Restorationists are specially gifted to advance missional communities in North America. The fellowship was formed in rural regions and carries within patterns of holistic wisdom which can be adapted to a fragmented urban world. The emphasis on biblical “costly discipleship” has primed members for life together. Elements latent within the Restoration Movement such as ecumenism and pacifism provide further support for communities to unite believers from different traditions and to distinguish them from the dominant culture. Moreover, as autonomous congregations, Restorationists can adopt new practices more quickly than mainlines. Even sectarianism, if transformed, offers the basis for a robust countercultural identity.
The restoration of the church will surely come from a sort of new monasticism which has in common with the old only the uncompromising attitude of a life lived according to the Sermon on the Mount in the following of Christ. I believe it is now time to call people to this.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, 19351
Authentic restorationists are inevitably radical and countercultural Christians.
Richard Hughes, 20022
“Monkish ignorance and superstition” was a favorite term of abuse among early Protestants. For the Reformers, the monastery came to symbolize everything that was wrong with Christianity; reform meant the abolition of vows and cloisters and the democratization of monastic virtues.3 Five hundred years later, the heirs of the Reformation have revised their opinion of the monastery; no longer the fount of all ills, a “new monasticism” is seen as a source for ecclesial renewal. The wisdom of the Desert Fathers, the Benedictines, the Franciscans, and other “monkish” traditions may be the key to nothing less than the “the resurrection of American Christianity.”4
Larry Duggins and Elaine Heath believe just that. Cofounders of the Missional Wisdom Foundation, they have become leaders in the new monastic movement. Their recent book Missional. Monastic. Mainline. challenges believers to organize residential discipleship communities modeled loosely on ancient monasteries.5 These communities are “missional” in that they participate in God’s salvific mission by living out the new creation in their common life, through care for one another and service to their neighbors. Mainline Protestants are the intended audience of this book; drawing on the theological and practical resources of United Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, and Episcopal traditions, Heath and Duggins have developed a “field guide” for starting a parachurch neomonastic community.
Their contribution is welcome, as most writings on new monasticism have assumed an Evangelical audience.6 Another branch of the American church which has not been addressed is the Restoration Movement, which consists of Independent Christian Churches and acapella Churches of Christ.7 The Restoration Movement, a merger of Barton Stone’s “Christians” and Alexander Campbell’s “Disciples,” developed during the Second Great Awakening as an effort to unify the denominationally fragmented frontier churches through a return to early Christian practices.
Like many American churches, Restoration churches have faltered in the twenty-first century, in part because of their failure to adapt to shifting cultural and political realities. The new monastic movement presents an opportunity for Restorationists to recover dimensions of their religious heritage and to join other Christians in making present God’s kingdom to the world. The vision at the heart of the Stone-Campbell Movement is a restoration of the Jerusalem church described in Acts, the unified community of disciples gathered for fellowship, the breaking of bread, and prayer. Members of the movement know how the Restoration vision has been twisted into a toxic and intolerant sectarianism. Yet sectarianism is simply a distortion of the virtues necessary for vibrant intentional community. For Restorationists building new monastic communities, the sectarian heritage which has caused so much harm may be the key to moving forward.
New monasticism evolved as a response to the growing Constantinianism of American Christianity.8 In the 1970s, a group of students calling themselves “sojourners” moved into inner-city Washington, DC. Their name was a reference to 1 Pet 2:11 and a recognition of their discomfort with the political and ecclesial status quo. Christians continued to form missional micro-communities, and eventually, the title “new monastic” was adopted, as a concern for recovering Benedictine Christian spiritual practices was added to the original social justice impulse.9 A number of intentional communities sprang up in the early 2000s, inspired by the examples of Shane Claiborne’s Simple Way Community in Philadelphia and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove work with Rutba House in Durham.10 In 2008, Elaine Heath began the Epworth Project, a network of communal houses in the Dallas-Fort Worth area associated with the United Methodist Church. In the last decade, many of these young communities have joined older communities such as Reba Place Fellowship in Chicago and the Bruderhof in New York to form a community of communities called the Nurturing Communities Network.
