Scottish philosopher Thomas Carlyle said, "No great man lives in vain. The history of the world, is but the biography of great men." While Carlyle's "great man" theory of history has been rightly ciritiqued for its failure to account for the impact of events, ideas, and social struggles, and for his gender bias, it still remains that history is told in the lives of men and women who lived those events, ideas and struggles.
This page simply seeks to give honor to whom honor is due - Romans 13:7. As William Woodson once reminded us in our class on Restoration History, "Boys, you are warming yourselves by fires you did not build." Christians in every age need to appreciate and honor the labors and sacrifices of those who have gone before. But there are additional reasons for sharing the stories of outstanding men and women in the Restoration Movement.
Their stories are informative. There is a need to be supplied with the information of who did what and where. Churches did not miraculously appear out of nowhere in the Upper Ohio Valley. To be informed of who these men and women were who were instrumental in the establishment and continuance of these churches is important.
Their stories are inspirational. No one can read the story of Sarah Andrews' survival in Japan during World War II and not be moved. Likewise, some of the stories of men and women in the Upper Ohio Valley - of the situations they faced; of the obstacles they had to overcome; of the sacrifices they made - are highly motivational. In an age of apathy and stagnancy their stories need to be shared.
Their stories are insightful. While our situations and circumstances are different, there are still lessons to be learned from these men and women of the past. It is instructive to see the approaches they utilized in evangelism and church development.
This page should also serve a dose of reality. It is instructive to see some of their mistakes. They were men and women, not angels. It is possible to learn from negative experiences as well as positive ones. Their stories are important, not for pointing to themselves, but as they pointed others to Christ.
May you smile, laugh, learn and cry as much as I did as you read these stories.