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Campbell on Christians Among the Sects


It has been the historic slogan of the American Restoration Movement that they are not the only Christians, but Christians only.[1] While this specific slogan is not present in the writings of Alexander Campbell, the concept certainly is. The purpose of this chapter is to examine the nature of this concept in Campbell in relation to his views on baptism. There are three reasons why such an examination is profitable. First, there has been considerable discussion in recent years concerning Campbell's exact position on this issue. Consequently, historical accuracy demands an examination of the evidence. Second, it forces us to reflect upon the historic goal of the Restoration Movement as it was initially conceived by its most prominent leader. Whether to accept or reject that initial goal is left to the reader; its validity is not the topic of discussion here. Third, a thorough presentation of Campbell's position will enable us to evaluate it with respect to its own intrinsic merit.

Due to considerations of length, this study is limited to the first ten years of the Millennial Harbinger (1830-1839). It was during these years that the issues surrounding the concept of "Christians among the sects" became most acute. In particular, these years encompass both Campbell's controversy with Dr. Thomas concerning reimmersion and the infamous Lunenburg letter itself. The controversy which raged in the Millenial Harbinger during the 1830s involved three basic questions. This chapter is divided according to the logical development of those three fundamental points. The first section will deal with the reimmersion controversy. Specifically, are there Christians among the Baptists? The second section will deal with the state of the unimmersed. Specifically, are there Christians among the unimmersed (e.g., Presbyterians)? The third part will attempt to systematize Campbell's position on fellowship in relation to these two groups. Specifically, are ought the American Restoration Movement to commune with the unimmersed, or those immersed by sectarians?

A. The Immersion of Alexander Campbell

As one approaches the various questions which are the concern of this chapter, it is important to remember the circumstances of Alexander Campbell's own immersion. This is important because it informs his understanding of the state of all those who were once like him or were immersed like him. Consequently, this discussion prefaces the questions of reimmersion, the unimmersed and fellowship.

At the time of his immersion on June 12, 1812, Campbell had not, according to his son-in-law, come to an exact idea concerning the design of baptism. Richardson states that "the full import and meaning of the institution of baptism was, however, still reserved for future discovery."[2] Campbell himself explained that he was not immersed for the explicit purpose of receiving the remission of sins. He placed himself within the category of those who were immersed simply upon a confession of faith in Christ without any explicit knowledge that the immersion was "for the remission of sins." He writes:

I was immersed by a Regular Baptist, but not in a Regular Baptist way. I stipulated with Matthias Luse that I should be immersed on the profession of the one fact, or proposition, that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God...Brother Spears (who was a Regular Baptist, JMH) accompanied him, and on this profession alone I was immersed; nor have I ever immersed any person but upon the same profession which I made myself.[3]

However, the fact that Campbell was not immersed for the explicit purpose of obtaining the remission of sins does not mean, according to his own thinking, that he did not, in fact, receive the forgiveness of sins at that point. As we will see below, Campbell maintained that one who was immersed upon a Biblical faith received the remission of sins whether he knew that he was receiving it at that point or not. Consequently, while Campbell was unaware at the time of his immersion that this was the point at which he was receiving the remission of sins, he nevertheless received it at that point. He was not baptized in the "Regular Baptist way" in the sense that he did not give a testimony of any kind of experience nor was he voted on by the church. Campbell's response to the reimmersion controversy comes from this background.[4]

The only real contrary evidence on this point comes from Campbell's widow in an interview published in the American Christian Review. There she states:

Some of the brethren say that because "remission of sins" was not named at his baptism, he was not scripturally introduced into Christ's kingdom. Alexander Campbell was baptized into the full faith of the forgiveness of his sins, when baptized into Christ's death, and a full hope of the resurrection unto eternal life; having been planted in Christ in the likeness of His death, that he was assured he should participate in His resurrection, and this burial and resurrection imply a death unto him, and an enjoyment of a new life in Christ, no longer living a servant of sin, nor yielding his members to serve sin. Of course, he was freed from the guilt and pollution of sin, and fully enjoyed a new life, with the pardon of all his past sins, for the promise was to him.[5]

There are several important points to be considered in evaluating this statement. First, she maintains that the "remission of sins" was not named at his baptism, but that he still received it. She does not deny that "remission of sins" was not named, but she only denies that he was not thereby scripturally baptized. This is nothing more than what Campbell had always said concerning any who were immersed upon a Biblical faith, but who unaware of the specific design of baptism with respect to the remission of sins. Second, she does not state for what purpose Campbell was moved to be immersed, but only what he received when he was immersed. Campbell always argued that one need not understand everything about what God promises in baptism in order to receive all of them. There is nothing in her statement inconsistent with Campbell's own position. He believed that one could be scripturally immersed without the specific knowledge that baptism was for the remission of sins.

In response to the assertion that Campbell was consciously immersed "for the remission of sins" in 1812, it can be argued the Campbell held an essentially Reformed (Calvinist) conception of baptism in his early years. This is indicated by a careful examination of the following statement in the MacCalla debate:

The blood of Christ, then, really cleanses us who believe from all sin. Behold the goodness of God in giving us a formal proof and token of it, by ordaining a baptism expressly 'for the remission of sins.' The water of baptism, then, formally washes away sour sins. The blood of Christ really washes away our sins. Paul's sins were really pardoned when he believed, yet he had no solemn pledge of the fact, no formal acquittal, no formal purgation of his sins, until he washes them away in the water of baptism. To every believer, therefore, baptism is a formal and personal remission, or purgation of sins. The believer never has his sins formally washed away or remitted until he is baptized.[6]

The distinction between "real" and "formal" cleansing is nothing more than the Reformed distinction between the "sign" and the "thing signified." Reformed theology admits no instrumental relationship between the "sign" and the "thing signified," but argues that the "thing signified" (salvation) is already possessed when one receives the "sign." Thus, Calvin is able to say that:

baptism should be a token and proof of our cleansing; or (the better to explain what I mean) it is like a sealed document to confirm to us that all our sins ares so abolished, remitted, and effaced that they can never come to his sight, be recalled, or charged against us. For he wills that all who believe be baptized for the remission of sins.[7]

Campbell, like Calvin, could speak of "baptism for the remission of sins" and simply mean the symbolic or formal representation of what had already taken place.[8] However, Campbell did not always hold this early position. His extra "Remission of Sins" abundantly demonstrates a change in position. For instance, he states that "this act of faith [immersion] was presented as that act by which a change in their state could be effected; or, in other words, by which alone they could be pardoned."[9]

