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Gary L. Lee
Background of the Christian Baptist (1983)

Chapter III: Aims of the Christian Baptist

Chapter III


      Alexander Campbell set forth four major aims in his "Prospectus" of the Baptist pertaining to its purpose. His goals for the paper were:

THE "CHRISTIAN BAPTIST" shall espouse the cause of no religious sect, excepting that Ancient Sect, called "CHRISTIANS FIRST AT ANTIOCH." Its sole object shall be the eviction of truth, and the exposure of error in doctrine and practice. The Editor acknowledging no standard of religious faith or works, other than the Old and New Testaments, and the latter as the only standard of the religion of Jesus Christ will, intentionally at least, oppose nothing which it contains, and recommend nothing which it does not enjoin. Having no worldly interest at stake from the adoption or reprobation of any article of faith or religious practice--having no gift nor religious office of any worldly emolument to blind his eyes or to pervert his judgment--he hopes to manifest that he is an impartial advocate of truth.{1}
A shortened statement of the aims can be found in the "Dedication" of the periodical.{2} Following these four aims, Campbell listed seven items which are to be implemented to achieve these goals. The seven items are:
I. Animadversions of the moral of Professors of the Christain [sic] religion.
II. Strictures of the religious systems of the present day, and the leading measures of the religious sects of our country.
III. Essays on man's primitive state, on the Patriarchal, Jewish, and Christian dispensations.
IV. Religious News, or a record of the passing events of our time, accompanied with such remarks as they may naturally excite.
V. Historical Sketches, or retrospective views of the origin and progress of the most reputable opinions and practices of modern times.
VI. Biographical notices, and religious anecdotes.
VII. General Views of the religious and political state of nations not professing the Chriatian [sic] religion.{3}
This section of the paper will examine these aims and determine if Alexander Campbell reached them.

      The impetus behind these aims is Campbell's perception of the state of the contemporary religious world. His "worldview" is summed up in his "Prefatory Remarks" in volume four.

"God made man upright; but he has sought out many inventions." To restore man to uprightness and happiness is the grand end of the whole remedial government of God. To be instrumental in introducing that state of things which God instituted, and which was once exhibited; of leading the disciples to see that they need but one bond of union, one prophet, priest and king, one Bible, one book on the science of religion, and one treatise on the art of living well, is the supreme object of all our efforts.{4}
Thus, these four aims were to be one of the means of restoring man to his proper relationship with God.

Espouse Only the Doctrines Set Forth in Scripture

      The first aim of the Baptist was that it would espouse the cause of no religious sect, but seek only to maintain the doctrines set forth in the Scriptures. Prior to the proclamation of these [22] doctrines, it must be determined what doctrines the Bible teaches. To determine these doctrines, Campbell set forth the basic and fundamental teachings of the New Testament. He strove to determine which doctrines were divine and which were man-made. He consistently urged a thorough study of the New Testament as the touchstone for such a determination.

      It was in these seven volumes that he tried to point out what the Bible taught on such issues as the church, the role of the clergy, the eldership, etc. In realizing the biblical standard and purpose for these matters, the departures from this standard become apparent and a reconciliation to the divine standard can be accomplished.

      The series of essays in which the New Testament pattern of the church is discussed is entitled "A Restoration of the Ancient Order of Things." This is one of the better known series, in which he discusses the early pattern of the church: creeds, nomenclature, the order of worship, the Lord's Supper, elders, deacons, hymns, fellowship, and the discipline of the church. But, the mere description of the teachings and life of the early church is not sufficient to restore man to his proper relationship with God. Christians must be motivated to incorporate these practices into their lives.

Now, in attempting to accomplish this, it must be observed, that it belongs to every individual, and to every congregation of individuals, to discard from their faith and their practice every thing that is not found written in the New Testament of the Lord and Saviour; and to believe and practise whatever is there enjoined.{5}

But to come to the things to be discarded, we observe that, in the ancient order of things, there were no creeds or compilations of doctrine in abstract terms, nor in any terms, other than the terms adopted by the Holy Spirit in the New Testament. Therefore, all such are to be discarded.{6}
Such a restoration of man's proper relationship with God is crucial for the church, the reason being that "a RESTORATION of the ancient order of things is an that is necessary to the happiness and usefulness of Christians."{7} Campbell explained what he meant by the term "ancient order of things" in the second volume of the Baptist.

To bring the societies of Christians up to the New Testament, is just to bring the disciples, individually and collectively, to walk in the faith, and in the commandments of the Lord and Saviour, as presented in that blessed volume; and this is to restore the ancient order of things.{8}

      Campbell believed that the inception and progress of the millennium would proceed in direct relation with the restoration of the church. "Just in so far as the ancient order of things, or the religion of the New Testament, is restored, just so far has the Millennium commenced, and so far has its blessings been enjoyed."{9} It was the emphasis of the restoration of the church rather than the reformation of it, that labeled his efforts "The Restoration Movement." The reasoning behind such an emphasis was discussed in the first number of "A Restoration of the Ancient Order of Things." Campbell stated "all the famous reformations in history have rather been reformations of creeds and of clergy, than of religion" and "though called reformations of religion, they have always left religion where it was."{10}

Human systems, whether of philosophy or of religion, are proper subjects of reformation; but Christianity cannot be reformed. Every attempt to reform Christianity is like an attempt to create a new sun, or to change the revolutions of the heavenly bodies unprofitable and vain.{11} [23]

No attempt "to reform the doctrine, discipline, and government of the church," (a phrase too long in use), can promise a better result than those that have been attempted and languished unto death. We are glad to see, in the above extract, that the thing proposed, is to bring the Christianity and the church of the present day up to the standard of the New Testament.{12}

