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No name but the name of Christ

THE BEGINNINGS OF THE STONE-CAMPBELL MOVEMENT D. Newell Williams and Douglas A. Foster ONE FOUNDER WAS UPSET at fellow clergy who condemned Presbyterians and Methodists for— gasp!—dating after being introduced at revival meetings. Two others were sick of religious divisions in their homeland and of being marooned in a church so sectarian it was called the Associate Synod of Ulster of the Anti-Burgher Seceders. Little did they know they were founding a movement themselves. They just wanted peace and Christian unity.


By 1800, the awakening known as the Great Western Revival had begun in Tennessee and Kentucky (both were the “West” in 1800). Presbyterians and Methodists began coming together in revivals lasting four to six days and culminating in “union meetings,” where they joined in celebrating the Lord’s Supper. The meetings drew thousands and included both blacks and whites—which convinced many whites to free their slaves. The gatherings also became famous for the “falling exercise.” Powerfully affected by sermons and

SERMONS IN GLASS These windows at Cane Ridge Church show the uniting of the Stone and Campbell movements and the signing of the “Last Will and Testament of the Springfield Presbytery.” testimonies, people fell to the ground and appeared dead for hours. Then they arose praising Jesus and calling others to him for salvation. Not all Presbyterians supported the revivals. Their biggest objections were not to the falling exercise or the freeing of slaves, but that young adults from Methodist and Presbyterian families were meeting at these heated gatherings and marrying. In many cases, the newlyweds were joining the Methodist Church! Some Presbyterian ministers began urging their colleagues to “preach up” the differences between Methodist and Presbyterian doctrine, specifically the Presbyterian teaching derived from Calvin’s doctrine of predestination: the idea that God had chosen particular human beings to be damned and others to be saved before the foundation of the earth.

Issue 1069

Christian History 106: The church to end all churches?  
Christian History 106: The church to end all churches?  

An upstart Christian movement swept into its fold thousands of Americans in the early nineteenth century, rejecting traditional churches whi...