This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Common Cause: B. C. Goodpasture, the Gospel Advocate, and Churches of Christ in the Twentieth Century




Hardin, John

Type of Degree





From 1939 to 1977, Benton Cordell Goodpasture (1895-1977) edited the Gospel Advocate. Founded in 1855 and published weekly in Nashville, the paper was a crucial center of influence for Churches of Christ, a loose-knit group of autonomous congregations concentrated in the South. After 1945, Goodpasture, the Advocate, and a network of likeminded preachers, churches, and institutions were at the center of the group’s transition from a marginal position in society. The influential editor nurtured growth and denominational identity by promoting the group’s interests, activities, and institutions, and used his significant informal power to isolate a small minority of churches resisting modernization. The apparent majority consensus that he helped cement in the 1950s came under attack from the left during the 1960s. His leadership role then took on a defensive, caretaker quality, but he remained an important symbol of stability for mainstream Churches of Christ to his death.