Hugh’s News & Views (Radio & TV Preaching . . . Pt. 1)


(Part 1)

On February 5, 2018, as part of the 82nd Annual Freed-Hardeman University Bible Lectureship, I was privileged to speak at the “Friends of the Restoration” luncheon on “The Power of Radio and TV Preaching in the Restoration Movement.” Following is some of the anecdotal history I presented on that occasion.

In 1948, from the small Florida panhandle town of Crestview, W. B. Hughes preached the gospel on the radio. A few miles away, in the little village of Baker, FL, U. L. Allen, a 23 year old blind man, sat expectantly by the radio waiting to hear brother Hughes’ sermon. He hung on every word and absorbed the simple gospel that brother Hughes preached. On August 5, 1948, at great personal cost, U. L. Allen was baptized into Christ by Burl Hughes. U. L. was immediately expelled from his home by his father! Continue reading

#hughfulford, #radio

Hugh’s News & Views (Some Great Leaders . . . Pt. 6)


16. J. M. Barnes (1836-1913). Born in Montgomery County, AL on February 10, 1836, Justus McDuffie Barnes was brought up on an old-time Southern plantation. His father was a cotton planter and slave owner, and his plantation was only another name for plenty, prosperity, and happiness. An only son with two sisters, Justus had as his constant boyhood companion an older slave boy named Ben. As a boy, Barnes had music in his soul, hilarity in his feet, and harmless good humor in every fiber of his being. The first time his mother heard the plea for a “thus saith the Lord” in all religious matters she accepted it, and for years she was the foremost defender of the truth in her section of the country, being such privately and person to person. Barnes entered Bethany College in 1854 and graduated in 1856, studying under Alexander Campbell, the founder of the school. After graduating, he returned to his father’s plantation in the little village of Strata, south of the city of Montgomery. With his two brothers-in-law, he established an educational institution in Highland Home, AL in which the Bible was taught and in which a number of men from the South were trained to become gospel preachers. In addition to being a preacher and educator, Barnes was a writer of some note. He preached extensively in evangelistic meetings in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Texas, as well as other states. As a preacher, teacher, and writer, he was known for the closeness with which he adhered to the Scriptures. He was a careful and constant student of the New Testament in the original Greek. In the spring of 1913 while driving down the road in a new automobile, an old black friend, working in a nearby field, waved and called to him. Taking his eyes off the road for a moment to return the greeting, he lost control of the car and died from injuries on April 28, 1913. He is buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Montgomery, Alabama. Though small in stature, he was a giant among leaders in the Restoration Movement in Alabama in the latter half of the 19th century and the early 20th century. (Note: I am indebted to F. D. Srygley, Biographies and Sermons, Gospel Advocate [1961, a reprint], pp. 395-404, for much of the above material). Continue reading

#hughfulford, #restoration-history

Hugh’s News & Views (Paul’s Speech . . .)


I have always considered the apostle Paul’s speech to the elders of the church in Ephesus (Acts 20:17-38) one of the most touching and moving speeches in all of the Bible. Obviously, it does not rank above our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5, 6, 7) or Peter’s sermon on Pentecost when the church was established (Acts 2) or Stephen’s sermon resulting in his martyrdom (Acts 7) or even Paul’s sermon on Mars Hill in Athens (Acts 17). Yet, for sheer pathos, to say nothing of its sobering content, few if any speeches in the New Testament would outrank Paul’s address to the Ephesian elders. Continue reading

#acts, #elders, #hughfulford

Hugh’s News & Views (A Distinctive Pulpit)


The theme of the January 2018 issue of The Spiritual Sword is “Being Distinctive In The Pulpit.” In the forty-eight year history of this great journal I doubt if a more relevant or needed theme has been addressed, particularly in the light of current developments in the Lord’s church. Following are some incisive excerpts from each article in this timely issue. You are urged to reflect seriously on them. Continue reading

#hughfulford, #preaching

Hugh’s News & Views (Some Great Leaders . . . Pt. 5)


