Up To Bethany

Whew!! Today is a “decompression day” after a truly “WOW!!” week with 50+ “Restoration History” or “Stone-Campbell” (choose your own terminology) enthusiasts packed onto a bus with “all the comforts” (WiFi, on-board restroom, wireless PA, video screen and great driver!) on a trip from Nashville, “up to Bethany” and back. Some of the sites packed into 6 days: Lipscomb sites in Nashville; Mt. Olivet Cemetery (gravesites and discussion of DL, Tolbert Fanning, Sewell family, etc.); Bowen-Campbell House at Mansker’s Station (BW Stone’s home after marrying Celia Bowen following Eliza Stone’s death); James A. Harding gravesite at Bowling Green (and continuing discussions); speaking in the Midway church on the site where one of the first musical instruments was introduced — the melodeon now at Midway College (formerly Dr. L.L. Pinkerton’s Kentucky Female Orphan School); BW Stone and Bacon College sites in Georgetown); speaking in the Old Morrison Hall chapel using JW McGarvey’s Chapel Talks, delivered in that very hall by JWM himself, and singing some of the hymns JWM discusses in some of those lectures); hiking through Lexington Cemetery (one of the nation’s most beautiful) to see gravesites and discuss the lives of Henry Clay, McGarvey, John Rogers, Robert Graham [1st president of what’s now the University of Arkansas, 2nd President of Kentucky University], “Raccoon” John Smith, John T. Johnson, L.L. Pinkerton, Robert J. Breckinridge, Robert Milligan, Isaiah Boone Grubbs, Robert B. Crawley, Henry Hampton Halley [of Halley’s Bible Handbook], and Charles C. Moore {BW Stone’s grandson who became, and was jailed for his writings as, a “freethinker” {atheist}, among others; Cane Ridge and museum, May’s Lick (home and grave of Walter Scott and church where he preached); and then “up to Bethany” to the Campbell home and Cemetery and Old Main at Bethany College; through the country roads of West Virginia to Washington, PA, and the site of the printing of Thomas Campbell’s “Declaration and Address” in 1809; and then back to KY to Winchester for JW and JA Harding sites and the location of the Neal-Wallace debate on premillennialism) finally to the Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill near Danville, whence two of the signers of the famous “Last Will and Testament of the Springfield Presbytery” defected, leaving BW Stone and David Purviance alone of the signers; and many other sites, lectures, and conversations too numerous to mention! What a trip – exhausting and exhilarating all at the same time!

Books As Friends


Here’s the fairly well-known account of J.W. McGarvey’s farewell to his “friends” (his books) from the Facebook page, “Friends of the Restoration.” As someone on the page observed, “One who does not have them cannot understand the sentiment involved.”

https://books.google.com/books?id=zITVAAAAMAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=%22lands+of+th One who does not have them cannot understand the sentiment involved e+bible%22+mcgarvey&hl=en&sa=X&ei=GAAGVbLpFe_dsAS44IKgAQ&ved=0CB4Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=%22lands%20of%20the%20bible%22%20mcgarvey&f=false

“I had already been upstairs in my library to take a last look there, and as I gazed upon the rows of familiar books I said within myself, ‘goodbye, my dear old friends; and if I never see you again, God bless you for the good you have done me and the happy hours we have spent together.” (Lands of the Bible, p. 387).

Bob Dylan, Doc Watson and the White Pilgrim, or Restoration History Shows Up in Unexpected Places

Restoration History in Odd Places – from McGarvey Ice


These liner notes, available here, give the gist of it.   Nice articles are available here and here. I can’t find Dylan’s version on YouTube; no matter though as Doc Watson below, either one…pick one…can’t likely be improved upon. 🙂

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Footnote 8 – S. H. Bingman

Footnote 8 – S. H. Bingman, “From the Field,” Christian Standard XXIV: 50 (December 14, 1889), p. 830 (12).

“December 3 – Closed a very unsatisfactory meeting with the church at Union Center. . . . Rain almost daily, deep mud and dark nights; divided brethren, poor preaching, good singing and plenty of babies. We would have had a houseful every session, if enough people had come to fill up, and there would have been a larger number of additions, if we could have persuaded the people to obey the Lord. That the meeting was no worse, we ‘thank God and take courage,’ and intend to try again.”‘

As we approach the spring season of “gospel meetings” (aka “revivals” in many religious fellowships) I offer this intriguing quotation in the spirit of the season, hoping that readers will enjoy it as much as I did. I don’t know who S.H. Bingman was, but one day I would like to shake his hand! He gets my vote for “honest meeting report” of the century!

However, lest we take either ourselves or our counterparts from last century too lightly, let me hasten to add that we do not share the pessimism expressed by some regarding the demise of “gospel meetings” or the alleged lack of resultant good. To be sure, the results may occasionally be “less than sensational” (as one report we saw described it). However, there are positive results from such meetings which are not found in written reports or expressed in tangible statistics.

I count it a privilege to have expended some of my efforts in meetings among small churches, in the U.S. and overseas – several of which were without a “full-time preacher.” There is certainly nothing at all wrong with an established congregation, with an evangelist already present, inviting another preacher to come for a special teaching effort (Acts 11:20-24 seems to be an example of this). However, there is a great need for work to be done in edifying smaller congregations which are not receiving regular and systematic teaching. The good resulting from such efforts, while not subject to quantification in statistical reports, is nonetheless well worth the effort.

Of course, we “thank God and take courage” that not all meetings are like the one described above. Some of them result in visible, indeed, vivid responses: baptisms, emotional restorations, congregations with large and attentive audiences. We emphatically reject any suggestion that “meetings do no good.”

A final thought is suggested by the anonymity of the correspondent. As I said, I had never before heard of S.H. Bingman, though I have an active interest in “Restoration History.” Yet, even though we may never have known them, there are literally thousands of persevering souls like this man, working diligently in their section of the Lord’s vineyard, undaunted by less than sensational results, unrelenting in their labors despite discouraging circumstances or apparently insurmountable obstacles. Their kind is legion even today: unknown by face to most churches, unrecorded by brotherhood reports, shunning prominence, choosing rather to work in the obscurity of difficult fields. Truly, from their example we “thank God and take courage.”

—  Adapted from Truth Magazine XXXII: 4 (February 18, 1988), p. 107