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Title: An American Religious Movement - A Brief History of the Disciples of Christ
Author: Douglas, Winfred Ernest
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "An American Religious Movement - A Brief History of the Disciples of Christ" ***

                              An American
                           Religious Movement

                         A Brief History of the
                          Disciples of Christ

                        Winfred Ernest Garrison

                          (The Bethany Press)
                            ST. LOUIS 3, MO.

                            Copyright, 1945
                              C. D. Pantle

                      First Printing, Sept., 1945
                      Second Printing, June, 1946

                Printed in the United States of America


In an earlier volume, I recited the history of the Disciples of Christ
under the title, _Religion Follows the Frontier_. The phrase was
designed to emphasize the fact that this religious movement was born
under pioneer conditions on the American frontier, in the days when the
frontier was just crossing the Alleghenies, that much of its formative
thinking followed patterns congenial to the frontier mind, and that its
early expansion kept pace with the westward wave of migration.

Since that book is now out of print, while interest in the theme is
increasing, it has seemed desirable to rewrite the history. If this were
merely a sequel to the other, I would call it _Growing Up with the

It remains true that the pioneer beginnings must be remembered and
understood if the initial motives and methods of the Disciples and the
processes of their growth are to be understood. But important as the
frontier is, as a fact in the history of the United States and of every
phase of culture in the Middle West, an equally significant fact is
that, as the frontier rolled westward, it left behind it a widening area
in which pioneer conditions no longer prevailed. As the country was
growing by the expansive drive of which the frontier was the cutting
edge, it was also growing up, both behind and on the frontier. The
process of maturing is as significant as that of expanding.

Since the present purpose is to survey the history of the Disciples
through both of these phases, I have resisted the allurement of this
second title and am giving the book a name which includes both; for the
movement is distinctively American, and every American movement which
began in pioneer days and has lived through the cycles of American life
until now has both followed the frontier and grown up with the country.

As to the future—I am only a historian, not a prophet. But I shall be
disappointed if this record of the past does not leave with the reader
an acquaintance with the essential data upon which, using his own
judgment and imagination, he will be disposed to project the curve of a
future development far beyond any present attainments in promoting the
ends for which the Disciples of Christ came into existence—the unity and
purity of the Church, a reasonable and practical religion, and the
enrichment of life through fellowship in the grace of our Lord Jesus

                                                                W. E. G.


       I. Prelude                                                      9
      II. Ideas with a History: Union and Restoration                 14
     III. The American Scene                                          28
      IV. The “Christians”                                            41
       V. The Coming of the Campbells                                 60
      VI. With the Baptists, 1813-30                                  76
     VII. First Years of Independence, 1830-49                        90
    VIII. Organization and Tensions, 1849-74                         108
      IX. Renaissance, 1874-1909                                     125
       X. Growing into Maturity, 1909-45                             142
          Index                                                      157

                               CHAPTER I

Who are these “Disciples of Christ”? What are these “Christian Churches”
or “Churches of Christ” which now constitute one of the major religious
groups in the United States? When, where, and how did they begin, and
how have they become what they are?

They began early in the nineteenth century with the union of two
separate movements, one of which had close kinship with two others. All
four were alike in aiming to simplify the complexities of Christian
faith and in going back of the creeds and the traditional practices of
existing churches to the plain teaching of the New Testament. They
believed that this was easy to understand, and that the divisions of
Christendom would disappear if Christians would only agree to speak as
the apostles spoke and to do as they did. They believed that man was
sinful and needed God’s salvation; but they did not believe him to be so
depraved by “original sin” that he could not, by the act of his own
intelligence and by his own free will, accept the means of grace that
have been provided. They wanted all the churches to unite on the basis
of the simple and clear requirements of discipleship as given in the New
Testament, leaving all doubtful and inferential matters in the field of
“opinion,” in which every Christian should exercise liberty, and scrap
the machinery of synods and bishops, for which they found no warrant in

Of the two main movements, the name of Barton W. Stone was most
prominent in one; the names of Thomas and Alexander Campbell in the
other. Stone’s movement (1804) began earlier than that of the Campbells
(1809), but later than two others practically identical with it. But the
Campbells’ was the more dynamic, especially after it gained the advocacy
of Walter Scott, who set the pattern for its evangelism. These are the
four great names in the early history of the Disciples—Stone, Thomas
Campbell, Alexander Campbell, and Scott. All four had been

                               A Preview

Stone was a native American of old colonial stock, born in Maryland,
educated in North Carolina after spending most of his boyhood in
Virginia. He did his most important work in Kentucky. Thomas and
Alexander Campbell, father and son, were born in North Ireland, were
educated at Glasgow University, and came to America only a short time
before the launching of their reformatory movement. The influences seen
in their work are those of a British background and an American
environment. The center of their activity was the southwest corner of
Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio, and the narrow strip of Virginia (now West
Virginia) that lies between them. Walter Scott, born in Scotland and
educated in the University of Edinburgh, came to America as a young man
and was a teacher in Pittsburgh when he received the impulse which led
him into the Campbell movement while it was still in its initial stage.

Soon the followers of the Campbells, most of whom had recently been
Baptists, and the associates of Stone, many of whom had been
Presbyterians, discovered the identity of their programs, and the two
movements flowed together into one. Stone’s “Christians,” chiefly in
Kentucky and Tennessee, plus the Baptists who had joined Campbell’s
“Reformers” and were beginning to call themselves “Disciples,” plus the
hundreds of converts who had already responded to the
faith-repentance-and-baptism evangelism of Scott and the others who had
learned to preach as he did, added up to twenty or thirty thousand by
the time of this union in 1832. From that point, growth was rapid, by
persistent and persuasive preaching, by propaganda in print, and by the
constant movement of population to new frontiers farther and farther
west carrying with it the nuclei of new churches in the new settlements.

This was at first a popular movement, unorganized and uncontrolled, with
no high command, no common treasury, no general machinery for either
promotion or direction. But the increasing magnitude of the enterprise,
the changing social conditions as the Middle West grew out of its
frontier stage, and the realization that such a religious body as this
was coming to be had some responsibilities other than propagating
itself—all these things made organization inevitable. Then followed
colleges, missionary societies, conventions, and the other apparatus of
an organic fellowship. But still, and always, there was fierce
resistance to anything that seemed to threaten encroachment upon the
liberty of the Christian individual or of the local congregation.
Cooperation must always be voluntary.

So the Disciples of Christ have become “a great people.” It is to their
credit that there has always been some confusion about their name.
Aiming to promote union, they wanted a scriptural name that all
Christians might use. They found in the New Testament certain terms
applied to the undivided church or to its members. Alexander Campbell
liked the name “Disciples.” Stone preferred “Christians.” A local church
is commonly called a “Christian Church,” or a “Church of Christ”; less
frequently a “Church of Disciples of Christ.” The name “Churches of
Christ” (in the plural), as the designation for a group, generally
refers to the conservative or antimissionary-society churches which
became completely separated from the main body in 1906.

But, though it is well to have unsectarian names which any Christian or
any Christian church can use, it is highly convenient to have some
designation which others do not generally use, so that the public will
know what is meant when reference is made to the churches or members of
this movement. Its objective may be the unity of all Christ’s followers,
but meanwhile it is a specific group, if not a denomination then a
“brotherhood”—and a brotherhood is just as distinct an entity as a
denomination. So, as a term that will be generally understood to mean
_us_, the term “Disciples of Christ” has come into common use.

                       Three Sources, Two Streams

Looking back from a later time to describe the reformatory movement as
it had been in the 1820’s, Walter Scott wrote that there were then
“three parties struggling to restore original Christianity.”

The _first_ of these was the independent “Churches of Christ,” which
stemmed from the work of Glas, Sandeman, the Haldane brothers, and
similar eighteenth century British restorers of primitive Christianity.
Scott himself for a time belonged to one of these churches in
Pittsburgh. They were few in number, had little relation to each other,
little concern for union, and no evangelistic drive. This party is
important for our purpose because it is one of the sources from which
the Campbells derived suggestions for a rational conception of faith and
the idea of “restoration” in its more legalistic and literalistic
aspects. It will be described more particularly in the latter part of
Chapter II.

The _second_ was the “Christian” churches, existing in three independent
groups in Virginia and North Carolina, in New England, New York, and
Pennsylvania, and in Kentucky and adjacent states. The last of these
divisions is doubtless the one Scott had chiefly in mind, and it is the
one most closely related to our theme. Some account of these three
bodies of “Christians” will be given in Chapter IV.

The _third_, said Scott, “originating with the writings and labors of
Bro. A. Campbell,” was at that time “chiefly in the bosom of the Regular
Baptist churches.” Chapters V and VI will tell the story of these
“Reformers” down to the time of their separation from the Baptists.

The first of these is significant as an influence and as part of the
historical background. It contributed to the united movement few
churches, few men, and no literature; but two of the men who came to the
Disciples through this channel were invaluable—Walter Scott and Isaac
Errett. The other two parties became substantial bodies, and they are
the two main streams whose confluence produced the Disciples of Christ.

                               CHAPTER II

The union of all Christians and the restoration of primitive
Christianity were the two main ideas announced by Thomas Campbell in his
_Declaration and Address_ in 1809 and championed by Alexander Campbell
for fifty years thereafter. With some differences of emphasis and
phrasing, they were the ruling ideas of Stone and the other reformers
whose work preceded, paralleled, and reinforced his. To this day, these
are the two foci of interest among Disciples, and every difference of
opinion which threatens to create parties among them revolves about
answers to the questions: “Restoration of what?” and “What price union?”

Each of these ideas, union and restoration, has a long history, only a
small part of which can be told here, but part of which must be told.

                           The Idea of Union

The essential unity of the church was and is a basic principle of Roman
Catholicism. It was a formative idea in the Catholic Church of the
second and third centuries, which had not yet become Roman, and it
continued to be so through all the history of the imperial church of the
Middle Ages. The great Protestant reformers of the sixteenth century did
not cease to be “catholic” in their belief that the church was divinely
intended to be one body. They wanted to reform the church, not to break
it into pieces. Efforts to heal the breach with Rome were long continued
and frequently renewed. But reunion with Rome proved to be impossible on
any other terms than submission to that usurped authority from which
they had revolted. Different types of Protestantism soon appeared. The
principal varieties—Lutheranism, Calvinism, Zwinglianism, Anabaptism,
episcopal Anglicanism—represented, not divisions of an originally united
Protestantism, but separate and independent revolts from Rome. Among
these there was a long series of conferences, negotiations, and
proposals designed to unite, if possible, all Protestants into one body.
Such efforts continued to be made throughout the seventeenth century.

In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, most people believed that a
nation could not be politically united unless it had only one church, of
which all its people were members. Consequently, the power of the state
was generally used to support one church and to suppress all others.
“Dissenters” were subjected to various degrees of pressure or restraint
to induce them to conform to the established church. Only gradually did
dissenters gain liberty of conscience. The intolerance and persecution
of which they were the victims meanwhile proved the importance that was
attached to the unity of the church, at least within the limits of each
nation. This kind of unity without liberty, or compulsory religious
unity conceived as an instrument of social control and as essential to
political stability, was the expression of a social philosophy which was
carried over from medieval Roman Catholic Europe to the modern European
nations, both Catholic and Protestant. The idea of unity as an important
characteristic of the church did not need to be invented or even
discovered in modern times. It was there all the while. But it needed to
be liberated from its political entanglements, as the church itself did.
It needed to be conceived in terms consistent with the spiritual nature
of the church and the civil rights of man. Both the church and the
citizen had to be made free.

Besides the efforts of politicians and ecclesiastics in established
churches to get church unity by compulsion, there were a few churchmen
and independent thinkers who argued that unity might be attained by
requiring agreement only upon the few saving essentials of Christianity
and leaving everyone free to hold his own opinions on all the doubtful
and disputatious matters of doctrine, polity, and ritual. Thus the
Puritan Stillingfleet wrote in his _Eirenicon_ (1662):

  It would bee strange the Church should require more than Christ
  himself did, and make other conditions of her communion than our
  Savior did of Discipleship.... Without all controversie, the main
  in-let of all the distractions, confusions and divisions of the
  Christian world hath been by adding other conditions of
  Church-communion than Christ hath done.

In very similar words, and only a few years later, the English
philosopher John Locke argued that, since men differ in their
interpretations of the Bible and always will, none should seek to impose
his opinions on another, and that their differences should not divide
them. In his first _Letter Concerning Toleration_ (1689), Locke wrote:

  Since men are so solicitous about the true church, I would only ask
  them here by the way, if it be not more agreeable to the Church of
  Christ to make the conditions of her communion consist in such things,
  and such things only, as the Holy Spirit has in the Holy Scriptures
  declared, in express words, to be necessary to salvation?

And Rupertius Meldenius made the classic statement of this principle
when he said: “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all
things, charity.”

But the churches did not respond to this appeal for liberty of opinion
within the church that there might be union of Christians in one church.
Slowly, however, the governments of most European countries in which the
Roman Catholic Church did not exercise control yielded to the demand for
liberty of religious opinion within the state. With this grant of
toleration to churches which were mutually intolerant, the states
preserved their unity, while the church sank into a condition of
complacent sectarianism. During the seventeenth century there had been
many pleas for church unity through liberty. The eighteenth century
thought much about liberty and little about unity. But it is to be
remembered that, when a new call to unity was sounded in America at the
beginning of the nineteenth century, it was the renewal of a campaign
that already had a long history. It came at a time when the churches in
America, happy in the complete liberty they enjoyed and in their freedom
from state control and equality before the law, had ceased to be much
concerned about unity and had settled into the conviction that division
and denominationalism represented the normal condition of the church.

                        The Idea of Restoration

The other principle stressed by “the reformation of the nineteenth
century” was the restoration of primitive Christianity. That also had a
long history, which can be only sketched. Thomas and Alexander Campbell
made a new use of this idea, and it will have a large place in the story
of their work, but in order to understand their contribution it is
necessary to note that the idea itself was not new. The oldest Christian
bodies claim to have preserved primitive Christianity uncorrupted, and
every reforming movement in the history of the church has claimed in
some sense to offer a restoration of its pristine purity. A few
citations, among many that might be offered, will make this clear.

The Roman Catholic Church professes to present original Christianity
unchanged. “What Christ made it in the beginning, that must it ever
remain,” says Rev. B. J. Otten, S.J., in _The Catholic Church and Modern
Christianity_. A representative of the Eastern Orthodox Church more
recently wrote: “The Russian Church, having alone preserved the picture
of Christ, must restore that picture to Europe.” A Chinese Nestorian who
visited Europe in the thirteenth century said to the College of
Cardinals: “As for us Orientals, the Holy Apostles taught us, and up to
the present we hold fast to what they have committed to us.”

The great reformers of the sixteenth century conceived of their work as
clearing away the human additions and getting back to primitive
Christianity as found in the Bible. Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin all made
their appeal directly to Scripture. Bucer exhorted believers to “reject
all false speculations and all human opinions.” The Anabaptists cited
the example of the first Christians as their authority for refusing to
have a creed or to bear arms or to take oaths or to hold civil office,
and Melchior Hofmann announced a “resurrection of primitive
Christianity.” When Queen Elizabeth was masquerading as a Lutheran, for
diplomatic reasons, she said she would hold to the Augsburg Confession
because it “conformed most closely to the faith of the early church.”
Chillingworth stated the principle of the Reformation in the words, “The
Bible and the Bible alone is the religion of Protestants,” excluding
ecclesiastical tradition because it furnished neither legitimate
additions to the primitive faith and practice nor trustworthy evidence
as to what these had been. Episcopalians, Presbyterians, and
Congregationalists, in seventeenth-century England, all claimed the
authority and example of the New Testament church in support of their
respective forms of church organization and their conceptions of the

One modern Lutheran writer declares that “the Lutheran Church is the old
original church,” and another that “Lutheranism is Bible Christianity.”
A book issued by the Presbyterian Board of Publication says that “of all
the churches now existing in the world, the Presbyterian Church comes
nearest to the apostolic model.” John Wesley wrote to the Methodists in
America after the Revolution that, being free from the English state and
hierarchy, they “are now at full liberty to follow the Scriptures and
the primitive church.”

More secular thinkers have made similar appeal to the ancient standards
as the cure for the modern church’s ills. Rousseau “only wanted to
simplify Christianity and bring it back to its origins,” says A. Aulard
in his work on _Christianity and the French Revolution_. John Adams
wrote in 1770: “Where do we find a precept in the Gospel requiring
ecclesiastical synods, councils, creeds, oaths, subscriptions, and whole
cart-loads of other trumpery that we find religion encumbered with in
these days?”

These references do not, of course, prove that all or any of those who
claimed to follow the primitive model actually did so. The point is that
they claimed to do it. The restoration of primitive purity has been the
standard formula for reformation.

                   Eighteenth Century Restorationists

In the eighteenth century there arose, in Great Britain, some movements
which applied the restoration formula in a way that contributed more
directly to the Campbells’ use of it than those already mentioned. None
of these gained a large following, and even their names have been
forgotten by all except special students of the period. Their leaders
were bold and independent spirits who saw that the church needed
reforming and were not afraid to attempt it. They laid hold of a great
idea, but they were never able to build a substantial enterprise upon
it. Yet they handed it down to those who could.

John Glas, a minister of the Church of Scotland, about 1727 came to the
conviction that, since the New Testament church had no connection with
the state, the whole scheme of establishment as embodied in the
“National Covenant” was without authority. Further, he found no warrant
for synods or other law-making bodies with power to fix standards of
doctrine for the whole church and exercise discipline over it. He
therefore left the state church and organized an independent
congregation. He next inquired how this autonomous local church should
order its affairs, conduct its worship, and establish its ministry.
Finding that the New Testament churches “came together on the first day
of the week to break bread,” whereas the Presbyterian Church of Scotland
observed the Lord’s Supper no oftener than once a month, Glas and his
associates adopted the practice of weekly communion. “They agreed that
in this, as in everything else,” says his biographer, “they ought to be
followers of the first Christians, being guided and directed by the
Scriptures alone.”

Further, Glas found that in the early churches there was a “plurality of
elders” and that “mutual edification” was practiced—that is, that public
services of worship were not conducted solely by one ordained minister.
This opened the way for a large degree of lay leadership and less
emphasis on the special functions of the clergy. After it was observed
that the Epistles of Paul made no mention of a university education or a
knowledge of the ancient languages among the qualifications for the
eldership, the line between clergy and laity grew still more dim.

Robert Sandeman, who married one of Glas’s daughters, adopted his
principles and gave them a somewhat more vigorous advocacy, so that the
resulting churches were more often called “Sandemanian” than “Glasite.”
Through their combined efforts, there came into existence a few small
churches, probably never more than a dozen or two, in various parts of
Scotland and England. Michael Faraday, the famous chemist, was a member
of a Sandemanian church in London. Apparently not more than six or eight
such churches were organized in America, and not all these were known by
that name or acknowledged any special connection with Glas or Sandeman.
Their basic theory led them to “call no man master” and to exercise
their liberty in deciding, from their own study of Scripture, what
should be their faith and practice. Robert Sandeman spent his last years
in Danbury, Connecticut, where he died in 1771, after organizing a
church there. There were Sandemanian churches in Boston. All of them in
this country, so far as known, were in New England.

Glas and Sandeman did not find that the New Testament churches practiced
only the immersion of believers as baptism. But some of their associates
in Scotland did. Archibald McLean was the leader of these. They came to
be called “Old Scotch Baptists.” In coming to this position they seem
not to have been influenced by the English Baptists but were moved by
their own independent study of the New Testament. Similarly, some of the
members of Sandeman’s church in Danbury later reached the same
conviction, withdrew, and formed an immersionist “Church of Christ.”

Although the Sandemanians remained few and inconspicuous, Robert
Sandeman himself was a theological thinker of great ability and clarity.
His writings were widely read and highly regarded by many who had no
affiliation with his movement and who did not share his views about the
importance of reproducing exactly the model of the primitive church.
This was especially true of his treatises dealing with the nature of
faith and with the priority of faith to repentance. If this now seems a
dry and technical matter, it did not seem so then and it had very
practical implications. The gist of his thought on this point was that
it is within the power of every man to believe the gospel and obey its
commands to his own salvation. The more popular theory among
eighteenth-century evangelicals was that sinful and “fallen” man has no
power to believe. He can repent and “mourn” for the sinful state which
he inherited from Adam, but then he must wait for a special and
miraculous act of enabling grace to give him faith. This gift of faith
and regeneration will be certified to him by an exalted state of feeling
which constitutes his religious experience and is the evidence of his
“acceptance with God.”

Against this, Sandeman put the doctrine that God had not only revealed
his truth in terms intelligible to man and provided the means of
salvation through Christ, but had also furnished in Scripture adequate
evidence of the truth of his revelation, so that the natural man, just
as he is, with all his sins, can weigh the evidence and accept the
truth. That acceptance is faith. Saving faith, said Sandeman, is an act
of man’s reason, and it differs from any other act of belief only in
being belief of a saving fact.

This view of faith came to have immense importance in the history of the
Disciples. They developed from it, as Sandeman did not, the method of a
very successful evangelism. There were other influences besides that of
Sandeman which led Alexander Campbell to this view, especially the
philosophy of John Locke and, above all, his own study of the New
Testament. But it is known that he had read Sandeman’s writings
carefully in his youth and regarded them highly, and the similarity of
his view to Sandeman’s on this point cannot be regarded as purely
coincidental. A Baptist writer later tried to prove that the Disciples
were “an offshoot of Sandemanianism.” (Whitsitt: _The Origin of the
Disciples of Christ_, 1888.) “Offshoot” is the wrong word; a mighty
river is not an offshoot from a tiny trickle. But there was undoubtedly
an influence: first, in the emphasis upon restoring the procedure of the
primitive church; second, in the conception of faith as intelligent
belief based on evidence.

                        Restoration and Division

Two wealthy brothers, Robert and James Alexander Haldane, laymen of the
Church of Scotland, became alarmed at the state of religion in their
country. It seemed to them that the church had become merely a
respectable institution enjoying the patronage of the state, supporting
a clergy chiefly concerned about their own professional dignity and
privileges, and doing little to carry a vital gospel to those who needed
it most. At their own expense, while still members of the Church of
Scotland, they attempted to start a mission to India (which was
frustrated by the East India Company), brought twenty-four native
children from Africa to be educated in England and sent back to
evangelize their own people (but the Anglican Church took them over),
built tabernacles for evangelistic meetings, sent agents through
Scotland to organize Sunday schools, and established institutes for the
training of lay preachers. Beginning with no very definite theology or
theory about the church, they gradually came to the belief that the
chief trouble with the church was its departure from the primitive
pattern as described in the New Testament.

In 1799 the Haldane brothers withdrew from the Church of Scotland and
organized an independent church in Edinburgh. Acting on the advice of
Greville Ewing, a minister who was in charge of their training school in
Glasgow, they adopted the congregational form of organization and the
weekly communion as being in accordance with the usage of the apostolic
churches. Soon they became earnest advocates of the restoration of
primitive Christianity by following in all respects the pattern of the
New Testament churches. J. A. Haldane published, in 1805, a book
entitled, _A View of the Social Worship and Ordinances of the First
Christians, Drawn from the Scriptures alone; Being an Attempt to Enforce
their Divine Obligation, and to Represent the Guilty and Evil
Consequences of Neglecting them_. This book contains an argument for
infant baptism on the ground that it was the apostolic practice, but two
years later the Haldanes decided that the evidence of Scripture was
against this position, so they gave it up and were immersed.

Other Haldanean churches sprang up, both in Great Britain and in
America. There were never many of them. No organization bound them
together, they had no cooperative work, and they took no distinctive
name. But they swelled the number of those scattered and independent
“Churches of Christ” which were attempting, with somewhat differing
results, to restore the primitive order. The tendency of all these
churches was toward a rather literalistic and legalistic interpretation
of Scripture, with special emphasis upon exact conformity to a pattern
of ordinances, organization, and worship. A few years later, two of
these churches, one in Edinburgh and the other in New York, engaged in
an earnest but very courteous argument by correspondence as to whether
the New Testament commanded that the worship service be opened with a
hymn or with a prayer. Each quoted what seemed relevant and convincing
texts: “First of all giving thanks” meant prayer first; “Enter into his
courts with praise” meant hymn first.

The Sandemanian churches also, in their anxiety to do everything exactly
as the first churches had done, took as binding commands for all time
many texts generally considered mere descriptions of customs of the
first century or instructions suitable to that time. Thus they “saluted
one another with a holy kiss” (Romans 16:16); considered private wealth
sinful (Acts 2:44, 45), though they did not actually practice community
of goods; made a weekly collection for the poor (1 Cor. 16:2); partook
of a common meal in connection with the Lord’s Supper (Acts 2:46); and
for a time practiced foot washing (John 13:14). They practiced close
communion even to the extent of excluding those of their own number who
opposed infant baptism.

None of these churches—Sandemanian, Haldanean and other—showed any
special interest in Christian unity. Indeed, there was not much division
in Scotland, where they originated, for almost everybody was
Presbyterian. The restoration of primitive Christianity was, for them, a
movement not toward unity but away from it. They were little interested
in being united with other Christians, but were anxious to be _right_,
let who would be wrong. Their insistence upon conformity to an exact
pattern of supposedly primitive procedure, about which there were sure
to be differences of opinion, tended toward division. This was doubtless
one reason why their success was so small.

Many other small and independent groups of restorers of primitive
Christianity arose in Great Britain in the eighteenth century and the
first years of the nineteenth. One writer claims to have listed forty,
but the present author has not been able to find so many. They adopted
names of confusing similarity, either “Church of Christ” or some name of
which “Brethren” formed a part. They came and went, united and divided.
Though most of the groups disappeared, the type persisted. It is now
represented at its best, and with important modifications and additions,
in the British “Churches of Christ” which are in communion with the
Disciples of Christ in America.

For three hundred years Protestantism had been based on the idea that
the Scriptures were the only guide, and the restoration of the essential
features of primitive Christianity the only method, for reforming the
church. In the sixteenth century, after freedom from the Roman hierarchy
and from bondage to ecclesiastical tradition had been won, the effort
was chiefly to restore the pure doctrine of the apostles. In the
seventeenth, attention was given to restoring a divinely authorized form
of church polity, which some held to be episcopal, others presbyterial,
others congregational. When the major divisions of Protestantism had
crystallized around their respective bodies of doctrine and systems of
polity, the restoration concept passed out of their minds. It was taken
up by smaller groups of dissenters and irregulars who, in the eighteenth
century, scarcely noticed by the larger bodies, bent their energies to
restoring the ordinances and worship of the church, as well as its
structure, according to what they conceived to be the original pattern.

When Thomas and Alexander Campbell adopted the familiar formula of
restoration and combined it with a plea for union, they gave it a
different application and produced a strikingly different result.

                              CHAPTER III
                           THE AMERICAN SCENE

Three things must be noted as characteristic of America in the period
which witnessed the beginnings of the Disciples of Christ. First, this
was a very young nation. Its population was small. Its frontier, which
began even east of the Allegheny Mountains, was sparsely settled, but
settlers were pouring into it rapidly. The Disciples began on the
frontier and moved westward with it. Second, the country’s religious
forces were divided into five or six large sects of approximately equal
size and many more small ones. The members of all these together
constituted only a small fraction, perhaps 10 per cent, of the total
population. In no other country was so large a proportion of the people
religiously unattached. Third, America had a kind and a degree of
religious liberty which had never before existed anywhere in
Christendom. Church and state were separated; the support of the
churches was purely voluntary; no church had legal advantage or social
pre-eminence over others; and every man had complete liberty to adopt
any form of worship and belief he thought right (or none), to propagate
his faith without hindrance, or to start a new religious organization if
he so desired. This combination of circumstances had never before
existed. These factors in the environment are immensely important for
our study.