Campbell exhibits a change in his baptismal theology from the MacCalla debate to the Millenial Harbinger. While in the MacCalla debate baptism did not convey the forgiveness of sins through faith (though it did formalize or symbolize it), yet in the 1830s baptism actually conveys this forgiveness, both formally and actually. Consequently, if Campbell believed that Paul was already forgiven when he believed before and without baptism in 1823, it is historically certain that Campbell himself believed that he was already pardoned when he was immersed. Therefore, he was not immersed "for the remission of sins" in the sense that he was immersed in order to receive the remission of sins. Rather, he was immersed to obey a requirement of God which he had recently learned from studying Scripture. It was almost a decade later when Campbell made the connection between the "remission of sins" and baptism. No doubt he only thought of baptism, at the time of his immersion, as a sign or symbol of the forgiveness he had already received as any good Reformed theologian would argue.[10]

B. The Reimmersion Controversy

Who, according to Campbell, is a citizen of the kingdom of heaven? He answers:

Everyone that believes in his heart that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah the Son of God, and publicly confesses his faith in his death, for our sins, in his burial and resurrection, by an immersion into the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Every such person is a constitutional citizen of Christ's kingdom.[11]

1. Faith, the Only Condition of Immersion

Faith in Jesus is the supreme condition for scriptural immersion. Any person who is immersed without faith in Jesus as the Messiah ought to be reimmersed into his death. "They differ nothing from immersed infants."[12] As respects "Christian immersion," that person (the one immersed without faith) "is as one unimmersed." This faith is not based upon some revialistic experience of the Holy Spirit, but is rooted in God's word. Campbell calls this principle "one of the cardinal items of the present reformation," that is, "none but believers are the proper subjects of baptism; and by believers we always intended those who, on the testimony of Apostles and Prophets, receive Jesus as the Son and Messiah of God." Faith in that one fact or proposition is all that is required for immersion into Christ.[13]

Faith does not necessarily entail perfect understanding of all New Testament institutions and neither does it entail a perfect understanding of any one institution. Faith does involve some kind of understanding, but only with respect to the object of faith which is Jesus the Messiah. Consequently, under certain circumstances, Campbell argues that "baptism administered by the Baptists introduces the subjects of it into the kingdom of Christ."[14] The only qualification depends upon the "faith and intelligence of the subject." One may believe that Jesus is the Messiah and "yet not regard immersion for the remission of sins," and still be scripturally immersed. Therefore, Campbell writes:

But I do think that every one immersed by the Baptist preachers, or "laymen", who really believes in his heart and confess with his mouth that Jesus is Messiah, understanding the meaning of what he says (concerning his confession, JMH), is introduced into this kingdom.[15]

While one who does not understand that baptism is for the remission of sins cannot enjoy the full benefit of assurance, nevertheless, the fact that he did not understand this point does not mean that he does not possess the remission of his sins.[16] It is not uncommon, then, to find Campbell referring to his Baptist friends, even his Baptist opponents, as brothers in Christ. His major opponent in the early 1830s was "brother Andrew Broaddus."[17]

2. Arguments Against Reimmersion

Campbell's fundamental thesis is that faith does not require perfect understanding in order for it to be efficacious. Thus, one may be immersed while lacking understanding of the purposes of immersion and still be introduced into the kingdom. In addition to this premise, Campbell offers several other reasons for his position. First, if the reimmersionist is correct, then the promises of God concerning the existence of the church throughout all ages has failed. Campbell is convinced that though the remnant is small in this "age of apostasy" there is nevertheless a remnant (since the promise of God "has not failed") which "did not commence either in 1827, 1823, or 1809."[18] He dares not place the Baptists, Waldenses and Albigenses "on the same footing with the Papists of the 10th century or with the Mahometans of the 19th."[19] Have the gates of Hades prevailed against the church for "more than 1300 years"? Campbell thinks otherwise:

Why on all your definitions of the kingdom, supposing, as you do, that he that is not formally and understandingly immersed for the remission of his sins cannot enter into his kingdom; and it being a fact that before the year 1823, since the fifth century, baptism for the remission of sins was not preached, and not until the year 1827 were many immersed with this apprehension of the subject...either the promises of God have failed, or such persons as were baptized as you were the first time, are in the kingdom![20]

Second, Campbell argues that one may obey Christ in one of his institutions for a singular purpose (such as, he told me to do it) without a full understanding of it multiple purposes and yet receive all the blessings pertaining to that institution. Campbell uses the analogy of naturalization. Though John Doe became a citizen of the United States in order to hold property, or to stay in this country legally, when John learned of all the other benefits of citizenship (such as to vote, etc.) there was no need for him to be renaturalized. Campbell argues from his analogy in this way:

When I was naturalized a citizen of these United States, there were certain immunities and privileges attached to citizenship which I had not in my mind at that time, nor were they any inducement to be naturalized, any more than to that child now sleeping in the arms of his mother. But did that circumstance annul my naturalization and leave me an alien?[21]

In the same way, not all understand or realize the tremendous benefits which are attached to immersion. New discoveries do not render the past void. A pure faith (one that sincerely believes in Jesus as the Messiah, not a faith that perfectly understands all of God's will) is all that is necessary for immersion. Campbell explains:

We proceed upon these as our axiomata in all our reasonings, preachings, writings--1st, unfeighned faith; 2nd, a good conscience; 3rd, a pure heart; 4th, love. The testimony of God apprehended produces unfeigned or genuine faith; faith obeyed produces a good conscience. This Peter defines to be the use of baptism, the answer of a good conscience. This produces a pure heart, and then the consummation is love--love to God and man.[22]

The motivating factor is faith. One who is immersed upon faith, a faith that understands that Jesus is the Messiah, but may not understand every design of baptism, receives all the blessings which God has attached to baptism. Consequently, Campbell argues that "baptism cannot be repeated unless in its full sense. No person can constitutionally be immersed for remission alone--for the Holy Spirit alone--for coming into the kingdom alone. He must be baptized into Christ, in the whole and full sense of the institution, or not at all."[23]

Campbell only envisions two positions. One position which argues that only a singular understanding of the purpose of immersion is necessary. A genuine faith in Jesus as the Messiah will lead one to obey his commands, especially the command to be immersed. This, in Campbell's view, is sufficient. The other position is that one must have a full understanding of all the blessings of baptism in order to receive them. Campbell thinks this is impossible. If one must understand all the blessings involved, then if one misunderstands any one purpose (such as the promised gift of the Spirit), then he must be reimmersed. Therefore, the only immersion is one in the full sense of its meaning. There can be no partial immersion: one for this benefit, another for a different benefit. "It must be in the full sense; that is, for all the purposes for which the institution exists."[24]

