In his editorial in the May 15, 1988, issue of Christian Standard, Sam E. Stone wrote about the recent passing of Dean E. Walker. In part, Stone wrote, “As an educator, Dr. Walker taught at Butler School of Religion for many years. Later he served as president of Milligan College for seventeen years, and as founding president of Emmanuel School of Religion.”
On the back page of that issue, the magazine shared a short piece written by Walker for the church he served in Tennessee. The minister of that church at the time, James L. Street, provided this context.
“In 1983, the board of Hopwood Memorial Christian Church, Milligan College, Tennessee, asked Dr. Dean E. Walker to assist in the development of a set of bylaws. Dr. Walker wrote a succinct statement, ‘The Nature of the Church to Which We Aspire.’ This became both the preamble to the church’s bylaws and an apt description of both the church we are and the church we hope to become.”
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The Nature of the Church to Which We Aspire
By Dean E. Walker
May 15, 1988; p. 24
The congregation of Christian people by custom meeting for worship in the Hopwood Memorial Church building perceives the Church of Christ as characterized by one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism and one God, the Father of all, who ls over all, in all, and through all.
Christian people are related to God as His children; to one another as brothers and sisters; to Christ as our Savior, our Lord, our teacher, our model, and our mediator of salvation and restoration to true humanity and to fellowship of God in life eternal. Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.”
We confess one creed: Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.
We confess one discipline: the Word of God revealed in the New Testament.
We hold one measure or standard as authoritative: that course of life, personal and corporate, practiced and enjoined by the apostles whom Christ appointed to be His witnesses.
In sum, the marks of the church are: unity, holiness, universality, and apostolicity.
Such is the nature of the church. We aspire to work toward its realization.
—Dean E. Walker
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This short essay can still be found on Hopwood Memorial Christian Church’s website. The photograph was taken by Larry Van Dyke in 1978.
Photograph by Larry Van Dyke 1978