Forthright is published by a group of friends, who believe in the power of the written word, for people who want to go straight to the Cross of Christ. The daily e-zine is published online and by email, with original content not available elsewhere on the Internet. For electronic and print reprints, please read the fine print.

Copyright (c) 2002-2014 by Forthright Press. All rights reserved. Article rights revert to the authors after publication.

Header photo courtesy of Mark Esguerra. Used by permission. See full photo here.

James Randal Matheny, editor
Barbara Ann Oliver, associate editor
Matt Clifton, webmaster

Our writers

Barbara Ann Oliver

Our Associate Editor is based in Winona, Miss. Barbara worked many years with World Evangelism Foundation, as layout editor for The Voice of Truth International and its Spanish edition, La Voz de la Verdad Internacional. She also did layout and design for many books for J.C. Choate Publications. She works with Gospel Opportunities Evangelism in a Spanish-language publishing ministry and with others who call upon her.

Barbara did mission work in Costa Rica for many years. An ex-beekeeper, you can find her still buzzing around beezoliver.com.

She occasionally turns into a writer for Oliver’s Twist.

Barry Newton

Barry, the son of missionaries to Australia, was himself a missionary in Florianopolis, Brazil and is married to Sofia, a Brazilian from Belo Horizonte. They have two boys, one in college and one at home. He now works with the MacArthur Park church in San Antonio, Texas, emphasizing evangelistic outreach.

Barry believes that the best biblical writing does not create new ideas, but simply involves stating “what is” in a memorable way.

He graduated from Freed-Hardeman College and Abilene Christian University, but remains an avid student.

His writings appear on Wednesdays in the Hands-on Faith column.

Christine (Tina) Berglund

Writer Christine BerglundBorn in Danbury, Conn., and converted at 15 through a little mimeographed magazine ministry called “Christ for Today,” Christine was raised by atheists, but lacked the blind faith they had (Romans 1:20).

She met and married Gary F. Berglund, Sr. in that mission church. Gary then enrolled in Bear Valley Bible Institute at Denver, where she also audited most of the classes.

They have worked full-time or part-time for the church in several states, raised four wonderful kids, and now reside in Spring Hill, Tenn. Gary is the pulpit minister at Theta church.

Christine encourages us to Consider the Lilies on Sundays.

Michael E. Brooks

Mike BrooksMike is Minister of Missions and Evangelism with Highland Park Church of Christ in Muscle Shoals, Ala. He began preaching the Gospel in 1967. Since 1988 Mike has been involved in foreign missions in South America, Africa, and South Asia. Beginning in 1999 he devoted full time to missions, primarily in Bangladesh and Nepal.

Decatur, Ala., natives, Mike and Brenda (Campbell) have been married for 36 years, with three children and five grandchildren. Mike is a graduate of David Lipscomb University (BA) and Harding University Graduate School of Religion (MAR). He authored In Search of Perfection: Studies from Job.

As Director of Khulna, Bangladesh, Bible College, Mike divides his year between Asia and the U.S. He campaigns in Bangladesh and Nepal. Mike spoke at the 2003 and 2005 Bible Lectures of the School of Biblical Studies in Jos, Nigeria.

Mike jots down Field Notes on Saturdays.

Mike Benson

Mike has been married 30+ years to Molly Lanore Claiborne of Dalton, Ga. They have two daughters, Bethany Noles (25) and Kathryn (21). Mike and Lanore reside in Hattiesburg, Miss., where Mike has served with the Kensington Woods congregation since 2008.

Mike is a 1983 graduate of Freed-Hardeman University.

Mike fosters Fidelity on Fridays .

james-randal-2013J. Randal Matheny

Randal and his wife Vicki have lived and worked in Brazil since November, 1984. They have three children and three grandchildren. He and Barbara Ann Oliver coordinate Forthright Press, Forthright Magazine, BrotherhoodNews.com, as well as other sites and offerings.

Randal plants churches in Sao Jose dos Campos and the Paraiba Valley region of Brazil. He writes and publishes material in Portuguese for evangelism and edification.
He authored Choose! 13 Choices to Transform Your Heart and Soul and coedited Straight to the Cross and the forthcoming book,The Right Kind of Christianity.

Randal says his piece on Mondays with Final Phase.


Richard Mansel - 3 inchRichard Mansel

Richard is the preacher of the Allenhurst, Ga., church and has been preaching full-time since 1995. He attended graduate school at Freed-Hardeman and Southern Christian, earning degrees in Ministry and Divinity. He is the author of The Most Important Question, where he describes the plan of salvation in a simple and compelling manner.

Richard is passionate about reading, writing and research. He is busy working on other books and learning more each day. His blog covers a variety of topics such as God’s Word, writing, reading, archaeology and biblical and secular history.

Originally from Florence, Alabama, he’s married to Deirdre, and they have three daughters and a granddaughter.