The primary function of the term new monastic is not to identify with any particular monastic institution but rather to stimulate the contemporary imagination by invoking ancient traditions of radical Christianity.11 American evangelical new monastics have been characterized by twelve “marks,” but the key insight of the movement is that Christians should live “intentional” lives in close proximity to one another and the poor.12 Most new monastic communities are urban, located in the “abandoned places of empire” (Mark 1). Residential structures vary. Some communities occupy single-family houses on the same street; others live in multiple units of the same apartment building. Many practice cohousing, with all members residing under the same roof, sharing property, meals, and chores. Whatever the arrangement, physical proximity allows for the sharing of material goods, sharing joys and sorrows in a deeper way, and spiritual accountability. Nearness also makes possible regular corporate disciplines such as the daily worship (Claiborne and Wilson-Hartgrove even wrote a breviary called Common Prayer for Ordinary Radicals).13
New monastic communities are also active in promoting economic and racial justice. Sometimes this involves direct action like protests and activism.14 At the most basic level, however, the communities have embraced an ethic of presence and intentional neighborliness. Living among the poor, community members can become extraordinarily attuned to the needs around them, whether that be failing schools, unresponsive local government, high crime, infrastructure neglect, or lack of access to nutritious food. And because of their locality, justice frequently manifests in intimate ways, such as welcoming strangers to the table or opening one’s home to unexpected guests.15 New monastics are rarely professional clergy, but their living arrangement positions them to serve. They are “missional” without being “missionaries.”
One of Elaine Heath’s contributions is to refine the meaning of missional and evangelical in this context. She has argued that both terms have been tainted by their association with American imperialism, to the extent that older forms of “personal evangelism” are no longer tenable. “Christian evangelism,” as she defines it, “is the holistic process of initiation of persons into the reign of God revealed in Jesus Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit, and anchored in the church for the transformation and healing of the world.”16 Mission is thus not only a “being sent” but also a way of “being put” in a particular place with others.
Heath’s understanding of mission as community coheres well with the original vision of the Stone-Campbell movement. Despite superficial similarities, Stone-Campbellites have preferred to be known as “Restorationists” rather than “Evangelicals.”17 Unlike American Evangelicals, who were primarily interested in personal conversions, Restorationists have been more concerned with the church itself.18 Using the New Testament as a guide, early leaders hoped to reconstitute the unified, Spirit-filled, apostle-led church of the New Testament by setting aside denominational allegiances and confessional statements and uniting as “Christians only.” The new body politic would be joined by a common biblical story, a communal ethic rooted in the Sermon on the Mount, a high view of baptism and discipleship, and a simplified liturgy oriented around the weekly celebration of the Lord’s Supper.19 Thousands of people on the American frontier joined the movement and became members of “the Church.”