      Campbell discussed the nature and work of the Holy Spirit in his "Essays on the Work of the Holy Spirit in the Salvation of Men." He concluded that no man could have believed the biblical revelation without the work of the Holy Spirit in his attestation of the gospel by miracles.{13} Miracles were defined as the displays of power whose purpose was to confirm that Jesus was risen from the dead. They were also given to fill believers with knowledge and light.{14} The miracles performed by the Holy Spirit in his attestation of the testimony of the apostles were "numerous, public, and beneficent," and "the cures were always instantaneous, always complete, and always permanent."{15}

      In commenting upon the second definition of a miracle, Campbell referred to Ephesians 4:8-13. He stated that the persons mentioned in this passage were Christ's gifts to the church upon his ascension; that these men were given to the church for a limited time, for the purpose of building up and teaching the infant church. Once this task was accomplished, the gifts would cease. The time for the cessation of these supernaturally gifted teachers would come when the church was able to defend and direct itself without supernatural aid.{16} The pastors and teachers mentioned in Ephesians 4:8-13 were not of the local church, but, rather, men who were instantaneously equipped for their offices by the Holy Spirit. These men were converts to the Christian religion and by the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit qualified to teach the whole religion.{17} These supernaturally equipped teachers and pastors were distinguished from the church's elders and deacons who were qualified to serve by ordinary means, namely, selection from among their own brethren for the work of their office.

      The character of the Holy Spirit was characterized by Campbell as the Spirit of Wisdom, Power, and Goodness.

As the Spirit of Wisdom, he bestowed those gifts of wisdom, of the word of knowledge, of prophecy, and of tongues to the ambassadors of Messiah, to qualify them to reveal, in words adapted to every ear, the character and achievements of God's only Son, and the benevolent purposes of the Father, through him, towards the human race. As the Spirit of Power, he clothed them with all those magnificent gifts of power over the bodies of men, by which they were always able to prove their mission and demonstrate their authority, as the plenipotentiaries of the Son of God. What remains is to notice, with the same brevity, what the scriptures teach us of him as the Spirit of all Goodness. The Apostle saith, "The fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, and righteousness and truth." This fruit, on another occasion, he particularized thus: "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, fidelity, meekness, temperance."{18}
The time limits on the manifestations of power of the Holy Spirit as given to the early church were also discussed by Campbell.

While his distributions, as the Spirit of Wisdom and of Power, were confined to the Apostolic age, and to only a portion of the saints that lived in that age, his influences, as the Spirit of all Goodness, were felt and realized by all the primitive saints, and are now felt by all the subjects of the New Reign, or by all the citizens of that new kingdom which the God of Heaven set up in the reign of the Cesars.{19} [24]

      The Holy Spirit was shown to be the Spirit of Goodness, in that his revelation of God was suited to the nature of man. "There is a moral fitness in the word of reconciliation to become the means of the impartation of the Spirit of Goodness."{20} In his discussion of the impartation of the Holy Spirit, Campbell defined the phrase as the renewal of the Holy Spirit. This definition was in contrast to the popular Calvinistic doctrines of the day. Campbell stated that renewal of the Holy Spirit was not some irresistible grace or an overwhelming influence of the Holy Spirit as Calvinism taught. But rather, the scriptures authorize us in declaring, that it consists in presenting new objects to the faculties, volitions, and affections of men; which new objects apprehended, engage the faculties or powers of the human understanding, captivate the affections and passions of the human soul, and, consequently, direct or draw the whole man into new aims, pursuits, and endeavors.{21}

      Thus, the renewal of the Spirit was the acceptance of Christ, after the gospel had been presented to the individual. The individual was converted, not by a deluge of supernatural power, but by the acceptance of the gospel message as true and the appropriate response to the message.

      Campbell also discussed the grace of Christ in this series on the Holy Spirit. The term "grace" was simply defined as the favor of God toward sinners. This grace was shown in Jesus Christ and is exhibited by his Spirit.

But to conclude, we commenced this essay with the intention of exhibiting the import of the grace of God, in the fixed style of the New Testament, regardless of the spurious dialect, or new nomenclature of modern divinity. The prominent ideas intended to be exhibited are, that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is emphatically the grace of God; that this Gospel received is the grace of God received; that this grace of God when received, works in the hearts of them that believe, that the Spirit of grace therein dwells in the hearts of men, and teaches them to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, to live soberly, righteously, and Godlily [sic] in this present world; that they have "received the grace of God in vain" who do not exhibit its fruits; that Christians continue in the grace of God" while they abound in these fruits; and that while men hold fast the Gospel as delivered by the Apostles, they "stand in the true grace of God."{22}

      The series was summed up in these words in the last article.

Thus we see that the whole work of the spirit of God in the salvation of men, as the spirit of wisdom, the spirit of power, and the spirit of grace or goodness, is inseparably connected with, and altogether subservient to, the Gospel or glad tidings of great joy unto all people, of the love God exhibited in the humiliation unto death of his only begotten Son.{23}

      God's work through the ages was examined in the series of essays entitled, "Essays on Man in his Primitive State, and under the Patriarchal, Jewish and Christian Dispensations." The development of God's redemptive plan for mankind was traced, beginning with the creation of man. Adam and Eve were placed in the garden of Eden so that they could care for it. Their relationship with God was one of intimacy. God spoke with them and they were not afraid. But Adam and Eve sinned and were cast out of the garden. Campbell reflected upon the consequences of their transgression.

Man lost by his fall his personal glory as above described; he lost a true idea of the image of his Creator; and the actual moral likeness he before had to him; with this he lost his favor also, and was thereby not only become obnoxious to all the punishment annexed to his original transgression; but was, as far as in him lay; utterly disqualified to regain either a true idea of God's moral character, conformity to him, or the enjoyment of his favor.{24} [25]

      In order to allow man the opportunity of restoration to his former relationship with God, the scheme of redemption was set in motion. This plan of redemption climaxed in the resurrection of Christ and the establishment of the church. Campbell divided the time frame associated with God's plan into four dispensations.

