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Redstone Bap. Index: 1804-14  |  Redstone Bap. Index: 1815-30  |  Beaver Bap. Index: 1810-30
1824 Campbell's book   |   Greatrake's 1824 pamphlets   |   Campbell's recollections of 1823
1824 Walter Scott pamphlet   |   1824 Alex. Campbell reply   |   1825 Alex. Campbell pamphlet
1826 Greatrake tract   |   1826 McCalla's tract   |   1828 Campbell's reply   |   1831 McCalla's book
1868 Memoirs of A. Campbell   |   1874 Life of Walter Scott   |   1875 Disciples on West. Res.
1904 Relation Baptists/Disciples   |   1909 "Disciples in Pittsburgh"   |   1919 Origin of Disciples
1931 Religion Follows the Frontier   |   1948 Disciples History   |   1952 Buckeye Disciples
2000 Knowles Diss.   |   Rigdon in Ohio   |   Rigdon Revealed series   |   Newspapers articles

Early Relation... of
Baptists and Disciples

by Errett Gates
Chicago: Donnelley & Sons, 1904

  • Ch. 4: Walker & MacCalla Debates
  • Ch. 6: Campbell and Baptists
  • Ch. 7: Spread of "Ancient Order"
  • Ch. 8: (under construction)

  • transcriber's comments

  • [ 32 ]



    In the spring of 1820, Mr. Campbell was urged to debate the question of baptism with a Presbyterian minister by the name of John Walker. A Baptist minister by the name of John Birch had baptized an unusual number of persons, near Mt. Pleasant, Ohio, in the fall of 1819. This aroused the zeal of Mr. Walker, the Presbyterian minister of the same place, who thought the best way to promote the gospel or check the progress of the Baptists, was to show the error of Baptist ways. A personal dispute arose between the two ministers over something Mr. Walker had quoted; and led to a challenge by Mr. Walker to Mr. Birch or any other Baptist minister of good standing whom Mr. Birch might choose, to debate the question of baptism. The challenge was accepted, and Mr. Birch wrote at once to Alexander Campbell asking him to undertake the discussion. Mr. Campbell did not reply at once. This brought forth a second and a third request from Mr. Birch before he received an answer from Mr. Campbell. The reason for the delay was Mr. Campbell's reluctance to introduce such subjects into public debate. He did not believe it would promote either the truth, or the union of Christians. The following letter addressed to him by Mr. Birch, March 27, broke down his opposition: "Dear Brother: I once more undertake to address you by letter; as we are commanded not to weary in well-doing, I am disposed to persevere. I am coming this third time unto you. I can not persuade myself that you will refuse to attend to the dispute with Mr. Walker, therefore I do not feel disposed to complain because you have sent me no answer. True, I have expected an answer, signifying your aceptance of the same. I am as yet disappointed, but am not offended nor discouraged. I can truly say it is the unanimous wish of all the church to which I belong, that you should be the disputant. It is Brother Nathaniel Skinner's desire; it is the wish of all the brethren with whom I have conversed, that you should be the man." [1]

    The debate took place June 19 and 20, 1820, at Mt. Pleasant, Ohio, twenty-three miles from Mr. Campbell's home. The subject

    1 Memoirs, II. 15.

                                DEBATES  WITH  WALKER  AND  MACCALLA.                             33

    of the debate as stated in the fourth rule of the discussion, was to be "the proper subject of the ordinance of baptism, then the mode of baptism." The debate was to continue from day to day until the people were satisfied, or the moderators thought that enough had been said on each topic of debate. Mr. Walker was to open and Mr. Campbell was to close the debate. The propositions which he proposed to maintain were: "That baptism came in the room of circumcision; that the covenant on which the Jewish church was built, and to which circumcision was the seal, is the same with the covenant on which the Christian church is built, and to which baptism is the seal; that the Jews and the Christians are the same body politic under the same law-giver and husband,.... consequently the infants of believers have a right to baptism."

    Nothing could have been stated more clearly than these propositions. No one could have held more diametrically opposite views than Mr. Campbell. The question of the covenants was familiar ground to him. He had been in training for the last eight years to meet these propositions. He knew the ground from first to last. The principles set forth in the " Sermon on the Law," which were considered as rank heresy by the Baptists of 1816, were now marshaled in refutation of these propositions. The disputants traversed other ground usually fought over between Baptists and Pedobaptists of that time, such as the question of "household baptisms;" but the stronghold of Mr. Walker's position was the identity of the two covenants. This proven, it carried everything else with it, down to infant membership in the church. At this citadel Mr. Campbell aimed all the shafts of his dialectic. It would be interesting to follow the two disputants through all the windings of their arguments; but I am only concerned to point out that Mr. Campbell's position concerning the abrogation of the old covenant by the institution of the new, though strange and heretical to the Baptists of that day, was the only possible reply to be made to the propositions of Mr. Walker. They could not have been met on any other ground with any hope of success. Mr. Walker himself seems to have felt the weakening of his position under the fire of Mr. Campbell, and to have abandoned it for another position, the argument from antiquity.

    From the proper subject for baptism, the debaters passed to the mode of baptism. The usual ground was gone over as in all the baptismal controversies of the day. Mr. Campbell took occasion during

    34                             DEBATES  WITH  WALKER  AND  MACCALLA.                            

    the debate to interject very much of his reformatory teaching, and went out of his way to nail false rumors about his teaching. Addressing himself to the charge that he was "changeable," he says: "I have to this day undeviatingly pursued the same course which I commenced nearly as soon as I was of age, and have now prosecuted it for almost ten years, viz., to teach, to believe, to practice nothing in religion for which I can not present positive precept or approved precedent from the word of God." The charge that he was an "antinomian" and "threw away the Old Testament Scriptures," he brands as "malicious and unfounded insinuations," and "vile slanders." In the midst of the discussion he took occasion to announce an entirely novel position concerning the design of baptism, for the first time clearly set forth by him. "Baptism," he said, "is connected with the promise of the remission of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit." He did not dwell upon it or show its implications then; probably he had not fully thought them out. But this was the first utterance of a doctrine which more than any other was to separate him in thought from the Baptists. At the close of the debate he issued a challenge to "any Pedobaptist minister of any denomination" to debate with him the influence of infant sprinkling on the well-being of society. The victory of the contest, so the narrator of the events relates, lay with Mr. Campbell. Whether this was due more to his superior ability and power as a disputant than to the merit of the argument, must be left to each mind to decide.

    This was the first great opportunity of his life to disseminate his views. The Baptists were present in great numbers and felt a keen pride in their champion, yet "remained extremely dubious in regard to the orthodoxy of their champion." [1] The debate was printed and sent forth into the religious communities of the region and aided very much in correcting false reports of the teaching of Mr. Campbell. A very important consequence grew out of the publication of this debate and its reading by a Baptist minister by the name of Adamson Bentley. This man lived at Warren, Ohio. He was of great influence among the Baptists and stood deservedly high. He is reported to have said when he heard some one trying to injure Mr. Campbell, that he thought Mr. Campbell had done more for the Baptists than any man in the West. The first opportunity that offered itself, he went to visit him. This took place in the summer of 1821. He was accompanied by Sidney Rigdon, then a Baptist

    1 Memoirs, II. 43.

                                DEBATES  WITH  WALKER  AND  MACCALLA.                             35

    preacher of great oratorical power, who later made his name conspicuous by his conversion to Mormonism. Mr. Campbell was repeatedly urged to visit the Baptist churches of the Western Reserve, but especially to attend the meetings of the Mahoning Association, which was organized in August, 1820. The Baptist ministers were in the habit of holding ministers' meetings once a year in different sections of Ohio. To all these meetings Mr. Campbell was accustomed to go. They were open to him for addresses, and were characterized by the freest discussion and criticism. He joined with the Baptist ministers and bore a very large part in their deliberations. Speaking of his appreciation of the opportunity offered him in these meetings for the dissemination of his views, he says: "These meetings were not appreciated too highly, as the sequel developed, inasmuch as they disabused the minds of the Baptist ministry in the Mahoning Association of much prejudice, and prepared the way for a great change of views and practice all over those 3,000,000, acres of nine counties which constitute the Western Reserve." In this connection, to anticipate the sequel of which he speaks, and to emphasize the importance of this movement, let it be said that the Baptist churches of the entire Western Reserve with few exceptions went over to the views of Mr. Campbell and joined the " reformation "when the separation took place. This introduction to the Mahoning Association marks the period of his enlarged intercourse with the Baptist churches. [1] The demands for his services as a preacher were becoming so constant and urgent that he was obliged to discontinue his school.

    The challenge which he issued at the close of the debate with John Walker was heard from in May, 1823. It had been read by a Presbyterian minister of Kentucky by the name of Maccalla, who sent Mr. Campbell a letter intimating his willingness to accept it. After a long correspondence on the propositions and conditions of the debate, it was finally arranged to take place in October, 1823, at Washington, Kentucky. Before the time arrived for the debate, he transferred his membership from the Redstone Association to the Mahoning. His enemies in the former had been busy from the days of the " Sermon on the Law," seven years before, working up a majority against him in the Association, so that they could expel him. The time was not ripe for this until the meeting of August, 1823. To defeat their purpose he asked letters for himself and several

    1 Memoirs, II. 45.

    36                             DEBATES  WITH  WALKER  AND  MACCALLA.                            

    other persons from the Brush Run church to form a new church at Wellsburg, formerly called Charlestown, where he had built the new church. The purpose was that this new church might afterwards join the Mahoning Association, where the Baptists were more favorable to him and his views. The letters were granted and the church organized, thus severing his connection with the Redstone Association. When the question of Mr. Campbell's exclusion came up at the meeting, his critics suddenly found he had slipped out of their hands. He was no longer under their jurisdiction. He desired to preserve himself from censure by the Baptists, so that he would not have to go to Kentucky to debate under the ban of his own denomination.

    The debate took place as has been stated, at Washington, Kentucky. The subject was the same as that in the debate with Walker, the proper subject, and the form of baptism. Mr. Maccalla took the same position as Mr. Walker in proof of the validity of infant baptism, namely, " That the Christian church is a branch of the Abrahamic — that Jewish circumcision before Christ and Christian baptism after Christ are one and the same seal." Mr. Campbell of course rehearsed the positions he had taken against Mr. Walker. He advanced, however, beyond the teaching of that debate, and produced a new argument against infant baptism from the design of baptism. Here he developed somewhat fully the view he barely expressed in the former debate, that baptism was for the remission of sins. "The water of baptism, then, formally washes away our sins. The blood of Christ really washes away our sins. Paul's sins were really pardoned when he believed. Yet he had no solemn pledge of the fact, no formal acquittal, no formal purgation of his sins until he washed them away in the water of baptism.".... "The value and importance of baptism appear from this view of it. It also accounts for baptism being called ' the washing of regeneration.' It shows us a good and valid reason for the dispatch with which this ordinance was administered in the primitive church. The believers did not lose a moment in obtaining the remission of their sins. One argument from this topic is that baptism being ordained to be to a believer a formal and personal remission of all his sins, cannot be administered unto an infant without the greatest perversion and abuse of the nature and import of this ordinance. Indeed why should an infant that never sinned, that, as Calvinists say is guilty only of 'original sin' which is an unit -- be baptized for the

                                DEBATES  WITH  WALKER  AND  MACCALLA.                             37

    remission of sins." Mr. Campbell was conscious that he was innovating on Baptist doctrine in this construction of the design of baptism. He says: "My Baptist brethren, as well as the Pedobaptist brotherhood, I humbly conceive, require to be admonished on this point. You have been, some of you, no doubt, too diffident in asserting this grand import of baptism." [1] Growing immediately out of this view of baptism is another proposition, to which he gave utterance for the first time, viz., "that baptism was never designed for, nor commanded to be administered to, a member of the church." [2] He ever after regarded baptism as the way into the church. [3]

    The debate continued seven days. Mr. Campbell had chosen as moderator on his side, Jeremiah Vardeman, a widely known Baptist preacher of Kentucky, who was said to have immersed more persons than any other man of the same age in the United States. The debate was held in the Baptist meeting-house. Mr. Campbell was regarded as the champion and defender of Baptist views and interests in Kentucky. He was at once taken into confidence by Baptists. At a private interview with a company of their ministers, he said: " Brethren, I fear that if you knew me better you would esteem and love me less. For let me tell you that I have almost as much against you Baptists as I have against the Presbyterians." [4] He had brought with him the first few numbers of the "Christian Baptist," -- a publication he had just started to advocate his views,— and distributed them among the ministers. They eagerly accepted them and proposed their wide circulation in the state. He was urged to make a tour of the state among Baptist churches. He went so far as to fill a few appointments, and departed from the state promising to return the next fall to make a more extended tour.

    Mr. Campbell was now fully persuaded that debates were a good thing; as he said: "A week's debating is worth a year's preaching." [5] The debate was attended by crowds of people. Mr. Campbell's reputation as one of the first pulpit orators of the day was established; and wherever he could be induced to speak, he was met by throngs of hearers. His most important reception on this trip was at Lexington, where he spoke in the Baptist church over

    1 Debate with Maccalla, 144.

    2 Debate with Maccalla, 195.

    3 Debate with Maccalla, 234.

    4 Memoirs, II. 88.

    5 Introduction to debate with Maccalla, 5.

    38                             DEBATES  WITH  WALKER  AND  MACCALLA.                            

    which Dr. James Fishback was pastor. He was not by any means a stranger to the Baptists of the state, for very many had read his debate with Walker, and one young man, P. S. Fall, a minister of growing distinction, had read his "Sermon on the Law " as early as 1822, and at once adopted its views and preached them to the Baptists at Frankfort. Many Baptist ministers took offense at its doctrines. He persisted in his teaching and became the first Baptist preacher in Kentucky to adopt openly and advocate the teachings of Alexander Campbell. [1] Already there were incipient separations in some Baptist communities between those who held with Mr. Campbell and those who opposed his doctrine. In Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, as early as 1824, a union was formed between two congregations, one presided over by Walter Scott, who was in thorough accord with Mr. Campbell, and another presided over by Sidney Rigdon, the Regular Baptist preacher. [2] A few Baptists who refused to join this union, organized a Baptist Church which was recognized by the Association as the only legitimate Baptist church in Pittsburg.

    1 Memoirs, II. 94, 95.

    2 Memoirs, II. 99.

    [ 51 ]



    Alexander Campbell's standing among Baptists had been in doubt from the moment of his union with them. He made no secret of his disagreement with many Baptist opinions and practices. He hoped to be able, however, to lead them as a people upon "higher ground," as he termed it. He did not reckon sufficiently with the intensity of their convictions or the firmness of their persuasion that they were nearer right than any other people.

    There were Baptists who never extended to him the hand of fellowship. They regarded him as a religious innovator and adventurer, without responsibility or conscience, who had no other purpose than to build up a new sect upon the ruins of the Baptist denomination. Charges of inconsistency and dishonesty were freely lodged against him, for occupying what was thought to be an equivocal position, namely, maintaining outward fellowship with a body of people with whom he was not in full agreement. He wrote in The Christian Baptist, January 17, 1826, in reply to a correspondent: "And, as you know, I have no faith in the Divine right of associations ; yet to shield me from such far-off and underhand attacks, as well as other important purposes, that I may be under the inspection and subject to merited reprehension, I and the church with which I am connected are in 'full communion' with the Mahoning Baptist Association of Ohio; and through them with the whole Baptist society in the United States; and I do intend to continue in connection with this people so long as they will permit me to say what I believe, to teach what I am assured of, and to censure what is amiss in their views and practices. I have no idea of adding to the catalogue of new sects. This game has been played too long. I labor to see sectarianism abolished, and all Christians of every name united upon the one foundation upon which the apostolic church was founded. To bring Baptists and Pedobaptists to this is my supreme aim. But to connect myself with any people who would require me to sacrifice one item of revealed truth, to subscribe any creed of human device, or restrain me from publishing my sentiments as discretion

    52                         CAMPBELL'S  FELLOWSHIP  WITH  THE  BAPTISTS                        

    and conscience direct, is now, and I hope ever shall be, the farthest from my desires, the most incompatible with my views. And I hope I will not be accused of sectarian partiality when I avow my conviction that the Baptist society have as much liberality in their views, as much of the ancient simplicity of the Christian religion, as much of the spirit of Christianity amongst them, as is to be found amongst any other people. To say nothing of the things in which they excel, this may be said of them without prejudice to any. And that they have always been as eminent friends of civil and religious liberty as any sect in Christendom, will not, I presume, be denied by any.... And that there is in the views and practices of this large and widely extended community, as great need of reformation, and of a restoration of the ancient order of things, few will contradict. In one thing, perhaps, they may appear in time to come, proudly singular, and pre-eminently distinguished. Mark it well. Their historian in the year 1900 may say, ' We are the only people who would tolerate, or who ever did tolerate, any person to continue as a refromer or restorer amongst us.'" [1]

    This is an exceedingly frank and fair statement of his attitude toward the Baptists, and his appreciation of them. What he acknowledges was probably true, that there was no other denomination that would have tolerated a reformer in the midst of it. This was doubtless due to several conditions. First of all, the want of a central authority in the Baptist denomination prevented a concerted action against him. Individuals, churches, and associations had disavowed his fellowship and teachings. A General Assembly, as of the Presbyterian Church, could have dealt with him. The Roman Catholic Church would have had no difficulty in disposing of him. In the second place, the Baptists themselves were divided with reference to him. He had many strong and influential supporters among both the ministry and laity. In the third place, he was a Baptist in the things that were essential to Baptist fellowship. The points of disagreement between him and the Baptists were in dispute among Baptists themselves. Spencer Clack, a Baptist editor, wrote to him in 1827: "Observe, between you and your Baptist brethren there is no difference of opinion as to rule of faith and practice. On this subject we all speak the same language; we all acknowledge the same authority; all profess to be governed by it. What, then, is

    1 Christian Baptist, III. 160.

                            CAMPBELL'S  FELLOWSHIP  WITH  THE  BAPTISTS                         53

    the difference between us? Simply this: we can not agree as to what the Bible teaches. The Baptists think the Bible teaches the doctrine contained in their creeds; you think it teaches what you have written and published, and what you will hereafter write and publish." [1] The appeal of both parties to the controversy was to the Scriptures. The difference was largely one of interpretation. So it is still. The difference otherwise lay in the degree of thoroughness with which the Protestant principle of the authority of Scripture was applied. The underlying presupposition in the mind of Mr. Campbell was that the New Testament contains a perfect and complete model of the Christian institution in its faith, life, ordinances, government and discipline. He took the appeal to the precept and precedent of Holy Scripture with an exact and faithful literalness, requiring a " Thus saith the Lord " for every item of faith or practice in the church. Nothing seemed to him to be left to the sanctified common sense of the church in after ages by Christ and his apostles. Nothing could be taken from or added to the things once for all delivered to the saints, without declaring in so many words that the Scriptures were insufficient as a rule of faith and practice. It was his conviction that every future need and exigency of the church on earth had been foreseen and provided for by Christ and his apostles.

    When Robert Semple, in a letter to Mr. Campbell in 1826, says, "In short, your views (concerning creeds, confessions, ministerial support, the Old Testament, missionary and Bible societies) are generally so contrary to those of the Baptists in general, that if a party was to go fully into the practice of your principles, I should say a new sect had sprung up, radically different from the Baptists, as they now are," [2] Mr. Campbell replied: "Would not a congregation of saints, built exactly upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, and walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blamelessly, appear like a new sect arising amongst the Baptists, or any other sect in this country?" "Are the Baptists generally now following in the steps of the primitive church are they up to the model of the New Testament? Upon the answer given to this query, your last remark conveys praise or blame. If they are in the millennial state, or in the primitive state of the church,

    1 Christian Baptist, V. 13.

    2 Christian Baptist, III. 200.

    54                         CAMPBELL'S  FELLOWSHIP  WITH  THE  BAPTISTS                        

    then everything that would change their order and practice is to be reprobated and discountenanced by every Christian. But if not, every well meant effort to bring them up to that state, as far as Scripture and reason approbate, ought to be countenanced, aided and abetted by every one that loves the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity."

    A correspondent signing himself, "An Independent Baptist," replying to the statement that he was "in full communion with the Baptist Church," says: "Now, sir, I have no doubt but you feel honestly about this 'full communion with the whole Baptist society,' but in fact and in effect, it is a white lie; an equivoque, a time-serving expedient, and tends to shake the confidence of those who love you, as to the downright sincerity of the Christian Baptist." [1] Refuting the insinuation that 'he was not consistent, Mr. Campbell says: "But what constitutes consistency? In acting conformably to our own professed sentiments and principles; or in acting conformably to the professed sentiments and principles of others?" "To come to the point at once, what are the principles of union and communion advocated in this work? Has not the one foundation which the apostles affirmed was already laid, and besides which no other can be laid which will stand the test of time and critics, which is the only one on which all Christians can unite and have 'full communion,' and against which the gates of Hades shall not prevail; I say, has not this been the only bond of union which the Christian Baptist ever advocated? And what is that but a sincere and hearty conviction, expressed or confessed by the lips, that Jesus is the Christ; and this belief, exhibited by an overt act of obedience which implies that the subject has put on the Christ, prepares him, or qualifies him, if you please, to be saluted a brother, so long as he confesses with his lips that he believes in his heart this truth and lives conformably to it and supports an unblemished moral character, so long he is a worthy brother."

    He was in this, of course, defining communion from his own point of view, not that of the Baptists. On his part he could maintain communion with the Baptists and yet differ in many things from them. His principle was, that "unity of opinion is not essential to Christian union." [2] From his point of view, then, he was in full communion

    1 Christian Baptist, III. 221, 224; I. 221.

    2 Christian Baptist, III. 226.

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    with the Baptists, for they believed that "Jesus is the Christ" and lived conformably to that profession. He seems to appreciate the fact that fellowship between two parties depends upon the consent of both. He says: "Here, once for all, it must be noted that my having communion with any society, Baptist or Pedobaptist, depends just as much upon them as upon myself. Some Baptist congregations would not receive me into their communion, and if any Pedobaptist society would, it is time enough to show that I am inconsistent with my own principles when any evangelical sect or congregation shall have welcomed me to their communion and I have refused it." He refused to construe communion with a religious body to imply, as one of his correspondents insisted, "an entire approbation of all their views, doctrine and practice, as a society or individuals."

    In this discussion of the terms of communion Mr. Campbell raised a very important but perplexing question one that is still exercising the thought and sometimes disturbing the peace of churches How much ought the church to require in the faith of a person as a condition of membership? Or rather, How little can the church accept as sufficient for Christian fellowship? Mr. Campbell's answer was: The least that a church can require is what the New Testament reports Christ and the apostles to have required. To require more is to make the terms harder and to debar some. The terms of fellowship insisted upon by some denominations presuppose a very high degree of intellectual attainment in the person of the convert. Other denominations, that make provision for infant membership, presuppose absolutely none. Alexander Campbell held consistently to the position of his father as set forth in the Declaration and Address: "That although dectrinal exhibitions of the great systems of Divine truths, and defensive testimonies in opposition to prevailing errors be highly expedient, and the more full and explicit they be for these purposes the better: yet as these must be in a great measure the effect of human reasoning, and of course must contain many inferential truths, they ought not to be made terms of Christian communion." "That as it is not necessary that persons should have a particular knowledge or distinct apprehension of all divinely revealed truths in order to entitle them to a place in the church: neither should they for this purpose be required to make a profession more extensive than their knowledge; but that on the contrary, their

    56                         CAMPBELL'S  FELLOWSHIP  WITH  THE  BAPTISTS                        

    having a due measure of Scripture self-knowledge respecting their lost and perishing condition by nature and practice, and of the way of salvation through Christ, accompanied with a profession of their faith in and obedience to him in all things according to his word is all that is absolutely necessary to qualify them for admission into his church."

    The practice of the Baptists was uniform in requiring of the candidate for admission to the church a confession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repentance toward God, and immersion in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Besides these, they required an examination before a committee, the relation of an experience acceptable to the church, and in most instances subscription to the Philadelphia Confession or some other formula of faith. The thing to which Mr. Campbell objected was the requirement of things not required by the New Testament.

    In connection with this subject he was called upon to express his view as to the Christian status of those who had not been immersed; in other words, of the Pedobaptist communities of Christians. He does not seem to have shared the views of the Baptists on this subject at this time. He did not go with the Baptists in the exclusion of the Pedobaptists from the Lord's supper. [1] Whether he would have received them into full church fellowship is not clear. He says: "I frankly own that my full conviction is that there are many Pedobaptist congregations, of whose Christianity I think as highly as of most Baptist congregations, and with whom I could wish to be on the very same terms of Christian communion on which I stand with the whole Baptist society." "I have thought and thought and vacillated very much on the question whether Baptists and Pedobaptists ought, could, would, or should, irrespective of their peculiarities, sit down at the same Lord's table. And one thing I do know that either they should cease to have communion in prayer, praise, and other religious observances or they should go the whole length. Of this point I am certain. And I do know that as much can be said and with as much reason and scripture on its side to prove that immersion is as necessary prior to social prayer, praise, etc., as it is to eating the Lord's supper." "Dear sir, this plan of making our own nest and fluttering over our own brood; of build-ing our own tent, and of confining all goodness and grace to our

    1 Christian Baptist, V. 211.

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    noble selves, and the 'elect few' who are like us, is the quintessence of sublimated pharisaism." He declared "that all sectarianism is the offspring of Hell," "and that where there is a new creature, or a society of them, with all their imperfections, and frailties and errors in sentiments, in views and opinions, they ought to receive one another, and the strong to support the infirmities of the weak and not to please themselves." [1] His critic replied: "Your very charitable recognition of Pedobaptists, etc., as brethren serves to neutralize the distinction between truth and error between allegiance and rebellion. As for the societies of sprinkled 'new creatures,' with whom you could wish (if they would let you) to have full communion, equal to what you have with the whole Baptist society, they resemble what a synagogue of the Jews would be who rejected circumcision." Mr. Campbell replied: "And here permit me to remark that you have taken for granted what has not been asserted yet; that Baptists and Pedobaptists should, irrespective of their differences on the subject of baptism, break bread together. Whether they ought, or ought not, has not been asserted by me. This question is yet with me sub jutdice." "But there is no rejection of the ordinance of baptism by sprinkled creatures; but a mistake of what it is." He regarded the practice of sprinkling as an unintentional mistake, which deserved pardon, because it was in the way of obedience.

    A little later, in 1827, the question of the unimmersed came up again, through the report in a letter from a reforming church in Edinburgh, to the effect that they received unimmersed persons into their fellowship, yet at the same time practiced only immersion. [2] Commenting upon this practice, he says: "On the Scripture propriety of receiving unnaturalized or unimmersed persons into the kingdom into which the Saviour said none can enter but by being born of water and of the Spirit, little can be said either from precept or example. For it is exceedingly plain that from the day on which Peter opened the reign of the Messiah, on the ever-memorable Pentecost, no man entered the realm but by being born of water." "As yet there was no breach in the walls, no scaling ladders, no battering rams, to find an easier way." "But the question of the greatest difficulty to decide is whether there should be any laws or rules, adopted by the churches, relating to the practice of receiving persons

    1 Christian Baptist, III. 228.

    2 Christian Baptist, V. 102.

    58                         CAMPBELL'S  FELLOWSHIP  WITH  THE  BAPTISTS                        

    unimmersed in the assemblies of the saints. Whether on the ground of forbearance, as it is called, such persons as have been once sprinkled, or not at all, but who are satisfied with their sprinkling, or without any, are, on their solicitation to be received into any particular congregation, and to be treated in all respects as they who have, by their own voluntary act and deed, been naturalized and constitutionally admitted into the kingdom." "To make a law that such should be received, appears to me after long and close deliberation, a usurpation of the legislative authority vested in the Holy Apostles and of dangerous tendency in the administration of the reign of heaven." "Now, although I could feel myself at perfect liberty, in full accordance with the requirements of the great King, to receive into the most cordial fellowship every one whom I have reason to recognize as a disciple of Jesus Christ, with all his weaknesses, as I would call them; yet I could not and dare not say to all members of a Christian congregation that they must do so too." [1]

    The question as to whether the Baptists and Pedobaptists, irrespective of their differences, should break bread together, which he declared to be under consideration with him in 1826, has been gradually settled by 1829, and he is ready to affirm: "I object to making it a rule, in any case, to receive unimmersed persons to church ordinances: 1st. Because it is nowhere commanded. 2d. Because it is nowhere precedented in the New Testament. 3d. Because it necessarily corrupts the simplicity and uniformity of the whole genius of the New Institution. 4th. Because it not only deranges the order of the kingdom, but makes void one of the most important institutions ever given to man. It necessarily makes immersion of non-effect. For with what consistency or propriety can a congregation hold up to the world either the authority or utility of an institution which they are in the habit of making as little of as any human opinion? 5th. Because, in making a canon to dispense with a divine institution of momentous import, they who do so assume the very same dispensing power which issued in that tremendous apostasy which we and all Christians are praying and laboring to destroy. If a Christian community put into its magna charta, covenant, or constitution an assumption to dispense with an institution of the great King, who can tell where this power of granting license to itself may terminate?" [2]

    1 Christian Baptist, V. 276.

    2 Christian Baptist, VI. 183.

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    In these words he defends essentially the Baptist position of close communion. Up to this time he has vacillated, as he says, on the question whether to go the whole length of admitting the unimmersed to all the acts of social worship and the privileges of Christian fellowship as consistency and Christian charity would dictate, or to enforce a strict conformity to the precepts and precedents of the New Testament. [1]

    1 Christian Baptist, III. 286 ; Cf. Williams's "Life of John Smith," 445, 467.



    From the very beginning of his advocacy of reformation Mr. Campbell's efforts were attended with success. In the early days through his speaking and later through the columns of the Christian Baptist and the publication of his debates, there were individuals here and there, especially among the Baptists, who came over to his views. Among his converts were numbered many representative men. One of the first to join "the reformation" was Walter Scott, who shares with the Campbells the credit for very important religious discoveries. [1] He was a Scotchman; had been educated at Edinburgh University and was brought up as a Presbyterian; came to America in 1818, and settled at Pittsburg. Here he came into contact with a fellow-countryman by the name of Forrester, whose "peculiarity consisted in making the Bible his only authority and guide in matters of religion." [2] Under the guidance of this man, Scott made rapid progress in his study of the Bible and soon came to hold the same views with Mr. Forrester. One of his first discoveries was that there was no authority in Scripture for infant baptism, and that immersion was the apostolic form. He was accordingly immersed by Mr. Forrester, who, aside from his labors as principal of an academy, had gathered together a small body of baptized believers in Pittsburg and became their minister. All these changes in his religious views had taken place before he met Alexander Campbell in the winter of 1822. Scott proved one of the most powerful and eloquent advocates of the new reformation. He was by pre-eminence the evangelist of the new movement.

    In Ohio the very earliest converts to the new idea from the Baptist ministry were Adamson Bentley and Sidney Rigdon. [3] Bentley was instrumental in the organization of the Mahoning Association in 1821. He first became acquainted with the views of Mr. Campbell through reading the debate with John Walker: and later made his personal acquaintance on a visit to his home in 1821. He became

    1 Baxter, "Life of Walter Scott," 30.

    2 Baxter, "Life of Walter Scott," 37.

    3 Hayden, "Western Reserve," 102; Memoirs, II. 43.

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    pastor of the Baptist Church at Warren, Ohio, in 1811. Bentley continued to the end of his life a co-laborer with Mr. Campbell, and gave his entire influence to the extension of the "ancient order of things." Sidney Rigdon was received into the Baptist Church at Warren by Bentley in 1820, and was licensed to preach the same year. He was a man of extraordinary native eloquence, and soon made his name well known. Along with Bentley he gave himself to the new ideas until 1830, when he fell away to Mormonism. By these men, in co-operation with Walter Scott, the majority of the Baptist churches of the Western Reserve were permeated with the new teaching. These churches received the frequent personal ministrations of both Thomas and Alexander Campbell. Hayden, in his History of the Disciples in the Western Reserve, page 92, says that an entire family of brothers, three in number, by the name of Rigdon, adopted the views of Mr. Campbell and faithfully defended them on the Reserve. Jacob Osborne became a Baptist preacher and entered the seminary of Mr. Campbell. [1] Marcus Bosworth, a Baptist preacher, was greatly influenced and helped on his way to the position of Mr. Campbell by Osborne. [2] Other preachers of influence among the Baptists who were carried over were William Hayden, John Applegate, O. Newcomb, and William Moody. [3] One thousand persons were reported as converted by these preachers on the Reserve in the year 1829-30.

    In Kentucky one of the first Baptist ministers to be won to the position of Mr. Campbell was P. S. Fall. [4] The Sermon on the Law fell into his hands in 1822, while he was pastor of a Baptist, church in Louisville. He went from there to Frankfort, and spent the last years of his active service in Nashville, Tenn. John Smith ("Raccoon," as he was called), was another Baptist preacher of Kentucky who adopted the views of Mr. Campbell in the early period. [5] He had been brought up according to the strict Baptist Calvinism of the South. He was not entirely satisfied with it, and had gradually been working his way into opposition to it, when in 1823-4 The Christian Baptist fell into his hands. On Mr. Campbell's visit to Kentucky in 1824 Smith went to hear him at Flemingsburg.

    1 Hayden, 140.

    2 Hayden, 136.

    3 Hayden, 177, 276, 366, 430.

    4 Memoirs, II. 94, 95, 122.

    5 Memoirs, II. 107.

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    He was in a state of uncertainty as to what to think of Mr. Campbell. Some of his Baptist friends favored him, others opposed him. In this state of suspense he went to hear him. He relates the incident later in life. On coming into town he met William Vaughan,who knew and was favorably disposed toward the views of Campbell. "'Well,' said I to Elder Vaughan, 'what are his views on doctrinal points? Is he a Calvinist or Armenian, an Arian or Trinitarian?' His answer was: 'I do not know; he has nothing to do with any of these things.' I asked again, 'But do you think he knows anything about heartfelt religion?' 'God bless you, Brother John,' said he, 'he is one of the most pious godly men I was ever in company with in my life.' 'But do you think he knows anything about a Christian experience?' 'Why, Lord bless you! he knows everything. Come, I want to introduce you to him.'" After the sermon he said to Campbell, "Religiously speaking, I am suspicious of you, and having an unfavorable opinion of you, I am willing to give the reasons why." Smith accompanied Campbell to his next appointment and asked him to relate his experience. "After hearing his experience," said Smith, "I would cheerfully have given him the hand of fellowship." It was not until a year of careful study of the Scriptures after this incident that he began the advocacy of the "Bible as a sufficient rule of faith and practice;" He became very active in the work of a general evangelist, going from place to place baptizing scores of people "into the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for the remission of sins." Jeremiah Vardeman, the most popular Baptist preacher in Kentucky, who had been one of the moderators of the Maccalla debate, and had been an outspoken friend of Campbell from the beginning, gave his influence to the new ideas for several years. He drew back, however, when he saw the beginning of divisions in churches and associations. [1] Other Baptist preachers of Kentucky who were profoundly and permanently influenced by Campbell were Jacob Creath, Sr., Jacob Creath, Jr., and James Challen, all of whom gave themselves to the promotion of "the ancient order of things." Both of the Creaths and John Smith were excluded from the Elkhorn Association, together with several congregations in 1830, for "apostasy to Campbellism." [2]

    John T. Johnson was a lawyer living at Georgetown, Kentucky. He became a member of the Baptist Church in 1821. He says: "During

    1 Christian Baptist, VI. 47; Memoirs, II, 72.

    2 Memoirs, II. 324; II. 119.

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    the years 1829-30 the public mind was much excited in regard to what was vulgarly called 'Campbellism,' and I resolved to examine it in the light of the Bible. I was won over; my eyes were opened, and the debt of gratitude I owe to that man of God, Alexander Campbell, no language can tell." He gave up his law practice in order to devote himself to the ministry of the gospel. He became a man of great influence. [1]

    In Virginia no preachers of note were won to the "reformation," but many people, sometimes including entire churches, changed their customs to harmonize with what they were led to believe a more scriptural practice. Preachers of lesser influence in Virginia and in many other states adopted the principles of Campbell. [2] A correspondent writing to Campbell in 1827-28, says: "One of your most bigoted opposers said not long since in a public assembly that in traveling 2,500 miles circuitously, he found only four Regular Baptist preachers whom you had not corrupted." Such a statement may mean much or little, depending upon the number of Baptist preachers he saw during those journeys. It is a highly striking way of saying that "Campbellism" was making serious inroads upon the Baptist ministry, sufficient indeed to be the cause of alarm. Robert Semple, writing to Dr. Noel in September, 1827, says: "I know but one preacher in Virginia who has pinned his faith to Campbell's sleeve, and he has become very troublesome to us." [3] This can scarcely be taken as a correct or fair statement of the case, for it is not sufficient to account for the feeling of alarm and hostility displayed in the very letter itself. If but one preacher had been "tainted" no notice would have been taken of it. The truth lies somewhere between these two extreme statements.

    In the meantime, of course, many individuals among the laity were coming under the influence of Mr. Campbell's teaching. From individuals it was not long in extending to entire congregations of Baptists. The first entire church to adopt the teaching and embody the "ancient order of things" in its faith and practice was the Brush Run church, which was made up of members of the various denominations, and was brought over into fellowship with Baptist churches at the time of the union. The second church constituted on the new order under Mr. Campbell's influence was at Wellsburg and

    1 Millennial Harbinger, 1831, 179; Rogers, "Biography of J. T. Johnson."

    2 Christian Baptist, V. 94.

    3 Christian Baptist, V. 244.

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    the third at Pittsburg. [1] None of these churches were previously Baptist, though Baptists were found in them. The church at Wellsburg had been formed by the removal thither of Mr. Campbell's father-in-law. Most of the members forming that church came out of the Brush Run church. [2] The church at Pittsburg arose out of a union, in 1824, of Mr. Forrester's congregation in charge of Walter Scott, and the Baptist church presided over by Sidney Rigdon. It was different, however, with the church at Louisville ministered to by P. S. Fall. This church was more purely Baptist. The transition in these churches was usually marked by the formal adoption of the Bible as a sufficient rule of faith and practice; the discarding of the local creed and constitution of the church; the weekly communion of the Lord's supper; the baptism of a person upon the confession of his faith in Christ, without an examination by the elders or a vote of either the officers or the congregation. This is clear from the circular letter sent up to the Long Run Association of Kentucky by the Louisville church written by its pastor, P. S. Fall, September, 1825. This letter was rejected by the Association, the moderator casting the decisive vote. The letter reads in part as follows: "It is not unfrequently said by word of mouth, as well as in creeds, that the word of God is the only and the sufficient and perfect rule of faith and practice. While this is admitted in word by all religious denominations, it is to be feared that but few feel the force or understand the import of their own declaration. Let them but critically examine every part of this sentence, and, while it appears in direct accordance with the word itself, it is in complete violation of the practice of almost all; for if the declaration be true that the word of God is the only, sufficient and perfect rule in all things pertaining to belief or conduct, why are creeds, confessions and human formulas of doctrine, practice, government and experience established as the exclusive tests of all, to the manifest deterioration of the Bible, while churches rest contented with the bare declaration of its sufficiency." [3]

    The church at Elk Creek sent up a query as to the New Testament authority for creeds and associations, showing that the leaven of the new teaching was working there. The same Association entertained a similar query from the church at Shelbyville. As showing the

    1 Memoirs, II. 125.

    2 Memoirs, I. 459.

    3 Christian Baptist, III. 151, 232.

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    widespread workings of the new ideas among the Baptists of Kentucky as early as 1824, at a meeting of the "Baptist Missionary Association of Kentucky," it was proposed " to have a meeting of all the Baptist preachers who can attend for the purpose of a general conference on the state of religion and on the subject of reform. All the ministers of the gospel in the Baptist denomination favorable to these objects are invited to attend, and, in the spirit of Christian love, by mutual counsel, influence and exertion according to the gospel, to aid in advancing the cause of piety in our state." Embodied as a part of the call was the declaration: "It is obvious to the most superficial observer, who is at all acquainted with the state of Christianity and of the church of the New Testament, that much, very much, is wanting, to bring the Christianity of the church of the present day up to that standard." [1]

    Throughout Kentucky such men as Vardeman, William Morton, John Smith, John Secrest and W. Warder went about baptizing persons after the new order of things. The following extracts are from the correspondence published in The Christian Baptist. [2] "Bishop Jeremiah Vardeman, of Kentucky, since the first of November last, till the first of May (1827-28), immersed about 550 persons." "Bishop John Smith, of Montgomery, Kentucky, from the first Lord's Day in February to the 20th of April immersed 339." "Bishops Scott, Rigdon and Bentley, in Ohio, within the last six months have immersed about 800 persons." "Within a few months about 300 have been immersed into the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, on a profession of their faith that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God. Great additions have been also made to other congregations in the same vicinity." "From the 2d of March to the 22d of June, a period of three months, Bishop John Secrest immersed 222 persons, about an equal number of males and females." "A correspondent in Lincoln County, Kentucky, informs me in a letter dated the 8th ult. (Oct., 1828) that between 300 and 400 persons had been immersed in that and the adjoining counties within a few months before that time under the labors of Brethren Polson, Anderson, Sterman and others. Another informs me that Bishop G. G. Boon since last fall immersed about 350, and Bishop William Morton 300 at least. Bishop Jacob Creath has immersed a great many." "Bishop John Smith, of Montgomery County, Kentucky, has immersed

    1 Christian Baptist, II. 152; III. 154.

    2 Christian Baptist, V. 47; V. 263.

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    since the 20th of April till the third Lord's Day in July, 294 persons. Thus in a little more than five months Brother Smith has immersed 603 persons ' into the Lord Jesus for the remission of sins.'" [1]

    It was the baptism of a person "for the remission of sins" that distinguished the baptisms of these reforming preachers from ordinary Baptist baptisms. All of these men were still members of the Baptist church, and the persons immersed by them took membership in Baptist churches. They were a little company within the Baptist society, growing ever more numerous and distinct until the period of separation. [2] At the close of The Christian Baptist of 1825, Campbell observes: "Several Baptist congregations in the western part of Pennsylvania and in the state of Ohio have voted the 'Philadelphia Confession' of faith out of doors" [3] -- unmistakable evidence of the influence of the new ideas. The Baptist church of Nelson, Ohio, at a meeting held August 24, 1824, voted "to remove the Philadelphia Confession of faith and the church articles and to take the word of God for our rule of faith and practice." [4] This action led to a division of the church. The reforming portion of the church did not form a new organization until January 27, 1827, consisting of nine members.