Restorationists certainly did not oppose evangelization (though there was some initial resistance to foreign missions), but much attention was given to “being the church.”20 “The mission of this Church,” wrote second-generation leader David Lipscomb in 1867, “is to embrace all people, all nations, kindreds and tribes, and to mingle and mould them into one universal brotherhood . . . [and] to rescue and redeem the earth from the rule and dominion of the human kingdom, from the rebellion against God, and to reinstate the authority and rule of God on earth.”21 Human government was Lipscomb’s way of referring to fallen institutions which divide humanity by race, class, and creed. These demonic institutions could only be combated by an equivalent political body, the church. The church could never be identified merely by name, doctrine, or confessional affiliation; the church could only be known in its particularity, by the countercultural practices of the members of the local congregation. This ecclesiology has at times festered into an exclusive and sectarian attitude, such that some congregations considered themselves to be the only Christians in their time and place, but this was not the position of the early leaders. To be the church meant, as far as possible, to reconstitute the original Christian community which was “one in heart and mind” (Acts 4:32).22 For Alexander Campbell, it was the unity of the body of believers, living in distinction from the world, which is “the only successful means of converting the world.”23
The Restorationist understanding of the church as a missional community was shaped by their apocalyptic worldview. “I mean by that phrase,” writes Richard Hughes, “an outlook whereby we seek to live our lives as if the final rule of God were fully present in the here and now. Such a vision calls for radical and countercultural living, since the Kingdom of God inevitably stands in judgment on the kingdoms of this world.”24 The earliest Christians were indisputably apocalyptic, and their orientation to God’s inbreaking kingdom informed their theology and practice. The view saturated the writings of the New Testament and became the lens through which the Old Testament was interpreted. The apocalyptic narrative is summed up by Restorationist theologian and community leader John Nugent:
Jesus implemented God’s kingdom in a way that no one expected. Rather than replace the corrupt structures of the fallen world order, Jesus began his new order right in the midst of the old one. He gathered his people, awakened them to newness of life, infused them with his Spirit, and sent them on mission. This newness of life . . . signaled a new era in world history, a new world reality, a new way of living, a new way of relating to people, a new people to relate to, a new status before God and all creation, and a life of abundant blessings.25
The apocalyptic outlook implied a countercultural politics oriented towards justice. Since the earliest days of the movement, Restorationists have positioned themselves against “the world.” As Hughes notes, early leaders and their communities “embraced simplicity instead of ostentation, advocated nonviolent solutions to human conflicts, shunned material wealth, resisted racism, and risked their own well-being for the sake of their neighbor’s good.”26 These examples are normative if not always actualized: “the world” has most often signaled corrupt morality rather than fallen political structures. Yet, even in the absence of radical politics, Churches of Christ have quietly resisted nationalism for most of their history; a vestige of the countercultural instinct persists in the absence of American flags in their worship spaces.27 The apocalyptic outlook diminished as the tradition entered the mainstream following the Second World War; however, there is currently a renewed interest in justice and political activism, especially among younger members.28
Given the centrality of the early Jerusalem church in the Restorationist imagination, one might expect to find examples of intentional community analogous to new monasticism in the movement’s history. Few exist. One possible explanation is that for most of their history, Churches of Christ and Christian Churches have been organic congregation-communities. Until relatively recently, most of these churches were found in small farming communities in the South and Midwest; most congregations claimed less than one hundred members; most families lived in relatively close proximity and depended on one another economically, physically, and spiritually.29 Though somewhat idealized, Wendell Berry’s memory of American agricultural communities applies to these congregations. He defined community as “a locally understood interdependence of local people, local culture, local economy, and local nature” with a “mutuality of interests” governed by “the common virtues of trust, goodwill, forbearance, self-restraint, compassion, and forgiveness.”30 (The repeated emphasis on “local” recalls a peculiar practice among Churches of Christ: nearly every congregation is named after a town, street, or other local geographic marker.) Something approximating Christian intentional community was a natural expression of Restoration principles in its original rural context.
Parallels have been made between these rural churches and Anabaptist communities such as Mennonites and the Brethren.31 Because of its gathered-church ecclesiology and political separatism, the Stone-Campbell movement has been recognized by Mennonite theologian John Howard Yoder as an indigenous expression of Anabaptist principles in the United States.32 Anabaptists share many of the same theological and ethical priorities as Restorationists, including the primitivist impulse. In the nineteenth century, a number of Brethren church-communities integrated with Stone-Campbellites, injecting something of the Anabaptist communitarian spirit into the early movement.33
One significant precursor to the Stone-Campbell Movement, the Sandemanians, practiced a form of thick community in imitation of the Jerusalem church.34 In the late eighteenth century, John Glas broke with the Church of Scotland to form a “free church.” Together with his son-in-law Robert Sandeman, they established small communal congregations in Scotland and New England. Members covenanted to join together in mutual submission, share their material goods with the needy, regularly observe the Lord’s Supper as a love feast, and practice conflict resolution modeled on Matthew 18. So close were the members, who called one another brother and sister, that the Edinburgh papers accused them of incestual relations. These churches opposed missions and evangelism, believing that the common life and worship of the local community was a sufficient witness.