Since the movements which produced the Disciples of Christ began so near
the beginning of the nineteenth century, we may take the year 1800 as a
suitable point at which to make a cross section of the United States and
observe, in a very general way, the state of the nation.

                            America in 1800

George Washington had died the year before. John Adams was president.
The country consisted of sixteen states, only Vermont, Kentucky, and
Tennessee having been added to the original thirteen. It had a
population of 5,308,483, less than 10 per cent of whom lived west of the
Alleghenies. (Twenty years later, in spite of the great westward
movement, 73 per cent of the people were still on the Atlantic slope.)
The population, wealth, industries, and cultural institutions were very
largely concentrated not only east of the mountains but in the eastern
part of the area east of the mountains. The Atlantic tidewater belt,
from Boston to Charleston, contained the great preponderance of
everything that made this a nation—except its land, its undeveloped
resources, and its pioneering spirit. But the eastern cities that loom
so large in history were still small: Philadelphia, 28,522; Boston,
24,037; New York, with 60,515 within the boundaries of present-day
Manhattan, had already taken first place. In the summer of 1800 the seat
of the national government was moved from Philadelphia to the unfinished
buildings in the almost uninhabited area that was to become the city of

The vast region now occupied by the five populous states west of the
Alleghenies and north of the Ohio River had a grand total of 51,000
inhabitants. It had been organized as the Northwest Territory under the
Ordinance of 1787, and the Indians had been moved out of the eastern and
southern parts of it in 1795 under a treaty forced upon them after
Anthony Wayne’s expedition against them. Pittsburgh was a town of 1,565,
the head of navigation on the Ohio. In 1803 the state of Ohio was carved
out of the Northwest Territory. By 1830 it had a population of more than
900,000. So urgent was the drive toward the open frontier and so rapid
the development of its communities that, while trying to realize the
newness and emptiness of the region at a given period, one must be on
guard against failing to realize the rate of change. Moreover, some
parts of the area were much more advanced than others.

Kentucky was about a generation ahead of the adjacent Northwest
Territory in settlement and culture. It had a college, the first west of
the mountains, even before it got statehood in 1792. By 1800 it had a
population of 220,000. Lexington, a town of 1,797 (including 439
slaves), its metropolis, the seat of the college, and the social and
economic center of the Bluegrass Region, could make a plausible claim to
the title, “the Athens of the West.” The churches came to Kentucky, as
they did everywhere, with the first wave of settlers. By 1800 the
Presbyterians had a synod and several presbyteries. The most numerous
body was the Baptists, who reported 106 churches with 5,000 members. The
Methodists, with perhaps half that number in the state, organized a
Western Conference the next year, composed of circuits in Kentucky,
Tennessee, and the Northwest Territory. These were the three vigorous
and aggressive churches on the frontier.

The Mississippi River was the western boundary of the United States
(until 1803), and Florida was still a Spanish possession. Louisiana
Territory and Florida were both held by Roman Catholic powers, and
Protestant churches were not permitted.

                       American Churches in 1800

The term, “the Church,” had little meaning in America at and after the
beginning of the federal period. There was no _Church_, either as a
visible and functioning reality or as an ideal; there were only
_churches_. If we call them “sects,” it is not to criticize but simply
to describe the fact that the church had been _cut_ into many parts. In
view of the kind of compulsory unity (or attempted unity) in European
and British Christianity out of which these sects arose, the divisions
were not to their discredit. Sectarianism was a stage through which
Christianity had to pass on the road to freedom and unity. But the fact
of division is the one now before us.

The largest denominations were the Congregational, Episcopal,
Presbyterian, Baptist, and Methodist. There were also important bodies
of Dutch Reformed, German Reformed, French Huguenots, Lutherans,
Quakers, and Roman Catholics, and such smaller groups as the Moravians,
Mennonites, Dunkers, Schwenkfelders, and the Ephrata Society.

The original settlement of the first Atlantic Seaboard colonies,
especially Virginia and New England, combined the religious with the
economic motive. Even the nationalistic impulse to extend British power
was as much religious as political, for it included zeal for the
extension of Protestantism on a scale to match and check the Spanish
Roman Catholic empire which already included Florida, the West Indies,
Mexico, and most of South America.

Virginia was Anglican by intention, but from the start the Puritan
element in both the company and the colony was strong. When the first
settlement was made, and for a good while after, the Puritans were still
a party in the Church of England. Episcopacy remained established in
Virginia until the Revolution, though there was a strong influx of
Scotch-Irish (Presbyterian, of course) and of Baptists in the eighteenth
century. Since there was no Anglican bishop in America during all these
years, there could be no confirmations. As always with established
churches, nominal adherents greatly outnumbered communicants, and many
were content with a “gentlemanly conformity.” Episcopacy was established
also in North and South Carolina, though it never had a majority in
either colony, and in New York after the British took it from the Dutch
in 1667.

The great Puritan migration to New England had for its religious purpose
the founding of a Puritan state somewhat on the pattern of Calvin’s
Geneva. The developments of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries
produced, instead, a group of colonies—states in the American union by
1800—in which Congregationalism was the “standing order,” or established
church, and one state, Rhode Island, in which, thanks to Roger Williams
and the Baptists, complete religious liberty, deliberately adopted as a
matter of conviction, got its first fair trial as a principle of
government. But Congregationalism, though clinging to some of its legal
advantages, had also grown tolerant, partly because dissenters and
noncommunicants had become so very numerous. As early as 1760, the
president of Yale estimated that 12 per cent in the four New England
colonies were dissenters, and that not more than one-fifth of the others
were communicant members of Congregational churches.

New England Congregationalism, though already disturbed by the
theological controversy which later produced the Unitarian defection,
was in the main soundly Calvinistic. It differed from Presbyterianism
only in its tradition of the independence of the local church, and even
this was qualified by the growth of what was called “associationism” by
those who viewed it with alarm. So, when an interest in home missions
began to appear, about 1800, the Plan of Union was formed under which
Congregationalists and Presbyterians cooperated until 1837 in carrying
the gospel to the new settlements, first in western New York and then in
the regions beyond. The Presbyterians ultimately got most of the
churches organized in the Middle West by Congregational missionaries
operating under this plan.

Presbyterians came from England, Scotland, and North Ireland. They never
had a colony of their own, though they missed having Massachusetts Bay
only because the Presbyterian Puritans who founded it became
Congregational. Puritans who came to other colonies generally were and
remained Presbyterians. They found a footing in New York, New Jersey,
Maryland, Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia and were among the first
settlers of Kentucky. Pennsylvania became the scene of some of their
most vigorous activities, both in and around Philadelphia and in the
central and western part, where they were the most numerous and
influential group. William Tennent’s “Log College” at Neshaminy (1720)
initiated theological education in America, at least outside of
Harvard’s effort to provide a learned clergy for New England. It trained
evangelists as well as scholars, and led to the founding of Princeton.
The great Scotch-Irish immigration, about the middle of the eighteenth
century, brought both regular Presbyterians, in communion with the
Church of Scotland, and Seceder Presbyterians, representing the Great
Secession of 1733. Large numbers of both came to the western parts of
Pennsylvania and Virginia, where these Presbyterian Ulstermen “formed an
American Ulster larger and richer than that they had abandoned,” as one
of them wrote, with some exaggeration of the degree of their occupancy
though not of the size and resources of the area. Thomas Campbell was
following a stream of Scotch-Irish Seceder Presbyterians when he
migrated from the vicinity of Belfast, Ireland, to the southwestern
corner of Pennsylvania.

Baptist beginnings in America are easily localized in Rhode Island, but
their dispersal and multiplication cannot be simply diagramed. They went
everywhere, on their individual initiative, with no general
organization, were persecuted wherever intolerance ruled, and generally
despised by their more conventional and respectable neighbors, chiefly
because they insisted that religion was a purely voluntary matter, that
Christian, Turk, Jew, or atheist should be allowed to follow his own
convictions about faith and worship, and that the state had nothing to
do with it. That position seemed almost equivalent to anarchy. The fact
that most of the Baptist preachers were ignorant men, or self-taught and
uncouth, and that a great many of them were farmers six days in the week
and preachers only on Sunday, made the matter worse. But the Baptists
did have a college, founded in 1764, which became Brown University. In
cities and towns their preachers became more urbane, but they kept the
aggressiveness and the popular appeal which brought immense success to
their cause in the Middle West and in the South. Regular Baptists were
Calvinistic. Their Philadelphia Confession, which was very similar in
doctrine to the Presbyterians’ Westminster Confession, was commonly used
as a standard of orthodoxy. It taught that Christ died only for the
elect. But there were also “General Baptists,” who believed in a general
atonement, or that Christ died for all. The difference between the two
became significant.

Methodism in America began when two or three lay preachers came in the
1760’s, and when John Wesley sent two preachers from England in 1769.
But the revival of 1740, known as the Great Awakening, had prepared the
way for it. Through the Revolution and until 1784, Methodism remained
nominally a movement in the Anglican Church, but it had its societies,
preachers, classes, and circuits, and its evangelists converted
thousands of the religiously indifferent. Formal organization began with
the Christmas conference, 1784. The Methodist system of supervision by
“superintendents,” who promptly became bishops, and by presiding elders,
with preachers riding circuits and class leaders conserving local gains,
constituted a planned economy in the business of serving the religious
needs of the frontier. But without tireless energy and zealous devotion,
all this machinery could not have been effective. Methodism began on the
Atlantic Seaboard and it had good success there, but the scene of its
most spectacular growth was in the West and South. By 1800 the
Methodists, Baptists, and Presbyterians had become the great “popular
churches” on the frontier; and the frontier itself was on the verge of a
startlingly rapid transformation.

It must not be supposed that the attitudes of the denominations toward
each other were altogether those of mutual hostility and competition, or
even of isolation. There was much of this, but there was also much of
mutual respect and friendliness. From 1800 to about 1837 there was a
noticeable increase of cooperation among the members of many
denominations. This is seen in the earliest phases of Sunday school
work, in Bible publication and distribution, in certain aspects of
foreign and home missionary activity, and in the antislavery and
temperance societies. But the most conspicuous feature of American
Christianity continued to be its divided state.

                            Land of the Free

One reason for this sectarian condition was that this was a free
country. Under the First Amendment to the Constitution, which is the
first article of the Bill of Rights, no church could ever receive
special favors from the government nor could there be discrimination
against any. When the American Government adopted this hands-off policy,
leaving the whole matter of religion to the churches and to the people,
the old compulsory unity disappeared—even the ghost of unity which
England had, with its one national church and a number of “dissenting”
bodies still under certain legal handicaps.

It is little wonder that America had many churches. Colonists had come
from many countries bringing all the varieties of religion that existed
in all those countries. Many of them had come as refugees from
persecution. In later years, some divisions occurred on American soil,
but the sects that were here in 1800 had all been imported from Europe.

Moreover, since the United States was formed by the union of thirteen
colonies, the new nation, of course, had as many different churches as
all the colonies together had had. In some colonies, especially Rhode
Island, Pennsylvania, and Delaware, there had been a considerable
variety of churches enjoying equal liberty. In others the situation was
much as it was in England at the same time, with their established
churches and with dissenting bodies existing as best they could under
the shadow of the favored church. The founders and builders of the
American colonies, with a few exceptions, had not believed in the
separation of church and state or in equal liberty for all religious
groups. But the idea of religious liberty had been growing, and the
multiplicity of churches in the new nation made the establishment of any
one of them as _the_ national church a practical impossibility. No one
even suggested it in the Constitutional Convention of 1787.

It is hard for us now to realize how continuous and almost universal had
been the belief that the welfare of the state was bound up with
religious uniformity. For more than a thousand years, and throughout
Christendom, practically everybody except little bands of heretics and
rebels believed that the institutional unity of the church was essential
to the security of the state and the stability of the social order, and
that it was the state’s duty to enforce this unity. That belief
furnished the reason—and when not the reason, the excuse—for most of the
persecutions that have occurred. Roman Catholics, of course, believed
it, and it is still the official teaching of the Roman Catholic Church.
But most Protestants also believed it. Only the Baptists and Quakers and
some small separatist sects in Germany believed in religious liberty as
a matter of principle. But the established and respectable bodies
considered these as wild-eyed radicals.

Episcopalians and Puritans who founded colonies in America brought with
them this idea of a state church and a religious unity enforced by the
police power, not because they were bigoted or cruel by preference but
because they believed, as almost everybody had believed for centuries,
that in no other way could a political society be strong enough to
survive. Surprise is sometimes expressed at the “inconsistency” of the
Puritans, who “came seeking religious liberty” and then persecuted the
Quakers and Baptists. But there is no inconsistency, for they did not
come seeking religious liberty. They came to establish a Puritan state.
They had to learn religious liberty after they arrived, and they were
rather slow in learning it. But even the vestiges of the colonial
religious establishments withered away after the Revolution, and America
became, in fact as well as in constitutional theory, a nation in which
all churches, like all individuals, are free and equal before the law.

A new epoch in the history of religion began when a nation was born
which (_a_) disclaimed for its civil power the right and duty of giving
special protection to a favored church, (_b_) declared implicitly, as
the Virginia Bill of Rights in 1776 had done explicitly, that religion
must be purely voluntary, and (_c_) abandoned the medieval political
philosophy which justified intolerance on the theory that the state must
enforce religious uniformity in the interest of its own stability and

These new American conditions had, among others, three results that are
of vital importance in connection with the present study:

First, the removal of the repressive hand of government made it easier
for new religious movements to spring up or for old ones to divide.
Hence new divisions in the church arose in addition to those which had
been imported from Europe. The divided state of the Christian forces
became more acute and called more urgently for correction.

Second, the problem of Christian union ceased to be in any sense a
political problem and became a purely religious problem to be solved by
religious means. Seventeenth century advocates of union had, to be sure,
preached brotherly love and made some statements about uniting on the
simple essentials of Christianity; but they had sought support largely
from political leaders, trying to show them how a national church,
united by making concessions to bring back the dissenters, would
increase the nation’s strength, or how an alliance between the churches
of different countries would be a good stroke of diplomacy. The
conceptions of complete religious liberty for the individual and of free
churches in a free state introduced an entirely new approach to the
question of union. Those conceptions had to be thoroughly worked out
before the problem of Christian union in the modern sense—which is also
the primitive sense—could even be stated; and they had to be made
operative in government before a solution could be hopefully attempted.
There had to be complete freedom to divide before there could be a union
that would not deny freedom.

Third, separation of church and state and recognition of the voluntary
character of religion threw directly upon the members of churches the
whole responsibility for supporting the churches and promoting their
work by voluntary contributions. The Christian discovery and conquest of
America was to be organized and financed on a voluntary basis.

Such, in bare outline, was the American scene in which the forerunners
and fathers of the Disciples of Christ, about the beginning of the
nineteenth century, began to advocate a simple and noncreedal
Christianity, the union of all Christians on the basis of the essential
and primitive conditions of discipleship, and the restoration of such
features of the “ancient order of things” as might be agreed upon as
designed to be permanent practices of the church.

                               CHAPTER IV
                            THE “CHRISTIANS”

The longest direct tributary to the stream which became the Disciples of
Christ is the movement with which the name of Barton W. Stone is
generally associated. This took visible form when he and his four
colleagues dissolved the Springfield Presbytery, in 1804, and took the
name “Christians.” Back of this, however, lay two other movements which
led to the formation of “Christian” churches. Stone was certainly fully
informed about the first of these before taking his own step, but
probably not about the second. The three were so nearly identical in
principles and objectives that they considered themselves as
constituting a single body as soon as they learned of one another’s work
and long before they had any organizational unity. We shall consider the
three parts of the “Christian” Church in the order of their origin. The
first was a secession from the Methodists, the second from the Baptists,
the third from the Presbyterians.

                  In Virginia and North Carolina, 1794

Methodism was not a denomination but only a revival movement in the
Church of England until the end of the Revolutionary War. In 1771, John
Wesley sent Francis Asbury from England. He became the most important
factor in winning converts, enlisting workers, setting up the system of
circuits and itinerant preachers, and organizing the church. By 1784,
about 15,000 members were enrolled in Methodist societies in Virginia
and the adjacent states. But these societies were not churches. They had
no ordained ministers and therefore could not have the sacraments.
Asbury himself was still a lay preacher. The Virginia Methodist
preachers voted to break away from the Anglican Church, but Asbury,
backed by Wesley, resisted. The end of the war and the independence of
the American colonies changed the situation. Wesley sent over, by the
hand of Dr. Coke, a letter which has become a famous document. Part of
it has been quoted in another connection. In conclusion Wesley wrote:

  As our American brethren are now totally disentangled from the state
  and from the English hierarchy, we dare not entangle them again either
  with the one or the other. They are now at full liberty simply to
  follow the Scriptures and the primitive church. And we judge it best
  that they should stand fast in that liberty with which God has so
  strangely made them free.

(It seemed strange to Wesley that God should wish the American colonies
to be free from Great Britain, an outcome to which he himself had been
bitterly opposed.)

Wesley’s letter was read to a conference which met on Christmas Eve,
1784, at Baltimore. The conference declared the independence of
Methodism, adopted the name “The Methodist Episcopal Church,” and
ordained Asbury as deacon, elder, and superintendent. James O’Kelly and
twelve others were ordained as elders. Simultaneously with counseling
the American brethren to follow the primitive church and stand fast in
their liberty, Wesley had appointed Asbury and Coke to be
“superintendents” of American Methodism. Coke soon returned to England,
and Asbury changed his own title to that of “bishop” and assumed such
powers as no Anglican bishop or Methodist superintendent in England ever
had. For one thing, Asbury assigned every preacher to his field, every
presiding elder to his district, and from his assignments there was no

James O’Kelly had become a Methodist lay preacher in 1775, when he was
about forty years old. He had been one of “Asbury’s Ironsides,” and had
been the leader of those who urged an earlier separation from the
Anglican Church. He had also led the futile protest against Asbury’s
assumption of the title of “bishop.” Asbury had made him a presiding
elder, but he continued to be the head and front of the resistance to
the bishop’s autocracy. When a demand for the “right of appeal” was
voted down by a general conference in 1792, O’Kelly and a number of
other preachers withdrew. A year later they organized the “Republican
Methodist Church,” with about thirty ministers and 1,000 members. This
stage of the independent movement lasted only seven months.

On August 4, 1794, the Republican Methodists met in conference at Old
Lebanon Church, in Surry County, Virginia, and adopted as their name
“The Christian Church.” This name was suggested by Rice Haggard,
formerly a Methodist lay preacher and one of O’Kelly’s partners in
protest from the beginning. The members of the conference resolved,
further, to take the Bible as their only creed. They had discovered, as
one of them put it, that “the primitive church government, which came
down from heaven, was a republic, though ‘Christian Church’ is its
name.” All preachers were to be on an equal footing. Ministers and
laymen were to have liberty of private judgment. Conferences were to be
merely advisory, and each congregation should “call its own pastor and
enjoy the greatest possible freedom.” It is to be noted that this
secession from the Methodist Church involved no dissent from Methodist
doctrine. It grew solely out of dissatisfaction with that church’s
system of government. The type of religious thought and preaching in the
separated group remained substantially Methodist.

The new movement started with a staff of experienced and zealous
ministers, under whose influence a considerable number of Methodist
churches now became “Christian.” The Methodist Church in Virginia and
North Carolina suffered a net loss of 3,670, in spite of its vigorous
evangelism, during the first year of the “Christian” church. Fifteen
years later it was estimated that the Christian Church had 20,000
members “in the southern and western states.” This doubtless includes
Kentucky and Tennessee.

                          In New England, 1801

The first “Christian Church” in New England was about seven years later
than the first in the South, and its origin was entirely unrelated to
the earlier one. The New England movement got its impulse from the
independent reactions of two young men against the type of religion they
found in the Baptist churches of which they were members and in which
they began to preach. These churches were Calvinistic in their emphasis
on original sin, the limitation of the benefits of Christ’s atonement to
the “elect,” the wrath of God toward sinners, the threat of hell, and
the inability of man to do anything for his own salvation.

Elias Smith, born in 1769 at Lyme, Connecticut, spent his boyhood under
very crude frontier conditions in a new settlement in Vermont, and had a
violent experience of conversion when a log fell on him in the woods. He
joined the Baptist church, and began to preach when he was about
twenty-one. In spite of his almost complete lack of education, the
Baptist ministers of Boston ordained him two years later. For almost a
decade he was a somewhat irregular Baptist preacher, improving his
education by diligent private study, becoming more and more dissatisfied
with orthodox Calvinism, seeking a way out of his confusion by
independent study of the New Testament, and moving toward the conviction
that the churches should abandon their theological and ecclesiastical
systems and restore the simple faith and practice of the primitive

Abner Jones, born in 1772 at Royalton, Massachusetts, had a Vermont
boyhood not unlike Smith’s in its combination of frontier hardship, lack
of schools, and torturing religious experience. Having achieved
conversion, he joined the Baptist church, taught school for a time, then
studied and practiced medicine by the short-cut “Thompsonian” system;
but he also preached as opportunity offered. Still in his early
twenties, he “quit the fellowship of the Calvinist Baptists,” as his
biographer testifies, after hearing Elias Smith preach, though Smith was
then still a Baptist. As the result of his own thinking, stirred by
Smith’s influence, Jones organized an independent church at Lyndon,
Vermont, in the Autumn of 1801, to which he would give no name but
“Christian.” This, says the historian of the movement, was “the first
Christian church in New England.” During the next year Jones secured
ordination by three Free Will Baptist preachers—not as a Baptist but
“only as a Christian”—and organized “Christian” churches at Hanover and
Piermont, New Hampshire. Up to this time, Smith had been the leader in
thought but had hesitated to break his Baptist ties. Jones now persuaded
him to abandon the Baptist name and joined him in organizing a
“Christian” church at Portsmouth, New Hampshire. In 1804 Jones moved to
Boston and formed a church there.

These two men, Smith and Jones, lived and worked for nearly forty years
after that. Jones established churches at Salem, Massachusetts, where he
lived for several years, and at many other towns in New England, never
striking root very deeply in any place but winning many followers to the
movement and a number of preachers to its advocacy. Smith’s most
important contribution was the founding of a religious paper, the
_Herald of Gospel Liberty_, the first issue of which was published on
September 1, 1808, at Portsmouth, New Hampshire. With some slight
intermissions and under a variety of names, finally returning to the
original one, this journal was published for 122 years and then merged
with the _Congregationalist_.

Within twenty years after the founding of that first “Christian” church
at Lyndon, Vermont, there were dozens of such churches in New England
and others in adjacent parts of Canada and in New York and Pennsylvania,
all deriving from this original impulse. These were, on principle,
independent churches. No organization directed or controlled them and
they had no cooperative activities. However, there was a sense of
fellowship among them and they soon began to hold informal conferences.
There is record of a meeting of “the elders of the Christian Churches in
the New England states, assembled at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, June 23,
1809,” which authorized a fraternal reply to a letter from
representatives of the Christian Churches in Virginia and North
Carolina. The “general conference” held at Windham, Connecticut, in
1816, and the series of “United States conferences” beginning in 1820
were really, in spite of their comprehensive names, only conferences of
the churches in the northeastern states. One of these, in 1827, voted
that it was not proper for ministers to use the title “Reverend” and
passed a resolution condemning the use of instrumental music in public
worship. About thirty regional conferences, by states or parts of
states, had been organized within this area before 1832.

                           In Kentucky, 1804

Third in order of time, but first in importance in relation to the
Disciples, among the three movements which together constituted the
“Christian Church” was the one in which Stone emerged as the leading

Barton W. Stone, born in 1772 at Port Tobacco, Maryland, was a member of
one of the oldest American families. His great-great-great-grandfather
was the first Protestant governor of Maryland, 1648-53. Barton Stone’s
father, a man of some property, died just before the outbreak of the
Revolutionary War, and his mother moved with her large family to
Pittsylvania County, Virginia, very close to the North Carolina line.
With his share of the money from his father’s estate, Barton spent three
years in David Caldwell’s academy at Greensboro, North Carolina, thirty
miles southwest of his home. Here he “completed the classical course” in
1793. This school was hospitable to revivalism. Caldwell himself was a
Princeton graduate and a Presbyterian minister of the “New Light”
type—that is, of evangelistic temper and with an easy tolerance in
theology. McGready, the Presbyterian evangelist who was later to set
southern Kentucky afire, came to Greensboro and converted most of the
students. Stone was stirred by the appeal but repelled by the theology.
Meanwhile his mother, who had been an Anglican, had become a Methodist.
William Hodge, a young “New Light” Presbyterian, who had been one of
Caldwell’s boys, came preaching the love rather than the wrath of God.
Stone abandoned his purpose to study law and decided to be that kind of
Presbyterian preacher. The presbytery to which he applied for license
directed him to prepare a trial sermon on the Trinity. He struggled with
the theme, and his sermon was accepted, but he always had trouble with
the doctrine of the Trinity.

While waiting for his license to preach, he went to Georgia to visit his
brother and while there he served for about a year, beginning in
January, 1795, as “professor of languages” in Succoth Academy, a
Methodist school at Washington, Georgia. The principal of this academy
was Hope Hull, a Methodist preacher who had been closely associated with
O’Kelly in his protest at the Methodist conference two years earlier but
who had remained with the Methodist Church when O’Kelly and the other
insurgents withdrew to form the Christian Church. Stone and Hull became
very intimate friends, and Stone accompanied Hull on a journey to
Charleston, South Carolina, to attend a Methodist conference. John
Springer, an ardently evangelistic Presbyterian preacher of the “New
Light” type, whose field was only a few miles from the academy and who
had the most cordial relations with the Baptists and Methodists in his
neighborhood, became another counselor and friend and exercised, says
Ware, a “decisive influence” on Stone.

Returning to North Carolina, Stone received his license to preach from
the hands of the venerable and liberal Henry Pattillo, who, in a
published sermon on “Divisions among Christians,” had recommended the
name “Christians” as the one “first given to the disciples by divine
appointment at Antioch,” and who declared that men ought to be permitted
to differ peaceably about the doctrines of religion.

To summarize the influences of Stone’s early background and environment,
these items may be listed:

  1. The Great Awakening, which, under the preaching of men trained in
  William Tennent’s Log College and of George Whitefield, beginning
  about 1740 but echoing through the middle and southern colonies for
  more than half a century after that in the work of Samuel Davies and
  many other evangelistic or “New Light” Presbyterians, had stressed the
  common elements of the gospel and put the divisive doctrines of the
  creeds into a subordinate place.

  2. The Methodist movement, which did not cease to be a revival when it
  became a church and which challenged the Calvinism of the Presbyterian

  3. The “Christian” Church, which was having its first rapid growth in
  Virginia and North Carolina while Stone was in the first formative
  stage of his ministry in the same region.

  4. The direct and personal influence of the men who have been
  mentioned in the preceding paragraphs: David Caldwell, James McGready,
  William Hodge, Hope Hull, John Springer, and Henry Pattillo.

After an experimental and not very successful missionary trip which took
him through the eastern part of North Carolina and back through
Virginia, and feeling that there was a better field on the frontier,
Stone headed west, on horseback again. Within three months he had ridden
to Knoxville and, at some peril from Indians, on to Nashville
(population 346 by the next census); had associated for a time with
Thomas Craighead, a Princeton-trained Presbyterian preacher of
independent mind, famous for his zeal for a “rational and scriptural
evangelism” and his scant respect for the authority of creed and
presbytery; had itinerated and preached in the Cumberland district of
Tennessee; and had then crossed Cumberland Gap into Kentucky, spent a
little time at Danville and Lexington, and by October, 1796, was
installed as regular supply pastor of two Presbyterian churches at Cane
Ridge and Concord. Cane Ridge was seven miles east of Paris; Concord,
ten miles northeast of Cane Ridge.