    Walter Scott was appointed a general evangelist by the Mahoning Association at its meeting at New Lisbon in 1827, to go among the Baptist churches holding meetings, and to establish new churches. Scott went everywhere among the churches on the Western Reserve teaching them his new ideas. He began his evangelistic ministry at New Lisbon in the Baptist meeting-house. Seventeen persons were baptized. Subsequently he visited the churches at Warren and Austintown, and completely transformed them into "reforming churches." Through his influence and that of other preachers the Baptist churches at Salem, Canfield, Newton Falls, Braceville, Windham, Hubbard, Bazetta, Randolph, Birmingham and Southington were won over to "the ancient order of things" between the years 1827-1830. Besides these there were other churches of less importance influenced and many new churches established. The proceedings of the church at Salem is characteristic of many more. Scott

    1 Christian Baptist, VI. 47; Life of Smith, 250; Christian Baptist, V. 208.

    2 Life of J. Smith, 216.

    3 Christian Baptist, II. 288.

    4 Hayden, 22, 237.

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    began work there in April, 1828. "In ten days he baptized forty souls." "The leading Baptists were delighted." "The converts were received to baptism on the confession of their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, without the usual routine of telling an experience and a vote of the church." So successful did his work seem to him that he exclaimed: "Who will now say there is a Baptist church in Salem?" "This gave the alarm. Some of the old leaders thought he was building up the Baptist church," until this announcement was made. A reaction set in; a meeting was called and all those who had been received into the church without relating an experience were summoned to appear to be received in the regular Baptist way. They refused to come and scattered among the various churches of the region. Out of this grew a church of Reformers three miles south of Salem. [1]

    The Baptist church at Windham "was constituted a church of Christ" by Thomas Campbell and Marcus Bosworth May 27, 1828, with the usual rejection of creeds and confessions and an appeal to the "New Testament as a perfect rule, directory and formula for the faith, discipline and government of the church." This church did not begin the weekly breaking of bread until March 22, 1829, nearly a year later. The "old order" was but slowly supplanted by the new. "A wise forbearance ruled the church, and they eventually all came to the unity of the faith and practice of the apostolic order." Concerning the progress of the new views, William Hayden wrote to Mr. Campbell, May, 1830: "The word of God has great success with us. The churches are growing in knowledge, spirituality and numbers. New churches are rising up in very many towns on the Reserve, where we are laboring."

    The period of greatest defection from Baptist churches to the ranks of the Reformers was from 1825-1830. During this period the preachers of the ancient order were easily introduced into Baptist churches without any suspicion of their hostility to Baptist usages. After 1830 they were better known and were marked for avoidance by Baptists generally. In many out-of-the-way places even later these preachers obtained entrance into Baptist churches.

    The regions chiefly touched by the teaching of Mr. Campbell were Kentucky, western Pennsylvania, Ohio, Tennessee and Virginia. [2] There is record of churches adopting his views as early as

    1 Hayden, 73, 100, 127, etc.; Christian Baptist, V. 275; VII. 272.

    2 Memoirs, II. 168.

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    this in Indiana, Illinois and Missouri; indeed in all the states adjacent to the regions of the first successes of the movement. [1] Benedict, the Baptist historian, says (page 801), concerning the First Baptist church of Nashville: "It increased to between three and four hundred members, when the Campbellites or Reformers succeeded in making proselytes to their views of nearly the whole of this great and growing interest. The pastor and people, with their chapel, of course, all were brought under the influence of the Reformers." [2]

    It ought to be observed that accessions to the ranks of the Reformers did not take place alone from the Baptists during this period. All the denominations contributed to the swelling of their ranks. A Methodist, Universalist, and Presbyterian, not to omit an instance of one Episcopal rector and one Lutheran preacher, joined their ranks." [1] The entire Methodist church at Deerfield, Ohio, adopted the "ancient order of things." [4] It would be natural to look for some coalescence between the "Reformers" and the "Christians," or "Stoneites," or "New Lights," as they were called, on account of the similarity of their teaching. This was true in Ohio and Kentucky. Some of the most useful men in the proclamation of the new order of things came from these followers of B. W. Stone. In Ohio Joseph Gaston, John Whitacre and other able men, together with several churches, came into the fellowship of the Reformers. In Kentucky a general union was consummated between the Reformers and the Stoneites in 1832. The most active leaders in this union were John Smith, on the part of the Reformers, and Samuel Rogers, on the part of the Stoneites. These men went everywhere through Kentucky for more than two years bringing the two parties together. [5]

    The influence and ideas of the Reformers permeated entire associations. The first Baptist association to be controlled by the Reformers was the Mahoning of Ohio. Mr. Campbell became a member of it in 1823, but for two years before he was a regular visitor at its meetings. This Association met with the Reformers' church at Sharon, August, 1829, just after a division in the Baptist church. A list of the sixteen churches composing the Association indicates

    1 Christian Baptist, III. 44; V. 44; VII. 245.

    2 Memoirs, II. 142; Christian Baptist, IV. 217; V. 210.

    3 Christian Baptist, V. 284; Hay den, 149, 150, 324, 355.

    4 Hayden, 311.

    5 Hayden, 51, 59, 79, 112, 125, 300.

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    that the Baptist element had been completely lost by 1827. This Association was dissolved in 1830 without a dissenting vote, as far as its Baptist form was concerned. [1] Along with the Mahoning and almost as early to abandon its creed and constitution, was the Stillwater Association of Ohio. Its messenger to the Redstone Association was refused a seat on account of the suspicion of "Campbellite heresy." [2]

    The year 1828 was a notable one among Kentucky Baptist associations. At the meetings of three of the largest associations the Reformers were in control, due in a very large degree to the preaching and influence of John Smith. During the year 1827-28 he had baptized many people after the "ancient practice." The churches for which he preached regularly, Spencer's Creek, Grassy Lick, and Mt. Sterling, reported in their annual letters of 1828 to the North District Association of which they were members, the baptism of 392 persons during the year. The twenty-four churches of the Association reported the baptism of nearly 900 persons, "the greater part of whom had been immersed by Smith." Five new churches had been constituted by Smith on the Bible alone and became members of the Association. [3]

    The "North District Association "met in July, 1828. At its meeting the previous year the Lulbegrud church had sent up the following charges aimed at John Smith, but veiling the object of their charge under the designation, "one of their preachers." The accusations were:

    "1. That, while it is the custom of Baptists to use as the word of God King James translation, he had on two or three occasions in pub- lic, and often privately in his family, read from Alexander Campbell's translation."

    "2. That, while it is the custom in the ceremony of baptism to pronounce, 'I baptize you,' he on the contrary is in the habit of saying, 'I immerse you.'" [4]

    "3. That, in administering the Lord's Supper, while it is the custom to break the loaf into bits, small enough to be readily taken into the mouth, yet he leaves the bread in large pieces, teaching that each communicant should break it for himself."

    1 Hayden, 56, 270, 295.

    2 Memoirs, II. 140.

    3 Life of J. Smith, 250.

    4 Life of Smith, 183.

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    Without waiting for himself to be singled out, he arose and said: "I plead guilty to them all." After bitter debating and wrangling over the charges it was finally voted that they be laid over for another year. The meeting of 1828 was the time when these charges should be brought up. Smith had been unwearied in his preaching, and marvelously successful in winning men to the gospel during the year. Still, when the Association met, he was in doubt at first as to which side had the majority of messengers. In the registration of delegates, it was soon found that the majority were favorable to him. The messengers from the five new churches he had established turned the scale in his favor. The charges were not mentioned on the floor of the Association. [1] This Association divided in 1830, ten churches voluntarily withdrawing and forming a new association on Baptist principles. The North District Association met for the last time as an advisory council in 1831, and was dissolved one year later as the Mahoning had been. [2] There was a disposition to dissolve in 1830, but the people thought it a little hasty, and that it might give the appearance of revolution. Fourteen churches and four parts of churches were enrolled on the occasion of the dissolution. On the same day the churches that had withdrawn from the Association two years before met and formed a new association under the same name.

    The "Bracken Association" was the next to meet in 1828. Licking Association, rigidly Calvinistic and devoted to the Philadelphia Confession, desired to enter into mutual correspondence with Bracken, but had determined as a condition of it to require from Bracken "a pledge to support the Philadelphia Confession." [3] Smith's activities in the early part of the year had extended to the churches of this Association. The letter came from Licking requiring the pledge and was read before the Association. After a prolonged discussion by various members, during which Smith had sat in silence, he finally saw his opportunity to speak. He spoke the next day, Sunday, to the entire Association. When the matter came up on Monday for final disposition, the Association resolved to recommend no creed but the New Testament. A witness of these events said: "It was John Smith that gave impulse and tone to the Reformation of Bracken as he had already done in North District, Boones' Creek, and other associations." Bracken did not remain

    1 Life of Smith, 340-343.

    2 Life of Smith, 362, 415-417.

    3 Life of Smith, 259.

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    long under the influence of the Reformers, but went back into Regular Baptist fellowship in 1830; yet not without loss by defection to the side of the reformation. [1] Benedict assures us in his History of the Baptists (819) that the number of members was reduced from 2,200 to 900 on account of the "sweeping inroad" of the Reformers. "During the storm, a few went over to the Licking Association, others stood aloof for years and then returned; yet it is evident that a large majority embraced the Reformation. This should not have been so; neither would it ever have occurred (in my opinion) had we not in all our movements acted very impolitic. Many of our churches, instead of remaining firm on the Bible, and the Bible alone, the great platform on which we have ever stood, became frightened and brought forth from secrecy and silence old musty creeds, confessions of faith, etc., which really drove many from our ranks."

    The next association to take action, the same year, 1828, was the Boones' Creek. The letter sent out by the Association in 1827 observed to the churches composing it: "We hear from some of the churches that they are endeavoring to return to the ancient order of things, and they recognize the Scriptures alone as an entire and sufficient rule of faith and practice." [2] "During the spring and summer of 1828, there had been an increase of about 870 members by immersion, many of whom had been brought in through the preaching of John Smith." The Association, composed of thirteen churches, met on the third Saturday in September. The question before it, raised in the letters of two churches, was concerning an amendment to the constitution to bring it into harmony with the word of God. The following action was taken by the Association and reported back to all the churches: "We therefore recommend to the churches the abolition of the present constitution, and in lieu thereof, the adoption of the following resolution: Resolved, that we, the churches of Jesus Christ, believing the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be the word of God, and the only rule of faith and obedience given by the great Head of the Church for its government, do agree to meet annually -- for the worship of God -- and on such occasions voluntarily communicate the state of religion amongst us by letter and messenger." [3] Such men as John Smith, William Morton, Jeremiah Vardeman and Jacob Creath, all under the influence of the

    1 Life of Smith, 386 ; Millennial Harbinger, 1830, 477.

    2 Life of Smith, 265.

    3 Life of Smith, 266; Christian Baptist, VI. 119.

    72                   THE  SPREAD  OF  THE  "ANCIENT  ORDER  OF  THINGS"                  

    reformatory ideas, were the leading spirits in this meeting. The report of the action of churches with reference to the resolution was made a year later. The result showed that seven churches voted to retain the constitution, six voted to abolish it. At the meeting in 1830 these six churches were dropped from the Association, and both North District and Tate's Creek messengers were rejected. [1]

    In 1829 Tate's Creek Association was under the controling influence of the Reformers. A minority of orthodox Baptist churches withdrew and called a meeting for the month of June, 1830, at which they drew up a bill of errors against certain preachers and churches of the Association. This Association was composed of delegates from ten of the twenty-six churches. They organized and proceeded to meet at the "Tate's Creek Association," and resolved to cut off correspondence with the churches that tolerated the heresy of Campbellism. The majority of this Association was thus committed to the teaching of Alexander Campbell. [2]

    The Franklin and Elkhorn Associations were, however, not friendly to the Reformers, though there was a strong and influential minority disposed to sanction reformation on the new principles. In 1829 Franklin Association adopted the decrees of the Beaver Association of Pennsylvania, which had rejected as heretical the Mahoning Association of Ohio, and refused to have any fellowship with it. The churches of the Association were warned not to harbor any such errors. The Elkhorn Association at its meeting in 1830, dropped from further correspondence two churches, and refused to recognize the messenger from the North District. This meant the exclusion from Baptist fellowship of eighteen churches and 1,470 members. [3]

    The Russell Creek and South Concord Associations took action against "Campbellite" heresy, the latter passing a resolution advising all the churches to lock their doors against the followers of Alexander Campbell, who "deny the agency of the Spirit." [4]

    Very few of the Kentucky Associations escaped the influence of the Reformers. One of the things which finally closed the doors of Baptist churches against Reformers was the union between them

    1 Life of Smith, 307, 388.

    2 Life of Smith, 298, 376.

    3 Life of Smith, 330, 370, 382.

    4 Life of Smith, 394, 407.

                      THE  SPREAD  OF  THE  "ANCIENT  ORDER  OF  THINGS"                   73

    and the New Lights, or Christians, who were looked upon and called Arians or Unitarians. [1]

    In many of the associations of Virginia the reforming ideas found a hearing. This was especially so in and around Richmond. A visitor to the Dover Association in 1830 wrote to Mr. Campbell, saying: "Your labor is not in vain in the Lord. Light is evidently dawning. We counted ten public teachers who are more or less advocates for the ancient gospel, and not one of them whose talents are not far before mine, and some equal, if not superior, to any in the Association." "It is impossible for me to communicate at this time the great number of friends in this Association to the ancient gospel." "I have been credibly informed that three of the churches in King William County are almost unanimous." At a conference of eight churches of the Dover Association, December, 1830, the report submitted to the meeting said: "The system of religion known by the name of Campbellism has spread of late among our churches to a distressing extent, and seems to call loudly for remedial measures." The Goshen Association of Virginia seems to have been early permeated with the teaching of Mr. Campbell, for at its meeting in 1828 the question of the propriety of associations came under discussion, resulting in the withdrawal of that Association from the General Association. [2]

    The New York Baptist Register of the year 1830 has the following paragraph: "Mr. Campbell's paper and their vigorous missionary efforts are making great achievements. It is said that one-half of the Baptist churches in Ohio have embraced this sentiment and become what they call Christian Baptists. It is spreading like a mighty contagion through the Western States, wasting Zion in its progress. In Kentucky its desolations are said to be even greater than in Ohio. [3]

    Newspapers devoted to the advocacy of the new views of reform began to spring up throughout the states principally affected, and contributed in no small degree to their spread. Besides the publications of Mr. Campbell, The Christian Baptist and The Millennial Harbinger, were such papers as The Millennial Herald, established by Walter Scott, at Steubenville, Ohio, 1827 (monthly); [4]

    1 Life of Smith, 506.

    2 "Millennial Harbinger, 1830, 534; 1831, 76; Christian Baptist, VI. 119.

    3 Millennial Harbinger, 1830, 117.

    4 Christian Baptist, IV. 262.

    74                   THE  SPREAD  OF  THE  "ANCIENT  ORDER  OF  THINGS"                  

    The Tennessee Christian Register, established by George R. Fall, at Nashville, in 1829 (weekly); [1] The Christian Examiner and Millennial Herald, established by J. Norwood, at Lexington, Kentucky, in 1829 (monthly; [2] The Christian Review, established in 1830, and published at Jeffersonville, Indiana, by Nathaniel Fall and Beverly James (monthly); [3] The Inquirer for Truth, edited by Mr. Saxton, of Canton, Ohio, 1827 (monthly); [4] The Evangelical Enquirer, established in 1831 at Cincinnati, Ohio, and edited by D. S. Burnet (weekly); [5] The Evangelist, established at Cincinnati, Ohio, 1832, and edited by Walter Scott (monthly); [6] The Christian Messenger, established by B. W. Stone in 1825, published at Georgetown, Kentucky (monthly). [7]

    The establishment of "the ancient order of things" was attended by various extravagances and abuses. The literalist, the extremist, accompanies and menaces every such movement. In fact, accompanying the entire history of the movement, the extremist has been found. The earliest manifestations of abuse were in the form of a crass literalism in the application of the principle, "The restoration of the ancient order of things." The church at Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, attempted to restore the mutual exhortations of the apostolic churches, and soon found itself rent by debates and dissensions in public meeting. The same was true of the church at Cross Roads, Virginia, and many others. Every member thought it his privilege to "prophesy" in the meetings. Both Mr. Campbell and Mr. Scott thought such conduct disorderly. On one occasion in such a meeting Scott arose and asked, "What, my brethren, is the church to be a mouth?" Questions concerning the disorders incident to the introduction of the ancient order of things were frequently coming in to Mr. Campbell and received answer in the pages of the Millennial Harbinger. [3]

    Another serious difficulty was that concerning the practice and New Testament obligation of feet-washing and the holy kiss, which were introduced into many of the churches, but repudiated by the

    1 Christian Baptist, VII. 71.

    2 Christian Baptist, VII. 72, 190.

    3 Millennial Harbinger, 1830, 228.

    4 Christian Baptist, IV. 262.

    5 Millennial Harbinger, 1831, 191.

    6 Millennial Harbinger, 1832, 46.

    7 Christian Baptist, IV. 262.

    8 Memoirs, II. 125.

                      THE  SPREAD  OF  THE  "ANCIENT  ORDER  OF  THINGS"                   75

    great majority and entirely discountenanced by Mr. Campbell as not essential parts of the ancient order. [1] Some of the churches in Kentucky were disturbed by serious debate over "the attitude of prayer, the hour of the day for eating the Lord's Supper, the chemical nature of the wine to be used, the propriety of a sermon or even a benediction, after the supper, the necessity of the loud amen to all the public prayers, the number of deacons in a congregation, the holy kiss, etc." [2]

    The opposition to associations was pushed to extremes, so that there was no way to further evangelistic effort. Hayden has occasion in his History to complain bitterly of the senseless disorganization of the "Disciples." Mr. Campbell himself saw the folly of it and tried to arrest the tendency. [3] He was forced to acknowledge the need of some sort of association or co-operation among Christians for the purposes of self-preservation and growth. Sidney Rigdon, before his defection to the Mormons, began to advocate the restoration of the ancient communism as practiced in the church at Jerusalem. These extremes were not wide-spread. They were the inevitable phenomena connected with an earnest effort to restore the primitive faith and practice.

    1 Memoirs, II. 129, 411.

    2 Life of Smith, 391, 392.

    3 Hayden, 297, 298.

    Origin and Early History
    of the Disciples of Christ

    by Walter W. Jennings
    Cincinnati: Standard Pub. Co., 1919

  • Campbell and Immersion
  • Campbell and Baptists
  • Sidney Rigdon in 1821
  • Mormon Difficulties

  • transcriber's comments

  • 136                       ORIGIN  AND  EARLY  HISTORY                        

    Having reached this conclusion [regarding immersion], Alexander Campbell immediately determined to submit to the rite. He went to Matthias Luce, a Baptist minister with whom he had formed an acquaintance. Luce lived on the other side of his father's farm; hence the son stopped off for a brief visit with his father. His sister, Dorothea, took him aside, told him that she was not satisfied with her baptism, and asked him to take the matter up with her father. Contrary to expectation, Thomas Campbell offered no particular objection. He merely asked Alexander to get Mr. Luce to call with him on his way down. After some difficulty the Baptist minister was induced to perform the ceremony after the New Testament pattern (as interpreted by Alexander Campbell), and thus without a call for religious experiences. On June 12, 1812, the intention having been publicly announced, the baptismal ceremony was performed at the same place where the first three baptisms had been made. Seven persons were immersed -- Alexander Campbell and his wife, Thomas Campbell, his wife and daughter Dorothea, and a Mr. and Mrs. James Hanen. [53]

    53 Richardson, R., Memoirs of Alexander Campbell, I., 394-398; Millennial Harbinger, II., 406. Thomas Campbell delivered a long discourse in which he admitted that he had been led to overlook the importance of baptism in his effort to attain Christian unity upon the Bible alone. Alexander Campbell followed with an extended defence of their whole proceedings. The ceremony lasted seven hours. Joseph Bryant left just before it began in order to attend a muster of volunteers for the war against Great Britain, which it was reported Congress had declared June 4, 1812, two weeks earlier than the actual declaration. Nevertheless, he returned in time to hear an hour's preaching and see the baptisms.

                          OF  THE  DISCIPLES  OF  CHRIST                         137

    The importance of this baptismal service is hard to overestimate. It reversed the position of father and son. Up to June 12, 1812, the father had been the leader. He had penned the Declaration and Address, to whose principles the son had given allegiance; he had led in the organization of Brush Run church. The son, however, was the first to recognize the place of baptism, and from that time became the real leader. He was the right man in the right place. The great mission of the father had ended; he had propounded and developed the true basis of union; he had overcome obstacles that thousands of others would have fallen before, but he found it difficult to advance beyond the general principles laid down in the Declaration and Address. His son, however, blessed with youth, decision, untrammeled views, and a conscientious mental independence inherited largely from his Huguenot mother, assumed the leadership and pushed the "Reformation" to success. He became the master spirit; to him all eyes were turned. He believed that God called him to lead; his conscience drove him irresistibly forward. On neither side, though, was there the least rivalry. Each filled fully his assigned place; each co-operated heartily, sympathetically, and lovingly with the other.

    At the next meeting of the Brush Run Church, the Lord's Day following the baptism, thirteen others requested immersion, one of them, James Poster, and were baptized by Thomas Campbell. Others requested immersion from time to time,

    138                       ORIGIN  AND  EARLY  HISTORY                        

    among the number, General Acheson." Still another result of these early baptisms was the closer connection with the Baptists. Since Brush Run became a church of immersed believers, it soon entered the Redstone Baptist Association, and became with its leader Baptist. [54]

    54 Richardson, R. Memoirs of Alexander Campbell, I., 401-403.

    55 Millennial Harbinger, II., 406.

    [ 139 ]


    As intimated in the previous chapter, the agreement on the method of baptism brought the followers of the Campbells and the Baptists into closer contact. These two leaders began to form acquaintances among the latter, whom they liked far better than their ministers. [1] Concerning the preachers in the Red Stone Association, Alexander Campbell said some very bitter things, as:

    "They were little men in a big office. The office did not fit them. They had a wrong idea, too, of what was wanting. They seemed to think that a change of apparel -- a black coat instead of a drabs broad rim on their hat instead of a narrow one -- a prolongation of the face and a fictitious gravity -- a longer and more emphatic pronunciation of certain words, rather than scriptural knowledge, humility, spirituality, zeal and Christian affection, with great devotion and great philanthropy, were the grand desiderata." [2]

    Later he remarked: "They had but one, two, or, at the most, three sermons, and these were either

    1 Gates, Errett. The Early Relation and Separation of Baptists and Disciples, 19.

    2 Richardson, R. Memoirs of Alexander Campbell, I., 439.

    140                       ORIGIN  AND  EARLY  HISTORY                        

    delivered in one uniform style and order, or minced down into one medley by way of variety." [3]

    With regard to the people, he declared:

    "I confess, however, that I was better pleased with the Baptist people than with any other community. They read the Bible, and seemed to care for little else in religion than 'conversion' and 'Bible doctrine.' They often sent for us and pressed us to preach for them. We visited some of their churches, and, on acquaintance liked the people more and the preachers less. [4]

    Campbell believed, however, that because of education and training he might be prejudiced against the Baptist clergy; hence he visited their association at Uniontown, Pennsylvania, in the fall of 1812. He was disgusted, and declined, with one exception, all invitations to preach. He returned home determined never to visit another association, but he soon learned that the Baptists themselves regarded the preachers of that association as worse than ordinary, and their discourses as unedifying. Since they continued to urge him to come to their churches and preach for them, he often visited their congregations within a sixty-mile radius. All of these churches urged the Reformers to join the Red Stone Association. In the fall of 1813, Campbell accordingly laid the matter before his church, which, after much discussion, decided to make overtures to the association, and to write out in full their sentiments, wishes and determinations on that

    4 Richardson, R. Memoirs of Alexander Campbell, I., 488.

    5 Ibid., I., 440.

                          OF  THE  DISCIPLES  OF  CHRIST                         141

    subject. This document [5] revealed their remonstrances against human creeds, but expressed a willingness to co-operate or unite with the Red Stone Association, provided "no terms of union or communion, other than the Holy Scriptures, should be required." [6] The proposition was discussed at the association, and a considerable majority was given in favor of the reception of the Brush Run Church. Nevertheless, there was a determined minority opposed to this resolution: Elder Pritchard of Cross Creek, Virginia; Elder Brownfield of Uniontown, Pennsylvania; Elder Stone of Ohio; and the latter's son, Elder Stone of the Monongahela region. These men apparently confederated against Campbell and his followers, but for two or three years their efforts accomplished little. [7]

    Not long after the Brush Run Church had joined the Red Stone Association, Thomas Campbell moved about ninety miles west, near Cambridge, Ohio. He was accompanied by Joseph Bryant, who had married his oldest daughter, Dorothea, and by John Chapman, who had married his second daughter, Nancy. His sons-in-law assisted him in the management of the farm, and of a flourishing seminary which he opened. Alexander Campbell remained at Mr. Brown's, and with the help of James Foster cared for the Brush Run

    5 Campbell did not preserve a copy, and the clerk of the Association later refused him one.

    6 Millennial Harbinger, II., 811.

    7 Richardson, R. Memoirs of Alexander Campbell, I., 441.

    142                       ORIGIN  AND  EARLY  HISTORY                        

    Church. Quite a number of people came into this congregation, among them being Campbell's father-in-law and mother-in-law. Many lived too far away to attend regularly, however, and removals were frequent. Infected somewhat by the prevailing spirit of migration, the members of the church began to consider seriously the question of removing in a body to a more suitable place. Accordingly, a meeting was called, April 13, 1814, to consider the matter. The following reasons were urged for removal:

    1. The scattered condition of membership, which prevented regularity of attendance.

    2. Opposition from other religious bodies.

    3. The difficulty of securing good schools and teachers for their children.

    4. The hard labor required in order to support their families.

    The meeting decided that a removal was desirable, and concluded that the best situation would be near a flourishing town, but not more than two hundred miles west, for they did not want to get too near the Indian border. Such a location, they thought, would give them better opportunities of usefulness and furnish work for the artisans, while the remainder, who were farmers, could secure land in the vicinity. Then, too, all could enjoy the privilege of good schools for their children. A committee of George Archer, Richard McConnel, Abraham Altars, John Cockens, and Alexander Campbell was appointed to explore and report on a

                          OF  THE  DISCIPLES  OF  CHRIST                         143

    suitable location. After having visited a large part of Ohio, the committee decided in favor of Zanesville. [8] Returning, they submitted an elaborate written report to the church, and on June 8, 1814, the congregation decided unanimously that the report be accepted and that the removal should take place as soon as the necessary arrangements could be made. [9]

    Alexander Campbell favored this plan, but his father-in-law, for whose judgment he entertained great respect, had little sympathy for the project. Moreover, Mr. Brown did not want his son-in-law and daughter to move so far away. Then, too, he wanted to retire from the farm and take up an easier mode of life. Accordingly, he gave Campbell a deed in fee simple to his fine farm. [10] As a result the latter felt compelled to remain where he was, and the others, unwilling to go without him, decided to stay also. Campbell threw himself into farm work with a will, and soon won the respect of the farmers of the vicinity. His ability as a practical and intelligent farmer thus helped lessen the prejudices of the Presbyterians and Methodists, who were strong in that neighborhood. Raised to a position of independence, he put his farm into good repair; made such changes as would allow

    8 Zanesville has one at the oldest and strongest churches among the Disciples of Christ.

    9 Richardson, R. Memoirs of Alexander Campbell, I., 458-461.

    10 Mr. Brown moved to Charlestown, where he entered the grocery business. He became a member of the Baptist Church at Cross Roads, three miles above Chartestown.

    144                       ORIGIN  AND  EARLY  HISTORY                        

    to be away from home; and, during the rest of 1814 and 1815, carried on his ministerial labors with renewed zeal. [11]

    During the period while Alexander Campbell was very busy on the farm, his father was working equally hard in his seminary at Cambridge. Near the close of 1815, however, a letter came to the latter from General Acheson urging the elder Campbell to come to Washington to be with his brother, who had been attacked by a serious illness accompanied by a mental disturbance. Acheson thought that the presence of an old friend might aid in soothing his brother. The elder Campbell left his school in charge of assistants, and went at once to Washington. While there, he heard of a favorable opportunity for a school in Pittsburg, and a better chance for religious usefulness than he had found at Cambridge, where prejudices, worldliness, and gayety gave little promise for the success of religious reformation. A flourishing school was opened in Pittsburg. Joseph Bryant helped for some time in this work, and Campbell's other son-in-law, John Chapman, opened another school in the suburbs. The latter, however, soon returned to Washington County, where he had inherited a fine farm. [12]

    Late in November, 1815, about the time his father left Cambridge, Alexander Campbell proposed to the few members of the church living in

    11 Richardson, R. Memoirs of Alexander Campbell, I., 461, 462.

    12 Ibid., I, 463.

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    Wellsburg that a building be erected there, for the town had no public place of worship, and all meetings were held in the courthouse. Moreover, he offered to give three or four months' time for soliciting part of the needed funds. Since the proposition was received with favor, he left home December 12, 1815, and reached Pittsburg two days later. Here he spent the evening with his father at the home of Mr. Richardson, who became the first contributor to the fund by a twenty dollar gift. On the next day, December 15, he took the stage for Philadelphia. In traversing this route, upon his first arrival in the country six years before, he had noticed particularly the beauty of the country and the fine views from the mountains. They were not unnoticed now, but the quality of the lands, the farm improvements, the houses and barns, the flourishing villages, and the vast mineral resources were the chief objects of his attention. He was particularly pleased with the fine farms and buildings, the rich groves of locusts, and the fertility of the land in Lancaster County. He was proud of the country of his adoption. [13] On December 28, 1815, he wrote to his uncle Archibald Campbell at Newry:

    "I cannot speak too highly of the advantages that the people in this country enjoy in being delivered from a proud

    13 Though he took little interest in politics, he had, in 1811, taken the necessary steps to secure naturalization, and at the end of the two year period then required had become a citizen (Richardson, R. Memoirs of Alexander Campbell, I., 464, 465).

    146                       ORIGIN  AND  EARLY  HISTORY                        

    and lordly aristocracy; and here it becomes very easy to trace the common national evils of all European countries to their proper source, and chiefly to the first germ of oppression, of civil and religious tyranny. I have had my horse shod by a legislator, my horse saddled, my boots cleaned, my stirrup held by a senator. Here is no nobility but virtue; here there is no ascendance save that of genius, virtue and knowledge. The farmer here is lord of the soil, and the most independent man on earth.... No consideration that I can conceive of, would induce me to exchange all that I enjoy in this country, climate, soil and government, for any situation which your country can afford. I would not exchange the honor and privilege of being an American citizen for the position of your king." [14]

    While in Philadelphia on this mission to raise funds for a meeting house in Wellsburg, formerly. known as Charlestown, Campbell was invited by a Baptist preacher to fill his pulpit. The sermon, however, was so different in matter and style from the usual sermons that the congregation was wakened by the novelty, and the regular minister did not know how to regard the discourse and awakening. When he met Mr. Campbell the next day, he voiced his dissatisfaction. His visitor thereupon suggested that possibly he did not fully understand the sermon, for the time had been too short for a clear and full discussion of the questions considered. The Baptist minister at once requested him to make another appointment. The second discourse presented still more strongly the truths of the Gospel as interpreted by the speaker.

    14 Richardson, R. Memoirs of Alexander Campbell, I., 465, 466.

                          OF  THE  DISCIPLES  OF  CHRIST                         147

    The host was so offended that he did not give his congregation another chance to hear the visiting clergyman, although many of them desired it.

    On leaving Philadelphia, Campbell went to Trenton and other towns in New Jersey, to New York, and to Washington City. [15] The eastern trip brought in about $1,000 for the building at Wellsburg. [16] With this amount and the aid received in Charlestown and neighborhood a lot was purchased at the upper end of the main street, and a good brick church with the usual high pulpit was erected. The building of this meeting house gave great offence to Elder Pritchard, minister of the Cross Creek Baptist Church three miles above. He was one of the men who had already shown his hostility to the Campbells, and he now seemed to believe that the erection of this church was meant to weaken his influence and lessen his congregation. [17] This bigotry and petty personal jealousy became marked at the meeting of the Association at Cross Creek, August 30, 1816. Alexander Campbell recognized the feeling; hence he remarked to his wife, "I do not think they will let me preach at this Association at all." [18] Some of the ministers, nevertheless, were favorable, and the people were so anxious to hear him that on Saturday he was nominated with others to preach the following day.

    15 Richardson, R. Memoirs of Alexander Campbell, I., 467, 468.

    16 Millennial Harbinger, II., 406.

    17 Richardson, R. Memoirs of Alexander Campbell, I., 469.

    18 Ibid., I., 470.

    148                       ORIGIN  AND  EARLY  HISTORY                        

    Elder Pritchard now interfered, saying that he thought they ought to conform to the rule adopted in Maryland, which gave the church where the association met the privilege of selecting the speakers for the Lord's Day, and that those should be chosen among the ministers who came from a distance. He continued: "This place is near Mr. Campbell's home, and the people can hear him at any time." [19] Consequently the name of Elder Stone was substituted for that of Campbell, and the latter returned to Charlestown in the evening, with the belief that the matter was definitely settled. On the next morning, however, one of the best of the Baptist preachers, David Phillips of Peters Creek, came to Campbell, and said that he had been asked by a large number of people to insist that Mr. Campbell preach. The latter replied that he had no objections to preaching, but that he would not violate the rule of the association. Phillips left disappointed, but soon returned to say that Elder Stone was sick, and to urge Campbell to take his place. The latter consented, provided Elder Pritchard would extend the invitation. When the young minister rode up to Cross Creek, the first person he met at the bridge was Pritchard, who said: "I have taken the very earliest opportunity to see you in order to say that you must preach to-day." [20]After learning that Pritchard had talked with Phillips, Campbell consented, and delivered

    19 Richardson, R. Memoirs of Alexander Campbell, I., 470.

    20 Ibid., I., 471.

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    the second sermon with Romans 8:3 as a text: "For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh."

    Since the Sermon on the Law is considered by many to mark the beginning of the separate independent movement for union, as it marks the beginning of the separation from the Baptists, [21] it should be considered somewhat in detail. Campbell's method was:

    1. Determine what ideas were attached to the phrase "the law" in the text and in other parts of the Bible.

    2. Show what the law could not do.

    3. Explain why the law failed to accomplish these objects.

    4. Illustrate how God remedied the defects of the law.

    5. Draw accurate and reasonable conclusions. [22]

    He pointed out that the law included the whole Mosaic dispensation, but he was careful to declare:

    "There are two principles, commandments or laws that are never included in our observations concerning the law of Moses, nor are they ever, in Holy Writ, called the law of Moses: These are, 'Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, soul, mind and strength; and thy neighbor as thyself.' These our Great Prophet teaches us are the basis of the law of Moses and of the prophets. 'On these two

    21 Millennial Harbinger, II., 406.

    22 Young, C. A. Historical Documents, 224, 225.

    150                       ORIGIN  AND  EARLY  HISTORY                        

    commandments hang all the law and the prophets.' Indeed the Sinai law and all Jewish laws are but modifications of them. These are of universal and immutable obligation." [23]

    He declared that the law could not do the following things:

    1. Give righteousness and life.

    2. Show the malignity of sin.

    3. Be a suitable rule of life to mankind in this imperfect state. [24]

    He then went on to show that the law was given to the Jewish nation alone, and that God remedied all its defects with the Gospel by sending His Son. He drew the following conclusions from his discourse:

    "1st. From what has been said, it follows that there is an essential difference between law and gospel -- the Old Testament and the New." No two words are more distinct in their signification than law and gospel. They are contradistinguished under various names in the New Testament. The law is denominated 'the letter,' 'the ministration of condemnation,' 'the ministration of death,' 'the Old Testament or Covenant,' and 'Moses.' The gospel is denominated 'the Spirit,' 'the ministration of righteousness,' 'the New Testament, or Covenant,' 'the law of liberty and Christ.' In respect of existence or duration, the former is denominated 'that which is done away' -- the latter, 'that which remaineth' -- the former was faulty, the latter faultless -- the former demanded, this bestows righteousness -- that gendered bondage, this liberty—that begat bond-slaves, this freemen -- the former spake on this wise, 'This do and thou shalt live' -- this says, 'Say not what ye shall do; the word is

    23 Richardson, R. Memoirs of Alexander Campbell, I., 473.

    24 young, C. A. Historical Documents..., 285-287.

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    nigh. thee (that gives life), the word of faith which we preach: if thou believe in thine heart the gospel, thou shalt be saved. The former waxed old, is abolished, and vanished away -- the latter remains, lives, and is everlasting." [25]

    2d. In the second place, we learn from what has been said, that 'there is no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.' The premises from which the Apostle drew this conclusion are the same with those stated to you in this. discourse. 'Sin', says the Apostle, 'shall not have dominion over you; for you are not under the law, but under grace.' In the 6th and 7th chapters to the Romans, the Apostle taught them that 'they were not under the law' -- that 'they were freed from it' -- 'dead to it' -- 'delivered from it.' In the 8th chapter, 1st verse, he draws the above conclusion...." [26]

    3d. In the third place, we conclude from the above premises, that there is no necessity for preaching the law in order to prepare men for receiving the gospel." [27]

    4th. A. fourth conclusion which is deducible from the above premises is, that all arguments and motives, drawn from the law or Old Testament, to urge the disciples of Christ to baptize their infants; to observe holy days or religious fasts as preparatory to the observance of the Lord's Supper; to sanctify the seventh day; to enter into national covenants; to establish any form of religion by civil law; and all reasons and motives borrowed from the Jewish law, to excite the disciples of Christ to a compliance with or an imitation of Jewish customs, are inconclusive, repugnant to Christianity ,and fall ineffectual to the ground; not being enjoined or countenanced by the authority of Jesus Christ." [28]

    5th. In the last place, we are taught from all that has been said, to venerate in the highest degree the Lord Jesus

    25 Young, C. A. Historical Documents, 250-254.

    26 Ibid., 253.

    27 Ibid.,263.

    28 Ibid.,279.

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    Christ; to receive Him as the Great Prophet, of whom Moses in the law, and all the prophets did write. To receive him as the Lord our righteousness, and to pay punctilious regard to all his precepts and ordinances." [29]

    In summary, Campbell maintained that the Christian was not under the law, but under grace, that the old covenant, which was one of circumcision and works, had been abrogated, and consequently was not binding upon Christians, and that when Christ sent out his apostles to preach, he told them to preach the Gospel, and not the law, as a means to conversion.

