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Kentucky Baptist History
By William D. Nowlin

The Campbellian Split -- 1830

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We have now reached an important point in Kentucky Baptist History - "The Current Reformation." It is not the author's purpose in this chapter to deliver a blow at Campbellism, but to give a fair statement of an important chapter in Kentucky Baptist history. As will be seen from the following facts a definite separation has taken place between the Baptists and the Disciples by the close of 1830.

Thomas Campbell left Scotland for the United States the eighth day of April, 1807, and Alexander Campbell, his son, together with the family, sailed for the United States September 28,1808, "but the vessel in which the family had embarked being shipwrecked off the Irish coast, the family returned to Europe and Alexander entered the University of Glasgow November 8, the same year, and remained until the close of the university session the following May, 1809 (pp. 130 and 190). The following August, the same year, Alexander, together with the family, again started for the United States, and landed in New York September 29, 1809, and shortly after reached Washington, Pa., in time to read and approve the 'Declaration and Address,' as the constitution of the Christian Association was called, which was then issuing from the press. (Mem. A. C., Vol. I, pp. 195 and 205)." Taken from "Origin of Campbellism," page 15.

Thus in 1809 we find Alexander Campbell in the United States. It is not the author's purpose to follow Mr. Campbell in founding and developing a new sect, but to notice his life and labors as they touch and affect the history of Kentucky Baptists. Mr. Campbell began preaching in Kentucky as early as 1823, and by 1830 there was a definite separation between
the Baptists and the Disciples, as they called themselves. The labors of Mr. Campbell were begun in Kentucky as a Baptist, and in Baptist churches. In this way Mr. Campbell ingratiated himself into the favor of the Baptists before they learned that he had been called to re-establish "the ancient order of things." Spencer in his "History of Kentucky Baptists" (Vol. I, p. 581) on "The Rise of Campbellism" says:
"The Baptist denomination in Kentucky was probably never more prosperous than in the year 1820. The churches and associations were enjoying great peace, if we except a slight interruption of the correspondence between Licking and Elkhorn Associations, and the existence of the South Kentucky and Nolynn Associations of Separate Baptists, which did not correspond with the other associations in the state. The spirit of missions had been greatly revived and the churches were contributing more liberally to foreign missions than those of any other portion of the United States. They had at this period a corps of ministers who, in all the elements of success, ranked favorably with any on the continent. Wm. C. Warfield, Wm. Warder, Isaac Hodgin, Jeremiah Vardeman, George Waller, Silas M. Noel, Walter Warder and Wm. Vaughan, all brought into the ministry on the soil of Kentucky, were men of eminent ability, piety and usefulness. Besides these, there were many preachers of less note, who were eminent for piety, zeal and usefulness. With these advantages, and with a membership exceeding in numbers that of all other denominations combined, their prospects for the future were peculiarly hopeful.

"The general revival that was just closing had produced no schisms or discords. Yet the enemy had sown tares among the wheat that were destined to yield an abundant harvest. Some bad leaven had been introduced, which was destined to work disastrous consequences. The opposition to missions, theological schools, and, indeed, all benevolent societies,

had already exhibited itself. Taylor, Parker and some others had taken the alarm, and sounded the tocsin of war. Suspicion was excited among the churches,. and the spirit of missions began to subside, especially among the llliterate and uninformed. While avarice was not by any means, the principal cause of opposition to missons and other benevolent enterprises, it doubtless added strength to it. Taylor was not persistent in his opposition; Parker, Nuckols and others were. But soon there arose another opponent to benevolent enterprises, whose brilliancy eclipsed all other lights, and whose infuence among the Baptists of Kentucky was destined to exert greater evil among them than that of any other man of his generation. This was Alexander Campbell, then and during the remainder of his life, a resident of Brook County, Virginia. For a time, after he commenced his career as editor of a popular religious periodical, he gave his influence principally to opposing missions, Bible and Tract Societies, and Theological. Schools, and to curtailing the influence and pecuniary support of Christian ministers, whom he styled 'the kingdom of the clergy,' and to bringing into discredit the doctrines and practices of the principal religious sects of the country."
In August, 1823, Mr. Campbell began the publication of a monthly paper which he called The Christian Baptist, and in October of the same year he debated with W. L.McCalla,. Presbyterian, at Washington,. Mason County, Kentucky, on baptism.. But to understand the "Current Reformation" in Kentucky we must take up the life and labors of Barton W. Stone, and to understand Stone's movements we must take some notice of the great revival. From the Memoirs of Wm. Vaughan (121 ff) we get the following informing account of Barton Stone's movement.