The next year a call to the settled pastorate of his churches made it
necessary for Stone to seek ordination from the Transylvania Presbytery.
This would require a declaration of his adherence to the Westminster
Confession. Renewed study did not resolve his doubts about the Trinity.
Before facing the presbytery, he privately stated his trouble to James
Blythe, then probably the most influential Presbyterian in Kentucky and
later one of the severest critics of Stone’s views. In the public
ceremony, Stone declared his acceptance of the Confession “as far as I
see it consistent with the Word of God.” Upon that guarded statement he
was ordained.

                           Cane Ridge Meeting

The Great Western Revival, with which the names of Stone and Cane Ridge
are closely associated, resulted from transplanting to Tennessee and
Kentucky the methods of evangelistic appeal which had been used by “New
Light” Presbyterians, Methodists, and “Christians” in the Southern
states east of the mountains. Under frontier conditions it developed
some bizarre and sensational features which have drawn attention away
from its real values. It began gradually with the preaching of four or
five men—especially James McGready and the brothers William and John
McGee—who had come west about the time Stone came, and who itinerated in
Tennessee, near and north of Nashville, and the adjacent part of
Kentucky. For three or four years the revival spirit grew and spread
until the countryside was in a fever of excitement. Fantastic
manifestations began to appear among persons who experienced “conviction
of sin,” and even among those who came to scoff—jerking and barking,
hysterical laughter, falling and lying rigid like dead men. These were
taken for manifestations of the power of the Holy Spirit.

Stone, who was concerned about religious apathy in his own parishes,
traveled the nearly two hundred miles from Cane Ridge to Logan County in
southwestern Kentucky, in the early spring of 1801, to see the revival
in progress under the preaching of McGready. He was impressed with the
genuineness of the revival. The physical demonstrations seemed to be
“the work of God,” but inexplicable and not wholly desirable. Stone was,
in a sense, the advance agent of the revival as it moved north and east
through Kentucky. By late spring it had reached the Bluegrass. On the
Sundays of May and June, there were great meetings at churches in the
area around Lexington, with attendance at the last three running to
4,000, then 8,000, then 10,000, according to contemporary estimates.

The climax came in the Cane Ridge camp meeting, which lasted from Friday
to Wednesday, August 7-12, 1801. The crowd was estimated at 20,000. Many
Presbyterian, several Methodist, and a few Baptist ministers preached,
often simultaneously at different stations through the woods. The
excitement was intense. The fantastic “exercises” occurred in great
profusion. This meeting was held at Stone’s church, and he had much to
do with bringing it about, but it was not in any sense his meeting. It
does not appear that he was the most prominent among the preachers.
Richard McNemar, for example, was more conspicuous, and so was McNemar’s
nine-year-old daughter, who became a child prophetess and poured forth a
torrent of exhortation from a perch on his shoulder. Stone rejoiced in
the awakened interest in religion and in the salvation of many sinners,
but the records do not show that he gave encouragement to the
spectacular “exercises.”

Not all the Presbyterians approved of this violent revivalism. Three
features especially offended them: the opportunity it gave to preachers
lacking education; the wild and disorderly physical “exercises”; and the
stress upon the idea that “Christ died for all,” not for a limited
number, the elect. The issue about education was especially acute in
southern Kentucky and became one of the grounds for the “Cumberland
secession” and the formation of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. The
“exercises” gradually ceased to be a prominent feature of revivalism,
except in remote and retarded communities, and left no permanent mark on
any major group. While they lasted they prepared the way for an invasion
by the Shakers, who won some temporary following. The declaration that
Christ died for all raised a real theological issue. This was what the
Methodists were preaching. So also were the “General” Baptists, who were
distinguished from the “Particular” Baptists by their belief in a
general atonement. Both kinds of Baptists were numerous in Kentucky, and
the “Generals” later became a fertile field for the Reformers. Within
two or three years after Cane Ridge the main wave had passed, but the
camp meeting remained as a popular pattern of religious and social life,
though without the more extreme features which had made the “great
revival” spectacular.

Richard McNemar, a Presbyterian minister, had not only been a prominent
figure at the Cane Ridge meeting but had elsewhere cooperated with the
Methodists, whose type of evangelistic appeal was congenial to him.
Three months after the meeting a heresy charge against McNemar was
presented to his presbytery. The process was delayed because so many of
the “revival men” took his part that those who had filed the charge
hesitated to bring it to a vote. After various procedures in the
presbytery, all irregular and indecisive, and after another minister,
John Thompson, had become involved in the case, the Synod of Kentucky,
meeting at Lexington, September 6-13, 1803, formally censured the
presbytery for letting these two men continue to preach while the charge
of holding “Arminian tenets” (i.e., Methodist doctrines) was pending
against them.

As the synod was preparing to put McNemar and Thompson on trial, they
presented to the synod a document signed by themselves and three others,
protesting against the trial and withdrawing from the synod’s
jurisdiction. The other three were Barton W. Stone, John Dunlavy, and
Robert Marshall. After a futile effort to win them back, the synod
placed the five under suspension.

                       The Springfield Presbytery

These five men had left the Synod of Kentucky, not the Presbyterian
Church. Their first act was to organize the Springfield Presbytery,
independent of the synod. (Their “Springfield” is now Springdale, ten
miles north of Cincinnati.) Their second act was to issue a statement of
their position. This is a pamphlet of about 100 pages, the full title of
which is: _An Abstract of an Apology for Renouncing the Jurisdiction of
the Synod of Kentucky, Being a Compendious View of the Gospel and a few
Remarks on the Confession of Faith_, with the names of the five attached
as authors. The important points in this statement are: (1) Christ died
for all—as against a limited atonement for the elect only. (2) The
gospel itself is the means of regeneration, and faith is the act by
which any man, if he will, can lay hold on that means. (3) Faith is the
natural man’s belief of testimony—a rational, as against a mystical,
conception of faith. Nothing is said explicitly about either Christian
union or the restoration of primitive Christianity. (William Guirey, a
Virginia Christian minister, later sent a copy of this _Apology_ to the
New England Christians as expressing the sentiments of the
Virginia-North Carolina group, and said that the Kentucky five “united
with us” when they left the Presbyterians.)

So far, this was an anti-Calvinist movement within the Presbyterian
Church. Its leaders admitted that their position was not in agreement
with the Westminster Confession, but claimed the right to differ from
the Confession where they thought it differed from the Scriptures. The
whole history of “New Light” Presbyterianism in Virginia and the states
south of it from colonial days, as well as the recent revival in
Kentucky, gave them ground for saying: “We are not the only
Presbyterians who view the doctrine of the atonement different from the

But the Springfield Presbytery was only a transition stage. These five
men might make their independent presbytery the nucleus of a new
Presbyterian body, as the Seceders and others had done in Scotland long
before, and as the Cumberland Presbyterians were to do a little later;
or they might cease to be Presbyterians. They chose the latter course.
On June 28, 1804, less than a year after its organization, the
Springfield Presbytery met at Cane Ridge and decreed its own
dissolution. The document in which it recorded this action is called
“The Last Will and Testament of the Springfield Presbytery.” By this
instrument, the presbytery willed “that this body die, be dissolved and
sink into union with the Body of Christ at large,” that every
congregation should be independent in the choice and support of its
minister and the discipline of its members, and that the Bible alone
should be their guide and standard. Ministers are not to be called
“Reverend,” are to “obtain license from God to preach the simple
Gospel,” and are to be supported by free-will offerings “without a
written call or subscription.” And finally, the Synod of Kentucky is
exhorted to examine every suspect and suspend every heretic, “that the
oppressed may go free and taste the sweets of gospel liberty.” (The full
text of the “Last Will and Testament” was reprinted in the first issue
of Elias Smith’s _Herald of Gospel Liberty_, Portsmouth, N. H., Sept. 1,

                          The Christian Church

At this same meeting, June 28, 1804, it was agreed that the name
“Christian” should be adopted, to the exclusion of all sectarian names.
This was suggested by Rice Haggard, who had made the same suggestion to
the O’Kelly group ten years earlier when the Republican Methodists were
looking for a new name. Haggard had been active as a minister of the
Christian Church in North Carolina and Virginia from 1794 until his
removal to Kentucky about the time of the Cane Ridge meeting.

The “Christians” of Kentucky immediately became a group of churches as
well as a group of preachers. Fervid evangelists as they were, the
ministers immediately won to the movement several of the Presbyterian
churches for which they had preached and organized some new ones. By the
end of 1804 there were at least thirteen Christian churches in
north-central Kentucky and about seven more in southwestern Ohio.
Presbyterians called it the “New Light schism.” The number of preachers
was increased by the adherence of a few revival Presbyterians, by the
coming of some Christians from the East, and by recognizing as preachers
a good many men who had little or no formal education.

Shaker missionaries came to Kentucky in 1805, attracted by reports of
the marvelous manifestations of the Spirit in the great revival. McNemar
and Dunlavy soon joined them.

In the new Christian Church, no question was at first raised about
baptism. Within a few years, Stone came to the belief that only the
immersion of believers was scriptural baptism, and this view spread
gradually through the group. Stone immersed many, including some
preachers, before he was himself immersed. But it was not made a test of
fellowship. Twenty years later Stone wrote:

  It was unanimously agreed that every brother and sister should act
  according to their faith; that we should not judge one another for
  being baptized or for not being baptized in this mode. The far greater
  part of the church submitted to be baptized by immersion, and now
  [1827] there is not one in 500 among us who has not been immersed.
  From the commencement we have avoided controversy on this subject.
  (_Christian Messenger_, Vol. I, p. 267, Oct., 1827.)

This trend toward immersion existed only in the West. In the East it
became a divisive issue in 1809, and only a minority adopted it.
Immersion never became the common practice with the New England

For some time there was no organization among the Christian churches. A
“general meeting” of the ministers was held at Bethel, Kentucky, August
8, 1810, at which they “agreed to unite themselves formally.” This
suggested to some the need of a clearer definition of doctrines,
especially those of the Trinity, Christ, and the atonement. After
statements had been drafted and discussed at a later meeting, it was
agreed by almost all that freedom of theological opinion was better than
conformity to a standard. Marshall and Thompson, feeling that the
creedless Christians were too loose in doctrine, returned to the
Presbyterian Church. This left only Stone, of the original five who had
seceded from the synod on account of the heresy charges against McNemar
and Thompson. So it was by survival, rather than by pre-eminence at the
beginning, that Stone came to be considered the founding father of the
Christian Church in Kentucky. Later, especially after he began the
publication of the _Christian Messenger_ in 1826, his leadership is
evident; and in guiding the greater part of the Christian Church in the
West into the merger with the Disciples, his influence was probably

The growth of the western Christian Church was not confined to Kentucky.
It took root immediately in Tennessee and in southern Ohio and Indiana.
Traveling evangelists went also into the South. As the tide of migration
moved to new frontiers, unordained elders, farmer-preachers, and
sometimes regular ministers carried it to Illinois, Missouri, and Iowa.
The position of Kentucky, as a breeding ground of pioneers who went out
in steady streams to aid in laying the foundations of these states, made
it a strategic point from which a new religious movement might make its
influence felt throughout the Middle West.

Such was the emphasis upon the independence of local churches and of
preachers, and so firm the determination to avoid anything like the
Presbyterian or Methodist systems of centralized control, that
organization was slow and weak. That meeting in 1810, at which it was
agreed to “unite formally,” did not in fact lead to any formal
organization. District conferences were arranged. There was a Deer Creek
(Ohio) Conference as early as 1808, and in the following years there
were many such. But as late as 1826, Stone felt it necessary to defend
the practice of holding even district conferences for worship, to
exchange news of the churches, to arrange appointments so as to supply
destitute churches, and (a tentative suggestion) “for ordination, if
thought proper,” but emphatically with no authority over local churches.
In the same year the Wabash (Indiana) Conference agreed that it would be
well “to have a general conference established in some convenient place
in the western states,” but this was not done. The Christian Church in
the West had nothing corresponding to what is now called “cooperative
work,” and no agencies or structures through which such work could be
carried on. The churches of the Northeast had their so-called United
States Conference, but sometimes they had qualms about so much
ecclesiasticism. The (New England) general conference of 1832 voted to
dissolve forever, but revived the next year.

Though there was no inclusive organization, the three main divisions of
the Christian Church had some acquaintance with one another’s work and a
sense of being parts of one enterprise. The _Herald of Gospel Liberty_
circulated widely. Stone had an agent in New York for his _Christian
Messenger_. When he reported, in 1828, that “the sect called Christians
have, in little more than a quarter of a century, risen from nothing to
1,500 congregations with a membership of 150,000,” his
estimate—doubtless much too large in any case—evidently includes all
three, and his reference to “more than a quarter of a century” shows
that he was thinking of beginnings earlier than the dissolution of the
Springfield Presbytery.

                               CHAPTER V
                      THE COMING OF THE CAMPBELLS

Thomas Campbell, an Argyle Scot by lineage, was born in North Ireland in
1763, took a full classical course in the University of Glasgow, and
after that the full course in the theological seminary of the
Anti-Burgher section of the Seceder branch of the Scottish Presbyterian
Church. After preaching and teaching for several years, he became the
settled pastor of a church at Ahorey, in County Armaugh, thirty miles
south of Belfast, where he remained from 1798 until 1807. Meanwhile he
had married the daughter of a French Huguenot family, and his son
Alexander had been born in 1788. While ministering to the Ahorey church,
he also conducted a private academy at the neighboring town of Rich
Hill. Throughout his life, Thomas Campbell devoted more of his time to
teaching than to preaching.

The Seceder Presbyterians had split from the established Church of
Scotland in 1733 in protest against the arrangement by which the right
of appointing ministers had been taken from the parishes and given to
lay “patrons,” or landlords, for whom the right to appoint the parson
went with their ownership of land. No question of doctrine was involved
in this secession. The Seceders were, if anything, stricter Calvinists
than the Church of Scotland. Later, the Seceders divided into Burghers
and Anti-Burghers, and each of these into New Lights and Old Lights, on
fine points concerning the relations of the church to the state. These
divisions were carried from Scotland to Ireland, though the issues were
irrelevant to conditions there. Thomas Campbell was an Old Light,
Anti-Burgher Seceder Presbyterian. But he early outgrew any interest in
these divisive issues and sought ways of promoting unity at least among
the Seceders.

Aside from the odious examples of disunion before his eyes, two other
influences drew Thomas Campbell toward a wider fellowship. One was the
Independent (Congregational) church at Rich Hill, a church of the Scotch
Independent type, strongly affected by the ideas of Glas and Sandeman
and the Haldane brothers. Here he met the celebrated English evangelist,
Rowland Hill, who preached an ardent gospel that took little account of
sectarian boundaries, and the eccentric John Walker of Dublin, who left
the Episcopal Church and resigned a fellowship in Trinity College to
lead an independent movement. Campbell was already familiar with the
writings of Glas and Sandeman and with the work of the Haldanes. None of
these was explicitly an advocate of union; but they all played down the
doctrines and creeds which create divisions and the ecclesiastical
institutions which perpetuate them; and all played up a warm evangelical
faith voluntarily accepted and a return to the simple practices of the
New Testament church.

The second influence which moved Mr. Campbell toward a nonsectarian view
of religion was the writings of the philosopher, John Locke, especially
his _Letters Concerning Toleration_. In these essays Locke had urged
toleration, not only by the state toward dissenting groups, but also by
the church toward varieties of theological opinion within itself.
Sentences could be quoted from Locke which sound as though they came
straight from the _Declaration and Address_. All this rested on a
philosophy carefully worked out in his _Essay on the Human
Understanding_. Thomas Campbell diligently studied these two books by
John Locke and made them required reading for his son Alexander, who
never ceased to give them his unbounded admiration.

                       Seceding from the Seceders

Partly because of ill health in his forties (he lived to the age of
ninety-one), and partly to find a place of ampler opportunity for his
seven children, Thomas Campbell migrated to America in 1807, as many of
his Ulster neighbors had done before him. He landed at Philadelphia on
May 13, fortunately found the Associate Synod of North America, which
represented all the Seceders in America, in session in that city,
presented his credentials and was received into the synod on May 16, and
two days later was appointed to the Presbytery of Chartiers in
southwestern Pennsylvania. The minutes of the presbytery show that he
had preaching appointments at “Buffaloe” (now Bethany, W. Va.),
Pittsburgh, and other points beginning July 1. So, in less than three
months after preaching his farewell sermon in the Ahorey church in
Ireland, Thomas Campbell was ministering to a circuit of communities on
the American frontier.

But the connection so promptly made was not long peacefully maintained.
At the October meeting of the presbytery, another minister filed charges
against him for heretical teaching and disorderly procedure, and others
testified unfavorably. After several confused and stormy sessions, the
presbytery suspended Mr. Campbell. He appealed to the synod in
Philadelphia at its meeting the next year. There were extended and
complicated proceedings, culminating in a formal trial in which he was
found guilty on several counts, and was sentenced to be “rebuked and
admonished.” At the same time the synod censured the presbytery for its
irregular and unfair handling of the case. Evidently the synod did not
think too badly of Mr. Campbell, for it gave him appointments with the
Philadelphia churches for the summer and then sent him back to resume
his preaching in the Presbytery of Chartiers. But the presbytery,
smarting under the synod’s censure and the reversal of its act of
suspension, gave him a chilly reception. Specifically, it failed to give
him any preaching appointments, and a rule of the church forbade a
preacher to make his own. Tensions and animosities developed until, on
September 13, 1808, Thomas Campbell orally—and the next day in
writing—renounced the authority of both presbytery and synod. From that
act, severing his connection with the Seceder Presbyterians, Thomas
Campbell never receded. But the presbytery continued to summon him to
appear and answer charges until, a year and a half later, it gave him up
as hopeless and voted to depose him “from the holy ministry and from the
sealing ordinances.”

What were the reasons for this break? Richardson, in his _Memoirs of
Alexander Campbell_, says that Thomas Campbell gave offense first by
inviting Presbyterians other than Seceders to participate in the
communion service. This does not appear among the written charges in the
minutes of either the presbytery or the synod, but it may well be true.
He is quoted as saying that the test of fitness to commune should be
only a “general,” not a “particular,” acceptance of the Westminster
Confession, and that he himself would gladly commune with other
Christians, Lutherans, for example, if a church of his own order were
not available. Moreover, he admitted advising Seceders to attend the
preaching services of other churches if none of their own was at hand.

The heart of the difficulty was that he said that “the church has no
divine warrant for holding Confessions of Faith as terms of communion”;
creeds may be useful for teaching, but they should not be used as tests
of fellowship, because they contain some things that cannot be proved by
the Bible and many things that ordinary people cannot understand. The
only strictly theological point related to the nature of “saving faith,”
which, in Mr. Campbell’s view, did not necessarily include a sense of
“assurance that we in particular shall be saved.” He had already moved
far toward the conception of faith as the rational belief of testimony
about Christ and trust in him, rather than a mystical experience
evidencing a special act of divine grace in favor of the individual to
assure him that he had been accepted by God. Two other complaints show
that Mr. Campbell had been restless under the restraints of the
Presbyterian system. He had preached, on invitation from the people,
within the parish or circuit of another minister without getting his
consent. And he had said that, in the absence of a minister, “ruling
elders” (who would be laymen) might properly pray and exhort in public

At this stage, then, it appears from the record that Thomas Campbell did
not radically reject either the Calvinistic theology as a system of
doctrine or the Presbyterian polity as a system of church government,
though he was far on the way toward rejecting both. His divergence from
the Seceder Presbyterians can be summed up under these points: (1) He
wanted closer relations with Christians of other denominations. (2) He
did not regard the creed as the standard of truth or as an authoritative
compendium of the truths revealed in Scripture, but claimed for himself
and for every Christian the right to be judged and to test the creed by
reference to the plain teachings of the Bible. (3) He held that
acceptance of the creed in detail should not be a condition of communion
or fellowship. (4) He was suspicious of clerical monopoly. (5) He said
that a feeling of assurance of salvation was not of the essence of
saving faith, though it might accompany a high degree of such faith. (6)
He held that Christ died for all men, and that any man could believe on
him and be saved. This last point was his most definite departure from

If the presbytery gave Campbell no preaching appointments after the
synod had sent him back “rebuked and admonished,” naturally it gave him
none after he had renounced its authority. But he continued to preach in
private houses as opportunity offered. None of the churches for which he
had preached followed him, and no Presbyterian ministers joined him in
withdrawing from the Presbytery of Chartiers. In those respects his
movement differed in its beginning from that of O’Kelly and from that of
McNemar and Stone. But in both of the earlier secessions the separatists
had been preaching in their districts for years, and the ground had been
plowed by revivals, and in Kentucky the way had been prepared by the
immigration of many “Christian” ministers and laymen from the East.
Thomas Campbell, on the other hand, was a newcomer from Ireland and made
the break in a community where there had been no such preparation and
where he had no wide acquaintance.

Before the final action expelling Mr. Campbell from the Seceder
Presbyterian ministry, a group of his sympathizers and habitual hearers,
meeting at the home of Abraham Altars, between Mount Pleasant and
Washington, Pennsylvania, resolved to form a society “to give more
definiteness to the movement in which they had thus far been cooperating
without any formal organization or definite arrangement.” The result was
the “Christian Association of Washington,” organized August 17, 1809. It
was agreed that a proper motto would be, “Where the Scriptures speak, we
speak; where the Scriptures are silent, we are silent.” One member
protested that this would lead to giving up infant baptism. The others
thought not, but considered it a sound principle wherever it might lead.
To express more fully the motives and purposes of the association,
Thomas Campbell drew up a _Declaration and Address_, which was presented
at a subsequent meeting as the report of a committee of twenty-one. (The
total membership was not much more.) On September 7, 1809, the
association approved it and ordered it printed.

It was exactly at this point that Alexander Campbell arrived from
Ireland by way of Scotland.

                     Alexander Campbell at Glasgow

When Thomas Campbell came to America, he left his family in Ireland.
Alexander, then nineteen years old, was to conduct his father’s school
at Rich Hill until the end of the term and to bring his mother and the
six younger children to America when his father gave the word. The word
came when Thomas Campbell had been in America about fifteen months. On
October 1, 1808, the family embarked at Londonderry. Their ship ran
aground on one of the rocky islands of the Hebrides. During that
experience, Alexander’s previous thought about devoting himself to the
ministry reached the point of a firm decision. The interruption of the
voyage so late in the sailing season made it necessary to wait until
spring for its continuance. The shipwrecked travelers made their way to
Glasgow, where they remained almost an entire year.

This year in Glasgow proved to be very important. It gave Alexander
opportunity to supplement the excellent instruction he had received from
his father by a year of study in the University of Glasgow. In addition,
it brought him into contact with the men from whom, as his biographer,
Richardson, says, he derived “his first impulse as a religious
reformer.” These were representatives of the movement led and financed
by the brothers Robert and James Alexander Haldane.

Alexander Campbell came to Glasgow with a letter of introduction to Mr.
Greville Ewing, who was in charge of the seminary, or training school
for lay preachers, which the Haldanes had established in that city. Mr.
Ewing became his closest and most helpful friend during that year in
Glasgow. Ewing had introduced into his seminary the books of Glas and
Sandeman, whose teachings gave the strongest possible emphasis to the
restoration of primitive Christianity in all details. In Ewing’s
conversation and Glas’s and Sandeman’s books, Alexander Campbell found
not only the general concept of a needed restoration of primitive
Christianity but such specific ideas as these: the independence of the
local congregation; weekly observance of the Lord’s Supper; a plurality
of elders; the denial of clerical privileges and dignities; the right
and duty of laymen to have a part in the edification and discipline of
the church; and a conception of faith as such a belief of testimony as
any man is capable of by the application of his natural intelligence to
the facts supplied by Scripture. The Haldanes themselves, and some of
the followers of Sandeman, had adopted immersion, but Ewing adhered to
infant baptism and sprinkling.

The action of all these influences upon Alexander Campbell’s mind, and
of his mind upon what he saw and learned of Presbyterianism in Scotland,
brought him to a profound dissatisfaction with it. He had no quarrel
with its theology. Near the end of his year in Glasgow, when he was
examined by the Seceder church to determine his fitness to partake of
the communion—because he brought no credentials, and the Seceders were
very careful to permit no unqualified person to commune—no fault was
found with his profession of faith, and he received the “token” which
would admit him to the table. But at the communion service, after
postponing his decision to the last possible moment, he laid down his
token and walked out. This was, in effect, his break with the Seceder
Presbyterian Church. He never went back.

Alexander Campbell and the family sailed for America early in August,
1809, landed at New York on September 29, and proceeded to Philadelphia
by stage-coach and thence westward by wagon. Word had been sent ahead to
Thomas Campbell, and he met them on the road in western Pennsylvania,
October 19, with a copy of the freshly printed _Declaration and Address_
in his pocket. Father and son, with an ocean between them, had
independently broken with their religious past and moved by converging
paths toward the same goal. Alexander read the _Declaration and Address_
and was enthusiastic about it. It marshaled him the way that he was

                     The “Declaration and Address”

The _Declaration and Address_ is one of the most important documents in
the history of the Disciples. It deserves not only reading in full but
careful study. As published in a later edition, it is a pamphlet of
fifty-six pages containing four parts: first, a Declaration (3 pages)
stating briefly the plans and purposes of the Christian Association of
Washington; second, an Address (18 pages), signed by Thomas Campbell and
Thomas Acheson, giving an extended argument for the unity of all
Christians and amplifying the principles on which the church can regain
its original unity and purity; third, an Appendix (31 pages) explaining
several points in the Address; fourth, a Postscript (3 pages), written
three months later, suggesting steps to be taken for the promotion of
the movement.

The Declaration states the aim and the means of attaining it. The aim:
“unity, peace, and purity.” The means: “rejecting human opinions, ...
returning to, and holding fast by, the original standard.” The method of
procedure is outlined under nine heads:

  1. The formation of a religious association “for the sole purpose of
  promoting simple evangelical Christianity, free from all mixture of
  human opinions and inventions of men.”

  2. Contributions “to support a pure Gospel Ministry, that shall reduce
  to practice that whole form of doctrine, worship, discipline, and
  government, expressly revealed and enjoined in the word of God.”

  3. The formation of similar societies.

  4. The Christian Association of Washington is not a church, but an
  organization of “voluntary advocates for church reformation.”

  5. The association will support only such ministers as conform to “the
  original standard.”

  6. A committee of twenty-one, chosen annually, shall transact the
  business of the association.

  7. Meetings shall be held twice a year.

  8. An order of business for the meetings.

  9. The association agrees to support those ministers whom it shall
  invite to assist “in promoting a pure evangelical reformation, by the
  simple preaching of the everlasting gospel, and the administration of
  its ordinances in an exact conformity to the Divine Standard.”

The Address opens, and for many pages continues, with a picture of the
“awful and distressing effects” of division among Christians, an
impassioned plea for unity, an argument that conditions in America are
uniquely favorable for a union effort, and a restatement of the causes
of division and the basis of union. Mr. Campbell revealed the central
principle of his endeavor, the ground of his hope for its success, and
the breadth of his tolerance, when he wrote:

  It is, to us, a pleasing consideration that all the churches of
  Christ, which mutually acknowledge each other as such, are not only
  agreed in the great doctrines of faith and holiness; but are also
  materially agreed, as to the positive ordinances of Gospel
  institution; so that our differences, at most, are about the things in
  which the kingdom of God does not consist, that is, about matters of
  private opinion, or human invention.

The Address then lays down thirteen numbered propositions, which, in
condensed form, are as follows:

  1. “The church of Christ upon earth is essentially, intentionally, and
  constitutionally one.”

  2. Congregations locally separate ought to be in fellowship with one

  3. Nothing ought to be an article of faith, a term of communion, or a
  rule for the constitution and management of the church except what is
  expressly taught by Christ and his apostles.