How much, then, must one understand about the "full sense" in order to receive all the benefits whether he is aware of all of them or not? Campbell believed that those who were reimmersed because they did not understand baptism the first time "did not understand it the second time" and consequently ought to be immersed a third time![25] To be consistent, every time that they learn something new about benefits of baptism, they ought to be immersed again.[26] Further, it can be argued that even those in the New Testament did not fully understand the purposes of their immersion. Campbell asks whether or not this is the case with the Romans in 6:3,4. Those who argued that we should sin that grace may abound, though Christians, really did not understand the purpose of their baptism.[27]

What, then, must we understand to be immersed, according to Campbell? Only the simple fact that Jesus is the Messianic Savior of the world. There is a difference between believing a fact about the person of Jesus (i.e., that he is the Son of God, etc.) and understanding everything he says. There are many examples of believers in the Gospels who did not understand. For example, the apostles were believers but did not fully understand the implications of their faith.[28] His point may be summarized by this paragraph:[29]

I trust we need not attempt to show that Jesus Christ has not ordained any institution solely for the remission of sins--any rite or observance for expiation. Remission of sins is, indeed, connected with baptism; but so is adoption, sanctification, and all blessings of the new institution. The salvation of the soul, which comprehends every thing which can be enjoyed in the present world, is attached to it. He that believes and is baptized shall be saved. To be baptized for the remission of sins exclusively, is not what is meant by putting on Christ, or by being immersed into Christ.

Since there is more to baptism than simply the remission of sins, Campbell believes it is unjust to single out this purpose as the one which must be understood in distinction from the others. It is unbiblical, in his view, to raise one scriptural blessing of baptism above another.[30]

Third, reimmersion, according to Campbell, is purely an opinionated inference from Scripture. He argues that:

rebaptism is wholly out of the Record, and is only an inference drawn from our own conclusions on the present state of Christianity and the inadequate conception of many professors on the import of the Christian institution.[31]

Since there is no command to reimmerse, and no example of the reimmersion of believers in Jesus as the Messiah, "it is wholly the work of reasoning."[32] Campbell sees all inferences as opinions. To found one's faith upon opinion is to create a sect. In the Campbell-Rice Debate he argued that "faith is testimony believed; knowledge is our own experience; and opinion is probable inference."[33] True unity, however, permits a freedom of opinion. Opinions must be "let alone."[34] No one is to be excommunicated for an opinion. Since reimmersion is based upon inference alone, the one who insists upon it destroys the very foundation of the Restoration Movement. Campbell summarizes his point well:

Few understand all that is comprehended in this; but every new discovery does not render all the past void, nor make it necessary to be born again. And he that insists upon a person being rebaptized in order to fellowship, makes his own inferences a bond of union, and adds to the commandments written in the book.[35]

Fourth, if the reimmersionist were consistent, he ought to advocate the establishment of a board of inquisition to decide who is required to be reimmersed and who is not. Campbell suggests that this should come in the form of a standing committee for the interrogation of candidates for baptism which amounts to the resurgence of the Presbyterian consistory or the Baptist board of deacons.[36] This undermines restoration principles in that some begin to legislate for others. Campbell maintains that the whole issue is not "a matter of discipline or of inquiry."[37] To do so, in Campbell's view, is to destroy the present Reformation:

I say, to me it appears deserting the proper ground of this Reformation to dogmatize upon this theme...If, then, we must erect a new tribunal to determine the true believers, and the true gospel, and the true baptism, before admission to the Lord's table, we ought to abandon the no-human-creed system, and make christian immersion a church business, and have a vote in the church on all the candidates for immersion.[38]

The only proper procedure for Campbell is to let the individual himself be fully persuaded in his own mind. He argues that a congregation ought to accept a Baptist into fellowship if he himself is "satisfied with his immersion," in which case "the church has no liberty, or is under no precept or obligation to demand reimmersion for its satisfaction."[39] No church council needs to be convened to decide the issue. Campbell is perfectly pleased to "leave this matter to the intelligence and conscience of every individual."[40] As Campbell's son-in-law Richardson states, "all must judge for themselves both of the foundation and the sincerity of their own faith, and act accordingly."[41]

3. Immersion: Merit or Receptacle? In this whole discussion, however, Campbell is concerned that the act of immersion is often misconceived by the reimmersionists. He fears that the whole controversy belies a view of baptism which sees it as a work of merit or expiation. According to Campbell, those who insist upon reimmersion for the explicit purpose of the remission of sins make "baptism a mere expiatory rite," and regard "it as designed alone for absolution."[42] This kind of attitude which goes to the water for remission of sins is like the Jew who goes to the altar in order to merely receive the remission of sins. This motivation "mistakes the whole matter."[43] Baptism is not to be regarded as the "procuring cause of remission."[44] Fundamentally, the remission of sins is a blessing bestowed by God. Baptism does not procure forgiveness. It receives it upon the condition of faith. Campbell attempts to correct this misconception by this statement:

Others think that when they have been immersed they have done something worthy of praise: nay, verily, they only have received something worthy of thanks. He that is immersed does nothing, any more than he who is buried. In immersion, as in being born, and in being buried, the subject is always passive. He that immerses another does something: but he that is immersed has only suffered something. When we talk of the act of immersion we have the agent, not the subject, in our eye. He, however, who is acceptably immersed, has been immersed as one that is dead--not as one that is alive. It is criminal to bury a man alive: but virtuous to bury him that is dead.[45]

The point for which Campbell is grasping may be summarized in this question: why does baptism save? Is it because I believe certain things about the institution itself, as in an expiatory rite, or is it because of the object of my faith--Jesus Christ? Baptism is an affirmation of our faith in God's work through the death and resurrection of Jesus. That faith has certain implications for baptism, but it is not necessary to understand those implications. How many who believe in Jesus as the Messiah even understand the nature of the atoning work of Christ, the worship of the church, etc.? For Campbell, baptism is effectual through faith in Jesus as the Messianic Savior, not because of certain things that may or may not be understood about the meaning of baptism.[46]

4. Qualifications Within the perspective of this broad statement, Campbell does make certain qualifications. For instance, he does not intend to include within his views those who actively and bitterly attack the ancient gospel. He states that he regards "those Baptists who now directly oppose the ancient gospel and those persons baptized by them in opposition to it" in a different light than "those formerly immersed or those now immersed when the attention of neither the preachers nor people has been called to the meaning of the institution."[47] In particular, Campbell has in mind those disciples who are reimmersed by Baptists as well as those who are specifically immersed in explicit opposition to the true meaning of baptism. He, in fact, regards the baptism of those who "were expressly immersed because their sins were forgiven" as at least questionable though he does not go into any detail.[48] In another place, he states that those who were immersed in fits of experiential excitement after waiting on the mourning bench ought, perhaps, to be reimmersed. But he quickly adds that there is no universal law in this matter--it must be left up to the individual himself.[49] However, Campbell is clear that his position does not imply a blank check for all who have been immersed. If one is immersed upon simple faith, and nothing else, then he ought to be accepted. Yet, if one is immersed, explicitly rejecting and actively opposing the ancient gospel, Campbell raises doubts about his immersion. Nevertheless, it always remains a personal matter.