    Even before the sermon had been completed, Pritchard and other hostile ministers saw its drift. They accordingly used every possible means to show their dissatisfaction. When a lady in the audience fainted, Pritchard went to the stand and called out some of the preachers. He also created a disturbance in the congregation. After the commotion had subsided, however, Campbell speedily regained the attention of the audience, which he held to the close. At the intermission, Pritchard called out Elders Estep, Wheeler, and others, and said: "This will never do. This is not our doctrine. We can not let this pass without a public protest from the Association,'" [30] but Estep replied: "That would create too much excitement, and would injure us

    29 Young, C. A. Historical Documents, 279. Campbell had adopted these views of the two covenants as early as 1812 (Gates, Errett. Early Relation and Separation of Baptists and Disciples, 28).

    30 Richardson, R. Memoirs of Alexander Campbell, I., 472.

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    more than Mr. Campbell. It is better to let it pass and let the people judge for themselves." [31] The advice of the latter prevailed. False reports, nevertheless, were circulated, and Campbell consequently deemed it advisable to publish his sermon in pamphlet form. This address, everything considered, was perhaps the most widely influential of all that Alexander Campbell ever preached. [32] The principal differences between the Campbells and the Baptists were:

    1. Baptism. The Campbells, as previously mentioned, insisted on baptism for the remission of sins upon a confession of faith that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God. The Baptists always insisted upon an examination and the relation of a Christian experience before baptism.

    2. Lord's Supper. The Brush Run Church celebrated the Lord's Supper every Sunday, whereas the Baptist churches celebrated it only monthly or quarterly.

    3. Dispensations. Baptists regarded all parts of the Bible as equally authoritative and binding. Nevertheless, at the time of his admission to the Red Stone Association, Alexander Campbell held the intolerable heresy (to a Baptist) that the Christians were not under the Old Testament, but the New; not under Moses, but under Christ; not under law, but under grace.

    31 Richardson, R. Memoirs of Alexander Campbell, I., 472.

    32 Ibid., I., 472.

    154                       ORIGIN  AND  EARLY  HISTORY                        

    4. Ordination. Campbell's views of ordination were very loose to the Baptist way of thinking, and his opinion of an ordained minister's authority was very low. He did not consider ordination essential, and he had exercised the ministerial functions more than a year before he was himself ordained. This offended the Baptists as it had earlier offended the Presbyterians.

    5. Conversion. The Baptists held to the doctrine of human inability, or the helplessness of the will in conversion. They taught that the irresistible Holy Spirit worked faith in the heart by an act of divine power or regenerating grace. The Campbells taught that faith was the heartfelt belief that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God, and grew out of the hearing or receiving of testimony to that fact. They believed that the Holy Spirit played no part in conversion save through the written Word. [33]

    In 1817, the year after the delivery of the famous Sermon on the Law, Thomas Campbell visited Cambridge, Ohio, and later moved to Kentucky, thus leaving to his son the entire advocacy of the new movement in western Pennsylvania, western Virginia, and eastern Ohio. [34] The following year, the latter issued his first challenge to debate religious differences, but the man challenged, Mr. Finlay, a Union Presbyterian minister, refused. During the same year, Campbell opened Buffalo

    33 Gates, Errett. Early Relation and Separation of Baptists and Disciples, 21-25.

    34 Millennial Harbinger, II., 406.

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    Seminary in his own home, where he boarded the entrants. In 1819, he met Walter Scott, and the same year his father returned from Kentucky to help in Buffalo Seminary. The elder Campbell also assumed pastoral care of the Brush Run Church. [35]

    Even though many of the Baptists were strongly opposed to Alexander Campbell, they recognized his ability, and some of them requested his services in defence of baptism. In 1819, John Birch, a Baptist preacher at Flat Rock, near Mt. Pleasant, Ohio, had baptized a large number of converts. This success led John Walker, a minister of the Secession Church at Mt. Pleasant, to preach sermons in favor of infant baptism. Birch attended on one of these occasions, and at the close questioned some statements made. This led to a challenge by Walker to Birch, or any other Baptist minister of good standing whom he might designate, to debate the question of baptism. Birch picked Alexander Campbell, but the latter hesitated, largely because of deference to his father's opinion, and not through disinclination, for as a boy he had delighted in debating. The following letter to him, the third on the subject, was dated March 27, 1820:

    "Dear Brother: I once more undertake to address you by letter; as we are commanded not to weary in well doing, I am disposed to persevere. I am coming this third time unto you. I cannot persuade myself that you will refuse to attend to the dispute with Mr. Walker; therefore I do not feel disposed to complain because you have sent me no

    35 Millennial Harbinger, II., 406.

    156                       ORIGIN  AND  EARLY  HISTORY                        

    answer. True, I have expected an answer signifying your acceptance of the same. I am as yet disappointed, but am not offended nor discouraged. I can truly say that it is the unanimous wish of all the church to which I belong that you should be the disputant. It is Brother Nathaniel SkinnerÕs desire; it is the wish of all the brethren with whom I have conversed that you should be the man. You will, I hope, send me an answer by Brother Jesse Martin, who has promised to bear this unto you. Come, brother; come over into Macedonia and help us.
                    Yours, in the best of bonds,
                                 John Birch." [36]

    Alexander Campbell debated the question at Mt. Pleasant, Ohio, June 19, 20, 1820; he was so pleased with the outcome that in concluding he gave the following general invitation:

    "I this day publish to all present that I feel disposed to meet any Paedobaptist minister of any denomination, of good standing in his party, and I engage to prove in a debate with him, either vive vove or with the pen, that infant sprinkling is a human tradition and injurious to the well-being of society religious and political." [37]

    The next year, July, 1821, Adamson Bentley and Sidney Rigdon, two talented Baptist ministers, visited the young debater at his home, spending two days there. They embraced the doctrines of the "Reformation." [38] Bentley was a well known and popular minister of the Western Reserve. He had induced a number of preachers to hold yearly what

    36 Richardson, R. Memoirs of Alexander Campbell, II., 15, 16.

    37 Ibid., II., 29.

    38 Millennial Harbinger, II., 407.

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    were called "ministers' meetings" in order to study the Scriptures, to promote their own personal religious advancement, and to help each other by criticizing sermons. Bentley acted as secretary, and aided largely in making the meetings beneficial and interesting. The leaders agreed that the churches should unite to form an association; consequently, on August 30, 1827, the messengers appointed by the churches met and formed the "Mahoning Baptist Association." [39] so Bentley and Rigdon gave Campbell pressing invitations to visit the Association and preach for them. Thus a way was opened for "reformation" in the Western Reserve. Campbell said of these two men:

    "On parting the next day, Sidney Rigdon, with all apparent candor, said, if he had within the last year taught and promulgated from the pulpit one error, he had a thousand. At that time he was the great orator of the Mahoning Association, though in authority with the people second always to Adamson Bentley...." [40]

    During the early twenties, Alexander Campbell visited Pittsburg occasionally, and, since he was connected with the Red Stone Association, he preached to the Baptist Church there, then numbering over a hundred members. In 1822, through his influence, Sidney Rigdon was persuaded to accept a call as its pastor. The new minister of the Pittsburg Church possessed great fluency of speech and a lively fancy which made him very popular as an

    39 Richardson, R. Memoirs of Alexander Campbell, II., 43, 44.

    40 Ibid., II., 45.

    158                       ORIGIN  AND  EARLY  HISTORY                        

    orator. Since he seemed favorable to the "Reformation," Campbell was anxious to introduce him to Walter Scott, who was still giving weekly lectures on the New Testament to the small church for which Mr. Forrester had preached. Campbell wanted a union between these churches, but both proved rather shy until 1824, for each preferred its own peculiarities. [41]

    Because of the growth of the new doctrines, Campbell began to feel the need of a paper in order to direct better and to unify teaching and preaching ; hence on July 4, 1823, he published the first number of the Christian Baptist, a monthly magazine. The radical tone of this paper increased the opposition of the Baptists. Some of them had been very busy ever since Campbell's Sermon on the Law, seven years earlier, in working up a majority against him, so that they could expel him from the association, but the time did not appear propitious until August, 1823. [42] Campbell had been so busy with his duties at Buffalo Seminary that he had not taken time to visit the churches belonging to the association as much as customary. This opportunity had been used by his enemies to good advantage, and charges of heresy were freely circulated against him. Elders Brownfield, Pritchard, and the Stones were making every effort to expel him. They sent special men to all the churches in

    41 Richardson, R. Memoirs of Alexander Campbell, II., 47, 48, 99.

    42 Gates, Errett. Early Relation and Separation of Baptists and Disciples, 35, 36.

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    the association, and persuaded many to appoint as messengers to the next meeting persons who were opposed to Campbell. The latter knew of these plans, and because he was about to enter into a debate on baptism with a Mr. W. L. MacCalla, a Presbyterian minister of Washington, Kentucky, he thought it best to evade the denominational discredit intended by his enemies, or perhaps stop the discussion altogether. Since he had been frequently urged by Adamson Bentiey to leave the Red Stone Association and join the Mahoning, and since several members of the Brush Run Church lived in Wellsburg and vicinity, he decided to form a separate congregation, in which he would place his membership and which could unite with the Mahoning Association. He then told the Brush Run Church that, for special reasons which it was not yet prudent to mention, he wanted letters of dismissal for himself and some thirty other members in order to form a church in Wellsburg. Because of Campbell's unquestioned good judgment the request was at once granted, and the second church of the "Reformation" was immediately formed in Wellsburg.

    The old church at Brush Run appointed Thomas Campbell and two others as messengers to Red Stone. Alexander Campbell went as a spectator. When the letter was read, much surprise was expressed because he was not named as a messenger.

    On the ground of this omission, objection was made to a motion to invite him to a seat. After he had

    160                       ORIGIN  AND  EARLY  HISTORY                        

    listened some time in silence, he was asked to state why he was not a messenger from Brush Run. He expressed regret that the association had lost so much time over such trifling matter, and declared that he would relieve them of all further trouble on that score. The reason, he said, was because the church to which he then belonged was not connected with the Red Stone Association. This checkmated his opponents, left him free to carry on his reforms in the association, and allowed him to go to his debate as the undoubted representative of the Baptists. [43] In relating this incident, Campbell said:

    "Never did hunters on seeing the game unexpectedly escape from their toils at the moment when its capture was sure, glare upon each other a more mortifying disappointment than that indicated by my pursuers at that instant, on hearing that I was out of their bailiwick, and consequently out of their jurisdiction. A solemn stillness ensued, and, for a time, all parties seemed to have nothing to do." [44]

    In 1824, the Wellsburg Church was received into the Mahoning Association, and during the same year Alexander Campbell spent three months in touring Kentucky, where he met John Smith [45]

    43 Richardson, R. Memoirs of Alexander Campbell, II., 68-70.

    44 Ibid., II., 70.

    45 At Flemingsburg, Kentucky, this eccentric preacher heard Campbell outline the fourth chapter of Galatians. After the congregation was dismissed, Smith remarked to a fellow preacher named Vaughn: "Is it not hard, brother Billy, to ride twenty miles, as I have done, just to hear a man preach thirty minutes?" -- "You are mistaken, brother John; look at your watch. It has surely been longer than that," was the reply. -- Smith found to his surprise that the discourse had taken up just two hours and a half. Holding up his watch he declared:

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    and other leading Baptists. The next year he devoted largely to the Christian Baptist, in which he began his series, "Restoration of the Ancient Order of Things." In July, 1826, he visited eastern Virginia and met the leading Baptist ministers. They refused to accept his reformatory views, and his standing thus became more precarious. He also made his third visit to Kentucky, this time for his wife's health. [46] The same year, he published the George Campbell, Doddridge, and Macknight translation of the New Testament, with notes and additions. This he called The Living Oracles. In August, 1826, he attended the Mahoning Association at Lisbon, Ohio, accompanied by Walter Scott, who was elected evangelist of the Association. In January of the next year, Scott visited Campbell at his home, and they studied the Gospel together. In March, Scott began his evangelistic work at Lisbon, Ohio, where he preached baptism for the remission

    46 Millennial Harbinger, II., 407, 408. Mrs. Campbell died, October 22, 1827.

    I have never been more deceived. Two hours of my life are gone, I know not how, though wide awake, too, all the time." -- Vaughn now referred to Smith's statement that he could tell Campbell's views from one sermon, and asked: "Did you find out, brother John, whether he was a Calvinist or an Arminian?" -- Smith replied: "No. I know nothing about the man; but, be he saint or devil, he has thrown more light on that Epistle, and on the whole Scriptures than I have received in all the sermons that I have ever heard before."

    Campbell and Smith journeyed and talked together, but the latter in spite of his admiration for Campbell was not a blind follower (Williams, J. A. Life of Elder John Smith, 181, 132)

    162                       ORIGIN  AND  EARLY  HISTORY                        

    of sins. The Lisbon Church abandoned the Philadelphia Confession of Faith and became the mother church of the "Reformation" in Ohio. [47]

    The spread of the new movement in Ohio is interesting. In 1828, Adamson Bentley went to Braceville, with Jacob Osborne, to hold a meeting. In a sermon he gave the views Campbell had presented in the MacCalla Debate, declaring that it was intended as a pledge for the remission of sins. On the way back to Warren, Osborne said, "Well, Brother Bentley, you have christened baptism today." "How so?" was the question. "You termed it a remitting institution," was the reply. Mr. Bentley rejoined, "I do not see how this conclusion is to be avoided with the Scriptures before us." Osborne replied:

    "It is the truth; and I have for some time thought that the waters of baptism must stand in the same position to us that the blood of sacrifices did to the Jews. 'The blood of bulls and of goats could never take away sins,' as Paul declares, yet when offered at the altar by the sinner he had the divine assurance that his sin was forgiven him. This blood was merely typical of the blood of Christ, the true sin offering to which it pointed prospectively, and it seems to me that the water in baptism, which has no power in itself to wash away sins, now refers retrospectively to the purifying power of the blood of the Lamb of God." [48]

    A little while after this, Bentley, Osborne, and Scott went down to Howland. When the first two

    47 Millennial Harbinger, II., 408.

    48 Richardson, R. Memoirs of Alexander Campbell, II., 207, 208.

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    mentioned the matter to the latter, he agreed with the views expressed. In one of his sermons at Howland, Oaborne again introduced the subject and declared that no one had the promise of the gift of the Holy Spirit until after baptism. Scott seemed surprised, and after the meeting said to Osborne, "You are a man of great courage," and, turning to Bentley, he asked, "Do you not think so, Brother Bentley?" "Why?" was the question. "Because," came the reply, "he ventured to assert to-day that no one had a right to expect the Holy Spirit until after baptism." [49] From that time, Scott studied the order for the various items of the Gospel, and being endowed with fine analytical powers, he placed them thus: faith, repentance, baptism, remission of sins, and the gift of the Holy Spirit. [50]

    This Scriptural order which Scott had so laboriously evolved relieved at once his previous perplexities, and the Gospel seemed almost like a new revelation to him. He believed that he could now present it in its original simplicity, but still he hesitated for fear of offending the churches which had employed him. About this time he met Joseph Gaston, and told him all. Gaston was delighted, declared that what Scott had said was the truth, and that it ought to be preached to the world. Scott then made an appointment outside of the

    49 Richardson, R. Memoirs of Alexander Campbell, II., 208.

    50 This order still stands with the Disciples of Christ, although public confession has been inserted just previous to baptism. It may be stated, however, that baptism is itself regarded as a confession of faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God.

    164                       ORIGIN  AND  EARLY  HISTORY                        

    association, and with some trembling, but in an interesting manner, presented his views. At the close he gave a formal invitation to come forward and be baptized for the remission of sin. No one moved. [51] This result was not unexpected, for the whole community was filled with the idea that some supernatural revelation had to occur before any one could become a fit subject for baptism. The evangelist, however, had broken through his own fears, and he now gave notice that he would deliver in New Lisbon a course of sermons upon the Ancient Gospel.

    A large crowd gathered to hear him. His sermon was based on Peter's confession, Matthew 16:16, in connection with Peter's answer to inquirers on the day of Pentecost, Acts 2:38. The evangelist held the audience in rapt attention while he developed the power of the Christian creed, the rock upon which Christ had announced that he would build His church, and the steps of faith, repentance, baptism, remission of sins, and the gift of the Holy Spirit. The people were charmed by this new view of the simplicity and completeness of the Gospel, but as on that earlier occasion, they were filled with doubt and wonder, and asked, "How can these things be?" Just as he was about to close his sermon, a stranger came in and took a seat. When Scott concluded a few minutes later by again quoting Peter's words and inviting any one present to

    51 A similar result had followed Stone's first invitations in Kentucky (Rogers, J. E. Cane Ridge Meeting House, 188, 184).

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    come forward and be baptized for the remission of sins, this stranger at once went forward. Every one was surprised, for the new convert had not been enlightened by the minister, yet he walked with the firmness of an assured purpose. The preacher, too, was astonished, but since, when questioned, the man seemed to understand the matter fully, Scott at once baptized him "for the remission of sins," November 18, 1827. Great excitement ensued, and before the meeting closed seventeen persons accepted primitive baptism. Thereafter these Gospel steps were used with marked success by the Reformers. [52]

    Although Scott was pleased with the initial success, he could not help wondering why the stranger, a William Amend, had come forward on a simple invitation, when his first two sermons had failed to convince any one; hence he determined to write a letter of inquiry. Amend answered, declaring that he had been a strict Presbyterian, but that he could not believe all the things taught; consequently he turned to his Bible and studied it for a year. This led him to John 3:16, which read: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him might not perish, but have everlasting life." He then went on to inquire how he should believe, and he read such passages as: "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God," "Faith is the substance

    52 Richardson, R. Memoirs of Alexander Campbell, II., 210-212.

    166                       ORIGIN  AND  EARLY  HISTORY                        

    of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen," "Save yourselves," "I must be dead to sin and buried, and raised with Christ Jesus to newness of life," "I must be born again if I would enter the kingdom of God," and "Proclaim the gospel to all nations; he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved." Realizing that Peter had been given the keys, he looked to see what he would do with them. Turning to Acts 2: 37, 38, he read: "And they were all pricked to the heart, and said to Peter and to the other apostles, 'Men and brethren, what shall we do?' Peter said, 'Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.'" After remarking that he had often turned to this Scripture and prayed for some one to introduce him, Amend said:

    "Now, my brother, I will answer your questions. I was baptized on the 18th of November, 1827, and will relate to you a circumstance which occurred a few days before that date. I had read the second chapter of Acts, when I expressed myself to my wife as follows: 'Oh this is the gospel; this is the thing we wish -- the remission of our sins! Oh that I could hear the gospel in these same words as Peter preached it I I hope I shall some day hear it, and the first man I meet who will preach the gospel thus, with him will I go. So, my brother, on the day you saw me come into the meeting-house my heart was open to receive the word of God, and when you cried, 'The Scripture shall no longer be a sealed book. God means what he says. Is there any man present who will take God at his word and be baptized for the remission of sins? -- at that moment my feelings were such that I could have cried out, 'Glory to God! Ihave found the man whom I have long sought for.' So I

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    entered the kingdom when I readily laid hold of the hope set before me." [53]

    Concerning the plea thus advocated by Scott, Hayden wrote:

    "It is true the Christian Baptist, in the first volume, had taught the scriptural connection between baptism and remission, in an essay by the elder Campbell; also in A. Campbell's Debate with Mr. McCalla the same truth was distinctly set forth. But it remained among the theories. Sinners still languished in despairing doubt, awaiting some light, emotion or sensation on which they might settle as the 'white stone' of elective grace, specially imparted to assure them they were of the elect for whom Christ died. Besides, all the prominent creeds of Christendom contain the doctrine of baptism as a pledge of remission, as an item of dogmatic belief. But not one of the sects built upon them carries out its creed, in this particular, into practical result; and tells the awakened sinner, as did Peter on the first Pentecost after the' ascension: 'Bepent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins." [54]

    Scott sailed with his plea through the Western Reserve like a meteor. Exaggerated reports of his doings reached the Campbells, and they, fearing his haste, decided that Thomas Campbell should visit the Western Reserve and see for himself. The visitor was delighted, and joined Scott for a while in his theory reduced to practice. On April 9, 1828, he wrote from New Lisbon to his son:

    53 Richardson, R. Memoirs of Alexander Campbell, II., 218, 214.

    54 Early History of Disciples in Western Reserve, 80, 81.

    168                       ORIGIN  AND  EARLY  HISTORY                        

    "I perceive that theory and practice in religion, as well as in other things, are matters of distinct consideration.... We have spoken and published many things correctly concerning the ancient gospel, its simplicity and perfect adaptation to the present state of mankind, for the benign and gracious purposes of its immediate relief and complete salvation; but I must confess that, in respect of the direct exhibition and application of it, for that blessed purpose, I am at present, for the first time, upon the ground where the tiling has appeared to be practically exhibited to the proper purpose. 'Compel them to come in,' saith the Lord, 'that my house may be filled.'

    "Mr. Scott has made a bold push to accomplish this object, by simply and boldly stating the ancient gospel and insisting upon it; and then by putting the question generally and particularly to males and females, old and young. Will you come to Christ and be baptized for the remission of your sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit? Don't you believe this blessed gospel? Then come away, etc, etc. This elicits a personal conversation; some confess faith in the testimony -- beg time to think; others consents -- give their hands to be baptized as soon as convenient; others debate the matter friendly; some go straight to the water, be it day or night; and, upon the whole, none appear offended." [55]

    About the time Scott and the Reformers adopted the plea mentioned above, James Hughes, Lewis Harnwick, Lewis, Conner, and John Secrest, all Kentucky followers of Barton W. Stone, went through Belmont and Columbiana counties, converting many and planting churches. They repudiated all creeds, contended for the Bible alone, and favored the name "Christian." Since they were full of zeal and gifted in exhortation, they

    55 Richardson, R. Memoirs of Alexander Campbell, II., 219, 220.

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    won many converts. They used the "mourning-bench system," and completed the process of conversion and reception by estending publicly to the convert the "right hand of fellowship," after which he was regarded as a member of the church. From this wing of the "Reformation" came such men as John Whitacre, William Schooley, John Fleck, and Joseph Gaston, all noted preachers. They examined and accepted the General plea as advocated by Scott, and thereafter spent their lives in its defense. Mininster after minister adopted it, and thus it was soon carried all over the West of that day. [56]

    During the same year, 1828, Alexander Campbell issued his second edition of The Living Oracles, accepted Robert Owen's challenge to debate the claims of infidelity as opposted to religion, published a hymn book, and married Miss Selma H. Bakewell, of Wellsburg. In addition to keeping up the Christian Baptist, and all his religious work, he continued his farming. According to reports, he was the first man to import Merino and Saxony sheep over the Allegheny mountains. Next year, April 13-22, 1829, he debated Owen in the Methodist church at Cincinnati, Ohio, [57] and planned to discontinue the publication of the Christian Baptist, for he feared that the term "Christian-Baptist" would be applied to the advocates of reform, and he realized that the time had come for constructive work rather than destructive. The principles of

    56 Hayden, A. S. Disciples in Western Reserve, 80, 81.

    57 See pages 265-270.

    170                       ORIGIN  AND  EARLY  HISTORY                        

    the "Reformation" were spreading rapidly; many even in England and Ireland favored and accepted the new teaching. [58]

    A few months after the debate with Owen, in August, 1829, Campbell was elected to and in October attended the Constitutional Convention of Virginia. Representation in that state was based in part upon slaves, and since these were held largely in the eastern section, the white population of the West, although nearly equal in number to that of the East, found itself under the control of a majority, which many thought legislated too exclusively for the interest of its own section. Influenced by the remonstrances of the western members, or fearful that the rapidly growing white population of the West would soon wrest political power from the East, the Legislature of 1827 and 1828, in spite of the opposition in the Tidewater district, passed an act to take the sense of the voters on calling a convention. A majority, 21,898 to 16,646, favored this action. The most eminent men of the country were chosen as delegates. [59] Four were to be selected from the district in which Campbell lived. Philip Doddridge, of Wellsburg, was the most distinguished politician in the West, and he was at once nominated. At that time Campbell had been before the public only as an educator and minister, but now the request came that he let himself be nominated

    58 Millennial Harbinger, II., 408.

    59 Ambler, C. H. Sectionalism in Virginia from 1776 to 1861, 187-144.

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    as a delegate. Many of his religious opponents urged him strongly to this course, for they had confidence in his ability. He refused at first, but his political friends urged that it was not a canvass for an office of emolument, but an important occasion to the state of which he was a citizen, for the organic law of that state was to be amended and the control of the eastern and slave-holding element resisted. His religious friends declared, moreover, that the office was higher than the ordinary plane of politics, that it would not compromise him in any way as a religious teacher, but that it would give him greater influence by placing him in contact with the most influential persons in the state. Campbell at length yielded to this urging, with the express stipulation tihat he would not have to take part in the canvass personally, and with the understanding that Doddridge would gladly accept him as a colleague. As soon as the canvass commenced, however, Samuel Sprigg, a noted lawyer of Wheeling, and a warm personal friend of Doddridge, announced himself as an opposition candidate to Campbell. When the latter discovered this faithlessness, he yielded to the representations of his friends and perhaps to his rising Irish temper, and took an active part in the canvass.

    Accordingly, Campbell made it a point to be present at one of the most doubtful and important precincts in Monongalia county, where Mr. Sprigg was to address the voters at the polls. Sprigg, in his speech, attacked the members of the ministerial

    172                       ORIGIN  AND  EARLY  HISTORY                        

    profession as unfit to act as delegates to a constitutional convention, and urged the importance of sending delegates whose lives had been spent in investigating and applying principles of civil government and constitutional law. He talked long also on the subject of representation, and declared that basing the representation wholly on the white population was the only fair way to the western section of the state. Since he took up so much time, little was left to Campbell before the opening of the polls. The latter, realizing that the people were weary, said in beginning that he could not think of detaining them much longer. He then briefly refuted the arguments used by his opponent against the competence of ministers and in favor of the supposed claims of lawyers, expressed himself in favor of representation based entirely on the white population, and denounced the evils of the existing system where the political power depended upon the number of persons held in bondage. Since the crowd was composed largely of farmers, Campbell extolled the virtues of agriculturists, and declared that he had been a practical farmer for years. [60] He concluded:

    "'Tis the interest of the farmer that should be consulted. It is his welfare especially that should be promoted, since it is the farmer who has to bear at last the burdens of the government.... Allow me to illustrate this by what I noticed when a lad on a visit to the city of Belfast. In viewing the city, I recollect that my attention was particularly

    60 Richardson, R. Memoirs of Alexander Campbell, II., 804-808.

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    engaged by a large sign over one of its extensive stores. This sign contained four large painted figures. The first was a picture of the king in his royal robes, with the crown upon his head, and the legend issuing from his mouth, 'I reign for all.' Next to him was the figure of a bishop, in gown and surplice, with the inscription, 'I pray for all.' The third was a soldier in his regimentals standing by a cannon and uttering the words, 'I fight for all.' But the fourth figure, gentlemen, was the most noteworthy and important of all in this pictorial representation of the different parts of human society. It represented a farmer, amidst the utensils of his calling, standing by his plow, and exclaiming, 'I pay for all.'" [61]

    After the cheering had subsided, the polls were opened. The law then required each voter to announce publicly the name of his candidate so that his vote could be recorded. For some time nothing was heard but the name "Campbell." It began to look as if the choice might be unanimous, but at last the name of "Sprigg" was mentioned, whereupon that individual arose and pleasantly remarked, with a bow: "I thank the gentleman for his vote, for I was really beginning to think you had all forgotten that I am a candidate." [62] When the votes of the different counties -- Ohio, Tyler, Brooke, Monongalia and Preston -- were counted, it was found that Alexander Campbell and Philip Doddridge, together with Charles D. Morgan and Eugenius M. Wilson of Monongalia, had been elected.

    The convention, composed in all of ninety-six delegates, met at Richmond, October 5, 1829.

    61 Richardson, R. Memoirs of Alexander Campbell, II., 809.

    62 Ibid., II., BOfl.

    174                       ORIGIN  AND  EARLY  HISTORY                        

    Among its members were James Madison, James Monroe, Chief-Justice Marshall, John Randolph of Roanoke, Judge Upshur, Benjamin W. Leigh, and Philip S. Barbour. After the preliminary arrangements had been made, the clash of interests came into view. Waiting until Doddridge and several others had spoken, Campbell delivered an able speech against apportioning representation in the House of Delegates according to white population and taxation combined, as the East so strongly desired. Judge Upshur, representing eastern interests, had made able speeches, October 27 and 28, 1829. Since these are somewhat foreign in interest to the main theme, full consideration can not be given, but the Judge had declared in partial summary, October 28, 1829:

    "I have thus endeavored to prove, Mr. Chairman, that whether it be right as a general principle or not, that property should possess an influence in Government, it is certainly right as to us. It is right because our property, so far as slaves are concerned, is peculiar; because it is of imposing magnitude; because it affords almost a full half of the productive labor of the State; because it is exposed to peculiar impositions, and therefore to peculiar hazards; and because it is the interest of the whole Commonwealth, that it; power should not be taken away. I admit that we nave no danger to apprehend, except from oppressive and unequal taxation; no other injustice can reasonably be feared. It is impossible that any free Government, can establish an open and palpable inequality of rights. Resistance would be the necessary consequence; and thus the evil would soon cure itself. But the power of taxation often works insidiously.

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    The very victim who feels its oppression, may be ignorant of the source from which it springs." [63]

    He concluded: "...For more than half a century, the political power of this Commonwealth has been in the hands which now hold it. During all that time, it has not been abused. Is it then without cause that I ask for a good reason why it should now be taken away?" [64]

    Campbell attempted to establish four points in his first important speech, October 31:

    1. That apportionment of representation according to white population and taxation combined rested upon unphilosophical and anti-republican views of society.

    2. That such representation was the common ground of aristocratical and monarchical governments.

    3. That most of the free holders of Virginia were opposed to such an apportionment.

    4. That the white population basis would favor the whole state. [65]

    Owing to the importance of that address, rather extensive quotations will be given:

    But, Sir, it is not the increase of population in the west which this gentleman ought to fear. It is the energy which the mountain breeze and western habits impart to

    63 Virginia State Convention. Debate and Proceedings, 1829, 1830, 75.

    64 Ibid., 79.

    65 Ibid., 118.

    176                       ORIGIN  AND  EARLY  HISTORY                        

    these emigrants. They are regenerated; politically, I mean, Sir. They become working politicians; and the difference, Sir, between a talking and a working politician, is immense. The Old Dominion has long been celebrated for producing great orators; the ablest metaphysicians in policy; men that can split hairs in all abstruse questions of political economy. But at home, or when they return from Congress, »they have negroes to fan them asleep. But a Pennsylvania, a New York, a Ohio, or a western Virginia statesman, has this advantage, that when he returns home, he takes off his coat, and takes hold of the plough. This gives him bone and muscle, Sir, and preserves his Republican principles pure and uncontaminated....

    This gentleman (Judge Upshur) starts with the postulate, that there are two sorts of majorities of numbers and interests; in plain English, of men and money. I do not well understand, why he ought not to have added, also, majorities of talent, physical strength, scientific skill, and general literature. These are all more valuable than money, and as useful to the State. A Robert Fulton, a General Jackson, a Joseph Lancaster, a Benjamin Franklin, are as useful to the State, as a whole district of mere slave-holders. Now, all the logic, metaphysics and rhetoric of this Assembly, must be put to requisition to shew, why a citizen, having a hundred negroes, should have ten times more political power than a Joseph Lancaster, or a Robert Fulton, with only a house and garden. And if scientific skill, physical strength military powers, or general literature, in some individuals, is entitled to so much respect, why ought not those majorities in a community to have as much weight as mere wealth." [66]

    Campbell believed, as an examination of this speech shows, that man possessed the right of suffrage prior to his entrance into the social compact,

    66 Virginia State Convention. Debates and Proceedings, 1829, 1830, 119.

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    that society might divest him of it, but could not confer it, for it was a right "natural" and "underived." He was ridiculed with regard to his state of nature and his argument on majorities. He answered thus:

    "...The gentlemen on the other aide, have triumphantly called upon us, to find the origin of majorities in the state of nature. Nay, indeed, they almost ridicule the idea of men existing in a state of nature. We all know, that men roaming at large, over the forests could have no idea of majorities; it is not applicable to them. But, so soon as men form a social compact, it is one of the first things, which, from nature itself, would present itself to them. The true origin of this idea, is found in the nature and circumstances of men. Man is a social animal, and in obedience to this law of his nature, he seeks society, and desires the countenance of men. But, as all men are not born on the same day, and do not all place their eyes upon the same object, at the same time, nor receive the same education, they cannot all be of the same opinion. Some arrangement, founded on the nature of man, for men's living to-gether, must then be adopted. And the impossibility of gratifying their social desires, but in yielding to differences of opinion, presents itself among the very first reflections. In all matters, then, of common interest, when a difference occurs, one party must yield.... All nature cries, the inferior to the superior; the weaker to the stronger; the less to the greater. It is, then, founded on the nature of things. And a moment's reflection will convince us, that, in case of a struggle, the minority must yield to the majority; for, they have the power, either to compel it, or to expel the disaffected. It is, then, as natural a conclusion and arrangement, as can be conceived." [67]

    67 Virginia State Convention. Debates and Proceedings, 1829, 1830, 120, 121.

    178                       ORIGIN  AND  EARLY  HISTORY                        

    During the convention, Campbell made several speeches in an effort to secure for the West the changes [68] that were demanded, but the eastern majority proved determined to retain the provisions to which the West objected. Consequently, the constitution, which was submitted to the Convention, January 14, 1830, retaining the provisions to which the West was opposed, received a majority of fourteen votes. As Campbell had foreseen, it proved entirely unsatisfactory to the people of the West. When the vote was taken in Brooke County, he was present and at the request of the citizens gave a brief explanation of the principles of the proposed constitution, and expressed the hope that it would be rejected because of its anti-republican

    68 In 1828, the House of Delegates had 214 members; the Senate, 24. Of this number the transmontane country with a total white population of 254,196 had only 80 delegates and 9 senators, while the cismontane country with a white population of 348,873 had 134 delegates and 15 senators. An apportionment on the basis of white population would have changed the Senate little, but would have given the West 90 delegates. The East, too, had grievances. In 1829 the West drew annually from the treasury far more than it contributed. Taxes were paid on a valuation of 1817, when the East was more prosperous. In 1829, the average valuation upon which each section paid taxes was per acre: Trans-Allegheny -- 92 cents; Valley -- $7.83; Piedmont -- $8.20; Tidewater -- $8.48. P. W. Leigh estimated that the East paid $3.24 in taxes for every dollar paid by the West. There were then east of the Blue Ridge 397,000 negro slaves subject to taxation, and only 50,000 in the West. The slave property contributed almost one third of the entire state revenue (See Ambler, C. H. Sectionalism in Virginia, 137-141). These points were thoroughly debated in Convention. Doddridge, Campbell, and other western leaders admitted them, but pointed to the growth of population as an equalizer and to the services of the western soldiers in the war of 1812 (Debates, 128).

    The writer hopes at some future time to make a more detailed study of Alexander Campbell in the Virginia Constitutional Convention.

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    principles. This short speech proved very effective. After the vote had been taken, it was found that Brooke County had favored rejection by a vote of 370 to 0. Brooke was the only county in the state where rejection was unanimous, but other counties came near this, as Logan, where the vote was 255 to 2, and Ohio, 643 to 3 against ratification. The state-wide vote, however, stood 26,055 to 15,563 in favor of the constitution. [69]

    As indicated earlier, Campbell avoided politics as much as possible, although he did hold the office of postmaster for some time; hence, if possible, his motives in serving in the constitutional convention should be ascertained. On reaching home, February 1, 1830, after having been absent since September 22, 1829, he found many letters awaiting him, one being from William Tener of Londonderry. In answer to this, he gave the motives which had influenced

    69 Perhaps it will not be entirely out of place to observe in a foot note that Gordon's plan of compromise allowed conservatives to retain control. Efforts in the convention to extend the franchise to all tax payers had been defeated 44 to 48. Suffrage was extended somewhat, nevertheless, by taking in lease holders and house-keepers, but the number of men of legal age remaining disqualified was over 80,000. Doddridge's motion to elect the governor by a popular vote was a tie, and was decided in the negative. By the constitution, central executive authority, somewhat increased, was vested in a governor elected for three years by joint ballot of the Assembly. The executive council was retained, though reduced in membership.

    The differences between the East and the West were not settled by this constitution. They were merely transferred from the counties of northern Piedmont and the Shenandoah Valley to the trans-Allegheny. Thereafter, sectionalism, according to Ambler, was a contest between the districts now known as Virginia and West Virginia (see his Sectionalism, 187-174, for a good account of the whole struggle).

    180                       ORIGIN  AND  EARLY  HISTORY                        

    him to become a candidate for the convention. He wrote:

    "But you may ask, What business had I in such matters? I will tell you. I have no taste or longings for political matters or honors, but as this was one of the most grave and solemn of all political matters, and not like the ordinary affairs of legislation, and therefore not incompatible with the most perfect gravity and self-respect, I consented to be elected, and especially because I was desirous of laying a foundation for the abolition of slavery (in which, however, I was not successful), and of gaining an influence in public estimation to give currency to my writings, and to put down some calumnies afar off that I was not in good standing in my own State." [70]

    In this latter object, that of gaining higher influence in the public estimation, Campbell was certainly successful. While at Richmond, in private conversation and in the social circle, he pressed the views of the "Reformation." Every Lord's Day he spoke to large audiences on the primitive Gospel, and many of the convention members attended. Upon these he made a very favorable impression. On the way home, Ex-President Madison spent the first night with a relative, Edmund Pendleton, of Louisa. The latter was slightly inclined to the principles of the "Restoration;" hence he inquired Madison's opinion of Campbell. After speaking in high terms of the ability shown in the convention, the former president added: "But it is as a theologian that Mr. Campbell must be known. It was

    70 Richardson, R. Memoirs of Alexander Campbell, II., 819, 820.

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    my pleasure to hear him very often as, a preacher of the gospel, and I regard him as the ablest and most original expounder of the Scriptures I have ever heard." [71]

    After Campbell returned from the convention he visited Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee, and took up his editorial work with renewed zeal. The Millennial Harbinger, [72] the first number of which came out January 1, 1830, was devoted to the plea for the restoration of primitive Christianity. This plea, however, stirred the Baptists to intense opposition.

    Antagonism. had been growing from the time of the Sermon on the Law, 1816, and especially from the period when Walter Scott began to preach the Gospel steps plea, 1827. Exclusions and divisions were not infrequent in the late twenties. In the spring of 1830, the Third Baptist Church of Philadelphia excluded a number, who at once formed an independent church and adopted the ancient order of things as taught by the Campbells and Scott. In Kentucky and in certain parts of Virginia, however, where the principles of the "Reformation" had been most widely scattered, the greatest troubles took place. No one will contend that the Reformers were blameless. Some excited prejudice unnecessarily by crying out against church covenants, creeds, etc., "to the legitimate use of which Mr. Campbell never had objected." [73] Ignorant

    71 Richardson, R. Memoirs of Alexander Campbell, II., 813.

    72 Successor to the Christian Baptist.

    73 Richardson, R. Memoirs of Alexander Campbell, II., 822.

    182                       ORIGIN  AND  EARLY  HISTORY                        

    > persons gave just offence by bigoted and crude assertions, and not a few had the conceit of superior knowledge and an overbearing disposition. On the whole, nevertheless, the Reformers were forbearing and endured with some patience the misrepresentation of their opponents.

