1838 From the Millennial Harbinger, June 1838
News from the Churches
JACKSONVLLLE, Illinois, March 1st, 1838
We have had a very uncommon religious excitement here. Our church has met for five or six weeks every night, and often in the day. We have received and baptized about fifty–the Methodists double, and the Presbyterians and Congregationalists a large number. We yet meet every night. The town is revolutionized. Tomorrow we move from town by necessity to our farm. Every thing is gloomy here but religion, and this unchristianly divided. About twelve miles from this I have attended a place several times: about 15 were received and baptized. We need holy, zealous preachers, and many of them. Would to God the churches in the East would send us some at their own expense! If not, the sects who are pouring their preachers amongst us, will sweep the valley of the Mississippi.
B. W. STONE.
1839 “Although a dogmatic confidence, and a self-sufficient arrogance are not unusual characteristics of those who have just zealously adopted any system of religion, we have reason to expect these demonstrations of pride to be still more conspicuous when that system is, or is supposed to be, the only true one.–When men content themselves with false or corrupted religions, and, conscious of either the mutual weakness or the equal strength of their respective fortifications, make with each other the child’s bargain, ‘Let me alone and I’ll let you alone,’ there is little room for either boasting or applause. It is when men suppose their defences impregnable, and their forces invincible, that they hoist the flag of proud defiance, or enter upon a war of extermination. Infallibility indeed is the very element in which pride ‘lives, moves, and has its being.’ Hence the fierce fanaticism of the Mahometan, and the intolerant bigotry of the Roman Catholic. And hence it is that they, who have embraced primitive Christianity, are peculiarly liable to the influence of a dogmatic and censorious spirit: for, resting, as they do. upon the express declarations of the scriptures alone for their faith and practice, they cannot but regard their religion as the only one possessing divine authority, and all other systems, as such, imperfect or corrupt, whatever they may concede to the sincerity, morality, or piety of those individuals who, for want of better information, have adopted them.
Robert Richardson (1806-1876)
1840 Alexander Campbell selected as first president of Bethany College. (Bethany, VA)
1841 Representatives from 29 churches met in Nashville to discuss matters of church polity and teaching. Someone asked whether or not the Bible permits Christians to differ from one another. All present agreed to this answer:
* “In the kingdom of the Messiah, all subjects are bound to think alike. The Bible reveals every religious duty, therefore differences among believers always manifest either ignorance of the law or a determination to rebel against it.”
Later, Tolbert Fanning, founding editor of the Gospel Advocate, wrote:
* “Everything is a subject of authority and there is no room for debate. We have complete instructions in all matters pertaining to religion or we have nothing.”