"In the year 1796 a very eloquent Presbyterian preacher by the name of McGready immigrated to Logan County, Kentucky, and was settled as pastor over two churches known as Red and Muddy River.
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These churches were in a cold back-slidden condition, and of this he writes with sadness. We quote his own words:
"Our infant congregations remained in a state of deadness and darkness from the fall, through the winter and until the month of July, 1799. On Monday the power of. God seemed to fill the congregation. The boldest, daring sinners in the county covered their faces and wept bitterly. After the congregation was dismissed, a large number of people remained about the doors, unwilling to go away. Some of the ministers proposed to me to collect the people in the meeting house again and perform prayer with them. The mighty power of God came among us like a shower from the everlasting hills! God's people were quickened and comforted; sinners were powerfully alarmed, and some precious souls were brought to feel the pardoning love of Jesus. Gasper River, the following August, was the scene of a deep religious interest. After the sermon the pastor gave a solemn exhortation. The people for some time kept their seats, while a deep solemnity prevailed throughout the congregation. Some cried out aloud and many fell on the ground and laid there, groaning, praying and crying for mercy. Not long after this a deep religious interest was awakened along the banks of the Ohio."
Further Mr. Vaughan says: "'In July,' says Mr. McGready, 'multitudes crowded from all parts of the country, to see a strange work from the distance of forty, fifty and even a hundred miles. Whole families came in their wagons; between twenty and thirty wagons were brought to the place, loaded with people and their provisions, in order to encamp at the meeting house. Of many instances I shall mention one of a little girl. I stood by her while she lay across her mother's lap, almost in despair. I was conversing with her when the first gleam of light broke in upon her mind. She started to her feet; and in an ecstacy of joy she cried out: "'Oh, what a sweet Christ he is!" etc. Then turning around she adddressed
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sinners and told them of the glory and willingness and preciousness of Christ, and pleaded with them to repent.'

"This was the first camp-meeting. The excitement continued and the Methodists, always more or less enthusiastic, joined in and fanned the flame. It ran from settlement to settlement until the whole country was in a blaze. The people were amazed; vice hid her head and infidelity hushed its babbling mouth.

"This religious excitement was communicated to Northern Kentucky in the following manner; Barton W. Stone, who was pastor of two Presbyterian, congregations, in Bourbon county, and which, like many other churches in the state, were in a condition of great coldness and deadness, hearing of the revival in Southern Kentucky and in Tennessee, under the labors of James McGready and other Presbyterian ministers, was very anxious to be among them, and early in the spring of 1801, he went there to attend a camp-meeting. He will give, in his own language, a description of the scene:

"'The scene to me was passing strange. It baffled description. Many, very many, fell down as men slain in battle, and continued for hours together in an apparently breathless and motionless state; sometimes, for a few moments, recovering and exhibiting symptoms of life by a groan or a piercing shriek or by a prayer for mercy, most fervently uttered. After lying thus for hours, they obtained deliverance. I observed with critical attention every thing that passed. After attending to many such cases, my conviction was complete that it was a good work - the work of God - nor has my mind wavered since on the subject.'

"Stone returned to Cane Ridge, in Bourbon, carrying with him the intelligence of the wonderful revival in Logan County. The work commenced there immediately. He preached in the morning and a deep solemnity prevailed. At night two little girls were affected in a way precisely: similar to those in Logan
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County, and the next morning, as Mr. Stone returned to Cane Ridge, he was met by a prominent citizen, shouting praise to God. He says: 'In less than twenty minutes scores had fallen to the ground; paleness, trembling and anxiety appeared on all. They found peace in the Lord.' The effects of this meeting were electric. Men, women and children were in a prefect fever with excitement, the like of which was never known before. Following the example of the people in Southern Kentucky, it was resolved to hold a camp-meeting at Cane Ridge, and thus facilitate the good work already begun. This meeting was noted for the numbers that attended it, and the wild scenes that were then enacted. Here Mr. Stone agan:

"This memoriable meeting came on Thursday and Friday before the third Lord's day in August, 1801. The roads were literally crowded with wagons, carriages, horsemen, moving to the solemn camp. The sight was affecting. It was judged by military men on the ground that there were between twenty and thirty thousand collected. Four or five preachers were frequently speaking at the same time at different parts of the encampment, without confusion.'" Continuing Mr. Vaughan says (p. 128):

From this there was a division among the Presbyterians. Those who were opposed to the extravagancies of the revivalists formed one party, and those in favor of them the other. The differences between these two parties were sharp and well-defined. The excitement ran high. Criminatioin and recrimination were the order of the day. Those who headed the revival movement were Barton W. Stone, Robert Marshall, John Thompson, Richard McNemar and John Dunlevy. They abandoned the old land-marks as set forth in their confession of faith, and their fundamental doctrines were 'Rational belief and war to the death on all creeds, systems, and confessions of faith.' McNemar, one of the eladers, has thus written: 'They adopted a very different faith, and taught as
[p. 84]
an important truth that the will of God was made manifest to each individual who humbly sought after it, by an inward light shone into the heart.' They were therefore called 'New Lights.'

"Barton W. Stone, the acknowledged leader of this party, renounced the doctrines of Calvinism and proclaimed on every side that Christ died for all men, and that all can be saved on the same terms. He and his party also urged that men had the same ability to believe as to disbelieve in Christ. These and other doctrines which they held and proclaimed were indirect opposition to the Confession of Faith; but they had become so popular that the church courts for awhile were afraid to deal with them. But at length Richard McNemar was summoned before the Springfield Presbytery, so called because it met in Springfield, Ohio, and the following specifications of heresy were preferred against him:
" '1. He reprobated the idea of sinners attempting to pray, or: being exhorted thereto, before they were believers in Christ.
" '2. He has condemned those who urge that convictions are necessary, or that prayer is proper in the sinner.
" '3. He has expressly declared at several times that Christ has purchased salvation for all the human race without distinction.
" '4. He has expressly declared that the sinner has power to believe Christ at any time.
" '5. That the sinner has as much power to act faith as to act unbelief; and reprobated every idea in contradiction thereto, held by persons of a contrary opinion.
" '6. He has expressly said that faith consisted in the creature's persuading himself assuredly that Christ died for him in particular; that doubting and examining into evidences of faith were inconsistent with and contrary to the nature of faith; and in order to establish these sentiments, he explained away these words: 'Faith is the gift of God,' by
[p. 85]
saying that Jesus Christ is the object of faith there meant, and not faith itself, and also these words: 'No man cometh to me except the Father who sent me draw him,' by saying that the drawing there meant was Christ offered in the gospel, and that the Father knew no other drawing, or higher power than holding up his Son in the gospel.'

"Mr. McNemar acknowledged that he held these doctrines, except the first part of the sixth article. The above charges will give the reader an idea of the; peculiar views at that time held by the 'New Lights'!

"From the Springfield Presbytery, the case was brought before the Synod at Lexington, Kentucky, in the fall of 1803, Stone and his party seeing that the decision of the Presbytery in regard to McNemar would be sustained, met in council, drew up a formal protest, presented it to the Synod, and then withdrew from the authority of that body. After a fruitless effort to bring these men back into the fold, they solemnly suspended Barton W. Stone, Richard McNemar, Robert Marshall, John Thompson and John Dunlevy, and declared their pulpits vacant. These men formed themselves into what they called the 'Springfield Presbytery.' 'From this period,' says Stone, 'I date the commencement of that reformation which has progressed to this day.' He wrote this in 1843.

"Shortly after their suspension they were joined by two other ministers, Mathew Houston and David Purviance. In June, 1804, they issued a document styled, 'The last will and testament of the Springfield Presbytery,' in which they set forth a synopsis of their doctrines, and forever dissolved the Presbytery. They threw away all creeds and adopted the simple name Christian, by which they wished to be designated. They urged all Christians to follow their example, to emancipate themselves from all confessions of faith and unite with them on the Bible. They were progressive. When first started they believed
[p. 86]
in infant baptism, and that sprinkling was the proper act of baptism. After this they rejected the doctrine of infant baptism and proclaimed immersion as the only mode. And following quick upon this they promulgated the dogma of baptism for the remission of sins.