  4. “The New Testament is as perfect a constitution for the worship,
  discipline and government of the New Testament church, and as perfect
  a rule for the particular duties of its members; as the Old Testament
  was ... for ... the Old Testament Church.”

  5. The church can give no new commandments where the Scriptures are

  6. Inferences and deductions from Scripture may be true doctrine, but
  they are not binding on the consciences of Christians further than
  they perceive them to be so.

  7. Creeds may be useful for instruction but must not be used as tests
  of fitness for membership in the church.

  8. Full knowledge of all revealed truth is not necessary to entitle
  persons to membership, “neither should they, for this purpose, be
  required to make a profession more extensive than their knowledge.”
  Realization of their need of salvation, faith in Christ as Savior, and
  obedience to him are all that is necessary.

  9. All who are thus qualified should love each other as brothers and
  be united.

  10. “Division among christians is a horrid evil.”

  11. Divisions have been caused, in some cases, by neglect of the
  expressly revealed will of God; in others, by assuming authority to
  make human opinions the test of fellowship or to introduce human
  inventions into the faith and practice of the church.

  12. All that is needed for the purity and perfection of the church is
  that it receive those, and only those, who profess faith in Christ and
  obey him according to the Scriptures, that it retain them only so long
  as their conduct is in accord with their profession, that ministers
  teach only what is expressly revealed, and that all divine ordinances
  be observed as the New Testament church observed them.

  13. When the church adopts necessary “expedients,” they should be
  recognized for what they are and should not be confused with divine
  commands, so that they will give no occasion for division.

The Appendix explains and clarifies several points in the foregoing and
answers possible objections.

The Postscript, written after the committee of twenty-one had held its
first monthly meeting, December 14, 1809, makes two suggestions. The
first is that there be prepared “a catechetical exhibition of the
fulness and precision of the holy scriptures upon the entire subject of
christianity—an exhibition of that complete system of faith and duty
expressly contained in the sacred oracles; respecting the doctrine,
worship, discipline, and government of the christian church.”
Fortunately, this was never done. The second suggestion is that a
monthly magazine be published, to be called the _Christian Monitor_, to
be started when 500 subscribers were secured, and to be devoted to
“detecting and exposing the various anti-christian enormities,
innovations and corruptions, which infect the christian church.” This
project also was dropped, and it was not until thirteen years later, and
in the hands of Alexander Campbell, that the _Christian Baptist_ took
the assignment of “detecting and exposing.”

At this distance in time it is not easy to see how the author and
signers of the _Declaration and Address_ could suppose that they would
be able to “reduce to practice that whole form of doctrine, worship,
discipline, and government, expressly revealed” without employing any
opinions of their own in interpreting the revelation, when they clearly
saw that those who had attempted this before them had produced
discordant and divisive systems. They were sounding their prophetic and
unifying note when they declared, in the same document, that the basis
of fellowship is not agreement on any complete system of doctrine and
church practice, but is the simple and saving essentials of the gospel
upon which Christians generally are already agreed.

                          The Brush Run Church

Alexander Campbell, newly arrived on the scene of this nascent
reformation, immediately settled down to a strenuous course of private
study—Bible, Greek, Hebrew, Latin, and church history. He preached his
first sermon on July 15, 1810, in a private house. He had no license to
preach and he was a member of no church, for he had left his
Presbyterianism in Scotland, and the Christian Association of Washington
was not yet a church. He preached a hundred times during the next twelve

After Thomas Campbell had applied for admission to the regular (not
Seceder) Presbyterian Synod of Pittsburgh, and had been rejected, the
Christian Association of Washington constituted itself a church, on May
4, 1811. This became the first church among Disciples of Christ in the
Campbell strain of their lineage. The new church chose Thomas Campbell
as elder, elected four deacons, and licensed Alexander Campbell to
preach. It observed the Lord’s Supper the next day, and thereafter every
Lord’s day. A simple building was erected—the Brush Run Church—and the
first service was held in it on June 16, 1811. Alexander Campbell was
ordained on the first day of the next January.

The subject of baptism had not yet been seriously considered. Some
members of the group, and some of its critics, doubted whether the
principles of the _Declaration and Address_ were consistent with infant
baptism and sprinkling. Thomas Campbell was not disturbed about it.
Stating his views to the Synod of Pittsburgh, he had said that infant
baptism is not a command of Christ, hence not a condition of membership
in the church, but that it is a matter of forbearance. Three members of
the Brush Run Church, soon after its organization, refused to commune
because they had not been baptized. These had not even been sprinkled,
yet they had been admitted to membership. “Forbearance” had extended so
far. At their urgent request, Thomas Campbell immersed them—somewhat
reluctantly, it may be surmised, for he did it without going into the
water himself. At that time Alexander Campbell said: “As I am sure it is
unscriptural to make this matter [baptism] a term of communion, I let it
slip. I wish to think and let think on these matters.”

Almost a year later, the birth of his first child forced the question of
infant baptism upon his attention and drove him to a study of the whole
subject. The result was the conviction that the sprinkling of infants
was not baptism within the meaning of the New Testament. On June 12,
1812, Thomas and Alexander Campbell, their wives, and three other
members of the church were immersed in Buffalo Creek by a Baptist
preacher, on a simple confession of faith in Christ. Most of the members
of the Brush Run Church soon followed this example. Those who did not,

The adoption of immersion in this way, as the unvarying practice of the
church and therefore as an item in the proposed platform for the union
of all churches, radically changed the program of the movement. It had
begun with the idea that the churches were divided by human opinions
that had been added to a perfectly adequate common core of revealed
truth and duty which all accepted. But now the Reformers could no longer
say, as Thomas Campbell had said, that all the churches “are agreed in
the great doctrines of faith and holiness and as to the positive
ordinances of the Gospel institution.” To achieve union no longer
required only persuading the churches to unite upon something that they
already held. Now, it became necessary to persuade them also to accept
one “positive ordinance” which only the Baptists believed to be
commanded in the New Testament.

But if the adoption of immersion erected a barrier between the Reformers
and the other churches, it brought them closer to the Baptists. In the
autumn of 1813 the Brush Run Church applied for admission to the
Redstone Baptist Association, at the same time submitting a full written
statement of its position, including its protest against creeds. The
application was accepted, over the protest of some of the Baptist
ministers. For the next seventeen years, the Reformers were, as Walter
Scott said, “in the bosom of the Regular Baptist churches.” But they did
not lose their sense of mission or merge indistinguishably in the
Baptist denomination.

                               CHAPTER VI
                       WITH THE BAPTISTS, 1813-30

After the Brush Run Church had joined the Redstone Baptist Association,
Alexander Campbell began to preach more widely among the Baptist
churches of the region. Thomas Campbell, who was more occupied with
teaching than with preaching, rather rapidly dropped out of his position
of leadership, which was taken over by his son. Alexander had married
the daughter of a well-to-do farmer, and his father-in-law had deeded to
him the farm which was to be the nucleus of his large Bethany estate,
part of which became the campus of Bethany College thirty years later.
Even at the age of twenty-five he enjoyed economic security and was well
on the way toward becoming a substantial citizen.

At a meeting of the Redstone Baptist Association in August, 1816,
Alexander Campbell preached his famous “Sermon on the Law.” There seems
to have been some scheming to keep him off the program, and he was
called in only at the last moment to fill a vacancy. But the content of
the sermon, if not its form, had evidently been the subject of long and
careful study. The central point of it was that the Christian system is
not a continuation of the Jewish regime but is based on a new covenant
which, though prepared for and prophesied in the religion of the Old
Testament, is a radically new thing. Therefore, he said, no arguments
can be drawn from the Old Testament about the nature or form of
Christian institutions. The law of the Sabbath has nothing to do with
the observance of the first day of the week; baptism cannot be
understood by considering it as taking the place of circumcision; paying
tithes and keeping fasts are no part of a Christian’s duty; and any
alliance between church and state, as in the old covenant of God with
the Hebrews, is alien to the spirit and nature of Christianity.

Some of these conclusions—especially separation of church and state and
the denial of any analogy between baptism and circumcision—were pleasing
to the Baptist audience. But the basis of the argument, the complete
abrogation of the Old Testament law, seemed to many a dangerous
doctrine. The preachers who heard the sermon went out to spread among
the churches their fears that this bold and brilliant young man might be
a disturber of Baptist usage. Thereafter he “itinerated less” among the
Baptist churches and confined his labors to “three or four little
communities constituted on the Bible, one in Ohio, one in Virginia and
two in Pennsylvania.” But he also made one or two preaching trips a year
among the regular Baptists. He opened in 1818, and conducted for four
years, a boarding school for boys, especially with a view to finding and
training candidates for the ministry.

                           Debates on Baptism

Mr. Campbell’s Baptist colleagues may have considered him heretical
about the covenants, but they could not fail to value him as a champion
of immersion. So when a Seceder Presbyterian minister, John Walker of
Mt. Pleasant, Ohio, issued a challenge for a debate on that topic, they
urged him to accept it. Mr. Walker, as challenger, affirmed that the
infant children of believers are proper subjects for baptism and that
sprinkling is a proper mode. As to the baptism of infants, he rested his
case almost wholly on the proposition “that baptism came in the room of
circumcision, that the covenant on which the Jewish church was built and
to which circumcision is the seal, is the same with the covenant on
which the Christian church is built and to which Baptism is the seal.”
This is precisely the proposition that Mr. Campbell had denied in his
“Sermon on the Law,” and it gave him opportunity to elaborate and
reinforce his argument as to the radical newness of Christianity and its
freedom from Old Testament law. In addition, he made use of his careful
studies of the Greek word _baptizein_ and the prepositions used with it
in the passages describing baptism. He quoted pedobaptist lexicographers
and commentators to prove that the Greek verb means “to immerse”; and he
stressed the distinction between “positive” and “moral” precepts to show
that the former, including baptism, demand implicit obedience with no
reasoning on our part as to the expediency or value of the thing

The debate with Walker was held at Mt. Pleasant, Ohio, in June, 1820. It
greatly enhanced Campbell’s reputation, especially among the Baptists of
the Mahoning Association in eastern Ohio, and brought him many
invitations to preach in the churches of this association. The
publication of the debate as a book gave much wider publicity to his
ideas and brought on another debate, in October, 1823, with W. L.
Maccalla, a Presbyterian minister of Augusta, Kentucky. This debate was
held at Washington, Mason County, Kentucky. On the horseback trip from
his home to that place, Mr. Campbell was accompanied by Sidney Rigdon,
then a young Baptist minister in Pittsburgh, later one of the three who
constituted the “first presidency” of the Mormon Church and still later
a rival of Brigham Young for its leadership after the death of the
“prophet” Joseph Smith. The text of Campbell’s side of the discussion,
as subsequently published, is based on Rigdon’s report.

In the Maccalla debate, Campbell began to develop his theory of the
design of baptism. Baptism is appropriate for penitent believers, not
for innocent infants, because it is the “washing of regeneration,”
designed to cleanse, not from inherited original sin, but from the guilt
of actual personal sins. Yet it is not a magical “water salvation,”
though he was often accused of teaching that. “The blood of Christ
_really_ cleanses us who believe.... The water of baptism _formally_
washes away our sins.” This distinction was never again so clearly
stated, and it may be argued that it represents a stage through which
Mr. Campbell’s thought passed, rather than a conclusion on which it
rested. However, it brought into prominence the conception of “baptism
for the remission of sins.” When the distinction between “real” and
“formal” remission was dropped, other ways were found for avoiding the
morally repugnant conclusion that, if remission comes by baptism and
only immersion is baptism, then the unimmersed must necessarily be
damned. Neither Campbell nor the Disciples after him ever believed that.

The journey to Kentucky to meet Maccalla was the first of Alexander
Campbell’s many visits to Kentucky. It put him in touch with men and
churches that were going his way—the “Christians,” and a strain among
the Baptists that was to furnish powerful reinforcement to his cause.
And on that long journey by horseback he carried in his saddlebags
copies of the first issue of his new magazine, the _Christian Baptist_.

                          “Reforming Baptists”

The _Christian Baptist_ began in 1823 and continued for seven years. Mr.
Campbell was his own publisher. He set up a printing office on his farm,
secured the location of the post office of Buffaloe (later Bethany), and
was appointed postmaster. The magazine took up at once the delayed task
of “detecting and exposing the various anti-christian enormities,
innovations and corruptions which infect the christian church.” It was
small, as a hornet is small, and its sting was as keen. It attacked
especially three characteristics of the existing churches: the authority
and status assumed by the clergy; unscriptural organizations, such as
synods and church courts, missionary societies, Bible societies, Sunday
schools, and all kinds of “innovations” and “popular schemes”; and the
use of creeds. There was loud outcry that it sowed the seeds of discord
among the churches. It certainly did. Mr. Campbell would have said that
there must always be discord when truth is boldly proclaimed and error
is stubbornly held.

On the constructive side, the magazine used much space in developing—as
the Postscript had suggested doing in a catechism—“that complete system
of faith and duty expressly contained in the Sacred Oracles respecting
the doctrine, worship and government of the church.” A few years later
it was said that Mr. Campbell now became the advocate of “a particular
ecclesiastical order.” To him it was the order of the apostolic church.
For a time, little attention was paid to Christian unity. This objective
was not forgotten, but it was held that emphasis should be first upon
the pattern and procedure of the primitive church as the only ground
upon which Christians could unite.

All this produced an upheaval among the Baptist churches within the area
of Mr. Campbell’s personal and journalistic influence—and it was a
considerable area. Since the Redstone Association, to which the Brush
Run Church belonged, for the most part resisted his ideas in their
earlier statement, he had formed a new Baptist church in the town which
is now Wellsburg, on the Ohio River, seven miles from Bethany, and
secured its admission into the Mahoning Association of eastern Ohio. But
in 1826, ten Redstone churches that stood firm for the Philadelphia
Confession and Baptist usages cut off thirteen that leaned toward the
Reformers, and the thirteen joined the Washington (Pa.) Association,
thereby overbalancing it in the same direction. The Mahoning Association
became thoroughly permeated by the idea of restoring primitive practice.
The church at Hiram, for example, abandoned its church covenant,
constitution, and Confession of Faith to adopt “the Bible alone” as its
standard; and all the others were following fast in the same way. Many
Baptist churches in western Pennsylvania and Virginia contained large
minorities, if not actual majorities, favorable to the “restoration”
program. One can understand the distress of Rev. Robert Semple, who,
speaking as one quite satisfied with the Baptist position, said that the
_Christian Baptist_ was “more mischievous than any publication I have
ever known.”

The ferment in Kentucky was even more acute. For more than twenty years
the Baptists in that state, while gaining rapidly in numbers, had been
troubled by dissension concerning some of their Calvinistic doctrines
and questions growing out of them—election, whether Christ died for all;
the nature of faith, whether saving faith requires a special enabling
act by the Holy Spirit for each individual; and the kind of “experience”
a converted man ought to have. Some associations had divided on one or
more of these issues. Camp-meeting methods, developed in and after the
“great revival,” offended some by their disorderly enthusiasm, gratified
others by their offer of salvation to all. The “Christian” churches,
which provided a continuing series of revivals with Methodistic
coloration, attracted those who wanted freedom both from the rigid
theology of the old creeds and from the Methodist and Presbyterian
systems of centralized control over ministers and local churches.

Stirred by these influences, many Kentucky Baptists were ready for a
call to follow a “reformer.” The _Christian Baptist_, the Maccalla
debate in 1823, and Mr. Campbell’s extensive tour through Kentucky the
next year furnished the call.

One of its most eager and receptive hearers was “Raccoon” John Smith. He
was a frontiersman with little formal education but with a keen mind, a
free spirit, and a passion for preaching the gospel. In 1824, when he
met Campbell, he was forty years old (four years older than Campbell)
and had been an ordained Baptist minister for sixteen years. Within the
next year he began to preach in the way of the Reformers—the gospel for
all, a simple faith in Christ such as is common to all sects, no creed,
every man able to believe and repent, no miraculous “experience” needed.
Charges of un-Baptistic teaching were brought against him at an annual
meeting of the North District Association and were to be acted upon the
next year. Meanwhile he went forth to evangelize and before the next
meeting of the association he had won so many converts and organized so
many new churches “on the Bible alone” that the charges had to be
dropped. In April, 1830, this association formally adopted the
principles of the Reformers, but did not at that time dissolve. Within
the year, three or four other Baptist associations had taken similar
action. At the same time, through the work of other Baptist preachers
who cast in their lot with the new movement, many new independent
churches had been formed, and some old churches had dropped the Baptist
name. As early as 1825 the Baptist church in Louisville, of which P. S.
Fall was pastor, voted to give up the Philadelphia Confession and take
the Bible alone. Jacob Creath, Sr., and Jacob Creath, Jr., and John
Smith evangelized so widely and so successfully that the new movement
gathered a considerable following from the previously unconverted as
well as from the Baptist churches. By the end of 1830, the
Reformers—“Campbellites” to their opponents—were a clearly recognizable
element in Kentucky, though most of them were still nominally Baptists.

                  Walter Scott, the “Gospel Restored”

But the events which were most decisive in changing the Reformers from
“Reforming Baptists” to an independent group to be known as Disciples
occurred in the Mahoning Association in eastern Ohio. The man who had
most to do with these events was Walter Scott. Born in Edinburgh in 1796
and educated in the university of that city, Scott was still a member of
the Church of Scotland when he came to New York immediately after his
graduation and to Pittsburgh the next year. Here he taught in a school
conducted by a Mr. Forrester, who was also the leader of a church of
immersed Haldaneans—locally known as “kissing Baptists.” Scott joined
this church. To gain a better understanding of the restoration of
primitive practices, he visited similar churches in New York, Paterson,
New Jersey, Baltimore, and Washington. He found that they did not
entirely agree as to just what the practice of the primitive church was.
He returned to Pittsburgh much depressed, but resumed his teaching and
studied the writings of Locke, Glas, Sandeman, and Haldane to clarify
his religious ideas. The sudden death of Mr. Forrester threw upon him
the care of the little church. His first meeting with Mr. Campbell, his
senior by eight years, was at Pittsburgh in the winter of 1821-22. They
met occasionally during the next year, and the contact brought Scott out
of his fog. When Campbell was planning his magazine, it was Scott who
suggested the name, “Christian Baptist,” as an indication that the aim
was to work with and through the Baptists, not to promote a defection
from them.

Scott’s chief interest was in defining the process by which one becomes
a Christian. That had really been the central point in Thomas Campbell’s
original concern, for this, in his view, would define the terms of
fellowship and become the basis of union. But attention had been
diverted to developing a complete pattern for the restoration of the
church on the primitive model. To the first four issues of the
_Christian Baptist_, Scott contributed a series of articles on “A
Divinely Authorized Plan of Preaching the Christian Religion.” The plan
of preaching it and the plan of accepting it must naturally be the same.
There must be the right elements in the right order. He found that the
exact steps, authoritatively given as constituting the way to salvation,
were these: (1) Faith, the persuasion of the mind by rational evidence.
“The messiahship rests on demonstration,” and everything else follows
from that on authority. (2) Repentance of sins, under the motive of the
promises. (3) Baptism, in obedience to divine command. (4) Remission of
sins, and (5) the gift of the Holy Spirit, both in fulfillment of God’s
promise, which is conditioned on man’s completion of the first three

These became the five points of Scott’s standard sermon and the outline
of a tremendously effective evangelistic appeal. These points were all
implicit in what Campbell was teaching, but so long as they remained
implicit they could not win converts; they could only change some
regular Baptists into Reforming Baptists, and divide Baptist churches
and associations. The Mahoning Association was more thoroughly imbued
with Campbell’s views than any other; yet at its annual meeting in 1827
all its churches together (excepting Campbell’s own church at Wellsburg,
which did a little better) reported only twenty-one additions for the
year—and there had been twelve excommunications. It was agreed to
appoint an evangelist to “travel and teach among the churches.” Scott,
who had moved to Steubenville, Ohio, within the boundaries of the
association, and who had visited its meetings twice at Campbell’s
invitation and preached before it once, was asked to accept this
appointment. He was not a member of the association, not a Baptist, not
an ordained minister. With the Mahoning Association in 1827, evidently
being a Reformer counted for more than being a Baptist.

It was a good appointment. Scott began his work at New Lisbon, Ohio. The
first convert under his new presentation of the “ancient gospel” was
William Amend, who, according to Scott’s biographer, Baxter, “was beyond
all question the first person in modern times who received the ordinance
of baptism in perfect accordance with apostolic teaching and usage.”
That was on November 18, 1827. The force and freshness of Scott’s
appeal, the exciting sense of discovery, the thought that an ancient
treasure of divine truth was just now being brought to light after being
lost for centuries, the sense of witnessing the dawn of a new epoch in
the history of Christianity—these things gave to the campaign an
extraordinary quality. It was different from other revivals. Here was no
debauch of emotion, but an attractive blending of rationality and
authority. It appealed to common sense as well as to Scripture. It
assumed man’s rational ability to understand what he ought to do and
why, and his moral ability to do it. The first three steps were man’s;
the other two were God’s. When the convert had believed, repented, and
obeyed (i.e., been baptized), he could be perfectly sure that he would
be saved by the remission of his sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit
and eternal life. He had the promise of God for it.

Scott’s work extended throughout eastern Ohio. Besides completing the
conquest of the Mahoning Association for the Reform, it gained great
numbers of converts—many from other denominations but many also,
probably more, who had been members of no church. New churches were
organized. Some of the Baptist preachers entered vigorously into the new
movement, and some of the new converts—such as William Hayden, A. S.
Hayden, and John Henry—became preachers of great power. The first year
of this new evangelism brought more than 1,000 additions to the churches
of the Mahoning Association, more than doubling their total membership.
Scott was assisted at times by Joseph Gaston, a “Christian” preacher who
was, Scott says, the first of that church who “received the gospel after
its restoration.” At the 1828 meeting of the association, William Hayden
was added to the staff, and the next year Bentley and Bosworth.

                      Separation from the Baptists

In three years, the Mahoning Association had lost every distinctive
Baptist characteristic except its form and name as a Baptist
association. Scott’s rigid devotion to the idea of reproducing the
practice of the primitive church led him to the conviction that there
was no warrant for associations. He suggested that the association be
dissolved and persuaded Mr. Campbell not to oppose this action, as he
was inclined to do. A resolution to that effect was passed.

The actual separation of the Reformers—hereafter to be called
Disciples—from the Baptists was a process which had begun two or three
years earlier and which continued for at least three years after this
event. But if a single date must be set for the beginning of the
Disciples of Christ as a separate and independent religious body, it is
in August, 1830, with the dissolution of the Mahoning Association at
Austintown, Ohio.

The doctrines and practices of the Disciples which distinguished them
from the Baptists at the time of the separation may be summarized:

_As to doctrine_: (1) The distinction between the old and new covenants,
with consequent reliance solely upon the New Testament as a source for
instruction concerning Christian faith and institutions. (2) The design
of baptism, for remission of sins; faith, repentance, and baptism
constitute regeneration. (3) The nature of faith as the belief of
testimony, a rational act of which any man is capable in the exercise of
his natural powers and free will. (4) The operation of the Holy Spirit
through the Word alone in conversion. (5) Rejection of the Calvinistic
idea (which not all Baptists held) that Christ died for only the
“elect,” a limited number of predetermined individuals.

_As to practice_: (1) Rejection of creeds and church covenants. (2)
Reception of members on confession of faith in Christ, repentance, and
baptism, without examination, the relation of an “experience,” or a vote
by the congregation. (3) Baptism and the Lord’s Supper may be
administered by any believer. (4) Weekly observance of the Lord’s
Supper. (5) No special “call” to the ministry expected or required and,
in general, no sharp distinction between clergy and laity. (6) Denial of
the authority of associations to exercise any power over local
congregations (Baptists also denied this in theory), or to pass any
judgment upon them, or to lay down conditions of fellowship and
communion, as Baptist associations did when they excluded delegates who
did not bring assurance that their churches adhered to the Philadelphia

While the movement toward separation from the Baptists was approaching
its crisis, two events occurred, both in 1829, which added greatly to
the fame and prestige of Alexander Campbell and thus helped indirectly
to get the Disciples off to a good start.

Mr. Campbell was elected and served as a member of the Virginia
Constitutional Convention. He answered those who criticized this entry
into politics by saying that he wanted to urge the abolition of slavery
or at least some steps in that direction. But he found that it would be
impossible to do anything about slavery until the system of
representation was so altered as to take away the concentration of power
that was in the hands of the slave-owning aristocracy in the eastern
part of the state. He fought a magnificent but losing fight on the floor
of the convention for the abolition of the property qualification for
voting and for representation in proportion to population. In advocating
these democratic measures he faced, almost alone, such champions as John
Marshall, John Randolph, and ex-presidents Madison and Monroe, all of
whom were members of the convention. Anyone who doubts the intellectual
and moral stature of Alexander Campbell will find a convincing
demonstration of both by reading, in the published proceedings of the
convention, his speeches in debate with these giants.

A few months earlier, Mr. Campbell had engaged in a debate with the
noted British social reformer, philanthropist, and skeptic, Robert Owen,
on the general subject of the validity of the claims of Christianity and
a religious versus a secular and materialistic view of the world. In his
two earlier debates he had represented the Baptists against the
Presbyterians. In his two later ones, he defended Protestantism against
Roman Catholicism and certain aspects of the Disciples’ position against
its critics. But in the debate with Owen he had his most eminent
opponent and his most exalted theme—the “Evidences of Christianity.” For
this occasion he was not the advocate of a party or a particular system
of religious ideas, but was the champion of all Christianity. His own
movement entered upon its independent existence with some of the glory
of this splendid performance upon it.

                              CHAPTER VII
                  FIRST YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE, 1830-49

With the dissolution of the Mahoning Association, the Disciples became a
separate people with churches of their own, which were generally called
“Churches of Christ.” The disbanding of several Baptist associations in
Kentucky within the next few months and the division of others added to
the number of churches in the new body. Scattered through the entire
area which had been affected by the teaching of Mr. Campbell and the
_Christian Baptist_ were many churches which were ready to follow the
Reform, or had already begun to do so. Some of these voluntarily
withdrew from the Baptist associations with which they were connected;
others were put out. And in Baptist churches which adhered to their old
position, the individuals or minority groups who accepted the new way
were generally excluded. One point should be made clear: there is no
known record of any case in which the Reforming, or Disciple, element in
what had been a Baptist church ever excluded those who insisted on
continuing to be Baptists.

By 1833 the Disciples had been pretty thoroughly eliminated from the
Baptist churches, to the number of something like twenty thousand
members, nearly all in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Kentucky, and
Tennessee. Their most important accomplishments during the next two
decades were: the growth of a conscious fellowship and the sense of
being a united group; the union with the greater part of the western
“Christian” churches; the development of institutions, customs, and
procedures by which their common life and purpose could be expressed;
and a remarkable increase in numbers and geographical extent.

Mr. Campbell brought the _Christian Baptist_ to an end with the
completion of its seventh volume and immediately began the publication
of the _Millennial Harbinger_, January, 1830. This was a larger
magazine, devoted less to “detecting and exposing” the corruptions of
the divided churches than to presenting a constructive program for
curing their ills. Moreover, it had the responsibility, as the earlier
magazine had not, of reporting the news of a movement which had now
become a going concern and of discussing the problems which arose in the
life of the new body. The name does not indicate any special interest in
what is generally called the “millennium,” as implying a visible second
coming of Christ in the near future. The kind of millennium of which
this magazine proposed to be the harbinger was the triumph of the
Kingdom of God on earth. If that was ever to come, the editor thought,
it could be only when the church had been purified and united.