    Since the conditions seethed thus, only a slight impulse was necessary to start a flame. It came from an unexpected quarter. Two or three fragments of churches on the Western Reserve, as at Youngstown, Palmyra, and Salem, which had refused to enter the "Reformation," had joined a small association on Beaver Creek. Aided by a Mr. Winter and one or two other ministers intensely opposed to Campbell, they persuaded the association to publish a circular anathematizing the Mahoning Association and Mr. Campbell as "disbelieving and denying many of the doctrines of the Holy Scriptures." [74] These charges, as given by Gates, follow:

    1. They, the Reformers, maintain that there is no promise of salvation, without baptism. "

    2. That baptism should be administered to all who say they believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, without examination on any other point. "

    3. That there is no direct operation of the Holy Spirit on the mind prior to baptism. "

    4. That baptism procures the remission of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit.

    74 Richardson, R. Memoirs of Alexander Campbell, II., 322.

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    5. That the Scriptures are the only evidence of interest in Christ. "

    6. That obedience places it in God's power to elect to salvation. "

    7. That no creed is necessary for the church but the Scriptures as they stand, And "

    8. That all baptized persons have the right to administer the ordinance of baptism." [75]

    This circular letter immediately gained great popularity, and was widely copied by Baptist papers and associations. Thus, Dover, Virginia, decreed non-fellowship with the Reformers and Dover Association followed, December, 1830. [76]

    Franklin Association, Kentucky, and Appomattox Association, Virginia, denounced Campbell's writings and all persons holding the views expressed in the Beaver circular. [77] Partly because of these attacks, Mahoning and Stillwater Associations, Ohio, dissolved as associations and resolved to meet as annual meetings without any authority. The Reformers now began to organize churches distinct from the Baptists, and this step marks the existence of the Disciples of Christ as a separate church. [78]

    Campbell, unable to allay the storm, described the Beaver anathema as "a tissue of falsehoods," and attacked, possibly with justice, the character of Winter, one of its chief promoters. He showed his

    75 Early Relation and Separation of Baptists and Disciples, 92.

    76 Millennial Harbinger, II., 409.

    77 Richardson, R. Memoirs of Alexander Campbell, II., 828.

    78 Millennial Harbinger, II., 409, also Newman, A. H. A History of the Baptist Churches in the United States, 494.

    184                       ORIGIN  AND  EARLY  HISTORY                        

    dislike of separation, but also his willingness to abide the result by asking:

    "Who is making divisions and schisms? Who is rending the peace of the churches? Who are creating factions, swellings and tumults? We who are willing to bear and forbear, or they who are anathematizing and attempting to excommunicate? Let the umpires decide the question. For my own part, I am morally certain they who oppose us are unable to meet us on the Bible; they are unable to meet us before the public; and this I say, not as respects their talents, acquirements or general abilities, but as respects their systems. Thousands are convinced of this, and they might as well bark at the moon as to oppose us by bulls and anathemas. If there be a division, gentlemen, you will make it, not I; and the more you oppose us with the weight of your censure, like a palm tree we will grow the faster. I am for peace, for union, for harmony, for co-operation with all good men. But I fear you not; if you will fling firebrands, arrows and discords into the army of the faith, you will repent it, not we. You will lose influence, not we. We covet not persecution, but we disregard it. We fear nothing but error, and should you proceed to make divisions, you will find that they will reach much farther than you are aware, and that the time is past when an anathema from an association will produce any other effect than contempt from some and a smile from others." [79]

    That Campbell was correct in the extent of the divisions is apparent from the following quotations. The Dover Association report read in part: "The system of religion known by the name of Campbellism has spread of late among our churches to a distressing extent and seems to call loudly for

    79 Richardson, R. Memoirs of Alexander Campbell, II., 323-324.

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    remedial measures." [80] The New York Baptist Register of 1830 said:

    "Mr. Campbell's paper and their vigorous missionary efforts are making great achievements. If is said that one half of the Baptist churches in Ohio have embraced this sentiment and become what they call Christian Baptists. It is spreading like a mighty contagion through the Western States, wasting Zion in its progress. In Kentucky its desolations are said to be even greater than in Ohio." [81]

    The following bitter lamentation came from a Mr. McConnico of Tennessee:

    "My beloved brethren: -- Campbellism has carried away many whom I thought firm. These wandering stars and clouds without water ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth, make proselytes much more the children of the devil than they were before. O Lord I hear the cries and see the tears of the Baptists; for Alexander hath done them much harm. The Lord reward him according to his works. Look at the Creaths of Kentucky. Look at Anderson, Craig, and Hopwood of Tennessee. See them dividing churches and spreading discord, and constituting churches out of excommunicated members. Such shuffling -- such slandering -- such evil speaking -- such dissembling -- such downright hypocrisy --and all under the false name of reformation." [82]

    A. H. Newman, the Baptist historian, although admitting the divisions, took a broader, more philosophical, and a more hopeful view of the situation. He said:

    80 Gates, Errett. Early Relation and Separation of Baptists and Disciples, 78.

    81 Ibid., 73.

    82 Ibid., 100.

    186                       ORIGIN  AND  EARLY  HISTORY                        

    "The growth of the 'Disciples' party was very rapid, and a large number of Baptists, Presbyterians, and Methodists were won to its support. Baptists soon recovered measurably from the shock and have steadily advanced in the regions covered by the activity of the Disciples. It is probable that the cause of antipedobaptism and of immersion gained largely from the schism. That it may speedily come to an end with no sacrifice of truth should be the earnest prayer of Baptists and Disciples alike." [83]

    Of course, many of those who had favored the new movement now deserted it, but others took their place. Jacob Creath, Sr., whom Clay had pronounced the finest natural orator he ever heard, had been somewhat cautious in refining his position. He now came forward openly. To his surprise, however, he met Jeremiah Vardeman, a noted Reformer, going back. "Hey, Jerry," said he, "what's the matter?" "Oh," was the answer, "if this thing takes, we shall all starve. The Baptists are not too liberal as it is." [84] The lessened contributions of the churches, growing out of their unsettled condition and attributed to the new teachings had been used as an argument to retain a Reformer in sentiment, and a man who had done much to further the "Reformation." Vardeman, as is usual in such cases, thought it necessary to show his renewed zeal to the Baptist cause by extreme measures; hence through his influence an effort was made to excommunicate Versailles, Providence, and South Elkhorn, without examination or committees

    83 A History of the Baptist Churches in the United States, 494.

    84 Richardson, R. Memoirs of Alexander Campbell, II., 324.

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    of inquiry, with the intention of cutting off the Creaths, Josephus Hewitt, and a few other prominent men who had urged the primitive faith and order as taught by the Reformers. In defence of the rights of the churches, Jacob Creath, Sr. delivered a speech which Thomas Campbell and other competent judges present considered as almost unequaled in eloquence and power. Arguments were of no, avail, however, for forty-two out of seventy-one had resolved on exclusion; consequently exclusion was carried. Almost immediately after this action, Vardeman moved to Missouri, where he died a few years later without retaining much of his former popularity. In spite of his apostasy, nevertheless, Alexander Campbell always regarded him with affectionate feeling, and often remarked: "I knew him well, and if I had been in Kentucky at the time, Jeremiah Vardeman would never have been persuaded to abandon the cause of the Reformation." [85] Though the Disciples lost many leaders such as Vardeman, they gained new ones. Jacob Creath, Sr., William Morton, John Smith, and Jacob Creath, Jr., devoted themselves with zeal to the Gospel message of the Reformers and organized many churches, most of which, especially in the towns, adopted weekly communion, while some in the country celebrated the Lord's Supper monthly, as the Baptists had done, for they could secure a minister only about once a month."

    85 Richardson, R. Memoirs of Alexander Campbell, II., 325, 326.

    86 Ibid., II., 826.

    188                       ORIGIN  AND  EARLY  HISTORY                        

    In concluding this chapter it seems advisable to consider a few reasons for the success met in launching the new church. One of the strongest of these was that the movement of the Campbells was an outgrowth of conditions then existing. It represented the "time spirit." In the words of H. V. Kirk: "He (Alexander Campbell) also represented the time spirit (zeit geist) of the American Republic. He came in line with the great social and political movements of his day. He was the voice of democracy, of individualism in the religious sphere." [87] Errett Gates listed the general causes of success as follows:

    1. Conditions favorable among the Baptists.

    2. General religious conditions favorable to progress.

    3. Conditions favorable to success present in the movement itself.

    Under the first head, the following conditions proved propitious:

    1. Division among the Baptists into "Regulars" and "Separates."

    2. Hyper-Calvinism in many sections.

    3. Close attachment to creeds.

    4. The anti-missionary spirit which then prevailed among the Baptists.

    In the second place, this was a period of general religious unrest -- the growth of Universalism and Unitarianism. The earlier religious movements

    87 A History of the Theology of the Disciples of Christ, 60, 51.

                          OF  THE  DISCIPLES  OF  CHRIST                         189

    have already been considered -- secessions from the Methodist Church of Virginia and North Carolina led by James O'Kelly, from the Baptists in Vermont led by Abner Jones, and from the Presbyterians of Kentucky led by Barton W. Stone. These bodies were alike in their opposition to creeds and sectarian names, and their insistence on the name "Christian." They discovered each other and formed the so-called "Christian Church" which still survives under the name "Christian Connection," though perhaps the majority united with the followers of Alexander Campbell as will be detailed later. In 1830, the Church of God came into existence on much the same principles.

    In the third place, as has already been indicated and as will be made plain by more detail later on, the "Reformation" movement was supplied with excellent leaders, the plan of salvation was democratic and popular, and the message -- the union of all Christians by the restoration of apostolic Christianity based on the Bible alone -- appealed to the worried and thoughtful of all creeds. [88]

    88 Gates, E. Early Relation and Separation of Baptists and the Disciples, 76-87.

    (pages 190-292 of this text have not yet been transcribed)

    [ 293 ]


    During this period, many vexing and perplexing problems came up for consideration, among them being: Mormonism, the name of the new movement, the millennium, the Lunenburg Letter, the use of the organ in the church service, communion, slavery, and war.

    The Mormon question for a while appeared very threatening to the Disciples because it carried away one of the most popular preachers in the Western Reserve, Sidney Rigdon, to whom Alexander Campbell had paid high tribute, and for whom he had secured a position with the Pittsburg church. [1] Rigdon accompanied Campbell to Kentucky when the latter debated with MacCalla. [2] He was also on intimate terms with Walter Scott, and in 1824, their two churches, both in Pittsburg, were united. [3] This intimacy with Campbell and Scott appears to have continued until 1830, when the Mormons sent an embassy with the intention of winning Rigdon over to their side. This was not difficult. In fact, some

    1 Richardson, Memoirs of Alexander Campbell, II., 44-47.

    2 Ibid., II., 71.

    3 Ibid., II., 99.

    294                       ORIGIN  AND  EARLY  HISTORY                        

    writers declare that he came into possession of the Spaulding manuscript, and deliberately altered it to suit his purposes. [4] Such a supposition, nevertheless, is not necessary in order to give a satisfactory explanation of Rigdon's apostacy. Though a fluent and captivating speaker, he was jealous of others and intensely ambitious. He knew also that he was not fully trusted by the Disciples. Again, he was extremely imaginative and possessed of a high degree of credulity, living in expectation of some great event. [5] Moreover, he was angry at Thomas Campbell's successful opposition at Austintown to his common property scheme, which he declared was part of the ancient Gospel as exhibited in the latter part of the second chapter of Acts. [6] Campbell, in opposition, argued as follows:

    1. The "community system" in the second chapter of Acts was formed not to make property, but to consume it, under certain special circumstances attending that case.

    2. The case of Ananias and Sapphira ended the matter.

    3. Various passages in Corinthians and elsewhere, asking contributions for benevolent objects, show that a community system did not prevail among the primitive churches. [7]

    4 Richardson, R. Memoirs of Alexander Campbell, II., 344, 345, also Moore, W. T. Comprehensive History of Disciples, 300, 301.

    5 Hayden, A. S. History of the Disciples on the Western Reserve, 209.

    6 Ibid., 209.

    7 Ibid., 209.

                          OF  THE  DISCIPLES  OF  CHRIST                         295

    In addition to the above causes, Parley P. Pratt, an intimate friend of Rigdon's, had been converted by the Mormons. [8] For all of these reasons, then, when Pratt, Oliver Cowdery, and two others visited Rigdon, he was won over after a little opposition. On the next Sunday, Rigdon failed in his attempt to preach at Kirtand. Cowdery and Pratt did most of the talking. On the same day, Rigdon and his wife, with many of the church members, were baptized into the new faith. Rigdon then spent about two months with Smith, receiving "revelations," preaching, and urging people to accept the new religion. [9]

    Aside from Rigdon, Pratt, and Orson Hyde, the last two young and little known, no Disciple preachers accepted Mormonism, and save at Kirtland, Hiram, and Mantua, few Disciples. In these places, Rigdon's popularity gave the movement quite a hold. In other regions, however, Disciple ministers succeeded in checking the new church. Thomas Campbell spent much of the winter in Mentor and vicinity in combating the movement. [10]

    Occasionally, nevertheless, the admiration for Rigdon carried members into the new organization in spite of everything that could be done. Thus at Mantua, Oliver Snow and his family, Symonds Ryder, Ezra Booth, and others received the "New

    8 Hayden, A. S. History of the Disciples on the Western Reserve, 210.

    9 Ibid., 210-214.

    10 Ibid., 216-220.

    296                       ORIGIN  AND  EARLY  HISTORY                        

    Dispensation." Elisa Snow, afterwards known among the Mormons as the "Poetess," led the way for six or seven others. Two of these were later restored. Symonds Ryder soon regained his former position of influence among the Disciples. His relations with the Mormons were very interesting. Ezra Booth, of Mantua, a Methodist minister of more than ordinary culture, with his wife, a Mr. and Mrs. Johnson, and other citizens visited Smith at his home in Kirtland, in 1831. During the interview, conversation turned to the subject of supernatural gifts such as were conferred in apostolic days. Some one remarked: "Here is Mrs. Johnson with a lame arm; has God given any power to men now on earth to cure her?" [11] A few minutes later, when the conversation had changed in another direction, Smith rose, walked across the room, took Mrs. Johnson by the hand and said in the most solemn and impressive manner: "Woman, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I command thee to be whole," [12] and at once left the room. Hayden continued the account thus:

    "The company were awestricken at the infinite presumption of the man and the calm assurance with which he spoke. The sudden mental and moral shock -- I know not how better to explain the well attested fact -- electrified the rheumatic arm -- Mrs. Johnson at once lifted it up with ease, and on her return home the next day she was able to do her washing without difficulty or pain. [13]

    11 Hayden, A. S. History of the Disciples in the Western Reserve, 250.

    12 Ibid., 250.

    13 Ibid., 250.

                          OF  THE  DISCIPLES  OF  CHRIST                         297

    Soon after this incident, Booth preached in Ryder's church at Hiram and made quite an impression. A little while afterwards, Ryder went to Kirtland to hear for himself, and apparently rejected the claims of Mormonism. A short time later, however, he read in a newspaper an account of the destroying of Peking, [14] and he remembered that six weeks before a young Mormon girl had predicted the destruction of that city. Soon after this, he publicly declared his adhesion to the Mormon faith. Nevertheless, he appeared to have doubts still, for he and Ezra Booth, an intimate friend, vowed that "they would faithfully aid each other in discerning the truth or the falsity of the new doctrine." [15]

    In a short time, the latter was commissioned to go to Missouri to explore the promised land and lay the foundations of new Zion. Ryder was informed that, by a special revelation, he had been appointed and commissioned an elder in the Mormon Church. To his great perturbation, however, his name was misspelled in the commission. "Was the Holy Spirit so fallible as to fail in orthography?" he asked himself. Beginning with this, he re-examined the ground upon which he stood. In

    14 It seems possible that Hayden is in error on this point, and that "Peking" should read "Warsaw." The writer examined several histories of China, and not one mentioned the destruction of Peking in 1831, although a rebellion was going on then. Warsaw, however, was wrested from the Poles after desperate fighting early in 1331 (see Hezen, C. D. Europe Since 1815, 109).

    15 Hayden, A. S. History of the Disciples in the Western Reserve, 251.

    298                       ORIGIN  AND  EARLY  HISTORY                        

    the meantime, his friend Booth, on his pilgrimage to Missouri, had been passing through a similar experience of disillusionment. When the two met, about September 1, 1831, the first question from each was, "How is your faith?" and the first look showed that the spell was broken. Many citizens of Hiram had accepted the doctrines of Smith and Rigdon, but the work of Ryder and Booth went far to turn the tide and lead back many who were drifting on its current. [16] When A. S. Hayden was preparing the history often referred to in this book, he wrote to Ryder for information concerning the advent of Mormonism Since the man addressed was in intimate touch with the movement, it seems advisable to give a rather full quotation from his reply:

    "Dear Brother Hayden:

    "....To give particulars of the Mormon excitement of 1831 would require a volume -- a few words must suffice. It has been stated that from the year 1815 to 1835, a period of twenty years, 'all sorts of doctrine by all sorts of preachers had been pled; ' and most of the people of Hiram had been disposed to turn out and hear. This went by the specious name of 'Liberal.' The Mormons in Kirtland, being informed of this peculiar state of things, were soon prepared for the onset.

    "In the winter of 1831 Joseph Smith, with others, had an appointment in the south school-house, in Hiram. Such was the apparent piety, sincerity and humility of the speakers, that many of the hearers were greatly affected, and thought it impossible that such preachers should lie in wait to deceive.

    16 Hayden, A. S. History of the Disciples in the Western Reserve, 259.

                          OF  THE  DISCIPLES  OF  CHRIST                         299

    "During the next spring and summer several converts were made, and their success seemed to indicate an immediate triumph in Hiram. But when they went to Missouri to lay the foundation of the splendid city of Zion, and also of the temple, they left their papers behind. This gave their new converts an opportunity to become acquainted with the internal arrangement of their church, which revealed to them the horrid fact that a plot was laid to take their property from them and place it under the control of Joseph Smith the prophet. This was too much for the Hiramites, and they left the Mormonites faster than they had ever joined them, and by fall the Mormon church in Hiram was a very lean concern.

    "But some who had been the dupes of this deception, determined not to let it pass with impunity; and, accordingly, a company was formed of citizens from Shalersville, Garrettsville, and Hiram, in March, 1832, and proceeded to headquarters in the darkness of night, and took Smith and Rigdon from their beds, and tarred and feathered them both, and let them go. This had the desired effect, which was to get rid of them. They soon left for Kirtland.

    "All who continued with the Mormons, and had any property, lost all; among whom was John Johnson, one of our most worthy men; also, Esq. Snow, of Mantua, who lost two or three thousand dollars.   Symonds Ryder." [17]

    In concluding this topic, a word may be in place with regard to the fortunes of Mormonism. Immediately after the publication of the Book of Mormon, Smith organized the "Church of Latter Day Saints" at Palmyra, and sent forth his "apostles" to convert the world. The effect on the Disciples of Christ has already been indicated. Other

    17 Hayden, A. S. History of the Disciples in the Western Reserve. 221.

    300                       ORIGIN  AND  EARLY  HISTORY                        

    churches suffered also, for many proselytes were won to the new religion in northern Ohio. Most of these were ignorant and superstitious, but some, it must be admitted, were persons of intelligence. A temple was erected at Kirtand, and a bank was established there. Soon, however, the Mormons found it necessary to emigrate to Independence, Missouri. From there, largely increased in numbers, they were driven to Illinois, where they erected another, temple and built the city of Nauvoo. Trouble with the citizens of Illinois resulted in the murder of Smith, and the journey to Utah, where the Mormons created a magnificent city and erected a wonderful temple. After the death of Smith, Rigdon and Brigham Young disputed the leadership; Young, the more competent man, won. Rigdon was expelled from the community and retired to the interior of New York, in which state he lived in comparative obscurity. [18]

    A second question was that of the name for the movement. Most of the people in it recognized any New Testament term as valid, -- thus "Church of God," "Churches of Christ," "Christian" and "Disciples" were admitted; but the emphasis was placed on the, last two. The people in the West generally favored the term "Christian," whereas those in the older districts of the East usually favored, "Disciples of Christ." The same preference still holds in these sections, but the terms are...

    18 Richardson, R. Memoirs of Alexander Campbell, II., 346-348.

    Note 1: (forthcoming)

    Note 2: (forthcoming)

    Religion Follows
    the Frontier

    by Winfred E. Garrison
    New York, Harper & Brothers, 1931

  • Disciples in Penn. (under constr.)
  • Disciples in Ohio
  • Disciple/Mormon rivalry

  • transcriber's comments

  • Note: Entire contents copyright (c) 1931 by Winfred E. Garrison
    Only limited, "fair use" excerpts are reproduced here

    204                                 RELIGION  FOLLOWS  THE  FRONTIER                                



    In Ohio, as already narrated, the beginnings were connected with the spread of Campbell's views among the Baptists. The church at Warren, for example, was founded as a Baptist church in 1803. Adamson Bentley, its minister from 1811 to 1831, was prominent alike in organizing it into a yearly meeting of Disciple churches. After Scott had rediscovered, as he believed, the principles of the ancient order, the church at Windham, Portage County, Ohio, was the first congregation organized de nova "upon the principles of the restored Gospel" -- on May 27, 1828, according to Hayden's Disciples in the Western Reserve (see also Scott's report in The Evangelist, April, 1838).

    By 1830, as we already know, the Baptist churches of Ohio had been largely permeated with the teaching of the Reformers, and both the Mahoning and the Stillwater associations had been completely taken by them.

    Almost simultaneously the Mormon church came into existence in the adjacent corner of New York and began its invasion of Ohio. Disciples and Mormons appealed to the same constituency and with some striking similiarities of approach, though also with some notable differences.

                                  EMERGING  FROM  THE  PIONEER  STAGE                               205

    Both based their appeal upon a plea for the restoration of a divine plan. The Disciple preachers became prominent leaders in Mormonism -- Sidney Rigdon, Parley P. Pratt, and Orson Hyde. Rigdon converted Pratt and Hyde to the Disciples position, and Pratt converted Rigdon to Mormonism. The transition from one camp to the other was abrupt in all three cases, but startling in Pratt's case. He preached one day as a Disciple and the next as a Mormon elder. Naturally they carried over with them many of the forms of thought amd much of the terminology to which they had been trained. The defection -- or conversion, according to point of view -- of these three preachers, carried many Disciples over into Mormonism. It is to be remembered that they had not been Disciples very long, and that among the followers of any new movement there is always a certain percentage of those who are temperamentally disposed to follow any new thing. Rigdon became associated with Joseph Smith in the First Presidency of the Mormon Church and was a claimant for the leadership of the organization when Brigham Younf secured it. Pratt and Hyde became "apostles." The Mormon historian, Roberts, considers the Disciples as forerunners of the Mormon gospel, and that Campbell and Scott were also (like Rigdon) "sent forth to prepare the way before the Lord." The Disciples did not think so. The rivalry between the two groups became intense. That the Mormons found among the Disciples, as Roberts says, "more who would listen to their teachings and a greater proportion who would accept the fulness of the gospel than in any other sect," did not improve their relations. Besides, the Disciples, being themselves rather outside the pale of denominational respectability, could not afford to jeopardize such standing as they had by letting pass unchallenged the assertion that they were in any way akin to this new and disreputable sect -- for both were disreputable and fanatical it was deemed, even before polygamy was introduced to render it altogether contemptible. The conflict

    206                                 RELIGION  FOLLOWS  THE  FRONTIER                                

    between Disciples and Mormons included several debates and at least one instance of mob violence with the latter as the victims, at Hiram, Ohio. But the Mormons passed on west, under the stimulus of persecution, and the Disciples recovered from the stigma of contact with them....

    (remainder of this text not transcribed, due to copyright restrictions)

                                  EMERGING  FROM  THE  PIONEER  STAGE                               207

    (remainder of this text not transcribed, due to copyright restrictions)

    Disciples of Christ
    A History

    by Winfred E. Garrison
    and Alfred T. DeGroot
    St. Louis: Christian Board of Pub., 1948

  • Ch. 9: Walter Scott
  • Ch. 10: Independence 1830-40
  • Ch. 13: Expansion to 1860

  • transcriber's comments

  • Note: Entire contents copyright (c) 1948 by Christian Board of Publication
    Only limited, "fair use" excerpts are reproduced here

    [ 180 ]


    NEW  EVANGELISM  1827-30

    The youngest of the four men who are generally, and rightly, regarded as the Founding Fathers of the Disciples of Christ was Walter Scott. It was he who formulated and put into practice the effective evangelistic method which had been lacking and it was he who gave the impetus which changed a movement for reform within the Baptist churches into a separate religious body.

    Walter Scott was born in Moffatt, Scotland, October 31, 1796. Financial limitations -- his father was a music teacher who had ten children -- did not prevent him from getting a thorough classical education. He studied at the University of Edinburgh, and it is supposed that he took a degree; but his name was so common in Scotland that it is not possible to identify him with certainty in the university's records. In 1818 he came to America at the suggestion of an uncle who had a good position in the New York customs house. After spending nearly a year as an instructor in Latin in an academy on Long Island, he heard the call of the West and journeyed to Pittsburgh, where he arrived on May 7, 1819. There he became an instructor in a school conducted by a fellow countryman, George Forrester, who was also the leader of a small church of "humble, pious people, mostly Scotch and Irish" (Wm. Baxter: Life of Elder Walter Scott, p. 40). This was one of the many scattered "primitive Christianity" congregations which had sprung up under the stimulus of the ideas of Sandeman and the Haldanes. It is impossible to determine, from the existing records, to which of these strains it was most closely akin, and it makes little difference, for the impulse to reproduce the practice of the early church was common to them all, and the details of church procedure varied within each group. This Pittsburgh church practiced immersion and also the ceremonies of foot washing and the

                                    SCOTT  AND  THE  NEW  EVANGELISM                                 181

    "holy kiss." The name locally given to it was "kissing Baptists."

    Scott, who had been reared in the Church of Scotland, was greatly impressed by Mr. Forrester's piety and by his passionate devotion to the direct study of the Bible as the source of religious truth. He became a member of this church. Forrester's withdrawal from the school, followed soon by his accidental death by drowning, left with Scott the responsibility for conducting the, school and shepherding the church. While wrestling with these duties and assimilating the ideas in the books of Glas, Samdeman, Haldane, and John Locke which he found in Forrester's library, Scott came upon a pamphlet that had been written by Henry Errett, father of Isaac Errett, and published by a New York City congregation of "Scotch Baptists" (the name generally given to the immersionist branch of the Sandemanians), who "held many of the views taught by the Haldanes" (Baxter, op. cit., p. 46). This tract was on the purpose and effect of baptism. It connected baptism so definitely with remission of sins and salvation that, in this view, it became highly questionable whether any of the unimmersed, regardless of their apparent possession of the fruits of the Spirit, could be "acknowledged as Disciples, as having made the Christian profession, as having put on Christ, as having passed from death to life." Scott was so stirred by this discovery that he closed his school and went to New York to further instruction from the church which had set forth this statement. He was frank in admitting that the visit was a disappointment, though he never said just why. Certainly he suffered no loss of conviction as to the importance of returning to simple New Testament Christianity. Baxter would give us to understand that he was disheartened to see the "sectarian" churches so indifferent to this program which seemed to him so axiomatic and imperative. One may be permitted to conjecture, in the light of his course thereafter, that Scott was discouraged by the pettiness of the program for carrying out the great principle more than by the reluctance of the whole Christian world to accept it instantly. This New York church was the one which only a little later, was having a discussion by correspondence with a similar church in Edinburgh is to whether the Scriptures commanded that the service of worship should be opened with a hymn or with a prayer.

    182                                         THE  DISCIPLES  OF  CHRIST                                        

    While Scott was in this state of depression, there came a pressing invitation to return to Pittsburgh. It came from Mr. Nathaniel Richardson, a substantial citizen and an Episcopalian, who wanted him to be tutor to his son Robert and a few other boys. (This Robert Richardson became a professor in Bethany College and Alexander Campbell's biographer.) Scott accepted this call, but on his way he visited other congregations of restorers of primitive Christianity of the Haldanean persuasion -- at Paterson New Jersey at Baltimore, and at Washington. He was not heartened by what he found in any of them.


    Back in Pittsburgh, Scott resumed the care of the church while carrying on the teaching by which lie earned his livelihood. The little tutoring enterprise for fifteen boys grew, as soon as the limit was lifted, to a school with 140 enrolled. This was the golden age of private academies; there were no public high schools. Serious study of the religious questions in which Forrester had aroused his interest was also a part of Scott's daily program. Locke, Glas, Sandeman, and Haldane were still among his favorite authors, but the Bible was his basic material. Brooding upon this, he reached the clear conviction that the central and sufficient fact for Christian faith could be stated in these four words -- "Jesus is the Christ." Scott had advanced so far on the way toward a church with no other creed than this before his first meeting with Alexander Campbell in the winter of 1821-22. This was at a time midway between the Walker and Maccalla debates. The two young men -- Scott, twenty-five; Campbell. thirty-three -- were congenial from the outset. Campbell, with the start that his father had given human in the Declaration and Address, had gone farther on the road to church reformation and was more definitely committed to the goal of union. Scott, getting his impulse from the separatist groups, whose interest was solely in the exact restoration of the primitive church, had given little thought to the union of Christians; however, he was soon to make a contribution of such importance that without it there would probably never have been occasion to write a history of the Disciples.

    Within less than a year, after his first meeting with Scott, Alexander Campbell began to make plans for the publication of the Christian Baptist. It is said that the name was suggested

                                    SCOTT  AND  THE  NEW  EVANGELISM                                 183

    by Scott. Campbell had proposed to call it " The Christian." But Scott, though not himself a Baptist, thought that the addition of "Baptist" to the name would increase its appeal to the denomination to which Campbell belonged and within which his ideas were beginning to gain currency. To the first volume of this magazine Scott contributed a series of four articles entitled, "A Divinely Authorized Plan of Preaching the Christian Religion." This was another step in defining the process by which one becomes a Christian. That matter had really been central in Thomas Campbell's original interest, for the conditions upon which one becomes a Christian must be identical with the terms of fellowship and constitute the basis of union. But attention had been diverted to the development of a complete plan for the restoration of the church on the primitive pattern, which, it was assumed, would be the necessary pattern of the united church; then to the distinction between the dispensations, which was useful in directing attention to the part of the Bible which gives information about Christian institutions and in putting aside misleading analogies with Old Testament practices; then to a more comprehensive study of baptism, including its design as well as its action and subjects. This was all very well, but it did not give an exact answer to the question, How do people get to be Christians? To that question Scott began to give attention in this series of articles, for, of course, a "divinely authorized plan of preaching the Christian religion" would be only a way of stating the divinely authorized plan of accepting it.

    The complete statement and application of Scott's "plan" had to wait until, four years later, he became evangelist for the Mahoning Association. But an important foundation was laid in these articles. The emphasis here was upon the nature of faith and the way in which it is produced. Scott wrote:

    Jesus having died for sin and arisen again to introduce the hope of immortality, the great fact to be believed, in order to be saved, is that he is the Son of Cvod; and this being a matter-of-fact question, the belief of it as necessarily depends upon the evidence by which it is accompanied as the belief of any other fact depends upon its particular evidence.... We shall. see by and by that to preach the gospel is just to propose this glorious truth to sinners, and support it by its proper evidence. We shall see that the heavens and the apostles proposed nothing more in order to convert men from the error of their ways

    184                                         THE  DISCIPLES  OF  CHRIST                                        

    and to reduce them to the love and obedience of Christ.... In short, the apostles proceeded thus: they first proposed the truth to be believed, and, secondly, they produced the evidences necessary to warrant belief.

    This view of faith as the result of using ordinary intelligence, an act of which even sinful man is capable, and, as he calls it, a "matter-of-fact question" having to do with evidence, was far from being an original discovery with Scott. Many of the Reformers mentioned in this book had taken the same view. Thomas Campbell had hinted at it during his trial by the synod. It was fundamental in Alexander Campbell's theology. Stone had expressed it in early life, then apparently had forgotten it until he was reminded-indirectly by Scott. Back of these, John Locke had said the same thing, so clearly that perhaps all the others had learned it from him. Robert Sandeman generally (but not always) took this view, and in his Letters on Theron and Aspasio (4th edition, 1803, p. 252) he quotes from Locke's Reasonableness of Christianity: "The faith required was to believe Jesus to be the messiah, the anointed, who had been promised by God to the world." This was Scott's exact position as to both the object and the nature of faith. In his Christian Baptist articles, Scott Is specific purpose was to show that preachers should try to produce belief in the Messiahship of Jesus by presenting the evidence, instead of trying to induce a mystical state variously called an "assurance of pardon," or "assurance that Christ died for me," by emotional techniques, vivid pictures of the fate of the damned, and wrestlings to win the miraculous action of the Holy Spirit to bestow saving faith on a mourner already "convicted of sin." He was thinking his way toward an intelligent, effective, and scriptural method of presenting the gospel.

    During the next three years, until 1826, Scott remained in Pittsburgh, teaching and caring for the little church of "kissing Baptists" and contributing frequent articles to the Christian Baptist. Then he moved to Steubenville, Ohio, where be was a much nearer neighbor to Mr. Campbell. Describing the situation as it was in 1827, Scott wrote a little later:

    There were three parties struggling to restore original Christianity: the first of them calling themselves "the Churches of Christ;" the second calling themselves "Christians," and the third laying [sic] at that time chiefly in the bosom of the Regular Baptist churches and originating

                                    SCOTT  AND  THE  NEW  EVANGELISM                                 185

    with the writings and labours of Bro. A. Campbell. To the first of these parties, up to 1826, belonged your humble servant, W. S. (Evangelist, April 1, 1832. [sic - 1833])

    Scott's first group consisted of those independent churches, in Great Britain and America, which had received their impulse to restore primitive Christianity chiefly from Glas, Sandeman, and the Haldanes. The second was the "Christian" Church as he had seen it in Ohio, knew of it in Kentucky, and perhaps had heard of it in the northeastern and the southern seaboard states. The third was the Campbell movement, lying somewhat uneasily "in the bosom of the Regular Baptist churches." It may be noted that the common characteristic of these three, according to Scott, was their purpose to "restore original Christianity. "Union is not mentioned as an aim, though it may have been implied in the word "original." As a matter of fact, the stress upon union was at this time slight in any of the three.


    Meanwhile, the spread of Campbell's views among the Baptists of eastern Ohio had made no little progress. This is indicated by some of the questions which, according to the prevalent custom, local churches sent up to the annual meetings of the Mahoning Association for authoritative answers. In 1823 came this question: "May a church which has no ordained elder observe the communion or administer baptism?" The answer was "No." Some church evidently doubted whether ordination conferred powers that a layman did not have, and perhaps resented the tendency of even Baptist ministers to form a clerical caste; but the association still stood by the clergy. In 1824 three questions were submitted which showed the ferment of new ideas: (1) "Is it apostolic practice for churches to have a confession of faith and a constitution besides the Scriptures? No answer. (2) "How were members received into churches which were set in order by the apostles?" The question was held over for a year, and then the answer was, "Those who believed and were baptized were added to the church." Nothing was said about requiring an "experience" and a favorable vote of the congregation, in the usual Baptist fashion. The rational, rather than emotional, conception of faith is certainly not excluded and seems even to be implied. (3) "Can associations in their present modifications find their model in the New

    186                                         THE  DISCIPLES  OF  CHRIST                                        

    Testament?" "The answer: "Not exactly." In 1825, the association was called upon for an answer to this crucial question: "Was the practice of the primitive church an exact pattern to succeeding ages?" The answer was, "Yes." Before this the church at Hiram had voted to discard its church covenant, constitution, and Confession of Faith and to take "the Bible alone" as its standard.

    Soon after Scott moved to Steubenville in 1826, he attended the annual meeting of the Mahoning Association, on August 20, as an invited guest and preached. The following year he was there again, somewhat reluctantly, because he was not a regular Baptist and did not want to impose upon the association's "hospitality." But Campbell urged him to come, and Campbell was a "messenger" to the association from the church at Wellsburg, which, though on the wrong side of the river and forty miles south of the nearest of the other churches, had its connection with the Mahoning rather than the Redstone Association.

    Churches of the Mahoning Association

    The Mahoning Association in 1827 listed seventeen churches. Fourteen of them were represented at this meeting. The reports for the year were not encouraging. There had been a total of thirty-four baptisms and thirteen additions otherwise... Thirteen had been excommunicated. The net gain was sixteen -- and this at a time when the population was

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    doubling and redoubling. Wellsburg and Hiram, the two churches that had gone farthest in "reform," had done better than average; between them, they had twenty of the thirty-four baptisms and only one of the thirteen excommunications. The association decided that it needed an evangelist "to labor among the churches." It appointed a committee to find the man. The committee nominated Walter Scott, and the association elected him. He was to work for whatever the churches pleased to contribute for his support. Scott accepted the appointment. He was not a member of the association, not a Baptist, not a member of any church in the town where he lived, not a resident of the district in which the Mahoning churches were located, not an ordained minister. But it was a good appointment.


    Scott began his work at New Lisbon, Ohio. The first convert under his new way of presenting the "ancient gospel" was William Amend, of whom Scott's early biographer, Baxter, says that he "was beyond all question, the first person in modern times who received the ordinance of baptism in perfect accordance with apostolic teaching and usage." This was on November 18, 1827. The statement does not exaggerate the conviction that Scott and his colleagues felt as to the importance of his recovery of the original process of conversion. Scott's formula for salvation rested upon the belief that religious knowledge and religious faith are within the reach of sinful man if he will apply his reason to the evidence supplied by revelation. His basic principle was that belief in the Messiahship of Jesus rests on rational proof, while everything else in the Christian system rests on his authority. That Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, is a truth that must be proved to man's reason. -- That done, "the strongest argument that can possibly be offered for the truth of the doctrine is this: Magister dixit."

    The formula itself was simple and clear-cut. There were three things for man to do, and they were all things that man could do and, having done them, could be sure that he had done them: he must believe, upon the evidence, that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God; he must repent of his personal sins with godly sorrow and resolve to sin no more; and he must be baptized. Then there were three things that God would do according to his promises, and man could be sure that God would

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    do them if the conditions had been fulfilled. God would: deliver man from the guilt, power, and penalty of his repented sins; bestow the gift of the Holy Spirit; and grant eternal life. Sometimes the second item of these last three was omitted in compact statements of the program, sometimes the third was omitted, sometimes these two were combined into one; so the whole usually appeared as a five-point formula. Taken by itself, the phrase, "gift of the Holy Spirit," had a rather vac, ie meaning. Taken together with "eternal life," it stood for growth in grace, Christian living, and the fulfillment of the Christian hope. Through this door Scott escaped from the seemingly legalistic rigidity of the earlier part of this formula, and the "scheme of redemption" (as Milligan later called it) opened out into a range of spiritual possibilities that were not limited by diagrammatic formulations. His preaching, at its best, had these overtones, this wider perspective. But he did not allow this to obscure the fundamental theme-"Faith, repentance and baptism for the remission of sins." Scott later called his formula "the Gospel Restored" -- a term which Campbell thought too pretentious.

    The force and. freshness of Scott's evangelistic appeal, the exciting sense of discovery, the thought that an ancient treasure of divine truth was just now being brought to light after having been lost for centuries, the sense of witnessing the dawn of a new epoch in the history of Christianity -- these things gave to the revival an extraordinary character. It was different from other revivals. It was -utterly unlike the Great Western Revival, which had stirred Kentucky and Tennessee a generation earlier and out of which had emerged the western branch of the "Christian" Church. Here was no frenzy of emotion, but a blending of rationality and authority, an appeal to common sense and to Scripture. It assumed the absolute authority of the Bible, which almost no one doubted; and it asserted man's rational ability to understand what he ought to do and why, and his moral ability to do it.