Thus the patriarchal age was the star-light of the moral world; the Jewish age was the moon-light; the ministry of the harbinger the twilight; and the christian age the sun-light of the moral world.{25}

      The Patriarchal Age was marked by the simplicity of worship and divine revelation. God communicated with man through angelic messengers, signs, and dreams. Man's extreme sinfulness caused God to flood the earth as punishment. After the flood, man once more repopulated the earth and God continued with the scheme of redemption. The rudimentary systems of the priesthood and worship were developed.

      The Jewish Age was noted for the enlargement of the scope of religious worship to God. Prior to this dispensation, the worship of God was on an individual basis, each family worshiped God with the father of the family acting as priest. In the Jewish age, the worship was on a national scale. God had entered into a covenant relationship with Israel and gave his law to the nation. Although the Jewish age was more advanced in its worship and relationship to God, the dispensation had its shortcomings.

We are warrented [sic] in saying that the enjoyment of eternal salvation was not derived to the Jews from anything in their religion but what was prospective in it; and that it was not instituted for that purpose.{26}

      In the concluding years of the Jewish age, John the Baptist appeared as God's harbinger to the Jews. He preached remission of sins and reformation of life under this second dispensation. He proclaimed the coming of Christ and anticipated the coming of the sunlight age.

      The Christian Age was the consummation of God's scheme of redemption. "Something that was wanting in every previous dispensation is supplied in this--a rational and certain pledge of the forgiveness of all sins."{27} "When the proclamation of the Reign of God was first made, reformation and remission of sins, or faith and immersion went hand in hand."{28} One of the distinguishing characteristics of the Christian age from the former dispensations was that it was a reign of favor.{29} The followers of Christ obey him out of love and devotion. Theirs was not a system of laws and rules, but rather, in the areas where the Scriptures are silent, discretion of the believers was to be exercised. Whatever action or exercise was done, it was to be done in decency and order. Thus, in the Christian age, the believers were considered capable of living godly lives without the stringent rules of the previous eras. Campbell concluded the series by stating

that a hearty and unreserved submission to the authority of Jesus Christ, will generally, and, perhaps, universally, issue in a uniformity of practice as respects even those discretionary matters which we have seen to result from the fact of our being treated as men rather than as children.{30}
It is through writings such as these, that Campbell sought to show what God's church was as revealed in the New Testament.

      In the series, the "Ancient Gospel," Campbell discussed the proper mode and purpose for the act of Baptism. He stated that immersion was the "gospel in water";{31} that immersion [26] was the medium which God had set apart for the remission of sins. In the act of immersion, our past sins are forgiven and "through confession, reformation, and petition, the blood of Christ will cleanse them from this also."{32}

      Immersion is a positive command not only for the remission of sins, but also for the reception of the Holy Spirit.

Before the Holy Spirit can be received, the heart must be purified; before the heart can be purified, guilt must be removed from the conscience; and before guilt can be removed from the conscience, there must be a sense, a feeling, or an assurance than [sic] sin is pardoned and transgression covered. For obtaining this, there must be some appointed way--and that means or way, is immersion into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.{33}

      Prior to immersion, certain conditions must be present. Faith in Christ, and repentance are necessary prerequisites to be manifested by the believer before his immersion into Christ.{34}

In the natural order of the evangelical economy the items stand thus:--1. Faith; 2. Reformation; 3. Immersion; 4. Remission of sins; 5. Holy Spirit; and 6. Eternal Life. We do not teach that one of these precedes the other, as cause and effect; but that they are all naturally connected, and all, in this order, embraced in the glad tidings of salvation. In the apostolic age these items were presented in this order.{35}

      Any effort to change this order of spiritual growth was to change the divine plan set forth in the Scriptures. The reordering of these Scriptural truths was to cause another gospel to be preached. Thus, in order to restore the doctrine and faith as revealed in the New Testament, immersion as the proper mode of baptism, preceded by faith in Christ, and the removal of sin, and the gift of the Holy Spirit after immersion, must be proclaimed. Other essays which pointed out the positive teachings of the Scriptures were articles such as "Christian Morality," and "Conscience."{36}

Preach the Truth and Expose Errors in
Doctrine and Practice

      His second aim was to preach the truth and to expose errors in doctrine and practice. It was in pursuit of this aim that some of his well known essays were written. Campbell sought to point out the abuses which would rob the church of its proper role with God and man. In trying to show this relationship, he insisted that many of the schemes and actions of his contemporary religious leaders and organizations were not consistent with the teachings of the New Testament.

      Some of the areas of emphasis will be discussed along with his response to the abuse of them. In the early volumes of the Baptist, his opposition to Bible and missionary societies is noted. "Robert Cautious" questioned him on this matter in a letter to the editor. He pointed out that missionary and Bible societies had done a good work and should be supported by the editor. Campbell's reply to his contention revealed his opposition to such societies.

With regard to Bible Societies, they are the most specious and plausible of all the institutions of this age. No man who loves the Bible can refrain from rejoicing at its increasing circulation. But every Christian who understands the nature and design, the excellence and glory of the institution called the Church of Jesus Christ, will lament to see its glory transferred to a human corporation--The Church is robbed of its character by every institution, merely human, that would ape its excellence and substitute itself in its place.{37} [27]

      He not only perceived that such societies could usurp the position and authority of the church but also could serve as a means of perpetuating sectarian causes. In answering a letter which sought his views on missions, Campbell stated another reason for his opposition.

But, my dear sir, how can I, with the New Testament before my face, approve the Catholic, the Episcopalian, the Presbyterian, &c. missionary schemes. Are they not evidently mere sectarian speculations, for enlarging their sects, and finding appointments for their supernumerary clergy. Look again at the sums of money squandered, at home and abroad, under the pretext of converting the world; and again, wherein is the heathen world benefited by such conversions?{38}

      He continued to state that he is not against missions, only the abuses of them.

