Stone-Campbell Dialogue

This press release can be found at http://www.disciples.org/ccu/news/062805%20stone%20campbell.htm

Dallas — More than 500 persons from a cappella Churches of Christ, theChristian Churches/Churches of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples ofChrist) joined in worship and communion in Dallas recently to open the 10thsession of the Stone-Campbell Dialogue team.

Representatives from each of the three streams of the Stone-Campbellmovement gathered at Skillman Church of Christ June 5-6 to explore the themeof “the way we interpret the Bible.” Papers were presented by Dr. EugeneBoring, retired professor of New Testament at Brite Seminary in Ft. Worth,on behalf of the Disciples; Dr. Mark Hamilton, professor of Bible at AbileneChristian University, Abilene on behalf of the Churches of Christ and Dr.Tony Springer, professor of Church History at Dallas Christian College onbehalf of the Christian Churches/Churches of Christ.

In their discussion, team members found a great deal of convergence andcommon understanding on scriptural interpretation. A small group will takeresults of this meeting to shape a draft statement for presentation nextyear toward acceptance as a “common statement on Scripture.”

Dialogue team member Robert Welsh, president of the Disciples’ Councilon Christian Unity, said, “I was encouraged a great deal by this 10thsession of our dialogue, both by the content of the discussion in facingwhat had been seen to be the fundamental issue separating us within theStone-Campbell family (the authority of Scripture) and by the wonderfulservice of worship that brought so many together on Sunday evening toworship and praise God, and to share in receiving the bread and cup of HolyCommunion as a sign of our oneness in Christ.”

Peter Morgan, retired president of the Disciples of Christ HistoricalSociety, said, “We were able to have serious conversation withoutseparating. It was a hallelujah moment in my heart.”

The team also spent important time on their idea for a 2009 “GreatCommunion Celebration” in partnership with the board of the Disciples ofChrist Historical Society. This event would mark the 200th anniversary ofthe publication of Thomas Campbell’s Declaration and Address when it is hoped that thousands of Christians from across the three streams of the movement will join in celebration of the Lord¹s Supper in local communities all across North America.In preparation for the 2009 event, the Dialogue team will provide studymaterials for use in congregational settings. Disciples team member DianeSpleth, pastor of Franklin Central Christian Church, volunteered to combinedrafts of a Congregational Workbook into a document that could be tested ina few congregations before the Dialogue’s next meeting.The Stone-Campbell Dialogue team will meet in Nashville on June 11-13,2006, to produce a common statement on interpretation and authority ofScripture, to finalize the Congregational Workbook and to generate ideas onhow to promote unity across the three streams of the Stone-Campbellmovement.The Dialogue is important to Disciples, Welsh said, “because it opensto us the possibility of healing the divisions within our own house, withinthe Stone-Campbell movement, as a part of our larger work and conversationsin our quest for Christian unity.”

Members of the Dialogue team are:For Christian Churches/Churches of Christ: Paul Blowers, John Mills, James North,Robert Rea, Randy Snyder, Henry WebbFor the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ): Timothy James, William McDonald, Peter Morgan, Arnold Nelson, Diane Spleth, Robert Welsh, Newell WilliamsFor Churches of Christ: Douglas Foster, Carol Gafford, Gary Holloway,Gary Pearson, Charme Robarts, Jerry TaylorObservers: Victor Knowles (POEM Ministries and member of Reformation Forum) andJeff Weston (World Convention of Churches of Christ).