    The response was immediate and overwhelming. Other preachers in the association caught the new note and began to sound it. Hundreds were converted. New churches were organized. Within one year the total membership of the churches in the Mahoning Association was more than doubled. When the campaign had been in progress a few months, Thomas

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    Campbell went over to see this wonderful thing. He saw clearly that Scott had added to the movement for reform a new element which had been lacking in his own work and in that of his brilliant son. He wrote:

    I perceive that theory and practice in religion, as well as in other things, are matters of distinct consideration.... We have long known the former (the theory), and have spoken and published many things correctly concerning the ancient gospel, its simplicity and perfect adaptation to the present state of mankind, for the benign and gracious purposes of his immediate relief and complete salvation; but I must confess that, in respect to the direct exhibition and application of it for that blessed purpose, I am at present for the first time upon the ground where the thing has appeared to be practically exhibited to the proper purpose.

    Thomas Campbell here says in substance: We have had the right plans for restoring the church as it ought to be and uniting it on the true and primitive basis, but we have had no effective way of getting anybody to join it; we have known everything about the gospel and its saving power except how to present it so that people would be saved by it.

    When the Mahoning Association held its next annual meeting, in August, 1828, the churches reported a net increase of 512 for the year. (The previous figure was 492.) The moderator, Stephen Wood, added that "these, however, are but the half of the actual number which have been by our means immersed into the Lord Jesus during the last year." Scott's report, as preserved in the minutes of the Mahoning Association for 1828, deserves to be presented here in full:

    In conformity with your Minutes of 1827, 1 beg leave to report as follows: --

    The results of your appointment have been important and peculiar. God has greatly blessed your good work. Many of the saints of the Mahoning churches have been strengthened during last year. Much error has been corrected; backsliders have been reclaimed, and many hundreds of all ranks have actually been converted and baptized into the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord.

    While these blessed results are connected with immense personal labors, by night and by day, in every minister concerned; yet we cannot, and would not avoid attributing them ultimately to the grace of God our Father, in turning our attention to the gospel in its original terms.

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    The publication of the gospel in the express form given it by the Apostles on Pentecost, and the public ministration of its spirit on their inspired plan, viz. in immersion, are facts which in the developement of reforming principles, are perhaps more intimately connected with the unity of the body of Christ, and the abolition of sects; the destruction of systematic divinity and the conversion of the world, than any other piece of solid knowledge which had been recovered to the church during the progress of three hundred years' reformation.

    To persuade men to act upon the divine testimony, rather than to wait upon uncertain and remote influences; to accept disciples on a simple confession of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, and to baptize them for in immediately personal acquittal from their sins through the blood of Christ, and for the Holy Spirit, are matters which have caused great public excitement. This excitement, however, his only turned out to the furtherance. of the gospel; and we bless God, who has taught us by his Apostles, that, as the divine testimony may be received when understood, and understood when honestly listened to: so it may be acted upon the very moment it is received. Therefore the enjoyment of remission and of the Holy Spirit, is not a thing of tomorrow, but of to-day -- "to-day," says God, "if you will hear my voice" -- "And there were added to them that very day three thousand souls."

    Beloved brethren, the bustle of conversion has precluded the possibility of holding more than two quarterly meetings, and all the monies which I have received have been expended in the payment of a horse, saddle, bridle, portmanteau, rent, and a balance of 25 dollars on a waggon; and even of the amount of these nearly 30 dollars have been borrowed, which I beg the Association may be careful at this time to refund.

    While I conceive the pecuniary part of this business not to have received that attention from. some, which was reasonably anticipated. T have nevertheless to acknowledge the kindness of many individuals, also, of some of the churches, particularly that of Wellsburgh, of Warren, of Canfield, Mantua, Salem, and New Lisbon, who will report more especially of what tliey have contributed.

    The families of Dr. Wright, brother Harsh, and brother Brookes, of Warren; brother Gaskill, of Salem; and brother Jacob Campbell, of New Lisbon, are of acknowledged hospitality, and have entertained not only me, but the whole church in their respective towns during these revivals; and with them those whose names follow, viz. -- The Rudolphs, the Deans, the Sacketts, the Drakes, the Hay's, the Haydens, the Austins, the Smyths, the Turners, &c. I may say of them what Paul said of such men formerly -- "They are the messengers of the churches, and the boast of christianity"

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    The signal success which has attended the labors of brothers Bentley, Rigdon, and Gaston, is known to you all. Father Thomas Campbell has been about five months on the field, both increasing the number of disciples, and building them up in all the wisdom of the Just One. Brother Osborne abandoned all to come to the help of the Lord; but his first efforts disabled him. Ministers from several sects have embraced the ancient gospel, and preached it with great success. No fewer than six new churches have been formed, one of them with more than a hundred members; and the following brethren are now your preachers: -- Bosworth, who has already baptized many; Finch, Ferguson, Hayden, Wright, McLeery, Osborne, Jackson, Rudolph, Scott, Campbell., Rigdon and Bentley.

    The grace of God be with the brethren. Amen.
    WALTER SCOTT                

    Joseph Gaston, mentioned by Scott in the last paragraph of his report as one of his valued colleagues, was a "Christian" preachers of whom Scott wrote, after Gaston's early death, that be was "the very first Christian minister who received the gospel after its restoration, and who argued for the remission of sins by baptism." It was clearly Scott's idea that the position of the Christians was so different from his own that it was a decisive step for a Christian minister to "receive the gospel." Gaston seems to have thought so, too, for (still quoting Scott) "he was immersed for remission at a general. meeting held at Austintown two years later." But even before that he had been a valued assistant in some of Scott's meetings, adding his "tender and pathetic exhortations" to the other's vigorous argument. Between them, they won to the new position many of the "Christians" in Ohio. Scott's biographer says: "Great numbers of them, sometimes nearly entire congregations, at once accepted his views, for which they were already prepared by an abandonment of creeds, the rejection of' all party names, and the adoption of the name Christian as expressive of their allegiance to Christ." (Baxter, op. cit., p. 150.)


    At the annual meeting of the association in 1828, when the report of Scott's first year's work was received, William Hayden was added to the evangelistic staff, and the next year Bentley and Bosworth. Within three years after Scott's

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    appointment, the Mahoning Baptist Association had been radically changed. There remained only one more thing that could be done to remove the last trace of its distinctively Baptist character; that was for the association itself to dissolve. It had come to be generally agreed that the churches should follow the New Testament pattern of government, and that there was no primitive precedent for anything quite like a Baptist association, which, while disclaiming de jure authority, nevertheless exercised a good deal of de facto control over the churches. Moreover, some other associations, notably Redstone and Beaver, were taking stern measures against churches and members that, influenced by Campbell's teaching in the two published debates and in the Christian Baptist, were shaking off their allegiance to the Philadelphia Confession of Faith and otherwise departing from Baptistic practice. It seemed to many that associations were unscriptural and might be dangerous. It was perhaps at Scott's instigation, certainly with his support, that John Henry introduced a resolution "that the Mahoning Association, as an advisory council, or an ecclesiastical tribunal, should cease to exist." Alexander Campbell, who was rising to oppose the motion was dissuaded by Scott. It was adopted unanimously.

    At that time and place, at Austintown, Ohio, in August, 1830, there came into being a company of Reformers who were not Baptists. "Those Baptists who had embraced the new views," says Baxter, "together with the new converts made, were called Campbellites, and by many Scottites; but after the dissolution of the Association which was really brought about by the efforts of Scott, they were called Disciples." But the actual beginning of the Disciples cannot be dated so precisely, because it consisted, not in the formation of some new organization, but in the separation of various groups of Reformers from their previous denominational connections and the merging of these into a people with some sense of common cause and mutual fellowship. Both the separations and the mergings were gradual processes. The dissolution of the Mahoning Association, with the substitution of an annual meeting of its constituent churches "for praise and worship, and to hear reports from laborers in the field," was only a single event among many, though perhaps the most decisive.

                                    SCOTT  AND  THE  NEW  EVANGELISM                                 193


    The separation from the Baptists had begun before 1830, and it was not completed until at least three years later. A few episodes in other places will illustrate the process. The thirteen churches which were excluded by the Redstone Association in 1825 because of their reforming views and which formed the Washington Association were thereafter Baptist in name only. Campbell's views gained wide currency in Kentucky after the Maccalla debate in 1823 and his extensive tour of the state in 1824. "Raccoon" John Smith, a somewhat eccentric but very powerful Baptist preacher, met Campbell in the latter year, read the Christian Baptist, soon learned Scott's method of presenting the gospel, and put it into practice. It was the evangelistic activity of the Reformers that so quickly gave them a preponderance in some associations and a large minority in others. The Baptist churches and associations in regions where the Reformers were active were virtually swamped with new converts, almost all of whom had come into the church on the new presentation of the "ancient gospel." Smith's three churches (Mount Sterling, Spencer's Creek, and Grassy Lick) in the North District Association of Kentucky, had 392 baptisms during the year 1827-28, and he had also evangelized in other communities. The twenty-four churches of the association reported 900 baptisms for that year, mostly by Smith "after the ancient practice. "Besides, he had organized five new churches "on the Bible alone" which had joined the association. No wonder the orthodox Baptists who had filed charges against him the year before did not now care to bring them to a vote. It was for this same year that the Christian Baptist (Vol. V, p. 263) reported: "Bishop (i.e., Elder) Vardeman, of Kentucky, has immersed about 550 persons from Nov. 1 to May 1. Bishop John Smith from Feb. 1 to April 20 immersed 330. Bishops Scott, Rigdon and Bentley in Ohio within the last six months have immersed about 800." To get away from the flood of John Smith's "Campbellite" converts, ten churches of the North District Association withdrew and formed a new purely Baptist association. The remaining majority, now composed wholly of Reformers, met once more and then dissolved, as the Mahoning Association had done.

    Tate's Creek Association, in Kentucky, followed the example of Redstone, in that an orthodox minority excommunicated a

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    reforming majority, when ten churches that remained soundly Baptist excluded sixteen that followed Campbell. The Beaver Association, in western Pennsylvania, adopted a resolution in 1829 disfellowshipping Mahoning and giving a syllabus of the errors charged against the Reformers who dominated it. This statement, which was more accurate than one side usually gives of the other's views when controversy is hot, is sometimes called the "Beaver anathema." According to it, the Reformers teach (and the Baptists, by implication, deny): "that there is no promise of salvation without baptism; that baptism should be administered on belief that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, without examination on any other point; that there is no direct operation of the Holy Spirit on the mind before baptism; that baptism procures the remission of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit; that man's obedience places it in God's power to elect to salvation; that no creed is necessary for the church; that all baptized persons have a right to administer the ordinance of baptism." To these items, Tate's Creek Association added four more "Campbellite errors": "that there is no special call to the ministry; that the law given to Moses is abolished; that experimental religion is enthusiasm; that there is no mystery in the Scriptures." Since there was no criticism of the Reformers for practicing open communion, they evidently did not practice it at that time.

    Some other Baptist associations in Kentucky condemned Campbell's doctrines without taking specific action to exclude those who held them. An association in Anderson County (just west of Lexington) adopted the Beaver anathema, after which several churches voluntarily withdrew, and the record shows a sudden drop in the membership both of the association as whole and of every church remaining in it except one very small one. Sulphur Fork Association, in 1829, recorded its approval of the Beaver action and advised its churches to "discountenance the several errors and corruptions for which Mahoning has suffered excision from the fellowship of the neighboring associations." Goshen Association, a hundred miles west of the Bluegrass, resolved, in October, 1830, "that the doctrines of A. Campbell are anti-Christian, and that the churches and members of this association are requested not to countenance or give encouragement to any person or persons holding the opinions of the said A. Campbell by inviting

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    them into their pulpits or private houses for the purpose of disseminating their anti-Christian doctrines or opinions." In 1830 Long Run Association, including Louisville, passed firm but courteous resolutions condemning Campbell's position; but it was already permeated with reforming sentiment, and the Louisville Baptist church had peaceably divided, even sharing the property on fair and friendly terms. P. S. Fall, as pastor of that church, had started it on the way to reform before he removed to Nashville in 1825. The work was carried on by his successor, Benjamin Allen, of whom J. H. Spencer's History of the Kentucky Baptists says: "He brought many into the Baptist church, but he took many more out of it. The Campbellites owe him more, and the Baptists less, than any other man in Long Run Association." Allen was to Long Run Association what John Smith was to North District, Jacob Creath to Elkhorn, and Walter Scott to Mahoning.

    By the end of 1830 there were in Kentucky several thousand persons committed to the program of reform. This following had been won, partly by the direct influence of Campbell's visits and writings, but largely by the evangelistic work of men like John Smith, Jacob Creath, Sr., and Jacob Creath, Jr., from the previously unconverted, as well as from the Baptist churches. These were ready to recognize their common fellowship in a new and separate body when Mr. Campbell himself ceased to classify himself as a Baptist. This he did when the Mahoning Association dissolved and when be brought his Christian Baptist to an end and began the publication of his new magazine, the Millennial Harbinger. These thousands who entered the reformation through what had been Baptist churches were in addition to the other thousands of members of the "Christian" churches who cherished many of the same ideas of reform.

    In Virginia, the action of the orthodox Baptists against the Reformers was led by Robert Semple and Andrew Broaddus, men of a high type whose personal relations with Mr. Camp bell were those of mutual esteem. This, however, did not prevent decisive action. The Appomattox Association in 1830 adopted the Beaver syllabus and added three resolutions: to discountenance the writings of Alexander Campbell; to discourage the use of his new translation of the new Testament; and not to invite into its pulpits any minister who holds

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    Campbell's views. The Dover Association, which included Richmond, condemned a long list of errors (the "Dover anathema") in December, 1830, and two years later withdrew fellowship from six ministers who called themselves Reformers. Alexander Campbell had preached in Richmond and gained a following while he was in that city as a member of the Virginia Constitutional Convention in 1829. Thomas Campbell went there in 1832 and helped in organizing what became Sycamore Church, "the first full-fledged Church of Christ in Virginia" (Thos. Clemmitt, Jr.: Old Sycamore Church, 1932).

    From Tennessee came this lament from a Mr. McConnico who wrote (1830): "O Lord, hear the cries and see the tears of the Baptists, for Alexander hath done them much harm. The Lord reward him according to his works!"

    The process of separation was well advanced by the end of 1830, but it was not complete. Individuals with Disciple sympathies lingered in some Baptist churches, but they were being put out as fast as they were discovered. In 1833 one E. A. Mills was expelled from the Baptist church at Eagleville, Ohio, because, as the clerk's record says, he "will not consent to abandon the reading of Mr. Campbell's 'Millennial Harbinger.'" Eighteen other members who remonstrated were also excommunicated. (A. S. Hayden: Early History of the Disciples in the Western Reserve, pp. 352f.) By 1833 the separation was virtually complete. During these stormy years there were three events which extended the reputation and enhanced the prestige of Alexander Campbell, and thus indirectly affected the history of the Disciples. These were: his publication of a new translation of the New Testament; his debate with Robert Owen; and his service in the Virginia Constitutional Convention.


    Mr. Campbell had unbounded reverence for the Bible but no special reverence for the King James Version. He was too familiar with the first century Greek of the New Testament to feel that the English of 1611 was sacrosanct. He may have appreciated the excellence of its literary style -- though he does not speak too respectfully of it -- but the important thing was the meaning of the sacred text, and he was sure that this could be rendered more accurately than it was rendered in the "authorized" version. Borrowing a translation that had

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    been made half a century earlier by three Scottish divines -- George Campbell, James MacKnight, and Philip Doddridge -- and published in Great Britain, he made "various emendations," added a preface and 100 pages of critical notes and appendices, and published the whole from his own printing office in 1828. In the preface he defends the making of new translations with much the same arguments that are used more than a century later by the makers and promoters of new versions of the Bible. The chief reasons are that modern scholarship has produced a better text and more thorough knowledge of the ancient languages than the seventeenth century possessed, and that "a living language is continually changing." Further, he was resolved that every word of the Greek should be translated into clear English, and that none should be merely transliterated. There had never yet been a complete English translation. Baptizein was, of course, the word he had in mind. So he wrote "immerse" wherever the older versions had "baptize." John the Baptist is "John the Immerser." This naturally gave great offense to all non-immersionists and, strangely enough, to most of the Baptists, too. The substitution of modern diction for the Jacobean, which is still so commonly mistaken for distinctively biblical language -- "you know" for "thou knowest... "goes" for "goeth" -- seemed sacrilege to many. Nevertheless, the new translation had a circulation. Its third edition, revised and enlarged, was published in 1832 at "Bethany, Brooke County, Va.," the name which had taken the place of "Buffaloe" to designate the post office of which Mr. Campbell was the postmaster as well as the principal patron. Other editions followed.


    The debate with Robert Owen gave Alexander Campbell an opportunity to exercise his talents in a wide field and perhaps brought him the greatest publicity he bad as yet received. It was held in Cincinnati, April 13-23, 1829. Mr. Owen, known throughout Europe and America as a philanthropist and humanitarian, a radical social reformer, and a militant atheist, had bought the property of the Rappite colony at New Harmony, Indiana, five years before and was engaged in constructing there a Utopia on communistic lines and without religion. The social experiment was interesting, and

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    ultimately disastrous; but the debate touched it only incidentally. Early in 1828 Mr. Owen, then in New Orleans, had issued a general challenge for any reputable minister to meet him in public debate. Campbell responded. Soon afterward Mr. Owen visited Mr. Campbell at Bethany, and they arranged the time and terms of the debate. Both were busily occupied during the year that was to elapse before they met on the platform -- Campbell with the Christian Baptist, the affairs of the churches which were in the act of separating from the Baptists, and his second marriage; Owen with a trip to Europe, which was followed by an expedition to Mexico, where he became so busy getting a grant of land and planning a new social experiment that he almost forgot about the debate, the Mexican government having to send him across the Gulf in a gunboat so that he could keep his engagement in Cincinnati.

    Mr. Owen undertook to prove that all religions are founded upon ignorance and fear; that they are in conflict with certain unchanging natural laws, twelve laws which he had worked out with great exactness; that they are the source of vice, strife, and misery for man and are a hindrance to the formation of a society embodying virtue, intelligence, and good will; and that they are maintained only by the tyranny of the unscrupulous few over the ignorant many. It thus became Mr. Campbell's role to stand forth as the champion not only of Christianity but of the basic concepts of a religious view of the world as well. He had already dealt extensively with this topic in his "Six Letters to a Skeptic," in early issues of the Christian Baptist. There, his main argument was that the Bible must be a revelation from God because, according to the accepted principles of Locke's philosophy of sensation and reflection, man cannot even form an idea of God by his own powers. In his famous "twelve-hour speech" against Owen, he dealt with the historical evidence for Christianity, the evidence from prophecy, and the genius and tendency of Christianity, ending with a critical examination of Owen's godless social system. The systems of thought which the two men defended were direct opposites, but their minds never met, much less clashed, on the issues involved because they moved on different tracks. Owen paid no attention either to Campbell's positive arguments or to his rebuttals but devoted

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    himself persistently to the exposition of his "twelve laws of nature." Campbell, recognizing the futility of arguing from history or philosophy with an opponent who would not listen, addressed the audience with the affirmations that Christianity "changes, regenerates and reforms wicked men;" that, whereas materialists admit that their system cannot make bad men good, Christianity can and does, not by law but by love; and that "the character of Jesus Christ weighs more in the eyes of cultivated reason than all the miracles he ever wrought." Much later, after the last of his debates, Mr. Campbell said that, of all his opponents in debate, "the infidel Robert Owen was the most candid, fair and gentlemanly. "The English author Mrs. Trollope, then living in Cincinnati, described the debate at some length in her Domestic Manners of the Americans. She was impressed by Mr. Owen's suavity, by Mr. Campbell's forensic ability and power over his hearers -- "the universal admiration of his audience" -- and by the fact that the two debaters never seemed to lose their tempers but usually went off to dinner together like cronies when they had finished denouncing each other's doctrines on the platform. Mr. Campbell's brilliant defense against the common foe of all religions enhanced his reputation and brought both publicity and prestige to the movement which, under his leadership, was just emerging into a visible existence.


    When Mr. Campbell announced his candidacy for election as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1829, which was to rewrite the constitution of Virginia, he was criticized for turning from heavenly things to follow the path of worldly ambition in politics. His defense was that be wanted to do something toward ending slavery in Virginia. He was elected, served in the convention, and took a prominent part in debate. Yet he never raised his voice about slavery. Any who would take this as proof that the reason was not sincere will find, by studying the history of that convention, that this apparent contradiction is easily explained, and to Mr. Campbell's credit. He found that the constitution of Virginia placed all political power in the bands of the slave-owning aristocracy. Representation in the legislature was heavily weighted in favor of the eastern counties, where the great plantations were, as

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    against the western part of the state, where there were few slaves and where there was much sentiment in favor of emancipation. The political leaders were determined to freeze that arrangement in the new constitution, together with the property qualification for voting, which served as a further bulwark for slavery. There was no use in trying to write into the new constitution a clause empowering the legislature to do anything about slavery if the legislature itself was left in the hands of the slave-owning class. Mr. Campbell led the fight to democratize the government of Virginia. Against him he had the greatest array of political talent and reputation that had been assembled since the Federal Constitutional Convention of 1787. James Madison and James Monroe, both former presidents of the United States, were there. John Marshall, chief justice of the United States, took time off from that high office to sit in the Virginia convention. John Randolph of Roanoke was president of the convention. All were on the side of the oligarchy. Mr. Campbell crossed swords with them all. Reading those speeches today in the printed minutes of the convention and ignoring, if one can, the names and reputations of the speakers, one would say that, for argument and eloquence and for understanding of the principles of a democratic society, the victory lay clearly with the young preacher from the far northwestern corner of the state. But the others had the votes.

    While he was in Richmond in attendance at the convention, Mr. Campbell did not fail to let his light shine in the religious field. He preached every Sunday in one of the churches of the city. Many of his fellow delegates went to hear him. Former President Madison is quoted as saying that he had heard him very often as a preacher and regarded him as "the ablest and most original expounder of the Scriptures" he had ever heard. Others also were impressed, and the seeds of future churches in Richmond were sown.




    The separation of the Disciples from the Baptists can be dated in 1830 only with the understanding that it was a process which began at least five years earlier (when the orthodox minority excluded the reforming majority from the Redstone Association) and required about three years after the dissolution of the Mahoning Association for its completion. The immediate consequence of the separation was that what had for seventeen years been a "movement" among. Baptists became a loosely associated body of independent reformers free to merge with other groups having similar objectives. The history of the Disciples for the next twenty or thirty years is the story of how these reformers came to the consciousness of a common group life, increased their numbers and the geographical area of their activity, and developed the institutions, habits, and mechanisms by which their common life became objectively unified and effective. Stoutly asserting that they were not a denomination, much less a sect, nevertheless they necessarily developed ways of speech and action which distinguished them from others. They were not a "denomination," but they were a "religious body" that could be recognized, named, and enumerated.


    It is not for the historian to say whether this change from the status of an unorganized "movement" to that of a distinct and separate religious body was a good thing or not. The results of the separation are history; what would have been the results of avoiding the separation is only a matter of conjecture. Scarcely more conclusive would be any argument as to whether the separation was inevitable. But since the two bodies, Baptists and Disciples, have continued to recognize their close kinship and have recurrently considered the possibility of reunion, it is worth while to analyze the differences between them at the time of the separation somewhat more

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    thoroughly than this was done in the Beaver, Tate's Creek, and Dover "anathemas."

    1. The Reformers (e.g., Campbell and Scott) denied nothing that was essential to the Baptist position and asserted nothing that was in radical conflict with it. Their two main points, union and the imitation of the New Testament church, did not contradict Baptist doctrine. The latter was Baptist doctrine. Baptists were no less zealous for that, as they understood it, than any Reformer. The advocacy of union did not interest the Baptists at that time, but it did not conflict with anything in their position. They would never have disfellowshiped anyone on a charge of pleading for union on the primitive basis. The rejection of creeds was not repugnant to Baptist principles, though it was contrary to the then current Baptist practice. Baptists spoke much of going directly to the Bible and of individual freedom in its interpretation. Most Baptists were Calvinists in their theology, and most Baptist associations insisted upon adherence to the Philadelphia Confession of Faith, which did not differ materially from the Westminster Confession of the Presbyterians. But they were not inherently or essentially Calvinistic. In so far as they made the Philadelphia Confession a test of fellowship, they were not acting in harmony with their own principles. They have since come to realize this and no longer use it so. Even then, some of them were not Calvinistic at all, and in some places the Calvinistic and non-Calvinistic Baptists worked together in the same associations.

    2. Campbell developed what Scott called "a particular ecclesiastical order, "which he felt sure was the one authorized in the New Testament. But it would have been a denial of his own principles and his father's to insist that this ecclesiastical order was the basis of union and that there could be no fellowship with those who did not approve and practice it in every detail. Campbell and his colleagues taught it and put it into operation where they could, but they could not logically make it a test of Christian communion. So far as it stressed the autonomy of the local congregation, it agreed with Baptist polity; but it went further than the Baptists went in applying it, for it ruled out the associations, which -- in Baptist practice but contrary to Baptist principles -- were judging and legislating for the churches.

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    3. Scott added a conversion formula, upon which he was disposed to insist as the very gospel itself, lost until he had discovered and restored it. Campbell never took it so rigidly. He considered the faith-repentance-baptism-remission sequence as correct, but he did not identify it with the gospel to such an extent that those who did not have it did not have the gospel. He regarded as genuine Christians all who had been converted to Christ by any process, even if they held what be regarded as erroneous notions about the nature of faith, the action of the Holy Spirit in producing it, and the design of baptism. Moreover, conversion theory was not uniform among all Baptists. The two theories and methods of conversion need not be regarded as equally true and good, but in accordance with the basic principles of both Baptists and Reformers this matter could have been recognized as a matter of opinion, within the area of individual liberty and private judgment about the teaching of Scripture. With reasonable tolerance on both sides, there need not have been any breach of fellowship on this ground.

    4. There were some actual differences in doctrine and practice. These were the real reason for the separation. The contrasting positions represented the opinions and mores of two groups, but they were also firmly held convictions. The following positions of the Reformers are things that, a hundred years later, any Disciple could question or any Baptist affirm without compromising his standing in his own group; but they are the things which produced the division in 1830.

    As to doctrine --

    The Christian religion represents a new covenant, distinct from the Mosaic; its requirements are to be found in the New Testament only; the church began on the Day of Pentecost. These were matters of general agreement among the Reformers, not articles of faith. They did not contradict any specific article of the Baptist faith, but were contrary to Baptist customs of thought and speech.

    Faith is the mental act of believing, on evidence, that Jesus is the Christ; it includes trust also, but it begins with the belief of evidence, and this is within the power of sinful man without any direct action of the Holy Spirit; it precedes repentance.

    Repentance is godly sorrow for one's personal sins, with a determination to turn away from them, seek forgiveness, and

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    sin no more; this also is within man's power. Baptists put more emphasis upon man's sinful "state," by reason of Adam's fall, and the need of a directly God-given "experience" to start the sinner on his way to conversion.

    Baptism is for the remission of sins; together with faith and repentance, it constitutes the condition upon which God, according to his promise, will grant remission (or regeneration), the gift of the Holy Spirit, and eternal life. Reformers sometimes invited misunderstanding by saying that "baptism is regeneration." Only a negligible few of them ever thought the unimmersed were necessarily unregenerate. Baptists regarded baptism as the "seal" of a remission and regeneration that bad already occurred. Baptists and Reformers agreed that baptism is the immersion of a penitent believer. Nevertheless, their respective views of the design of baptism -- and, still more, their views of each other's views -- were one of the grounds of separation.

    In conversion, said the Reformers, "the Spirit of God operates on persons only through the word of truth."

    As to practice --

    Creeds and church covenants were rejected; the only article of faith was that " Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, "and the appeal was directly to the New Testament in all matters of church order and individual duty. Baptists also claimed to be strictly a "Bible people," but most Baptist associations limited their fellowship to those churches and associations which accepted the Philadelphia Confession.

    Members were received on confession and baptism, without further examination, whereas Baptists required the telling of an "experience " and a vote by the church.

    Baptism and the Lord's Supper might be administered by any believer, not by an ordained minister only. Baptists permitted lay preaching but not lay administration of the ordinances.

    The Lord's Supper was observed weekly.

    No special "call" to the ministry was required or expected.

    Reformers denied (as Baptists also did) the legitimacy of legislative ecclesiastical bodies' having authority over local churches , but they believed (as the Baptists did not) that Baptist associations exercised such authority. They therefore disbanded those associations in which they gained control.

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    The Reformers considered "Baptist" a sectarian name unauthorized in the New Testament, and therefore dropped it from those churches in which their influence prevailed.

    5. Certain trivial differences of terminology or custom sometimes loomed as large as weightier matters and served as irritants if not as issues. At the meeting of the North District Association, Kentucky, in 1827, a formal charge was made that a preacher sometimes read from Campbell's translation of the New Testament, said "I immerse thee" when administering baptism, and at the Lord's Supper broke the loaf into large pieces, leaving each person to break off a small piece for himself.


    The dissolution of associations and the discarding of the name "Baptist" were the only methods used by the Reformers for effecting separation from the Baptists. These constituted a withdrawal from the Baptist denomination. Though Alexander Campbell had declared his intention to remain in it, neither he nor his associates could say that they had stayed in it until the Baptists put them out. The separation resulted from actions by both sides. The initiative in that matter, it may be fairly said, was with the Baptists. They began by excluding reforming churches from Baptist associations. In many places individuals were excommunicated from Baptist churches for holding reforming views, but there is no evidence of any general inquisition. One notable case was that of the Third Baptist Church in Philadelphia, which excluded a considerable number of Reformers in 1832. Mr. Campbell visited the city in that year, and a church of Disciples was organized. As the Reformers came to have churches of their own, very many of which had previously been Baptist churches, it does not appear that they ever excluded any individual from a church for adhering to the distinctively Baptist views.

    Alexander Campbell found himself no longer a free-lance reformer within the Baptist denomination but the most influential figure in an unorganized movement embracing scores of churches with some thousands of members in half a dozen states. From 1830 he was increasingly occupied with wide interests -- an extensive correspondence, many visitors, long tours for preaching, lecturing, and visiting the churches, the editing of a monthly magazine, the management of a printing plant and

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    a publishing business, the administration of a post office, and the operation of a large farm. There was no abatement of his zeal for the restoration of the primitive pattern of the church in all its essentials, but he viewed with a more friendly eye the supplementary devices and "expedients" that might be useful under modern conditions. He ceased to denounce the societies and organizations through which the denominations carried on their wider work and he gained a new interest in constructive policies which would bind the reforming churches into a brotherhood and promote their effective operation.


    The beginning of the Millennial Harbinger, to take the place of the Christian Baptist, was a symbol of this change. The name of the new magazine, which began publication in 1830, does not indicate any special interest in a spectacular second coming of Christ or any immediate expectation of such an event. Undoubtedly Mr. Campbell took quite literally the biblical phrases about a return "in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory," but he also took seriously the words, "ye know not what hour." Neither from prophecy nor from "the signs of the times" did he deduce any theory of the imminent end of the age. Millennial expectations were in the air, and Miller was soon to start his campaign of preparation for the grand climax in 1843, but Campbell did not share that view. It has been said (e.g., by Edgar Lee Masters, in his Vachel Lindsay: A Poet in America) that Campbell predicted the end of the world in 1866. This is not true. He did write some articles in which he showed that Miller's arithmetic was wrong even if his presuppositions were right (which he did not admit), and that his theory pointed to 1866 rather than 1843.

    Campbell was not thinking about this sort of millennium when he named his new magazine, but rather of the triumph of the Kingdom of God on earth. Whenever and however it might come, it could not arrive, he thought, until the church had been purified and unified. As the harbinger of such a millennium , the new periodical's aim was to be: (a) to restore the faith, ordinances, organization, and terms of admission of the apostolic church; (b) to do this by resting directly upon the teachings of Scripture; (c) thus to come to what Thomas Campbell had called "simple evangelical Christianity;" and

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    (d) to make this the basis of union. To quote the words of the prospectus:

    This work shall be devoted to the destruction of sectarianism, infidelity and antichristian doctrine and practice. It shall have for its object the development and introduction of that political and religious order of society called The Millennium, which shall be the consummation of that ultimate amelioration of society proposed in the Christian Scriptures.

    Evidently the millennium with which he was concerned was a happy condition to be approached by gradual ameliorative steps, not one to be created by catastrophic means or by divine fiat. The Millennial Harbinger appeared monthly from 1830 to 1870. Mr. Campbell bad an undefined feeling that there was sacredness in the number seven. He discontinued the Christian Baptist at the end of Volume VII, and after every seventh volume of the Millennial Harbinger he began a "New Series." This magazine forms the backbone of the periodical literature of the Disciples during the generation after the beginning of what Mr. Campbell himself called their separate "denominational existence" and until weekly journalism gained favor and support.


    The most important event in the history of the Disciples within their first decade was the union between the Reformers, who had responded to the call of the Campbells and Scott, and the western " Christians among whom Barton W. Stone had been the most influential figure, especially since he began editing the Christian Messenger in 1826. The rise and development of the "Christian Church" has already been discussed at some length in Chapters IV and V. Alexander Campbell's acquaintance with Kentucky, and Kentucky's acquaintance with his ideas, began with the Maccalla debate and the circulation of the first issues of the Christian Baptist, both in 1823. In 1824, Campbell toured the state and met Stone and other Christian preachers. They saw at once the similarity of their programs for the advancement of "simple evangelical Christianity" and the unity of Christians, though Stone was then much engrossed in his controversy with the Presbyterians about the Trinity, the nature of Christ, and the atonement; and it was in that very

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    year that he published his most substantial theological work, the Letters to Blythe. Campbell was in Kentucky again in 1826, just after Stone had begun publication of his Christian Messenger. The unity of Christians was the theme of a series of articles which began in the first issue, and the topic frequently recurs. At the same time, Stone was carrying on his argument against the generally accepted doctrines of the Trinity and the atonement, which he considered so erroneous that they must be disproved and eliminated from the minds of Christians in order that union might be possible. Three Christian preachers were present at the meeting of the Mahoning Association in 1827 when Scott was appointed as its evangelist. They were impressed by the novelty of Scott's way of preaching "faith, repentance and baptism for remission," and soon they began preaching it. The general separation of the Reformers from the Baptists brought it about that there were two independent groups with very similar programs, having their separate churches often in the same communities. This duplication was most marked in Kentucky and Ohio, and to a considerable extent in Tennessee and Indiana. Even earlier, in 1828, when a correspondent of his paper asked why the Christians and the "New Testament Baptists" (meaning Campbell's Reformers) should not unite, Stone replied: "If there is a difference between us, we know it -not. We have -nothing in us to prevent a union; and if they have nothing in them in opposition to it, we are in spirit one. May God strengthen the cords of Christian union."

    But there were some differences, as well as striking agreements. These may be found by examining the files of Campbell's Christian Baptist and Millennial Harbinger and Stone's Christian Messenger for the three or four years during which acquaintance was ripening into union. The likenesses were these:

    1. Both held the union of all Christians as one of their definite objectives.

    2. Both held that Christ alone was the object of faith, rejected creeds as tests of fellowship, and insisted upon liberty of opinion on all matters of doctrine that were not unmistakably revealed.

    3. Rejecting the Calvinistic doctrine of a "limited atonement," they agreed that Christ died for all and that all who would might believe on him and be saved.

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    4. It can be said, though with some reservations, that they were agreed upon the nature of faith and the ability of sinful man to believe the evidence about Christ without personal assistance from the Holy Spirit. This idea was prominent in Campbell's thought and fundamental in Scott's method. Stone had expressed the same idea earlier than either of them, but be bad not applied it, and the evangelism of the Christians had not been based on this concept.

    5. The practice of believers' baptism by immersion and the idea of baptism as related to remission of sins were common to both, but on these matters there were differences which will be mentioned presently.

    6. Opposition to unscriptural and sectarian names for the church was a pronounced characteristic of both groups. Stone's party preferred the term "Christian" and argued that Acts 11:26 ("The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch") meant that this name was given by divine appointment. Campbell, Scott, and their associates preferred "Disciples." The difference was no barrier to union. Stone said that "Christian" was more universal; Campbell said "Disciples" was more distinctive. The question was, of course, what is the function of a name? Both terms were used, but for many years the drift was toward "Christian." In 1835 Campbell, Scott, Stone, and J. T. Johnson edited a hymnal. Stone was not consulted as to the title, and it appeared as The Disciples' Hymn Book, but on Stone's protest it was quickly changed to The Christian Hymn Book. Scott afterward became as zealous for "Christian" as Stone had been.


    But there were also some differences, the most important of which, aside from the name, were these:

    1. The Christians did not make immersion a condition of admission to membership in the church. Most of them bad been immersed, but they considered baptism a matter of opinion about which there should be liberty. They argued that, since different views of baptism were held by persons who earnestly sought to do the will of Christ as revealed in the New Testament, the question must manifestly be one of human interpretation of the divine commands. Stone repeatedly defended this position. His replies to a correspondent show this view: Question. "Can anyone be saved without baptism?" Answer.

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    "Yes." Q. "Should baptism be made a term of Christian Communion?" A. "No more than it should be of salvation. (Christian Messenger, May, 1828.) In 1830 he wrote:

    These reforming Baptists are engaged in a good work. They proclaim union with all who believe the simple facts of revelation and manifest their faith by their works of holiness and love, without any regard to the opinions they may have formed of truth. Should they make their own peculiar views of immersion a term of fellowship, it will be impossible for them to repel successfully the imputation of being sectarians and of having an authoritative creed (though not written) of one article at least, which is formed of their own opinion of truth; and this short creed would exclude more Christians from union than any creed with which I am acquainted.

    Yet only a f ew months later, and still in that crucial year 1830, when the Reformers were so rapidly separating from the Baptists, Stone admitted feeling some inconsistency between preaching immersion f or remission of sins and admitting persons to church membership without it. "When asked for our divine authority from the New Testament, we have none that can fully satisfy our own minds." "In this state our minds have labored and are still laboring." (Christian Messenger, Vol. IV, pp. 200, 275.)

    2. The Christians, perhaps remembering their orderly Presbyterian background even while repudiating the authority of presbyteries and synods, had at least the beginnings of a method of obtaining a responsible ministry. Reports from the churches carefully distinguished between "elders" (meaning ordained ministers) and "unordained preachers." Stone criticized those who thought that a church could "induct into the ministerial office;" he considered that function as belonging to the "bishops and elders." If a minister is charged with "preaching doctrine contrary to the gospel," he should be examined by a "conference of bishops and elders." The idea was that the ministry as a whole, or by conference groups, should have power to protect the churches from erratic or unworthy ministers. There is no evidence that such control was actually exercised, but even the idea of such control was alien to the Disciples. At the time of the union, the Christians seem to have had a, somewhat "higher" conception of the office of the ministry and less fear of "clerical domination."

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    3. The Christian and the Reformers differed most of all in their methods of winning converts. The Reformers had not been notably zealous or effective in evangelism during the first fifteen years following the Declaration and Address. The ideas of reform expressed in that document and in the "Sermon on the Law," Campbell's first two debates, and the early volumes of the Christian Baptist had permeated several Baptist associations and led to the reordering of some Baptist churches. Their effective presentation of the gospel to sinners began with the evangelistic campaigns of John Smith and some other "New Testament Baptists" in Kentucky and Walter Scott's formulation and proclamation of "the Gospel Restored" in Ohio in 1827. Its clear and rational character has already been described. Fundamental to it was the idea that sinners actually could believe the evidence about Christ, repent of their sins, be baptized, and thus fulfill the conditions upon which God would grant remission of sins and the blessings that follow it. There was no place in this program for agonies of uncertainty as to whether one was "accepted of God." All this came as a great surprise to the Christians. They had been revivalists from the beginning, but their evangelism was of the Methodist type. The evidence of their "mourners' bench" revivalism is seen in the reports that were sent in to Stone's paper. The preachers tell of meetings where "crowds of mourners came forward weeping and crying for mercy"; or where "crowds of weeping mourners came forward to unite with us in prayer;" or where "the preachers had a good measure of the Holy Ghost and... several [hearers] appeared to be cut to the heart and were crying for mercy." A correspondent, writing from that part of Georgia into which the Christian movement had come from Kentucky, says that the camp meetings are "conducted in the main in the manner of Methodist camp meetings." A Christian preacher who had been up in Ohio and had heard Scott's preaching writes:

    His method and manner are somewhat novel to me.... He seems to suppose the apostolical gospel to consist of the use of the following particulars: faith, repentance, baptism for remission of sins, the gift of the Holy Spirit, and eternal life. Thus, you see, he baptizes the subject previous to the remission of his sins or the receiving of the Holy Spirit.


