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James A. Kirtley's Comments on Campbellism
(From a portion of the Northbend Circular Letter for 1846)
     Nor do we esteem that system less dangerous, or less subversive of truth, which declares salvation to be the result of a series of works, or a course of external obedience. That remission of sins, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and eternal life, are the purchase of the sinner's obedience, in believing, reforming, and being baptised. A system whose zealous advocates promiscuously receive and reject the divinity of the Saviour, and not only deny the work of the spirit in quickening and renewing the heart, but unquestionably make the baptismal fount, the laver of regeneration. The novelty and variableness of such a system is its own condemnation. But a few years since, it sprang up in the fruitful and chimerical imagination of a self-esteemed, and party styled Luther of the nineteenth century. Its origin was begun with fearful paroxysms; its watch-word had been, down with all creeds, church forms, and orders; its progress has been marked by a copious ingathering of nominal professors, self-called, and self-appointed bishops; and now after the lapse of a quarter of a century it presents a lamentable multiplicity of crude notions, absurdly mingled together in the language of its federal head "every sort of doctrine by almost all sorts of preachers, under the broad banners and with the supposed sanction of the begun reformation!!!"

     The entire Northbend Circular Letter for 1846 may be accessed here,.


     William Montague was ordained June 8, 1817, and jointly labored with the other ministers of the church till in the spring of 1819, when he went into the organization of Sand Run Church. In this church, he labored for a few years, and then, being seduced by the novelties and sophistry of Alexander Campbell's system, slid into "the current reformation."

[From James A. Kirtley, History of Bullittsburg Church with Biographies, 1872, p. 17.]


      It was during these years that the recently organized sect, under the leadership of Alexander Campbell, made such desperate efforts to proselyte Baptists, and otherwise to dismember the Baptist churches of Kentucky. Some three or four members of this church embraced the heresy of Mr. Campbell; were promptly dealt with, and, after the first and second admonition, were excluded.

[From James A. Kirtley, History of Bullittsburg Church with Biographies, 1872, p. 24.]


R. E. Kirtley's Comments

      William Montague, who had been an ordained minister since June, 1817, laboring acceptably at Bullittsburg and at Sand Run from its organization, now became interested in the peculiar views of Alexander Campbell. The church heard him once and again in regard to his new proclivities, and after many questions and answers, supposed he had not declined from the faith of the Baptist[s], and expressed herself satisfied. He afterward obtained a letter of dismission from the church, and the records state he joined the Campbellites. The church considered his course disorderly, and withdrew fellowship from him.

[From R. E. Kirtley, History of Sand Run Baptist Church, 1876, 3rd section.]

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