On Tuesdays, Richard explores the meaning of life in Christ, with his column Living the Faith.

Stan Mitchell

Stan was born in Abilene, Tex., the son of Loy and Donna Mitchell, missionaries to Zimbabwe. His upbringing was thus in southern Africa. He has a BA and MA from Abilene Christian University, and a Master of Divinity from Pepperdine. He did mission work in Zimbabwe for ten years and preached for ten years in California. For six years, he has served as pulpit minister for the church of Christ in Borger, Tex. He is professor of Bible and missions at Freed-Hardeman University, Henderson, Tenn. He is married to the former Marjorie McCarthy, and has one daughter, Tracy.

He has authored two books, The Wise Get Wiser, and the Foolish More Foolish, and Give the Winds a Mighty Voice: Our Worship in Song.

Stan does a Reality Check on Wednesdays.


Tim Hall

Having grown up in Cumberland, Ken., as the son of a coal miner, Tim graduated from Freed-Hardeman University in 1976 with two BAs in Bible and Communication Arts. He received a Masters in 1979 from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Tim has served the Central Church of Christ in Johnson City since June of 1983.

He is married to Joyce Edlin, whom he met at FHU. They have two sons, Nathan and David, one daughter, Rebecca, and two daughters-in-law, Amy and Vanessa. Tim and Joyce also have two grandsons, Nolan and Bennett. Tim has published the e-mail devotional LightGrams since May of 1997.

With Tim, every Friday is Good Friday. Catch his Heavenly Connections to set you up for a great weekend.

Michael D. Greene

Michael was born in Clarksville, Tenn., July 15, 1950. He grew up in Chicago, Ill., and Nashville, Tenn. He is married to Mary Cato Greene. They have one son, Joey, who lives in Savannah, Tenn.

Michael graduated from Nashville Central High School in June, 1967. He was converted to Christ in 1971, a year after he and Mary married. Michael began preaching six months after his conversion. In 1974, he, Mary and Joey moved to Henderson so Michael could attend Freed-Hardeman University. He graduated 1976 with a BS in Bible.

From Harding Graduate School of Religion in Memphis, Tenn., he received his Master’s Degree 1982 in New Testament with a minor in counseling and apologetics.

Michael has served churches in Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia. He is currently the preacher with the Lehman Avenue congregation in Bowling Green, Ky.

Michael conducted an annual mission campaign in the Carribean and in the U.S. for several years. He teaches at the Nashville School of Preaching, in Tenn. He has been involved with youth camps since 1972.

Michael’s hobbies include woodworking, watching sports on TV, reading and travel. He and his wife enjoy riding their motorcycles.

A student of restoration history, Michael dips monthly into the past for a story or lesson for today.

Mitchell Skelton
Mitchell, a Middle Tennessee native, born 1969, is the husband of Sheryl Skelton. They have three beautiful children, ages nine, five and four. Mitchell preaches at Midway church of Christ in Lawrenceburg, Tenn. He is a 1992 graduate of Lipscomb University and is pursuing his degree in Bible at Heritage Christian University in Florence, Ala. Mitchell is also a small business owner operating a convenience store and Subway sandwich shop in partnership with his father.
On Thursdays, Mitchell opens The X-Files, an “x-pository” focus on unity and other Biblical issues.

Emmett Smith III
Emmett preaches for a small congregation near Paragould, Ark., where he was born and raised. He is a 1975 graduate of Crowley’s Ridge College in Paragould (Bible), an alumnus of Harding University in Searcy (Bible/Chemistry), and a 1988 graduate of Arkansas State University in Jonesboro with a BS in Engineering. He and his wife Jeanina have three daughters, two of whom they still home-school. The eldest daughter is studying at Faulkner University. In addition to his interest in scriptural studies, Emmett is also a Professional Engineer and is working towards certification as a Professional Land Surveyor.
Sundays are Emmett’s day to write in Understanding the Times.

Gregory Alan Tidwell
Greg has served as a minister for the church of Christ at 1130 Fishinger Road in Columbus, Oh., since 1984. He and his wife Peggy have identical twin sons, David and Jordan. Greg holds a MA from Vanderbilt University. He is the editor for Gospel Advocate Company.
Greg writes Fridays in Outlines of Faith.

Dr. Jimmy Jividen
Jimmy speaks across the country frequently, is a prolific author, and just doesn’t stop when it comes to getting word out about the gospel. He works with the Oldham Lane congregation in Abilene, Tex.
Jimmy prefers to speak where the Scriptures Speak.
(Jimmy has been battling illness lately, but hopes to appear now and again.)