With these qualifications, Campbell asserts his willingness to extend "the right hand and whole heart of fellowship as freely and as fully to any one immersed by myself within the last ten years" to the many Baptists who have become "associated under the banners of the Reformation."[50] He argues that anyone who was immersed upon a confession of Jesus as Messiah and Lord "ought, without reimmersion, to be accredited as a disciple and fellow-citzen, and cordially received."[51] In fact, the "only thing which can justify a confession on the part of the candidate that he did not believe that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God--that he died for our sins, was buried, rose again the third day, at the time of his first immersion--that he now believes the testimony of the Apostles concerning him, and desires to be buried and rise with Christ in faith in resurrection to eternal life."[52] To do otherwise is to make void the word of the Lord in Mark 16:16--"He that believeth and is immersed shall be saved."

5. Conclusion Therefore, Campbell's conclusion is that there are Christians among the Baptists. Though he fears that they "are greatly degenerate, and fast immersing themselves into the popular errors of this age," nevertheless there are some who have not "bowed the knee to the image of Baal, and are as worthy citizens of the kingdom of the Messiah as any of our brethren."[53] However, to accept certain individual Baptists as brothers does not imply an endorsement of the whole sect itself. There is a difference between receiving certain individuals into fellowship and receiving "the whole accredited members of any one sect as citizens of the kingdom of Jesus, and feeling ourselves bound to fraternize with them because they belong to that sect."[54] Though there certainly are many Christians among the Baptist sect, in Campbell's view, he cannot fraternize with the sect as a whole. The third section of this chapter will attempt to clarify his meaning here.

C. The State of the Unimmersed

As Campbell comes to this question, he revises his definition of a Christian. He now writes that a Christian is "everyone that believes in his heart that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah, the Son of God; repents of his sins, and obeys him in all things according to his measure of knowledge of his will."[55] Campbell compares one who is unimmersed to an imperfect Christian. He cannot bring himself to deny that any person who "is acting up to the full measure of his knowledge," and has not been "negligent, according to his opportunities, to ascertain the will of his Master" is a Christian. In the opinion of Campbell, the only one who is not justified is the one "who only doubts, or is not fully persuaded that his baptism is apostolic and divine."[56] He feels that if he were to paganize all the unimmersed simply because they have never had an opportunity to learn about immersion, he would be "a pure sectarian, a Pharisee among Christians." Therefore, he cannot regard all the unimmersed as "aliens from Christ and the well-grounded hope of heaven."[57]

If the answer to the question was left as it now stands, the reader would certainly gain a false impression of Campbell's actual position. It is important to understand that Campbell makes a distinction between the church on earth (the church militant) and the hope of heaven (the church triumphant); between conditions of fellowship in the visible church on earth and conditions of ultimate salvation; between the full enjoyment of assurance by immersed believers and the imperfect hope of unimmersed believers. While the unimmersed are excluded from the former of these, it does not necessarily follow that they are excluded from the latter. While the unimmersed may, by the grace of God, enter heavenly bliss and ultimately be saved, it is impossible for them to enjoy the full fellowship of the church on earth as well as the full assurance of their hope. Campbell's reasoning is rooted in his understanding of the objective value of immersion for the believer.[58]

Campbell insists that anyone who was sprinkled in his infancy ought to be immersed. Since sprinkling is "at best only the fallible inference or opinion of man," the unimmersed ought to be immersed because in it "we have the sure and unerring promise of our Savior and Judge."[59] On this ground, "the present salvation can never be so fully enjoyed, all things else being equal, by the unimmersed as by the immersed."[60] However, anyone who continues to rejoice in his sprinkling or pouring "because of his dislike to, or prejudice against believer's immersion" proves himself to be a self-seeker, and consequently Campbell can have "no favorable opinion" of him.[61]

Consequently, Campbell refuses to make immersion absolutely essential to ultimate salvation, though it is absolutely necessary to the full enjoyment of assurance. According to Campbell, everyone who has "obeyed according to their knowledge" and is not "willingly" ignorant of the will of Heaven, "although debarred from the full enjoyment of the kingdom of grace here, may be admitted into the kingdom of glory hereafter."[62] There are two situations in which this may be true (and only God knows if there are others). First, each individual must be judged according to his opportunities or circumstances. Anyone who has had no opportunity to be immersed is not subject to the divine command. Campbell made this clear to the Baptist Dr. Fishback who was associated with Barton W. Stone:

Because, mark me closely, I do admit that a person who believes the gospel, and cannot be immersed, may obtain remission. So that I cannot take the affirmative and say remission is absolutely suspended upon being baptized in water.[63]

In the Campbell-Rice Debate, he reiterates the same sentiment:

...according to our teaching, there is no one required to be baptized where baptism cannot be had. Baptism, where there is no faith, no water, no person to administer, was never demanded as an indispensable condition of salvation, by Him who has always enjoined upon man 'mercy, rather than sacrifice.'[64]

Second, each case must be judged according to the knowledge and devotion of the person involved. Mistakes of understanding, in Campbell's opinion, do not leave men without the hope of heaven. He writes:

Many a good man has been mistaken. Mistakes are to be regarded as culpable and as declarative of a corrupt heart only when they proceed from a willful neglect of the means of knowing what is commanded. Ignorance is always a crime when it is voluntary and innocent when it is involuntary...I could not, I dare not say that their mistakes are such as unchristianize all their professions.[65]

There is a large difference between one who willfully neglects or ignores the commandments of God, and one who simply mistook the will of God. While the one who neglects to "ascertain the will of the Lord, or to obey his command when he knows it" can never attain immortality, the one who "in all things obeyed according to" his knowledge, may "ultimately" attain it.[66] Consequently, Campbell offers it as his "opinion" that faith in the sacrifice of Christ and "obedience to Jesus Christ in all things as far as one's knowledge extended, even if one should not have been immersed, it was probable he might be admitted hereafter into the kingdom of glory."[67] Yet, Campbell insists that it is an opinionated inference from Scripture. He cannot make any rules on this point. But it is still his "opinion" that he "cannot make literal immersion in water, in all cases, essential to admission into the kingdom of eternal glory; yet I know that I believe the Scriptures!"[68]

Campbell's position on the unimmersed may be summarized in this way: the unimmersed can have no concrete assurance in this life, nor are they to be admitted into the fellowship of church on earth, but it is possible (indeed, probable and to be accepted by Christians) that God will admit some of the unimmersed into glory when he takes into account their opportunities and ignorance. This basic perspective reconciles what sometimes appear to be conflicting statements in Campbell's writings. While Campbell may call some of the unimmersed "Christian", he does not mean that he extends to them the right hand of fellowship in the church militant. Rather, he only means that, according to God's gracious accounting of opportunities and ignorances, they may inherit heavenly bliss. He calls them "Christian" in deference to their profession of Christianity as will be shown below.