(Part 5)

13. John T. Johnson (1788-1856). The eighth of eleven children, Johnson was born on October 5, 1788 in Scott County, KY at Great Crossings, about three miles west of Georgetown. His father, Robert Johnson, was a colonel in the army and his brother, Richard M. Johnson, would later serve as the ninth vice-president of the United States during the presidency of Martin Van Buren. In 1820 John T. turned his attention toward politics and was elected to serve in the U. S. Congress, and then was re-elected for several terms. In 1821 he joined the Baptist Church in Great Crossings, his home community, but after his retirement from politics in 1830, he became interested in what was derogatorily called “Campbellism” (then sweeping his community) and determined to make a study of it in the light of the Scriptures. He said, “My eyes were opened, and I was made perfectly free by the truth” (John Rogers, The Biography of Elder John T. Johnson [Cincinnati: 1861], p. 21, as cited by Earl West, The Search for the Ancient Order, Vol. 1, p. 234). Johnson immediately set about to convert the Baptist Church at Great Crossings, but did not take into account the power of religious prejudice, though he did baptize his wife, as well as his brother Joel and his wife. With others, he formed a congregation in Great Crossings that worshiped after the New Testament order. Johnson went on to become an extraordinarily successful preacher of the gospel and an ardent advocate of the principles calling for a restoration of the New Testament order. Alexander Campbell said of him, “I wish Kentucky had a few persons equally gifted for taking care of the sheep, as brother Johnson is for marking them and putting them in the green pastures” (a reference to converting people to the right way of the Lord) (The Millennial Harbinger, June 1839, as cited by West, p. 228-229). Samuel Rogers said of him, “As an evangelist, I have thought John T. Johnson the best model I have ever known. Perhaps I ought not to speak of him as a model at all, for no man could imitate him” (as cited by West, p. 229). On the first Sunday evening of December 1856, Johnson preached his last sermon. He developed a case of pneumonia and died in the home of Thomas Bledsoe with whom he was staying in Lexington, KY. When told that death was approaching he said, “I did not think death was so near, but let it come.” In his delirious moments he would quote scripture or preach on the sacrifice of Jesus for sin. On December 18 he closed his eyes in death. Continue reading

#hughfulford, #restoration-movement

Hugh’s News & Views (Growing Old Gracefully)


Someone has said that we cannot hold back the hands of the clock or the pages of the calendar. Each year that we live we come closer to the end of life’s journey. How shall we grow old? With anger and resentment toward the inevitable changes that aging brings, or with grace and gratitude? Will we become cranky and crotchety old people, making ourselves and all of those around us miserable, or will we allow our faith in God to have its crowning glory by the poise and assurance with which we come to the closing days of our earthly life? Continue reading

#aging, #ecclesiates, #hughfulford, #old-age

Hugh’s News & Views (Turning The Page)


Swiftly we’re turning life’s daily pages,
Swiftly the hours are changing to years;
How are we using God’s golden moments?
Shall we reap glory? Shall we reap tears?

These poignant words were penned by Mrs. Roy Carruth and set to music by that grand old gospel preacher and song writer, Tillit S. Teddlie. The song appears in many hymnals used by members of the Lord’s church and is sung with much meaning.

On December 27, 2017 I turned a page on another year of life as I reached the heralded four-score years. I sometimes wonder where these eight decades have gone! I know that the Psalmist was right when he wrote, “The days of our lives are seventy years; and if by reason of strength they are eighty years, yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off and we fly away” (Psalm 90:10).

At midnight on December 31 we all turned the page on another year of life. What did we leave behind in the old year? What will we take with us into the New Year?

In the New Year, let us turn the page . . . Continue reading

#change, #hughfulford, #newyear

Hugh’s News & Views (Only Six Shopping Days Left . . .)


(Note: I am indebted to my friend and fellow gospel preacher, Steve Kirby, minister of the Hilldale Church of Christ in Clarksville, TN, for the idea behind this issue of “Hugh’s News & Views”).