The _Millennial Harbinger_ appeared monthly from 1830 to 1870. Mr.
Campbell was its editor for nearly thirty years. During this time it was
the backbone of Disciples’ periodical literature. A great many small
monthlies very soon began to spring up. Most of them had small
circulation and short life, but their total influence was great, and a
few became important. A list printed in 1845, and not claiming to be
complete, names fifteen monthlies and two weeklies in existence at that

                        Disciples and Christians

The union between the Disciples and the Christian churches in Kentucky
and adjacent states west of the Alleghenies was an event of the utmost
importance for the whole movement. Since the churches of both groups
exercised a high degree of local independence, union could not have been
brought about by any binding act of conferences or conventions, even if
there had been general conferences or conventions in either party, as
there were not. It had to depend upon a contagion of fellowship between
their congregations in many communities. But the process was rapid, and
the union may be dated as of 1832. It began with a consultation among
some of their leaders on the first day of that year and was far enough
advanced to insure its success before the end of the year.

Barton W. Stone and Alexander Campbell first met in 1824. They were
friends from the start, and both were impressed by the similarity of
their pleas for simple and evangelical Christianity. In 1826 Mr. Stone
began the publication of a monthly, the _Christian Messenger_, at
Georgetown, Kentucky. In a communion having no general organization and
no cooperative work, it was his position as editor which, more than
anything else, gave him the prominence that has led to calling the
Christian church in Kentucky, not very accurately, “the Stone movement.”
Since he wrote constantly and copiously for his magazine and also
published reports of the activities of the churches and evangelists, it
gives a good contemporary picture of his mind and of the principles and
practices of the Christian churches during the years immediately before
the union.

The unity of all Christians was the theme of a series of articles which
began in the first issue of the _Christian Messenger_, and the topic
frequently recurs. Stone gives the arguments for unity and states and
answers the possible objections. The principal obstacle to union, as he
sees it, is insistence upon doctrinal agreement. Stone is for tolerance
on all matters of opinion. Yet there are some doctrines in the orthodox
creeds which Stone considers so erroneous that he is not content to say
that they ought not to be made tests of fellowship; he must try to
disprove them and eliminate them from the minds of all Christians. These
are the generally accepted doctrines of the Trinity, the nature of
Christ, and the atonement. Upon each of these subjects Mr. Stone wrote
many long articles and editorials. He did not hesitate to say that “we
deny the Trinity,” not because it is mysterious but because it is not a
revealed doctrine. The character of God is revealed, but not his essence
or the mode of his existence. Christ was the Son of God, being of the
same nature but not of the same substance. The Holy Spirit “means the
power or energy of God, never a third person in deity.”

It is not surprising that the orthodox denominations regarded the writer
of these statements as a dangerous man and the “Christians” as rank
heretics. The orthodox, and especially the Presbyterians, would have
been sensitive about such statements at any time; but just at this time
they were in a more than usually suspicious mood, for the first year of
the _Christian Messenger_ (1826) was the very year in which the
Unitarian, Dr. Horace Holley, had been dismissed from the presidency of
Transylvania University, and Kentucky was still ringing with the
conflict between the orthodox and the “liberals.” So it was inevitable
that the charge of “Unitarianism” should be hurled at Stone and his
party. In the eyes of his most bitter critics, Stone was also a
“Crypto-Arian” and a “Crypto-Socinian.” Controversial pamphlets flew
back and forth. As one reads them now, Stone seems to hold his own in
theological scholarship and English style, and they cast no cloud upon
his devotion to Christ or upon his zeal for the union of Christ’s
followers in one family of faith and the salvation of sinners by the
power of the gospel. Stone was anti-Calvinist, anti-Trinitarian,
anticreed, but he was _not_ a Unitarian.

                       Likenesses and Differences

Studying Campbell’s _Christian Baptist_ and _Millennial Harbinger_ and
Stone’s _Christian Messenger_ for the period shortly before the union of
the two movements, one finds the evidence of some important likenesses
and of certain differences, which were soon adjusted without much
trouble. The likenesses were these:

1. Both groups consciously and explicitly aimed to promote the union of

2. Both rejected creeds and theologies as tests of fellowship, insisted
on liberty of opinion on all matters of doctrine that were not
considered as unmistakably revealed, and held that simple faith in
Christ was sufficient.

3. They agreed that Christ died for all and that all could believe on
him and be saved.

4. They agreed that saving faith, at least in its minimum essentials,
was nothing else than an act of the mind in accepting rational evidence
of the truth, and that even fallen and sinful man was capable of that
act without special assistance from the Holy Spirit. This idea was
prominent in Campbell’s thought, and it was fundamental in Scott’s
method, which gave the Reformers their evangelistic drive. Stone had
expressed the same idea earlier but he did not make much use of it, and
the evangelism of the Christians does not seem to have been greatly
affected by it.

5. The practice of believers’ baptism by immersion and the conception of
baptism for the remission of sins were common to both, subject to some
limitations to be mentioned presently.

6. Both opposed the use of unscriptural names as sectarian and divisive.
On Stone’s side there was much argument that Acts 11:26 (“The disciples
were called Christians first in Antioch”) meant that they were so called
by divine appointment, so that this name _must_ be used. But this
extreme opinion was not insisted upon, and Campbell’s preference for
“Disciples” was no obstacle. The use of the two names—and of “Churches
of Christ” as well—confused the public but was no barrier to union.

Replying to a correspondent who asked why the Christians should not
unite with the “New Testament Baptists” (meaning Campbell’s Reformers),
Stone wrote in 1828: “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 of emphasis and practice. The chief
differences were these:

1. The Christians did not make immersion a condition of membership. Most
of them had been immersed, but they considered baptism as lying in the
field of opinion, in which there should be liberty. Stone repeatedly
defended this position. 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 few months later he admitted feeling some
inconsistency between preaching immersion for remission of sins and
admitting 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 had at least the beginnings of a method of obtaining a
responsible ministry. Stone criticized those who thought that a church
could “induct into the ministerial office”; that function belongs 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 against
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 until much later, and still is with most of them. But at
the time of the union, the Christians seem to have had a somewhat
“higher” conception of the office of the ministry.

3. The Christians were much more zealous in evangelism than the
Reformers had been before the outburst of evangelistic fervor with John
Smith and a few other “New Testament Baptists” in Kentucky and the
campaign of Walter Scott in Ohio in 1827. But their method of evangelism
had been of the Methodist type. There is clear evidence that theirs was,
in practice, a “mourners’ bench” revivalism, in spite of Stone’s theory
of faith as a rational act. Christian evangelists, sending to Stone’s
paper the reports of their meetings, write that “crowds of mourners came
forward weeping and crying for mercy”; or, “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”; or, “crowds of weeping mourners
came forward to unite with us in prayer”; or, more specifically, that
the summer camp meetings (in Georgia) are “conducted in the main in the
manner of Methodist camp meetings.” Scott’s new method of presenting the
“Gospel restored” in clear steps created some surprise and questioning.
A Christian preacher 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.” Stone replies: “We have for some
time practiced in this way throughout our country.” Evidently Stone had
already come to a position identical with that of Campbell and Scott as
to the nature of faith, the purpose of baptism, and the technique of
evangelism. But just as evidently, the Christian preachers and churches
generally had not. They had zeal for evangelism, but they still had much
to learn about its method. Scott was their teacher.

4. Whereas the Reformers early adopted the practice of observing the
Lord’s Supper every Sunday, the Christians did not. By 1830, Stone had
decided that this was the practice of the early church, and he wrote:
“Whenever the church shall be restored to her former glory, she will
again receive the Lord’s Supper every first day of the week.” But he was
less ardent than Campbell about “restoring the ancient order of things,”
and he was disposed to be patient about this as he was about immersion.

                            Union and Growth

By 1830 the Christian churches west of the Alleghenies had, it is
estimated, seven or eight thousand members in Kentucky, somewhat fewer
in Tennessee, and smaller numbers in all the states to which migrants
had been going from these two. There were district conferences in Ohio
and Indiana, in Alabama and Mississippi; a Christian church organized in
Missouri in 1816 was only the first of several; and there were two
conferences in Iowa by 1828.

The growing acquaintance and sympathy between Christians and Disciples
led to a number of consultations between their leaders at various places
in Kentucky, and finally to a meeting at Lexington, January 1, 1832,
attended by prominent representatives of both. It was unanimously agreed
that they should unite. Since neither group recognized any church
authority superior to the local congregation, actual union could be
accomplished only by going to the congregations and persuading them to
unite. “Raccoon” John Smith (Disciple) and John Rogers (Christian) went
out as a team to carry this message to the churches. Others took it up.
Stone’s _Christian Messenger_ and Campbell’s _Millennial Harbinger_
supported it. Within three years the greater part of the Christian
churches in the area mentioned had joined the merger. On the points of
difference, especially baptism and evangelistic method, the practice of
Campbell and Scott prevailed. The Christians contributed a revived
emphasis upon liberty of opinion and upon union, which the Reformers had
been in danger of subordinating in their zeal for the restoration of “a
particular ecclesiastical order.”

There had been, up to this time, no organizational connection among the
three great groups of “Christian” churches. Those in New England and
those in the southern Atlantic states were not affected by the merger
with the Disciples. They tightened their denominational organization and
continued their separate existence until, nearly a hundred years later
(1930), they united with the Congregationalists.

It is not possible to give a clear picture of the numerical growth and
geographical expansion of the Disciples in their first twenty years.
There were at first no organizations to promote the movement, no
headquarters to project plans, no agencies to collect statistics, no
yearbook to list churches and preachers. The energy of the movement was
tremendous. As a plea for union, its appeal was to Christians of all
faiths; therefore there was no hesitation about proselyting. As a
presentation of the way of salvation, its message was to the
unconverted. Both classes responded in large numbers. This “Gospel
restored”—Scott’s five steps in conversion—and the call to union on that
basis were a simple message. One had only to hear it to believe it, and
almost anyone who believed it could preach it—and a great many did. Most
of those who evangelized went out on their own initiative and
responsibility. The frontier was open, and there was a steady flow of
migration to the west. Among the migrants were many preachers, who were
often farmers also. But if there was no preacher in the new community,
laymen might carry the message and plant the seed of a church. The
distinction between ministers and laymen was often very vague. One who
could preach became _ipso facto_ a preacher. Besides farmer-preachers,
there were lawyers, doctors, teachers, and merchants who preached, won
converts, baptized them, and established churches.

The need of some simple and efficient method of cooperation was soon
felt. Some doubted whether any organization of the churches was
scriptural. But the decision of most was that organized cooperation
among the churches to spread the gospel—but _not_ to exercise authority
over the churches—was a proper expedient. A meeting of representatives
of several churches at New Lisbon, Ohio, in 1831, and another at
Wheeling, West Virginia, in 1835, reached this conclusion and considered
ways and means of cooperation. A few glimpses, almost at random, at the
beginnings of churches and organizations in certain states will indicate
something of the method and rate of expansion during these two decades.

In Indiana, several local movements, some beginning as early as 1810,
contributed to the stream of the Reform. Some Free Will Baptists,
regular Baptists, Dunkers, and “Christians” had arrived independently at
similar ideas, and presently the _Christian Baptist_ helped to unify
them, and the merging of the Disciples and Christians completed the
process. Their first cooperation for a specific purpose was when five
churches joined in supporting John O’Kane as an evangelist, and his
first work was to organize the First Church in Indianapolis in 1833.
Indiana’s first state convention was held in 1839, with fifty preachers
present and reports of 115 churches with over 7,000 members. The state
missionary society was formed ten years later. But the growth in numbers
and churches—and it was rapid and substantial—was due to the work of
individuals, local churches, and county cooperation more than to the
state organization.

The first Disciples in Illinois came from Kentucky and Indiana in 1830.
Stone visited Jacksonville in 1832, preparatory to moving there two
years later. He found a Christian church and a Disciple church, and
persuaded them to unite. In 1834 a group of churches in that vicinity
voted to employ an evangelist and issued an invitation to a state
meeting. But the first state meeting was not held until 1842.

To Missouri came the Christian preacher, Thomas McBride, from Kentucky
in 1816, followed soon by Joel Haden, T. M. Allen, and others. By 1820
there were eight churches. State meetings began, irregularly, in 1837.
In that year a church was formed in St. Louis, but it did not persist
and was started again in 1842. Missouri was, from the start, a “strong
state” for the Disciples.

Texas was still a part of Mexico when Collin McKinney, a devout
“Christian” layman from Kentucky, came to the vicinity of Texarkana in
1824 and then moved on to what became Bowie County, where he spent the
rest of a long and active life. He did not have a church there until a
preacher came in 1842; but when there was a church, McKinney was a
pillar of it, as he was of the republic, and then the state, of Texas.
The first church in Texas was one that came in a body from Tennessee,
with reinforcements from Alabama and Mississippi, in 1836, and settled
at Clarksville. Lynn D’Spain and Mansil W. Matthews were the preachers
who came with this church. David Crockett accompanied this caravan on
part of its journey. At that time the Mexican constitution prohibited
the exercise of any religion except the Roman Catholic, but the agencies
of enforcement were weak, the seat of government was far away, and the
revolution which made Texas an independent republic was imminent.

California had two churches, at Stockton and Santa Clara, within two
years after the discovery of gold. They were established by Thomas
Thompson, a Disciple preacher who went west with the forty-niners but
preferred to evangelize, at his own expense, rather than to seek gold.
This falls just beyond the limits of our period, the first two decades,
but it illustrates the promptness with which Disciples followed the
frontier. There is a report of a congregation organized in Oregon
Territory in 1846, three years after the beginning of the “great
immigration” and the very year in which American title to the territory
was settled by treaty with England.

                         Campbell at His Zenith

Alexander Campbell’s activities during these years were constant and
varied. The _Millennial Harbinger_ furnished a medium for the
development and expression of his ideas and for the exchange of news and
opinions among the churches. His many long tours for lecturing and
preaching were more fruitful in building morale and gaining publicity
for the movement than in winning converts, for he was never a very
effective evangelist. But from the testimony of unbiased witnesses, he
must have been one of the most impressive figures that ever stood upon
an American platform. Mrs. Trollope, mother of the English novelist, and
herself the author of _Domestic Manners of the Americans_, was present
at the debate with Owen and described Mr. Campbell as “the universal
admiration of his audience.”

In 1836 Mr. Campbell published a volume entitled _The Christian System_.
This came near to being such an “exhibition of the fullness and
precision of the Holy Scriptures upon the entire subject of
Christianity” as Thomas Campbell had suggested in the Postscript to the
_Declaration and Address_. Those who had felt the sting of his
denunciation of creeds now shouted with glee that here at last was the
“Campbellites’ creed.” But it was not a creed, because it was never used
as a creed and was never intended to be so used. It was a rather full
statement of Mr. Campbell’s views on every religious topic that he
considered important. But no church or organization of churches ever
adopted it. No applicant for membership was ever asked to accept it. No
minister’s orthodoxy was ever tested by it. No one could even be
required to read it. The book itself repudiates the notion of requiring
conformity to this or any other body of doctrine. In it the author says:

  The belief of one fact is all that is requisite, as far as faith goes,
  to salvation. The belief of this one fact and submission to one
  institution expressive of it, is all that is required of Heaven to
  admission into the church. The one fact is expressed in the single
  proposition, that Jesus the Nazarene is the Messiah. The one
  institution is baptism.

_The Christian System_, then, was certainly not a creed, since it
declared that only “one fact and one institution” were essential.

But when he placed the “one institution” on a par with the “one fact,”
Mr. Campbell did not mean to imply that the unimmersed could not be
Christians. A lady wrote from Lunenburg, Virginia, in 1837, expressing
surprise at some reference he had made to unimmersed Christians. In
reply to this “Lunenburg letter,” Mr. Campbell wrote a memorable article
for the _Millennial Harbinger_ and followed it with two even more
emphatic statements answering objections. In this article, he wrote:

  Who is a Christian? I answer, Everyone that believes in his heart that
  Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah, the Son of God; repents of his sins,
  and obeys him in all things according to his measure of knowledge of
  his will....

  I cannot ... make any one duty the standard of Christian state or
  character, not even immersion....

                              * * * * * * *

  It is the image of Christ the Christian looks for and loves; and this
  does not consist in being exact in a few items, but in general
  devotion to the whole truth as far as known.

  There is no occasion, then, for making immersion, on a profession of
  the faith, absolutely essential to a Christian—though it may be
  greatly essential to his sanctification and comfort.

In answering an objection to the original article, Mr. Campbell stated:

  Now the nice point of opinion on which some brethren differ, is this:
  Can a person who simply, not perversely, _mistakes_ the outward
  baptism, have the inward ... which changes his state and has praise of
  God, though not of all men?... To which I answer, that, in my opinion,
  _it is possible_.

In 1837 Mr. Campbell defended Protestantism in a debate with the Roman
Catholic, Archbishop Purcell, of Cincinnati. It was a period in which
there was much anti-Catholic agitation, stimulated by what the Native
American party called “the rapidly increasing political influence of the
papal power in the United States” and by the violently reactionary
policy of the papacy against every liberal and democratic movement in
Europe. The public and the press had not yet adopted the hush-hush
attitude toward the Catholic question. Neither of the contestants sought
this controversy. They were virtually forced into it by the public
interest in lectures which both had delivered before a teachers’
association in Cincinnati. The debate was held in Cincinnati. It
continued through eight days and made a great impression on the city.
Mr. Campbell had now defended Protestantism against the highest Roman
Catholic dignitary who ever participated in such a public discussion in
this country, and he had earlier defended Christianity against one of
the most eminent secularists and skeptics of the time. These debates
were published and widely circulated.

But for the exposition and defense of his own movement, the high point
in Campbell’s career as a debater was his debate with the Presbyterian
minister, N. L. Rice, at Lexington, Kentucky, in 1843. Henry Clay served
as moderator. The debate lasted for eighteen days. Four of the six
propositions had to do with baptism. Campbell affirmed that the act is
immersion and the purpose is the remission of past sins. Rice affirmed
that the infant of a believing parent is a proper subject, and that
baptism may be administered only by a bishop or ordained presbyter. In
the other two propositions, Campbell affirmed that the Holy Spirit
operates only through the Word in conversion and sanctification, and
that creeds are necessarily “heretical and schismatical.” This debate,
published in a thick volume of more than 900 closely printed pages,
became a book of reference for generations of Disciples and perhaps did
as much as any other one thing to standardize their thinking and

The duty of founding colleges for the education of ministers, the
building of an intelligent laity, and the Christian culture of society
was suggested almost as soon as the Disciples realized that they were a
separate body committed to a long-term enterprise. A charter was
obtained in 1833 for a college at New Albany, Indiana, but nothing came
of it. The first actual college of the Disciples was Bacon College,
founded at Georgetown, Kentucky, in 1836. The name was selected to honor
Francis Bacon and to register approval of his empirical philosophy.
Walter Scott was its first president, but he did little beyond
delivering an inaugural address, and within less than a year he was
succeeded by D. S. Burnet. The school was moved to Harrodsburg in 1839,
was discontinued in 1850, was revived as Kentucky University, and in
1865 was moved to Lexington, where it acquired the property and historic
tradition of Transylvania University.

Bethany College was incorporated in 1840 and opened soon after. Mr.
Campbell projected and organized it, gave the land which became its
beautiful campus, raised the money for its building and maintenance, and
served as its president for more than twenty years. His writings on
education, especially the series of articles in the _Millennial
Harbinger_ during the year when he was making his plans for Bethany,
prove that he was an original and creative thinker in the field of both
general and Christian education. His expectations as to the service his
college would render to the movement as a whole were amply realized. It
became for a time the principal training school for ministers and the
educational center for the laity; and it was the “mother of colleges”
among the Disciples.

                              CHAPTER VIII
                   ORGANIZATION AND TENSIONS, 1849-74

As the Disciples grew and spread, the need of organization on a national
scale was felt. There were still lingering doubts as to whether fidelity
to the “ancient order of things” permitted such organization. But the
prevailing decision was that meetings of “deputies, messengers or
representatives” of the churches might properly be held if they would
remember that they are “voluntary expedients” and “have no authority to
legislate in any matter of faith or moral duty” but exist only “to
attend to the ways and means of successful cooperation.” These words,
quoted from a resolution adopted by a conference on cooperation held at
Steubenville, Ohio, in 1844, express the policy that became permanent.

Mr. Campbell himself, laying aside any earlier prejudice against what he
had called “popular schemes” among the denominations, urged “a more
general and efficient cooperation in the Bible cause, in the missionary
cause, in the educational cause.” But so long as the Disciples had no
agency of their own for foreign missionary work he recommended (1845)
that they support the Baptist Missionary Society. And when, in the same
year, D. S. Burnet and other brethren in Cincinnati organized an
“American Christian Bible Society,” he felt that this action was
premature, that it was not sufficiently representative of the whole
brotherhood, and that more could be accomplished with the available
funds by contributing them to the (Baptist) American and Foreign Bible
Society. He was no isolationist, and he bore no grudge against the
Baptists, in spite of the acrimonies that had accompanied the expulsion
of the Reformers from Baptist churches and associations a few years
earlier. He also endorsed the Evangelical Alliance as soon as it was
formed in 1846.

The demand for a national convention that would represent the whole body
of Disciples found voice through most of the influential journals. All
who urged a convention spoke of it as a meeting of “delegates” appointed
by the churches. To those who still objected that conventions and
missionary societies were no part of the “ancient order,” Mr. Campbell
replied that in such matters of method and procedure the church is “left
free and unshackled by any apostolic authority.”

                         National Organization

The first national convention of Disciples met at Cincinnati, October
24-28, 1849, with 156 representatives from one hundred churches in
eleven states. Some came as delegates with credentials from their
churches. Others represented districts. The Indiana state meeting had
elected messengers. But many ministers and active laymen were present
who had no formal appointment and no credentials. Since these were
well-known brethren, whose standing as representative Disciples no one
could deny, and whose right to an equal status with the elected
delegates it would have been embarrassing to challenge, it was voted to
enroll all present as members of the convention. So this first national
convention, though projected as a delegate convention, became a mass

The organization of a missionary society was the principal business of
the convention. The name first chosen was “Home and Foreign Missionary
Society,” but this was immediately changed to “American Christian
Missionary Society,” because “the missionary cause is one”—a truth that
was rediscovered in 1919. The society’s name meant that it was to be an
American agency for missions throughout the world, including America.
Alexander Campbell was elected its first president, and he was
re-elected annually as long as he lived.

No sooner had the convention been held and the society formed than the
opposition to both flared up again. Jacob Creath, Jr., who had been
opposed to the convention from the beginning, wanted to have another
convention to discuss the legitimacy of conventions and societies. Some
others argued that “the church is the only missionary society and can
admit no rivals”; but these also objected to any arrangement for united
action by the churches, so that, in their view, each congregation would
have to be a separate missionary society. The criticism of conventions
and societies on the ground that there was no New Testament command or
precedent for them did not seem to have much popular support at this
time, and it soon died down. But a few years later it became a highly
controversial issue, and finally a divisive one.

The first venture abroad was the Jerusalem mission, led by Dr. James T.
Barclay. Even before the convention met and before the society was
formed, Dr. Barclay had been pressing the cause of foreign missions upon
the Disciples, had suggested Jerusalem as a field, and had offered his
services. He was a man of fine culture, with a college degree from the
University of Virginia and a degree in medicine from the University of
Pennsylvania, and the depth of his piety equaled the ardor of his
devotion to the cause. The selection of Jerusalem as the scene of the
first foreign missionary effort was based chiefly on sentimental
considerations. Since the gospel had first been preached “beginning at
Jerusalem,” it seemed fitting that the world-wide proclamation of the
“gospel restored” should also begin there. Dr. Barclay and his family
reached Jerusalem in February, 1851. After three and a half years of
work, not entirely unfruitful but on the whole disappointing, he
returned with the report that conditions did not warrant the continuance
of the mission at that time.

Soon after, the society attempted to plant a mission among the Negro
freedmen who had migrated to Liberia. This colony on the west coast of
Africa had but recently declared its independence, which had been
recognized by most of the powers—except the United States. A Negro
slave, Alexander Cross, was bought, freed, educated, and sent to
evangelize among his own people; but he died of fever on the coast of
Liberia before he could begin his work. In 1858 J. O. Beardslee, who had
been a missionary in Jamaica with another communion, became a Disciple
and returned to that island under the auspices of the American Christian
Missionary Society. His work produced no notable results, but it may
have helped to open the fray for the more substantial work in Jamaica
some years later. These three—Jerusalem, Liberia, and Jamaica—were the
only foreign missionary efforts in the twenty-five years during which
the society undertook to conduct both foreign and home missions, and all
three were counted as failures.

                     Growth, Journalism, Education

During the quarter-century to which our attention is now directed, the
American Christian Missionary Society did something toward sending
evangelists to neglected areas and planting churches on the frontier.
State societies did more. But the work that produced the very
substantial growth in this period was done chiefly by churches and
evangelists acting independently, by county and neighborhood
cooperation, and by individuals who were following the westward tide of
migration. While churches were being established in the new Western
territories and states as fast as population flowed into them, there was
also a steady increase of membership in the Central states, where the
movement had had its beginnings. After a tour of Indiana in 1850, Mr.
Campbell reported that “our people” in that state were second only to
the Methodists in numbers, resources, and influence. Their standing in
Kentucky at that time was certainly no worse. Development east of the
Alleghenies was relatively slow and slight, except in Virginia and North
Carolina, where early visits and preaching by Disciple ministers had
proved fruitful. These two states would have been even stronger if they
had not lost, while the Western states were gaining, by the westward
current of migration. In other Eastern states there were some notable
old churches, some of which originated under Haldanean, Sandemanian, or
similar influences and became affiliated with the Disciples, but they
did not greatly multiply.

The total numerical growth from 1849 to 1874 was not merely substantial;
it was amazing. By the middle of the nineteenth century, after twenty
years of separate existence, the Disciples had about 118,000 members. In
the 1850-60 decade their numbers were almost doubled to 225,000. For
1870, the figure is given as 350,000. By 1875 it was probably close to
400,000. This growth is the more remarkable because it was accomplished
with very little help from promotional organizations and with very
little general planning.

The abundance and vigor of the periodicals devoted to the defense of the
faith and the dissemination of news of the churches did much to make up
for the lack of more official agencies of cooperation. The editors had
no authority, but they exercised wide influence in the spread of ideas
and the promotion of acquaintance among the Disciples in scattered
communities. James M. Mathes published the _Christian Record_ at various
places in Indiana, with some intermissions, from 1843 to 1884. By far
the most influential editor, aside from Campbell and Errett, was
Benjamin Franklin, a collateral relative of the famous Dr. Benj.

Our Ben Franklin began his long and notable editorial career in 1845
with a paper which, beginning as the _Reformer_ and passing through
several changes and mergers, became the _American Christian Review_. He
was a powerful supporter of the missionary society until, after serving
as its secretary for a short time, he turned against it and became the
most effective opponent of organized work. More important than this was
the sledge-hammer evangelism that he carried on incessantly, with the
spoken as well as the written word. Completely without formal education,
he developed a clear and trenchant style which does not need his
biographer’s apologies. The favorite theme of his writing, and the sole
theme of his preaching, was the “plan of salvation” and the plea of the
Disciples for that simple gospel and the restoration of the church on
the apostolic pattern. A volume of his evangelistic sermons, _The Gospel
Preacher_, was the handbook for hundreds of other preachers and kept its
popularity for half a century. One must know Ben Franklin, and realize
how many there were like him, though built to a smaller scale, to
understand how the Disciples grew so fast in this pioneer period—and why
they ran into some difficulties later. Franklin also helped to save the
Disciples from division over slavery and the Civil War by urging that
the sole business of the church is to preach the gospel. In doing this,
he also helped to fasten upon them the idea that the church must be
neutral on all social and economic questions. A Christian “should make
his money according to the laws of business and spend it according to
the laws of God,” said one eminent minister.