My opponents, . . . do represent me, as opposing the means of converting the world, not wishing to discriminate, in my case at least, between a person's opposing the abuses of a good cause, and the cause itself. I did contribute my mite and my efforts to the popular missionary cause, until my conscience forbade me, from an acquaintance with the abuses of the principle.{39}

      Campbell also opposed missionary societies on the basis of the divisions that such societies caused in the church. In contrasting the early church with the church of his day, he observed a sharp contrast in the two. He stated that the early church possessed a unity which the church in his day did not possess. The early church was not

fractured into missionary societies, Bible societies, Education societies: nor did they dream of organizing snch [sic] in the world. The head of a believing household was not in those days a president, or manager of a board of foreign missions; his wife, the president of some female Education Society; his eldest Son, the recording secretary of some domestic Bible Society; his eldest daughter, the corresponding secretary of a mite Society; his servant maid, the vice-president af [sic] a rag Society; and his little daughter, a tutoress of a sunday school. They knew nothing of the hobbies of modern times. In their church capacity alone they moved.{40}

      Many of the prevalent missionary ventures and efforts for the raising of money were reported in the Baptist. Such efforts as the missionary wheel{41} and the missionary box{42} were used to raise money. The raising and selling of flowers and vegetables for missionary causes was another popular method.{43} It was reported in the Reformer that there was even a missionary in Ohio who was involved in land speculation as he traveled throughout the state.{44} It was the abuses of such various support schemes as these that caused Campbell to oppose societies.

      Another means of raising money for the support of missionaries was direct contributions to the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions. The Minutes of the Redstone Baptist Association record that the Brush Run Church supported missions in this manner from 1816-1820. A comparison of mission giving of the Brush Run Church to two other congregations in the Redstone Association indicated that the Brush Run church gave quite well to missions. The mission giving of the member churches of the Redstone Association was listed in the Minutes for the years 1816-1820. These figures are not entirely accurate because the list of amounts given is partially blacked out in the 1818 listing, but enough of the 1818 list can be read to give a general idea of the various mission offerings given during this four year period. The Brush Run Church gave an approximated total of $69.50 from 1816 to 1820 to missions. Two [28] sister congregations, Connellsville, and Pigeon Creek gave approximately $90.37½ and $19.87½ to missions respectively.{45}

      Campbell also felt that the methodology of the missionary societies was in error. The evangelistic task of winning the world to Christ by sending missionaries to the heathen sustained by missionary societies was considered by Campbell to be wrong. The evangelistic task was considered hopeless by Campbell because the enterprise lacked the biblical qualifications for success. The missionaries in the Scriptures were always equipped with supernatural powers in which the testimony given could be confirmed. Such Old Testament personages as Moses and Joshua were cited as proof. When these men were given their specific tasks by God, they were equipped and empowered for the task by the ability to perform miracles. The seventy disciples of Jesus and later, the disciples at Pentecost, were given miraculous gifts to confirm their word. These signs and miracles continued till the gospel was preached unto both Jew and Gentile, and until churches were planted in all nations, then the gifts ceased. Accordingly, Campbell's view of the association between the missionaries and miracles of the first century church was that

all the missioneionaries [sic], sent from heaven, were authorised and empowered to confirm their doctrine with signs and wonders, sufficient to awe opposition, to subdue the deepest rooted prejudices, and to satisfy the most inquisitive of the origin of their doctrine.{46}
"The Bible, then, gives us no idea of a Missionary without the power of working miracles.--Miracles and Missionaries are inseperably [sic] connected in the New Testament."{47}

      Consequently, the missionary societies were violating the Scriptural norm by sending forth missionaries who were not endued with the supernatural power from God. This was the capital mistake of modern missions in Campbell's thinking as revealed in the article "Remarks on Missionaries."

From these plain and obvious facts and considerations it is evident, that it is a Capital mistake to suppose, that Missionaries, in heathen lands, without the power of working miracles, can succeed in establishing the Christian religion. If it was necessary for the first missionaries to posses [sic] them, it is as necessary for those of our time who go to pagan lands, to possess them.{48}
"Is then the attempt to convert the heathen by means of modern Missionaries, an unauthorized and a hopeless one? It seems to be unauthorized, and, if so, then it is a hopeless one."{49} If modern missions were engaged in a hopeless venture to win the world to Christ because they are unscripturally equipped for the task, how then shall the world be won? The New Testament "teaches us that the association, called the Church of Jesus Christ is, in propria forma, the only institution of God left on earth to illuminate and reform the world."{50} The illumination and reformation of the world would be accomplished by the church by its doctrine and example.{51} The Scriptural missionary method would operate in the following terms.

If, in the present day, the amongst all those who talk so much of a Missionary spirit, there could be found such a society, though it were composed of but twenty: willing to emigrate to some heathen land, where they would support themselves like the natives, wear the same garb, adopt the country as their own, and profess nothing like a Missionary project,--Should such a society sit down and hold forth in word and deed the saving truth, not deriding the gods nor the religion of the natives, but allowing their own works and example to speak for [29] their religion, and practising as above hinted; we are persuaded that, in process of time, a more solid foundation for the conversion of the natives would be laid, and more actual success resulting, than from all the Missionaries employed for 25 years. Such a course would have some warrant from scripture but the present has proved itself to be all human.{52}

      David S. Burnet, in an article entitled "The Christian Baptist, and Missionary and Bible Societies," included in the "Preface" to the fifteenth edition of the Christian Baptist, 1889, explained Campbell's opposition to missionary societies. He also offered an apology for any misunderstandings caused by Campbell in his attacks on the societies. Burnet stated that there were many abuses of such societies in the area of raising support for missions. He explained the actions taken by the editor in those early days. The first action was that many of the terms employed by the editor were too harsh. Burnet assured his readers that Campbell had matured and would not use such language against the societies in the years since the Baptist. Secondly, he regretted that at times, the institutions themselves were confused with the abuses of them. Thirdly, Burnet regretted that the churches at that time were also antagonistic toward societies. He concluded that the times had changed and such feelings were no longer felt by the churches. He further stated that the movement had Bible, tract, and missionary societies, and that Campbell himself was the president of one of them. The churches were supporting these societies and greatly appreciated them.{53}

      The American Christian Bible Society which was organized on January 27, 1845, in Cincinnati, Ohio, by David Burnet and other local supporters was not supported by Campbell. Campbell's objections to such an organization were similar to those of "S. A." and Aylett Raines.{54} Four objections were voiced by Campbell toward the new enterprise, The four objections were that such an organization should not be created without the support and agreement of the entire brotherhood; that such a society would duplicate the work already done by existing Bible societies; that such an independent society would further breach the movement's already widening relationship with the Baptists; and that the brotherhood would not financially support such a venture. Burnet suggested another reason why Campbell was against the Bible Society--that it might take away support from Bethany College.