"When they united with the reformation in 1830 their number is not known, but in 1812, according to Doctor Benedict, they numbered 40 churches, 40 ministers and about 5000 members.

"Mr. Stone and his followers held many views in common with Mr. Campbell; in fact they were substantially the same, and consequently he and his adherents had no great difficulty in effecting with them a fundamental union. Although they originated long before Mr. Campbell developed his views, yet the substance of the Campbellite theory was in their doctrines; and the commencement of this sect may well be called the rise of the Current Reformation."

Thus it will be observed that Mr. Stone was considerably in advance of Mr. Campbell in his "Reformation" Stone dating from 1803, while Campbell joined the Baptists in 1812, and was excluded from Baptist fellowship 1829.

The starting of the Christian Baptist gave Mr. Campbell a great opportunity. Quoting again from Memoirs of Wm. Vaughan (pp. 161, 162, 163):
"Campbellism now began to assume a definite form. All over Northern and Central Kentucky Mr. Campbell had his adherents, and they read, as devoutly as Moslem ever read his Koran, the Christian Baptist. Week after week it paid its welcome visits, bringing light and comfort and joy. Mr. Campbell's interpretations of scripture were regarded as infallible, and they were relied upon with implicit confidence. They had learned a new speech, no longer, speaking the language of Ashdod. They were right, and that they knew full well, for they went by the 'book.' Half-grown boys and girls were thoroughly imbued with the spirit of the Great Reformer, and

[p. 87]
were ready at all times to discuss with you the peculiar doctrines of the ancient gospel. The veil was lifted, and they could explain anything in the Bible. . . .

"The friends of Mr. Campbell were very busy in the dissemination of their principles. From the great leader at Bethany to the boy of fifteen summers there was unceasing activity. Everyone of them was full of light and knowledge, and their hearts burned within them to communicate their doctrines to others. Whenever an opportunity presented itself, either in public or in private, they were discussing the topics suggested and developed in the Christian Baptist. They were as strong as Samson, who slew a thousand Philistines with the jaw-bone of an ass; they felt that one could chase a thousand and two could put ten thousand to flight.

"Their numbers increased, and some were found in almost every Baptist Church in the state, at least in Northern and Central Kentucky. The turbulent and disaffected were drawn into their ranks, also many amiable and excellent people, who had not given the subject a thorough investigation, or who, from the ambiguity of Mr. Campbell's position, were unable to distinguish between truth and error. Campbellism raged like an epidemic in many parts of the country. The people were wild. There was strife and discord in the churches. Bitter feelings were engendered and hostile parties were arrayed one against the other. The humble, pious, peace-loving members mourned over the desolations of Zion, and by the rivers of Babylon they sat down and wept. Such men as Walter Warder, William Warder, Silas M. Noel, John Taylor and John S. Wilson saw the evils that beset our churches; but they wept and labored on. They saw the storm that was gathering - they felt that the danger was imminent - but they hardly knew what to do. They did not see how they could beat back the tide that seemed to be sweeping all before it. They appeared to be paralyzed, and

[p. 88]
especially was thi& the case with Walter Warder and Jeremiah Vardeman. They thought it would be more prudent to modify and direct the course of the Reformation than to give it a direct and decided opposition. . . .

"They prayed for the peace of Jerusalem and for a season of refreshing from on high. They had waited long for a blessing, and at length God heard their prayer and the revival began. In the fall of 1827 the good work commenced. Ministers preached with unusual fervency and power and the people listened with deep interest, and large congregations assembled everywhere to hear the gospel. In the following winter and spring there were large additions to the churches. The brethren were so much absorbed in the revival, so overjoyed on account of the success of the gospel, that the Campbellite controversy was forgotten for a season. All over the state there was a glorious work of grace - such a revival as had not been witnessed since the great awakening of 1803. The Reformers who were still in the Baptist churches labored hard to bring over the young converts to their peculiar views. Shortly after their conversion, and while their hearts were warm and tender and easy impressed, they used every effort to instill their notions into their young minds. The older ministers were unsuspecting and off their guard, and before they were aware of it many had embraced the doctrine of Mr. Campbell. While the Presbyterians were the sufferers in the revival of 1803, the Baptists were the especial sufferers in the revival of 1827-28."
In the life of T. J. Fisher, (p. 56) by Spencer is this statement:
"The germ of what is now known as Campbellism was published in a series of letters, addressed by Robert Sandeman, of Perth, Scotland, to Mr. Hervey, about A. D. 1757. He claimed that 'justifying faith' is 'the bare belief of the bare truth.' His system is known in England as 'Sandemanianism.' In his writings he was exceedingly bitter against all opposing doctrines, and particularly bitter

