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Exploring the Heart of Restoration

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John Mark Hicks

John Mark Hicks has taught in institutions affiliated with Churches of Christ for thirty-two years. He currently lives in Nashville, TN and is Professor of Theology at Lipscomb University. John Mark was born in Ft. Sumner, New Mexico. His father (Mark N. Hicks) and mother (Edith Lois Hicks) were Texans who moved in the 1950s to Virginia to plant a church (though they were back in New Mexico in 1957 for a few years where John Mark was born). John Mark grew up in Virginia, spending his teen years in the Washington, D.C. area. He received his A.A. in German and his B.A. in Bible from Freed-Hardeman University (1977), his M.A.R. in Theological Studies from Westminster Theological Seminary (1979), his M.A. in Humanities (Philosophy) from Western Kentucky University (1980) and his Ph.D. in Reformation and Post-Reformation Studies from Westminster Theological Seminary (1985). He has taught at Alabama Christian School of Religion (1982-1989), Magnolia Bible College (1989-1991), Harding University Graduate School of Religion (1991-2000 fulltime; 2000-present adjunct), and Lipscomb University (2000-present). He has also adjuncted at Northeastern Christian College, Christian Brothers University, Abilene Christian University, Rochester College, and Institute for Christian Theology and Minstry (St. Petersburg, Russia). He has published numerous articles, both popular and scholarly, contributed to fifteen books and authored (co-authored) an additional eleven. His third book (the first two, written as as a teenager, are best forgotten) was Yet Will I Trust Him: Understanding God in a Suffering World (Joplin, MO: College Press, 1999). This was followed by a small group study version published as Anchors for the Soul: Trusting God in the Storms of Life (College Press, 2001). He has also written a 600+ page commentary on 1 & 2 Chronicles in the College Press NIV Commentary series (2001). His most recent publications are Come to the Table: Revisioning the Lord’s Supper (Orange, CA: New Leaf Press, 2002), Down in the River to Pray: Revisioning Baptism as God’s Transforming Work (with Greg Taylor; Siloam Springs: Leafwood Publishers, 2004), and A Gathered People: Revisioning the Assembly as Transforming Encounter (with Bobby Valentine and Johnny Melton; Abilene: Leafwood Publishers, 2007). These three works are an attempt to “revision” the traditional Stone-Campbell ordinances (or sacraments) as divine means of grace by which humans encounter God’s transforming power; the ordinances (or sacraments) are theocentric rather than anthropocentric. In 2006, John Mark also published Kingdom Come: Embracing the Spiritual Legacy of David Lipscomb and James Harding (with Bobby Valentine; Abilene: Leafwood Publishers, 2006). In 2011, John Mark released a Kindle version of his Meeting God at the Shack: A Journey into Spiritual Recovery (also on Nook) based upon his theological and pastoral analysis of William Young’s The Shack. In addition to various ministry positions in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Alabama and Mississippi, he has served as a church planter from 1998-2000 (Cordova Community Church, a church of Christ in Cordova, TN), Adult Education Minister at the Ross Road Church of Christ in Memphis, TN (1991-1998 ) and Adult Education Minister for the Woodmont Hills Church of Christ in Nashville, TN (2001-2006). In addition, John Mark was the interim preaching minister for the Sycamore View Church of Christ in Memphis, TN from January to November in 2007. He has lectured widely across 40 states and 20 countries (Japan, Korea, Uganda, Greece, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, Croatia, Italy, Ukraine, Jamaica, England, Wales, Russia, Guatelmala and Honduras). John Mark married Sheila Christian Pettit on May 22, 1977. She died due to complications from back surgery in Ellijay, Georgia, on April 30, 1980. John Mark married Barbara Adcox in 1983 but they separated and divorced in 2001 with great heartache as all divorces entail. He has two living children–Ashley (31) and Rachel (25), three grandchildren–Neely (7), Norah (3) and Jonah (6 months)–and two deceased children–one was a miscarriage with Sheila and the other with Barbara named Joshua Mark Hicks who died on May 21, 2001 at the age of sixteen after a long struggle with the genetic condition called Sanfillippo Syndrome. On December 20, 2002, John Mark married Jennifer and now shares responsibility for a blended family that includes Jennifer’s three children: Lauren Bristol (25), Michael Bristol (23), and Lacey Bristol (18). Jennifer also lost a child, Leah, in 1994 by stillbirth. Jennifer serves on the board of Share in Nashville which is a national organization that gives care to families who have experienced the loss of an infant child. Jennifer is a nurse clinical instructor for Vanderbilt University and donates two mornings a month to serving the poor at Siloam a non-profit medical clinic. Oh, last but not the least important–I am a Chicago Cubs fan…diehard and waiting for the inbreaking of Cub Kingdom to dominate the baseball world…or at least win a World Series once every 100 years.

Homepage: http://johnmarkhicks.com/

Restoration projects generally seek to conform the present to the past.  But this is not God’s restoration ideal.  God’s restoration project is the realization of the future.

I understand this is a fairly significant twist to an old and comfortable idea. Many of us have lovingly embraced the idea of returning to the past in order to restore the church to its pristine condition. We thought conforming to past patterns…

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