Thomas Campbell 1763-1854
Thomas Campbell • “Where the Scriptures speak, we speak; and where the Scriptures are silent, we are silent.” • Words of Thomas Campbell, 1809. • Before “Christian Association of Washington.” • 2 years before had come from Ireland. • Didn’t know would break with Pres. and play formative role in Restoration Movement.
Thomas Campbell • 1763-1854, Seceder Pres. Church minister in Ireland, to U.S. in 1807. • Scotch-Irish & reared in Church of England. • Later to Seceder Pres. • U. of Glasgow (1783-1786). • 1791-1807 served Seceder chs & operated private academies (last Rich Hill, 30 mi SW of Belfast).
Thomas Campbell • Anti-burgher Seceder Presbyterian • Anti-burgher—a member of the group in the Secession Church in Scotland which separated in 1747 from the “Burgher” group because it refused to admit that an adherent of that church could take the civil “Burgess Oath.” • Burgher—member of the group in the Scottish Secession Church which defended in 1747 the lawfulness of the religious clause in the civil Burgess Oath and thus separated from the Anti-burghers.
Thomas Campbell • Original Secession Church—more properly “The Synod of United Original Seceders,” constituted in Scotland in 1842. • Was the union of various groups which were heirs of the Secession of 1733 from the Church of Scotland. • Word “church” was not used, as they considered themselves in secession from the national church and not a separate church.
Thomas Campbell • They rejoined the C. of Scotland in 1956. • Original secession because Ebenezer Erskine and others felt inhibited from protesting effectively against abuses in the C. of S., especially patronage. • This meant that ministers were presented to parishes by patrons instead of being elected by the congregations as Seceders demanded.
Thomas Campbell • Later the Seceders divided into “Burghers” and “Anti-burghers” over the rightfulness of taking the Burgess Oath professing the “true religion,” and then into “Auld Lichts” and “New Lichts” over the interpretation of the clauses in the Westminster Confession regarding the civil magistrate.
Thomas Campbell 2 • Even in Ireland, influences which would prepare him for later role. • John Locke’s Letters Concerning Toleration & The Reasonableness of Christianity. • Independent (or Congregational) churches in Scotland & Ireland--John Glas, Robert Sandeman, the Haldane brothers. • Seceder P. were narrow & dogmatic. • Independent ch. at Rich Hill different.
Thomas Campbell 3 • Arrived Philadelphia on May 13, 1807. • Synod (SPC) meeting at the time. • Assigned to Chartiers Pres. (sw Penn.). • Preached at Washington, PA. • Within 6 months charges brought. • Series of ch. trials dragged on a year. • Renounced the Seceders.
Thomas Campbell 4 • What caused break? • He invited non-Seceder P. to communion. • That he believed there was no divine authority for confessions of faith. • Nature of faith. • Right of layman to exhort when clergy absent. • Right of Seceders to hear ministers of other denominations.
Thomas Campbell 5 • Chartiers Pres. suspended Campbell. • Appealed to Synod. • Synod considered charges for week. • “Rebuked and admonished.” • Allowed to preach in Philadelphia 2 months. • But back in Washington, PA, C. was no longer welcome. • 9-13-1808 C. “declined the authority” of Presbytery.
Christian Association of Washington • Didn’t quit preaching; didn’t organize new church. • Continued to preach to sympathizers as had opportunity. • Stressed themes imp. to him-- • Sinfulness of sectarian divisions. • Need for wider Christian fellowship. • Imp. of following scripture, not creeds.
Christian Association of Washington • At such a meeting of sympathizers (in house of Abraham Altars between Mt. Pleasant and Washington, PA) T. C. spoke and closed his speech with the motto: “Where the Bible speaks; we speak; where the Bible is silent, we are silent.” • A solemn hush fell across the group assembled as C. sat down.
Christian Association of Washington • A Scottish bookseller, Andrew Munro, was first to break the silence. • “Mr. Campbell, if we adopt that as a basis, then there is an end of infant baptism.” • C. replied: “Of course, if infant baptism be not found in the scriptures, we can have nothing to do with it.”
Christian Association of Washington • Thomas Acheson arose and said: “I hope I may never see the day when my heart will renounce that blessed saying of the Scripture, ‘Suffer little children to come unto me and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of heaven.’” • Then he burst into tears.
Christian Association of Washington • James Foster (who even in Ireland had been opposed to infant baptism) arose and said: “Mr. Acheson, I would remark that in the portion of Scripture you have quoted, there is no reference whatever to infant baptism.” • Robert Richardson, Memoirs of Alexander Campbell (Cincinnati: Standard Publishing Co., Vol. I, 1897), p. 238.
CAW 2 • 8-17-1809, the group formed itself into the “Christian Association of Washington.” • Not intended to be a church. • Met semi-annually. • Purpose? • Group of “voluntary advocates for church reformation...formed for the sole purpose of promoting simple evangelical Christianity.” • Planned to support ministers.
CAW 3 • C. authorized to prepare formal statement--result was Declaration and Address. • Assoc. met 9-7-1809 to consider D&A. • C. addressed the group. • There the plea, “We speak where the Bible speaks, and we are silent where the Bible is silent.” • CAW adopted D&A & authorized pub.
Title page with editing marks from a later time
Alexander Campbell • Few weeks after D&A T. Campbell welcomed family to America. • 30 months of separation had been eventful for family too. • 1808 shipwrecked off Scotland. • Night of shipwreck, 20 yr. old Alexander made decision to devote life to ministry. • Family in Glasgow 10 mo. waiting.
Alexander 2 • Shipwreck allowed Alexander (1788-1866) to attend U. of Glasgow one term. • Year at Glasgow destined to bring changes. • A. got to broaden education. • Brought him in contact with the plea to return to primitive Christianity. • Scottish restoration movement--Robert and James Alexander Haldane.
James Haldane (1768-1851)
Robert Sandeman (1718-1771) Son-in-law of John Glas Followers called Sandemanians
John Glas • Believed that since Christ was king of the church, power cannot be exercised over it by the state or magistrates. • For these views was deposed by the Church of Scotland in 1730. • Locked out of his church, he continued to preach in nearby fields and most of his congregation remained loyal to him.
John Glas • Took the Bible more literally than most of his day— • Xtians forbidden to eat blood or to store wealth. • Should practice foot-washing and the holy kiss. • Creeds and catechisms useless—it was easier to learn from the Bible itself.
John Glas • Glas taught that there were two classes of officers in the church: the “extraordinary” consisting of Apostles, Prophets and Evangelists; and the “Ordinary” consisting of elders and deacons. • Robert Sandeman, who became his son-in-law, became the leader of the movement.
Robert Sandeman • Sandeman came to the fore after 1755. • S. left for the USA in 1764 to found churches, where the group survived until 1890. • Sandemanians— • Practiced infant baptism and foot-washing • Organized their churches with several coequal presbyters (elders) • Deemed agreement (not a majority vote) essential • Held to strict conditions of membership—the church could control the use of member’s private money