Within the Stone-Campbell Movement, there has been only one notable attempt to form a residential Christian community.35 Sidney Rigdon, an associate of Alexander Campbell, organized a Christian commune called “the Family” on Isaac Morley’s farm in Kirtland, Ohio, around 1830. Consisting of about one hundred members, the community renounced private property and joined in a common rule of life. Rigdon argued that “our pretensions to follow the apostles in all their New Testament teachings, required a community of goods; that as they established their order in the model church at Jerusalem, we were bound to imitate their example.”36 Despite the clear Restorationist rationale, Campbell was appalled at Rigdon’s social experiment. Threatened with excommunication, Rigdon eventually joined the Mormons, who were more sympathetic. Had Campbell accepted Rigdon, the Restorationist movement may have taken a more explicitly communitarian turn.
Nevertheless, Campbell’s negative reaction to the Kirtland Community is a clue to the rarity of Christian communities in contemporary Stone-Campbell circles. Rigdon’s commune was one of many “family commonwealths” and utopian communities springing up in the US. For Campbell, any form of intentional community was tainted by association with socialist “freethinkers” such as Charles Fourier and Robert Owen, whom Campbell personally debated in 1828. Campbell insisted that communitarianism was unsustainable and would result in “ruin and confusion when practiced by large multitudes of converts.”37 Moreover, he did not think the New Testament warranted any sort of common life; while the Jerusalem church was indisputably “socialist,” he considered that community a failure.
Communal living continues to be politically and theologically suspect. Despite Campbell’s reservations on this point, Stone-Campbellites have not avoided radical politics in other areas, as their record of pacifism proves.38 The same religious commitments which sustained thick community in the rural nineteenth century, when introduced into the urban twenty-first century, potentially lead to some form of common life. The new monastic paradigm offers Stone-Campbellites an opportunity to reclaim elements of their tradition in an increasingly urban world.39 In cities across the country, there is a deep thirst for genuine community.40 For Christians who have experienced the intimacy of small rural churches, the longing may be even more acute.
Restorationists have already begun forming such communities, and Stone-Campbellites have been a part of the new monastic movement almost from the beginning. Englewood Christian Church in Indianapolis was a thriving suburban church in the early twentieth century, but by the 1970s membership had dwindled as the neighborhood diversified and physically declined. In the 1990s, leaders of the church made the decision to recommit to their neighborhood. They began a community development corporation and several families moved back into the neighborhood to practice intentional living.41 In Lansing, Michigan, several Christian families began sharing meals and meeting regularly in the early 2000s. They formed a network of house churches, called Delta Community, committed to radical discipleship. The community shares responsibilities (there is no paid staff) and is committed to living simply, freeing financial resources for missions, outreach, and local needs.42 In the last few years, a house church in Abilene, Texas, has evolved into a thick residential community called Eden, which is in the process of building a facility outside of the city.43
For nearly ten years, I was a part of a new monastic community in St. Louis called Lotus House.44 Though the community was independent, it had strong ties to the Stone-Campbell Movement: The founders were all part of a local campus ministry sponsored by the McKnight Road Church of Christ (now McKnight Crossings), and several members were graduates of Ozark Christian College. The community also worked closely with North City Church of Christ, a local urban ministry. The community—which averaged ten members, married and single—was housed in two large houses in north St. Louis. Members committed to a rule of life, covenanting to fidelity in our relationships, simplicity in our material life, and service to those around us.45 These commitments translated into a shared rhythm of life. Each day we shared meals and chores, we began and ended each day with common prayer, we dedicated one night a week to serving in the neighborhood, and there was a common fund from which all community expenses were paid.