[p. 89]
and sarcastic in writing against the ministers of the Kirk of Scotland. He spent the last seven years of his life in New England, where, after organizing a few small societies, he died, at Danbury, Connecticut, A. D. 1771. His doctrines seemed to die with him. But near A. D. 1800, Barton W. Stone (and others) began, in a confused manner, to hold forth the doctrine of Sandemanianism; but, being unsuited for the work of a reformer, he made little progress, until Mr. Campbell, in his rapid changes from Hyper-calvinism to the extreme of modern Arminianism, embraced Mr. Stone's doctrine, and added to it the doctrine that 'baptism is essential to salvation.'"
The heart of Campbellism is given in the following quotations. Dr. J. B. Jeter in his "Campbellism Examined and Re-examined" (p. 193), quotes from Campbell's "Christian System" (p. 233), the follow[ing] - which is the very heart of Campbellism:
'There are three births, three kingdoms, and three salvations. One from the womb of our first mother, one from the water, and one from the grave. We enter a new world on, and not before each birth. The present animal life, at the first birth; the spiritual, or the life of God in our souls, at the second birth; and the life eternal in the presence of God, at the third birth. And he who dreams of entering the second kingdom, or coming under the dominion of Jesus without the second birth, may, to complete his error, dream of entering the kingdom of glory without a resurrection from the dead.'
Then again (page 196) Dr. Jeter quotes from "Christian System" as follows: '" Whatever the act of faith may be, it necessarily becomes the line of discrimination between the two states before described. On this side, and on that mankind are in quite different states. On the one side, they are pardoned, justified, sanctified, reconciled, adopted, and saved; on the other, they are in a state of condemnation. This act is sometimes called immersion, regeneration, conversion,' "Christian System," p. 193.
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'These expressions,' (immersed, converted, regenerated), 'in the apostle's style, denote the same act,' p. 203. 'For if immersion be equivalent to regeneration, and regeneration be of the same import with being born again, then being born again and being immersed, are the same thing.' p. 200." Also page 194, "Campbellism Examined and Re-examined" quoting "Christian System" p. 202. "The Holy Spirit calls nothing personal regeneration except the act of immersion."

It will be seen that Mr. Campbell in these statements does not teach baptismal regeneration. That is, he does not teach that regeneration takes place in connection with the act of baptism, but that baptism is itself regeneration. There can be no mistaking his language here. So baptism is not the condition, nor a condition of regeneration, but is itself regeneration, and the Holy Spirit calls nothing else regeneration. That's simon pure Campbeliism -- "Be dipped or be damned."

The separation between the Baptists and the "Reformers" in Baptist Churches now began. The best account we have found of this separation is given in the Memoirs of Wm. Vaughn (page 170ff) as follows:
"Alexander Campbell, when he withdrew from the Redstone Association, united with the Mahoning Association, of Ohio. Through his influence that body became thoroughly imbued with the doctrines of the Reformation, and on that account the Beaver Association, of Pennsylvania, in August, 1829, withdrew from her all fellowship on the ground that she had departed from the fundamental principles of the gospel. A copy of these resolutions was sent to Rev. Silas M. Noel, D. D., of Frankfort, Kentucky, and the church at that place immediately sent up a request to the Franklin Association, which was about to assemble at the Forks of Elkhorn meeting-house, in Woodford county, that the charges of Beaver against the Reformers should be indorsed and published by the

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association. Franklin, after due consideration, not only complied with the request, but advised all the churches in her connection to follow the course pursued by the Beaver Association and discountenance the errors of Campbellism. These errors and corruptions were set forth in the following terms:

" '1. They, the Reformers, maintain that there is no promise of salvation without baptism.
" '2. That baptism should be administered to all who say that they believe that Jesus is the Son of God, without examination on any other point.
"'3. That there is no direct operation of the Holy Spirit on the mind prior to baptism.
" '4. That baptism procures the remission of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit.
" '5. That the Scriptures are the only evidence of interest in Christ.
" '6. That obedience places it in God's power to elect to salvation.
" '7. That no creed is necessary for the church but the Scriptures as they stand; and,
" '8. That all baptized persons have the right to administer the ordinance of baptism.' "

"These resolutions were sent to the South Benson Church, Franklin County, Kentucky, where there was a considerable party in favor of Mr. Campbell, and after a lengthy discussion between George Waller on the one side and Jacob Creath, Sr., on the other, they were spread upon the records of the church. The minority was so much incensed by this action that they met and, with the assistance of Jacob Creath, Sr., and his nephew, Jacob Creath, Jr., constituted themselves into another church. The majority, regarding this matter as schismatic, at their regular meeting in February, 1830, unanimously excluded them from the Baptist Church at South Benson.

"The work of separation had begun in earnest. A called meeting of the North District Association was held at Lulbegrud, Montgomery County, and Thomas Boone was chosen moderator. A committee was appointed

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to examine the records, correspondence, decisions and reports of the North District Association from the day of its constitution, in 1802, to its last session at Unity in 1829, and to report such results as they might deem to be of interest to the council. In due time the committee made the required examination and reported in substance as follows:

" '1. That the constitution of the North District Association makes it the duty of the association to have a watch care over the churches and gives it the right to withdraw from such as act disorderly.
" '2. That the association exercised this watch care over both churches and preachers until their session at Cane Spring, in 1827.
" '3. They find that at that association, Lulbegrud complained of a new mode of breaking the bread when administering and receiving the Lord's Supper; but the association neglected to notice the conduct of such churches.
" '4. They find also that in the year of 1829, Goshen complains to the association of new forms of words adopted and used in the administration of baptism, etc.; and yet, though the church requested it, no attention was paid to the request.
" '5. They find also that Cane Spring complained to the association, in the same year, and no attention was paid to her complaint.
" '6. In 1829, Lulbegrud again complains that in consequence of changes taking place among the churches, respecting the administering and receiving of the Lord's Supper and other matters, she should not commune; and yet no attention was paid to her complaint.'

"This meeting then adjourned to meet at Goshen on the fourth Saturday in June following. Elder David Chenault was elected moderator and James French, clerk. The following questions were then raised and promptly answered.

" '1. Has North District, by abandoning the

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supervisorship of the churches and preachers, departed from its constitution? Answered in the affirmative.
" '2. Has a church, that takes upon itself the right to introduce and practice usages, unknown among the churches of Elkhorn and South Kentucky Associations at the time of their union, departed from the constitution and gone out of the union? Answered in the affirmative.

" 'Our reasons,' said they, 'for deciding that North District Association has departed from its constitution are contained in the proceedings of the meeting at Lulbegrud in April last. In point of doctrine these departures from what was believed in the churches of either Elkhorn or South Kentucky Association, at the time of their union, are so entire that to attempt an illustration throughout would be too long and tedious a writing. They even deny the special operation of the Spirit in quickening the dead sinner. And by way of ridicule they ask: "Where did the Spirit hit you? Was it on the shoulder or under the fifth rib?"

" 'As to departures from church usage, they are so general that if anyone thing in church customs, as practiced in the churches of Elkhorn and South Kentucky Associations, at the time of their union, remains unchanged, we know not what it is. Constituting churches, ordaining preachers, eating the Lord's Supper, words of baptism, the action of putting under the water in baptism -- all are varied. Can it be thought strange that these innovations, all beating on the churches at once, should produce distress, confusion and schisms.'

" 'We have not the space to give all these proceedings at length, but before they adjourned, by resolution they declared themselves withdrawn from all churches that had departed, as before alleged; but that their fellowship was not to be considered broken with their ministers or individual members who were content with the former usages of the churches.