About 1850 there arose a great zeal for founding colleges. In several
states the Disciples had become strong enough, or felt sure that they
soon would be strong enough, to support a college. Schools were needed
to train ministers, to provide an educated laity, to hold the loyalty of
the young people of their own families and win others, and to make their
fair contribution to the culture of new communities in which there was
little provision for tax-supported education.

In 1845 the Disciples had three colleges: Bacon, at Harrodsburg,
Kentucky; Bethany, at what is now Bethany, West Virginia; and Franklin,
near Nashville, Tennessee. Within a year or two before or after 1850, at
least nine colleges and institutes were established, most of which still
live. These included: Kentucky Female Orphan School, Midway, Kentucky;
Western Reserve Eclectic Institute, which became Hiram College, Hiram,
Ohio; Northwestern Christian University, which became Butler University,
Indianapolis, Indiana; Walnut Grove Academy, which grew into Eureka
College, Eureka, Illinois; Christian College (for girls), Columbia,
Missouri; Abington College, Abington, Illinois, which later merged with
Eureka; Berea College, Jacksonville, Illinois, which died young;
Arkansas College, Fayetteville, Arkansas, which met the same fate; and
Oskaloosa College, Oskaloosa, Iowa, which had thirty useful years before
it was dimmed by the brighter light of Drake University.

The percentage of survival in this list is unusually high. It was much
lower among the colleges started during the next twenty or thirty years.
The cost of maintaining a good college, according to the standards of
that time, was very little in comparison with present needs, but it was
more than most of the eager college founders thought it would be. Many
schools were started which had not a sufficient constituency. Others
were brought forth by the local pride of an optimistic young settlement
and withered away when its hope was deferred or its boom collapsed—for
while Chicago and Kansas City grew miraculously, many a “future
metropolis” of the Middle West remained a village. Few of the new
colleges were adequately financed, even for a modest beginning. The
mortality rate was therefore high. The Disciples were not alone in this.
Other denominations lost many infant colleges. By 1865 there was a
general complaint about the reckless multiplication of weak colleges.
Moses E. Lard expressed the mind of many when he wrote: “We are building
ten where we should have but one. One great university, with a single
well-endowed college in each state where we number fifty thousand, is

One is rather surprised to find, running through several issues of the
_Millennial Harbinger_ in that same year, a discussion as to whether the
Disciples needed a good theological school for the graduate training of
the ministry. W. K. Pendleton, Campbell’s son-in-law (twice) and his
successor as president of Bethany College and as editor of the
_Millennial Harbinger_, argued that there was need of a school to give
ministers a professional education beyond what the colleges can or
should furnish. Isaac Errett agreed with Pendleton. Ben Franklin,
naturally, opposed. Nothing was done. For another thirty or forty years
the Disciples continued to consider training for the ministry as a phase
of undergraduate education.

                         “We Can Never Divide”

Through these years the slavery issue was mounting to the crisis of war.
All the churches were deeply stirred. Methodists, Baptists, and
Presbyterians divided. Congregationalists, being practically all in the
North and therefore all on the same side of the question, did not
divide. The Episcopal Church peaceably divided when the country was
divided by secession, and as peaceably reunited when the country was
reunited. Disciples were nearly equal in numbers, North and South. They
might easily have divided, but they did not.

Alexander Campbell’s sentiments were against slavery and he was never a
slaveholder, but he lived in a slave state and had little sympathy with
radical abolitionism. Much of the patronage and financial support of
Bethany College came from the South, and he tried to keep the college
neutral on these controversial issues. The first graduating class of
Northwestern Christian University (Butler) was made up of a group of
students who withdrew from Bethany in sympathy with a young man who had
been expelled for making an antislavery speech after the public
discussion of that question in the college had been forbidden. Campbell
had elaborated his position in a series of articles in 1845: slavery is
not condemned in the New Testament; therefore holding slaves is not
sinful _per se_ and cannot be a ground for withdrawing Christian
fellowship; masters must do their full Christian duty toward their
slaves, though it is admittedly very difficult to maintain a fully
Christian attitude toward a person while owning him as a slave; slavery
is economically bad and morally dangerous; and the policy to be followed
in any situation is a matter of “opinion” and therefore within the area
of Christian liberty.

That useful distinction between faith and opinion, which was fundamental
to the Disciples’ program for union, now saved them from division over
slavery and war. All political and social questions were to be treated
as matters of opinion on which Christians might differ without dividing.
Fourteen ministers in Missouri, including J. W. McGarvey, published in
1861 a “pacifist manifesto” urging Disciples to take no part in the war.
They did not argue that war is always wrong or anti-Christian, nor did
they discuss any moral issue of the war that was then beginning. Their
whole point was that “our movement” would suffer disastrously if its
members were to take arms against each other. Few Disciples were guided
by their advice. Most of them, North and South, apparently felt that
their attitudes in a great national crisis could not be determined by
the consideration of what might happen to “our movement”—or else they
thought that the movement could stand it, as it did.

The first national convention after the outbreak of war, meeting at
Cincinnati in October, 1861, took a ten-minute recess so that its
members, not as the convention but as a mass meeting, might pass a
resolution of loyalty to the national government. Two years later the
convention itself adopted a stronger resolution deploring the “attempts
of armed traitors to overthrow our government.” But even this produced
no division. It was a Northern convention because, under war conditions,
there could, of course, be no representation from the South. Southerners
realized that the resolution was merely an expression of Northern
opinion, which they already knew; and many Northerners soon came to feel
that it was a mistake for a sectional convention bearing a national name
to pass a resolution purporting to express the sentiments of all
Disciples, including the half of the country which could not possibly be
represented. The organizational weakness of the Disciples became a
strength in maintaining unity when the slavery issue and civil war
threatened division, for there was no court to rule out any church or
section and no convention empowered to set up standards or to pass any
resolution that would have the force of law for the churches.

“We can never divide!” shouted Moses E. Lard in his quarterly. If war
could not divide us, he said, nothing ever can. But something could—and
did. Disciples cannot divide through the exclusion of one element by
another in control of denominational machinery, because there is no such
machinery with power of exclusion. But it is possible to divide by
voluntary withdrawal. If there is no power to put any church out, there
is none to keep it in if it wants to go out. That is what happened some
years later.

                       The Period of Controversy

The issues upon which division actually occurred had already arisen
before the Civil War and they were so hotly debated in the years
immediately after it that 1866-75 is sometimes called “the period of
controversy.” The principal topics which were discussed with greater or
less heat during this period were these: open or close communion; the
title, “Reverend”; the “one-man system” of the pastorate; the alleged
introduction of a creed; the use of the organ; and the missionary
societies. Only the last two of these had any lasting importance as
divisive issues. The first four merely illustrate the heightening
tension between the strict constructionists and those who favored what
they considered reasonable expedients to meet changed conditions.

When the Reformers were being excluded from Baptist churches and
associations, they were accused of many things but not of departing from
the Baptist practice of close communion. One must conclude that they had
not yet departed from it. In 1828 Mr. Campbell objected to admitting the
unimmersed to the Lord’s Supper even occasionally, because he thought
this would logically require admitting them to church membership. But
the restriction upon the communion was gradually relaxed, without much
talk about it, until Isaac Errett could write in 1862, when the question
was debated at length in the _Millennial Harbinger_, that probably
two-thirds of the churches welcomed to the Lord’s Supper all who
considered themselves qualified to commune. The solving text was that
each should “examine himself and so let him eat,” and the standard
formula came to be, “We neither invite nor debar.” There was, in fact,
very little general controversy on this subject. In time the close
communion practice disappeared so completely that most Disciples in the
United States do not know that it ever existed and are somewhat shocked
to learn that it still prevails in the British churches.

The presentation to Mr. Errett of a silver door plate with “Reverend”
before his name precipitated a brief but lively argument. Aversion to
this title had been common among the earlier restorers of primitive
Christianity. The _Christian Baptist_ had said many a caustic word about
clerical pretensions of dignity and usurpations of power, of which
“Reverend” was considered a symbol. But as Disciples came to have more
and larger churches and a ministry more clearly distinguished from the
laity, they became less sensitive about a title which, in practice,
meant only that its bearer was a minister. The title long remained
unpopular, but the issue faded out.

Protest against the “one-man system” had a similar motive but more
substantial ground. The enlarging function of the pastor and the
somewhat diminished prominence of the lay elders, as town and city
churches with settled full-time ministers multiplied, evoked a futile
resistance to the passing of those frontier conditions under which lay
leadership for the churches had been successful. “Mutual edification”
had been considered by many to be an essential part of the ancient
order. No division came from this difference in practice and
terminology, and the difference itself tended to disappear. One of the
ultraconservatives gave the reason when he wrote: “Brethren, no system
of edification can be scriptural if it doesn’t edify.”

When Mr. Errett, as minister of a new church in Detroit, issued for
public information a brief “Synopsis” of the Disciples’ position, there
was an outcry against it as a “creed.” Strangely enough, the chief
critic, Moses E. Lard, had himself put forth “sixteen specifications of
fundamental principles.” This episode is worth noting only because it
shows how keen the legalists were to find proofs that the Disciples had
become degenerate and had gone off after “innovations.”

                            Not Divided—Yet

The organ question, unlike the four issues that have been mentioned, cut
deep, lasted long, and contributed to division. Protestant opposition to
instrumental music in public worship began with Zwingli and Calvin (who
were also strict restorers of primitive Christianity) and reappeared
among New England Congregational churches in the eighteenth century. It
did not become important among the Disciples before 1860, because there
were few organs. About that time, L. L. Pinkerton said that he was the
only preacher in Kentucky who favored the use of the organ and that his
church at Midway was the only church that had one. The organ in public
worship was, in truth, an “innovation.” The case against it was
completely stated by J. W. McGarvey in the _Millennial Harbinger_ for
November, 1864: The organ is not merely an aid to singing, like
hymnbooks or a tuning fork, or a convenient accessory to the church
building, like a stove, but is a distinct and novel element in worship;
no element in public worship is legitimate unless it is explicitly
authorized in the New Testament; instrumental music is not so
authorized; therefore it is not legitimate. The crucial question was
whether the New Testament does, as he claims, undertake to specify all
the permissible elements of public worship. And the answer to that
question is part of the answer to the larger question as to what is to
be restored in the restoration of primitive Christianity. Back of that
lies the still more basic question as to the nature of the New
Testament. Churches did not disfellowship each other over the organ
question, but many congregations divided on it.

The most serious of all the controversies was about the missionary
societies, national and state. Those who sought in the primitive church
a model for all the procedures of the church, as well as a blueprint for
its structure, found no justification for societies. There had been some
protests when district and state meetings were first proposed and more
when the national convention and missionary society were organized. This
opposition had waned, but it was revived in the 1860’s with new vigor
and new journalistic champions. The war, the loyalty resolutions,
acrimony over the organ, the failure of the society’s three foreign
missions, and the widening social and economic gap between the plain
people of the country churches and the more sophisticated
townsfolk—these all helped to bring in an era of ill will. Cultural
isolation and the lack of educated leaders in this middle period favored
the tendency toward a narrow legalism. The death of Alexander Campbell
on March 4, 1866, after he had been president of the American Christian
Missionary Society for more than sixteen years, made it possible for its
opponents to dig up and reprint under his name the antisociety
fulminations of the _Christian Baptist_ forty years earlier. Almost at
the same time Benjamin Franklin turned against the society and made his
_American Christian Review_ a powerful weapon of attack. The main
onslaught was not against the management of the society but against the
idea of having any society at all. However, all these hostile influences
were the more damaging because the A.C.M.S. was not, in fact, doing much

To satisfy the critics and prevent the threatened disruption, a
completely new plan of cooperation was devised by a committee of twenty,
including both society and antisociety men. The product of its labors
was the “Louisville Plan,” which was adopted almost unanimously by the
convention of 1869. Under this plan the A.C.M.S. ceased to function. Its
place was taken by a system of general, state, and district conventions,
with boards, secretaries, and treasurers springing from and reporting to
the three levels of conventions. In theory, it was a closely knit fabric
of delegate conventions, the General Convention being composed of
delegates from the state conventions, these of delegates from district
conventions, and the district conventions of messengers elected by the
churches. The wonder is that the antisociety men accepted it for a
moment as (Ben Franklin’s words) “a simple and scriptural plan.” They
did not accept it long, and even the friends of the society were cool to
it. “Scriptural” or not, it was incredibly cumbersome and impractical.
Receipts for national missionary work fell off from about $10,000 to an
average of less than $4,000 a year for the next decade. Missionary
cooperation had to take a fresh start; and so it did with the beginning
of the next period.

It was largely due to Isaac Errett and the _Christian Standard_ that the
Disciples did not become a legalistic and exclusive sect. The paper was
founded at Cleveland in 1866—its first issue carried the news of
Alexander Campbell’s death—and it was moved to Cincinnati in 1869.
Errett was already a man of power and distinction. He had been pastor,
author, co-editor of the _Millennial Harbinger_, corresponding secretary
of the American Christian Missionary Society, and president of the
convention. In starting the _Christian Standard_ he had the active
support of General Garfield and three of the Phillips brothers of
Newcastle, Pennsylvania. The new journal at once threw its influence
boldly on the liberal side of all the controversial issues that have
been mentioned. The _Gospel Advocate_ already was, and the _American
Christian Review_ was soon to be, arrayed against all “innovations.” To
complicate the picture, the _Apostolic Times_ was established with an
impressive list of editors—Lard, Graham, Hopson, Wilkes, and
McGarvey—who aimed to heal the incipient division by taking what they
considered a middle-of-the-road position, against the organ but for the
missionary society.

The service of Isaac Errett would have been less significant than it was
if it had been only the championing of the progressive side in certain
controversies. What was more important was the breadth of his spirit,
the depth of his religious life, and the power of his leadership away
from a cramping legalism and toward a broader spiritual culture. In an
article entitled “What Is Sectarianism?” in the _Christian Quarterly_,
January, 1871, Mr. Errett restated the aim of the Disciples of Christ as
union upon Christ, not upon our own interpretation of the Bible or on an
exact pattern of the “ancient order of things.” J. J. Haley later called
this article “the Declaration and Address brought down to date.”

                               CHAPTER IX
                         RENAISSANCE, 1874-1909

After the dark ages of controversy and organizational stagnation—which
were by no means so dark in other respects—came a renaissance in which
the Disciples gained a clearer view of their central purpose and a
better command of the resources for realizing it. They began to make
more intimate contacts with the social and intellectual currents of the
time and to escape from the cultural isolation into which they had
fallen. Those who thought of this as apostasy from the true faith tended
to withdraw, and ultimately did withdraw, into a separate and
noncooperating group. The main body no longer took interest in what now
seemed trivial disputes about organs, pastors, and the legitimacy of
missionary organizations. The new issues which arose were such as were
shared by the whole Christian world, so that even their dissensions
related them to the main currents of religious thought.

This period saw the continuance of westward expansion, the winning of a
second and almost a third half-million members, the creation of new
missionary and benevolent organizations, more than a hundredfold
increase in giving for missions, new journalistic enterprises, an
educational awakening, a new type of evangelism, new outreaches in
Christian union and interdenominational cooperation, and some slight
beginning of a discovery of social ethics as a field of Christian

The “dark ages” had not been stagnant in numerical and geographical
growth. That process needed only to be continued. As the completion of
the transcontinental railroads brought new land within reach for
settlement, and as homesteaders invaded what had been the open range,
towns sprang up throughout the West. In town and country, Disciples were
there among the first, and churches were planted. After the American
Christian Missionary Society was relieved of its foreign
responsibilities, it could do more in promoting new work in the West.
Soon the Board of Church Extension came to give first aid to the new
church needing a house. It was never a log-cabin frontier west of the
Mississippi (except Missouri and Arkansas), and building was a different
problem from what it had been on the old timbered frontier. Even though
the Disciples could draw less support from the East than some
denominations, they became relatively strong in most of the Western
states and very strong in some, such as Kansas and Oklahoma.

Total estimated membership in 1875 was 400,000. The official figure was
641,000 for 1890; 1,120,000 for 1900; 1,363,533 for 1910.

                        Journalism and Missions

A new center of journalistic influence began when J. H. Garrison moved
his paper, the _Christian_, from Quincy, Illinois, to St. Louis, on
January 1, 1874, and organized the Christian Publishing Company. He had
been on the point of moving it to Chicago, when the Great Fire of 1871
intervened. B. W. Johnson’s _Evangelist_, which had lately moved from
Iowa to Chicago, merged with the _Christian_ in 1882 to produce the
_Christian-Evangelist_. By its conservatively progressive policy, it
became at once a powerful force in leading the Disciples out of the age
of sterile controversy and into a wider conception of religion and more
active work in its promotion. The _Christian Standard_, at Cincinnati,
under Isaac Errett, was already exercising a similar influence. As long
as Mr. Errett lived, the two papers worked together for the same ends.
The relations between these two great editors were always intimate and
affectionate. Writing from his deathbed (1888) to his brother editor, J.
H. Garrison, who was his junior by twenty-two years, Mr. Errett said:

  We have been together from the beginning of this missionary work. We
  have stood shoulder to shoulder ... and the two most effective
  instrumentalities in educating our people and bringing them into
  active cooperation in spreading the gospel in all lands have been the
  _Christian-Evangelist_ and the _Christian Standard_; and indeed, upon
  all points of doctrine and practice and expediency you and I have
  always worked on the same lines in perfect harmony.

A third paper, destined to hold a very prominent place in American
journalism at a later date, was plodding its useful way through most of
this period with a rather local constituency. This was the _Christian
Oracle_, which began at Des Moines in 1884 and later moved to Chicago.
In 1900 it became the _Christian Century_. For several years thereafter
it reflected the liberal spirit of Herbert L. Willett, who was its
editor for a time. Coming under the control and editorship of Charles
Clayton Morrison in 1908, it soon began to evolve into an
undenominational journal of religion.

The real awakening of the Disciples came with the rise of their interest
in missions. Legalistic controversy over missionary methods had
previously absorbed so much energy that little was left for missionary
work. The old society had barely kept itself alive. The Louisville Plan
had been a total failure. Into this vacuum came a band of devoted women,
led by Mrs. C. N. Pearre, of Iowa City, who formed the Christian Woman’s
Board of Missions in 1874. The organizing ability and untiring energy
that went into it would have made almost any enterprise a success. The
regular meetings of the local auxiliaries and of Junior and Intermediate
groups and the publication of the monthly _Missionary Tidings_ and other
literature constituted a vast program of missionary education. A system
of regular dues produced a trickle of dimes which aggregated a torrent
of dollars. By 1909 there were 60,000 adult members. Offerings up to
that time had totaled nearly $2,500,000. Missions were conducted in
Jamaica, India, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Argentina, and Liberia. There were
schools in the backward Appalachian Mountain area, institutes and
missions for Orientals on the West Coast, evangelists in thirty-three
states, a missionary training school at Indianapolis, and “Bible chairs”
at the Universities of Michigan, Virginia, Kansas, and Texas.

In 1875, almost with the founding of the women’s work, came the
organization of the Foreign Christian Missionary Society. Its early
development was slow, and it was ten years before it had an office of
its own or a full-time secretary. By 1881 its annual income had risen to
$13,178. It was still sending the gospel only to Christians. It had
missions in Denmark, England, France, and among the Armenians in Turkey,
and was planning to send (but did not send) missionaries to Italy and
Germany. An address by J. H. Garrison, at the convention at Louisville
in 1881, appealing for missions to the heathen, led immediately to the
establishment of Children’s Day for that purpose. The foreign missionary
deadlock was at last broken. Receipts of the foreign society doubled the
next year, and G. L. Wharton and seven others were sent to India. Japan
was entered in 1883, China in 1886, the Belgian Congo in 1897, Cuba in
1899. A. McLean was an invaluable missionary leader for many years, and
an unforgettable personality.

When the American Society was permitted to devote itself wholly to
American missions, its energies revived and it had an important part in
the expansion that has been mentioned, as well as on the new frontier of
foreign populations in the cities. In addition, it sponsored the Board
of Church Extension, which at first made only small building loans to
new and weak churches but later, as its resources increased, was able
also to help some important city churches with their housing problems.
George W. Muckley, as representative of Church Extension for nearly
forty years, from 1888, linked his name inseparably with this cause.

The National Benevolent Association, 1887, grew out of a purely local
impulse in St. Louis, but its work expanded from a single orphans’ home
in that city to a long list of institutions for children and old people
in all parts of the country. This and the Board of Ministerial Relief
showed that the Disciples were awakening to social responsibilities of
which they had not previously taken account on a national scale.
Ministerial “relief” was found to be inadequate, but it prepared the way
for the more businesslike Pension Fund.

                        Renaissance in Education

At the beginning of this period a new birth in education was as badly
needed as in organization and missions. It came, but not as promptly.
The colleges had been founded largely as training schools for ministers,
and they performed that function better than any other. From the Civil
War to the end of the century they were poorly equipped, meagerly
supported, and inadequately staffed. Since there were few high schools
outside the cities, and the Disciples were 93 per cent rural in 1890,
entrance requirements and academic standards were necessarily low. The
young preacher who had finished the ministerial course in one of these
colleges was supposed to have completed his professional education.

The educational awakening included three things: First, a few men in the
1890’s, then scores and hundreds, went to the divinity schools and
graduate departments of the great universities for further training
after they had been graduated from the colleges of the Disciples.
Second, these colleges themselves gained greater resources, raised their
standards, and many of them became excellent institutions. Third, with
well-trained men now available for faculties, there arose some graduate
schools of sound quality in connection with a few of the Disciples’
colleges. This advance proceeded slowly and on an uneven front. Some
colleges became better than others, and some became better sooner. Some
died because they could not meet the more rigorous demands of the modern
age, including those of the standardizing and accrediting agencies; and
some with small resources and low academic standards continued to render
valuable service in educationally retarded areas. Most of the
improvement in the colleges came after the beginning of the twentieth
century. In 1897 there were forty-five educational institutions,
including five “universities” and twenty-five colleges; and the total of
their endowments was $1,177,000. Six years later this amount had been
doubled. Thirty years after that, these doubled endowments had been
multiplied by ten—and seventeen of the forty-five schools had

The establishment of the first “Bible chair” at the University of
Michigan by the Christian Woman’s Board of Missions was a piece of
educational pioneering which led to great developments and became the
Disciples’ most original contribution to American education. There was a
touch of genius in the discovery of the obvious fact, hitherto
apparently unnoticed, that the students in state universities, which
were growing enormously, offered a constituency for religious education,
and the further fact that there were more young Disciples in state
schools than in their own colleges. Bible chairs were established at
many other state universities, some under the auspices of state
missionary societies, others under independent boards. Some developed
into schools of religion in which several denominations cooperated. The
one at the University of Virginia became an integral part of the
university. The whole development showed that the education of the
future lay leaders did not rest wholly with the Disciples’ colleges,
indispensable as these were, but could be promoted by using also state
or other endowed institutions.

Similarly, the education of the ministry gained vastly by utilizing
universities and theological seminaries maintained by others. Before
1909 there was already a beaten trail from some of the colleges to Yale
Divinity School, and the numbers who traveled it later ran into the
hundreds. Many went to Union Theological Seminary in New York, and
others to Harvard, Princeton, Hartford, or Vanderbilt. The University of
Chicago, which opened its doors in 1892, furnished a seat of learning in
the Middle West and therefore nearer to the geographical center of the
Disciples. Though its divinity school was at first nominally Baptist, it
appealed definitely to students of all denominations and successfully
sought ways of evading the restriction of its faculty to Baptists. The
Disciples Divinity House was established, 1894, in affiliation with the
university and its divinity school, and at once a large number of
students came, many of whom were mature men already in the ministry but
eager for graduate study. Through all these means, by the end of the
period here under consideration, the educational average of ministers
among the Disciples had been greatly raised and their intellectual
horizons vastly widened. The improvement of the colleges was one of the
causes and also one of the consequences of this.

                            Higher Criticism

The old differences of opinion about the organ and the missionary
society continued, but there was no longer any interest in controversy
about them. The opposing element ceased to cooperate with the
“progressives” and was moving toward separation, which had become an
accomplished fact, for all practical purposes, years before it was
registered by the separate listing of the statistics of the “Churches of
Christ” in the religious census of 1906.

New issues arose which afforded topics for lively debate in the papers,
at preachers’ meetings, and at the Congresses which met annually after
1899. Chief among these were higher criticism, the reception of the
unimmersed, and federation. Since federation was the only one of these
that called for collective action, and since it had very strong support
as soon as it was proposed, it had full and frank discussion in the
conventions also, as the other two questions did not.

“Higher criticism,” or the study of the Bible by critical methods of
historical and literary analysis, began in Europe early in the
nineteenth century. By the middle of the century, controversy had grown
hot, especially because the new method did not assume the inerrancy of
the Bible, as the older orthodoxy did, and because some of the results
of research cast doubt upon the historicity of some parts of the Bible.
American scholars reacted, positively or negatively, to the higher
criticism during the two decades after the Civil War. It became fairly
well known by name, though not well understood, and there were some
famous heresy trials. But Disciples did not become generally aware of it
until the 1890’s. Professor J. W. McGarvey, stalwart opponent of the new
methods, began in 1893 his Biblical Criticism Department in the
_Christian Standard_. With acumen and acrimony he denounced every new
conclusion or theory about such things as the authorship of Deuteronomy
and the latter part of Isaiah or the date of Daniel as an attack upon
the faith and the work of “enemies of the Bible.” This weekly page was
widely read and much discussed. It gave great publicity to the subject
and, by its caustic tone, its pungent personalities, and its
identification of higher criticism with infidelity, added bitterness to
what would in any case have been a very real divergence of opinion. “Few
scholars and few students were permanently influenced by the
department,” says McGarvey’s biographer and long-time associate, W. C.

Disciples were vitally interested in this battle of the Book, for they
had always claimed to be, in a peculiar sense, a Bible people. Many of
them remembered the first of Alexander Campbell’s “rules of
interpretation”: in studying any book of the Bible, “consider first the
historical circumstances of the book—the order, the title, the author,
the date, the place, and the occasion of it.” The young men who had been
going to the Eastern universities and seminaries had become acquainted
with the new methods of Bible study, which were directed to these very
questions. The opening of the University of Chicago, just three months
before the beginning of Professor McGarvey’s antibiblical-criticism
page, gave an immense impetus to this trend, for its president, Dr. W.
R. Harper, was the most conspicuous exponent of these new methods in the
United States, with extraordinary gifts for teaching and for publicity
as well as for research. It might almost be said that it was Dr. Harper
who put higher criticism on the map in the Middle West. Dr. Herbert L.
Willett, who had been a student under Harper at Yale, became a colleague
in his Semitic Department at Chicago and dean of the Disciples Divinity
House. During several years he devoted much of his time to extension
lecturing and the holding of institutes on the Bible. His popularity and
success in this field were sensational. For most Disciples, Willett
became the personal embodiment and symbol of the new biblical learning.
He carried the flag with complete boldness, and his brilliant and
winsome figure became a shining mark for the counterattack.

The papers were inevitably involved in the higher criticism controversy.
The _Christian Standard’s_ position was never in doubt. It was against
it, not only on Professor McGarvey’s page, but on every other page as
well. The _Christian-Evangelist_ was cautiously liberal editorially. Its
editor was not a technical scholar in this field, but his mind was
always alert to discover new truth. He was hospitable to the critical
methods and was not alarmed by their results, even though he did not
personally accept all of them. For several years he had Dr. Willett
write for the paper the weekly article on the Sunday school lesson. This
showed editorial courage, rather than caution, but it was part of a
consistent editorial policy that did as much as a university could have
done for the education of the Disciples.

