The Incredible Story of the Founder of ONEIDA INSTITUTE which began classes on January 1,1900. It is simply impossible to put down here the effect of learning this Saint’s story firsthand has had on my own life and work. It’s found in a little book he wrote called THE CRUCIBLE  in 1928. In his own simple style he narrates the life-work which was given to him which became known as The Oneida Institute, a school for mountain children of feuding families where his vision was to teach them “not to make war any longer” but rather by love, to serve one another.

The most I can do here is pay tribute to the man and those that partnered with him to accomplish what seems like an impossible feat. I will let his own words penned in the summary to his book testify to where his strength came from.

SUMMARY. This little book is made up of excerpts from the annals of my soul. It is the laying bare of heart experiences. It is not an autobiography. It portrays only a certain phase of my life- only one phase. . .

In writing these memoirs, I have tried to be frank and honest. There is nothing dogmatic in this book. The philosophy of events, herein expressed, is my own. I do not ask any one to accept my interpretations. . .

I have lived to see our mountain children emancipated from the bondage of illiteracy and freed from the blight of the feud spirit. I have seen the smoky log-cabin replaced by the beautiful white cottage. I have heard the vengeful barking of the Winchester grow fainter and fainter and finally die away in the silence of peace. We taught the children to love and respect each other and the feuds died a natural death- automatically. Peace can never be secured by drastic laws, battleships, and big guns. But when the children of this world are taught to love each other, then strife and rapine will cease.

Finally, I want to disclaim any glory whatsoever for the work of Oneida Institute. I did not choose this work. I was chosen for it by Him who works in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure. It was impinged upon me- the only job I ever had. It has grown from the vaguest kind of a vision to an Institution with property worth half a million dollars (1928). It has trained hundreds of faithful teachers who have carried the message of peace to thousands of helpless children in the fastnesses of the Cumberlands. The realization of this is ample remuneration for every day of toil and every night of privation. . .

There will be a sequel to this book- maybe more than one. If I do not write it, someone else will. The work of Oneida Institute has scarcely begun. It shall be carried on into the ages, a heritage for generations yet unborn. Workers will live and love and labor till their tasks are done- others will rise up to take their places- to carry the banner still further to the front- whither, we do not know. But when the end has come, and the sheaves are garnered, we’ll cast our trophies at His feet.

GOD testifying of his (saints) gifts, and through them they being dead still speak


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ROBERT E. WEBBER (1933-2007)

Former Professor at Wheaton College and until his death, Myers Professor of Ministry at Northern Seminary in Illinois, Bob Webber left us last year after finishing his own life’s work of training leaders for the churches. The burden of his final book, “Who Gets To Narrate the World” (IVP), exemplified the prophetic burden of much of his work: Christianity in America will simply not survive if Christians are not rooted in the uniquely Christian story that is the biblical narrative, the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Driven by the conviction that American evangelicals are facing the demise of their entire way of life, Webber challenged us all (those who would listen) to repent of our accommodation to a post-Christian, neo-pagan culture. Which means that we must rise up and engage both the external and internal powers confronting us as a church, and reclaim our unique story which is the treasure that God has given us both to proclaim and to live.

“The texts of the Christian faith tell us no matter how hard we try, there is nothing we can do to restore our union with God. That’s the bad news. But the good news is that God has done for us what we cannot do for ourselves. God became a man and lived in our skin, so to speak, to accomplish once again the union between God and man that was lost by Adam. The ancient fathers speak of God restoring our spiritual union with him by his own ‘two hands’ – Jesus and God’s life-giving Spirit.       – Robert Webber, The Divine Embrace 

Read one of his last interviews at Christianity Today

READ A Sampler of Webber’s legacy at CHRISTIAN HISTORY

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Roland Allen rolandallen(1868-1947)

Allen’s books on Mission theory and practice have influenced several generation of missionaries in the last century-including myself. He was a tireless advocate for the return to New Testament principles, thus perhaps his most read and studied book, “Missionary Methods:Saint Paul’s or Ours?”(1962 Eerdmans, first American edition;published 40 years earlier)

Bishop Lesslie Newbigin writing the Foreward, perhaps sums up both this book and the contribution of Allen to the world mission effort best by quoting the author:

I never ask anyone to do anything and consequently I do not get a ‘yes’ or ‘no’. I say what seems to me obviously true, but they do not know what to do about it. One day someone will see what action is demanded, and perhaps screw up their courage to take it. If I were out to organize and lead, that would bedifferent, but as you well know, I long ago determined that that was not the way of the Spirit for me… All I can say is ‘This is the way of Christ and His Apostles’. If any man answers, ‘That is out of date’, or ‘Times have changed’…I can only repeat ‘This is the way of Christ and His Apostles’, and leave him to face that issue. 

READ Allen’s classic essay on the Biblical basis of Communion

READ The Spontaneous Expansion of The Church

The Legacy of Roland Allen 

Another giant in the field of world missions in the 20th century: Ralph Winter. See my post at the time of his death in 2009 (here).