      David Burnet replied to Campbell's objections, but Alexander remained unconvinced.{55} The opposing views of Campbell and his attitude toward the Bible society were expressed in the concluding remarks of his answer to David Burnet.

Whenever they remove my objections already stated, and show that the expenses of a new establishment,--the outlay of a new set of officers to manage it, and of solicitors to support it,--with all the deductions of various agencies,--will give more, and cheaper, and better Bibles to the heathen, than we could have bestowed, in connexion with the "American and Foreign Bible Society,"--l will become a member of it, and do all in my power to further the benevolent objects of the institution.{56}

      In spite of Campbell's objections concerning the society, he was elected as one of its nine vice presidents, although he was not present at the organizational meeting.{57}

      The shortcomings of the clergy were exposed and discussed in such articles as his "The Christian Religion--The Clergy," "The Origin of the Christian Clergy," "Splendid Meeting House, and Fixed Salaries, exhibited from Ecclesiastical History," "The Third Epistle of [30] Peter to Preachers and Rulers of Congregations," and "A Sermon upon Goats." There is one tenet concerning the clergy attributed to Campbell which had been distorted throughout the years. It has been claimed that Campbell was opposed to ministers receiving a salary in return for their ministerial services. Such an allegation must have been popular early in Campbell's ministry, for he answered it in a reply to a letter in the first volume of the Baptist published in 1823-1824.

      Two issues need clarification in order to understand where he stood on the matter of ministerial salaries. First, there was his distinction between the "clergy" and the legitimate leadership of the local congregation. Second, there was his personal view on receiving remuneration for ministerial services. Campbell viewed the elders and deacons of the local congregation as its spiritual leaders. These men were chosen from within the congregation for its oversight. The duties of this oversight were carried on out of love for Christ and his church.{58}

      The clergy, on the other hand, were viewed as a corruption of the divinely authorized leadership. The clergy, or "hireling preachers," were defined as

Those who are trained for the precise purpose of teaching religion as their calling, please the mass of people, establish themselves into a distinct order, from which they exclude all who are not so trained, and, for hire, affect to be the only legitimate interpreters of revelation.{59}

A hireling is one who prepares himself for the office of 'a preacher' or 'minister,' as a mechanic learns a trade, and who obtains a license from a congregation, convention, presbytery, pope, or diocesan bishop, as a preacher or minister, and agrees by the day, or sermon, month or year, for a stipulated reward.{60}

      Campbell also considered "hireling preachers" men who, under the supposed inward moving of the Holy Spirit, preach sermons based upon their supposed spiritual impressions for money. The conclusion Campbell drew concerning such men as this:

Upon the whole, I do not think we will err very much in making it a general rule, that every man who receives money for preaching the gospel, or for sermons, by the day, month, or year, is a hireling in the language of truth and soberness--whether he preaches out of his saddlebags, or from the immediate suggestions of the Holy Spirit.{61}
Campbell realized that not every minister would fit into this category and said that he was talking about the whole of the clerical order rather than in regard to specific individuals.{62}

      Campbell stated that he did not object to the leadership of the local congregation receiving compensation for their help and labor.{63} But the clergy were not entitled to such compensation because,

they have put themselves into an office which heaven never gave them, trample upon the rights of the people, keep them in ignorance, and practically deny that heavenly aphorism of our Lord, which saith, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.' They practically say, 'It is more blessed to receive than to give.'{64}

      Alexander stressed that his personal view of preaching without receiving a salary began while a student at the University of Glasgow, Scotland. In order to do so, he pursued another vocation to provide a livelihood; however, he did not enjoin his philosophy on others.{65}

      Alexander Campbell in his adherence to the second aim, that of exposing error in doctrine and practice, investigated religious groups other than his own. His views towards the Baptist [31] and Paido-baptist communions were expressed in his "Address to the Public" in volume two of the Baptist.

The Baptist views of the church of Jesus Christ are constitutionally correct; the Paido-Baptist views are unconstitutional. To make myself more intelligible--there are to be found in the Baptist system such views of the Christian church, as, if carried out to their legitimate issue, will place them on Apostolic grounds; but the (---){66} of the views found in all the numerous sects of Paido-Baptists would, if carried out, place them in the bosom of the Roman pontiff. Yes, the one system would place the church upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself the chief cornerstone. The other system would place it upon St. Peter as the rock. The Baptist system is capable of being reformed or brought back again to the constitution of the kingdom of heaven; the Paido-Baptist cannot. It must be destroyed. The one system carries in its bosom the means of its purification; the other, the fire that must consume it. The foundation of the former needs but to have the rubbish cleared away; the foundation of the latter must be totally razed. The constitution of the one is essentially of Divine construction; the constitution of the other is altogether human. The good confession of the King of Martyrs before Pontius Pilate, is received by the Baptist and rejected by the Paido-Baptist system.{67}
Although Campbell felt that the Baptist church was the closest in form and doctrine to the apostolic church, he had to leave it when the Baptist church departed from the practice of the early church.{68} Campbell acknowledged that there were Christians in the churches whose doctrines and practices he opposed. In a letter to Robert Semple, he wrote, "I love all christians, of whatever name; and if there is any diversity in my affection, it is predicated upon, or rather graduated by, the scale of their comparative conformity to the will of my Sovereign."{69}

      The efforts of reform by Barton W. Stone and the "Christians" were applauded by Campbell. He credited them with growing numbers and influence. Their beliefs were generally endorsed by Campbell. But there were several aspects of their doctrine that he disagreed with, such as their name.