Looking back on our experience, I see how our Restorationist formation prepared us for life in a new monastic community. Four brief observations:
First, the biblical Jerusalem church is the normative model for Christian living. In the Churches of Christ, Acts 2 is known as “the hub of the Bible.” The establishment of the original community following Pentecost is understood to be the culmination of God’s redemptive plan (which is why Stone-Campbellites are so keen to reconstitute it). The Pentecost vision is immediately recognizable to anyone formed in the tradition; once, after a fellow Restorationist was introduced to the community, she burst out: “You’re living out the Acts 2 church!” In our community, a painting based on Acts 4:32—“all the believers were of one heart and one mind”—hung in the entryway of the house.
Second, the egalitarian congregationalist tradition prepared us to share the responsibilities of common life. Early Stone-Campbellites rejected professional ministers in favor of the practice of “mutual edification,” and while few churches continue this practice, the anarchical spirit persists. From a young age, members learn how to set up chairs for a meeting, clean up after a potluck, visit the sick, and lead worship or Sunday school—every believer is a priest (and a secretary and a janitor . . . ). In small intentional communities where there is not a strong hierarchical leadership structure, members must count on each other to do what needs to be done; everyone must be prepared to exercise their gifts.
Third, Restorationists have traditionally prioritized ecumenicity. For the sake of Christian unity, doctrine has been downplayed, leading to what John Mark Hicks has called a “wild democracy” of belief.46 The Lotus House began with a core of Restorationists, but within a few years, we claimed members from across the confessional spectrum—Presbyterian (USA), Lutheran (Missouri Synod), Catholic, Orthodox, and Pentecostal. We were united by a Rule of Life, not a creedal statement. Once, a younger member of the community was distraught to discover that he could not receive weekly communion at another member’s church (which practiced closed communion), despite the fact that he was sharing daily table fellowship and prayer with this individual. The community was the site of true communion. Bonhoeffer observed long ago that “life together under the Word will remain sound and healthy only where it does not form itself into a movement, an order, a society, a collegium pietatis, but rather where it understands itself as being part of the one, holy, catholic, Christian Church.”47 In Restorationist terms—“Christians only.”
Finally, the apocalyptic outlook produces tightly-knit kinship communities where “family of God” is more than a metaphor. Congregations have tended to be small and intergenerational; members know one another well and care for each other. The sectarian mentality encourages members to value the community of believers over biological family—“whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother” (Matt 12:50; NIV). In Rosabeth Kanter’s sociological analysis of American communes in the nineteenth century, she finds that the single-greatest factor in the long-term success of utopian communities is the cultivation of this sort of familial “commitment,” a quality she describes as detachment from other values, a high cost of membership, and a commitment of self and resources.48 Though Restorationist Christians are not immune to American individualism, they have a strong tradition of communitarianism, rooted in the biblical story and their historical experience on the frontier.
In Evangelism after Christendom, Bryan Stone echoes Heath’s definition of mission in Missional. Mainline. Monastic. “The most evangelistic thing the church can do today,” he writes, “is to be the church—to be formed imaginatively by the Holy Spirit through core practices such as worship, forgiveness, hospitality, and economic sharing into a distinctive people in the world, a new social option, the body of Christ.”49 Restorationists have throughout their history imperfectly embodied this call to community as mission. They have been “imaginatively formed” by the apocalyptic tradition and “politically formed” by the practices of small, intergenerational congregations in rural America. The new monastic movement offers one paradigm for the Stone-Campbell tradition to further its radical kingdom vision of a renewed Pentecost community on the new frontier of the rapidly expanding American city. By embracing its own quasi-monastic sectarian legacy, Restorationists may not only contribute to the revival of American Christianity but also save themselves.
Alden Bass teaches theology and Scripture at Oklahoma Christian University in Oklahoma City. He was a founding member of the Lotus House Community in St. Louis and continues to be involved in the Nurturing Communities Network.
†Adapted from a paper presented at the Thomas H. Olbricht Christian Scholars’ Conference, Lipscomb University, Nashville, TN, June 6–8, 2018.