In view of this opinion, Campbell thinks that it is presumptuous to argue that there are no Christians among the unimmersed. He writes:

There is no occasion, then, for making immersion, on a profession of the faith, absolutely essential to a Christian--though it may be greatly essential to his sanctification and comfort...But he that thence infers that none are Christians but the immersed, as greatly errs as he who affirms that none are alive but those of clear and full vision.[69]

However, there is an exclusivism in Campbell's thought. In his debate with Rice, he argues:

We are so exclusive, however, that we say to everyone without the fold, you must repent and be baptized for the remission of your sins, if you would enjoy the fullness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ. Still we do not so make conditions of ultimate salvation out of conditions of church membership.[70]

In summary, therefore, Campbell sees baptism as "for the church on earth, for the gospel dispensation...not the door into heaven."[71] It is not an ordinance which procures the remission of sins, but it is the instrument of the "actual possession and present enjoyment of that remission which God bestows."[72] It is the formal declaration of the appropriation of God's grace. Those who are ignorant of that instrument or never have an opportunity to use that means of grace, though excluded from full assurance and entrance into the visible, earthly church, may yet be graciously received into heavenly glory.

D. Communion with the Sects

1. Christian? In What Sense? As we have seen, according to Campbell, there are Christians (in some sense of that term) among the sects. The boldest statement of that position came in the Lunenburg letter of 1837.[73] Campbell thought it was well-known that this was his opinion. He states that he "gave it as our opinion that there were Christians among the Protestant sects; an opinion, indeed, which we have always expressed when called upon."[74] In fact, in his defense he lists numerous quotations from his previous writings in which this was explicitly stated.[75] He complains that his unity movement meant nothing if all Christians are already united within his own fellowship. "Let me ask, in the first place, what could mean all that we have written upon the union of Christians on apostolic grounds, had we taught that all Christians in the world were already united in our own community?"[76] Therefore, as he stated in the Lunenburg letter, "there are Christians among the sects."[77]

However, the issue is a bit more complicated than this mere factual statement. What exactly is the state of these Christians in the sects, and what is their relationship to the Restoration Movement in the thought of Campbell? As will become evident, it is too simplistic to merely assert that Campbell believed there are Christians among the sects as is commonly done.[78]

Campbell draws distinctions between his various uses of the word "Christian." Campbell divides Christendom into three sections. There is (1) the Anti-Christ church, (2) the Apostasy, and (3) the disciples of Christ. This distinction is extremely important for understanding the implications and meaning of Campbell's opinion that there are Christians among the sects.

In Campbell's reply to Christianos, a disciple who wrote a series of articles in the Millenial Harbinger (1838-1840) advocating fellowship with the unimmersed, he draws attention to this three-fold distinction of the word Christian:[79]

The word Christian has three distinct acceptations in modern times. It has a national, a sectarian, and a scriptural meaning. Nationally it means one that is not a Jew, a Mohometan, a Pagan, an Infidel, but a professor of the Christian faith. In the style of the sects it means something more and something better than a Romanist, a Churchman, a Presbyterian, a Baptist, a Methodist, etc. It means one who is supposed to be a follower of Christ in the moral virtues of his religion, without regard to his tenants, in comparison with other sectaries.

His categories here are National, Sectarian and Scriptural. In other places, his categories are Anti-Christ, Apostasy and Disciple.[80] The Anti-Christ refers to the whole of the Christian world (i.e., Christendom), but primarily to the Romanists who represent what is basically unscriptural or anti-Christ. The second category refers to the diversity of sects who have severed themselves from the Anti-Christian Church, but are yet apostate. The scriptural use of the term refers to the Restoration Movement as a whole (i.e., undenominational Christianity wherever it exists, including the Scotch Baptists, etc.) wherein Biblical institutions are practiced. More simply, the National use refers to all professors of Christianity; the sectarian use refers to those who though they profess errors, yet "live right;" and the third refers to immersed penitent believers who follow the Biblical pattern.[81]

When Campbell says that there are Christians among the sects, it is important to understand what he means by the term Christian. In the Lunenburg letter, Campbell explicitly states that there are "Christians among the sects."[82] Garrison and DeGroot, therefore, argue that in this letter Campbell "insisted that the unimmersed were Christians."[83] This is linguistically correct (i.e., that is what Campbell said) but simplistic, and even misleading since Campbell used the term in different senses. In fact, later that same year (1837) Campbell explained the sense in which he meant the term "Christian." He used it in the sectarian sense, that is, those who make the "profession wrong, but live right," so that "I don't know what he believes, nor how he was baptized, but I know he is a Christian."[84] He did not, he declares, use the term in the Lunenburg letter in its "strictest biblical import" but "in the case before us I used it in its best modern application."[85] He explains himself in this manner:

Now in this acceptation of the word, I think there are many, in most Protestant parties, whose errors and mistakes I hope the Lord will forgive; and although they should not enter into all blessings of the kingdom of earth, I do fondly expect they may participate in the resurrection of the just.[86]

Consequently, while Campbell hopes that these sectarian "Christians" will be saved eternally, he cannot offer any scriptural assurance that they will be. The only one who is correctly called a "Christian" in the scriptural, stricter sense is the penitent immersed believer who obeys the institutions of God.