No objections can be made either against the name which they have chosen, against their creed or form of discipline, except one, and this may become a very serious one. It is this: Should they not be the same sort of people which were first called Christians at Antioch, and who doubtless had no other creed or rules of discipline than the apostolic writings--in that case their assumption of the name, and their adoption of an inspired creed, will be more injurious to the "Restoration of the Ancient Order of Things" than the assumption of any other name and the adoption of any other creed.{70}

      Another area of concern for Campbell was about the "Christians" views concerning Christ.

I am truly sorry to find that certain opinions, called Arian or Unitarian, or something else, are about becoming the sectarian badge of a people who have assumed the sacred name Christian; and that some peculiar views of atonement or reconciliation are likely to become characteristic of a people who have claimed the high character and dignified relation of "the Church of Christ." I do not say that such is yet the fact; but things are, in my opinion, looking that way; and if not suppressed in the bud, the name Christian will be as much a sectarian name as Lutheran, Methodist, or Presbyterian.{71}

      Stone countered the charge with this explanation in the second volume of the Christian Messenger. [32]

You express your fears lest the name christian, will become as much a sectarian name as any other, because of certain opinions received by them, called Arian, Unitarian, &c. We thank you for your friendly, warning hints; but we cannot prevent our opposers from attaching what names they please on us and our opinions. We do not believe that our opinions are either Arian, or Unitarian in the present acceptation of the latter term. I confine this observation to us in the West. The Christians in the East, we are sorry to say, have admitted the name Unitarian. This has caused much sorrow to some of us in the West, and has excited in us the same fears, which you have expressed as felt by yourself. I have no doubt that they admitted the term without due consideration of the consequence, and that they will retract it on mature reflection.{72}
The occasion for this concern on Campbell's part for the Christians was Stone's response to some correspondence between Campbell and "Timothy." "Timothy" wrote Campbell about Campbell's views concerning the trinity. Campbell's response to the inquiry aroused Stone's attention in the matter.{73}

      Campbell's views on the trinity centered around Christ's relationship to God. He believed that the key to understanding this relationship was found in his interpretation of John 1:1. Campbell believed that

As a word is an exact image of an idea, so is "The Word" an exact image of the invisible God. As a word cannot exist without an idea, nor an idea without a word; so God never was without "The Word," nor "The Word" without God; or as a word is of equal age or co-etaneous with its idea, so "The Word" and God are co-eternal. And as an idea does not create its word, nor a word its idea; so God did not create "The Word," nor "The Word" God.{74}
The relationship between God and Christ was marked by two time frames. Prior to the incarnation, Christ was equal and eternal with God. The subsequent relationship of Christ to God, as expressed in the terms Father and Son, was not manifested until the advent of Christ as man. Consequently, Jesus was not the Messiah or Savior, nor the Son of God until his birth.{75}

      Stone responded to Campbell's reply to "Timothy" in two letters.{76} Campbell defended his views in a letter to Stone printed in the Baptist and the Christian Messenger.{77} Stone's concept of Christ was summed up in his criticism of Campbell for his assumption of what Stone believed about Christ. Stone upbraided Campbell for addressing him as a brother because Campbell thought that Stone prayed to Christ as there was no other God in the universe. Stone told Campbell that he did not regard Christ as the only God in the universe. His view of Christ was that Christ was not the Word, the co-existing deity with God. But, that the Word was "but a person that existed with the only true God before creation began; not from eternity, else he must be the only true God; but long before the reign of Augustus Cesar.{78}

      Stone agreed with Campbell that Jesus was not the Savior or the Son of God until his incarnation. Stone disagreed that such titles as Jesus Christ, Messiah, and Son of God belonged to Christ alone. To prove his point, Stone cited examples of Joshua, Cyrus, and Adam, as being addressed by these terms.{79} Stone believed that Campbell's views created three equal but separate beings, a concept which he could not accept.

      Campbell's reply to Stone's views stated that Stone knew nothing of the existence of the spirits. [33]

All bodies you know any thing of occupy both time and space; consequently it would be absurd to suppose that three beings, whose modes of existence are such as to be governed by time and space, could be one being. But inasmuch as we do know nothing about the mode of existence of spirits, we cannot say that it would be incompatible with their nature, or modes of existence, that three might be one, and that one being might exist in three beings.{80}

      Stone replied with the argument that such a doctrine was not a "doctrine of revelation," and "that the three beings, the Father, Word and Spirit, are but one being, appears to my weak mind too metaphysical to produce conviction."{81}

      Stone was criticized by Campbell for making an issue of his reply to "Timothy" concerning the trinity. Campbell stated that he believed Stone had told him he was forced into the controversy and that Stone had regretted it.{82} Campbell said that if Stone found his exposition of John 1:1 objectionable, he should have said so and left the matter alone.{83} But because of Stone's objections, Campbell found himself in an unsatisfactory position of contending for a speculation which no living man could fully understand.{84}

      Campbell rejoiced when Walter Scott was appointed the evangelist for the Mahoning Baptist Association throughout the Western Reserve, (Northeastern Ohio),{85} in 1827. Scott was to serve one year, traveling to the various churches of the Association, seeking to revive them.{86} Alexander Campbell had first met Scott in 1822. Scott began to revitalize the churches with clear biblical preaching which ended with an invitation to accept Christ as Savior. The Mahoning Association increased greatly that year, with over a thousand additions to the churches reported.

      When the Campbells heard the reports of the great evangelistic successes being obtained through Scott's labors on the Western Reserve, Thomas went to investigate the situation. He observed Scott for five months and approved of what he saw and heard.{87} Thomas wrote Alexander this account of Scott's teachings.

