Item description for Barton Stone: A Spiritual Biography by D. Newell Williams...
Overview Williams provides a fascinating look at the life and work of this nineteenth-century reformer, vividly portraying Stone's lifelong quest to understand and articulate the Gospel message, his views of church unity, and his lasting contribution.
Publishers Description Designed to help pastors and worship planners integrate four of the most important biblical themes into worship, each volume provides complete services for a number of different scripture passages. These resources can be used in conjunction with the new Bible Quest curriculum or in other worship contexts, including churches that follow the lectionary.The services, written by pastors and lay leaders from several denominations, feature a call to worship, an opening prayer, a prayer of confession, words of assurance, prayers of the people, a children's sermon, two sermon starters, an offering meditation, an offering prayer, a communion meditation, and a benediction.This updated biography of Barton Stone (the first in over forty years) displays the full breadth and depth of the faith seeking understanding that animated this early nineteenth-century reformer. Of special interest to ministers and laity will be Stone's conviction that faithfulness unites spiritual vitality, intellectual integrity, and moral commitment.
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More About D. Newell Williams
D. Newell Williams is president and professor of modern and American church history at Brite Divinity School, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, Texas. He is the co-editor of The Encyclopedia of the Stone-Campbell Movement (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2004) as well as author of Barton Stone: A Spiritual Biography, from Chalice Press.
D. Newell Williams currently resides in Indianapolis, in the state of Indiana.
Reviews - What do customers think about Barton Stone: A Spiritual Biography?
Become a expect Jul 25, 2007
A great read in Stone-Campbell history. It charted the conflict and confusion that the restoration leaders went through in discovering truth. Sometimes, I think that people in the church believe that thousands of people simply read the Bible a few times and agreed on every point of doctrine. This is certainly not the truth. The search for truth is difficult, taxing, and rewarding. There was significant debate concerning baptism, atonement of Christ, and even the divinity of Jesus. This book helps us to never forget that conflict and disagreement will accompany the pursuit of truth.
A Compassionate Look at an Evangelical Pioneer Aug 5, 2005
D. Newell Williams takes a fresh, compassionate look at the contributions of Barton Stone to the first generation of the American Restoration movement. This movement was born and bred on the first new American Frontier of Kentucky,Ohio,Indiana and Illinois in the years that followed the birth of the U.S.A. The biography looks at Barton Stone's spiritual journey and struggle to unify the new American church into a coherent and practical theology. I pleasantly responded to Williams search for the spirituality of one of the great frontier evangelists. This book is worth a read from anyone seeking to understand the history of the protestant faith and its impact on the frontier mind.
An important Christian figure Feb 21, 2004
D. Newell Williams was a professor of church history at my seminary prior to heading off to Brite Divinity School to assume the leadership there. That academic administrators are failed scholars is not a charge that could be leveled against Williams, and this book is primary evidence to that. Williams is a scholar of insight and precision, developing his subject thoroughly, carefully, and with great clarity.
Barton Stone is a figure of great importance in the history of Christianity in America (a subject of great importance in the history of America, one that tends to get lost in the early education of many students in the public school systems who still shy away from incorporating anything that smacks of religiosity for fear of violating the church/state split). It is remarkable that volumes on Stone are few and far between. The influence of the early Presbyterians and the off-shoots on the overall religious ethos of America can be seen across many denominations never directly in communion or administrative relationship with them.
Stone and his ministerial colleagues looked to a great revival, something that often inspires dread in established denominational hierarchies. Dissolving formal alliances with the Presbyterians and avoiding any descriptive terms save `Christian', Stone's path eventually led to a community with the followers of Alexander Campbell, becoming by the time of the Civil War the fifth largest Christian group in America. Inspired both by the greater spirit of liberty developing out of the aftermath of a successful war for independence and the expansion into new territories in the West, and the experience at Cane Ridge, America's Pentecost. Stone rejected the doctrine of predestination (which in many ways violated the sense of freedom so present in the young American republic), and yet Williams' main thesis is that there was no influence greater in Stone's development than his Presbyterian spirituality.