The one who professes Christianity, but does not follow the directives of Scripture, may yet (due to either his ignorance or circumstances) receive eternal glory, but he cannot receive the praise of men based on Scripture. According to Campbell only he:

has the praise of God and man, and of himself as a Christian, who believes, repents, is baptized, and keeps all the ordinances, positive and moral, as delivered to us by the holy Apostles.[87]

Therefore, no one can be called "Christian" in a Biblical sense except those who resemble the Antiochene Christians "in knowledge and practice."[88]

Are there Christians among the sects? Campbell's seemingly contradictory answer is "yes and no." Yes, in the sense that there are some who may receive eternal life in view of their lack of opportunity to obey or their unwilling ignorance of the divine institutions (such as immersion). This viewpoint, we must remember, Campbell describes as pure opinion. It is only possible, or in Campbell's conception "probable," that these may inherit eternal blessings though they cannot enter the kingdom of God on earth. Yes, also in the sense that there are some who have been immersed upon a profession of faith in Jesus as the Messiah, but remain in the sects. No, in the sense that none but those who teach and practice the Apostolic precepts and examples can be called Christians. Only these may be regarded as fully assured Christians. Campbell himself summarizes his position in this statement:

And scripturally it means one who has first believed in Jesus as the Messiah, repented of his sins, and been immersed in water into the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit and who follows Christ in all his appointments. Such were they who were first called Christians at Antioch. Now in the latter sense it can never be applied to any but to those who resemble the disciples described in the Acts of the Apostles; while in the first and second sense of the term (national and sectarian, JMH) there are many Christians among the sects, and many that will put to shame (i.e., when they see them in heaven, JMH) those who refuse to award to them the style (i.e., the name "Christian") because of their mistakes of the ordinance.[89]

As a result, when one affirms that Campbell believed that there were Christians among the sects, it is necessary to define what is meant by the term "Christian." For while Campbell may admit that there are Christians among the sects in an inferior sense (as defined above), it is also clear that Campbell would not align himself with nor commune with any sect as a whole.

2. Inter-Body Fellowship? In the quotation to which the lady from Lunenberg, Virginia took exception ("we find in all Protestant parties Christians") Campbell also makes it clear that the Restoration Movement "cannot form a confederacy with the troops of Satan."[90] He rejects the Baptists, "as a people," since they form part of the apostasy. Consequently, they "are not of the kingdom of God."[91] All sects are part of the apostasy since "all religious sects" have a "human bond of union."[92] Therefore, while there may be individual persons within those sects who may be saved due to their ignorance, perhaps some who are Christians in the sense that they have been scripturally immersed, it is nevertheless the case that sects are sinful and the Restoration Movement cannot unite with them. Sects as a whole are apostate. They do not constituted the visible church of God on earth. Campbell is adamant on this point:

I have already said that I am prepared to admit that the Regular Baptist Institution as a whole, or any other institution as a whole, now existing in the sectarian world, or anterior to the present century for 1200 years, is not identical with the kingdom of Jesus Christ...The Jewish nation has existed, but not as a nation, for the last 1800 years. They are scattered among the nations. This may be an analogy to illustrate what we mean by the Lord's people now dispersed through many sects, and yet no where, or in no sect, existing as his kingdom.[93]

No sect can be the kingdom of God on earth, and the kingdom of God on earth can have no fellowship or confederacy with any sect. Yet, there are, according to Campbell, many Christians (in the senses defined above) among the sects. In this way, the promise of God has not failed. Though his kingdom as such may not have always existed, he has always had a people among the various sects which have arisen.

This forms the foundation of Campbell's call for union of all Christians. In what may be called the "Campbellite Catechism of 1832" (though Campbell himself disclaimed its catechistic function), an interesting series of questions and answers is found:

Q. 174. Are there, then, no disciples of Christ in these communities?

A. There are, no doubt, many. Q. 175. How, then, can the communities, as such be in the apostasy? A. There are republicans in England, and monarchists in America; yet the English community is not a republic, nor the American a monarchy. So there being christians in any sectarian commonwealth, or a sectarian in any christian commonwealth, does not change the nature or character of such a commonwealth.

Q. 176. What, then, is the duty of all christians found in these communities?

A. They are commanded to "come out of them." Rev. xviii.4. "Come out of her, my people, that you be not partakers of her sins; and that you receive not of her plagues."

Q. 177. From whom are they commanded to come out?

A. From Babylon, the apostasy. Q. 178. And do all sects constitute Babylon?

A. Yes. Do not the streets constitute every city? What is Rome, or London, but its streets, lanes and houses? And were not the people of God, under the former economy, commanded to come out of Babylon before God destroyed it?

It seems clear from these answers that Campbell rejected all fellowship with the sects and even regarded those who remained in the sects (except for ignorance or lack of opportunity) as heading for destruction. Indicative of this attitude is a statement found in the Campbell-Rice Debate where, while acknowledging that English Baptists commune with the unimmersed, he announced that "we have no such custom amongst us."[95] Campbell excludes the sects as bodies from the kingdom of God earth, and does not offer communion to the unimmersed. There is, therefore, an exclusivisic strain in Campbell's thinking.

Whether the Restoration Movement should receive unimmersed persons into their fellowship was a cause of some strife between Barton W. Stone and Alexander Campbell. Stone accused Campbell of being sectarian in that he did not receive the unimmersed into his fellowship.[96] Campbell's response is indicative of his attitude toward fellowship with the sects. Is Campbell's view of immersion as a term of fellowship sectarian? In Campbell's perspective, it is impossible to successfully repel the imputation of being sectarian if "obedience to Jesus Christ be called sectarian."[97] If one receives the unimmersed into their fellowship, he has denied the creed of the Restoration Movement: the Bible. Campbell explains that:

it is not because of our views of the meaning of immersion (in which he seems to agree with us) but because the 'Christians' (Stonites, JMH) now make immersion of non-effect by receiving persons into the kingdom of Jesus, so called, irrespective of their being legitimately born; or in brief, regardless of the command, 'Be baptized everyone of you.'[98]

In a similar vein, responding to William Jones' question about whether Campbell's American fellowship communes with the unimmersed as the English Baptists do, Campbell wrote:

Not one, as far as known to me.... Does not this look like making void the word or commandment of God by human tradition.... Nay, why not dispense with it altogether, and be consistent...we require everyman to pay a courteous and decent respect to Peter--to believe what he preached, and to do what he bade him. With us, in this New World, a Christian means one that believes what Jesus Christ says, and does what he bids him.[99]

It is, therefore, beyond doubt that Campbell did not commune with the unimmersed. The reason was not that he did not believe that any of them would enter heavenly glory, but the reason was that none of them were members of the Lord's kingdom on earth. This is an extremely important distinction. Campbell did not, as he saw it, sit as the eternal judge over the unimmersed, but simply acted according to his knowledge of the Scripture. To assign an unimmersed person to heaven or hell was not his perogative, but he could not, on the basis of Scripture, offer the unimmersed a place in the Lord's kingdom on earth since they had not obeyed the first principles of the ancient gospel.