                           Rethinking Baptism

“Open membership” had few advocates during the period under
consideration, but there had already begun to be lively discussion of
baptism in relation to the problem of union. When Thomas Campbell wrote
the _Declaration and Address_—the event marked by the 1909 centennial as
the beginning of the Disciples—he had not yet adopted the immersion of
believers as part of the basis of union and communion. But after that
practice was adopted by the Brush Run Church, it became an integral part
of the program of the Campbells and it was a pivotal point in Scott’s
technique of evangelism. The “Christians” in Kentucky generally
practiced immersion but considered it a matter of opinion and did not
insist upon it. Those who merged with the Disciples yielded on this
point and became strict immersionists. Campbell’s reply to the
“Lunenburg letter” showed that he regarded the pious unimmersed as
Christians. Later developments showed that he would also commune with
them as Christians. But he would not have favored admitting them as
members, even if such a proposal had been made.

The first Disciple to argue for the admission of the unimmersed was Dr.
L. L. Pinkerton, in 1868. Pinkerton, a medical doctor as well as a
preacher, was a remarkably free spirit and may be called the first
thorough “liberal” among the Disciples. He also challenged the theory of
the inerrancy of the Bible, though he probably never heard of the higher
criticism. Apparently no other Disciple of his time shared his views
about either baptism or the Bible, except John Shackleford, co-editor
with him of the _Independent Monthly_, a breezy magazine which lived
less than two years.

W. T. Moore, a missionary in England for the Foreign Christian
Missionary Society, about 1885 became minister of West London
Tabernacle, an independent church having many unimmersed members.
Defending himself against criticism in a convention to which he was
reporting during a visit back home, he suggested that baptism might
cease to be a barrier to union if it were agreed to recognize as
baptized persons those who had already been sprinkled, whether as
infants or as adults, but to practice only immersion thenceforth. In
spite of the high regard in which he was held, this opportunistic
proposal found little favor. At the Congress of Disciples in 1901, Dr.
Moore renewed and elaborated this proposal, that a united church be
formed at once with all Christians as members and that only immersion
should be practiced thereafter.

Robert L. Cave, an eloquent Virginian, who was pastor of Central
Christian Church, St. Louis, in 1889 issued a pronunciamento widely at
variance with the generally accepted views of Disciples, and of other
evangelical Christians, on many points and demanded a vote of confidence
on that basis. Failing to get it, he withdrew, followed by nearly half
of the members, and established the Non-Sectarian Church. This was the
outstanding heresy case of the period. But Dr. Cave’s rather casual
treatment of baptism was such a small item in the sum of his heresies
that it was scarcely noticed, and the whole episode produced a
conservative reaction even in the minds of moderately progressive
leaders. The editor of the _Christian-Evangelist_ at once launched a
doctrinal revival, the permanent record of which is the volume entitled,
_The Old Faith Restated_. Dr. Cave’s advocacy did more to retard than to
advance the acceptance of liberal ideas, including ideas about baptism.

In the 1890’s the religious papers began to print contributions
discussing the function of baptism and questioning whether it is
indispensable. R. T. Matthews, a professor at Drake, said that some of
the unimmersed “are in essential union with Christ.” John Shackleford
denied McGarvey’s statement, in the first edition of his _Commentary on
Acts_, that “faith without immersion is dead.” J. J. Haley, when pressed
to declare categorically whether he thought baptism necessary, gave the
Delphic answer that baptism is “as necessary as an ordinance can be,
_considering what an ordinance is_.” Thomas Munnell, former missionary
secretary and one of the most honored veterans, wrote a long article, in
the _New Christian Quarterly_, April, 1894, arguing that the requirement
of baptism be waived in the interest of union. In the correspondence
columns of the weeklies, there were expressions of the opinion that a
Christian union movement which excludes from its churches a large
proportion of those whom it regards as Christians is both illogical and
futile. These were the opinions of a small minority, and there were
vigorous replies. In 1901 Dr. H. L. Willett published a little book,
_Our Plea for Union and the Present Crisis_, which was a bold argument
for open membership.

Along with much discussion, there was some action, but only a little
within this period. J. M. Philputt was minister of a church on 119th
St., New York, which from about 1890 to 1900 received the unimmersed as
“members of the congregation,” not of the church. “We receive them,” he
explained, “not as Disciples of Christ but simply as Christians.” This
distinction proved embarrassing. The practice drew too much criticism
and it was abandoned. Similar “associate membership” arrangements were
practiced for some time at South Broadway, Denver (B. B. Tyler); at
Central, Denver (W. B. Craig); at Shelbyville, Kentucky; and elsewhere.
At Hyde Park, Chicago (now University Church of Disciples of Christ),
Dr. E. S. Ames in 1903 led the church into receiving unimmersed persons
as “members of the congregation.” Though the distinction between the two
classes of members seldom came to attention it was not formally
abolished until 1919 when the church became, _de jure_ as well as _de
facto_, an open-membership church. Long before that, in 1906, the Monroe
Street Church, Chicago, of which Charles C. Morrison was pastor, had
become the first church among the Disciples to receive into full
membership the unimmersed members of other evangelical churches. When
Morrison took over the _Christian Century_ in 1908, he promptly made it
an outspoken champion of liberal views, including open membership.

As the last item in the record of changing views on baptism within this
period, it may be noted that at the Centennial Convention at Pittsburgh,
1909, Dr. S. H. Church, a grandson of Walter Scott, delivered an address
in which he held that baptism is a matter of opinion in regard to which
there should be individual liberty.


The movement for federation among the Protestant denominations quickly
won the favor of all Disciples except the most rigidly noncooperative,
but these were many, and their voices were loud. The impulse to
federation came from the new sense of the social responsibilities of the
churches which became acute in the latter part of the nineteenth
century. It was first proposed by the Presbyterian General Assembly as a
means of getting some united action by Protestants without compromising
their denominational differences and independence. After a decade of
desultory discussion and some local organizations, a national Federation
of Churches and Christian Workers was formed in 1901. The next year this
body proposed a conference of official representatives of denominations
to consider the feasibility of a federation of the denominations as
such. It was at this point that the matter came before the Disciples
through a brief speech by the secretary, Dr. E. B. Sanford, at the Omaha
convention in 1902, following an eloquent address on Christian union by
E. L. Powell. A resolution of approval was introduced by J. H. Garrison,
who supposed—naïvely, as he afterward said—that it would be adopted
unanimously. J. A. Lord, editor of the _Christian Standard_, objected
that joining such an association would be “recognizing the
denominations.” The resolution was adopted, with only a small opposing
vote. But the war was on, with the two papers already ranged on opposite
sides. For the next four or five years, federation was the hot spot of
controversy in conventions, ministers’ meetings, and the press. The
Disciples were represented, however, at the Interchurch Conference on
Federation, at Carnegie Hall, New York City, in November, 1905, where a
constitution was drafted. A mass meeting called during the Norfolk
convention in 1907 approved the constitution, with only one dissenting
voice, and elected representatives in the Federal Council of the
Churches of Christ in America. The first meeting of the Federal Council
was held at Philadelphia, February 2, 1908.

Thus the Disciples were in the Federal Council from its beginning. They
also cooperated from the start with the Foreign Missions Conference of
North America (1907) and the Home Missions Council (1908). Union as an
objective had not been forgotten; but, while there were barriers to
immediate union, cooperation with other Christians in the promotion of
practical Christian ends had come to seem, to the great body of
Disciples, both safe and wise.

The completion of the first hundred years was celebrated by a Centennial
Convention, at Pittsburgh, October, 1909. This was a gathering of
unprecedented and still unequaled size. It quickened the interest of
Disciples in their own history and heritage. Coming so soon after they
had embarked upon these large ventures in cooperation, it directed their
minds not only to the numerical and institutional success of their own
movement but also to the path of common service and the hope of unity
that lay ahead. It was a true instinct that directed the choice of the
centennial of the _Declaration and Address_ for this observance rather
than, for example, the promulgation of Walter Scott’s “uniform,
authoritative method of proclaiming the gospel,” or the dissolution of
the Mahoning Association. This choice expressed the feeling that the
essence of the movement is not in its separateness or in its “particular
ecclesiastical order,” but in its call for union upon the will to do the
will of Christ.

                               CHAPTER X
                     GROWING INTO MATURITY, 1909-45

Growth in numbers had been very rapid during the first eighty years. It
was not unusual to hear the confident prediction that at this rate they
would soon “take the country,” and it seemed disloyalty to doubt that
the rate of increase would continue. But the population of the country
was also growing very rapidly, though not so rapidly as the Disciples.
So long as there was an open frontier—that is, until about 1890—and even
later, while the heavy westward migration continued, the Disciples
outran the general population increase. But so also did the Methodists
and Baptists. Immigration from Europe brought tremendous reinforcements
to Roman Catholics and Lutherans, none to Disciples; and Disciples
gained by conversion almost none of these immigrants or their children.
The nation was becoming increasingly urban, while the Disciples remained
more rural than other large communions. Inevitably there were
diminishing returns in growth.

There was a high point in 1910. It was higher still in 1914, with an
abrupt drop of nearly 300,000 to 1915, and a fair rate of growth
thereafter. An improvement in statistical methods probably explains the
greater part, though perhaps not all, of the apparent loss in 1915.
Certainly there was no great disastrous event in that year. Perhaps some
of the “Churches of Christ” were included in the count until 1915. Here
are the figures since 1900:

     1900          1,120,000
     1905          1,238,515
     1910          1,363,533
     1915          1,142,206
     1920          1,178,079
     1925          1,450,681
     1930          1,554,678
     1935          1,618,852
     1940          1,669,222
     1944          1,681,933

                        Improving the Machinery

With the recognition of many fields of responsibility besides home and
foreign missions and the consequent multiplication of societies, each
having an annual “special day” to promote its work and raise its funds,
a good deal of rivalry and confusion ensued. There were not enough days
to go around. For example, the Foreign Society bitterly opposed the
claim of the new American Christian Education Society (1903) upon the
third Sunday in January as Education Day, because this interfered with
the exclusive occupancy of January and February in preparation for
Foreign Missions Day, the first Sunday in March; but it could do nothing
about it because the latter was an independent and theoretically
coordinate society. Moreover, the conventions were conventions of the
societies rather than of the churches.

The first step toward remedying this condition was the appointment of a
“calendar committee,” at Buffalo in 1906, to devise a plan for reducing
the number of special days. There was no immediate result. At New
Orleans in 1908, the constitution of the American Christian Missionary
Society was amended to provide for a delegate convention in which every
church, whether contributing or not, should have elected
representatives. So much parliamentary confusion attended this action
that it was not carried into effect. The Centennial Convention of 1909
appointed a standing committee to consider unifying all missionary and
philanthropic work under one or two boards. The committee’s intimation
that it would recommend a strictly delegate convention to which all
societies should report touched off a long and heated discussion.
“Delegate convention” became, for the more conservative element, a
symbol of apostasy, as “higher criticism” and “federation” had been a
few years earlier.

The formal report of the committee was made at Louisville in 1912, and
the vote was almost unanimous in favor of a general convention to be
composed of elected and accredited delegates from the churches. The
convention of the following year, at Toronto—which was supposed to be
composed of delegates but was not, because few churches sent
them—ratified the delegate plan which it failed to exemplify. In
subsequent conventions also there were few delegates. The delegate
system failed not because of opposition but because of indifference to
it. The vast majority of churches did not elect delegates, and habitual
convention-goers continued to go whether they were delegates or not. At
Kansas City, 1917, a new constitution was adopted, which, while
retaining the delegate feature, made it meaningless by giving equal
voting power to all members of churches who were in attendance. (It was
like having an elected Congress with the provision that any citizen who
cares to attend its sessions shall have all the powers of a
congressman.) But with a large and representative “Committee on
Recommendations” serving as an upper house, the plan works surprisingly

A national publication society, to be owned by the brotherhood and
operated for its benefit, seemed desirable to many. A committee was
appointed in 1907 to study the problem. Mr. R. A. Long solved it by
agreeing, in December, 1909, to buy all the stock of the Christian
Publishing Company, publishers of the _Christian-Evangelist_ and of
books and Sunday school materials, and place it in the hands of a
self-perpetuating board of directors, all profits to be appropriated to
the missionary and other enterprises of the Disciples. The fears of a
regimentation of opinion by an “official” journal and publishing house
have proved groundless. The Christian Board of Publication is, in fact,
no more “official” than are the Disciples’ colleges, which have exactly
the same kind of ownership and control. But the brotherhood does get the
profits, which have totaled much more than Mr. Long’s original gift.

Mr. Long was also the prime mover in, and the largest donor to, the Men
and Millions Movement, the aim of which was to enlist a thousand men and
women for religious service and to raise six million dollars for
missions and colleges. The campaign, beginning in 1914, was interrupted
by the war, but its financial goal was finally reached.

The unification of missionary agencies had been suggested at least as
early as 1892 and discussed at intervals thereafter. Before it was
accomplished, the separate societies had already reformed some of the
evils of the old system by establishing a joint budget committee to make
the securing of funds for the various interests cooperative rather than
competitive, and by stressing weekly giving for missions as part of each
congregation’s financial system instead of relying upon spasms of appeal
on special days. Conditions caused by World War I doubtless precipitated
the consolidation of the societies. In 1919 the home and foreign
missionary societies, the Christian Woman’s Board of Missions, the
boards of church extension and ministerial relief, and the National
Benevolent Association were merged to form the United Christian
Missionary Society. F. W. Burnham was its president until 1929.

Some Disciples, without being opposed to societies on principle, had
long been critical of much that the societies did and the way they did
it—their “cold institutionalism” and “bureaucratic methods” and their
concern with so many things other than winning converts by the simple
plea of faith, repentance, and baptism and organizing churches according
to the ancient order. The United Society fell heir to these hostilities
and aroused more. One result was an increase in the number of
“independent agencies.” These have a loose bond among themselves as the
“Associated Free Agencies.” The _Christian Standard_, chief journalistic
critic of the organized work, publicizes these agencies and, together
with the Christian Restoration Association, lends them its support. The
annual North American Christian Convention appeals primarily to those
who stand aloof from the United Society and support the independent

                     Widening Educational Horizons

The remarkable improvement of the Disciples’ colleges has been an
indication of the widening intellectual outlook of the communion and
also one of the causes of it. The increase of endowments was only one
aspect of the improvement, but an essential one. In the first thirty
years of this century, the total of their endowments rose from
$3,300,000 to $33,000,000. There was similar betterment of buildings,
libraries, and equipment. Academic standards were raised, and faculties
were better trained for their specific tasks. The transformation of
Bethany College, beginning with the administration of President T. A.
Cramblet, from the decadent and moribund state into which it had fallen
to its present admirable and flourishing condition, is an example of
what several colleges achieved. Drake, Butler, Phillips, and Texas
Christian University gained honorable prominence in their states and
beyond. These four developed graduate schools for the ministry, or
raised toward full graduate status the departments they already had. The
College of the Bible, at Lexington, entered upon a new epoch.
Transylvania, always prominent in Kentucky, resumed the ancient name
which identified it as “the oldest college west of the Alleghenies.”
There were also casualties among the colleges. As costs increased and
academic requirements stiffened, some were forced to close down. Cotner
was one of these.

Meanwhile, much larger numbers of the younger ministers have been taking
advantage of the resources of other universities and seminaries.
Hundreds have gone to Yale Divinity School, hundreds more to the
Divinity School of the University of Chicago and the Disciples Divinity
House. The pastors of the great majority of the larger churches at the
present time are men who have had such education. Likewise the faculties
of the Disciples’ colleges and of their graduate schools for the
ministry are composed, almost without exception, of university-trained
men. The “cultural isolation” of the Disciples has definitely ended.

The Congresses of the Disciples, which began in 1899 and were held
annually until about 1925, were a valuable means of adult education for
ministers. These were gatherings for the discussion of religious,
theological, and social problems which could not properly come before
the conventions. They were characterized by great freedom of utterance.
At first, all phases of opinion were represented, but as the more
conservative element gradually dropped out, the congresses lost much of
their value.

                           Liberal Tendencies

Through all these agencies, the liberalizing effects of the newer
learning were widely diffused. One aspect of this was that a great
number of ministers accepted the so-called “modern view” of the Bible,
based upon historical and critical methods of study, in place of the
theory of inerrancy and level inspiration. Proof texts lost something of
their finality. The pattern of the primitive church seemed somewhat less
sharply drawn, and the duty of restoring it in every detail less
axiomatic. Christian truth and duty were seen as far more extensive, and
far less simple, than the conversion formula and the restoration of the
ancient order as these had been conceived. In this atmosphere of
opinion, the stress was upon union, while the concept of restoration
seemed to require reinterpretation to give it continued validity. All
this had begun to happen in the previous period; but now it happened on
a large scale, reaching many important pulpits, the colleges, the
missionary executives, the missionaries themselves.

It was no longer possible to say that only a little coterie of young men
held and taught these disturbing ideas. Their spread could not plausibly
be charged to the Campbell Institute, though this provided a free forum
for its members. The Campbell Institute began in 1896 as a company of
fifteen young men who had done some graduate work, or were still doing
it. It was organized, as its constitution says, “to enable its members
to help each other to a riper scholarship by a free discussion of vital
problems; to promote quiet self-culture and the development of a higher
spirituality both among the members and among the churches with which
they shall come in contact; and to encourage productive work with a view
of making contributions of permanent value to the literature and thought
of the Disciples of Christ.” The young men grew older, and their number
increased to several hundred. The institute’s meetings were all open to
the public, its membership was opened to any college graduate who cared
to enroll, and a wide variety of theological opinions found expression
on its programs and in its organ, the _Scroll_. It never pulled a wire
to get one of its members into a position of honor or leadership. Still,
it was and is of some significance as an incentive to untrammeled
thinking, an organization liberal enough to be equally hospitable to
liberal and conservative opinion.

The _Christian Century_, immediately after C. C. Morrison became its
proprietor and editor in 1908, became the exponent of a more liberal
theology than had ever been voiced by any Disciples’ paper, an equally
liberal social outlook, and the strongest possible emphasis upon the
unity of all Christians. Gradually, and quite definitely from about
1920, it became an undenominational journal with a large constituency
among all communions. The prestige that it gained in the wider field and
its complete editorial independence gave it great influence among
thoughtful Disciples as a stimulus to their own thinking even if they
did not go all the way with it.

The Association for the Promotion of Christian Unity, which grew out of
a meeting called by Peter Ainslie at the 1910 Topeka convention, of
which he was president, stressed the things which the Disciples held in
common with other communions and, through many years, sought ways of
cultivating this fellowship. While the association itself did not
espouse open membership, it did not envision union by the universal
acceptance of the Disciples’ “historic plea” for the immersion of
penitent believers for the remission of sins and the restoration of the
pattern of the New Testament church as they had understood it. But Dr.
Ainslie, who was president of the association for many years, became an
outspoken advocate of open membership, which he called “recognizing the
equality of all Christians before God.”

Missionaries in certain foreign fields, especially China, were reported
to be too little concerned with baptizing converts and too much involved
in activities other than pressing the “distinctive plea” of the
Disciples. Whether or not they actually received Chinese Methodists or
Presbyterians who had no other church home, remained a disputed question
even after a self-appointed investigator had gone to China and reported
that they did.

                         Conservative Reaction

From all these circumstances there arose a vigorous campaign of
criticism against all the agencies that seemed implicated in this
liberal tendency. The attack upon Transylvania University and the
College of the Bible, long a citadel of orthodoxy but now manned by
younger men of university training, was spearheaded by the Bible College
League in 1916. It failed to accomplish its purpose. The “Medbury
resolution,” passed by the 1918 convention, demanded that the Foreign
Society forbid the reception of unimmersed persons into mission churches
in China. An explanation by Frank Garrett that what looked from a
distance like open membership in China was really not that, because the
mission communities were not fully organized churches, brought the
repeal of the Medbury resolution.

But criticism was only checked, not silenced. The “restorationists”
organized the New Testament Tract Society to spread “sound doctrine.”
The Board of Managers of the new United Society adopted an affirmation
of allegiance to the “historic position” of the Disciples, including
immersion, signed it themselves, and required all missionaries to sign
it. The 1922 convention adopted the “Sweeney resolution,” which approved
this action and put teeth into it. A “peace committee,” in 1924, failed
to agree, and the _Christian Standard_ led in organizing the Christian
Restoration Association and began to publish the _Restoration Herald_.
The Oklahoma City convention of 1925 adopted a resolution by which it
ordered the recall of any missionary who “has committed himself to
belief in the reception of unimmersed persons into church membership,”
and voted to send a commission to the Orient to find the facts. The
commission reported that it found no open membership in China, and the
Board of Managers officially interpreted the Oklahoma City resolution as
“not intended to invade the right of private judgment, but only to apply
to such an open agitation as would prove divisive.” The critics
repudiated both the report and the interpretation and, when defeated in
the 1926 Memphis convention, called the first “North American Christian
Convention” for October, 1927. This convention, repeated annually, has
continued to be the rallying place of the opponents of the United

While open membership has been thrust into the foreground in the
controversy between the United Society and its critics, the society does
not avow sympathy with that practice and refuses to admit that this is
the real issue. But it cannot be doubted that there are two contrasting
views as to the basis of the Christian unity which Disciples seek and
the nature and scope of the restoration at which they aim. Under this
difference lie two views of the Bible, and from it flow differences of
emphasis upon baptism. The admission of the unimmersed is openly
defended by relatively few, but quietly practiced by a good many. Still
more are restrained from it, not by their own convictions, but by the
feeling that at present it would promote division rather than unity.

                         An Ecumenical Outlook

All Protestantism has been seeking ways of cooperation and dreaming of
unity during the past forty years. In these efforts the Disciples have
had their full share, and their hope of unity has been more than a
dream. The revived conception of an ecumenical church is congenial to
their best tradition and has stirred them to reconsider the ways in
which they may help in its realization.

The Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in America has been the
foremost cooperative agency since 1905. A Disciple suggested that name,
and Disciples had a part in its organization and have been well
represented in its leadership. Jesse Bader has been at the head of its
department of evangelism for many years. Herbert L. Willett was in
charge of its Midwestern office for a considerable period. Edgar DeWitt
Jones has served as its president. The Disciples have entered heartily
into cooperative educational work in foreign missions and into comity
arrangements both at home and abroad for the allotment of fields and the
distribution of forces to prevent duplication and competition. A
Disciple missionary, Samuel Guy Inman, has been the leading spirit in
the Committee on Cooperation in Latin America. The Interchurch World
Movement, which aimed at a revival of Christian work and the
strengthening of all Christian institutions immediately after World War
I, was overambitious and became a costly fiasco. Disciples shared in
this, too, and paid their part of the staggering deficit.

What is more explicitly called the Ecumenical Movement began with a
World Conference on Foreign Missions, at New York City in 1900. This led
to a similar conference in Edinburgh in 1910. The Disciples were not
represented in the organization or on the program of either of these. In
the minds of the promoters of these conferences, they were still an
unknown people, or a minor sect. Some Disciples attended, however, as
unofficial observers. Beginning with the problem of unity in missions,
the Ecumenical Movement expanded to become “Life and Work” (Stockholm,
1925, and Oxford, 1937) and “Faith and Order” (Lausanne, 1927, and
Edinburgh, 1937). The problems of Christianity in relation to other
world religions were studied at the Jerusalem Conference, 1930, and
those of the “younger churches” of the mission lands at Madras, 1939. In
all these ecumenical gatherings, the Disciples have had a recognized
place and have taken an active part. They have also recorded their
adherence to the World Council of Churches, which grew out of the Oxford
and Edinburgh conferences of 1937.

Sunday school work had an undenominational aspect at its very beginning,
early in the nineteenth century. Disciples took part in the
International Sunday School Association, organized in 1872, and adopted
its uniform lessons. B. B. Tyler was its president in 1902. Other
organizations arose to develop more modern phases of religious
education. Robert M. Hopkins was prominent in the Sunday School Council
from the start, and he was chairman of the executive committee of the
International Council of Religious Education for eleven years after its
formation by the union of the old International Association and the
Sunday School Council in 1922. Roy G. Ross is now executive secretary of
the International Council. Many other Disciples, experts in various
phases of this work, have borne heavy responsibilities in these
organizations, especially in the latest and most comprehensive one.

In brief, no communion has been more active in all the cooperative
enterprises of the churches in recent years, or more sympathetic with
the ecumenical trend toward thinking less of the churches and more of
the Church.

The bitter experiences of World War II have accentuated the common
responsibilities of all the churches in the face of a resurgent paganism
and world-wide suffering. Disciples have participated in the counsels of
Christians on the problems of war and peace and have not shunned their
special burdens. They raised a million-dollar emergency fund, furnished
their quota of chaplains with the armed forces, made provision for their
conscientious objectors. The Drake Conference on “The Church and the New
World Mind” was part of their contribution to the study of postwar

                        Rethinking the Disciples

The central body of opinion among Disciples cherishes the watchwords
“union” and “restoration,” about which the whole movement has developed.
But it recognizes that changed conditions and widened horizons may
require a reconsideration of the program of union and of the meaning of
restoration. It is not the impatience of youth but the voice of
experience that rejects a static and unchangeable system. J. H. Garrison
was editor and editor emeritus of the _Christian-Evangelist_ for sixty
years. In the last contribution written with his own hand, published on
April 11, 1929, being then in his eighty-eighth year, he wrote:

  Are we Disciples, who started out a century ago to plead for Christian
  unity, losing our zeal for this holy cause, or are we losing
  confidence in ourselves as fit instruments of our Lord for promoting
  it? I think it would be a good move for the president of our
  international convention to appoint at once a committee to study and
  report on the question: What changes in the way of addition or
  subtraction are demanded among the Disciples to make their plea more
  efficient, either in its substance or in the manner of its
  presentation to the world?

  The religious world today is very different from what it was a century
  ago. Science has given us a different conception of nature and of the
  universe. Biblical criticism has changed for most of us our view of
  the Bible, making it not a less but a more valuable book for the
  student of religion. This increase of light is evident in every
  department of knowledge. Is it possible that all these changes do not
  require any readjustment in the matter and method of a plea for unity
  inaugurated more than a century ago?

This suggestion bore fruit, a few years later, in the appointment of a
Commission on Restudy of the Disciples of Christ. Since 1935, this
commission has carried on a study of the past and the present with a
view to finding what readjustments may profitably be made for the
future. This is only one of many groups which are concerned that the
Disciples shall not simply be “a great people,” as they sometimes
proudly and truly claim that they are, but shall go forward to the
fulfillment of their highest purposes. There is yet much light to break
from God’s Word and from the teachings of their own experience.


