way” in response to a letter from a…
Friends talking together

You Never Mentioned Him to Me

So you, son of man, I have made a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me.  If I say to the wicked, O wicked one, you shall surely die, and you do not speak to warn the wicked to turn from his way, that wicked person shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. (Ezekiel 33:7-8) James Rowe is one…

A Father’s Choice

On a Sunday in 1910 in Spokane, Washington, a woman named Sonora Smart Dodd was listening to a Mother’s Day sermon in church and decided that fathers needed a day of their own. Eventually, this day was set aside nationally to honor fathers in the same manner that Mother’s Day is set aside for mothers – at least theoretically, anyway.  Fathers often seem to be an afterthought compared to mothers in terms of the respect they get for their role…
Big cross

A Fountain Filled With Blood

You can buy just about anything on Amazon. That is a bit of a double-edged sword, because it means that people have a platform for selling just about anything. This week, I saw a listing for a book written by a fellow who styles himself anonymously as “Ex Preacher” to avoid “personal attacks” and “pointless debates and arguments.” The book is entitled Obsessed With Blood, intended to be the first volume in “The Crazy Things Christians Believe” series. The teaser…

How Long Has It Been?

Since our Singing with the Spirit workshop several weeks ago, I think many of us have focused more on the content of our hymns and the lessons they teach than we ever have before. One of my favorite songs is, regrettably, not in our book. And you might not even know it – I actually stumped Myron Bruce when I mentioned this one! It’s called, “How Long Has It Been?” by Mosie Lister. Consider the message it conveys: How long…
Tombstones with American Flags on Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery

How Do You Want to be Remembered?

No one is entirely sure how Memorial Day got started. It is so shrouded in mystery that it is a little scholarly specialty; Columbus State University in Georgia even has a dedicated Center for Memorial Day Research. But whatever its origins in this country, whether in the Civil War or earlier, the fundamental practice of Memorial Day – decorating the graves of soldiers – is an ancient one. Human beings, across civilizations, continents, and millennia of history, have sought to…
Mix of work tools

How Useful Are We?

Someone once said, “Our duty is to be useful, not according to our desires, but according to our capacities.”  We can all see the truth in that statement when it comes to serving the Lord. When God told Jonah to go and preach in the city of Nineveh, Jonah did not care to go. Nineveh was the capital of Assyria, hated enemies of Israel; he did not want those people to repent!  So he decided quite literally to travel in…