Knowing God Through Experience: The role of personal testimony in baptismal services among Baptists. A CHARIS lecture by Dr. Anthony R. Cross, Oxford University. Response from Dr. Everett Ferguson, Abilene Christian University.
Originally presented October 12, 2015, Chapel on the Hill, Abilene Christian University.
The Sacrament of Baptism among the First Baptists. Dr. Anthony R. Cross (Oxford University). With a response by Dr. Doug Foster (Abilene Christian University). Presented as a CHARIS lecture on October 13, 2015. Abilene Christian University.
Every family has a story. These stories are usually exchanged upon the knee of a beloved grandparent or told around the dinner table during the holidays. During the past month a patron has been kind enough to invite Special Collections into her own family’s story. We are proud to announce the acquisition of the Ervin Family Papers, which catalog the pioneering adventures of the Ervin family ancestors, Jonas Lafayette and his wife, Mary Hamilton Ervin. Of special note within this collection is a pair of letters written by Jonas Ervin and Mary Ervin during their first year on the Texas frontier. Both Mary and Jonas discuss the hardships of the frontier; topics range from not being able to afford vittles to suffering from scurvy.
It is important to draw attention to the structures of these two letters. When placed side by side you can identify congruent headings and salutations in both letters. It has been my observation that Mary demonstrates a higher level of literacy than her husband, Jonas. The script of her handwriting is much neater; her grammar and spelling is also up to standard while Jonas’ letter is peppered with spelling and grammar mistakes. It is possible that Jonas asked for Mary’s help in formatting his letter or at least copied her style in order to write a legible letter. As a researcher, it is interesting to notice the differing levels of education between Jonas and Mary. It is obvious that Jonas is barely literate while Mary has gone through some kind of formal instruction. Does it strike you that, as a female on the Texas frontier, Mary would have a higher level of education than her husband, Jonas?
These letters serve as excellent windows into what living standards were like in West Texas during the 1870s, as white pioneers from the east began to settle the area. Though the Ervins faced many perils and tribulations they were able to build a legacy upon the dusty, Texan earth and a life for their family; which consisted of thirteen healthy children, all of whom survived into adulthood. What is your family’s story? What obstacles did they face while taming the wild, open spaces of the Texan wilderness? You’ll be surprised by the historical landscapes that lay before you when you examine your own family’s journey. Please share with us your family’s story so that we may all know more about our collective past.
Below are transcriptions of both Jonas’ and Mary’s letters. The transcriber has preserved the original grammar and spelling of each author. Some words are unintelligible. If you have any insights into what some of these unrecognizable words might be please comment. Thank you.
Few individuals among Churches of Christ in the 20th century were as well-known as Carl Ketcherside (1908-1989). He described his journey as that of a piece-maker who became a peacemaker. He was for many a champion for the recovery of a lost unity amid a divided fellowship; for others, his voice represented a dangerous departure from historic restorationism if not biblical teaching. However his legacy is characterized, any interpretation of it rests on available sources: from a voluminous published corpus to archival materials from his own hand. On the one hand, ACU Special Collections holds a robust collection of his published books. Further we have copies or originals of as complete a set of his periodicals as is obtainable. On the other hand, we have numerous letters written by Carl to several of his associates. Never intended for publication, they shed additional light into his ministry and through his life, the wider story of Churches of Christ in his day. Each letter includes an attached transcription, and as a result of the typed transcriptions, the letters are now text searchable. We thank Ian Davidson, Cecil Hook. Hoy Ledbetter, Boyce Mouton and Terry Gardner for making the letters, transcriptions, and annotations available to ACU’s Special Collections.
During the 2013 ACU Friends of ACU Library luncheon during Summit Mac Ice discussed the archival significance of this correspondence and the role archives play in the preservation and dissemination of our faith story. A video of Mac’s presentation is available at the bottom of this page.
We have scanned over 125 letters from Carl to these four associates. Click the name below to access the correspondence (in PDF form) from W. Carl Ketcherside to that individual. Terry J. Gardner meticulously transcribed and annotated many of these letters.
We had a special treat a few days ago when several participants in the TX Singing School visited Special Collections for a tour. In response to their request, I pulled several hymnals and related artifacts for a brief show and tell. We thought you’d like to see the pictures.
Great Songs of the Campus, published in Taipei, Taiwan by Campus Bible Study Press [ca. 1970s] open to “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.”
A few weeks ago the family Dr. Glenn Earle McMillan deposited with Center for Restoration Studies the class notes, academic research, sermon notes and some memorabilia from Earle’s career as minister and teacher. Shown here is a notebook he kept while a student at ACC; it contains notes he made in a course on the Greek Old Testament.
Included are materials from congregations he served, outlines and manuscripts of sermons, and many files of notes he used in preparation for his teaching at Abilene Christian College. The papers are in the processing pipeline. When processing is complete a finding aid will be published and they will be available for unrestricted research.
Dr. McMillan died in Abilene on 14 October 2013. Click here to read the obituary.
This photo and sketch was published in Batsell Barrett Baxter and M. Norvel Young, eds. Preachers of Today, A Book of Biographical Sketches and Pictures of Living Gospel Preachers. vol. 2. Nashville: Gospel Advocate Company, 1959, pages 284-285:
Here is the meetinghouse of the Church of Christ in Big Spring, Texas, 1935, as it appeared during the ministry of Forrest R. Waldrop.
In my experience, interior photographs are rarer than exterior shots. At least in the archival contexts in which I have worked contained far more snapshots of the church building than the inside. Usually we do not think to photograph our most sacred places (unless a classroom wing is added or it was time for a new directory).
Interior views capture a sense of the space in which congregations met for worship, for instruction, for inspiration. In these spaces they performed their most sacred rituals, read from their most sacred texts, oriented and reoriented their lives. Worship, marriage ceremonies, funeral services, passing on their faith to their children and engaging and serving their neighbors: all of this and more occurred weekly at meetinghouses across the US and the globe.
How does the space in which you worship shape your worship? How does your worship shape the space you create in which to assemble, or teach, or serve?