We have long known the former (the theory), and have spoken and published many things correctly concerning the ancient gospel, its simplicity and perfect adaptation to the present state of mankind, for the benign and gracious purposes of his immediate relief and complete salvation; but I must confess that, in respect to the direct exhibition and application of it for that blessed purpose, I am present for the first time upon the ground where the thing has appeared to be practically exhibited to the proper purpose.{88}
Upon the receipt of these words, Alexander's concern for Scott's teaching was resolved and he supported Scott overwhelmingly.

Preach Only What the Bible Taught

      His third goal was to preach only what the Bible taught. This goal was the culmination of the first and second goals. After discerning what was the message of the ancient gospel and the abuses and corruptions of it, one was able to preach the pure message of the Scriptures. In order for the gospel to be communicated effectively, the message must be scriptural and orderly. It was on the subject of proclaiming the gospel properly that Campbell wrote his "Sermons to Young Preachers." Two aspects of preaching were emphasized in the Baptist. The first, was [34] the proper and correct manner to preach and what the message was. The second aspect was the misuse or abuse of the pulpit by some of his contemporary preachers.

      The proper way to study the Bible was given in an "Address to readers of the Christian Baptist--No. I." Following his instructions, the reader would read the New Testament through three times. He encouraged that the study be done in a group so that an the readers might profit from the study. He also warned against the use of commentaries for the explanation of Bible passages before personal study was done. Campbell reminded the reader that constant prayer to God for wisdom and understanding of His revelation was necessary. "Theophilus" submitted a similar plan for Bible study in his "Proper Use of the Sacred Writings" in volume two.

      In "Sermons to Young Preachers," the young minister was warned against noisy and unseemly habits and gestures in the pulpit, and urged to speak in his natural voice. The preachers were encouraged to have a clear idea in mind on what they intended to present when they entered the pulpit. Their attitude in the pulpit was to be one of humility. They were also told to remember the audience to be addressed in the preparation and delivery of the message. Extracts of sermons were presented in the periodical as examples of good and bad preaching. These were printed even though Campbell may not have agreed with the sermon's content. Sermons from William Guthrey; James Madison, President and professor of moral and natural philosophy at the University of William and Mary, Virginia; Gideon Blackburn, Minister of the Presbyterian church in Louisville, Kentucky; and Dr. Chalmer were printed.

      Campbell also discussed the misuse of the Scriptures and the poor preaching of his day. "J. T.," in a letter to Campbell, revealed the homiletic method of some of the contemporary preachers. "For I was in hopes your remarks would have the effect of causing some to abandon the absurd custom of preaching sermons three hours on three words."{89} Examples of this type of sermon were shown in "Texts and Textuary Divine." Campbell related a sermon he read when he was fourteen years old, given by a minister to a congregation of beer drinkers on the word MALT.{90} Another example of a sermon in which the scriptural context was ignored by the minister dealt with the exposition of Revelation 12:1.

"And there appeared a great wonder in heaven, a woman." He omitted her description, and raised his doctrine on those insulated words. He amused his hearers with a rare exhibition of pulpit eloquence; though some of the ladies were not so well pleased with "the doctrinal part."{91}

      A sermon entitled "The Textuaries," was based upon the words of the wicked servant, when he was reprimanded by the master for not investing the one talent entrusted to him. The servant accused his master of being an austere man. The preacher could not spell well and read the word as being an "oyster man." Thus his sermon was built upon the words, "Thou art an oyster man," and preached a five point sermon upon this text.{92} The misuse of Scriptural passages, in which the context of the passage was ignored, was discussed in the article, "Scripture Quotations," in which the context of Psalm 145:9, I Samuel 13:14, and Revelation 10:6 were discussed.

      Another abuse which Campbell addressed was the use of "canned" sermons. In the article, "A True Anecdote," he related an incident in which some children found a collection of thirteen or fifteen manuscript sermons which had been preached continually over a nine- to ten-year span. A similar instance was recorded in "A Dropped Letter." In place of Bible study and adequate preparation, old sermons were reused or new ones purchased from various individuals. It was a steady diet of such preaching to which Campbell pointed out as a major factor in the spiritual decline of the churches. [35]

An Impartial Advocate of Truth

      The fourth aim was his desire to be an impartial advocate of truth. In the "Preface" of the first volume of the Baptist, he stated that he strove to be impartial because he was free from various entanglements which could color his judgment. He was free from religious bias because the paper was pledged to no religious sect. He was free from financial interest as the price of the paper was only one dollar per year. He was also free to admit error if any fact was later proven to be false. The editorial policy of the paper was a testimony of his desire to seek the truth.

We have only to add, in this place that we shall thankfully receive such essays, as are accordant with the Bible, and suitable to the peculiar design of this paper; and if any essays, short, and well composed, written in opposition to our views, should be forwarded, they shall be inserted, accompanied with appropriate remarks. The author's name must accompany all communications.{93}

      The editorial policy did exclude essays and reports of such matters which Campbell considered to be transitory in their nature and edification of his readers.

Besides, this work is not intended to be filled with long accounts of revivals, ordinations, baptisms, reports of Bible and missionary societies, the constitutions and proceedings of cent societies, the election of presidents, vice-presidents and managers, secretaries and treasurers of mite societies, and all such splendid and glorious things as fill the pages of most of the religious publications of the day. We wish to publish such things as will bear to be read a year or two hence as far as the subject matter is concerned.{94}

      As the volumes of the periodical are examined, it will be noticed that Campbell did not consider himself the sole advocate of truth. The essays and articles which are published testify to this fact. His father, Thomas, often wrote essays under the pseudonym of "T. W." Walter Scott penned articles under the name "Phillip." Over seventy-nine different periodicals are mentioned in the Baptist. Campbell gleaned many articles and reports from these papers and reprinted them in his paper because he felt the articles would be instructive to his readers. In his response to the many essays and articles sent to the editor, Campbell tried not to allow his personal feelings and differences to color his judgment. He strove to respond to the issue addressed and not the man who had written him.

