The Churches of Christ Heritage Center is a part of Pepperdine University's Jerry Rushford Center for Research on Churches of Christ and the Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement. The Heritage Center is a repository of books, documents, photographs, religious periodicals, congregational histories, biographical studies, archival materials and artifacts of the Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement and the Churches of Christ. The Heritage Center is dedicated to the acquisition and preservation of these materials and to the promotion of research of this religious movement. Select materials from these collections are digitized and made available here to further the Heritage Center's mission.
Thomas H. Olbricht
Reflections on my Life is the memoir of Thomas Olbricht, dedicated Churches of Christ minister, renowned scholar, and prolific author. Olbricht recalls his more than 50-year ministry in the Churches of Christ together with his academic career in Christian education, which includes administrative posts at the University of Iowa, Harding University, the University of Dubuque, Pennsylvania State University, Abilene Christian University, and Pepperdine University.
Bill Henegar and Jerry Rushford
Forever Young is the dual biography of Dr. M. Norvel Young and Helen M. Young, a pioneering husband and wife team in the field of Christian education, respectively President and First Lady of Pepperdine University in Southern California. Telling their stories in not easy because of the breadth of their experiences: their tales range from Tennessee and Oklahoma to Texas, California and the far recesses of the globe. They completed more than 40 international trips in which they helped rebuild a devastated post-war Germany, smuggled Bibles into Russia, conducted a ceremony for the Shah of Iran, met with the King of Thailand, visited with Mother Teresa . . . and so much more. In their home in the United States they entertained presidents, Supreme Court justices, international authors and educators, and religious figures, as well as countless ordinary people, with whom they identified. What was remarkable about their lives was the love, hope, and encouragement they brought to any person, any group, any situation, any venue that they encountered. They dreamed big dreams, and matched those dreams with backbreaking labor and prayer to assure that a better reality was the end result. Their example serves as a memory of nobler days. Indeed, the world yearns for a new generation of people like Norvel and Helen Young.
Christians on the Oregon Trail: Churches of Christ and Christian Churches in Early Oregon, 1842-1882
The Restoration Movement originated on the American frontier in a period of religious enthusiasm and ferment at the beginning of the nineteenth century. The first leaders of the movement deplored the numerous divisions in the church and urged the unity of all Christians through a restoration of New Testament Christianity. The Protestant Reformation had gone astray, they felt, and the various denominations must be directed back to primitive Christianity. They believed that this would be possible if everyone would wear the name "Christian" and return to the Biblical pattern of the New Testament church in doctrine, worship, and practice. Those two ideas - the restoration of New Testament Christianity and the reunion of all Christians - became a distinctive plea and unceasingly, "in season and out of season," the Christians penetrated the frontier with their appeal. They called their efforts the "Restoration Movement" or the "Current Reformation," and they saw themselves as participants in a movement within the existing churches aimed at eliminating all sectarian divisions. This is the story of a courageous generation of Christians who migrated to Oregon Territory on the torturous Oregon Trail. Not all of them survived the journey. but those who did arrived with well-thumbed Bibles and a stubborn determination to hold fast the name Christian and to plant what they called "Bible Christianity" in "the wilds of Oregon." To a great extent they were successful. "We now outnumber in the American population any of the sects." claimed Amos Harvey in 1848, "and if we only live up to our high profession. Oregon will soon become as noted for the religion of Jesus Christ. as it already is for its ever-verdant pastures, its grand and varied scenery. and its mild and healthy climate."
This volume of sermons, edited by Jerry Rushford, honors the teaching, preaching, writing, and life of Frank Pack (1916-1998), who served for 60 years as a preacher in Churches of Christ and for more than 45 years as a distinguished professor of biblical studies in three colleges related to Churches of Christ: David Lipscomb College, Abilene Christian College, and Pepperdine University. Since Dr. Pack distinguished himself as a consummate teacher, it is especially fitting that some of his former students, among the finest preachers in the church, honor him with the fruits of their labor.
James A. Garfield (1831-1881), the only preacher to ever occupy the White House, was a product of the profound social, intellectual and religious ferment of the early decades of the nineteenth century which produced the American religious movement known as the Disciples of Christ. The first fifty years of Disciple history closely paralleled Garfield’s life. The purpose of this study is to focus on the intimate Garfield-Disciples relationship, and to show its reciprocal nature. Garfield was helped by Disciples in the building of a political base (he won ten consecutive elections in the Western Reserve), and they in turn shared in the prestige and influence of his expanding career.
Garfield was reared on Ohio's Western Reserve, “the principal theatre” of the Disciple movement, and at the age of eighteen (1850) he was baptized by a Disciple preacher. While a student at the Western Reserve Eclectic Institute (1851-1854), a Disciple academy at Hiram, he cultivated an inner circle of friends and developed the ability to preach for Disciples. Two years at Williams College (1854-1856) enlarged his intellectual horizons and convinced him that the Disciple ministry was “an unpromising field.” By the time Garfield returned to teach at Hiram, he was already formulating plans for entering “the field of statesmanship” through the “educational portal.”