  “Acceptance with God,” 23
  Acheson, Thomas, 69
  Adams, John, 19, 29
  Africans brought to England, 24
  Ahorey, 60
  Ainslie, Peter, 150
  Alabama, “Christian” churches in, 98
  Allen, T., M., 101
  Altars, Abraham, 66
  Amend, William, 85
  America in 19th century: characteristics of, 28-31;
      churches in, 31-36
  American and Foreign Bible Society, 109
  American Christian Bible Society, 108
  American Christian Education Society, 143
  American Christian Missionary Society, 111, 112, 122-23, 124, 126,
      founded, 110;
      ceases to function, 123
  _American Christian Review_, 113, 122, 124
  Ames, E. S., 138
  Anabaptists, 18
  Anglican Church, separation of Methodists from, 42f.
  Anti-Burgher Presbyterians, 60
  Antislavery societies, 36
  _Apology for renouncing the Jurisdiction of the Synod of Kentucky,
          An_, 54
  _Apostolic Times_, 124
  Arkansas College, 115
  Armenians, missions to, 128
  Asbury, Francis, 41-43 _passim_
  “Associate membership,” 138
  Associated Free Agencies, 146
  Association for the Promotion of Christian Unity, 150
  Augsburg Confession, 19
  Aulard, A., 19

  Bacon College, 106, 114
  Bader, Jesse, 153
  Baltimore, Haldanean churches in, 84
  Baptism, 25, 26, 135-39, 151-52;
      Ainslie on, 150;
      A. Campbell on, 79, 104-5, 135-36;
      A. Campbell debates on, 77-79, 106;
      design of, 79, 87;
      in Brush Run Church, 74-75;
      in China mission, 150;
      in Christian Church, Ky., 56-57;
      and opinion, 96;
      Pinkerton on, 136;
      the “one institution,” 104;
      Stone on, 95-96.
      _See also_ Immersion; Open membership
  Baptists, 41;
      A. Campbell’s relations with, 76ff., 108-9;
      Disciples’ differences from, 87-88;
      English, 22;
      Free Will, 45;
      “General,” 35, 53;
      in America in 1800, 34-35;
      in Kentucky, 30, 81ff.;
      in Rhode Island, 32;
      in Virginia, 32;
      “Kissing,” 83-84;
      “New Testament,” 95, 97;
      “Old Scotch,” 22;
      “Particular,” 53;
      and religious liberty, 37-38;
      separation from, 87ff., 90
  Barclay, James T., 110-11
  Baxter, William, 85
  Beardslee, J. O., 111
  Bentley, Adamson, 87
  Berea College, 115
  Bethany College, 76, 107, 114, 147;
      and slavery issue, 116-17
  Bethany, W. Va., 80
  Bethel, Ky., 57
  Bible distribution, cooperation in, 36
  Bible, modern view of, 148.
      _See also_ Higher criticism
  “Bible chairs,” 128, 131
  Bible College League, 151
  Bible Society: American and Foreign, 109;
      American Christian, 108
  Blythe, James, 50
  Boston: “Christian” church at, 46;
      in 1800, 29;
      Sandemanian churches in, 22
  “Brethren,” 26
  Brown University, 34
  Brush Run Church, 73, 74-75, 81, 135;
      joins Redstone Association, 75
  Bucer, Martin, 18
  Buffaloe, 62, 80
  Burgher Presbyterians, 60
  Burnet, D. S., 106, 108
  Burnham, F. W., 146
  Butler University, 114, 147

  Caldwell, David, 47-49 _passim_
  Calendar committee, 143
  California, beginnings in, 102
  Calvin, 18, 121
  Calvinism, 33, 44, 49, 54f., 60, 88
  Campbell, Alexander, 10-14 _passim_, 18, 23, 27, 72, 87, 90, 98,
          99, 113;
      born, 60;
      decides for ministry, 66-67;
      at Glasgow, 67;
      Breaks with Seceders, 68;
      reaches America, 66, 68;
      reads _Declaration and Address_, 68;
      first sermon, 73;
      licensed to preach, ordained, 74;
      marries, acquires property, 76;
      immersed, 74-75;
      founds _Christian Baptist_, 80-82;
      conducts boarding school, 77;
      takes lead in reform, 76ff.;
      preaches among Baptists, 76, 77;
      first visit to Kentucky, 79;
      debates Walker, 77-79;
      debates Maccalla, 79;
      founds church at Wellsburg, 81;
      tours Kentucky in 1824, 82;
      meets Scott, 84;
      at Virginia Constitutional Convention, 88-89;
      debates Owen, 89, 103;
      founds _Millennial Harbinger_, 91;
      meets Stone, 92;
      publishes _The Christian System_, 103;
      at his zenith, 102ff.;
      debates Purcell, 105;
      debates Rice, 105-6;
      founds Bethany College, 107;
      elected president of missionary society, 110;
      tours Indiana in 1850, 112;
      death, 122, 123;
      early theological views, 67f.;
      Ewing’s influence, 67f.;
      Locke’s influence, 62;
      no effective evangelist, 103;
      on baptism, 77-79, 104-5, 106, 119, 135-36;
      on church and state, 77;
      on cooperation, 108;
      on ecclesiastical order, 80;
      on education, 107;
      on missions, 108-9, 122;
      on slavery 88-89, 116-17;
      “rules of interpretation,” 134;
      “Sermon on the Law,” 76f., 78;
      his views vs. Stone’s, 94-98
  Campbell, Thomas, 10-14 _passim_, 18, 27, 34, 84, 103;
      early life, 60;
      migrates to America, 62;
      charges against, 62f.;
      breaks with Seceders, 63ff.;
      _Declaration and Address_, 66, 68;
      elder of Brush Run Church, 73;
      is immersed, 74-75;
      _Declaration and Address_, summary of, 66, 68, 69ff., 135;
      differences from Seceders, 64f.;
      early views, 61f.;
      on baptism, 74-75;
      on causes of divisions, 71;
      on clergy, 65;
      on creeds, 64-65, 71;
      on “expedients,” 72;
      on faith, 64, 65;
      on unity, 70, 72
  Campbell Institute, 149
  “Campbellites,” 83, 103
  Camp meetings: _See_ Revivalism
  Cane Ridge, Ky., 50, 51, 55;
      meeting at, 50ff.
  “Catechetical exhibition,” 72, 80
  Cave, Robert L., 136-37
  Centennial Convention, 140, 144
  Chicago, University of, 132, 134, 147
  Children’s Day, 129
  Chillingworth, William, 19
  China, missions in, 129, 150, 151
  Chinese Nestorians, 18
  Christmas Conference, 42
  “Christian,” name adopted, 56
  _Christian_, 126
  Christian Association of Washington, 66, 69-70, 73
  _Christian Baptist_, 72, 79, 80-82, 90, 101, 120, 122;
      compared with _Christian Messenger_, 94-98;
      publication ends, 91;
      and Scott, 84
  Christian Board of Publication, 145
  _Christian Century_, 127, 138, 149-150
  “Christian” Churches, 13, 41ff.;
      in Kentucky and the west, 47-59, 82, 92-99;
      in New England, 44-47, 99;
      in Virginia and North Carolina, 41-44, 99;
      views of Stone’s, 94-98;
      union with Disciples, 92, 98-99
  Christian College, 115
  _Christian-Evangelist_, 126-27, 135, 137, 145, 155
  _Christian Messenger_, 58, 59, 92ff., 99;
      compared with _Christian Baptist_ and _Millennial Harbinger_,
  _Christian Monitor_, 72
  _Christian Oracle_, 127
  Christian Publishing Company, 126, 145
  _Christian Quarterly_, 124
  _Christian Record_, 113
  Christian Restoration Association, 146, 151
  _Christian Standard_, 123, 124, 127, 133, 135, 139, 140, 146, 151
  _Christian System, The_, 103-4
  Christian Woman’s Board of Missions, 128, 146
  Church, S. H., 139
  Church and state, 20;
      in America, 28;
      separation of, 36, 37, 39-40, 77
  Church Extension, Board of, 126, 129, 146
  “Church of Christ,” 26
  “Churches of Christ,” 12, 25f.;
      British, 27
  Clarksville, Tex., 102
  Clay, Henry, 106
  Clergy: _See_ Ministry
  Close communion, 26, 119-120.
      _See also_ Open membership
  Coke, Dr., 42
  College of the Bible, 151
  Colleges, 114-15;
      founded, 106f.;
      improvement of, 146f.;
      number of, in 1897, 131
  Columbia, Mo., 115
  _Commentary on Acts_, 137
  Commission on Restudy of the Disciples of Christ, 156
  Committee on Cooperation in Latin America, 153
  Community of goods, 26
  Concord, Ky., 50
  _Congregationalist_, 46
  Congregationalists, 19, 32-33
  Congresses of the Disciples, 133, 148
  Conservative group (antimissionary society), 12
  Conservative reaction, 1909-45, 150ff.
  Constitutional Convention, 37
  Controversy, period of, 119ff.
  Cooperation, 11, 36, 100
  Cotner College, 147
  Craig, W. B., 138
  Craighead, Thomas, 50
  Cramblet, T. A., 147
  Creath, Jacob, Sr., and Jr., 83
  Creeds, 64, 65, 71, 80, 94, 119, 120-21
  Crockett, David, 102
  Cross, Alexander, 111
  Cumberland district, 50
  Cumberland Presbyterians, 52, 55

  Danbury, Conn., 22
  Danville, Ky., 50
  Davies, Samuel, 49
  _Declaration and Address_, 14, 61, 66, 68, 103, 141;
      summary of, 69-73;
      “brought down to date,” 124
  Deer Creek, Ohio, conference of “Christians,” 58
  Delegate convention, 144-45
  Denominationalism as normal, 17
  Denver, 138
  Design of baptism: _See under_ Baptism
  Disciples: beginnings as separate body, 87, 90;
      early growth, 90-91;
      growth 1830-44, 99ff. (_see also_ Statistics);
      general views, 94-97;
      name, 11-12, 95;
      organization for cooperation, 100;
      periodicals of, 91 (_see also_ Periodicals);
      rethinking, 155-56;
      separation from Baptists, 87-88;
      union with “Christian” Churches, 91, 98-99
  Disciples Divinity House, 132, 134, 147
  “Dissenters,” 15;
      in New England, 32
  Divisions, causes of, 71
  Drake Conference, 155
  Drake University, 115, 147
  D’Spain, Lynn, 102
  Dunlavy, John, 54, 56

  Ecumenical Movement, 152, 153ff.
  Edinburgh conferences, 153
  Edinburgh: Haldanes organize church in, 24;
      “primitive” church in, 25
  Edinburgh, University of, 10
  Education, renaissance in, 1874-1909, 130-32.
      _See also_ Colleges
  Elizabeth, Queen, 19
  England, missions in, 128
  Episcopacy, 32
  Episcopalians, 19
  Errett, Isaac, 13, 113, 116, 119;
      issues “Synopsis,” 120;
      launches _Christian Standard_, 123-24;
      death, 127
  Eureka College, 115
  Evangelism: A. Campbell’s, 103;
      Franklin’s, 113-14;
      Scott’s, 97-98;
      Smith’s, 97;
      Stone’s, 97-98
  Evangelical Alliance, 109
  _Evangelist_, 126
  Ewing, Greville, 24, 67-68
  “Exercises,” 51-53 _passim_
  “Expedients” vs. commandments, 72

  “Faith and Order,” 153
  Faith: as act of reason, 23, 64, 65, 67-68, 87-88, 94-95;
      before repentance, 22
  Fall, P. S., 83
  Faraday, Michael, 21
  Farmer-preachers, 34
  Federal Council of the Churches of Christ, 140, 152-53
  Federation, 133, 139-41, 144
  Federation of Churches and Christian Workers, 139
  First Amendment, 36
  Florida in 1800, 30-31
  Foot washing, 26
  Foreign Christian Missionary Society, 128, 136
  Foreign Missions Conference of North America, 140
  Forrester, Mo., 83, 84
  Franklin, Benjamin, 113-14, 116, 122, 123
  Franklin College, 114

  Garfield, James A., 124
  Garrett, Frank, 151
  Garrison, J. H., 126, 127, 129, 135, 137, 139, 155
  Gaston, Joseph, 86
  “General Conference” at Windham, Conn., 46-47
  Georgetown, Ky., 106
  Georgia, Stone visits, 48
  Glas, John, 12, 20-21, 22, 61, 67, 84
  Glasgow, University of, 10, 60, 67
  _Gospel Advocate_, 124
  _Gospel Preacher, The_, 114
  Graham, Robert, 124
  Great Awakening, 35, 49
  Great Western Revival, 50ff.
  Greensboro, N. C., 47, 48
  Growth of Disciples: _See_ Statistics
  Guirey, William, 54

  Haden, Joel, 101
  Haggard, Rice, 43, 56
  Haldane, J. A., and Robert, 12, 24ff., 61, 84;
      influence on A. Campbell, 67-68
  Haldanean churches, 25, 26, 83-84, 112
  Haley, J. J., 124, 137
  Hanover, N. H., 45
  Harper, W. R., 134
  Harrodsburg, Ky., 106
  Hartford (Seminary), 132
  Harvard University, 132
  Hayden, A. S., 86
  Hayden, William, 86, 87
  Henry, John, 86
  _Herald of Gospel Liberty_, 46, 56, 59
  Higher criticism, 133-35, 136, 144
  Hill, Rowland, 61
  Hiram College, 114
  Hiram, Ohio, church at, 81
  Hodge, William, 48
  Hofmann, Melchior, 18
  Holley, Horace, 93
  “Holy kiss,” 26
  Holy Spirit, Stone’s view, 93
  Home Missions Council, 140
  Hopkins, Robert M., 154
  Hopson, W. H., 124
  Hull, Hope, 48, 49

  Illinois: beginnings in, 101;
      “Christians” in, 58
  Immersion, 22, 57, 68, 95-96, 119, 133, 135, 151;
      adopted by Brush Run Church, 74-75
  Independent agencies, 146
  _Independent Monthly_, 136
  India, missions in, 128, 129;
      attempted by Haldanes, 24
  Indiana: beginnings in, 100-101;
      “Christian” churches in, 98;
      Disciple churches in, 112;
      first state convention in, 101;
      sends messengers to first convention, 109
  Indianapolis, church organized in, 101
  Inman, Samuel Guy, 153
  Instrumental music, 47, 119, 121-122, 124, 132
  Interchurch World Movement, 153
  International Council of Religious Education, 154
  International Sunday School Association, 154
  Iowa: “Christians” spread into, 58;
      “Christian” churches in, 98

  Jacksonville, Ill., Stone at, 101
  Jamaica, missions to, 111, 128
  Jerusalem Conference, 153
  Jerusalem mission, 110-11
  Johnson, B. W., 126
  Jones, Abner, 45-46 _passim_
  Jones, Edgar DeWitt, 153

  Kentucky: “Christian” churches in, 47-49, 82, 92-99;
      Baptists in, 81ff.;
      A. Campbell’s first visit to, 79;
      Disciple churches in, 112;
      in 1800, 30
  Kentucky Female Orphan School, 114
  Kentucky University, 106
  “Kissing Baptists,” 83-84
  Knoxville, Tenn., Stone at, 50

  Lard, Moses E., 115, 118, 121, 124
  “Last Will and Testament of the Springfield Presbytery,” 55
  Lausanne Conference, 153
  Lexington, Ky., 50, 51, 53, 105, 106;
      in 1800, 30;
      meeting between “Christians” and Disciples, 98-99
  Liberia, missions to, 111, 128
  Liberty of opinion, 16-17
  “Life and Work,” 153
  Locke, John, 16, 23, 61-62, 84
  “Log College,” 33-34, 49
  Logan County, Ky., 51
  Long, R. A., 145
  Lord, J. A., 139
  Louisiana Territory in 1800, 31
  Louisville, Ky., 83
  “Louisville Plan,” 123, 128
  Loyalty resolution, 118
  Luther, Lutheranism, 18, 19
  Lunenburg letter, 104, 135
  Lyndon, Vt., 45

  Maccalla, W. L., 78-79, 82
  Madison, James, 89
  Madras Conference, 154
  Mahoning Association, 78, 83, 86, 141;
      appoints Scott as evangelist, 85;
      dissolution of, 87f., 90;
      emphasizes restoration, 81;
      separates from Baptists, 86, 87
  Marshall, John, 89
  Marshall, Robert, 54, 57
  Mathes, James M., 113
  Matthews, Mansil W., 102
  Matthews, R. T., 137
  McBride, Thomas, 101
  McGarvey, J. W., 117, 121, 124, 133-34, 135, 137
  McGee, John, and William, 51
  McGready, James, 47-48, 49, 51
  McKinney, Collin, 101-2
  McLean, A., 129
  McLean, Archibald, 22
  McNemar, Richard, 52, 53, 56, 65
  Medbury resolution, 151
  Meldenius, Rupertius, 17
  _Memoirs of Alexander Campbell_, 63
  Men and Millions Movement, 145
  Methodists, 30, 35, 41-44, 49, 53
  Michigan, University of, 128, 131
  Midway, Ky., 121
  Ministerial Relief, Board of, 129
  Ministry: and laity, 21;
      T. Campbell on, 65;
      “Christians’” view, 96-97;
      _Christian Baptist_ attacks status of, 80;
      Disciples’ view, 97;
      education of, 116, 130, 131-32;
      no “call” to, 88;
      schools for, 147
  Mississippi, “Christian” churches in, 98
  Missouri, 126;
      beginnings in, 101;
      “Christians” in, 58, 98
  _Millennial Harbinger_, 91, 99, 102, 107, 115, 116, 119, 121, 123;
      compared with _Christian Messenger_, 94-98;
      quotation from, 104-5
  Missionary societies: controversies over, 122-23;
      unification of, 145-46
  Missionary society: formed, 110;
      opposition to, 110, 113
  _Missionary Tidings_, 128
  Missions: A. Campbell on, 108-9;
      controversy over, 122-23, 132;
      development of foreign, 128-29;
      Franklin on, 122, 123;
      in China, 150, 151;
      in England, 128, 136;
      in Jamaica, 111;
      in Jerusalem, 110-11;
      in Liberia, 111, 128;
      rise of interest in, 128f.
  Money making, 114
  Monroe, James, 89
  Moore, W. T., 136
  Mormon Church, 78-79
  Morrison, Charles Clayton, 127, 138, 149
  Morro, W. C., 134
  “Mutual edification,” 21, 120
  Muckley, George W., 129
  Munnell, Thomas, 137

  Names of movement, 11-12, 95
  Nashville, Tenn., 51;
      Stone at, 50
  National Benevolent Association, 129
  National Convention, first, 109-10
  “National Covenant,” 20
  Native American party, 105
  Nestorians, 18
  New Albany, Ind., 106
  _New Christian Quarterly_, 137
  New England: “Christian” churches in, 44-47, 99;
      general conference in, 59;
      motives in settlement of, 31, 32ff.;
      Sandemanian churches in, 22;
      Haldanean churches in, 84
  New Light Presbyterians, 47, 48, 49, 51, 55, 56, 60
  New Lisbon, Ohio, 1831 meeting at, 100
  New Testament Tract Society, 151
  New York: episcopacy in, 32;
      Haldanean churches in, 84;
      in 1800, 29;
      “primitive” church in, 25
  Non-Sectarian Church, 137
  North American Christian Convention, 146, 152
  North Carolina: “Christian” churches in, 41-44;
      episcopacy in, 32
  North District Association, 82-83
  Northwest Territory, 29-30
  Northwestern Christian University, 114, 116

  Ohio: admitted, 30;
      “Christian” churches in, 98
  O’Kane, John, 101
  O’Kelly, James, 42, 43, 48, 65
  O’Kelly secession, 43
  Oklahoma, 126
  _Old Faith Restated, The_, 137
  Old Light Presbyterians, 60
  “One-man system,” 119, 120
  Open membership, 135ff., 138, 150, 151-52
  Opinion, political and social questions as matter of, 117
  Ordinance of 1787, 29
  Oregon Territory, beginnings in, 102
  Organ controversy: _See_ Instrumental music
  Organization: for cooperation, 100;
      lack of, an asset in Civil War period, 117f.;
      of early movement, 11;
      of “Christians,” 57f.;
      on national scale, 108;
      opposition to, 110;
      periodicals as substitute for, 113
  Original sin, 22
  Oskaloosa College, 115
  Otten, B. J., 18
  _Our Plea for Union in the Present Crisis_, 138
  Owen, Robert, 89, 103
  Oxford Conference, 153, 154

  “Pacifist manifesto” of 1861, 117
  Pattillo, Henry, 49
  Pearre, Mrs. C. N., 128
  Pendleton, W. K., 116
  Pension Fund, 129
  Periodicals: as substitute for organization, 113;
      of Disciples, 91;
      in 1849-74, 113-14.
      See also _Christian Baptist_, _Christian-Evangelist_, etc.
  Persecution, reasons for, 37
  Philadelphia: in 1800, 29;
      Presbyterians in, 33
  Philadelphia Confession, 35, 81, 83, 88
  Phillips brothers, 124
  Phillips University, 147
  Philputt, J. M., 138
  Piermont, N. H., “Christian” church at, 45
  Pinkerton, L. L., 136
  Pittsburgh, 10, 12, 78;
      T. Campbell preaches at, 62;
      Centennial Convention at, 140;
      in 1800, 30;
      Scott at, 83;
      Synod of, 73, 74
  “Plan of Salvation,” 113
  Plan of Union, 33
  “Plurality of elders,” 21
  “Popular churches,” 35
  Portsmouth, N. H., “Christian” church at, 46
  Powell, E. L., 139
  Presbyterians, 19;
      and revivalism, 52-53;
      anti-Calvinism among, 54f.;
      in early America, 33-34;
      in Kentucky, 30;
      in Virginia, 32
  Presbytery of Chartiers, 62, 63, 65
  Princeton, 34, 47, 50, 132
  Protestant reformers, 14-15, 18f.
  Protestantism, types of, 15
  Publication society founded, 145
  Purcell, Archbishop, 105
  Puritans: and religious liberty, 38;
      in New England, Virginia, 32

  Quakers and religious liberty, 37f.

  Randolph, John, 89
  Redstone Association, 75, 76, 81
  _Reformer_, 113
  “Reforming Baptists,” 80-83 _passim_, 90, 95
  Religious experience, 23
  Religious liberty, 37-39 _passim_;
      in America, 28;
      in Rhode Island, 32, 34.
      _See also_ Church and state; Unity of Christians
  Religious unity: _See_ Unity of Christians
  Republican Methodists, 43-44
  _Restoration Herald_, 151
  Restoration of primitive Christianity: and division, 24-27;
      _Christian Baptist_ emphasizes, 80;
      history of idea, 14, 17-20;
      in 18th century, 12, 20ff., 27, 67;
      in 16th, 17th, centuries, 27;
      modern view, 148, 152;
      need of reconsidering, 155-56
  “Reverend,” 47, 55, 119, 120
  Revivalism, 51, 52, 53, 82
  Rhode Island, religious liberty in, 32, 34
  Rice, N. L., 106
  Rich Hill, 60, 61, 66
  Richardson, Robert, 63, 67
  Rigdon, Sidney, 78-79
  Rogers, John, 99
  Roman Catholicism, 14f., 18, 37;
      A. Campbell’s debate on, 105
  Ross, Roy G., 154
  Rousseau, Jean-Jacques, 19
  Russian Church, 18

  St. Louis, 101, 126, 129, 136
  Salem, Mass., “Christian” churches at, 46
  Salvation, steps in, 84-85
  Sandeman, Robert, 12, 21-23, 61, 84;
      influence on A. Campbell, 67, 68
  Sandemanian churches, 21-23, 25, 26, 112;
      Disciples as “off-shoot” of, 23
  Sanford, E. B., 139
  Scotch-Irish: Immigration of, 34;
  in Virginia, 32
  Scott, Walter, 10-13 _passim_, 75, 83-87, 95, 99, 106, 139, 141;
      joins Haldanean church, 84;
      meets A. Campbell, 84;
      and _Christian Baptist_, 84;
      evangelism of, 85ff.;
      on salvation, 84-85, 100
  _Scroll_, 149
  Seceder Presbyterians, 34, 55;
      A. Campbell breaks with, 68;
      T. Campbell breaks with, 63ff.;
      divisions among, 60-61;
      origin of, 60
  Sects: imported, 36;
      in early America, 28, 31-36
  Semple, Robert, 81
  “Sermon on the Law,” 76f., 78
  Shackleford, John, 136, 137
  Shakers, 52, 56
  Slavery, 36, 116-18;
      A. Campbell on, 88-89, 116-17;
      Franklin on, 114
  Smith, Elias, 44-46 _passim_, 56
  Smith, “Raccoon” John, 82-83, 99;
      evangelism of, 97-98
  South Carolina, episcopacy in, 32
  Springer, John, 48, 49
  Springfield Presbytery, 41, 54-56;
      dissolution of, 55
  Statistics: for “Christians,” 59;
      for early movement, 11;
      for 1849-74, 112-13;
      for 1874-1909, 126;
      for 1909-45, 142;
      table for 1900-44, 143
  Steubenville, Ohio, conference on cooperation, 108
  Stillingfleet, Edward, 16
  Stockholm Conference, 153
  Stone, Barton W., 10-14 _passim_, 41, 47-50, 51-53 _passim_, 54,
          56-59 _passim_, 65, 99;
      leadership of “Christians,” 58, 92f.;
      meets A. Campbell, founds _Christian Messenger_, 92;
      at Jacksonville, Ill., 101;
      evangelism of, 97-98;
      not a Unitarian, 94;
      on baptism, 57;
      on doctrine, 93f.;
      on Trinity, 48, 50, 93;
      on unity, 93;
      his views vs. Campbell’s, 94-98
  Succoth Academy, 48
  Sunday School Council, 154
  Sunday school work, 36
  “Sweeney resolution,” 151
  Synod of Kentucky, 53, 54, 55
  Synod of North America, Associate, 62f.
  Synod of Pittsburgh, 73, 74
  “Synopsis,” Errett’s, 120

  Temperance societies, 36
  Tennent, William, 33, 49
  Tennessee, “Christians” in, 58
  Texas, beginnings in, 101-2
  Texas Christian University, 147
  Theological school, controversy on, 116.
      _See_ Ministry
  Thompson, John, 53, 57
  Thompson, Thomas, 102
  “Thompsonian” system of medicine, 45
  Toleration granted to churches, 17.
      _See_ Religious liberty
  Transylvania Presbytery, 50
  Transylvania University, 93, 106, 147, 151
  Trinity, Stone on, 48, 50, 93
  Trollope, Mrs., 103
  Tyler, B. B., 138, 154

  Union of “Christians” and Disciples, 10-11, 92, 98ff.
  Union Theological Seminary, 132
  Unitarianism, 33;
      Stone charged with, 94
  United Christian Missionary Society, 146, 151-52
  United States conferences, 47, 59
  Unity of Christians: as political necessity, 15f., 37ff.;
      Association for the Promotion of Christian Unity, 150;
      A. Campbell on, 80, 94;
      T. Campbell and, 61, 84;
      _Declaration and Address_, 69-72;
      different views of, 148, 152, 155-56;
      Haldaneans, Sandemanians on, 26;
      history of idea, 14-17;
      in relation to baptism, 135-39;
      new problem in America, 39;
      Stone on, 93, 94
  University Church of Disciples of Christ, Chicago, 138

  Vanderbilt University, 132
  _View of the Social Worship and Ordinances of the First
          Christians, A_, 25
  Virginia: Bill of Rights, 38;
      “Christians” in, 41-44;
      Constitutional Convention, 88-89;
      motives in settlement of, 31-32;
      University of, 128, 131

  Wabash, Ind., conference of “Christians,” 59
  Walker, John, of Dublin, 61
  Walker, John, of Ohio, 77-78
  Walnut Grove Academy, 115
  Ware, C. C., 48
  Washington, D. C., 29;
      Haldanean churches in, 84
  Washington, Ga., 48
  Washington, George, 29
  Wayne, Anthony, 30
  “We can never divide,” 118
  Weekly communion, 21, 24, 88, 98;
      A. Campbell on, 67;
      at Brush Run Church, 74
  Wellsburg, 81, 85
  Wesley, John, 19, 35, 41-42 _passim_
  West London Tabernacle, 136
  Western Reserve Eclectic Institute, 114
  Westminster Confession, 35, 50, 54, 55, 63
  Wharton, G. L., 129
  Wheeling, W. Va., meeting at, 100
  “Where the Scriptures speak...,” 66, 71
  Whitefield, George, 49
  Whitsitt, W. H., 23
  Wilkes, L. B., 124
  Willett, Herbert L., 127, 134, 135, 138, 153
  Williams, Roger, 32
  Windham, Conn., “Christian” church at, 47
  World Conferences on Foreign Missions, 153
  World Council of Churches, 154

  Yale Divinity School, 131, 147

  Zwingli, 18, 121

                          Transcriber’s Notes

--Copyright notice provided as in the original—this e-text is public
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--Silently corrected palpable typos; left non-standard spellings and
  dialect unchanged.

--Only in the text versions, delimited italicized text in _underscores_
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