The story of one of this country's major religious movements is told through the spiritual odyssey of one of its prominent spokesmen. When Homer Hailey sparked controversy within Churches of Christ congregations over his stand on divorce and remarriage, he spoke to a movement already sundered. Historian David Edwin Harrell tells Hailey's story as a means of presenting the larger drama of faith and feuding within those churches.
A nondenominational movement of autonomous congregations, Churches of Christ have been among the fastest-growing religious bodies in the 20th century. Throughout the movement's history, church leaders debated issues ranging from missionary societies to the use of instrumental music in worship. Although some disagreements affected only the ties between congregations, others led to the creation of three distinct groups calling themselves Churches of Christ identified by their sociological and theological positions.
This book shows how the story of the Churches of Christ is reflected by Homer Hailey, a preacher, educator, and author whose life puts in perspective the personal journeys traveled by members in this century. Writing from the perspective of the non-institutional wing within the movement, Harrell avoids mainstream biases to describe the various dissenting views as fully and fairly as possible.
Combining institutional history and biography, Harrell's book is the first to bring the story of the Churches of Christ to century's end. It provides new insight into how this movement realigned itself and shows how one man's career reflected a century of spiritual growth and change for the church as a whole.