Monday, June 16, 2014

Abstract of Everett Ferguson on "Alexander Campbell's Sermon on the Law"

Ferguson, Everett. "Alexander Campbell's Sermon on the Law: A Historical and Theological Examination," Restoration Quarterly 29 (1987): 71-85.

This article explains the historical, religious, and polemical contexts of a sermon which, in printed form, became one of the seminal texts of the Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement, especially in connection with attitudes toward the Old Testament. Ferguson observes that statements from the sermon were later taken out of these contexts and applied in ways that had the effect of discounting the authority and usefulness of the O.T. Ferguson argues that Campbell did not intend to demean the O.T. Instead, he was interested in cutting off typical Protestant appeals to it for practices such as infant baptism, observing Sunday as a Christian Sabbath, national covenanting, and the establishment of civil law. He concludes that if someone wants a better understanding of how Campbell understood the O.T. and used it as Scripture, he should read Campbell's Familiar Lectures on the Pentateuch.

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