Stone objected that Campbell should use the same principle that God uses in judging the unimmersed. Since Campbell admitted that it was probable that some of the unimmersed would be eternally rewarded, he ought to accept some of them into his fellowship. Campbell's response to this objection states the main principle of his definition of fellowship:

But the question is, are we authorized to make the sincerity and honesty of a person's mind a rule of our conduct? 'Tis God alone who is judge of this, and surely he would not require us to act by a rule which we can never apply to that case. Neither, perhaps, is it a fair position to assume that any man's sincerity in opinion or belief will have any weight in the final judgment; but whether or not, it cannot be a rule of our proceeding in any case. We judge from actions--God judges the heart; and therefore, we look for visible obedience; and when we are assured that the Lord has commanded every man to confess him, or to profess the faith and be immersed into his name, we can never justify ourselves before God or man in presuming in our judgment of charity to set aside his commandment, and in accepting for it a human substitute.[100]

Men can only judge from the Scripture concerning outward professions and acts--they cannot go beyond this. As Thomas Henley and Temple Walker wrote: "we cannot, we dare not believe or teach any other way than the commission given to the Holy Twelve. We do not, in so doing, limit God; but we do limit ourselves, and all men now, to that which it has pleased him to reveal and have recorded and handed down to us as the means of our salvation."[101]

E. Conclusion

The results of this study of the theology of Alexander Campbell may be summarized in four propositions. First, all those who are immersed upon their profession of faith in Jesus as the Messiah for any biblical reason, such as to obey God, or more explicitly for the remission of sins, is a Christian even though he may still hold membership in an apostate sect. Second, it is probable that those who are unimmersed or members of an apostate sect due to unwilling ignorance or lack of opportunity will inherit eternal life though they cannot enjoy the full blessings of assurance, nor entrance into the kingdom of God on earth. They are Christians in an imperfect sense. Third, undenominational Christianity has no right to offer the right hand of fellowship to the unimmersed, but ought to do so for all those who have been immersed based upon a faith in Jesus as their Saviour. However, undenominational Christianity has no right to fellowship apostate bodies as a whole even though there may be Christians within those bodies. Fourth, it is the responsibility of all Christians to sever themselves from and come out of the sects since as religious bodies they are apostate.


[1]N.B. Hardeman, Hardeman's Tabernacle Sermons (Nashville: McQuiddy, 1928), 3:125; James A. Harding, Harding-Nichols Debate (Nashville: Gospel Advocate, 1947), p. 94; David Lipscomb, Questions Answered (Nashville: Gospel Advocate, n.d.), pp. 176-178, 591-593; F.G. Allen, "Our Strengths and Our Weaknesses," in New Testament Christianity, edited by Z. T. Zweeney (Columbus, Ind: NT Christianity Book Fund, 1926), II, p. 245; F. B. Srggley, New Testament Church (Nashville: Gospel Advocate, reprinted 1955), pp. 50, 51, 67, 68. The above works are examples from among the churches of Christ, but they could be multiplied by many other examples from among the other segments of the American Restoration Movement. For a broad survey of the general positions present in the Restoration Movement, see John David Stewart, "The Restoration Movement's Attitude Toward Other Believers" Restoration Quarterly 11.3 (1968): pp. 176-183.

[2]Robert Richardson, Memoirs of Alexander Campbell (Indianapolis, Indiana: Religious Book Service, reprint n.d.), I:405. [3]Millennial Harbinger, 3 (1832): 319. The Millennial Harbinger will henceforth be abbreviated as MH.

[4]In fact, Campbell makes it clear that the first time the true meaning of baptism was connected in his mind was in his debate with MacCalla in 1823, and that it was not preached until 1827. Even in 1823, he later admitted, the connection was not altogether clear to him. See MH, 9 (1838): 86 and MH, 2 (1831), Extra, p. 4.

[5]American Christian Review 22 (1879): 379. It is important to remember that the reimmersion issue was a "hot" issue in Texas at this time, and the discussion of Campbell's baptism became an important aspect of the discussion. See the chpater 8 of this book by Jerry Gross for the background of the reimmerson issue in the late nineteenth century.

[6]Alexander Campbell and W. L. MacCalla, Campbell-MacCalla Debate, p. 135. Campbell would in a few years argue that the "formal" and the "real" occur at the simultaneously (see Christian Baptist, 5 (1827): 222, 256). This is a decisive difference between the Campbell of 1823 and the Campbell of 1827. Chapter 4 of this book treats this subject in great detail.

[7]John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion in Library of Christian Classics, edited by John T. McNeill and translated by Ford Lewis Battles (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1960), II:1304. Chapter 2 of this book, written by Jack Cottrell, gives an exhaustive treatment of the Reformed concept of baptism. Also, chapter 4 discusses in detail the development of Campbell's baptismal theology in relation to Reformed theology.

[8]Campbell explicitly stated that Paul's sins were really pardoned before he was immersed, or, to put it another way, Paul already had the thing signified when he received the sign.

[9]MH, 1 (1830): Extra, pp. 14. The extended article (of 31 pages) is an extra added to the end of volume one. At one point, Campbell was asked this question about his view of immersion's design: "I understand you to assert that immersion, or baptism, is the act of regeneration, and the medium of forgiveness of sins: and that the scriptures do not authorize us to assert or believe that any are regenerated or forgiven until immersed. In other words, that the blood of Christ is never applied but through the medium of baptism. Is this a correct statement of your views?" Campbell replies: "It is very nearly a correct statement of my views" and refers them to his extra [MH, 1 (1830): 357].

[10]This would explain why Acts 2:38 was quoted at his immersion, see Richardson, Memoirs, I:397. Baptism was simply a sign of the remission of sins that Campbell had previously received as a believer in Jesus (even though a Presbyterian until 1812).

[11]MH, 6 (1835): 419. The reimmersion controversy centered around Dr. John Thomas. Chapter 6 of this book treats this controversy in its historical context and great detail. The purpose here is simply to systematize Campbell's thinking. [12]MH, 6 (1835): 419-420.

[13]MH, 7 (1836): 58.

[14]MH, 3 (1832): 120.

[15]MH, 3 (1832): 120.

[16]MH, 3 (1832): 121. In response to the question of whether his position detracts from the importance of the Biblical design of baptism, he states, "Not in the least. It stands true that is is its proper meaning. The not understanding of this institution has prevented many christians from enjoying its benefits; but the not understanding it does not make them aliens from the kingdom of Jesus."

[17]MH, 1 (1830), Extra: 17. J. A. Harding in his debate with the Baptist Dwight L. Moody referred to his opponent as "my erring brother" (Nashville Debate, p. 78; cf. p. 240). But in his debate with the unimmersed Methodist Nichols, he refers to him as "Mr. Nichols." Harding, however, did admit that "doubtless there are immersed Methodists who are entitled to the name Christian" (p. 79). Harding's views on rebaptism are summarized by Lloyd C. Sears, The Eyes of Jehovah: The Life and Faith of James Alexander Harding (Nashville: Gospel Advocate, 1970), pp. 177-183.

