Looking At Restoration Movement History: Part 5

1806 I arrived there the next Saturday evening; and the next day found a considerable number of baptists and methodists who were determined to be free. I tarried and preached there about six weeks; and in that time about thirty-six united together as christians, owning Christ their only Lord, Master, and Lawgiver. There was some opposition, and much union. In this visit, I gave up close communion, which I had held till then. It was hard work to give it up, having believed it so long.

 The first communion we had after the church was gathered according to the new testament, a considerable number of congregationalists, and methodists, with some baptists, communed with us. Here closed communion, an invention of men, left me; nor have I ever been troubled with it since. In the month of March, I left the brethren happy, and united in the truth, walking in love. From this small beginning in the year 1806, in the state of Vermont, the cause of Christ, and christian liberty has spread into almost every part of the state, in a greater or less degree. There are a great number of churches, and preachers, who now live in love and peace, and the God of love and peace is with them.
                  Elias Smith     
1807 First public baptism by immersion at Cane Ridge.

 A “Christian” church organized in Preble County, OH, by David Purviance and others.

 Thomas Campbell (1763-1854) tired of the religious and political strife troubling Ireland, left his Presbyterian pastorate to come to America. He was to be a minister in the Old  Light, Anti-Burgher, and Seceder Presbyterian Church.  His family was to follow once a new home was in order. A shipwreck delayed the sailing of his family and his oldest son  Alexander took that opportunity to study at the University of Glasgow. While there he attended a “house-church” in the home of Greville Ewing where he became familiar with the teachings of Robert and James Haldane.

 The Haldanes were sons of a famous British Admiral, and they themselves gained honors at sea. They took the wealth left them by their father and became even richer, especially Robert. The spiritual training given them by their mother eventually led them from the sea to Christian ministry. For Robert, “Christianity was everything or nothing.” He poured his wealth and life into ministry, founding publications, supporting evangelists, and building training schools and tabernacles. James did most of the public speaking, Robert not being in good health.

The Haldanes first attracted attention with their emphasis on lay preaching, alarming the established clergy of the Church of Scotland. “It is not our desire to form or to extend the influence of any sect,” they told the people, “but to make known the evangelical gospel of  Jesus Christ.” Schoolteachers and day laborers were sent out from the training schools to preach the Gospel. Greville Ewing had one such school in Glasgow, which had moved to Edinburgh before Alexander arrived.

Both the Haldanes and Ewing left the Church of Scotland. James Haldane preached in Edinburgh for 52 years. He was the first immersed in that congregation and discontinued the immersion of babies. Robert was later immersed as were other leaders coming out of the Church of Scotland. Ewing began the practice of weekly communion in his Glasgow congregation.

1808 Elias Smith begins publishing The Herald of Gospel Liberty (1808-1817), the first religious newspaper in America.

1809 Thomas Campbell wrote “Declaration and Address.” With others formed the Christian Association of Washington (PA). Aligned themselves with the Redstone Baptist  Association.  From the “Declaration and Address”: 

Moreover, being well aware, as from sad experience, of the heinous nature and pernicious tendency of religious controversy among Christians; tired and sick of the bitter jarrings and janglings of a party spirit, we would desire to be at rest; and, were it possible, we would also desire to adopt and recommend such measures as would give rest to our brethren throughout all the churches: as would restore unity, peace, and purity to the whole Church of God.
 That this Society, formed for the sole purpose of promoting simple evangelical Christianity, shall, to the utmost of its power, countenance and support such ministers, and such only, as exhibit a manifest conformity to the original standard in conversation and doctrine, in zeal and diligence; only such as reduce to practice that simple original form of Christianity, expressly exhibited upon the sacred page; without at tempting to inculcate anything of human authority, of private opinion, or inventions of men, as having anyplace in the constitution, faith, or worship, of the Christian Church, or anything as matter of Christian faith or duty, for which there can not be expressly produce a “Thus saith the Lord, either in express terms, or by approved precedent.”

Glasgow Scotland – Eight hundred Scots gathered for the semi-annual communion service of the Anti-Burgher Seceder Presbyterian Church. The service was restricted to that particular sect, excluding even other kinds of Presbyterians. Having been examined by the elders and found worthy, 21-year old Alexander Campbell had been given a metal token by which he could gain access to the service. As the plate came by, he dropped in the token but refused to break the bread or drink the cup, realizing as he did then that it was a communion with Christ from which other believers were barred.
 Alexander Campbell (1788-1866) then left Scotland to come to America.

John Mulkey, along with the majority of the Mill Creek Church (KY) left the Baptist church. These met together on the third Saturday in November 1809, and, after prayer, organized a church on the Bible alone, rejecting human creeds, confessions of faith and books of discipline. This congregation came to be known as the “Bible Alone Church.”  Mulkey’s daughter, Nancy, served as “exhorter” in the congregation. The building, which had been erected in 1804, still stands. It is the oldest log meeting house in KY. They knew  nothing of Stone or Campbell. Both his physical and spiritual descendants help carry the church to Oregon.

1810 Mulkey’s forces were visited by Joseph Thomas, a young preacher from the Christians in the East who called himself the “White Pilgrim.” In his journal The Life of the Pilgrim he  relates:

 “December 15th and 16th 2 day meeting at brother Mulkey’s. Here brother Dooley met  me. The people felt the weight and power of truth. A sister gave a discourse which discovered a strong mind, and a zealous soul. I preached in the region round about till December 29th. In which I had some happy seasons with the people of God, and met with some trials and distresses.”


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Filed under Church History, Church of Christ, Religion, Restoration Movement

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