    (pages 212-293 not yet transcribed)

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    Three types of churches in Ohio grew together in the early 1830's to form the Disciple movement. They were, chronologically, (1) the "Christian" or New Light congregations, (2) Baptist churches that developed Disciple principles, and (3) new congregations founded by Disciple evangelists.

    David Purviance, the only recruit to the Springfield Presbytery between its organization and its dissolution and the first "Christian" preacher to be immersed (in 1807), moved to Preble County, Ohio, in 1807. He became an important citizen and a member of the Ohio legislature, but his real vocation was preaching and evangelizing. In 1811, or after, Stone went to Meigs County to baptize William Caldwell. An association of Separate Baptists was meeting in the community, and twelve of its preachers adopted Stone's views (C. C. Ware, Barton Warren Stone, p. 190). A series of earthquake shocks disturbed the central Mississippi valley from December, 1811, to February, 1812, and was one of many factors contributing to serious reflections and numerous religious conversions. Stone and Reuben Dooley began an evangelizing tour in Ohio in 1811. They converted "almost the whole town" of Eaton, seat of Preble County. A year previously Stone had made a preacher of Matthew Gardner at Bentonville, Adams County. The Autobiography of Gardner says, "Elder Stone usually visited Ohio once a year, and I would have my matters arranged beforehand and take the tour with him." Other companions in Ohio included William Kinkade, James Hughes, John Mavity, Nathan Worley, and David Kirkpatrick.

    The Bentonville church had Archibald Alexander as its minister before John Longley arrived to take up the work in 1812. The financial difficulties following the War of 1812 put off the erection of its stone meetinghouse, called "Old Liberty," until 1817.

    New Antioch, Clinton County, was a Christian church established about 1816. The Minerva congregation was of the same background, established as "The Plains" church in 1821, and moved to Minerva in 1849.

    Several Baptist churches in Ohio adopted Mr. Campbell's principles of reformation and became the second element making up the Disciple cause. The church at Warren was established in 1803. Adamson Bentley, its minister from 1811 to

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    1831, was prominent alike in organizing the Mahoning Baptist Association and in transforming it into a yearly meeting of Disciple churches. "In January, 1828, what is known as the 'Siege of Warren' was held [the "siege" being laid by Walter Scott], when Adamson Bentley, the minister of the Baptist church and his entire congregation" came into the restoration. The Dayton Baptist church, organized 1806, was definitely a part of the reformation by 1829. The Bethesda congregation was founded in 1808, in the nature of a "floating" organization, meeting at various places in Portage County-the first religious society of any kind in that county. Members lived at Nelson, Aurora, Palmyra, Hiram, Deerfield, and Troy. It developed reformation views in 1810, and in 1824 it voted to renounce the Philadelphia Confession "and take the Word of God for our rule of faith and practice." From this group, various churches were organized almost in the manner that new bodies break off from an amoeba. Sidney Rigdon established a congregation on New Testament principles at Mantua Center on January 27, 1827. Its nucleus was a liberal faction of the Bethesda congregation. Two years later the Hiram-Nelson-Garrettsville members coalesced into a congregation, meeting indeterminately at the places named. Another group withdrew to form a congregation at Shalerville in 1828, and still another to create the Aurora church in 1830. The Hiram members created their own organization in 1835.

    The Wilmington church of Clinton County dates from 1828, but its charter members were part of a Baptist church organized in 1817. The year 1828 also marks the beginning of the Disciple separation from the Baptists in Cincinnati by the establishment of the congregation at Eighth and Walnut streets, with James Challen and David S. Burnet as leaders. The Mentor church, of Baptist origin "prior to 1826" (Lake County History, Western Reserve Historical Society, 1941, p. 53), had Sidney Rigdon as minister from 1826 to 1830. It survived his conversion to Mormonism, and in 1830 obtained as minister M. S. Clapp, who had married Miss Alicia Campbell, sister of Alexander Campbell. "On June 1, 1828, the church at Austintown came into the Restoration almost bodily, and such stalwart men as John Henry, the 'Walking Bible, and Wm. and Sutton Hayden were added to the preaching force of the Restoration" (Brown, op. cit., p. 271). Sutton Hayden is better

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    known as A. S. Hayden, prominent author, preacher, and college president.

    An eyewitness account of Baptist-Reformer tension and separation throughout a Baptist association in Ohio in 1829 is given in a rare volume, previously unused as a sourcebook of Disciple history. John Udell wrote:

    This year, a great excitement prevailed among the Baptists of this region, respecting a new system of Baptist, or Christian principles, which was reported to have been gotten up by Elder Alexander Campbell, a champion of the Baptist cause, living in Virginia, it was said; that it was being propagated within the bounds of our association, that it was working the dissolution of all the Baptist churches in its way, and exerting a powerful influence on the other denominations; that votaries for it were multiplying by hundreds. We could not learn anything very definite in regard to this new system. As there was to be a meeting of the association of which Mr. Campbell was a member, and which was adjacent to our own association, a number of our brethren were delegated, agreeable to Baptist usages, to meet with them for correspondence. All being anxious to hear what the new theory was, we turned out en masse and went to the association. When we reached the place of meeting, we found a large multitude collected; the majority having probably come from the same motive that brought us.

    The usual business of the Association was dispensed with, and two or three days were spent in preaching. There were present Thomas Campbell and his son, Alexander Campbell, Walter Scott, and Sidney Rigdon -- all very talented men, and said to be advocates of the new theory; and there were also present a number of gifted Baptist elders, or preachers. We all listened eagerly and attentively during the whole meeting, to hear something new; but we only heard the same old Scriptures presented -- perhaps more forcibly than ever before, in so short a time. Some new ideas were advanced, but they were all so well sustained by the Word of God, that none, though repeated challenges were given, attempted to refute them. (Incidents of Travel to California, pp. 145f.; pp. 167-70, 178-81, give details of the separation, especially at Jefferson.)

    As a result of Walter Scott's evangelism, the churches in the Mahoning Baptist Association nearly all reformed in the period 1827-30. The same process took place in the Stillwater Association, and the dissolution of these two bodies in 1830 marked a definite separation of Baptists and Disciples. It was the Scott pattern of evangelism, featuring logic and reason to the extent that opponents charged it with legalism, that soon displaced the Stone type of camp-meeting revivalism in Ohio.

                                  EXPANSION  IN  THE MISSISSIPPI  VALLEY                              297

    New congregations were begun on Disciple principles to form the third element of the reformation in Ohio. After Scott had rediscovered, as he believed, the principles of the "true Gospel," the church at Windham, Portage County, was the first congregation organized de novo "upon the principles of the restored Gospel" -- on May 27, 1828.

    John Schaefer was an example of converts made to the Disciple cause. He left Lutheranism in 1834, and served seventy-four years, until he was 102 years of age, as a productive leader in his new enterprise. William Hayden began to work in Cleveland in 1833. The famous Campbell-Purcell debate in Cincinnati, 1837, aided the cause.

    The merger of the Campbell and Stone forces, projected at Lexington, Kentucky, in 1832, had to be implemented locally. In Ohio its success was greatest in the east and along the Ohio River, least in the center and west. Dayton eventually became the national headquarters of the small percentage of the "Christian" churches that maintained a separate existence and formed the Christian Denomination. A sample of the objections to union voiced by Christian leaders is that of a subscriber to the Christian Messenger who wrote in the December, 1832, issue: "I think The Messenger has forsaken the Christian Church.... It appears to favor the errors of the Reformers who are splitting and destroying our churches and it has left us to contend alone." Stone replied:

    You may think I have seceded from the Christian Church, because the Reformers and we, being on the same foundation, and agreeing to take the same name Christian, have united as one people. Is not this the very principle we have been pleading from the beginning? Is uniting with any people in this manner seceding from the church? In thus uniting do we agree to unite with all the opinions and errors of each other? Have we not always had in our church, Calvinists, Arminians, Trinitarians and Unitarians? Have we by such union agreed to receive all their errors? No. In the great leading principles, or facts of the New Testament we aoree, and cheerfully let each other have his opinions, as private property.

    David Purviance held up the main issue for his Christian associates when he wrote in the Christian Messenger, "I know baptism ought to be taught and practiced, but it seems to me an extreme to make it a sine qua non as to forgiveness." Matthew

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    Gardner of Brown County was an outstanding opponent of the united church and reported that four of his brother ministers who followed it had gone "the watery way to Campbellism.

    Yearly meetings among the Disciples began in the place of the Baptist associations that so many of them had abandoned. These annual assemblies grew into organized "cooperations," or units, that worked together to encourage a preacher to evangelize in the vicinity. There are reports of attendance of from 2,000 to 5,000 at these meetings. Alanson Wilcox says:

    Later there arose some objection to co-operation. In the interest of hoped-for peace, the brethren yielded to the objectors....

    More than a score of years were wasted in demonstrating the impractical nature of the theories that had disrupted a vital and conquering work. (A History of the Disciples of Christ in Ohio, 1918, p. 264.)

    In 1842 the Western Reserve Ministerial Association was formed. The minutes of this organization are extant to the year 1847. The Western Reserve meeting of 1848, embracing nine counties, reported seventy-one churches, with a total of 4,508 members (Millennial Harbinger, 1848, pp. 655f.). The Ohio Christian Missionary Society was organized at Wooster, May 12, 1852, with Alexander Campbell present to deliver the principal address. There were representatives present from fifty-three churches in twenty-four counties, who set up the society on the delegate plan. D. S. Burnet, a notable figure among the Disciples in education, journalism, and general statesmanship (his father was for 12 years mayor of Cincinnati), was the principal organizer of this work, and upon his death left $10,000 for an education fund in the state society.

    The annual report for 1858 showed 300 churches and 140 ministers, only forty of whom were giving full time to church work. Churches that sent in statistics for 1863 reported 13,777 members. However, Hall's Christian Register of 1848 tabulated 19,408 members in Ohio, so we may feel that the estimate of 25,000 members in 1860 is not far from the truth -- especially since the United States census of that year found accommodation for 124,080 in the church buildings (not distinguishing the Christians").

    Education was encouraged early in the Ohio church life. Thomas Campbell had an academy at Cambridge in 1813-14. In

                                  EXPANSION  IN  THE MISSISSIPPI  VALLEY                              299

    the earliest days young men learned to be preachers by teaming with veterans. The Newburg (now Cleveland), Ohio, yearly meeting authorized a "School of the Preachers" to hold its first meeting at New Lisbon in 1835. Fifteen were present, and these men practiced on each other, using Campbell's Christianity Restored as a text. This training program, never institutionalized into a college, was continued annually until 1839, when it was joined with a preacher's session at the yearly meetings. (Millennial Harbinger, 1835, pp. 478f.; 1836, p. 192; 1838, p. 572; 1839, p. 467.) Walter Scott had a private home school at his Carthage residence, and some early preachers were trained there, but little else is known about it. In the History of Hamilton County, Ohio (Henry A. Ford and Kate Ford, compilers), it is recorded that "Walter Scott edited and published a paper in the village and, being a notable orator in things divine, classes were formed in theology under his direction, and at least a respectable number of professional writers and speakers of today date the beginnings of scholarship and goodness to the classical and religious instruction received at Carthage fifty years ago" (L. A. Williams & Co., Cleveland, 1881, p. 432). General educational institutions begun by Disciples before 1860 include Hygeia Female Atheneum, opened at Mount Healthy, near Cincinnati, in 1840. At some time between 1840 and 1850, R. R. Sloan started the Mount Vernon Male Academy and Vernon Female Institute, which consolidated into a girls' school in 1852. Hiram College arose out of Western Reserve Eclectic Institute, which opened November 27, 1850, and grew with uninterrupted success to its present strong position. The Bedford Christian Institute was incorporated in 1851 by Dr. Robison and other Cuyahoga County Disciples, purchased some property in Bedford, but failed to open for instruction. Cyrus MeNeeley, a convert of Alexander Campbell, opened MeNeeley Normal School at Hopedale, Ohio, before 1850. When he deeded it to the Ohio Teachers Association in 1854 it became perhaps the first normal school in the nation operated on a public-school basis. The association was unsuccessful in the venture and gave it back to MeNeeley. About $50,000 in gifts by Disciples entered into the life of this pioneer institution.

    Ohio was notable for its encouragement of early magazines of Christian promotion, with Cincinnati the chief center of publication. Here Walter Scott launched his important little journal,

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    the Evangelist, in 1832. Here D. S. Burnet began the Christian Preacher in 1836, the Christian Family Magazine in 1845, the Christian Age the same year, and the Sunday School Journal in 1853. The Western Reformer began at New Paris, Ohio, in 1843. The Protestant Unionist was moved to Cincinnati by Walter Scott in 1848.

    A peculiar problem of the Disciples in Ohio was the rise of the Mormons. Both appealed to the same constituency and with some striking similarities of approach, though also with some notable differences. Both based their appeal upon a plea for the restoration of a divine plan. Three Disciple preachers became prominent leaders in Mormonism -- Sidney Rigdon, Parley P. Pratt, and Orson Hyde. Rigdon converted Pratt and Hyde to the Disciple position, and Pratt converted Rigdon to Mormonism. The transition from one camp to the other was abrupt in all three cases, but startlingly sudden in Pratt's case. He preached one day as a Disciple and the next as a Mormon elder. Naturally they carried over with them many of the forms of thought and much of the terminology in which they had been trained.. The defection -- or conversion, according to the point of view -- of these three preachers, carried some other Disciples over into Mormonism; for example, the entire Rigdonite congregation at Kirtland, which was already teaching communism, became Mormon. It is to be remembered that they had not been Disciples very long, and that among the followers of any new movement there is always a certain percentage of those who are temperamentally disposed to follow any new thing. Rigdon persuaded Joseph Smith of the validity of Christian communism, became associated with him in the first presidency of the Mormon Church, and was a claimant for the leadership of the organization when Brigham Young acceded to that position. Pratt and Hyde became "apostles." The Mormon historian, Roberts, considers the Disciples as forerunners of the Mormon gospel, regarding Campbell and Scott (like Rigdon) as being "sent forth to prepare the way before the Lord." The Disciples did not think so. The rivalry between the two groups became intense. That the Mormons found among the Disciples, as Roberts says, "more who would listen to their teachings and a greater proportion who would accept the fulness of the gospel than in anv other sect," did not improve their relations. The conflict between Disciples and Mormons included several debates

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    and at least one instance of mob violence, with Smith and Rigdon as the victims, at Hiram, Ohio. But under the stimulus of persecution, the Mormons moved on westward, and bitterness subsided. Actually, however, other than around Kirtland and Hiram, there was not a great deal of contact between them -- certainly not as much as there was involving the Disciples and the Universalists throughout the state...

    (remainder of this text not transcribed due to copyright restrictions)

    Buckeye Disciples
    by Henry K. Shaw
    St. Louis: Christian Board of Pub,, 1952

  • Ch. 1: Backwoods Religion
  • Ch. 2: Mutinous Baptists
  • Ch. 3: Rebellion
  • Ch. 4: Learning the Hard Way

  • transcriber's comments

  • Note: Entire contents Copyright (c) 1952, by the Ohio Christian Missionary Society
    Only limited, "fair use" excerpts are reproduced here.

    20                                               BUCKEYE  DISCIPLES                                              

    usually also indicated that this so-called union gave the total group a quality of emotional fervor along with intellectual content. However true this may have been in Kentucky or Indiana, it was not the Ohio pattern. The union of Stoneites and Campbellites in Kentucky meant but little more than adding a half dozen or so New Light preachers, and about as many churches, to the ranks of the Disciples in Ohio. Ohio Disciples would have probably fared better if there had been no experiment in formal union, for the two movements were flowing together naturally until hampered by the antagonism engendered by what many Christ-ians considered a "forced" union.

    Evangelism among the Disciples of Christ has never in any sense followed the Stone or "camp meeting" pattern. In fact, it is the very antithesis of this. The evangelistic movement among the Disciples of Christ, beginning on the Western Reserve, was a reaction from Kentucky revivalism; built on the framework and patterns established by Walter Scott. Of all the evangelical communions west of the Alleghenies, the Disciples were first to promote a sane, educational evangelism.

    The Disciples of Christ followed a teaching evangelism that appealed to reason. An examination of the sermons of the pioneer preachers brings this out. They debated; used elaborate charts; referred over and over to scripture; and they challenged the mind. Conversion was always on a rational, primarily intellectual level. This was, from the beginning, the Campbell influence working through Scott. Neurotic phenomena with wild, incoherent emotionalism, common to revivals of the pioneer times, were never present in their meetings. If any criticism can be offered of their technique, it was that they were too coldly intellectual in their approach to things spiritual. They were Biblical legalists employing the critical apparatus of John Locke's empiricism in the field of religion.

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    Some Ohio leaders felt their evangelists went to the extreme in practicing the intellectual approach. A. S. Hayden often criticized his preaching brethren because of the lack of an inspirational note in their sermons. He declared that the average pioneer Disciple minister, as he spoke to his congregation, talked more like a schoolteacher or theological professor giving a lecture, than a minister preaching the gospel. There was complete absence of the "spread eagle," or "death bed" type of oratory designed to stir the emotions, and an over-emphasis on the appeal to reason. Because of this, Disciples were often thought of by ministers of other communions as preachers lacking in the Spirit, or even of having no religion at all. This is a far cry from camp-meeting revivalism.

    Alexander Campbell sensed this, for he wrote in the Millennial Harbinger:

    Let no one hence infer we are opposed to feeling. God forbid! A religion without feeling is a body without a spirit. A religion that does not reach the heart and rouse all our feelings into admiration, gratitude, love, and praise, is a mere phantom. But we make feelings the effect, not the cause of faith and of true religion. We begin not with the feelings, but with the understanding: we call upon men first to believe, then to feel, and then to act. [4]

    First Congregation of the Disciples

    The Disciples of Ohio had their origin in the Bethesda congregation in Portage County. This was a Baptist church, -- organized July 30, 1808, by Elder Thomas G. Jones. The Bethesda congregation, like so many in those days, was a floating church that cast anchor at various times in many different sections of the county. In fact, it was the first church of any kind in that county. Members lived at Nelson, Aurora, Palmyra, Hiram, Deerfield, Troy, and places between. Ohio's entire population then did not exceed eighty thousand persons.

    4 Millennial Harbinger, 1839, p. 12.

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    With the people on the frontier so scattered and so few, the church could hardly localize. One Sunday it met at one place, the next Sunday at another, until it actually traveled all over the county.

    When people began pouring into the Reserve, the Bethesda congregation began to divide and localize; whether it met at John Noah's in Nelson, Samuel Baldwin's at Aurora, Jotham Atwater's at Mantua, or the schoolhouse at Hiram, it was the same church! The congregation was enrolled with the Baptists then, even though at its beginning it demonstrated some very un-Baptistic tendencies.

    Some members of the congregation held what they called "reforming" views. ln 1810, when William West was called as pastor, the church used the form, "We, the Church of Jesus Christ, called Bethesda." [5] At this early date, John Rudolph, Jr., who was clerk, refused to read certain objectionable features of the Covenant and Articles at the monthly Covenant Meeting. Mrs. Eleanor Garrett insisted on regular Baptist form. This led to the development of two factions, with the reformers in the majority. John Rudolph, Sr., one of these reformers, objected to the laying-on of hands when members were received into the church. By 1823, this congregation was calling itself the Baptist Church of Christ in Nelson.

    On June 21, 1824, there was a special meeting of the Nelson church which culminated in a formal division between the factions. Eight days later there was another meeting at which this action was reconsidered and reversed. However, when the congregation met again on August 21 at the Hiram school-house, it was voted to "renounce the Philadelphia Confession of Faith, the Constitution, the Articles, and the Covenant of the Church which was formed the 30th day of July, 1808, and

    5 B. A. Hinsdale, A Histor'y of the Disciples in Hiram, Portage County, Ohio (Cleveland: Robinson, Savage, & Co., 1876), p. 13.

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    take the Word of God for our rule of faith and practice." [6] The minority group called a meeting for November 27, without apparently notifying the other members of the church. At this meeting, the faction led by Mrs. Garrett excluded the majority faction from membership, and excommunicated ten members. This left two parties, each claiming to be the church. When the Mahoning Association met in 1825, both parties sent delegates and both were received. This happened again in 1826.

    The "reforming" party proposed some very interesting questions to the Mahoning Association in 1824. They were:

    1. Will this Association hold in its connection a church which acknowledges no other rule of faith and practice than the Scriptures?

    2. In what manner were members received into the churches that were set in order by the Apostles?

    3. How were members excluded from these churches?

    The answer the following year was satisfactory enough to those who had laid aside Covenant and Articles.

    In Hinsdale's story of this congregation, he points out significantly, "Brush Run. had previously organized without Articles; but Bethesda, so far as known to me, heads the list of Baptist churches that voted to lay their Articles aside." [7] After the minority group had withdrawn, those left considered themselves Baptists, yet not like other Baptists. Alexander Campbell's new periodical, The Christian Baptist, was by this time circulating freely among the brethren. They liked its crusading spirit. Regular preaching once a month by Sidney Rigdon at Mantua Center led to the formal organization of a church at this place, January 27, 1827, "on the principle of faith in Jesus Christ, the divine inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, and the New Testament as the rule of conduct and book of discipline." Charter members were: John Rudolph, Sr., John

    6 Ibid., p. 14,

    7 Loc. cit.

    24                                               BUCKEYE  DISCIPLES                                              

    Rudolph, Jr., Zeb Rudolph (President Garfield's father-in-law), James Rudolph, Cleona Rudolph, Elizabeth Rudolph, Darwin Atwater, Laura Atwater, and Pata Blair. Within a period of two years, fifty members were added.

    In April, 1829, the Hiram-Nelson-Garrettsville members petitioned for division on the grounds that Mantua Center was too far away. In 1835, Hiram and Garrettsville members withdrew from Nelson for the same reason, forming separate congregations. To form a congregation at Shalersville, letters were given to members residing there in 1828. The Aurora church was formed the same way in 1830.

    The Bethesda story is pointed out primarily to answer the question as to which was the first congregation in Ohio to take a stand on the new principles. It would not be quite fair to give Mantua Center alone this distinction. The Bethesda congregation can be likened to an amoeba. In pre-Campbell days, it showed a tendency to reform along lines laid down by the Bethany reformer. The Hiram-Nelson-Garrettsville division of 1829, the Aurora division of 1830, and the Hiram division of 1835 made these congregations, along with Mantua Center, all parts of the whole, which was in reality the Baptist Church of Nelson. As the one-cell amoeba divides and becomes two, yet each division is part of the original cell, so the Bethesda congregation divided several times. If there's any honor in being first, it probably should be shared equally by all these congregations.

    While all this moving-around was going on, the Bethesda church belonged first to the Beaver Association, and then to the newly formed Mahoning Baptist Association. Because the Mahoning churches were progressing toward an ecumenical form of Christianity, they became an experimental laboratory in which the ideas of Alexander Campbell were first tried with any degree of success.

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    The First Meetinghouses

    Church buildings at that time were not very pretentious structures. Frontiersmen were too poor to provide elaborate meetinghouses. One pioneer describes them:

    At that day (1816) we had no particular houses of worship. All lived in log houses, made of rounded logs, as they grew in the forest. The roof was made of long boards split out with wedges and a f row; and fastened with poles or logs. Our manners or customs were equally plain. It was very common in many parts of Ohio, for both sexes to walk to the meeting barefooted. Our clothing was made by the hands of our mother and sisters, in their own houses, and was very clean and neat. [8]

    There was little interest in ecclesiastical architecture in the days of Campbell, Scott, and Stone. They thought of the church as the baptized believers only; buildings were not important. Meetings were held in schoolhouses, private dwellings, barns, or in pleasant groves. The earliest buildings were constructed of logs. Greased paper across openings in the walls served as windows. There was no altar. The speaker's stand stood on a slightly raised platform. The communion table was on the floor level, with chairs for the elders on each side. Lighting was provided by homemade tallow candles.

    In 1834, Alexander Campbell carried an article on meeting-houses in his Millennial Harbinger. He wrote:

    As the Disciples are now engaged in the erection of houses of worship in various portions of the United States, it may not be unseasonable to offer a few remarks on this business.

    A Christian meeting-house ought to be humble, commodious, and free from all the splendor of this vain and sinful world.... It should be a one story house, without steeple, galleries, or pulpit. The floor should be an inclined plane, descending from the entrance one foot in every eight or ten. The Lord's table and the seats for the elders of the

    8 John Udell, Incidents of Travel to California, Across the Great Plains, together with the Return Trip through Central America; to which is added Sketches of the Author's Life (Jefferson, Ohio: Sentinel Office, 1856), p. 131

    26                                               BUCKEYE  DISCIPLES                                              

    congregation should be at the remote end, opposite to the entrance, and consequently on the lowest part of the floor, visible to every eye in the house....

    The house should be so divided that both the members [of the church] and the attending public might be equally well accommodated. Around the elders of the congregation, and immediately contiguous to the Lord's table, the disciples should be placed. To prevent confusion, and to afford every facility to the auditors, a door or railing across the aisle, at a proper distance to accommodate the brethren, should mark the seats allowed to the attendants. This should be so arranged as that, without much inconvenience, it can be moved farther towards the door as the church increases. [9]

    Campbell's pattern of church architecture was followed for many years. When the Hiram church, built in 1844, was destroyed by fire twenty-two years later, some thought the new building should have architectural improvements, at least a level floor. Regarding this, Hinsdale stated, "But conservatism was too strong in Hiram twenty years ago. So the good old pattern shown by Mr. Campbell in the Harbinger was followed." [10] Ohio congregations followed Campbell's plan for no less than a quarter of a century. Campbell's movable railing (or door), to separate members from visitors, so members could be served communion without embarrassing the visitors present, is evidence of his close-communion views and desire to remain sympathetic to much of the Baptist tradition.

    F. M. Green, in an article written for the Christian Century, claimed when the Church of Christ at Randolph built a meetinghouse in 1830, it was the first building erected by Disciples in Ohio. [11]

    There was a reason why they were so slow to erect church buildings. They assumed all along that the denominations

    9 Millennial Harbinger, 1834, pp. 7-9.

    10 B. A. Hinsdale, op. cit., p. 24.

    11 Christian Century, December 17, 1903.

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    would soon see the ecumenical point of view and reform along Campbellian principles. If already there was a Baptist, Presbyterian, or Congregational meetinghouse in a given community, why build another? All they had to do, they thought, was to present the "restoration" plea and the denominations would dissolve voluntarily into the church universal. With sectarian barriers (creeds, human names, unscriptural practices) removed, there would remain the Church of Christ. There was reason for this naive assumption. Most of the Baptist congregations in northeastern Ohio had actually done this. The pioneer Disciple preachers had no scruples about going into any meetinghouse of any denomination to present this view. In doing this, they felt they were liberating their friends and neighbors from the bondage of ecclesiastical tyranny, and leading them to practical religious freedom. Like the cow-bird who lays her eggs in nests other birds have built, expecting a foster mother to rear her children, so the pioneer preachers of the Disciples planted their teachings in the nests of denominationalism, expecting their brain-children to be nurtured by others. But the scheme, for the most part, did not work. Actually, many of the brethren learned in pained discomfort they would have to build their own houses of worship. This was difficult for them because they had not been trained in New Testament stewardship. They were ready always, at the drop of a hat, to contend for the faith, but they were not ready, for nearly half a century, to pay for it. Their failure to build their own buildings is primarily responsible for some two hundred congregations having lapsed before the forming of the Ohio Christian Missionary Society in 1852.

    Ecclesiastical Organization on the Frontier

    The organization of frontier churches and the techniques of supervision and administration differed widely among the denominations. Each group had its own pattern. The Methodists,

    26                                               BUCKEYE  DISCIPLES                                              

    for example, preferred the circuit plan with itinerant preachers making the rounds of the churches on horseback. Some of these circuits were five hundred miles long, taking three months for the circuit-rider to visit all the preaching points. By 1816, the Ohio Conference, which included all of eastern Ohio and the Western Reserve, western Pennsylvania, and western New York, had James B. Finley in charge. While the economy of preacher-scarcity prevailed, the system proved to be excellent. Because of it, the Methodists gained more rapidly than the others. It was hard on the preachers, however, as well as the congregations, but it did provide the most equitable distribution of a scarce commodity.

    The Baptist plan was entirely different. Baptist preachers were a part of the community in which they preached. They lived among their parishioners the year around. The typical Baptist preacher was simply a preaching-layman who toiled on his farm through the week, and preached on Sunday. The Baptists organized into associations which met annually for business and inspiration. These associations took the names of rivers or other natural landmarks, as: Mahoning, Redstone, Grand River, Stillwater, and Beaver. The churches preferred sentimental Biblical names, i.e., Zoar, Bethel, Valley of Achor, and Ebenezer. In no sense, however, could it be claimed that the Baptists had a professional clergy. Neither Baptists nor Methodists had an academically trained ministry.

    Congregationalists and Presbyterians on the frontier were the only larger Protestant groups with a professional clergy. They cooperated under a "Plan of Union" that had its origin in 1801. The "Plan" was an agreement between the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church and the General Association (Congregational) of Connecticut. It governed the relationship of these two denominations in the missionary territory of the West. Under it, these two bodies worked effectively in a common cause. Their missionaries did good work as far

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    as they could go, preaching to Indians and whites on the frontier. Where the "Plan of Union" preachers operated, as on the Reserve, the poorly trained Methodist preachers found them strong competition. The Baptists did a little better because of similarity in theology, and because their preachers lived with the people they served. Only the Disciples seemed to be able to meet them on their own ground, and this was because of the reasonable rather than emotional approach used by the followers of Alexander Campbell. The Disciples found the Congregationalists, whether of Calvinistic or Universalist tendencies, were quite impotent under the barrage of experimental logic.

    Joseph Badger, one of these "Plan of Union" missionaries, arrived in northeastern Ohio in December 3, 1800. A former soldier of the Revolution and a trained minister, he was better prepared than most to meet frontier conditions. He left a vivid day-by-day diary of his experiences in northern Ohio between the years 1800 to 1808; a journal which has since proved invaluable to students of Americana. The following accounts are typical excerpts from his diary for 1804:

    March 14th, Wednesday, Rode to Warren, transacted some business, and on Friday made several family visits, attending a meeting of the church. They adopted the "accommodation articles." Preached in the evening.

    Saturday, rode to Mantua, crossing the Mahoning, the water up to my saddle skirts; got my boots full of water. At the crossing swam my horse and crossed myself on a glade of ice. Led my horse on the ice across the Cuyahoga; agreed as I came through Nelson, to return there on Monday.

    Sabbath, preached twice to a stupid, unfeeling company; appointed to preach again on Wednesday, and to Aurora on Thursday.

    Monday, walked back to Nelson; crossed on the ice; got to the settlement about noon; made three visits, and preached in the evening.

    Tuesday, visited the three other families, and preached in the afternoon.

    30                                               BUCKEYE  DISCIPLES                                              

    Wednesday morning, set out on my return to Mantua, eight miles, in company with two young men; came to the Cuyahoga, the ice was all gone, and no means of crossing but to wade. The stream about eight rods wide, three feet deep, a strong current, and very cold; we got through safe. Preached in the afternoon, and rode to Aurora.

    Thursday, preached to fifteen souls, -- Alas, stupid as the woods in which they live. [12]

    Among the first preachers in Ohio was a Swedenborgian by the name of Jonathan Chapman; more familiarly known as Johnny Appleseed. He came to Ohio in the "buckskin" period, along with the traders and trappers. Johnny Appleseed seemed to have a genuine concern for the physical as well as the spiritual welfare of the frontiersmen. At this early date, he gathered apple seeds from the presses of western Pennsylvania and carried them to Ohio. Here he selected appropriate nursery sites, planted his seeds, and cultivated the seedling trees when they appeared. When the permanent settlers arrived, he was on hand to sell them nursery stock, or give it away if they had no money. By the time he died, a hundred thousand square miles of Ohio land were covered with his apple trees. This was a great help to the homesteaders.

    Johnny Appleseed was an eccentric character. He loved and respected all animal and bird life. This was such an obsession with him that he even refused to kill mosquitoes! He seemed to have no fear whatever of man or beast, often walking or sleeping in the woods without any means of protection. The Indians considered him a great "medicine man" and treated him with respect. He was welcome in both cabin and wigwam. Even in the dangerous times prior to the War of 1812, when the Indians were on the warpath killing all whites with the British paying for scalps, Johnny Appleseed moved unmolested among Indians and whites alike. As he went

    12 Joseph Badger, A Memoir of Rev. Joseph Badger (Hudson: Sawyer, Ingersoll and Co., 1851), pp. 73, 74.

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    from cabin to cabin, he preached to the settlers, left torn-out sections of the Bible and Swedenborgian books with the people to read, and helped them start their apple orchards. When he returned later on his rounds, he would collect this literature and exchange it for other sections of similar reading material. His mobile library was the first of any kind in the Buckeye State.

    The pay these early preachers received for their services was very small. For a year's circuit riding in 1804, John Collins received but one hundred dollars. Peter Cartwright reported after three years of riding the circuit, his total assets were his horse, his buckskin clothes, and six and one-fourth cents! John Henry (called the Walking Bible), a Disciple preacher, complained in a letter to the editor of the Millennial Harbinger of the poor remuneration received for his services. What he wrote was an indictment of the manner in which ministers were treated by the churches.

    There is an evil under the sun of which even Solomon, I believe, has not spoken -- namely, the brethren are always writing to us to come and preach for them, and they forget to pay the postage. Hence my letter tax costs me more every year than my clothing. Will the brethren reform, and not lay a burthen on us that neither our fathers nor we are able to bear. [13]

    In 1806, Joseph Badger resigned his labors under the direction of the Connecticut Missionary Society because it reduced his salary from seven to six dollars a week. Even, at that, this sum was far above what other ministers were receiving at the time.

    Years later, when the Disciples of Portage County held a Yearly Meeting at Deerfield in 1849, fourteen churches with a total membership of 614 persons reported. In all these congregations during the previous year, but $421 was raised for

    13 Millennial Harbinger, 1841, p. 331.

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    preaching, and $105 for circulation of the Scriptures. This would make sermons a cheap commodity, for it averages but $30 a year per church, or an average of 69 cents per member. [14]

    In observing centennials or historical occasions, many churches of the Disciples of Christ prepare long lists, giving names of ministers who served them from the beginning. They are likely to consider these preachers as resident clergymen. This is a mistake. For many years the churches had no resident ministers. Evangelists would come, stay a few weeks, then go on to another place. Perhaps the next winter they would return for another series of sermons, but they were not resident ministers in the sense such men are considered today. In fact, many of the brethren objected to the settled ministry on what they considered scriptural grounds. In most of the isolated communities on the frontier, the only time a preacher was actually in the neighborhood was when he was conducting an evangelistic meeting, or when he had been summoned to officiate at a wedding or funeral. Alanson Wilcox, in his history of Ohio Disciples, makes the claim that Isaac Errett, when he was called to the pastorate of the New Lisbon church in 1844, was the first settled minister among the Disciples. [15]

    14 Ibid., 1849, p. 592. Correspondence from Isaac Errett.

    15 Alanson Wilcox, A History of the Disciples of Christ in Ohio (Cincinnati: Standard Publishing Company, 1918), p. 43,




    Early Baptist churches were bound together in what was known as an "association." The framework of the various associations was essentially the same, though patterns varied slightly according to the religious complexion of members. A contrast in Baptist associations can be observed in a comparison of the neighboring Redstone and Mahoning associations. The Redstone group adhered firmly to Calvinistic theology, while the Mahoning association gradually gave up, bit by bit, its attachment to any system of theology. The influence of the same man, Alexander Campbell, was exerted in about the same manner in each group, yet the effect was quite different. One association swung to the extreme right, and the other to the extreme left; neither extreme was satisfactory to Campbell.

    The association was the Baptist answer to ecclesiastical co-operation. It was a council of a small number of congregations in a given geographical district. The purpose of the association was in the mutual improvement and inspiration of its members, the sharing of ideas, and protection against heretics and impostors. Associations usually met annually for, two or three days, generally iii the fall of the year.

    The Miami Association, formed in 1798 with three churches, was the first of the Baptist associations in Ohio. Other early associations were: Scioto, 1805; Muskingum, 1809; Mad River, 1811; Adams, 1812; Clermont, 1816; Columbus, 1818; and Mahoning, 1820. When the Baptist State Convention organized in 1826 at Zanesville, seventeen associations had already been formed in Ohio.

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    Baptist Creeds and Confessions

    The various Ohio associations, as ecclesiastical bodies, held quite rigidly to the Philadelphia Confession of Faith, as adopted September 25, 1742. When a congregation applied for membership in an association, it had to present a written creed, covenant, constitution, and articles, to be checked for orthodoxy. If approved, the congregation would be granted membership and allowed to send delegates (called messengers) to the regular association meetings. The minutes of the Twelfth Session of the Grand River Association, meeting at Perry in 1828, illustrate this point. The Nelson (former Bethesda) congregation had applied for membership.

    The church of Nelson by Messengers presented their Articles of faith, after the reading of which they were by vote received as members of this association, and the right hand of fellowship presented to them, through their messengers. [1]

    On coming together for stated meetings, a moderator was elected to preside over the association while in session. The clerk of the association kept minutes of the proceedings, later issuing them in printed form for distribution to the affiliated congregations. In addition to the minutes, the printed record contained reports from member congregations, queries and answers to theological questions, together with a Circular Letter to be read in all the churches. These annual association reports provide a fruitful field of historical information on pioneer days, customs, and American religious tradition. The style of the printed minutes of Baptist associations has not varied to any extent in the past century and a quarter, and the printed Proceedings of Disciples' state societies bear a marked resemblance.

    1 Minutes of the Twelfth Session, Grand River Baptist Association, Perry, 1828.

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    Origin of the Mahoning Association in 1820

    Like the early Methodist circuits, the Baptist association, -- in frontier days covered wide geographical areas. As the frontier became more densely populated, Baptist churches in smaller geographical areas would withdraw from the larger associations and form an ecclesiastical body of their own. This is how the Mahoning Association in northeastern Ohio came into existence. The minutes of the Beaver Association of western Pennsylvania in 1820 show a membership of sixteen churches. Six of these churches, located in Ohio, together with a few unattached northeastern Ohio congregations, formed the Mahoning Baptist Association in 1820. The new association covered the territory of Trumbull, Portage, Mahoning, and part of Columbiana counties. It is not surprising, therefore, that the Mahoning "Constitution" was an adaptation of the theological position of the Beaver Association, which in turn was patterned on the Philadelphia Confession of Faith. The Constitution of the Mahoning Association shows, however, a tendency toward a more liberal interpretation of the Christian faith. It declares:

    It is our object to glorify God. This we would endeavor to do by urging the importance of the doctrine and precepts of the Gospel in their moral and evangelical nature, commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God; not pretending to have authority over any man's nor over the churches, whose representatives form this association. But we act as an advisory council only, disclaiming all superiority, jurisdiction, coercive right and infallibility; and acknowledging the independence of every church; which has received authority from Christ to perform all duties enjoined respecting the government of his church in this world. [2]

    Ecclesiastical Authority Actually Vested in the Association

    Though associations were supposed to be advisory councils only, there was lack of understanding on how binding such

    2 A. S. Hayden, Early History of the Disciples in the Western Reserve, Ohio (Cincinnati: Chase & Hall, 1876), p. 26.

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    advice should be. Some associations held this unit had ultimate ecclesiastical authority. It is plain that they examined candidates for the ministry, ordained them if they met satisfactory standards, and acted as monitor of their theological views. For example, Sidney Rigdon, who later became a Disciple, and still later a Mormon leader, was ordained by the Beaver Association at Conequenesing, Pennsylvania, in 1820. The committee to examine the candidate had been appointed the year before. When it passed him, and recommended his ordination, the association voted approval. [3] Though the association had no actual jurisdiction over member churches, the fact that it did expel churches and persons from fellowship is proof that many Baptists at that time considered ecclesiastical authority fixed in the association rather than the local church. Congregational independence was possible, but more theoretical than practical. The action of the Redstone Association in Alexander Campbell's case [4] showed no more tolerance than the action of the Chartiers Presbytery in the case of his father a few years before. In the so-called "Beaver Anathema" of 1829, this association excluded Baptist brethren of the Mahoning Association. [5]

    The creed of the Mahoning Association is set forth in its Constitution. It was copied from the Beaver Association and contained fourteen affirmations of faith, backed by scriptural references. A study of this creed shows it to be trinitarian and

    3 Minutes of the Beaver Baptist Association, Conequenesing, Pennsylvania, 1820.

    4 Cf. post., pp. 39, 40.

    5 John Udell, op. cit., pp. 169, 170. Baptist congregations as independent entities also exercised strong jurisdiction over members. Udell cites the following record of the exclusion of E. A. Mills from the Baptist Church at Jefferson, "March 2d, 1833-It was then motioned and seconded that as brother E. A. Mills will not consent to abandon the reading of Mr. Campbell's Millennial Harbinger, which we think is leading him from the gospel and the faith of the regular Baptists, we withdraw from him the hand of fellowship. The vote was then tried, and carried by a considerable majority." Two-thirds of the members of the church were swept out within three months for violating the local church law prohibiting the reading of Campbell's writings.