      Given the religious situation in which he wrote, and the religious sentiments of the time, his aims for the Baptist were remarkably broad in their scope. These aims became the pattern for many periodicals which followed the Baptist. While these aims may not have been completely and perfectly met, certainly credit must be given to Campbell for trying to do so. We must not expect more from him than we do from ourselves. He did not try or intend to set himself up as the sole interpreter of the faith. He was a seeker after truth. Everything he expressed may not be agreed with, but his last request in the "Preface" of the Christian Baptist should be granted. The request was that he be given an impartial and patient hearing. [36]

      {1} Alexander Campbell, Christian Baptist, 1:[3].
      {2} Ibid., 1:151.
      {3} Ibid., 1:[3].
      {4} Ibid., 4:2-3. [22]
      {5} Ibid., 2:176.
      {6} Ibid., 2:176-177.
      {7} Ibid., 2:156.
      {8} Ibid., 2:156.
      {9} Ibid., 2:156.
      {10} Ibid., 2:154-155.
      {11} Ibid., 2:156. [23]
      {12} Ibid., 2:156.
      {13} Ibid., 2:16, also see 2:121-125.
      {14} Ibid., 2:33.
      {15} Ibid., 2:37.
      {16} Ibid., 2:58.
      {17} Ibid., 2:57.
      {18} Ibid., 2:145-146.
      {19} Ibid., 2:146. [24]
      {20} Ibid., 2:175.
      {21} Ibid., 2:171.
      {22} Ibid., 2:198.
      {23} Ibid., 2:198.
      {24} Ibid., 6:64. [25]
      {25} Ibid., 6:90. Also see 7:222.
      {26} Ibid., 7:173.
      {27} Ibid., 7:254.
      {28} Ibid., 7:256.
      {29} Ibid., 7:265.
      {30} Ibid., 7:269.
      {31} Ibid., 5:158. [26]
      {32} Ibid., 5:174.
      {33} Ibid., 5:223.
      {34} Ibid., 5:245-248. Also see 6:13-16.
      {35} Ibid., 6:66.
      {36} Ibid., 3:101-103, 161-165, 193-197, 254-257; 4:18-19, 112-114.
      {37} Ibid., 1:129. Also see 1:20. [27]
      {38} Ibid., 1:272. Also see 2:4-5.
      {39} Ibid., 1:272-273.
      {40} Ibid., 1:20.
      {41} Ibid., 1:81-82.
      {42} Ibid., 1:82.
      {43} Ibid., 1:82-83.
      {44} Ibid., 1:226-227. [28]
      {45} Cottrell, Minutes of the Redstone Baptist Association, pp. 53, 65, 73, 77, 81.
      {46} Campbell, Christian Baptist, 1:53.
      {47} Ibid., 1:54.
      {48} Ibid., 1:54.
      {49} Ibid., 1:54.
      {50} Ibid., 1:55.
      {51} Ibid., 1:55. [29]
      {52} Ibid., 1:56-57.
      {53} Alexander Campbell, The Christian Baptist, ed. by D. S. Burnet, 15th edition (St. Louis: Christian Publishing Company, 1889), p. vi.
      {54} For a comparison of views concerning the American Bible Society, see the Millennial Harbinger, 1845:366-369, 372-373, and 455-460 for the objections to it. See also the Harbinger, 1845:369-372, and 452-455 for the supporting views.
      {55} Ibid., 1845:452-455.
      {56} Ibid., 1845:459-460.
      {57} Dowling, The Restoration Movement, p. 77. Also see Stone, Christian Messenger, 1844:359-362. [30]
      {58} Campbell, Christian Baptist, 1:70-71. Also see 3:213-214.
      {59} Ibid., 1:168-169.
      {60} Ibid., 3:212.
      {61} Ibid., 3:213.
      {62} Ibid., 1:63. Also see 1:274.
      {63} Ibid., 1:274. Also see 3:214.
      {64} Ibid., 1:274.
      {65} Ibid., 1:273-274. [31]
      {66} Two words in the text are not decipherable.
      {67} Ibid., 2:51.
      {68} Ibid., 5:180.
      {69} Ibid., 5:180.
      {70} Ibid., 4:263.
      {71} Ibid., 5:66. Also see Stone, Christian Messenger, 1827:10. [32]
      {72} Stone, Christian Messenger, 1827:13.
      {73} See Campbell, Christian Baptist, 4:230-231, for Timothy's letter and Campbell's response.
      {74} Ibid., 4:233.
      {75} Ibid., 4:231-234.
      {76} Campbell, Christian Baptist, 5:60-64. Also see Stone, Christian Messenger, 1827:10-13.
      {77} Campbell, Christian Baptist, 5:64-67. Also see Stone, Christian Messenger, 1827:[6]-10.
      {78} Campbell, Christian Baptist, 5:63.
      {79} Ibid., 5:63-64. [33]
      {80} Ibid., 5:66.
      {81} Stone, Christian Messenger, 1827:12.
      {82} Campbell, Christian Baptist, 5:64.
      {83} Ibid., 5:64-65.
      {84} Ibid., 5:64-65.
      {85} McAllister and Tucker, Journey in Faith, A History of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), p. 132.
      {86} Campbell, Christian Baptist, 5:70-71.
      {87} Garrison and DeGroot, The Disciples of Christ, A History, p. 191.
      {88} Baxter, Life of Walter Scott, pp. 158-159. [34]
      {89} Campbell, Christian Baptist, 7:32.
      {90} Ibid., 2:218-219.
      {91} Ibid., 2:218.
      {92} Ibid., 3:115. [35]
      {93} Ibid., 1:13.
      {94} Ibid., 1:36. [36]

[BCB 22-36]

Copyright © 1983, 1998 by Gary L. Lee

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