TV, radio, and print media remind us that there are only six (or whatever the number) shopping days left until Christmas. The Bible tells us about the great day of final judgment, but it does not tell us how many days there are until that day comes. Of His second coming and the day of judgment, Christ said, “But of that day and hour no one knows, no, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only” (Matthew 24:36). Continue reading

#hughfulford, #judgment-day

Hugh’s News & Views (Some Great Leaders . . . Pt. 4)


(Part 4)

In November I wrote three essays under the above heading, with vignettes of three great leaders constituting each essay. I have been encouraged by a number of readers to write some additional articles along this line, and intermittently over the next several weeks I plan to do so. I will resume with the previous numbering of the articles (i.e., this will be Part 4), as well as with the numbering of the men I shall mention (i.e., Barton W. Stone will be number 10, etc.). Continue reading

#biographies, #hughfulford, #restoration-movement

Hugh’s News & Views (. . . A Watchman)


From time to time, I feel compelled to deal with matters of a controversial nature, especially erroneous views and false teaching being advanced in some churches of Christ and often “incubated” in various institutions of higher learning connected with the church. I use my Facebook page, my “Hugh’s News & Views,” and other venues to point out that which I believe is contrary to God’s word, but I am aware that some of my brethren would prefer that I not do this. They think it is “hanging out our dirty laundry” for all the world to see, and they would rather I not do that. I am sorry that they feel this way, but the erroneous views and false doctrines are publicly disseminated (via the pulpits of churches, lectureships, journals, and books), so why should the warnings not be publicly disseminated as well? Continue reading

#apostasy, #doctrine, #hughfulford

Hugh’s News & Views (Assorted Blessings)


(Note: My post-Thanksgiving “News & Views” comes from the pen of Neal Pollard, via the bulletin of the Calvert City, Kentucky Church of Christ where my friend Lance Cordle has preached for many years. Neal is the able preacher for the Bear Valley Church of Christ in Denver, Colorado and an insightful writer. His article reminds me of a popular song of a past generation, “Little Things Mean a Lot,” though many of the things he mentions are not little. Read what he has said, reflect on your blessings, and continue to be grateful. hf). Continue reading

#blessings, #hughfulford

Hugh’s News & Views (Skipping Thanksgiving)


Christmas decorations began to make their appearance in some large chain stores soon after Labor Day, and in some places sooner. Halloween decorations and “Trick or Treat” candy likewise made an early appearance. But what has become of Thanksgiving? Continue reading

#gratitude, #hughfulford, #thanksgiving

Hugh’s News & Views (Denial And Betrayal . . .)


In 1973, a man who was viewed as a prominent preacher in the Lord’s church made the startling statement, “The church of Christ is a big, sick denomination, and I mean all three of those words – big . . . sick . . . denomination!” He had been taught better, had known better, and had preached better. If I am not mistaken, his family had been converted from denominationalism. But in this instance, he caved in to the religious pluralism of our age and turned his back on the restoration principle, the restoration plea, and the commitment to be Christians only and simply the undenominational church of the New Testament. He has been a friend for over sixty years (ever since our student days at Freed-Hardeman College [now University]). He is still loved, and it is sincerely hoped that he has seen the error of his way and returned to “the old paths” (Jeremiah 6:16) of New Testament Christianity, but I know of nothing to indicate that he has done so. Continue reading

#hughfulford, #restoration-plea

Hugh’s News & Views (Some Great Leaders . . . Pt. 3)


(Part 3)

Here are the remaining three vignettes in this series of some of the great leaders of the Restoration Movement. The numbering sequence continues from the two preceding articles. Continue reading

#hughfulford, #preachers, #restoration-history, #restoration-movement

Hugh’s News & Views (Some Great Leaders . . . Pt. 2)


(Part 2)

Below are vignettes of three more great leaders of the Restoration Movement. The numbering sequence continues from last week. Continue reading

#hughfulford, #preachers, #restoration-movement