Long time, no see! It’s been several months since my last post here on the “Church of Christ Celebrities” blog. (That entry, of course, was the text of my 2019 Stone-Campbell Journal Conference presentation.) It’s been even longer since the last regular entry, posted in December 2018, which focused on Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy.
I’ve decided to return to this blog project for a handful of reasons, however. First, quite simply, I’ve missed working on this site. Getting to do research like this is fun (I know I’m strange!), and I love being able to dig into this material and share it with you. Second, readers new and old have continued to submit topic requests to me over the last several months. If people are still interested in learning more about the celebrities associated (or not!) with Churches of Christ, and about our history more broadly, then I want to meet that need. And third, I have a short book, Visions of Restoration: The History of Churches of Christ, coming out later this year with Cypress Publications/Heritage Christian University Press. This book is primarily intended for non-specialists and for use in adult Bible class or small group settings, and I think many blog readers will want to check it out when it’s released on September 12. I’ll be passing along details about the book in future blog entries, but I wanted to go ahead and make you aware of it now.
Today’s entry is our first repeat topic on the blog and was sparked by some new information that I failed to account for the first time around. Back in April 2018, I published a short entry on Pat Boone. In that post, we found that the singer, political commentator, and product spokesman grew up in Churches of Christ and was a student for a time at Lipscomb, but then seemingly left Churches of Christ voluntarily for the Pentecostal movement during the 1960s. (1)
However, the story of Boone’s supposed departure from Churches of Christ is a bit more complex than I had originally realized.
Bobby Ross Jr., in a September 2017 Christian Chronicle article, wrote about Boone’s ties to the fellowship, which have actually continued even into recent years. Ross found that Boone was indeed disfellowshipped by his congregation back in the early 1970s because of his views on the Holy Spirit and glossolalia. However, Boone has disputed that he ever left Churches of Christ, and in a turn of phrase that strongly resembles one of T.B. Larimore’s most famous quotations, he claimed, “Some disfellowshipped me, but I never disfellowshipped them.” As Ross also notes, Boone has continued to provide considerable financial support to a variety of institutions related to Churches of Christ, including the schools that are now Ohio Valley University, Oklahoma Christian University, Lipscomb University, and Pepperdine University. (2) Regardless of how Boone’s views regarding the Holy Spirit have impacted his reception within Churches of Christ, then, it seems clear that Boone still has many ties to the fellowship, links that I did not fully recognize the last time around.
That’s all for today, but check back in a couple of weeks as we examine the potential ties between two prominent Pixar people and the Churches of Christ. Thanks to the readers who pointed me in the direction of the Christian Chronicle article cited above, and thanks to you for reading all the way to the end!
(1) David Edwin Harrell, Jr., The Churches of Christ in the Twentieth Century: Homer Hailey’s Personal Journey of Faith (Tuscaloosa, AL: The University of Alabama Press, 2000), 171, 185.
(2) Bobby Ross Jr., “Disfellowshipped decades ago, Pat Boone insists he ‘never left’ Church of Christ,” Christian Chronicle, September 24, 2017, accessed July 11, 2019, https://christianchronicle.org/excommunicated-decades-ago-pat-boone-insists-never-left-church-christ/ .