The development of the book follows the general pattern of Barton Stone's life. In the first part, Williams explores the family and social background of Stone, as well as his training and call to be a minister. Williams points out that Stone was not an untrained minister (as has been reported by other historians), but rather had significant training and education that included the standard ministerial training in biblical languages and topics. Williams gives an interesting account of Stone's pre-ordination struggles with reconciling himself to the doctrines of the Confession of Faith, including his search through scriptures and reason for consistency, and Stone's eventual qualified response when asked at his ordination if he could receive and adopt the Confession of Faith: `I do, as far as I see it consistent with the word of God.'
The second part gives attention to the Great Revival in considerable detail. Stone's experience led to conflicts and eventual separation, but this was not without great struggle and conversation. Stone's respect for many who were opposing him (David Rice, whose arguments that any departure from a fairly strict Calvinism would eventually lead to atheism which did not ultimately persuade Stone, is one such example) is apparent in Stone's own writing. Williams' explanation of the proceedings gives good insight into the way church organisations worked (and, in many ways, continue to work) in American society.
The three final sections all deal with the growth of the Christian church, first into an informal formality, then in union with the Campbellite Disciples as well as other groups such as the Separate Baptists, and finally as a group at action in the world for social progress. Part of the discussion for union took place in a way reminiscent of modern wrangling between nations without formal diplomatic relations - articles in periodicals, often penned by people other than the major players, made statements and set tone for the process of union. The formal denominational structure of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) did not take place until much later in the 1960s - until then, they remained a movement; before and after there remains a part of the spirit that wishes to `sink into union with the Body of Christ at large'.
Williams' writing is clear, engaging, interesting and informative. This is a good text for students of religious history, for seminarians of any denominational stamp, and for general readers who wish for insights into early American personalities.
Best Book of its Type Mar 18, 2002
I read this book a few days ago just because I thought it would be interisting. To my glee, i found that it was indeed very interesting. I have read all of Dr. Williams books and each one has a place in my top 5 favorite books list. I recomend this book to everyone.
Barton Stone: A Spiritual Biography Mar 8, 2001
In Barton Stone: A Spiritual Biography, Newell Williams (Christian Theological Seminary) takes great pains to paint a coherent well-balanced biographical picture of Barton Stone, one of the founders of the movement that would come to be called the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Williams opens this book with the statement, "...genuine Christian faith could only be the result of a miraculous or extraordinary experience of the Holy Spirit." It is very much through the filter of this experience that we learn about Barton Stone. Williams presents us with a Stone that is a vigorous advocate of Christian Unity; in 1832 he worked to unite the Christians with Alexander Campbell's followers known as the Reformers or Disciples. By 1860, this group numbering nearly 200,000 became the fifth largest religious group in the United States; they did not, however, organize as a denomination until the 1960's. On the issue of unity some of the difficulties of Stone's theology come through. His ideas on this issue (and many others) are puzzling. Williams works a great deal to clarify these aspects of Stone's theology and weave them into an easy to understand tapestry. In addition to focusing on Stones deep spirituality and proclivity for Christian unity, Williams shows his humanity in pointing out his frustration at the churches of his time because their apathy on the issue of unity and another issue that was central to Stone's theology, emancipation. The author spends a great deal of time focusing on this issue. Stone believed that slavery had no place in the Christian church and that it was a hindrance to both unity and the Second Coming of Christ. He wrote and preached a great deal on this issue and supported a colonization scheme for moving former slaves to offshore colonies; later he supported immediate abolition. While the author speaks of his subject's many contributions Christianity in America, he speaks little of the work of Alexander Campbell other than to mention in passing on a number of occasions some difficulties he had with Stone's theology. The author also fails to paint an accurate picture of the true unification process between Christians and Disciples. As I understand it, this union happened in local towns one congregation at a time. Stone and Campbell themselves never really seem to have united on all issues. In focusing on the spirituality of Stone, we learn little of his large ego; a trait that many scholars have attributed to both he and Campbell. Many have also sited this trait as one of the hindrances of unification. In conclusion, little has been written on Stone for the past forty years; this much needed updated biography gives us what in my opinion it yet the best balanced view of its subject. Stone is painted as a complex reformer, alive during the last great Christian revival, dedicated to unity, and integrity within Christ's church. While this book is academic in nature, it is also well written enough that even the casual reader will enjoy it. Students of the Stone-Campbellite movement will also be well served by this balanced historical resource.