1811 The Brush Run church was organized near Bethany, WV. It wore no name for seventeen years other than Brush Run church. At Brush Run’s first service, three members refused to commune because they were unbaptized. Thomas Campbell baptized them while kneeling on a root beside a stream so as not to get wet himself. “Sprinkled” persons were not rebaptized but all new baptisms were to be by immersion. Thomas and Alexander Campbell themselves were not immersed at this time.
1812 After a seven-hour service, Thomas Campbell and wife Jane, Alexander Campbell and his sister Dorothea, along with three others were immersed in Buffalo Creek near the Brush Run church.
Around this time Alexander Campbell wrote that one must strive to read:
“the Bible as if it had dropped from heaven into his hands alone.”
Nancy G. Cram (1776-1815) began a teaching ministry among the Oneida Indians of New York. Having little success, she moved to Charleston, NY, where hundreds were converted by her preaching. Three ministers from Elias Smith’s “Christian” movement came from Vermont to help organize the new church. Eventually there were seven active preachers in the “Christian” movement that had been converted under her influence.
1816 Abigail Roberts (1791-1841), a convert of Cram, began a 12-year preaching ministry. She converted hundreds and established at least four “Christian” churches connected to the Smith movement.
Alexander Campbell preaches at Cross Creek Baptist Church, the most famous and influential of all his sermons – “The Sermon on the Law.”
1823 Thirty-two members of the Brush Run church formed a “church of Christ” in nearby Welsburg. Included were Alexander Campbell and his wife Margaret. From the very first Sunday, the Lord’s Supper was observed each first day.
1824 Alexander Campbell:
“Since those gifts have ceased, the Holy Spirit now operates upon the minds of men only by the word….if the Spirit of God has spoken all its arguments, all the power of the Holy Spirit which can operate on the human mind is spent.”
1826 B.F. Hall (1803-1873), after reading an account of Alexander Campbell’s case for baptism:
I sprang to my feet in an ecstasy and cried out, ‘Eureka! Eureka! I have found it! I have found it!’ And I had found it. I had found the key-stone in the gospel arch…I had found the long-lost link in the chain of gospel obedience…I saw now the evidence of remission, which I had never seen before.
His preaching began a spread of the doctrine of “baptism for the remission of sins” throughout the Western Reserve (OH).
1826 A. S. Hayden in “History of the Disciples on the Western Reserve” tells that in Mentor, Ohio, in 1826, there was a Baptist Church, of which Sidney Rigdon was minister. He read the Christian Baptist, and adopted its restoration teaching. In the spring of 1828, he visited Walter Scott at Warren. Upon his return nearly the whole church accepted cordially the doctrine of the Lord, exchanged their “articles” for the new covenant as the only divine basis for Christ’s church, and abandoned unscriptural titles and church names, choosing to be known simply as disciples of Christ. Rigdon later became a Morman. In March 1832, Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon were taken from the headquarters of Mormonism and tarred and feathered. His conversion had occurred in 1830, through the influence of two missionaries who came to his home at Mentor, Ohio. He is said to have obtained more influence over Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, than any other living man; and to him was due the transfer of the seat of Mormonism from New York to Kirtland, Ohio, and its transformation into a communistic society. Expelled from the LDS after the death of Joseph Smith.
“I once was so straight a Separatist that I would neither pray nor sing praises with anyone who was not as perfect as I supposed myself. In this most unpopular course I persisted until I discovered the mistake, and saw that on the principle embraced in my conduct, there could never be a congregation or church upon the earth.”
Alexander Campbell, Christian Baptist, Vol 3, No. 9
1827 Walter Scott (1796-1861) Chosen to be an evangelist for the Mahoning Baptist Association. As an evangelist on the Western Reserve he taught that the gospel could be summed up with a six finger exercise: to believe, to repent, and to submit to immersion for the remission of sins (man’s part), and the granting of forgiveness, the gift of the Holy Spirit, and eternal life (God’s part).) Later he shortened the six points to five, combining the final two into the gift of the Spirit.
His “positive,” or objective, steps into the church (faith, repentance, baptism, remission of sins, gift of the Holy Spirit) attracted thousands who longed for religious security but had not experienced the emotional crisis and subjective assurance that characterized the prevailing revivalism.
It was common for Scott and other evangelists to carry three books in their saddlebags: a Bible, a hymnal, and a copy of John Locke’s Essay on Human Understanding.
1828 Walter Scott:
“To persuade men to act upon the divine testimony, rather than to wait upon uncertain and remote influences; to accept disciples upon a simple confession of repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and to baptize them for an immediate personal acquittal from their sins through the blood of Christ, and for the Holy Spirit, are matters which have caused great public excitement, This excitement, however, has only turned out to the furtherance of the gospel “
The Brush Run church moved into Bethany. When a brick structure was erected (it still stands) the name engraved in stone above the door read, “Church of Christ.” The Brush Run church remained a member of the Redstone Baptist Association throughout its existence.