1 Dietrich Bonhoeffer, from a letter to Karl-Friedrich Bonhoeffer in A Testament to Freedom: The Essential Writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer (New York: Harper Collins, 2009), 424.
2 Richard Hughes, Reclaiming a Heritage: Reflections on the Heart, Soul, and Future of Churches of Christ (ACU Press, 2002), 106–7.
3 Greg Peters, Reforming the Monastery: Protestant Theologies of the Religious Life (Eugene, OR: Cascade, 2014), 1–18.
4 Jonathan Wilson-Hargrove, “New Monasticism and the Resurrection of American Christianity,” Missiology: An International Review 38, no. 1 (2010): 13–19.
5 Elaine A. Heath and Larry Duggins, Missional. Monastic. Mainline.: A Guide to Starting Missional Micro-Communities in Historically Mainline Traditions (Eugene, OR: Cascade, 2014).
6 Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove has been the most prolific. See, e.g., New Monasticism: What It Has to Say to Today’s Church (Grand Rapids: Brazos, 2008); School(s) for Conversion: 12 Marks of a New Monasticism, ed. The Rutba House (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2005). See also, Shane Claiborne, Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2006) and Scott Bessenecker, The New Friars: The Emerging Movement Serving the World’s Poor (Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2006).
7 The Disciples of Christ also stem from this movement but are now considered mainline Protestants.
8 Will Samson identifies new monasticism as a “theopolitical response to American Evangelicalism” in “The New Monastics and the Changing Face of American Evangelicalism” (PhD Dissertation, University of Kentucky, 2016), 165. See also Tim Kumfer, “Between Sojourners and the Simple Way? Rethinking Radical, Evangelical Politics in ’08 with John Howard Yoder,” The Other Journal, October 14, 2008, https://theotherjournal.com/2008/10/14/between-sojourners-and-the-simple-way-rethinking-radical-evangelical-politics-in-08-with-john-howard-yoder. For a much longer sociological treatment, see Wes Markofski, New Monasticism and the Transformation of American Evangelicalism (Oxford University Press, 2015), 31–69. An earlier wave of intentional communities arose out of the charismatic revivals of the 1950s and 60s. Reba Place Fellowship and Jesus People USA, both in Chicago, are very different products of that movement.
9 James Baker, “Benedict’s Children and Their Separated Brothers and Sisters,” The Christian Century, December 3, 1980, 1191–94; Rodney Clapp, “Remonking the Church,” Christianity Today, August 12, 1988, 20–21. One of the best critical introductions to the new monastic movement is Erik Carter’s “The New Monasticism: A Literary Introduction,” Journal of Spiritual Formation & Soul Care 5, no. 2 (2012): 268–84.
10 The story is told in Shane Claiborne, Irresistible Revolution (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2006) and Wilson-Hartgrove, New Monasticism.
11 As observed by Mark van Steenwyk, “What is the New Monasticism?,” March 5, 2008, http://www.jesusmanifesto.com/2008/03/05/what-is-the-new-monasticism. Kenneth Stewart includes a chapter on new monasticism in In Search of Ancient Roots: The Christian Past and the Evangelical Identity Crisis (London: Apollos, 2017), though his treatment of American new monasticism is deficient.
12 The Rutba House, ed., School(s) for Conversion: 12 Marks of a New Monasticism (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2005).
13 Shane Claiborne, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, Enuma Okoro, Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2010).
14 Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove’s ongoing “Poor People’s Campaign” is a good example. See https://poorpeoplescampaign.org.
15 For more on the countercultural politics of hospitality in Christian community, see Elizabeth Newman, Untamed Hospitality: Welcoming God and Other Strangers (Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2007), esp. 145–92.
16 Heath and Duggis, 25.
17 For a range of opinions on this issue, see William Baker, ed., Evangelicalism and the Stone-Campbell Movement (Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2002). Also pertinent are the reflections of Richard Hughes in Reclaiming a Heritage, 93–118. Whatever the relationship, the movement is undeniably rooted in the European evangelical movements of the eighteenth century, as Jamie Gorman has ably demonstrated in Among the Early Evangelicals: The Trans-Atlantic Origins of the Stone-Campbell Movement (Abilene, TX: ACU Press, 2017).
