Biographical Sketch of Alexander Campbell

Text from Haynes, Nathaniel S. History of the Disciples of Christ in Illinois 1819-1914, Cincinnati: Standard Publishing Company, 1915. Pages 491 - 492. This online edition © 1997, James L. McMillan.

Born: Sept. 12, 1788, County Antrim, Ireland.
Died: Bethany, West Virginia, 1866.

Was born Sept. 12, 1788, in the County of Antrim, Ireland. He was descended from Scotch and Huguenot ancestors. Both his physical and mental constitution was vigorous and well balanced. From his earliest years he was trained by his learned and accomplished father in habits of severe application. He was a graduate of the University of Glasgow.

Reared in the strictest school of Presbyterianism, he early formed and cultivated habits of piety and a taste for theological studies. From his youth he had a profound reverence for the word of God.

He came to America in 1809 and joined his father, Thomas Campbell, in western Pennsylvania. From that time father and son were one in their aims, spirit and work. Both were deeply impressed with the conviction of the evils and inherent sinfulness of sectarianism.

Their first advocacy was the repudiation of human creeds as tests of fellowship, and the union of all our Lord's people upon the catholic truth of the Bible as the only authoritative standard of faith and practice. Taking their stand upon the principles set forth in the "Declaration and Address," neither foresaw the conclusions to which he would be led. They and those associated with them searched the Scriptures as free as possible from party bias.

From these investigations they concluded that sprinkling for baptism and infant membership in the church were unauthorized of God. They were therefore accordingly immersed and united with the Regular Baptists. It was stipulated, however, that they should not be required to subscribe to any creed or articles of faith other than the Bible. After a few years in this fellowship they found it prudent to withdraw. There were prejudiced and intolerant men who held a leading influence in the Redstone Association who were unwilling to break from the Baptist name, creed and traditions. They stirred up fierce opposition against those who stood for the catholic truth of the New Testament.

Hence the Campbells, and others who held to the principles of the "Declaration and Address," cut loose from their religious connections and entered untrammeled upon the advocacy and the defense of the plea for the return to primitive Christianity.

Alexander Campbell died in 1866.

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