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Is it Discourteous to Call a Child by the Name of his Father?
By Elder W. F. Lowe, First Moderator
Graves County (KY) Baptist Association
      We clip the following from the Examiner: "What is the custom of Baptists in taking in Campbellites in our Baptist Churches? - S. W. W." To which the editor makes the following answers "By Campbellites, we suppose our friend means Disciples; why not say so? They repudiate the name Campbellite and it is discourteous to call fellow Christians by names that they disallow." We have no idea that S. W. W. had any thought of being discourteous when he said "Campbellites;" he simply wished to be understood, and believed in calling things by the right name. "Disciples" is not a distinctive name; Jesus Christ has disciples among others besides the Campbellites; I suppose it would be discourteous to call these people disciples in Kentucky, where they call themselves Christians; the writer remembers well when they called themselves Reformers; they then considered it very discourteous to be called by any other name than Reformers; the truth is, all this confusion and trouble about the name grows out of the repudiation of their own name. It certainly is very discourteous for a child to repudiate the name of his father; of this the Campbellite Church is guilty. Alexander Campbell is as certainly the father of the Campbellite Church as Zebedee was the father of his children; this no one will question, except his own children, who have repudiated his name. Before the days of Alexander Campbell there was not a Campbellite Church in existence; it is vain to look for such a thing; he is the father of the whole thing, and it is not discourteous to call his followers Campbellites; they are known in history since they were originated by Alexander Campbell as Campbellites, and that Alexander Campbell is the head and founder of that people.

      The immortal Henry Clay recognized Campbell as the head and founder of the Campbellite Church. Alexander Campbell went on a tour to Europe and carried with him a recommendation from Henry Clay; among other things which Clay says we find the following: "He is distinguished as the head and founder of one of the most important and respectable religious communities in the United States." Campbell regarded himself as head and founder of his church, from the fact he endorsed this letter by carrying it with him. Alexander Campbell being head and founder of his church, it certainly is not discourteous; we are honor bound to do so; to do otherwise is to ignore the facts in the case and dishonor Christ; it is much more discourteous and dishonoring for them to repudiate and disown the name of the head and founder of their church; doubtless prophecy makes mention of these things: "In that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, we will eat our own bread and wear our own apparel, only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach." (Isaiah 4:1). The name, the name, that is what we want. "We will eat our own bread," that is, we can live without you. We need no spiritual food or grace; "We wear our own apparel." We have our own righteousness; "Only let us be called by thy name;" Christians or Disciples, this will take away our reproach. The doctrines of Campbellism are a reproach to Christ and to the world, and need to be taken away, but simply to wear the name of Christian or Disciples will never take away this reproach; it may answer as a passport to favor and thereby deceive and ensnare men with their false doctrines. Don't be deceived by the name. Jesus says: "Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name, and in Thy name have cast out devils, and in Thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you; depart from Me ye that work iniquity." "Only let us be called by Thy name, to take away our reproach."


[From William Francis Lowe, Autobiography and Writings, n.d., chapter XXX. Document provided by Ben Stratton, Farmington, KY. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

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