18 According to George Marsden, Evangelicals have been guilty of a “general disregard for the institutional church” (Understanding Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1991], 81).
19 The International Churches of Christ (aka “the Boston Movement”), which splintered from mainline Churches of Christ in the 1970s, exemplify an intensification of these traits in their discipling practices. For background, see John F. Wilson, “The International Church of Christ: A Historical Overview,” Leaven 18 (2010): 1–5.
20 For a communitarian perspective on this, see John Alexander, Being Church: Reflections on How to Live as the People of God (Eugene, OR: Cascade, 2012).
21 David Lipscomb, Civil Government: Its Origin, Mission, and Destiny (Nashville: McQuiddy Printing, 1913), 12.
22 Richard Hughes writes about “the biblical form of the sectarian spirit” in Reclaiming a Heritage, 72–78.
23 Quoted by Robert Lowery, “Biblical Models of the Church,” in Evangelicalism and the Stone-Campbell Movement, ed. William Baker (Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2002), 212.
24 Hughes, Reclaiming a Heritage, 8. Hughes traces the historical development of the apocalyptic worldview in Reviving the Ancient Faith: The Story of Churches of Christ in America (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1996). One of the best treatments of this theology, especially as it manifested in the Churches of Christ, is John Mark Hicks and Bobby Valentine, Kingdom Come: Embracing the Spiritual Legacy of David Lipscomb and James Harding (Abilene, TX: Leafwood Publishing, 2006), 27–42.
25 John Nugent, Endangered Gospel: How Fixing the World is Killing the Church (Eugene, OR: Cascade, 2016), 193. For another treatment of apocalyptic ethics in contemporary theological thinking, see Travis Kroeker, Messianic Political Theology and Diaspora Ethics: Essays in Exile (Eugene, OR: Cascade, 2017).
26 Hughes, Reclaiming, 7.
27 This is especially true of the Tennessee Tradition of the Churches of Christ, formed by Tolbert Fanning, James Harding, and David Lipscomb and ultimately derived from Barton Stone. However, even Alexander Campbell qualified his patriotism with a commitment to pacifism. For a short survey, see Michael Casey, “From Religious Outsiders to Insiders: The Rise and Fall of Pacifism in the Churches of Christ,” Journal of Church and State 44 (2002): 455–75.
28 Monte Cox, “Missions in the Churches of Christ: Trends in Theology and Strategy,” Lexington Theological Quarterly 46 (2016): 163.
29 In the 1936 religious census, over half the members of the Churches of Christ belonged to rural congregations; by 1962, it was estimated at 80% rural. See David Edwin Harrell, “The Sectional Origins of the Churches of Christ,” Journal of Southern History 20 (1964): 272.
30 Wendell Berry, Sex, Economy, Freedom & Community (New York: Pantheon, 1992), 120. It is no accident that the Church of Christ historical theologian Leonard Allen has a habit of prefacing his books with Wendell Berry quotations (e.g. Discovering Our Roots: The Ancestry of the Churches of Christ, with Richard Hughes [ACU Press, 1988], Things Unseen: Churches of Christ in (and after) the Modern Age [Leafwood Press, 2003] , and Distant Voices: Uncovering a Forgotten Past for a Changing Church [ACU Press, 1999]).
31 On a related note, the new monastic phenomenon can in part be explained by the “Anabaptist turn” in American theology led by Stanley Hauerwas.
32 John Nugent, “John Howard Yoder, Radical Ecumenicity, and the Stone-Campbell Tradition,” in Radical Ecumenicity: Pursuing Unity and Continuity after John Howard Yoder, ed. John Nugent (Abilene, TX: ACU Press, 2010), 11–20.
33 David Eller, “Hoosier Brethren and the Origins of the Restoration Movement,” Indiana Magazine of History 76 (1980): 1–20.
