Christianity's Dangerous Idea asserts Protestantism gift to Christianity was the belief that all people have the right to read and interpret the Scriptures for themselves. This "democratizing agenda" as McGrath terms it (p. 53) is certainly one that the founders of the Stone-Campbell Movement embraced with enthusiasm. These individual readings, over time, became collective readings that were more often than not shaped by controversies (p. 204). In our own Movement the rhetoric of freedom to study to "show ourselves approved unto God" has remained a constant. Yet many conclusions arrived at through the polemics that lead to the separation of Churches of Christ from the Disciples have led to powerful social impulses to conform to these assured results.
Though most frequently seen as the lighting rod in the "Man vs the Plan" controversy, Kenny Carl Moser is a case study in the protestant principle within one individual. Here is an outline of his life ...
Born January 23, 1893
1914 Publishes “I’ll Take Jesus,” and “Marching On to Glory-Land” in Hosanna to the King, No.2 edited by Emmett S. Dean (Trio Music Company)
1914 Approved by the Texas Dept of Education to teach
1915 Enters Thorp Springs Christian College (has discussions with father and C. R.
Nichol on the indwelling Spirit)
1918 Teaches Music at Thorp Springs
1919 Preacher in Normangee, TX. Publishes first known article (“Doing the Will of God” in October 23 Firm Foundation
1920 Preacher in Longview, TX
1921-23 Ministers with the Wewoka church. Co-Editor of The Herald of Truth
1923-26 Minister with 10th & Francis Church in Okla City. Teaches the personal
indwelling of the Spirit for the first time here in 1925
1926? Frederick, Okla
1927-30? Back to Wewoka Published Studies in Romans (Outlines and Comments)
1930-? Abilene, TX
1932 The Way of Salvation
1933-34 Associate at Tenth & Austin, Wichita Falls, TX (publishes “Can the Gospel Be Obeyed?)
1935 Ardmore, Okla Publishes “Six Gospel Sermons”
1937 Publishes “Are We Preaching the Gospel?”
1937-40 Morton/Lubbock, TX
1939 Appears on the ACC Lectureship
1940-47 Preaches for 12th & Drexel in Okla City
1947-50 Enid, Okla
1948-49 Staff writer for World Vision
1952 Publishes Christ Vs. A Plan
1950-56? Back to 12th & Drexel
1956 Moves to Lubbock
1957 Publishes The Gist of Romans
1960 Publishes A Re-Study of Salvation (a revised version of “Christ Vs A Plan)
1964 Accepts teaching position at LCC
1974 Contributes essay, “Our Lack of Understanding of the Person and Mission of Jesus” to J. D. Thomas’ What Lack We Yet?
1976 February 17, enters his rest
1976 Last published article appears in 20th Century Christian six weeks after his death. It is called, appropriately, “Jesus and the Resurrection.”
Moser began his spiritual adventure rooted squarely in the "Texas Tradition " The Firm Foundation was the principle organ of this theological stream within Churches of Christ. The power to conform is testified to by Moser, "I was brought up at the feet of teachers who denied the indwelling of the Spirit and for no better reason I denied it too. After I began to study for myself, I soon discovered that no doctrine is more plainly taught than the doctrine of the indwelling Spirit.” This quote reveals Moser passion for spiritual integrity before God. He inherited a position on the Holy Spirit but embraced a very unpopular position because he began to "study for [himself]."
Moser found himself in deep trouble because he embrace the rhetoric of studying for himself as a birthright. Through his writing career he exhibits a pioneering attitude and vigorous independence in his study of the Word of God. Moser believed there were three critical principles involved in God honoring Bible study.
1) the disciple must have an intelligent method of study
2) the disciple must be honest
3) the disciple must embrace a non-sectarian spirit
By method Moser meant a close contextual reading of any passage of Scripture. As a contributor for both the Gospel Advocate and World Vision Moser chose the title "Text and Context" for his columns.
By honesty Moser meant "a sincere desire to know the truth." The disciple seeks "to be taught himself" not to be a teacher of others. The disciple does not approach the text to "prove another wrong." Rather the goal is to be lead by God's Spirit to understanding and living the truth that is discovered.
By embracing a non-sectarian spirit Moser meant the disciple has no special loyalty to "our position." In fact "my, your, or our position might be unadulterated error." The sectarian spirit is among all the enemies of spiritual Bible study the worst. Sectarianism spills blood! Again testifying to the power to conform Moser states
"there are too many who are willing to sacrifice the influence and good name of those who differ from themselves; and, too, for the reason, chiefly, that some one is considered out of line with 'our position.' To pronounce one a heretic simply because he is out of line with others is ... rank sectarianism." There are plenty who live in fear of their own convictions because they may "be put out of the synagogue."
Moser's testimony to the power of coercion was experienced in his own life. He was kicked out of the Texas synagogue and found a welcome with in the Nashville Bible School stream of the Churches of Christ. His courage to actually compare his inherited faith against a careful and dedicated reading of the Scripture is worthy of emulation. G. C. Brewer commented on Moser's approach as "the most encouraging thing I have seen ... among the disciples of Christ" in decades.
It is my prayer that Christianity's Dangerous Idea will once again take root among "us." I pray that ministers, elders, deacons, pew packers will follow Moser's example. Let's embrace a method that respects the narrative context of the Bible. Let's seek after the truth and embrace it as God enables us. Let's embrace a non-sectarian attitude that does not assume that "our" position is the correct one but rather once again returns to the Word seeking enlightenment from above. Lets pray for eyes to see the river of the Spirit and for ears to hear the rhythm of grace.
 For more on the difference between the "Texas Tradition" and the "Nashville Bible School Tradition" in Churches of Christ see John Mark Hicks and Bobby Valentine, Kingdom Come: Embracing the Spiritual Legacy of David Lipscomb and James Harding; John Mark Hicks "The Struggle for the Soul of the Churches of Christ (1897-1907) and Bobby Valentine "Lipscomb of Texas vs. Lipscomb of Nashville: R. L. Whiteside's Rejection of David Lipscomb's Pacifism" both of these are in Thomas Olbricht & David Fleer (eds) And the Word Became Flesh: Studies in History, Communication, and Scripture in Memory of Michael W. Casey.