By Carl Stagner
From Lake Wales, Florida, to Portland, Oregon, the title has already caught the attention of readers across the country. Church history aficionados, university students, pastors, and laypeople alike have been intrigued by the provocative title of Barry Callen’s new publication. The Top Ten: Why Daniel S. Warner Is Still Relevant for You and Your Church weaves Church of God history and personal application in an easy-to-read format, and it’s accessible to anyone who wants to learn more. Thanks to the generous support of Crossings Community Church in Oklahoma City, you can secure a copy for free.*
The Warner name is everywhere in the Church of God. It’s in the name of our university in Lake Wales, Florida, as well as in our college in Portland, Oregon. Warner Press was the name selected to carry on the heritage of the publishing work of the movement after The Gospel Trumpet name ceased. From 1961 to 2006, the Anderson camp meeting auditorium bore the name of the prominent Church of God pioneer. Even today the name carries great weight around the world. But few in our pews really know why.
Perhaps that is why Barry Callen set out to offer this work at no cost. “The Church of God movement is in a significant time of transition,” Barry Callen explains, “and needs to consider with care what it will be, and do so in part by reconsidering where it has been.” On page 4 of the booklet, Barry further explains this dynamic: “To be a responsible and relevant movement requires having good roots in the past without being immobilized by that past.”
Of course, Jesus is the subject in the pages of this brief work. It’s not all about Warner, and it never has been. “My purpose here is not to exalt excessively one Christian brother…,” Barry writes on page 4 of the booklet. “Instead,” he asserts, “it is to illustrate what God can accomplish through a believer like Warner, a Christian deeply devoted to God, in love with God’s church, and prepared to give all for the cause of Christ.”
Barry Callen’s interest in D. S. Warner didn’t start with The Top Ten. He’s also the author of a Warner biography, It’s God’s Church. “I researched and wrote the biography of Warner nearly two decades ago,” Barry reflects, “because of my belief that this pioneer church reformer still has important things to say to today’s church—and that a movement that forgets its founding roots will soon lose its way, and become something quite other than what God called it into existence to be and do.”
This new booklet attempts to call attention to the timeless value of D. S. Warner’s story for the university student who has no idea who this pioneer was, or for the layperson and pastor who want to know more but do not have the time to invest in a biography. Brief and to-the-point, The Top Ten is also useful for personal devotions, group study, and pastors who may want to feature a top-ten series of sermons. At the end of each point, several reflection questions encourage readers to apply principles similar to those that drove Warner to fully embrace his divine calling.
At the end of October, Barry Callen shipped two hundred fifty complimentary copies of each booklet to Warner Pacific College and Warner University in recognition of their namesake. He’s even willing to ship more if requested. But you can also contact Warner Press and Reformation Publishers to secure a copy for yourself—just expect to pay shipping and handling. Barry is grateful to Marty Grubbs and the host church of the CHOG Convention for their willingness to support this project from Anderson University Press. And don’t worry—Anderson University and Mid-America Christian University were not left out. They received copies too!