Kevin Cauley
Born in Abilene, Tex., in 1968, Kevin was adopted into the Charles and Bobbie Cauley family as an infant. They moved to Austin, Tex., where he was raised. He graduated from the Southwest School of Bible Studies in 1989, with a degree in Philosophy and Greek from the University of Texas at Austin in 1994. In 1991 Kevin married the former Mary Lynn Forehand. He worked in the computer industry from 1995-2001 and was laid off after 9/11, when he decided to preach full time. During his education and employment, he preached part time. He is currently preaching in his first full-time work at the Berryville, Ark., church of Christ.

Kevin has three boys, Austin, 7, and Charlie, 5, and Edward, infant. There’s never a dull moment in the Cauley household.
On Thursdays, Kevin serves up tasty bites in Basic Greek.

Dr. Philip D. Sanders
A Shawnee, Okla., native born in 1951, Phil married Jackie in 1974. They produced four daughters. He has studied at Oklahoma Christian, Harding Graduate School of Religion, Oklahoma University, David Lipscomb University, and the Theological University of America. He served churches in Oklahoma, Mississippi, Texas, Arkansas and Tennessee. He works with the ministry, In Search of the Lord’s Way, in Edmond, Okla. Among his writings and books is Adrift: Postmodernism in the Church, released February, 2000, by the Gospel Advocate Co.
Phil chimes in Sundays with his column From Friend to Friend.

Jeff A. Jenkins

Jeff A. Jenkins grew up in a preacher’s family in the state of Alabama. He has been preaching since 1973. He married the former Laura Colley in 1981. They have two children Amanda, who is married to Drew Scott, and Jeremy, who is married to the former Lara Lambert.

Jeff holds degrees from Faulkner University and Freed Hardeman University, and has done post-graduate work at Southern Christian University and Emory University.

Jeff served churches in Ala. and Okla. He has been the preaching minister for the Lewisville Tex., church since July, 2004. He was involved in radio and TV preaching for more than 20 years.

He has served on a number of boards including Maywood Christian Camp, Rainbow Omega, and Freed Hardeman President’s Advisory Council. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees at Freed Hardeman University, the advisory board for The International Gospel Hour, and the Advisory Board for BrotherhoodNews.com.

Jeff preaches annually in a number of gospel meetings, family seminars, leadership seminars, lectureships and other special events. He has written for Gospel Advocate Magazine, Spiritual Sword Magazine, Twenty-First Century Bible Study Guide, Power For Today, and Forthright Magazine.

Jeff is a partner in Clarity Publications and has co-edited two books: Redeeming the Times and Restoring the Passion. He also contributed chapters to Redeeming the Times and a chapter for the book Seeking True Unity. Jeff has written a class study book entitled, “God’s Plan for Unity.”

Jeff’s favorite hobbies are spending time with his family and reading.

Jeff may be contacted by e-mail.

Paul Goddard

Paul is an elder with the Park Avenue church of Christ in Memphis, Tenn. He has been the Dean of Students at Harding Academy of Memphis for 22 years. He earned a B.S. in Bible from Oklahoma Christian University and an M.A.R. in Church History from Harding University Graduate School of Religion, in Memphis.

Paul is married to the former Vicki Campbell, a teacher at Harding Academy, with whom he has two daughters, Megan and Rebecca.

On Fridays, Paul delves into lessons of the past with “Up for the Task,” considering the reading of the Bible a sacred gift.

Don Ruhl

Born in Pasadena, Calif., Dec. 1, 1957; reared in Southern Calif. until the 1970s; born again in Longmont, Colo., Nov. 2, 1976; began preaching in 1980; living life to its fullest in Oregon since Dec. 8, 1983! Find him online at Grants Pass church.

Don keeps us twice blessed daily with his short devotionals.

John Henson

Born in Nashville, Tenn., John was educated in the Tullahoma Public Schools and attended the University of Tennessee at Nashville and Tennessee Bible College.

A preacher and a writer since 1988, he has been the editor of a weekly, and a writer for a daily newspaper.

He won the first-place award in News Reporting from the Tennessee Press Association in 2007.

John preaches for the Grand Blanc, Mich., church and writes for The Fellowship Room and his congregation’s bulletin.

His articles have been published in The Gospel Advocate, The World Evangelist, and Tennessee Valley Christian.

Paula Harrington

Paula and her husband John worship with the church in Calvert City, Ky. A mother of five, she teaches Bible class and works with her congregation’s bus ministry. She has compiled three books, Once Upon a Bible Class (available from 21st Century Christian), A Sunday Afternoon with the Preachers’ Wives, and A Common Bond. She enjoys sewing, writing, speaking and encouraging Christians to live more meaningful lives for Christ. Paula’s father, grandfather, uncles, and brother are Gospel preachers.

Paula offers up An Encouraging Word on Fridays.

Updated 2014 May 30.

One thought on “About

  1. I grew up with the Mitchel family in Lawrence Ks. A great family, Loy and Scott and I went to school together at Central Christian, Scott was roommate Loy next door. Loy has held meetings for us here at Romance Ark. Miss him and his good preaching. Are you at Freed?

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