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Tribute to a New Testament Scholar-

Paul S. Minear (1906-2007) 

                             minear                   Paul’s teaching career at Yale can best be evaluated by studying the careers of some of those who had the rare privilege to study with him, especially those who had him as their PhD advisor. Men like J. Louis Martyn, who wrote the foreward to his last book, “The Bible and The Historian“, published in 2002. This is the book I bought myself for Christmas, 2003, and started me on a wonderful adventure of re-discovering this rare gift to the American churches that for the most part went un-noticed by many evangelicals scholars and pastors.

   I was required to read one of his classics in 1973 when I was taking graduate studies at the old Jaffray School of Missions in New York. During a very busy year with a lot on my plate, his book called, “Images of The Church in The New Testament“, published in 1960 was borrowed from the library along with a host of other source material for my course in Ecclesiology. At the time I could recognize the book as being very unique and having a special contribution to the understanding of the unfolding vision of the Church in Scripture, and I made one of those promises to myself that someday I would return to this book and give it the time and effort it deserved.

Now I have the new edition, printed in 2004. Evidently others had noticed it and kept it in circulation so that in these days of revived focus on rediscovering what the Bible says about the Church of Jesus Christ a new printing was required. Another former student, Leader E. Keck, wrote the foreward to this reprint. These two men have greatly enlarged my own appreciation for Paul Minear and his ministry. His special gift to me was to be my teacher in a new phase of understanding of Scripture as vision, seen by the “eyes of faith”, the name of one of his first books (1946) in which he clearly set forth his own fresh statement of Biblical Theology. Minear describes his new way of reading the Bible as having been ” forced upon me against my own inclinations. . .Over and over again, I have been chagrined to have my convictions reversed. . . Finally the suspicion dawned that perhaps the strange history within which the apostle stood is the true history within which I too stand”. And then this statement that “The Bible calls for witnesses, not for teachers. It is written from faith to faith; not from objective knowledge to faith, or from faith to objective knowledge. It demands subjective appropriation, not dispassionate evaluation”.

His writing and speaking minstry was enormous just at the time the textual critics were reigning in academic centers in the main-line churches. Somehow there in their midst he thrived at being not only true to the text of Scripture but going far beyond with fresh new visions of what the authors meant in the original historic context and within the biblical narrative. Keck describes the excitement of studying with Minear when he was working on a major theology of the New Testament, published in 1950 as “The Kingdom and the Power: An Exposition of the New Testament Gospel“. What they were getting in the classroom was being reinforced as this work was created week by week. This book also has now been republished in 2004. (see my post from the introduction, Two Prisoners of The Gospel)

I have soaked up the unique contributions that his views of individual books as well as the whole narrative have provided. He has an unusual ability to find strategic texts in a book of the Bible which provide clues to what the authors intended for their original hearers. The rediscovery going on today of his writings by a new generation is one of the reasons that I am filled with great hope for the future of biblical scholarship in the churches not only of America and Europe, but literally in the world-wide Church of Jesus Christ.

In  Memoriam: a summary of Paul Minear’s career

Minear’s Interpretation of unity in JOHN 17.

OTHER BRAVEHEARTS Celebrated at E4Unity-

John R W Stott (1921-2011)         – Richard John Neuhaus (1936-2009)

Bishop Lesslie Newbigin  (1909-1998)   – Ralph D. Winter (1924-2009)


4 Responses to “Saints Gallery 2”

  1. Loraine Says:

    As an educator for some 40 years, I am astonished at what the Oneida Institute has been able to accomplish in the hills of eastern Kentucky. For over 100 years now the vision that was carried by James Anderson Burns and was taken up by countless others as teachers, financial supporters from the east coast to the west coast has been the driving energy that literally has touched the world.

    It is one more story of what valiant men and women can accomplish when they dedicate themselves to a life calling and trust without reservation in the One who calls to supply all that is to be demanded.

    Be sure to read the article from University of Louisville that tells of the Berea College connection early in the story of Oneida Institute.

  2. Mick Turner Says:

    Thanks so much for this post. It is vital that all of us that dare take on the title “Christian” come to understand that we are part of a family and a movement that is far larger than we are. I am especially grateful to Robert Webber and his work about “Ancient-Future Faith.” His book “The Divine Embrace” played a significant role in the development of my worldview. He was truly a remarkable man and added much to our faith.

    1. e4unity Says:

      Mick, good to hear from you. Hope you have regained your health. I have noticed your post re.Robert Webber and the influence he has had on your onw life and ministry. Isn’t that what the Body of Christ is all about-each one adding his life, calling, and gifts to oneanother so that the whole Temple grows up into the fullness of her heavenly design- the People for God’s exclusive pleasure.

  3. Toddy2 Says:

    great perspective on the resources Lesslie Newbigin has left us for the 21st century task http://www.catalystresources.org/resources-in-the-vision-of-lesslie-newbigin/

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