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"The course pursued by the North District Association was soon followed by other associations. Franklin took decided ground against the innovations of the Reformers. Mr. Noel presented a circular letter, from which we make the following extract:

" 'As an association we shall deem it our duty to drop correspondence with any and every association or church where this heresy is tolerated. Those who say they are not Campbellites, and yet. countenance and circulate his little pamphlets, are insincere -- they are to be avoided. When they say they are perseucuted because they "will not swallow the Philadelphia Confession of Faith," you are not to believe it, for no church has called one of them in question on that point, so far as we know. It is not so much their objection to this book as our objection to their confession of faith that makes the difference.'

"This letter was adopted by the association and ordered to be printed and circulated among the churches of that body.

"Elkhorn next showed herself true to the 'faith once delivered unto the saints.' She met on the second Saturday in August, 1830, with the church at Silas, Bourbon County, and, after much violent opposition on the part of the Campbellites, adopted the following resolutions:

" '1. That the church at Versailles be dropped from further correspondence with this association, for; non-conformity to the rules, and for receiving into her membership a preacher, Jacob Creath, Jr., who in faith and practice departed from her constitution, and who has taken part in constituting minorities who also have thus departed.'

"North District Association had split in twain, and each party was present with letters and messengers, and each one claiming to be the legitimate body. John Smith represented the Campbellites, and Reuben McDonald and others the Orthodox party.

"The question now arose: 'Which body of Baptists shall be recognized by Elkhorn as the North District

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Association?' Smith fought hard for a seat, but the association adopted the following resolutions:

" 'Whereas, it appears that two communications from North District have been sent to this association, showing that a split has taken place in that body:
" 'Resolved, Therefore, that the ten churches, which met in council at Goshen meeting house, on the fourth Saturday in June, 1830, and in their minutes declare that the rest of the churches have departed from her constitution in faith and practice, be recognized as the North District Association, and that our correspondence be continued with them as heretofore.'

"Then followed the meeting of the Tate's Creek Association, which occurred on the fourth Saturday in August, 1830. The messengers composing this body unanimously resolved to withdraw all fellowship from every church and association that favored the Campbellite heresy.

"Within the Bracken Assocjation matters had come to a crisis. May's Lick Church was in confusion. The members of this body who adhered to the grand old doctrines of the gospel determined that they would withdraw from the adherents of Mr. Campbell. They accordingly drew up and published the following resolution and protest, and thus compelled everyone to show his colors:

" 'Our church being in a state of painful confusion, resulting from attempts by Alexander Campbell and others to produce a reformation in society, as they have been in the habit of calling it -- among other things denying the direct influence of the Spirit until after baptism, contending that persons professing faith in Christ shall be baptized, for the purpose of actually receiving forgiveness of sins - denying and rather, ridiculing what we call Christian experience, in part at least, namely, a burdened heart on account of sin, and sensible manifestation of God's pardoning mercy by faith in the blood of Christ: Slandering the Baptist society by saying that they are in Babylon -- against which sentiments, and many others referred

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to by them, we solemnly protest; also against the conduct of the Campbells, Creaths, Smiths and others, who, in May, undertook to administer the Supper in our meeting house - a number of our brethren joining in that thing without the authority of the church - some, likely, without thinking of the wounds they were bringing on their brethren. Our brethren, a number of them, also, have been encouraging preachers to occupy our meeting house that many of us believe to be Arians, knowing they were trampling on our feelings, which we conceive to be contrary to good order. We have made every effort to place them and us on ground that we can live in some degree of peace, but in vain; and we are now compelled to adopt the following resolution:

"'That all of us whose names are hereunto subscribed, protesting as above named against the Reformation (falsely so called), are willing and determined to rally around the original constitution and covenant of the church, which has never been disannulled - associating them with the principles of the union batween the Regular and Separate Baptists - which were adopted by the Elkhorn Association when this church was a member of that body, and according to which we have acted ever since, which is a fact as relates to Baptists generally, thereby occupying precisely the same ground we did before the confused and confusing system of things that has destroyed our peace and the peace of many other churches among us, and that no person shall be considered a member of this church who will refuse to acknowledge the above by subscribing their names, or causing them to be subscribed, or who will encourage the above-named Reformers.'"