In the first three years after his return to Hiram (1856-1859), Garfield was made president of the Eclectic, married into a strong Disciple family in Hiram, and became “a favorite preacher” among Western Reserve Disciples. At the same time, he was laying the groundwork for a political career with the Eclectic as a base and his beloved “Hiram circle” of Disciple colleagues as associates and supporters. In 1859, with the support of several influential Disciples, Garfield won election to the Ohio Senate and “gained a step in the direction of my purpose.” At the yearly meeting of Disciples he argued that there was a greater need of “manly men in politics” than there was of preachers.
At the outbreak of the Civil War, Garfield saw his course clearly. Governor Dennison assured him that successful military leaders would rule the nation for twenty years after the war, and he eagerly accepted command of the Forty-second Ohio. With evangelistic fervor he recruited hundreds of Disciples into his regiment. His avid speech at the 1861 convention of the American Christian Missionary Society led that Disciple organization to adopt a resolution of loyalty to the Union. During Garfield’s military years (1861-1863) he won rapid promotion to the rank of major general, and through the diligent work of his Disciple associates back home he won election to Congress. His congressional career began in December 1863, and continued until the autumn of 1880 when he was elected to the Presidency.
As a member of the Hiram board Garfield initiated a theological department at the school in 1866; and in that same year he was the catalyst behind the establishment of a significant new Disciple periodical called the Christian Standard. He conceived of merging the school and the paper in an effort to make a fight for “a liberal Christianity” within the Disciple movement, but in this he failed. However, he continued to support the “new and better movement” he saw emerging in the ministries of progressive Disciples like Lewis Pinkerton and Burke Hinsdale.
The Disciples were active in Garfield’s presidential campaign, and through his victory they enjoyed the fruits of worldwide publicity for their young religious movement. After Garfield's assassination, they sought to perpetuate his memory in such projects as the Garfield Memorial Church and Garfield University. This study is based on the extensive collection of Garfield manuscripts in the Library of Congress, and throughout the narrative Garfield is left to express himself in his own words as often as possible.
This biography builds on and updates Faith is my Fortune by Richard Clark and Jack Bates. George Pepperdine (1886-1962) was the founder of Western Auto Supply and, later, Pepperdine University in Southern California. Pepperdine was a noted businessman, philanthropist, and a lifelong member of Churches of Christ.
The purpose of this thesis is the presentation of the life of John Allen Gano, a man important in the history of both early Kentucky and the Restoration Movement. Research toward that end resulted in the recovery of many important documents concerning the period. Basic materials are his own writings, whether in his “Biographical Notebook,” his frequent letters to the Millennial Harbinger, or that found reported to or copied in other brotherhood papers. In addition, a wealth of secondary sources are utilized to complete the overall picture of his life and times.
Information gathered from primary and secondary sources is presented in a combination chronological-topical order. A presentation of John Allen Gano's early years of preparation is followed by an examination of each of the great events in his life as they chronologically occurred.
Preceding the two chapters on the life of John Allen Gano is an introductory chapter on his family background. This chapter traces the five generations of the Gano family that led to the generation of John Allen Gano, and it provides the historical setting at the time of his birth. Following the two chapters on the life of John Allen Gano is a concluding chapter on his descendants. This chapter centers around the life of his oldest son, General Richard M. Gano, a man important in the history of the Civil War and early Texas, as well as in the Restoration Movement.
The findings of this thesis show that both John Allen Gano and General Richard M. Gano were men of leadership in the brotherhood and were closely associated with the main problems and discussions of their contemporaries. The thesis demonstrates that both men played prominent roles in the progress of the Restoration Movement in their generations, and that their contributions to this movement have not been fully appreciated by recent historians.
The preaching career of John Allen Gano spanned six decades, and that of Richard Gano covered a period of forty-seven years. Together this father and son team accounted for 107 years of preaching in the Restoration Movement, and this record is unparalleled in the annals of Restoration History. In addition to the contributions of John Allen Gano and Richard Gano, this thesis also provides information on several members of the Gano family who were associated with the Restoration Movement.
Richard L. Clark and Jack Ward Bates
This memoir, dictated to the authors by George Pepperdine, is subtitled “actual experiences, business success and reverses, stewardship and philanthropy, which have proved that strong religious faith is a greater fortune, more to be desired than riches, or any other assets.” This is the story of George Pepperdine (1886-1962), founder of Western Auto Supply and, later, Pepperdine University in Southern California. Pepperdine was a noted businessman, philanthropist, and a lifelong member of Churches of Christ.
James L. Lovell
Second Edition. 1959.
This publication updates and expands the church history chronicled in the 1942 special edition of the West Coast Christian. It includes a brief history of the growth of Churches of Christ in California, historical sketches of individual congregations, directories of congregations and preachers in the state, and pictures of many of the preachers and missionaries.
Written and compiled by James L. Lovell.
James L. Lovell
Volume 5, Number 4. July 1942.
This special edition includes a brief history of the growth of Churches of Christ in California, historical sketches of individual congregations, directories of congregations and preachers in the state, pictures of many of the preachers, other pictures of historical interest, and features on three California institutions offering Christian training to youth.
Jimmie Lovell, Editor
Robert King, Manager