[18]MH, 6 (1835): 418.

[19]MH, 6 (1835): 418.

[20]MH, 3 (1832): 121. [21]MH, 3 (1832): 119. Campbell gives another example for illustration. In buying a piece of property John was only concerned with the agricultural value of the land, but later he discovered gold on it. Must he now renegotiate the sale? Cf. MH, 2 (1831): 483.

[22]MH, 2 (1831), Extra: 4.

[23]MH, 3 (1832): 123.

[24]MH, 3 (1832): 223.

[25]MH, 2 (1831): 483.

[26]Interestingly, this was, in fact, practiced by some. For instance, Dasher, one of the leaders of the Restoration Movement in Georgia, was immersed several times on this very basis. Cf. John Mills, Hans Christian Dasher (Th.M. thesis, Alabama Christian School of Religion, 1980).

[27]MH, 2 (1831): 483.

[28]MH, 3 (1832): 318: "Now does it not appear that in your own style, christians may be spoken to as not believing all that Jesus said, and yet not worthy to be unchristianized and treated as aliens."

[29]MH, 2 (1831): 482.

[30]This whole argument is set forth in a rather detailed fashion by David Lipscomb, "What Constitutes Acceptable Obedience?" in Salvation From Sin, ed. by J. W. Shepherd (Nashville: McQuiddy, 1913), pp. 208-234.

[31]MH, 6 (1835), p. 419.

[32]MH, 3 (1832): 120.

[33]The Campbell-Rice Debate (Lexington, KY: A.T. Skillman & Son, 1844), p. 835. This statement by Campbell must be balanced by the fact that he does not disavow the validity of necessary inferences, i.e., logical implications.

[34]The Campbell-Rice Debate, p. 809, cf. pp. 797, 811.

[35]MH, 2 (1831): 484, 485.

[36]MH, 6 (1836): 59.

[37]MH, 3 (1832): 319.

[38]MH, 7 (1836): 229.

[39]MH, 6 (1835): 565.

[40]MH. 7 (1836): 230.

[41]Richardson, MH, 7 (1836): 428.

[42]MH, 2 (1831): 482.

[43]MH, 2 (1831): 481.

[44]MH, 6 (1835): 567.

[45]MH, 6 (1835): 83,84.

[46]MH, 3 (1832): 123. The other most prominent member of the Restoration Movement, Barton W. Stone, was in agreement with Campbell on this point. Cf. Christian Messenger, 7 (July 1833): 140; 8 (January 1834): 23, 24).

[47]MH, 3 (1832): 122.

[48]MH, 6 (1835): 567.

[49]MH, 7 (1836): 58. Here Campbell is answering the writings of Dr. John Thomas. Thomas had wondered whether Campbell believed that Baptist baptisms based upon mere "experiences" in a revival would be sufficient faith. See chapter 6 of this book for a detailed discussion of their controversy.

[50]MH, 6 (1835): 567.

[51]MH, 7 (1836): 63.


[53]MH, 6 (1835): 418.

[54]MH, 3 (1832): 263, 264.

[55]MH, 8 (1837): 411.

[56]MH, 8 (1837): 563. This may account for the reason why Campbell could regard himself as saved before his immersion

[57]MH, 8 (1837): 412.

[58]MH, 3 (1832): 119. Campbell's view of the objective nature of the baptismal event is detailed in chapter 4 of this book. [59]MH, 8 (1837): 563.

[60]MH, 8 (1837): 564.

[61]MH, 8 (1837): 563. [62]MH, 7 (1836): 62.

[63]MH, 3 (1832): 304.

[64]Campbell-Rice Debate, pp. 519-20. Interestingly, J.W. McGarvey apparently retained this concept. In an article entitled "Justification by Faith" in Lard's Quarterly, III:129, he writes: "Faith has never been so imputed, except when it has developed itself in some outward expression. Unless it be in some exceptional cases, like that of the thief on the cross, where no work of faith could be performed, it has been requisite that some such work should be done."

[65]MH, 8 (1837): 413.

[66]MH, 7 (1836): 62.

[67]MH, 7 (1836): 61.

[68]MH, 7 (1836): 62.

[69]MH, 8 (1837): 414.

[70]Campbell-Rice Debate, p. 785.

[71]MH, 7 (1836): 62.

[72]MH, 7 (1836): 63.

[73]MH, 8 (1837): 410ff. What is often ignored must be remembered here. The Lunenburg letter was an attempt of a pro-Thomas antagonist to put Campbell on the defensive with his own people. (They were, by the way, quite successful.) Campbell knew the letter to have arisen from the Thomas camp, and consequently his response was polemic in nature. This background sets the letter in its original context, and gives a fresh perspective to its contents. See chapter 6 for an extensive discussion of the historical background of this letter.

[74]MH, 8 (1837): 506.

[75]MH, 8 (1837): 562.

p76]MH, 8 (1837): 561.

[77]MH, 8 (1837): 411.

[78]This has most recently been done by Leroy Garrett, Stone-Campbell Movement (Joplin, Missouri: College Press, 1981), pp. 193, 194, who sees a certain inconsistency within Campbell's view. While one may agree or disagree with Campbell, it is possible to view Campbell as internally consistent. See also Garrett, pp. 578-586.

[79]MH, 11 (1840): 164.

[80]MH, 3 (1832): 360.

[81]MH, 8 (1837): 568.

[82]MH, 8 (1837): 411.

[83]The Disciples of Christ (St. Louis, Christian Board of Publication, 1948), p. 389.

[84]MH, 8 (1837): 566.

[85MH, 8 (1837): 566.

[86]MH, 8 (1837): 567.

[87]MH, 8 (1837): 508.

[88]MH, 11 (1840): 128.

[89]MH, 11 (1840): 164.

[90]MH, 8 (1837): 272.

[91]MH, 7 (1836): 57, 58.

[92]MH, 3 (1832): 362.

[93]MH, 3 (1832), p. 263.

[94]MH, 3 (1832): 362-363.

[95]Campbell-Rice Debate, p. 810.

[96]B.W. Stone, Christian Messenger 5 (1831): 180-85, 241-57.

[97]MH, 2 (1831): 372.

[98]MH, 2 (1831): 392. Interestingly, Stone later changed his mind on this question of exclusivism, cf. Christian Messenger, 14 (September 1844): 129-134.

[99]MH, 6 (1835): 18, 19.

[100]MH, 2 (1831): 392, 393.

[101]Thomas Henley & Temple Walker, MH, 9 (1838): 88, 89.

First published in Baptism and the Remission of Sins: An Historical Perspective, edited by David Fletcher (Joplin, MO: College Press, 1990), pp. 171-202.


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