Thus the split occurred in the May's Lick Church; and Bethel, within the same association, also divided. The Bracken Association met in Washington, Mason County, on the first Saturday in September, 1830. This was one of great interest to both parties. The Reformers had been so active and busy that to a casual observer they seemed to be greatly in the majority.
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They were very anxious to remain in the denomination and control it. The period had now arrived when their comparative strength could be tested in the Bracken Association. When the ballots for moderator were counted Mr. Vaughan was declared elected. This was a test vote. And showed that the sttength of the denoinination still adhered to the ancient landmarks.

"Each party in the May's Lick Church presented a letter, each claiming to be the church; and so did the two parties of the Bethel Church. In regard to them the association made the following decision:

" '1. The church at May's Lick having divided, and each party presenting letters to the Association, claiming to be the original church;
" 'Resolved, That the majority be recognized as such; the minority having embraced a system of things called Reformation, thereby departing from the principles of the United Baptists in Kentucky and of the Association.

" '2. Two letters also having been received from the church at Bethel, both claiming to be the original church, and it appearing to the satisfaction of the association that the majority of the church have departed from the original principles of the United Baptists and of this association;
" 'Resolved, Therefore, that the minority be recognized as the church.'"

The above is a very vivid account of the struggle through which our brethren passed in freeing the churches from Campbellism.

In one case it is the majority that is right and in the other it is the minority. In his history of Franklin Associatlon, Spencer says, "In 1830, the Campbellite schism was consummated in this and all the surrounding fraternities" (Vol. II, p. 291). This fixes the date of the Campbellian split.

"Raccoon" John Smith, a conspicuous follower of Mr. Campbell, and a man of unusual native ability, made it his business to visit the association of Northern
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and Central Kentucky and oppose with all of his powers the separation when it was suggested.

Perhaps the reason for the strenuous opposition of the Campbellites to being separated from the Baptists was a feeling that they could make proselytes faster being on the inside than they could being on the outside. And, too, they may have felt that by holding off the separation for a while they would have a majority in practically all the churches and thus exclude the minority and take possession of the property, as they did in a few cases where they had the majority. The Baptists had to force the separation, and it would have been better for their cause had they forced it several years earlier.

Campbellism is strong as a proselyting force, but weak as an evangelizing force. Perhaps their great decline in membership within the last few years is due to the fact that they have largely abandoned the proselyting method. For the first half cntury of its existence Campbellism was almost wholly an ecclesiastical parasite. They built themselves up by tearing down others.

The Rev. W. C. Taylor, in his Biography of Elder Alfred Taylor (p. 51) says, in speaking of "a most fearful church trial" in Green River Church, that "Troubles never come single-handed. The wounds of internal dissension are not healed until that system come along which thrives best where there is the least vital religion. I refer to Campbellism. History abundantly testifies to this. Where a church is at peace and in the enjoyment of the fruits of the Holy Spirit, Campbellism is powerless to affect it for evil. But let a church become involved in petty strife and dissensions and there you will find the devil's prelude for the introduction of Campbellism. Thus it was at Green River. Satanic power having opened the way in the previous alienation, a son of A. Campbell enters in and proposes to complete the work of disintegration and destruction so effectually begun. Here they concentrated the Campbellite forces of the Green
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River country. Finding some material suited to their building they proceeded with its erection. After their utmost efforts to ruin the church of God at Green River, they could only boast of having 'stolen eight fat wethers from the Baptists.' As Paul contended with beasts at Ephesus so did Alfred Taylor at Green River." This is Campbellism in its beginning.

Another reason perhaps, for their declension is the fact that the disciples of Mr. Campbell have abandoned practically everything that Mr. Campbell brought in as a "Reformation." None of their educated ministers today will preach straight Campbellism - "Be dipped or be damned," or "The acceptance of one fact and the performance of one act procures salvation," or "The act of immersion is itself regeneration;" nor will they ridicule the operation of the Holy Spirit. They have also given up the name "Christian Church" and accepted as their official title, "Disciples of Christ." They no longer have any proselyting plea; nor have they any excuse for their separate existence, as they hold and teach nothing that is not taught by others with priority in their corporate existence.

[William D. Nowlin, Kentucky Baptist History, 1922, pp. 78-99. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

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