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    Calvinistic. If the Mahoning Association adopted this creed, it at least gave it a more liberal interpretation than other associations. The fact that this association was formed at Nelson, and Bethesda was the host church, may be significant. At this time the "reforming" view was manifesting itself in Portage County. [6]

    The Palmyra Association Meeting

    The first meeting of the Mahoning Association after its organization was held at Palmyra, September 5-6, 1821. The "messengers" who attended represented thirteen congregations with a total constituency of 513 persons. [7] A resolution was passed requiring each church to raise six and one-fourth cents per member annually to support a fund for the preaching of the gospel. If all members contributed as requested the total amount raised each year would have been thirty-two dollars. [8]

    The Brethren Begin to Ask Questions

    The meeting held in 1822 at the Valley of Achor Church produced nothing unusual. The brethren were not very enthusiastic and their vision was limited. The Youngstown meeting the next year indicated the direction the association was turning. A query from the Palmyra church on whether the law of Moses was binding on the unregenerate in modern times was answered, "All the law given by God to Moses is obligatory upon the unregenerate so far as is repromulgated by Christ." The Nelson church had inquired, "Is it apostolic practice for the churches to have confessions of faith, constitutions, or anything of like nature, except the scripture?" The

    6 A. S. Hayden, op. cit., pp. 27, 28.

    7 The following is a record of the churches and their membership: Concord, 99; New Lisbon, 54; Bethesda, 37; Zoar, 57; Salem, 53; Randolph, 20; Liberty, 19; Mt. Hope, 31; Bazetta, 35; Braceville, 21 ; Yellow Creek, 10; Valley of Achor, 63; Sandy, 34.

    8 Minutes of the Mahoning Baptist Association, Palmyra, 1821.

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    association postponed the answer to this question until the following year. The Hubbard church asked, "Is it the opinion of this association that any church has the privilege, according to scripture, of holding communion without an ordained elder, or administer other gospel ordinances?" The brethren answered, "We believe that it would not be proper for any person to administer the ordinance of baptism, or the Lord's Supper, without having been ordained a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ."

    Adamson Bentley, who was moderator, wrote the Circular Letter. Ili this document he distinguished between legal and spiritual worship by declaring:

    But Jesus Christ came, and is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises... We are not to follow Moses, through a dark and dismal wilderness of law, but Jesus Christ in the bright and beautiful plain of the Gospel. [9]

    Something was happening to the theological thinking of the brethren. Sidney Rigdon and Adamson Bentley had spent two days with Alexander Campbell at Bethany, the first numbers of the Christian Baptist had been read, and the Campbell-Walker debate of 1820 was now printed and being circulated throughout Ohio.

    Campbell Comes into Official Relationship with the Association

    The Hubbard church entertained the association in 1824. Messengers of the Bethesda church inquired regarding the status of churches acknowledging the scriptures only as their rule of faith and practice, and as the means by which a church could receive and exclude members. The New Lisbon brethren asked, "Is it scriptural to license a brother to administer the word and not the ordinances?" The query from Randolph was even more pointed, threatening the existence of the association

    9 Minutes of the Mahoning Baptist Association, Youngstown, 1823.

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    itself, "Can associations, in their present modification, find their model in the New Testament?" All these queries were laid over until the next year. [10]

    The most significant event of the Hubbard meeting was the admission of the Wellsburg, Virginia, church into the fellowship. Alexander Campbell was a member of this church, and the action brought him into official relationship with the Mahoning Association. Prior to this, he had been a member of the Redstone Association through his connection with the Brush Run church. His transfer of membership would not have been made necessary if the Redstone Association had been tolerant of his views. The year before, there had been an organized attempt to excommunicate Campbell. The antagonism toward him, on the part of a few Calvinistic brethren, was very bitter. Had he remained a member of the Redstone Association, he would have been compelled to stand trial for heresy when that group met in 1824. As it was, he succeeded in outmaneuvering his Redstone opponents by a clever, yet legitimate ruse. Obtaining letters of dismissal from the Brush Run church for himself and thirty others, he used this group to form a new congregation at Wellsburg. When the Wellsburg church became a member of the Mahoning Association, it was outside the jurisdiction of Redstone. Alexander Campbell attended the Redstone meeting of 1824, but as a spectator only. This action on the part of the Wellsburg church was a great disappointment to the Redstone heresy hunters, and left Campbell free among the Baptists to advocate his principles.

    "Never," said he, in relating the incident, "did hunters, on seeing the game unexpectedly escape from their toils at the moment when its capture was sure, glare upon each other a more mortifying disappointment than that indicated by my pursuers at that instant, on hearing that

    10 Minutes of the Mahoning Baptist Association, Hubbard, 1824.

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    I was out of their bailiwick, and consequently out of their jurisdiction. A solemn stillness ensued, and, for a time, all parties seemed to have nothing to do." [11]

    To become a member church of the Mahoning Association, the Wellsburg church had to submit a statement of its belief. This statement was drawn up by Campbell and contained much of his ecumenical philosophy. The fact that the Mahoning Association accepted this statement is more evidence of its changing attitude. The affair served to prepare the way for moving the Campbell experiment across the river to the Ohio side.

    More Questions and Answers

    The association returned to Palmyra for its meeting in 1825. Alexander Campbell was present in an official capacity for the first time. The queries of the year before were discussed, and opinions given. The Bethesda question on whether or not the association would hold a church that acknowledged the scripture only (no creeds, articles, or constitution) was answered, "On satisfactory evidence that they walk according to this rule." The question on how to receive members was answered scripturally, "Those who believed and were baptized were added to the church." When the matter of excluding members was taken up, the brethren decided this should be done "by a vote of the brethren." The New Lisbon question, "Is it scriptural to license a brother to administer the word, and not the ordinances?" was answered, "We have no such custom taught in the scriptures." This final answer was a victory for lay leadership in the church, and raised more questions concerning the prerogatives of the professional clergy. The answer to the Randolph church was evasive. Its messengers had queried,

    11 Robert Richardson, Memoirs of Alexander Campbell (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott and Company, Vol. I, 1868, Vol. II, 1870), Vol. II, p. 70.

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    "Can associations in their present modifications find their model in the New Testament?" The brethren responded, "Not exactly." [12]

    Significant Sermons

    When the association met in David Hays' barn at Canfield in 1826, Adamson Bentley was elected moderator and Joab Gaskill, clerk. Prominent men in attendance were: Alexander Campbell, Thomas Campbell, Sidney Rigdon, and Walter Scott. Alexander Campbell delivered the keynote address, an exposition of the seventh chapter of Romans. The next day being Sunday, several sermons were heard. When Walter Scott preached, it was his first appearance before the association. His message was well received. Sidney Rigdon used the sixteenth chapter of John as the basis of his sermon. The main feature on Sunday, however, was Alexander Campbell's sermon on the "Progress of Revealed Thought." This became known later as his famous "four-ages" sermon based on the conclusion of the prophecies of Malachi. He differentiated between the Starlight, Moonlight, Twilight, and Sunlight ages, and compared them to the Patriarchal and Jewish ages, the times of John the Baptist, and the Modern age. This sermon was an incentive to re-study the Bible. It proved a pace-setter for theological thought on the Reserve. [13]

    Scott Appointed Evangelist

    The most significant of all Mahoning Association meetings was held at New Lisbon in 1827. Jacob Osborne was elected moderator, and John Rudolph, Jr., clerk. J. Merrill, John Secrest, and Joseph Gaston, of the Christian Connection (Stoneite) movement were present, and by special resolution were

    12 Minutes of the Mahoning Baptist Association, Palmyra, 1825. A. S. Hayden, op. cit., p. 24.

    13 Minutes of the Mahoning Baptist Association, Canfield, 1826. A. S. Hayden, op. cit., p. 34.

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    permitted to take seats. The preachers, Walter Scott, Samuel Holmes, William West, and Sidney Rigdon, though not regularly appointed delegates, were also permitted seats in the council. Forty men, representing sixteen congregations, took part in the discussions.

    The church at Braceville sent in a request which eventually changed the entire status of the association. It was an epoch-making appeal that gave impetus to evangelism of a new type. The request was as follows:

    We wish that this association may take into serious consideration the peculiar situation of the churches of the association, and if it would be a possible thing for an evangelical preacher to be employed to travel and teach among the churches (of this association), we think that a blessing would follow." [14]

    There must have been a great deal of discussion on this project, but it met favorable response. A committee was appointed to look into the matter at once. This committee made the recommendation "that Bro. Walter Scott is a suitable person for the task, and that he is willing, provided the association concur in his appointment, to devote his whole energies to the work." [15]

    Walter Scott, who had received his formal education at the University of Edinburgh, was then reaching in a Steubenville academy. On coming to America a few years before this, he had made the acquaintance of George Forrester, a Haldanean preacher in Pittsburgh. Scott was sympathetic to Forrester's religious views. Alexander Campbell himself had come under the influence of the ideas of Robert and James Haldane when he was a student at the University of Glasgow. When Campbell met Scott on one of his trips to Pittsburgh, where Scott was

    14 Minutes of the Mahoning Baptist Association, New Lisbon, 1827. A. S. Hayden, op. cit., p. 57. See Table I on next page.

    15 Minutes of the Mahoning Baptist Association, New Lisbon, 1827. A. S. Hayden, op. cit., p. 59.

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    teaching at the time, they found they had much in common and soon became close friends. Therefore, it is not strange that when Campbell decided to publish his first periodical, Scott was on hand to assist. Campbell carried out many of Scott's suggestions, and later published articles contributed by his friend under the pen name of "Phillip." In time, Scott became pastor of Forrester's church in Pittsburgh. About the same time, Sidney Rigdon, on the recommendation of Campbell, became pastor of a small Baptist church in the city. These two congregations eventually united, with Rigdon as pastor.

    It does not seem reasonable that with other more likely candidates, such as Sidney Rigdon, the orator, Adamson Bentley, the respected, John Secrest and Joseph Gaston, the experienced, the committee would recommend an inexperienced non-Baptist schoolteacher for the important appointment of working among Baptists, unless some influential delegate had done some campaigning on his behalf. The fact that Scott was already preparing to place a rival periodical, the Millennial Herald, in the field may have had some bearing on the matter from Campbell's viewpoint. When Scott was chosen evangelist of the Mahoning Association, he was sidetracked temporarily at least, from doing the thing he really wanted to do. This was the first time Campbell showed his hand in blocking Scott's bid for leadership, but not the last. Other incidents occurred in later years. [16]

    The appointment of Walter Scott as evangelist, whatever the motives, was a providential choice. He had a sound academic background, a brilliant mind, and youthful enthusiasm. Better still, he had a vision of the possibilities within the Baptist fellowship for spreading Campbell's (and Forrester's) views. For the peculiar work of an evangelist, he

    16 Henry K. Shaw, "Walter Scott, the Evangelist," Christian-Evangelist, October 23, 1946.

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    stood head and shoulders above the others. Had it not been for Scott, it is doubtful if the movement would have gained such momentum in a few years.

    First Year of Scott's Preaching

    When the association met at Warren in 1828, an amazing transformation had taken place. A. S. Hayden, who attended the meeting, wrote that Scott's victories apparently had been numerous and decisive.

    Here were Methodists, no longer Methodists, but still Christians; Baptists surrendering the title, yet holding the Head, even Christ; Restorationists, giving up their fruitless and faultv speculations, now obedient to the faith once delivered to the saints; Bible Christians, recovered from their negative gospel to the apostle's method of preaching together with very many from other forms of religious belief-all rejoicing together, "perfectly united in the same mind and the same judgment." [17]

    Spectacular Conversion

    It is not easy to trace Scott's itinerary as evangelist of the association. He did not operate on a planned schedule, but seemed to go where he felt the need apparent at the time, preach a few days, go somewhere else; then return to the original field. [18]

    He opened his work at New Lisbon in November, 1827. On the night of the eighteenth, he had almost completed his sermon when a prominent Presbyterian layman entered the meetinghouse in time to hear Scott's concluding remarks which contained a summary of the evening discourse. Scott closed

    17 A. S. Hayden, op. cit., pp. 162, 163.

    18 William Baxter, Life of Elder Walter Scott (Cincinnati: Bosworth, Chase, and Hall, 1874), pp. 147-48. Scott's first biographer states, "Morning often found the tireless Scott at one point, and evening at another, miles away. It was not uncommon for him to occupy the courthouse or school-house in the morning at the county seat, address a large assembly in some great grove in the afternoon, and have a private dwelling, which gave him shelter, crowded at night, to hear him before he sought his needed rest."

    46                                               BUCKEYE  DISCIPLES                                              

    with an invitation to those present to yield to the gospel terms of salvation. William Amend, the aforementioned Presbyterian layman, surprised everybody by responding to the call and making a public declaration of faith, He was baptized that same night in a near-by stream. Amend, who had been studying his Bible for years, had come independently to Scott's position. Regarding this, he disclosed in a letter to Scott five years later that prior to their first meeting, and once after reading the second chapter of Acts, he had declared to his wife:

    O this is the gospel -- this is the thing we seek -- the remission of sins! O that I could hear the gospel, in these same words -- as Peter preached it! I hope I shall some day hear it; and the first man I meet, who will preach the gospel thus, with him will I go. [19]

    Scott published the complete letter, submitting it as a proof of the effectiveness of preaching the scriptural terms of salvation. William Amend is considered by manv Disciples as the first convert to "apostolic" preaching in modern times.

    Alexander Campbell, in writing a few years later of Scott's efforts, claimed:

    He (Scott) had not been long in the field before a great excitement commenced under his operations, and some hundreds were immersed, and immersed too under a new formulary, viz. -- "For the remission of your sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit, I immerse you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit!" This bold style awakened the whole community: many blasphemed, many believed, and much good and much evil followed in the train. Not a single church house, for more than a year afterwards got so far into the practice of the primitive worship. [20]

    Scott's use of the formulary, "For the remission of your sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit, I immerse you..." was the feature with which regular Baptists differed with him most.

    19 The Evangelist, July, 1833.

    20 Millennial Harbinger, 1839, p. 469,

                                                  MUTINOUS  BAPTISTS                                               47

    They declared this was salvation by baptism, and as such the formulary was in error. Scott replied that his position was scriptural, and this too was hard to deny. For half a century this was the traditional formulary used by Disciples at baptismal services. Some of the more conservative brethren in the movement still uphold it, but for the most part, this only real point of difference between Baptists and Disciples has disappeared.

    After the Amend incident, there were many more conversions at New Lisbon. Scott then made a trip around the Reserve, returning for another meeting at the same place. By this time almost the entire membership of the Baptist church favored the new point of view. Accompanied by Joseph Gaston, Scott then visited East Fairfield. About this time he moved his family to Canfield where he had purchased a home. He intended to make this community his headquarters, but never quite got around to it.

    "Siege" of Warren

    As Warren was one of the principal communities on the Reserve, and the seat of political administration in Trumbull County which then embraced many of the present north-eastern Ohio counties, Scott decided to open a campaign there. The Baptists had organized a congregation at Warren in 1803. In 1811, when Adamson Bentley became pastor, the church had twenty-six members, some living at Youngstown and other places. In its early years, like the church at Nelson, it was a floating congregation with no fixed meeting place. By the time Scott came to Warren, a comfortable meetinghouse had been erected.

    On arriving in the community, Scott called at once on Adamson Bentley. Because Bentley was a reader of the Christian Baptist, and an agent for it, Scott thought he would fall in

    48                                               BUCKEYE  DISCIPLES                                              

    with his evangelistic plans at once. But he was mistaken. Bentley's characteristic conservatism made him cautious. He was skeptical of Scott's unorthodox methods. Therefore, when Scott asked for the use of the newly built meetinghouse, he was refused. Scott disregarded Bentley's order and sent word around that he would open his campaign in the meetinghouse anyway. Bentley immediately declared the house was not to be opened, forcing Scott to preach in the courthouse that evening. The meeting was attended with such success that the next day Bentley permitted him to use the church building. An eight-day meeting followed, with twenty-nine additions. [21] A few months later the entire church, with the exception of six persons representing two families, embraced the new movement. A local Baptist historian describes these persons as:

    The six staunch and faithful Baptists who adhered to their doctrinal teachings and belief, and to whom we are debtors in no small degree, were John Reeves and wife, Ephraim Quinby, wife and two daughters. These did not renounce their faith, and may well be known as the saviors of the Baptist cause in Warren. [22]

    A most fortunate "catch" was Adamson Bentley himself. The greatness of this man is shown in his attitude toward Scott, even a-fter Scott's breach of common ministerial courtesy. A lesser man would have washed his hands of the whole affair. Bentley was considered safe, respectable; was of unquestioned integrity and sound judgment. He had been the leading preacher of the Mahoning Association for many years. When Bentley finally endorsed Scott, an erratic stranger, it was a big boost for the cause. Before this, Bentley had been in agreement with Campbell's views and had preached them, but it was

    21 Hayden, Baxter, and Mitchell disagree on some of the details of this meeting. For the most part, however, it is very likely the general pattern was as indicated above.

    22 William J. Kerr, One Hundred Years of Baptist History in Warren (Warren: Wm. Ritzel & Company, 1903), pp. 10, 11.

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    Scott who induced him to leave the Baptist fold. Campbell wrote later of Bentley, "To him alone who remembers the time when only brethren P. S. Fall, of Kentucky, and Adamson Bentley, of Ohio, cordially espoused the cause..." a quotation making Adamson Bentley Ohio's pioneer Disciple. [23]

    Thomas Campbell Investigates

    In April, Scott held a meeting at Salem. There were many converts at this place, but Scott's indiscreet remark at the close, "Who will now say there is a Baptist Church in Salem?" turned many of the regular Baptists against him. A few weeks later, Scott held a meeting of three weeks at Sharon, Pennsylvania. It was declared a great success. Then he went on to Deerfield where he preached in Jonas Hartzel's barn. A church was formed at this place and Hartzel became identified with the movement, becoming one of the leading evangelists of his time. Hartzel in turn converted W. A. Lillie who was later instrumental in winning James A. Garfield to the plea of the Disciples. Campbell reported, "Bishops Scott, Rigdon, and Bentley, in Ohio, within the last six months have immersed about eight hundred persons." [24]

    On hearing of Scott's success on the Reserve, and fearing that Scott's victories may have gone to his head, Alexander Campbell sent his father to investigate. This was in the spring of 1828. Thomas Campbell saddled his horse and visited the churches where Scott had been preaching. This took him to such places as New Lisbon, Fairfield, Warren, Braceville, Windham, Mentor, Chardon, Hampden, and Huntsburg. The elder Campbell was so pleased with what he found that he stayed to labor with Scott and Bentley for nearly six months.

    23 Millennial Harbinger, 1833, p. 94. For a biographical sketch of Bentley, see A. S. Hayden, op. cit., pp. 102-109.

    24 Christian Baptist, June 2, 1928, p. 263.

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    Aylett Raines

    Early in 1828, Scott made the acquaintance of Aylett Raines. [25] Raines at this time was a Universalist minister, well known in this section. Approving of the principles as taught by Scott, he joined forces with the movement. Raines in turn influenced Ebenezer Williams, another Universalist minister, to accept this position. These two men became able exponents of the restoration plea. Writing of their action, a Universalist historian declared:

    Rev. Ebenezer Williams and Aylot Raines preached for the Universalists on Sunday and the next morning went to Sandy Lake and immersed each other and entered the Disciple ministry. [26]

    He further stated, "There was not less than six Universalists who went over to the Disciples' ministry about this time."

    Considering the members added, the new churches formed, and persons attracted from the ministry of other communions, it is no small wonder that the association meeting in Warren in 1818 was attended with so much enthusiasm. Alexander Campbell was present to deliver the opening sermon. It was an exposition of the text, Romans 14:1. This sermon had three divisions, all relating to the Christian religion: (1) Matters of Knowledge, (2) Matters of Faith, and (3) Matters of Opinion. This classification of knowledge, faith, and opinion, has been closely followed by Disciples, though at the time it was given, it served to widen the breach between the regular Baptists and the reformers. [27]

    Strangely enough, this position met its first test at the Warren meeting. Aylett Raines was regarded with suspicion

    25 M. C. Tiers, The Christian Portrait Gallery (Cincinnati: Edited & Published by M. C. Tiers, 1864), pp. 101, 102.

    26 Elmo Arnold Robinson, The Universalist Church in Ohio (Ohio Universalist Convention, 1923), p. 53.

    27 A. S. Hayden, op. cit., pp. 163-166.

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    by many of his new brethren who thought of him merely as an immersed Universalist. In a way they were right, for Raines was ready to admit that in his opinion all men would ultimately, in some distant period in eternity, be saved. Campbell's text, "Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but without regard to differences of opinion," apparently fell on some deaf ears, for Raines was not accepted wholeheartedly. When the issue came tip, Thomas Campbell arose to Raines' defense. His argument embraced the liberal and more tolerant viewpoint. He said:

    Bro. Raines and I have been much together for the last several months, and we have mutually unbosomed ourselves to each other. I am a Calvinist, and he a Restorationist; and, although I am a Calvinist, I would put my right arm in the fire and have it burnt off before I would raise my hand against him. And if I were Paul, I would have Bro. Raines in preference to any other young man of my acquaintance to be my Timothy. [28]

    Alexander Campbell then took the floor. Using the arguments of his sermon the day before, he explained that Raines' speculative philosophy was in the realm of opinion where men have a right to differ. In the realm of faith, he declared, Raines was in perfect agreement with them. Following another speech on Raines' behalf by Scott, Alexander Campbell asked Raines to make his personal testimony before the group. The man responded by saying his Restoration [29] views were a "philosophy" and as such he would never take them into the Pulpit nor contend for them as matters of faith. As this seemed to be in line with the views of the reformers, the vote to receive him was by an overwhelming majority.

    The issue settled here has been brought up time and again through the passing years. Sabbath observance, blue laws,

    28 Ibid., p. 168.

    29 "Restoration" faction within the Universalist movement.

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    secret societies, and political issues could divide others, but not the Disciples. These were to be regarded as matters of opinion, and not tests of faith and fellowship. During the evil years of the Civil War, Disciples were distributed about equally on both sides, but the issues of the war did not break the fellowship. It was the principle of the difference between faith and opinion that preserved the brotherhood. The slogan, "In essentials, unity; in nonessentials, liberty; in all things, charity," applied in the war crisis and has always been popular with Disciples.

    Scott's Report

    Scott's report to the association was typical of the man. It was a grandiose declamation dealing in such matters as the Millennium, Mahomet, the Pope, the Inquisition, French atheism, and freedom of religion in America. The only factual and statistical material is found in part of one paragraph:

    The gospel, since last vear, has been preached with great success in Palmyra, Deerfield, Randolph, Shalersville, Nelson, Hiram, etc., etc., by Bros. Finch, Hubbard, Ferguson, Bosworth, Hayden, and others. Several new churches have been formed; and so far as I am enabled to judge, the congregations are in a very flourishing condition . [30]

    There was no question about a re-appointment for Scott the next year. They did discuss whether his work should be limited to the boundaries of the association, or whether he should be permitted to go where he pleased. Scott made his famous request at this time, "Brethren, give me my Bible, my Head, and Bro. William Hayden, and we will go out and convert the world." [31]

    30 A. S. Hayden, op. cit., p. 173. According to Hayden, Scott got his radical millennial views from reading the views of Elias Smith.

    31 Ibid., p. 174.

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    The Singing Evangelist

    No small credit for Scott's success should go to William Hayden. Scott was a man of strong moods. A modern psychiatrist might diagnose him as afflicted with a mild manic-depressive psychosis. When he was depressed, he could do but little; but when he was in the mood of elation, he was at his best and could carry his audience with him. Hayden's song services lifted Scott -- and his congregation -- to a height where best results could be achieved. Together, they made an excellent evangelistic team; forerunners of the preaching-singing evangelistic teams that invaded the brotherhood so successfully in later years. [32]

    The minutes of the Mahoning Association show that in the three years prior to 1828, the churches averaged but one baptism a year per church. After Scott had been in the field a year, there were over a thousand baptisms reported for these same churches, several new congregations organized, and many outstanding persons added to the movement. It is no wonder the brethren talked in terms of a coming millennium!

    Scott's Methods

    Probably the most significant contribution made at this time was Scott's new approach to the matter of conversion. Among the religious bodies on the frontier, some advocated the "anxious seat," others the "mourner's bench," and still others, an "experience." Many people wanted to be church members, but could not -- even after trying hard -- get religion by any of these methods. When Scott preached of becoming a Christian by obeying the simple terms of the gospel rather than by depending upon one's feelings, it met instant favor.

    When he came to a, new community where he was unknown, he first sought out the children. His little after-school talks

    32 M. C. Tiers, op. cit., pp. 113-115. (A biography.)

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    and games won their confidence. They fitted with Scott's plans by advertising his meetings to their parents. A typical approach was to get a group of children together and ask them to raise their left hands. Then he would say, "Now, beginning with your thumbs repeat what I say to you: 'Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Remission of Sins, Gift of the Holy Spirit.' Now again, repeat! Again, faster!'" When the boys and girls had learned this little game, they were told to inform their parents he would preach the gospel that night as they had learned it on the fingers of their hands. It was a novel idea and it worked. Scott's five-finger exercise is still being used in some quarters.

    The Sharon Itinerancy

    The meeting of the association for 1829 was held at Sharon, Pennsylvania. The Baptist church there had divided on the issues between the regular Baptists and the reformers. Scott, Bentley, and even Thomas Campbell had made unsuccessful attempts to reconcile the brethren. An evangelistic meeting was finally held in a barn. Several converts were obtained and a new congregation formed. Many of the Baptists united with the new group. The latter church was the one which entertained the association.

    The most important decision at this meeting was the proposal to establish a system of itinerancy so that all congregations could have preaching service. William Hayden was given the task of working out the details of the project. Probably no one was better acquainted with the churches, their problems, locations, and highway conditions, than Hayden. His plan was accepted and a circuit established. Scott, Hayden, Bentley, and Bosworth were to be the evangelists. Sixteen preaching points were instituted, each to be served once a month by the visiting ministers. They were to follow one another in a fixed order so that on any given Sunday each would know where

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    the others were. It was thought this would provide each church with a variety of talent, and enable the weaker churches to share the popular speakers. [33]

    It was a good system, but it did not work. A. S. Hayden attributed its failure to the lack of a general manager. The responsibility for the failure of the Sharon itinerancy rests largely with Scott. It was not that he deliberately and intentionally made havoc of the plan, as he was by nature incapable of cooperation. He kept to the circuit for a while, but soon was preaching here and there, wherever the inner urge seemed to call him. This threw the whole scheme out of balance, and ultimately caused its complete failure.

    The breakdown of the "circuit" plan was a keen disappointment to Alexander Campbell. Two years later, while speaking at New Lisbon, he expressed himself on this point.

    Brother A. Campbell referred to the Methodist system of operations was one of the most admirable for propagating that was ever devised. Their alternating modus operandi was what he had reference to, and be thought the brethren would do well to inaugurate and carry out some system that would prove more efficient than the present one. [34]

    Vicious Opposition of the Baptists

    By this time weighty opposition was getting under way from among the regular Baptists. The loss of so many persons and churches to the new position stirred the orthodox brethren in many associations to pass resolutions and make pronouncements against the new movement. The most comprehensive of these was made by the Beaver Baptist Association. It was. occasioned by the request for admission to that association by four of the Mahoning churches not sympathetic to the reforming movement. These were churches of Youngstown, Salem,

    33 A. S. Hayden, op. cit., pp. 270-272.

    34 N. J. Mitchell, Reminiscences and Incidents in the Life and Travels of a Pioneer Preacher of the Ancient Gospel (Cincinnati: Chase & Hall, 1877), p. 99.

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    Palmyra, and Valley of Achor. [35] The Beaver pronouncement is as follows:

    The last four churches on our list have withdrawn from the Mahoning association, from a consciousness that they have become extremely corrupt. We believe it to be our duty to the public, and to our brethren in general, to give some information respecting that association. It rose chiefly out of the Beaver, and progressed regularly until A. Campbell and others came in. They now disbelieve and deny many of the doctrines of the Holy Scriptures, on which they were constituted. They contend there is no promise of salvation without baptism -- that it should be administered to all that say they believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God without examination on any other point -- that there is no direct operation of the Holy Spirit on the mind prior to baptism -- that baptism procures the remission of sins, and the gift of the Holy Ghost -- that the scriptures are the only evidence of interest in Christ -- that obedience places it in God's power to elect to salvation -- that no creed is necessary for the church but the scriptures as they stand -- and that all baptized persons have a right to administer the ordinance. All which sentiments have been publicly taught by the messengers of that association. Conscious this is the case with that association, we deeply deplore their state, and feel constrained to warn our brethren in other parts against them: believing they have departed from the faith and order of the gospel church. We could also notice, that the Grand River and other neighborhood associations have withdrawn their fellowship from them. [36]

    The so-called "Beaver Anathema" disturbed the reformers and especially Alexander Campbell, a great deal. The fact remains,

    35 Alexander Campbell asked Walter Scott to report on the status of these four churches that were supposed to have joined the Beaver Association. In a letter published in the Christian Baptist, July 5, 1830, Scott claimed he had received 150 new members at Youngstown and that sixteen of the regular Baptists originally belonging to the church had joined the Beaver Association. The Salem Baptist church, he said, wouldn't admit the forty-one converts he received there. Twenty-one of these finally went into the Baptist church on Baptist terms, and the rest formed a new church. Scott claimed the Valley of Achor church was dead, and that he had never been there. Regarding the Palmyra church, he claimed it was split when he got there, but that he persuaded a hundred members to come back. About fifteen or twenty who wouldn't return, joined the Beaver Association.

    36 Minutes of the Beaver Baptist Association, Providence Church, Beaver City, Pennsylvania, 1829.

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    however, that it was a good statement of what actually occurred. The brethren of the Mahoning Association held that the attitude of the Beaver pronouncement stigmatized the new movement as a heterodox development within the Baptist fold. The Beaver minutes for that year also contained a long circular letter defending the creed system. The "anathema" was copied and read into the minutes of other associations, and printed later in a special circular.

    John Udell, member of the Baptist church at Jefferson, wrote an interesting diary in which, among other things, he described the excitement in Baptist circles because of the Campbell influence. He wrote that in 1829 a number of Baptists from the association of which he was a member attended the Mahoning meeting to learn about the new system. Thomas and Alexander Campbell, Walter Scott, and Sidney Rigdon were present and preached. Udell claimed his Baptist brethren listened eagerly during the meeting, to hear something new or heretical.

    But we only heard the same old scriptures presented-perhaps more forcibly than ever before, in so short a time. Some new ideas were advanced, but they were all so well sustained by the Word of God, that none, though repeated challenges were given, attempted to refute them. I could see no reason why I should doubt the truth of what was presented. I could see no reason why a reception of the doctrines advanced should cause a separation from the Baptist Church. But I concluded I would search the scriptures more thoroughly, before I came to any decision in regard to the matter; and returned well satisfied with having gone forty miles to listen to such arguments and eloquence. [37]

    The Mahoning Association Dissolves Itself

    The teaching and activities of the Mahoning preachers in the years 1827-30 had, in principle, tended to nullify the original theological and ecclesiastical position of this group. A. S. Hayden said that when the association met at Austintown in

    37 John Udell, op. cit., pp. 145, 146.

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    1830, it was a Baptist association in name only. Members of the newly formed Austintown church were hosts. The throngs of people in attendance, contrasted to the delegations of a few years before, gave the gathering the atmosphere of a convention rather than of a delegate meeting. The first day was spent in evangelistic singing, fellowship, preaching, and reports.

    The next day something happened that changed the whole course of the movement. John Henry, at the instigation of Walter Scott, offered a resolution that the association, as an advisory council, be dissolved at once. [38] Almost without debate, and with little consideration of the outcome, the resolution passed. Alexander Campbell and a few others realized what was happening and understood its implications, but could not stem the tide. After the vote had been taken, Campbell took the floor and asked, "Brethren, what are you going to do? Are you never going to meet again?" It was probably at this meeting Campbell first realized the magnitude of the movement he had started. Through the columns of his Christian Baptist, he had branded denominational ministers as "hirelings," and "goat milkers." He had opposed missionary societies, made a caricature of many Christian institutions, and in general was responsible for a belligerent attitude toward all religious bodies except the one represented by his own brethren. He had created a Frankenstein monster that was inadvertently turning on its creator. In the dissolution of the Mahoning Association, he saw the destructive possibilities of the "reform" pattern as it had been presented. His final comprehension of this impelled him the same year to cease publication of the Christian Baptist, and turn his efforts toward a new periodical which he named The Millennial Harbinger. The new journal stressed the more constructive features of the movement. In spite of this, he was never quite able to live down his

    38 A. S. Hayden, op. cit., pp. 295, 296. Benajah Austin, William Hayden, and Alexander Campbell deplored this action, and the first two made unsuccessful attempts at resuscitation.

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    Christian Baptist years. Today, there are two schools of thought in the tradition of the movement: one following the Campbell of the Christian Baptist; and the other, the Campbell of the Millennial Harbinger.

    At the Austintown meeting, Campbell proposed the brethren continue to meet at least once a year, even though these were not to be stated meetings. This started something new among the Disciples -- the Yearly Meeting system. Fortunately, it was approved by the brethren. Campbell wrote of the dissolution of the association:

    This association came to its end as tranquilly as ever did a good old man whose attenuated thread of life, worn to a hair's breadth, dropped asunder by its own imbecility. [39]

    This was a masterpiece of understatement. The birth of the association was quite natural, but its passing was attended with as much cheering and applause as a victory celebration. It was not a natural death. It was suicide!

    Hayden summarized the work of the association for the years 1827-30. There was harmony, he said, among the churches and their preachers several congregations had sent their own evangelists into the field, new churches had been formed, and thousands of persons added to the list of converts. After the dissolution of the association, he claimed systematic evangelism perished. From that time on and for many years, no more preachers were sent out, as the yearly meeting had no power to commission evangelists for the work. He wrote, "Therefore, we have been, in this respect, in a state of apostasy from our first principles." [40]

    In an article on church organization, written by Campbell nineteen years later, he took a more mature view of the whole affair.

    39 Millennial Harbinger, 1830, p. 415.

    40 A. S. Hayden, op. cit., p. 297.

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    I was present on the occasion of the dissolution of the "Mahoning Baptist Association," in 1828 (he was mistaken on the date), on the Western Reserve, State of Ohio. With the exception of one obsolete preacher, the whole association, preachers and people, embraced the current reformation. I confess I was alarmed at the impassioned and hasty manner in which the association was, in a few minutes, dissolved. I then, and since contemplated that scene as a striking proof of the power of enthusiasm and of excitement, and as dangerous, too, even in ecclesiastical as well as in political affairs. Counsel and caution, argument and remonstrance were wholly in vain in such a crisis of affairs. It would have been an imprudent sacrifice of influence to have done more than make a single remonstrance. But that remonstrance was quashed by the previous question, and the Regular Baptist Mahoning Association died of a moral apoplexy, in less than a quarter of an hour.

    Reformation and annihilation are not with me now, as formerly, convertible or identical terms. We want occasional, if not stated, deliberative meetings on questions of expediency in adaptation to the ever changing fortune and character of society. [41]

    Rigdon Shows His Hand

    One more important incident took place at the Austintown meeting. It was a verbal clash between Campbell and Sidney Rigdon. By this time, Rigdon had been in touch with Joseph Smith, the Mormon prophet; though this was apparently not known to his brethren. Rigdon proposed that if the Disciples were to follow the apostles in all the New Testament teaching, they should model after the church at Jerusalem and require a community of goods. In other words, he advocated a communistic society. In a thirty-minute address, Campbell opposed him, claiming that New Testament communism was attended by special circumstance, that the matter of Ananias and Sapphira put an end to it, and that it was always understood even then to be on a voluntary basis. He then quoted passages of scripture which called for contributions for benevolence,

    41 Millennial Harbinger, 1849, p. 272.

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    showing that no such communistic system prevailed throughout apostolic times. Rigdon's proposal never came up in open meeting again. [42]

    Disciples Become a Separate Body

    The Austintown dissolution meeting is generally regarded as the watershed of Disciples' history, marking a formal separation between Baptists and Disciples. Prior to this, the Mahoning Association was a Baptist body and its members Baptists. After the dissolution action the Disciples became a separate communion. That same year, the Stillwater Association in Ohio dissolved itself under similar circumstances. This also occurred in Wilmington, Dayton, and Cincinnati. About this time the Kentucky reformers separated from the Baptists. As the locale for the new movement was primarily in these two states at the time, it can safely be declared that the year 1830 marks the beginning of the Disciples of Christ as a separate people though they were not as yet a distinct religious communion.

    42 A. S. Hayden, op. cit., pp. 298-300. The communistic features of early Mormonism are generally considered Rigdon's contribution to the movement rather than Smith's.




    The story of the Buckeye Disciples, prior to 1830, should not be restricted to what occurred on the Western Reserve, or within the limits of the Mahoning Baptist Association. Scattered but significant events also took place in other parts of the state.

    Alexander Campbell's first preaching mission was to Ohio. He left his Bethany home on Thursday, May 16, 1811, preaching his first Ohio sermon in the courthouse at Steubenville on the following Sunday. He was twenty-three years

    old then, and not yet ordained. In his discourses on this mission, he tried to present the cause of Christian unity as advocated by the Christian Association of Washington, and incorporated in the Declaration and Address previously prepared by his father. This first short preaching tour took him from Steubenville to Cadiz; then to St. Clairsville and back home. Along the way, he stayed with friends and acquaintances of his father. The tour lasted about two weeks and Campbell met with much opposition to his views. This did not prevent him from returning and preaching at these places again a few weeks later. [1]

    This same year, the elder Campbell, who never stayed long at one place, moved to a farm near Mt. Pleasant. Two years later he opened an academy at Cambridge. School was held in a log building on the southwest corner of Wheeling Avenue and Seventh Street. When Campbell closed this school in 1814, Cambridge was without a system of education until

    1 Robert Richardson, op. cit., I: pp. 370, 371.

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    1836. Alexander Campbell's younger brothers and sisters were enrolled in the log school, and Alexander Campbell often visited Cambridge while his father was located there. Thomas Campbell frequently preached in the hewed-log meetinghouse on Pultney Ridge, and in the Harmony Baptist Church near Cambridge. Then, the Campbells were out of the Presbyterian fold, but not quite in the Baptist communion.