34 Lynn McMillon, Restoration Roots: The Scottish Origins of the American Restoration Movement (Henderson: Hester Publications, 1983), 19–68.
35 As this paper was going to press, Jeremy Hegi alerted me to another Campbellite community established by Frederick August Wagner and Otoshige Fujimori in Japan in the late nineteenth century. Converts were invited to live and work in an agricultural commune in the countryside which they called “holy community.” The group is described in Robert Hooper in “If Your Enemy Hungers Feed Him”: Church of Christ Missionaries in Japan, 1892–1970 (Abilene: ACU Press, 2017), 63–90.
36 Robert Christian Kahlert, Salvation and Solvency: The Socio-Economic Policies of Early Mormonism (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2016), 163. See also, Richard Van Wagoner, Sidney Rigdon: Portrait of Religious Excess (Signature Books, 1994), 50.
37 F. Mark McKiernan, The Voice of One Crying in the Wilderness: Sidney Rigdon, Religious Reformer, 1793–1876 (Lawrence: Coronado Press, 1971), 29.
38 Craig Watts, Disciple of Peace: Alexander Campbell on Pacifism, Violence and the State (Indianapolis: Doulos Christou Press, 2005); see also the many writings of Michael W. Casey.
39 To the question, “How will we respond to the urbanization of our world when our churches are mostly suburban and rural?,” Cox has no answer (“Missions in the Churches of Christ,” 167).
40 Many similar articles could be cited: Janice Shaw crouse, “The Loneliness of American Society,” The American Spectator (May 18, 2014): https://spectator.org/59230_loneliness-american-society.
41 The wisdom of the Englewood Community is distilled in Chris Smith’s Slow Church: Cultivating Community in the Patient Way of Jesus (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2014); see also Kyle Mobley, Tracy Taylor, and Michael Bowling, “From Rural Street to Urban America: The Englewood Story,” Missio Dei: A Journal of Missional Theology and Praxis 3, no. 2 (August 2012): http://missiodeijournal.com/issues/md-3-2/authors/md-3-2-mobley-taylor-bowling. Englewood also belongs to a network of community-oriented neighborhood churches called The Parish Collective. For more on their model of intentional community, which differs from the new monastic model, see Paul Sparks, Tim Soerens, and Dwight Friesen, The New Parish: How Neighborhood Churches are Transforming Mission, Discipleship, and Community (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2015).
42 The theology behind Delta Community can be seen in John Nugent’s Endangered Gospel (Eugene, OR: Cascade, 2016).
43 See Laura Callarman, “It Doesn’t Feel Like Church to Me,” Leaven 23 (2015): 102–6.
44 For more on the Lotus House, see Stephen Lawson, “Following Jesus Together in the Inner City: Lotus House,” Christian Standard 149 (Dec 2014): 735. Also, James Werning, Finding Intentional Community: Your Journey Home (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2017), 139–48.
45 See “The Rule of the Lotus House,” https://lotushouse.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/the-rule-of-the-lotus-house-revised-jan-20151.pdf.
46 John Mark Hicks, “I Stayed for the Wild Democracy,” in Why We Stayed: Honesty and Hope in the Churches of Christ, ed. Benjamin Williams (Los Angeles: Keledei Publications, 2018).
47 Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together, trans. John Doberstein (New York: Harper Collins, 1954), 37.
48 Rosabeth Kanter, Community and Commitment: Communes and Utopias in Sociological Perspective (Harvard University Press, 1972), 61-74. Lipscomb on commitment: “If the church ever attains to its primitive purity and efficiency it must be by a return to this clearly established principle of the separation of all its members from worldly governments, and the consecration of the affections, time, means and talents of all its members to the up building of the church of God and the salvation of the world” (Civil Government, 128).
49 Bryan P. Stone, Evangelism After Christendom: The Theology and Practice of Christian Witness (Grand Rapids: Brazos, 2007), 10.