In The Great Stream: Imagining Churches of Christ in the Christian Tradition is a zenith in writings about the Churches of Christ (COC). Leonard Allen, dean of the college of Bible and ministry at Lipscomb University, has been writing prolifically for the COC for a long time. This newest writing of his is sure to be a pivotal part in our story as we move forward.
The book consists of 11 chapters that walk through the role of tradition versus traditionalism. The COC have had a dicy history of rejecting creeds, claiming we are the only ones going to heaven, and forgetting the vast majority of church history. Allen addresses how the COC can chart a new path forward by keeping in touch with our traditions while also participating in the overarching Great Tradition of Christianity. The chapters provide a helpful outline of the progression of this book:
- The burden and blessing of tradition
- Churches of Christ on the big map of Christian history
- Why the Bible is not our only creed
- Churches of Christ and the vision for unity
- The restoring impulse in the great stream
- The odd history of the Holy Spirit among the Churches of Christ
- The great steam: Christian orthodoxy as heritage and foundation
- Traditioning: the weight of orthodoxy in a time of lightness
- Traditioning (part 2): under the weight of orthodoxy
- The church in a post-Christian world
- A restorationist imaginary
I would especially recommend this to any emerging young leader in the COC . I would also recommend this to any of those who have had their moments of doubt about the COC, but still love their tradition. This book serves well someone like my friend who told me: “I’ve thought about leaving the Churches of Christ, but it makes me sad. I don’t know where I would go. They’re my people.” Here’s to a brighter future for our fellowship! Pick up a copy and let’s chat about it!
- Purchase a copy here.