    The Zanesville Project

    An interesting development within the movement took place in 1814. Members of the Brush Run church decided to remove in a body to Zanesville to establish a Christian colony with church, school, and other features. Migrations of this nature were then quite common. Alexander Campbell was especially enthusiastic about the project, and it was he who selected the site in Ohio. It was the sort of a thing that appealed to the adventuresome spirit of the newly married young immigrant.

    John Brown, his father-in-law, held a different view. He did not relish the idea of his daughter and new son-in-law moving so far away from the home place. So, to induce them to remain in Brooke County, he deeded his farm to Alexander Campbell for the consideration of one dollar. This gift was enough to persuade the young man to change his mind. When the other members of the church learned that their minister had no intention of going along with them, they too gave up the project. Campbell proved to be an excellent farmer, introducing many new methods of agriculture to his community. He remained on the land the rest of his life, adding to the original gift until he became the richest and most prosperous farmer in West Virginia. His financial independence played no small part in his role as a reformer. [2]

    2 Robert Richardson, op. cit., I: pp. 459-461. The original deed is now in Possession of the Disciples of Christ Historical Society.

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    It is not likely this new project was to have been a communistic society as were some in those days, but probably simply a, religious colony with cooperative features. If circumstances had been favorable to the successful culmination of the Zanesville project, the whole course of the new movement might have been altered.

    The Campbell-Walker Debate

    In 1820, the same year the Mahoning Baptist Association was formed, the first public debate on reform principles took place in Ohio. It occurred at Mt. Pleasant and was a public discussion between Alexander Campbell and John Walker. Walker was a Seceder Presbyterian minister and an able man. Up to this time the reformers were few in number and not very aggressive. Both Alexander and Thomas Campbell questioned the value of public discussions to propagate their views. The debate, however, met with such publicity and attention that this technique continued as the outstanding means of introducing the reformation to the most people in the shortest time.

    The debate with Walker was on the subject of baptism. A year before, a Baptist preacher named John Birch had met with much success around Mt. Pleasant, preaching on immersion and against infant baptism. John Walker, a Presbyterian minister in the vicinity, was forced to come out openly in the defense of infant baptism. In the course of the controversy between Walker and Birch, the former challenged Birch, or any other Baptist preacher in good standing, to debate the subject. Birch wrote to Alexander Campbell, asking him to defend the Baptist position in a public debate with Walker. Campbell refused at first, but when his friends pointed out the importance of meeting the challenge, he finally accepted. The date for the controversy was set for June 19, 20, 1820. The place selected was the village of Mt. Pleasant, strangely

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    enough the Ohio headquarters for the Quakers who had built a large meetinghouse there. Whether the controversy meant anything to the Quakers, who were neutral on the position of the contending parties, is not known.

    Salanthiel Curtis, who was acting as clerk of the debate, took notes. Campbell used these notes later; edited them, added an appendix, and published the debate in book form. Walker was invited to contribute his views to the volume, but he refused, and the book appeared without them. The first edition was published at Steubenville. This book, therefore, is the forerunner of the literature of the Disciples in Ohio. A second edition of this version was published later at Pittsburgh. In 1824, Walker published his own version of the debate. A few months later, Samuel Ralston, another Presbyterian minister, published his version of the debate'in two subsequent editions. Thus three versions and five different editions of the debate finally appeared, none of them complete, nor thoroughly accurate. [3]

    The significant feature of the debate was the importance Campbell gave to the subject of the baptism by immersion of the penitent believer. He declared it was a New Testament ordinance having no connection with the Old Testament ceremony of circumcision, and that it was necessary for the gift of the Holy Spirit. As he talked, he enlarged on the views expressed in his famous "Sermon on the Law" given previously before the Redstone Baptist Association.

    This position was new to the orthodox Baptists as well as to the Presbyterians. It was a contributing factor which caused the Redstone Association to break with him, and paradoxically enough won the Mahoning Association to him. The published debate 'gave Campbell wide publicity and opened an era of religious controversy via the public discussion method.

    3 Robert Richardson, op. cit., II: pp. 14-35.

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    The Christian Baptist

    When Alexander Campbell began publication of the Christian Baptist in 1823, it gave the reformation-minded Baptists in Ohio a monthly journal of their own. Although it was published outside the state, just across the Ohio River, it was read primarily, during the seven years of its existence, by Ohioans. In general, the clergy of all denominations gave this periodical bitter opposition. Considering the nature of what Campbell printed in his magazine, this is not at all strange. A master of satire, through the columns of the Christian Baptist, month after month, he poured out vitriolic condemnation of the professional clergy, its supposed prerogatives, missionary societies, preacher-training seminaries, denominationalism, creeds, confessions of faith, and what he considered the unscriptural practices of the churches. He played the iconoclast well, tearing down much of what he sought to rebuild in his more mature years. While it was an open frontal attack on sectarian religion, it was usually interpreted by the orthodox as an attack on the whole Christian system.

    Publishing the paper was an adventure in faith. It was a periodical, independent in spirit, representing the views of Alexander Campbell only. In spite of this, the magazine was a financial success, and new subscribers were added each month. In 1835, David Staats Burnet of Cincinnati republished the entire seven volumes between the covers of one large book. The Burnet volume appeared in many succeeding editions, and was more widely read than issues of the original magazine. Burnet and Campbell edited the one-volume edition, leaving out some of the more objectionable material, and making corrections in the text.

    The New Testament Translation

    The third piece of literature published by Alexander Campbell, influential especially in Ohio, was a new translation of

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    the New Testament. As a basis for the new translation, Camp- bell used the translation of the Four Gospels, published by Dr. George Campbell in Edinburgh in 1778i Dr. James MacKnight's translation of the Epistles, published first in London in 1795; and the translation of Acts and Revelation by Dr. Phillip Doddridge, first published in London in 1776. These were probably the best translations from the original Greek text available at the time. They came out together in a London publication in 1818. Campbell made some changes in the originals and included annotations of his own. Thus was produced a new and more faithful translation, and one which took advantage of Biblical criticism up to that time. It also provided a version in the vernacular of the nineteenth century.

    Among the orthodox, the King James text was thought to be the only true word of God. Therefore, they were suspicious of Campbell's new publication. There are cases on record of ministers who had to stand trial before ecclesiastical bodies for reading Campbell's translation or quoting from it in their pulpits. In this connection, the case of John Randolph, the Virginia statesman, is most interesting. Both Campbell and Randolph were elected delegates to the Virginia Constitutional Convention of 1829. Randolph represented the Virginia aristocrats on the Atlantic seaboard, and Campbell represented the common people in the western part of the state. Campbell put up a strong fight for free public schools and libraries -- a position which Randolph opposed. These two men often clashed in verbal combat in the convention hall. Though Campbell did not win his plea for free public schools, he at least presented these views in a day when a great many so-called democrats actually were upholding the ideas of a land-holding aristocracy. Campbell's stubborn opposition to the aristocrats, who were accustomed to having their own way, so provoked the wrath of Randolph that he once stood up in convention and pointing his finger at Campbell, declared,

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    "That man is never satisfied. God Almighty could not satisfy him with the Bible which He gave and Mr. Campbell went and wrote a Bible of his own." [4]

    The first edition of the new translation was published at Buffaloe, Brooke County, Virginia, in 1826. The book was arranged so that chapter headings and verse numbers did not interfere with the continuity of thought. In many respects this version of the New Testament is similar to the Revised Standard Version first published in 1946. A second edition of Campbell's Bible was published in 1828. Several more editions followed, including a pocket-sized volume, and one with the hymnal included.

    Campbell's chief departure from the English editions was in his refusal to use the anglicized Greek form for the word "immersion." When the word baptism was dropped in favor of the more literal term immersion, even the Baptists objected. They took it as slander toward the historic name of their denomination. When John the Baptist became John the Immerser, it tended to increase the hostility between the regular Baptists and Campbell.

    Campbell's translation was used enthusiastically by his followers. It became an important factor in the development of the movement. A modern critic writes of this translation, "This was unquestionably the best New Testament in use at that time, and while it was circulated for many years among the Disciples, its use was naturally confined to immersionists. [5]

    The Christian Hymnal

    Alexander Campbell thought the hymnals in popular use were not true to New Testament scholarship. He also considered

    4 Benjamin Lyon Smith, Alexander Campbell (St. Louis: Bethany Press, 1930), p. 172.

    5 P. Marion Simms, The Bible in America (New York: Wilson-Erickson, Inc., 1936), p. 249.

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    them sectarian in spirit. He argued, and with a great deal of merit, it was not consistent to proclaim an ecumenical Christianity and at the same time sing sectarian hymns in the worship of God. He looked upon hymns for the most part as sectarian creeds set to metre, declaring:

    1. They are in toto contrary to the spirit and genius of the Christian religion.

    2. They are unfit for any congregation, as but few in any one congregation can with regard to truth, apply them to themselves.

    3. They are an essential part of the corrupt systems of this day, and a decisive characteristic of the grand apostasy. [6]

    Campbell published a hymnal in 1828 in which he endeavored to make certain corrections and alterations. so the hymns would be consistent with his principles. He called the book, Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs. It became known later as The Christian Hymnal. The original hymnal contained 125 selections, and a treatise on Psalmnody. It sold for 37 1/2 cents. In 1834, the works of Scott, Stone, and Johnson were added. This book turned out to be one of Campbell's most profitable publishing ventures. Several years later he gave publication rights to the American Christian Missionary Society. To the time of the Civil War, the hymnal held a large place in the literature of worship in Ohio congregations.

    The Stillwater Association Follows the Mahoning

    The practice of weekly communion is a distinctive characteristic of Disciples. It had its first real test in Ohio. Cyrus McNeeley of Cadiz, while still in his teens, applied for membership in the Beech Creek (Presbyterian) Church near his home. Because he could not honestly relate a Christian "experience”

    6 Christian Baptist, Vol. 5, No. 5, December 3, 1827, p. 107.

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    the session asked him to defer membership. In the meantime, McNeeley, who sincerely wanted to become a Christian, read the first numbers of the Christian Baptist. He was so impressed with Campbell's articles on "Experimental Religion" that he made a trip to Bethany to consult the editor. Campbell no doubt was already acquainted with the McNeeley family, as he had visited them several years before when he was on a preaching mission in Ohio. The outcome of McNeeley's visit with Campbell in 1827 was that he was baptized and then decided to become a member of the Wellsburg Baptist church. When winter came, it was impossible for the young man to attend the bimonthly meetings of the church, so he transferred membership to the Cadiz Baptist Church near his home. The Cadiz church belonged to the Stillwater Baptist Association.

    Through McNeeley's influence, this church observed the apostolic custom of serving the Lord's Supper weekly. In due time this "heresy" came to the attention of the Stillwater Association. When a vote was taken on the issue, it was discovered the preachers for the most part were against the practice, but the laymen were for it. Inasmuch as the laymen outnumbered the preachers, McNeeley's position was upheld.

    Article six of the Constitution of the Stillwater Association, organized November 14, 1817, stated, "No body of people called a church, shall be admitted into this association that has not been immersed by a regular ordained minister, upon profession of faith." Cyrus McNeeley, who was not ordained at the time, violated the Constitution and instituted another "heresy" when he baptized Mrs. Nancy Smith contrary to the rules. For this act, McNeeley had to stand trial before his brethren. He was ably defended by Thomas and Alexander Campbell, and James Phillips. When a vote was taken on the issue, it was discovered the majority upheld McNeeley. Not satisfied with the way things were going, the minority group

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    withdrew fellowship and formed the Zoar Baptist Association. This left the whole Stillwater Association in the hands of the reformers.

    The Cadiz congregation moved east to Green township near the center of its membership. In 1845 a meetinghouse was built at Hopedale. McNeeley lived in the vicinity of Hopedale the rest of his life. He was successful in establishing and maintaining one of Ohio's first normal schools at this place. Hundreds of Ohio teachers received training here in the days before the state established tax-supported teachers' colleges.

    McNeeley, though little recognized, has had a profound formative influence on the brotherhood of the Disciples. He was instrumental in provoking the Campbells to state their position on slavery. In instituting the weekly observance of communion and proclaiming the efficacy of baptism at the hands of laymen, he broke down the barriers between clergymen and laymen. This action became a practical demonstration of the "Priesthood of all believers." Up to quite recent times, the Disciples' clergy has been considered simply as the preaching brethren in the church. As elders of the congregation they served, they had no more 'ecclesiastical authority than laymen-elders. The Disciples have placed but little importance upon ecclesiastical ordination. Some of the earlier ministers were ordained, but more were not. Ordination has never been a qualification for the ministry, nor a test of ministerial standing. [7]

    As a result of McNeeley's influence on the Baptists of the Stillwater Association, this association dissolved itself in 1830. The action took place the same month as the dissolution of the Mahoning Baptist Association.

    7 Cyrus McNeeley's story is found in the following numbers of the Christian Standard: August 51, 1867; August 16, 1879; and, February 28, March 14, April 4, April 18, 1891. Charles Louis Loos is author of the 1891 series.

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    The Campbell-Owen Debate
    Communism versus Christianity

    A debate took place in Cincinnati in 1829 which elevated the prestige of Alexander Campbell, proved even to his enemies that he was an orthodox Christian, and showed that Christianity could be defended on the basis of logic and inductive reasoning.

    Modern students have rightly pointed out it was Robert Owen rather than Karl Marx who was the real founder of communism. They also show that Owen's popularity and influence began its decline following the debate with Campbell. In a large way, therefore, Campbell tempered the economic as well as the religious thought of early America.

    Robert Owen was one of the great men of his times. He demonstrated in his father-in-law's mills at New Lanark, Scotland, that in the Industrial Revolution, low wages, long hours, and child-labor were not necessary to business success. Alexander Campbell didn't object to Owen's principles of economic cooperation so much as he did to the Godlessness of Owen's philosophy.

    Owen held to the sociological concept that any characteristic could be given to any community if the proper means were applied. The culture of any given community, he declared, was under human control. He thought of the community "collectively," and advocated a doctrine of humanistic philosophical determinism. Owen's system looked upon Christianity as a superstition that hampered one in the pursuit of success, truth, and happiness.

    In 1824, Owen purchased several thousand acres of land at New Harmony, Indiana. He put his communistic theories into practice at this place. Those who were attracted to Owen's New Harmony experiment were for the most part Deists, atheists, or free-thinkers. Though societies (or colonies) of

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    this nature were common then, the New Harmony group was the only organization that was exclusively controlled by economic and social principles, rather than religious ones. [8] The New Harmony colony was designated by Alexander Campbell as, "The forces of enlightened atheism."

    Campbell was among the few religious thinkers of his day who applied the principles of scientific method to the study of Christianity. Armed with his Lockian empiricism, he was more than a match for his opponents who attempted to use scientific method in the cause of skepticism. An example of Campbell's logic is illustrated in an editorial conflict between himself, as editor of the Christian Baptist, and the editor of the New Harmony Gazette.

    A Problem for the Editor of the Harmony Gazette and His Doubting Brethren:

    You think that reason cannot originate the idea of an eternal first cause, or that no man could acquire such an idea by the employment of his senses and reason -- and you think correctly.

    You think also, that the Bible is not a supernatural revelation-not a revelation from a Deity in any sense. These things premised, gentlemen, I present my problem for ATHEISTS in the form of a query again.

    The Christian idea of an eternal first cause uncaused, or of a God, is now in the world and has been for ages immemorial. You say it could not enter into the world by reason, and it did not enter by revelation. Now, as you are philosophers and historians, and have all the means of knowing, how did it enter into the world? [9]

    In meeting Campbell, the Owenites, instead of arguing with another speculative theologian, met a man who talked their own language!

    A certain Dr. Underhill challenged Campbell to debate on the evidences of Christianity, but Campbell who was after bigger game, turned him down. His opportunity came when

    8 George B. Lockwood, The New Harmony Movement (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1905), pp. 307, 308.

    9 Christian Baptist, Vol. 5, No. 3, October 1, 1827, p. 57.

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    Owen challenged the entire clergy of New Orleans to discuss the claims of the Christian religion, and these men refused to meet him. When Campbell heard of the challenge, he took it up immediately. [10] After the two men had met at Bethany for preliminary arrangements, they set the debate for April 13-21, 1829, in the Methodist meetinghouse at Cincinnati.

    The discussion attracted a great deal of attention. If Campbell was not so well known at the time, at least the name of Robert Owen was a formidable one. When the debate was advertised, people came from hundreds of miles around to hear what was to be said.

    Owen presented his case in a series of twenty-two lectures lasting over a period of five days. He read from a previously prepared manuscript, and never deviated from his notes regardless of Campbell's attempt to draw him out. His speeches were expositions of the twelve fundamental social laws he had formulated. By April 17, he had exhausted his resources and apparently had no more to say. Campbell then went on, by public request, and gave his famous twelve-hour speech on the evidences of Christianity. In this final attempt, Campbell separated Christianity from sectarianism, presented the gospel as a series of historically related facts, claimed that man had the power of reason and will, denied that gratification of physical desires brought ultimate happiness, showed that faith sustained man in trying times, explained the futility of society without individual responsibility, and pointed out that whatever of good there was on Owen's system of philosophy came from Christianity itself. [11]

    The debate was conducted on a high plane with both speakers showing regard for one another's sincerity and convictions.

    10 Ibid., Vol. 5, No. 10, May 5, 1828, pp. 236-238. Contains Owen's challenge and reply. Campbell debated informally with Dr. Underhill in Cleveland in 1836.

    11 Robert Richardson, op. cit., II: pp. 263-284.

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    They became close friends from that time on, and met later on social occasions. The debate was published in book form in the United States and England. It went through several editions in this country. In many respects it was the most outstanding religious controversy ever held in Ohio. [12]

    The Campbell-Owen debate made Campbell's influence felt in the whole Ohio River Valley. Though the ecumenical movement crystallized first in northeastern and southwestern Ohio, the debate was instrumental in spreading the principles advocated by Campbell to other sections of the state and throughout the country.

    Centers of Influence Outside the Reserve

    In the years prior to 1830, certain centers of influence developed in addition to those in northeastern Ohio. These were in the Miami, Scioto, Hocking, and Muskingum Valleys. Though the pattern of reform was slower to assume definite structure in these places, the germ of the reformation was there. The Disciples drew from two primary sources in these regions: Baptist and New Light congregations.

    The work of the Disciples in Cincinnati is a good example of the reform movement in Baptist circles. The mother congregation for both Baptists and Disciples was the old Enon Baptist Church of Cincinnati. It was organized in 1821. In 1828, a colony from this church organized the Sycamore Street Baptist Church. This new group split a few months later, and. the reforming faction organized a church at Eighth and Walnut Streets. It was from this church the Disciples' fellowship in that city originated. James Challen and David Staats Burnet were the outstanding leaders. In a few years, the Cincinnati group became strong enough to challenge the leadership of Bethany. Cincinnati eventually became headquarters

    12 Robert Owen and Alexander Campbell, Debate on the Evidence of Christianity (Bethany: A. Campbell, 1829).

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    for the organized work of the Disciples and maintained that distinction for a half century.

    The church at Wilmington, Clinton County, developed on a similar plan. A group of Baptists started the organization in 1817. Within a few years, a minority within this group became interested in Campbell's reformation and withdrew to form a new congregation at that place in 1828. In the forma- tive years of the church, David Staats Burnet served as minister. The New Light congregation at New Antioch, organized around 1820, is another church that gave way to the Campbell reformation.

    At Dayton, in Montgomery County, the Baptist church, which had been organized as early as 1806, renounced its Baptist name and principles in 1829, and became a part of the new movement. The eight members who didn't approve of the change formed a new Baptist church in the community. Other churches outside the Reserve embracing the reformation prior to 1830 were: the Bethel church in Clermont County, the Jamestown church in Greene County, the Glenmont church in Holmes County, the Bell church in Knox County, the Eaton church in Preble County, the Canton church in Stark County, and the Dennis church in Knox County. Some of these were independent, rather than regular Baptist congregations. [13]

    The church at Minerva began under New Light influence. Preachers of the Campbell reformation were equally welcome here, and it appears that the congregation never made any distinction between the two groups. This congregation was originally organized as "The Plains" church in 1821. It started in a revival held by John Secrest. Most of the members of the congregation moved to Minerva around 1850, causing the church to localize at this place. For many years

    13 There were probably many more Baptist and New Light congregations that embraced the Campbell movement prior to 1830. Some of the churches mentioned above lapsed, and have no direct connection with existing churches at these places.

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    the Minerva church was an operation base for the Campbell movement in this section of the state. A great many important leaders among the Disciples got their start at Minerva. Among these were: William Schooley, Dr. W. A. Belding, Wesley Lanpheare, Charles L. Loos, A. Wilford Hall, Joseph Gaston, and J. H. Jones. In the early days, John Whitacre was a pillar of the church and an influential layman in the movement,

    It may be noted, therefore, that before the Disciples became a separate communion in 1830, the movement extended from Bethany north and west where it crystallized first. Then it followed the Ohio River Valley touching several isolated communities all the way to Cincinnati. As migration extended northward, following the rivers that empty into the Ohio, the movement seemed to follow the new frontiers. Central and northwestern Ohio were not reached until many years later.

    By 1830, the proclaimers of the new movement had developed a distinctive literature of their own. In the libraries of these itinerant lay-preachers were usually copies of the Campbell-Walker and Campbell-Owen debates, Campbell's New Testament and hymnal, and copies of the Christian Baptist. Armed with this literature, and zealous of obtaining converts, they stormed the citadels of the frontier. They preached, they debated, they argued, and they quoted scripture. They made many lasting friends and a host of enemies; and not a few were added to the kingdom.



    LEARNING THE HARD WAY, 1830-1841

    When the Mahoning and Stillwater Associations were dissolved, and many Baptist congregations in Ohio broke from denominational moorings, the brethren who had a part in the movement rejoiced. Alexander Campbell, who had laid down the principles of this reformation in the columns of the Christian Baptist, was the first, if not the only person to see the dangers ahead. He felt that a tactical blunder had been made in this sudden movement toward complete congregational independence, perceiving rightly that freedom granted too soon might easily lead to anarchy. He knew that in 1830, at least, his brethren were not prepared to assume the responsibility that accompanies freedom and independence. He believed the movement could avoid many mistakes if it could but keep somewhat within the framework of the association plan of Baptist bodies. His brethren, however, were not ready to listen. They desired a complete break from what they called "sectarianism."

    Campbell's inquiry at Austintown in 1830 when the Mahoning Association dissolved itself, was indicative of his great concern. He asked at that time, "Brethren, what are you now going to do? Are you never going to meet again?" Then he answered his own query by proposing they have Yearly Meetings for preaching and fellowship. It was an attempt to keep the movement from falling apart.

    He ceased publication of the Christian Baptist that same year, and began to edit a new magazine called The Millennial Harbinger. Whereas before he had been a destructive critic,

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    he now became a constructive realist. Time and again, in his new periodical and in speeches, he stressed the need of simple ecclesiastical organization, and cooperation among the churches.

    History has shown his fears were not unfounded. For years the, movement was torn by dissension and strife. The scars of those early battles still remain with the brotherhood. In spite of overwhelming obstacles, the movement gained momentum through the years, and became one of America's leading Protestant communions.

    Skirmishes With the Mormons

    Among the first problems encountered by Ohio Disciples was the apostasy of Sidney Rigdon to the Mormons. The Mormon episode, so far as Disciples are concerned, was peculiar to Ohio. It was never a very serious problem, but it caused more than a little concern on the Western Reserve. Historical information on Disciple-Mormon relationship is not too clear, but some significant events stand out.

    Had it not been for Sidney Rigdon, Mormonism would probably have never been introduced so directly to the Disciples. Rigdon was a brilliant fellow, an able preacher, but somewhat erratic and given to metaphysical speculation. He was a brother-in-law of Adamson Bentley of Warren. His three cousins, Thomas, John, and Charles Rigdon, were "reformation" preachers.

    Rigdon has been described as a winning speaker, one who used copious language, fluent, eloquent, enthusiastic, a nd of great personal influence. He was considered the orator of the Mahoning Association, and declared by many to be superior to Campbell as a preacher.

    Sidney Rigdon first met Campbell at Bethany, Virginia. On a return trip from southern Ohio where he and Adamson Bentley had been preaching, the two were invited to stay one night at the Campbell homestead. The conversation with the

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    Bethany reformer lasted until daylight. It centered on matters of the faith. Hayden wrote of the results of this meeting, "On parting the next day, Sidney Rigdon, with all apparent candor, said, if he had within the last year taught and promulgated from the pulpit one error he had a thousand." [1]

    The visitors henceforth took a different view of the Christian religion. In 1822, Campbell was instrumental in placing Rigdon as pastor of the Baptist church at Pittsburgh. It was not apparent, however, that Rigdon was leaning toward the Mormon position until 1830. When the Mahoning Association met at that time at Austintown, Rigdon showed his hand by proposing members of the various congregations follow the "scriptural" practice of having economic holdings in common. He was vigorously opposed by Campbell. [2]

    Following Campbell's rebuff, Rigdon is reported to have declared, "I have done as much in this reformation as Campbell or Scott, and yet they get all the honor of it." [3] This may be the key to his apostasy. At any rate, subsequent events indicate Rigdon may have been in touch with Joseph Smith and the Mormons for many months. Some believe this connection went back to 1827.

    The Mormon episode opened at Mentor. Rigdon was preaching in this vicinity as a Disciple minister. There was a Rigdonite or quasi-Disciple congregation at Kirtland which is now thought to have been a communistic religious colony. One morning Rigdon appeared at the home of judge Clapp of Mentor, seeming to be elated by some mysterious experience, or at least motivated by a sense of mission. He had scarcely been admitted to the house when he exclaimed, "Two men came to my house last night on a curious mission!" [4] Then he explained that his two mysterious visitors had told him a

    1 A. S. Hayden, op. cit., p. 19.

    2 Cf. ante., pp. 60, 61.

    3 A. S. Hayden, op. cit., p. 299.

    4 Ibid., p. 210.

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    peculiar tale of the finding of certain ancient plates long buried in a hillside near Palmyra, New York. Engraved on the plates were signs or symbols in strange hieroglyphics. The judge's son Matthew, who was present, was forthright enough to declare at once, "It's all a lie!” Neither the judge, nor members of his family were influenced by the turn of events; being too well acquainted with the vagaries of Sidney Rigdon.

    Rigdon's two visitors were Parley P. Pratt and Oliver Cowdery. Pratt had originally moved from New York State to somewhere west of Cleveland, probably in the vicinity of Amherst, in Lorain County. Sidney Rigdon, who was holding evangelistic meetings in Lorain County during the years 1827 to 1829, apparently won him over to the Reformed Baptist (later called Disciple) position. He became a preacher. Either at the instigation of Rigdon, or on his own accord, he made a trip back East in 1830 to investigate the claims of Mormonism. Here he met Hyrum Smith, brother of the "prophet," and was presented with a copy of the Book of Mormon. The Mormons declare that Pratt greatly loved and admired Rigdon under whose preaching he had been originally converted. Therefore, on returning to Ohio as a Mormon missionary, he hunted up his old friend Rigdon to present the new gospel first to him. This is supposed to be Rigdon's introduction to Mormonism. Rigdon's other mysterious visitor was Oliver Cowdery, who was reputed to be one of three original witnesses to the validity of the golden plates.

    It appears that Pratt and Cowdery remained a week with Rigdon, following his announcement at Mentor. He was playing "hard to convince." The following Sunday, Rigdon met an appointment to preach for the congregation at Kirtland. Hayden wrote that though speaking was never difficult f or him, on this occasion he seemed ill at ease and finally had to give up. Cowdery and Pratt then came to the pulpit and did most of the talking. That afternoon, Rigdon and his wife, as

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    well as several members of the Kirtland church, were baptized into the new religion. Mormon historians claim it took Rigdon seven weeks to make up his mind, and that he was baptized with others on the night of November 14, 1830. [5]

    Next, Rigdon made a pilgrimage to New York where he stayed with Joseph Smith about two months. Rigdon's knowledge of the Bible was a big help to Smith in formulating the principles of Mormon theology. Six of the thirteen statements in the Mormon Articles of Faith are identical with the principles taught by Walter Scott in his evangelistic crusade, 1827-1830, among the churches of the Mahoning Baptist Association. Article four, which states, "We believe the first principles and ordinances of the gospel are: (I) Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, (2) Repentance, (3) Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins, (4) Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost," is a clear indication of direct appropriation of Scott’s formulary. Article six could have been written by Alexander Campbell himself: "We believe in the same organization that existed in the primitive church; viz., apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, etc." Rigdon's experience as a church organizer and evangelist, together with his wide acquaintanceship on the Western Reserve, was used to advantage. Mormon sermons even to this day retain characteristic "Disciple" marks.

    Rigdon has often been considered as the real author of the Book of Mormon. In recent years, however, this theory has been discredited. The first critical review of the Mormon claims was written by Alexander Campbell in the Millennial Harbinger. Even at this early date, Campbell scoffed at the idea of the Book of Mormon being a translation from golden

    5 According to Scott's Evangelist, June 1, 1841, Mormonism was presented in Euclid before it reached Kirtland. Rigdon, with three "missionaries" from New York, attended a meeting at Euclid early in October and read from a mysterious "book." Rigdon's three friends were Pratt, Whitmar, and Peterson.

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    plates. He considered Smith, and not Rigdon, to be the real author, a position taken in modern times by many historians. [6]

    In February, 1831, Smith, Rigdon, and Edward Partridge, with their families, came to Kirtland where the Mormon movement was already getting a good start. The New York Mormons were not communistic at first, but they found the Kirtland church was already a communistic "colony." It was thought that Rigdon influenced Smith to adopt this feature into the movement. It is known at least that Rigdon held these views, for prior to this he tried to present them to his brethren in the Mahoning Baptist Association. Orson Hyde, another young Disciple preacher who had formed Disciple churches in Lorain and Huron Counties, and a "Timothy" of Rigdon and the Kirtland church, embraced Mormonism about this time.

    Thomas Campbell was a guest in the Clapp home at Mentor in the winter of 1830-31. His daughter Alicia had recently married Matthew Clapp, the judge's son. Thomas Campbell, with the Clapps and others, furnished effective opposition to Mormonism. Campbell tried to draw Rigdon into a public discussion on the issue, but was not successful.

    Two Disciples, J. J. Moss and Isaac Moore, investigated the Mormons at this time. These two men pretended to be interested so they could enter the inner circle of the movement to expose its weaknesses. Moss wrote in his diary of an incident connected with the so-called angelic visitations at Kirtland which turned out disastrously for the angel. He claimed when the Mormons baptized at night, it was a common sight to see an angel walk out on the water as if to imply

    6 Joseph Smith described these plates as being 6" by 8" in size and about the thickness of commercial sheet tin. He said they had the appearance of gold and were bound book style with three rings, making a volume 6" thick. He declared the plates were inscribed in "reformed" Egyptian characters which he deciphered by means of looking through two transparent "peep stone" spectacles found with the plates.

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    divine approval. Upon examination of the locale in daylight, the investigators (Moss and Moore) found a two-inch plank fixed like a springboard just beneath the surface of the water. They sawed the plank almost in half; so the next night, when the "angel" walked on the water, the plank gave way, causing a mighty splash and a very un-angelic shriek! [7]

    Rigdon and Smith, with their families, moved to Hiram in 1831. Mormon historians claim they selected Hiram as a quiet place where they could work on a new translation of the Bible. It appears, however, that Smith and Rigdon planned to change their base from Kirtland to Hiram to escape the infamy connected with the Kirtland post.

    They were successful in Hiram for several months. Symonds Ryder, pastor of the Hiram church, was so impressed with one of Smith's prophecies and a successful faith-healing incident that he joined the group. Most of his congregation followed his example.

    Rigdon and Smith did not wear well with the community. Smith's convenient revelations concerning deeding farms over to him did not appeal to land-holding Hiramites. The "prophet" had one of these special revelations for the benefit of Symonds Ryder and his "call" to the Mormon Eldership. This particular incident ultimately caused the break with the Mormons in Hiram. Ryder demanded to see the manuscript on which Smith had taken down God's message. On looking it over, he discovered his name was spelled S-i-m-o-n  R-i-d-e-r. He reasoned if the message were divine, God would have spelled his name correctly so he withdrew from the movement with most of his congregation following. One night a group of irate citizens "tarred and feathered" Smith and Rigdon, showing them they were no longer welcome in Hiram. The hierarchy then moved officially to Kirtland. A

    7 M. M. Moss (Ed.), "Autobiography of a Pioneer Preacher," Christian Standard, January 15, 1938.

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    magnificent temple was built at this place, but owing to certain difficulties, not the least of which was a wildcat bank, the Mormons thought it expedient to migrate farther west. If the Hiramites embraced Mormonism quickly, they dropped it just as quickly. As far as is known, only the family of Oliver Snow remained in the Mormon fold. The Snows followed Smith west, and a daughter Eliza became famous as the Mormon poetess and one of the "spiritual" wives of Joseph Smith. [8]

    The Disciples never had any serious conflicts with the Mormons after these early skirmishes. On the death of Joseph Smith, Rigdon tried to take over leadership, but was outwitted by Brigham Young. Rigdon returned to Pittsburgh where he started his own branch of the faith.

    How the Disciples Propagated the Movement

    Because pioneer Disciples relied primarily on their own resources, with little benefit of academic training, they developed many new methods for propagating the movement. Learning to cooperate for the common good became a painful but necessary experience. It was not until 1842 that real steps were taken in this direction in Ohio, and nothing really tangible developed until the organization of the American Christian Bible Society in 1845 in the city of Cincinnati.

    One of the outstanding means of united work was the Yearly Meetings held in various localities, usually in the fall of the year. Another method of getting together was by protracted evangelistic meetings, or "Meetings of Days" as they were called. Protracted meetings were held in the middle of the winter after the holidays at such time as to avoid corn husking, sugar making, or cheese making. The months of January and February were usually favored. Another

    8 B. A. Hinsdale, op. cit., pp. 18-20. A. S. Hayden, op. cit., pp. 209-222; 249-253. F. M. Green, Hiram College and Western Reserve Eclectic Institute (Cleveland. O. S. Hubbell Ptg. Co., 1901), pp. 405-407.

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    popular means of getting together was through debates, usually held in the country schoolhouses.

    The preachers in the movement were generally farmers for the most part, though some schoolteachers, doctors, and businessmen were numbered among them. These self-appointed home missionaries were free-lances who didn't need to depend upon their preaching for a livelihood. Most of them were good, sincere persons, though there were a few rascals among them whom Campbell dared to expose in the columns of the Harbinger.

    The pioneer preachers did not always have an easy time of it, though they seemed to enjoy opposition. In describing some of these difficulties, Walter Scott wrote:

    In one place where I was baptizing, just as I raised the baptized person up out of the water, I saw a great stick hanging or rather shaking over my head. On another occasion I was interrupted by a person with a sword cane -- at one place they set loose my mare in the night, and at Noblestown in the midst of six Presbyterian congregations the sectarian population cut off all the hair from her tai... [9]

    With few exceptions, these early preachers went where they pleased, and generally were welcomed by friend and foe. Frontier society enjoyed the diversion they provided from the humdrum routine of life. In presenting the plea to a new community they generally worked on a standard pattern. An account of their method of approach was given in the Presbyterian of Philadelphia, primarily as a warning to the orthodox. Campbell reprinted the article in the Harbinger. It gives a picture, from the viewpoint of outsiders, of early Disciple missionary work.

    The following method is commonly pursued, as we have learned from a friend. A shrewd follower of Campbell comes to a certain village where these errors are unknown. He at first calls himself a Baptist, and

    9 Christian Baptist, Vol. 7, No. 12, July 5, 1930, p. 271.

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    no one suspects the contrary. He professes great liberality of sentiment towards other denominations, preaches so as to please all, and appears full of zeal. After a little he announces that on such a day he will preach a sermon on Christian Union. At the appointed time he portrays in glaring colors the evils of sectarianism, and traces them all to creeds and confessions. He then proposes a plan in which all can unite.... [10]

    Though these missionaries (called evangelists) were not always successful, they usually gained a few followers. If half a dozen or so persons were interested, a church was formed. They didn't worry about the lack of a building or the need of a pastor because they had confidence in themselves and in lay-preaching. In fact, they were inclined to be suspicious of the professional clergy. As the Lord's Supper was observed regularly, this was the focal point of the worship service. Preaching was necessary only as a means of bringing others to their viewpoint. It was available at Yearly Meetings or when an itinerant preacher visited them. They met in homes and schoolhouses, and sometimes in borrowed meetinghouses. Organizations thus formed had a high mortality rate. Most of them lapsed, but some lived on to become substantial congregations.

    F. M. Green, in writing of these early preachers, made the statement, "It was not an uncommon thing for the preacher to enter the pulpit wearing cowhide shoes or boots, and if the weather was warm to lay aside his coat." He further declared) "These plain men could quote more scripture than any of the educated orthodox preachers of the time." [11]

    Jasper J. Moss, mentioned in connection with the Mormon discussion, was one of the popular preachers. He was such a hard-hitting speaker he was often called "Rasping Wasp." Moss taught school in the winter and preached in the vacation months. An interesting incident occurred at Minerva when he

    10 Millennial Harbinger, 1833, p. 227.

    11 Christian Century, December 17, 1903.

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    was holding a meeting there. He was young at the time, and had a few chin whiskers trimmed in goatee fashion. Rasping and sarcastic, he bore down on the eldership of the church. He declared, "One half of our elders can't tell a sheep from a goat! " In a shrill voice, the venerable John Whitacre who was sitting near the front called out, "I can!" "How?" inquired Moss. "By the beard, sir," answered Whitacre. It was reported this apt reply brought down the house and for once in his life Moss was beaten. It was impossible for him to recover, and the congregation was dismissed.

    The Methodists were once holding a camp meeting near Wadsworth. Their evangelist was known far and wide as a "Campbellite Killer." He wrote a song and set it to a popular tune. It was sung with vigor and enthusiasm by his brethren. The lines ran:

    Ho, every mother, son and daughter,
    Here is the gospel of the water.
    Here's the ancient gospel way,
    Here's the road to endless day,
    Here begins the reign of heaven,
    Here your sins shall be forgiven;
    Every mother, son and daughter,
    Here's the gospel of the water.

    A. B. Green, a Disciple preacher who lived near by, wrote a response by way of another stanza.

    Ho, every white man, squaw and wench
    Here's the gospel of the bench,
    Here's the modern gospel way,
    Here's the road to endless day;
    Here begins the reign of heaven,
    Here your sins shall be forgiven;
    Every white man, squaw and wench
    Here's the gospel of the bench. [12]

    12 Alanson Wilcox, op. cit., p. 43.

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    No doubt both versions were sung on many occasions. This was the sort of thing especially relished on the Ohio frontier.

    Some interesting local debates were held in the early years of the movement. In 1830, Marshall Wilcox, a Disciple, met Thomas Graham (Methodist) at Middlebury (now east Akron). Wilcox was a common laboring man and Graham a trained minister. Graham tried to impress his audience and add weight to his arguments by quoting scripture in Hebrew and Greek. He even jibed his opponent about his humble scholastic attainments. Wilcox replied, "I am a mechanic. I claim to be nothing above a common laboring man-an honest cooper (barrel maker).... if my opponent s wells much more I may have to hoop him!" This remark captivated the audience and shouts of "Hoop him, Wilcox, hoop him!" came from all over the hall. [13]

    That same year, James Porter (Disciple) debated James Gilbreath (Methodist) in Eden township, Licking County. The affair took place in a log barn belonging to Jesse Oldacre. The debate provoked interest, and as a result the church grew in numbers.

    Field Notes

    In his new periodical, Campbell gave more space to field notes than in the Christian Baptist. These reports constitute much of the reliable source of information on the growth and status of the movement in various Ohio communities. Features that stand out are: large audiences in attendance at Yearly Meetings and Meetings of Days; the numbers of accessions to the churches; the lay-leadership that developed within the movement; reliance on the printed word in periodicals and books as the ultimate in ecclesiastical authority; genuine fear of even a simple democratic form of ecclesiastical organization;

    13 A. S. Hayden, op. cit., p. 357.


    Transcriber's Comments

    Detail from front cover of 1823 Redstone Baptist Association "Minutes"

    (under construction)

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