Restoration History #6

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stained glass
stained glass at Cane Ridge commemorating the 1832 union of Christians & Disciples
with the handshake of Barton W. Stone and Raccoon John Smith

Barton Stone
  • Christian Churches
  • Churches of Christ
  •                 Alexander Campbell
  • Disciples of Christ
  • Much in Common

    "Why Aren’t We One?"

    Much in Contrast

    • Campbell was too rigid on certain doctrines.
    • Goal of reform was to return to the ancient gospel and order of things.
    • Restoring NT church order would reform the church and bring Christian unity.
    • Stone was too lax on doctrine.
    • Goal of reform was to create lives characterized by the spirit of Christ.
    • Christian freedom would yield virtues and then unity.

    Christology and Trinity

    • Stone opposed traditional understandings.
    • Jesus was Son of God and Savior; the Father exalted.
    • Christ was not equal to the Father.
    • Campbell held traditional view of the godhead -– one deity, yet three persons.
    • Christ had to be equal to God or He could not save us.

    Holy Spirit

    • Stone believed the Holy Spirit freely operated in paranormal ways.
    • Spiritual manifestations and miracles were possible.
    • Stone promoted revivals.
    • Campbell taught the Spirit operated through the inspiration of the Word to convert sinners.
    • Rejected emotional displays without denying indwelling.
    • Campbell preferred rational teaching to revivals.

    Human Nature

    • Stone was pessimistic.
    • Holy Spirit was necessary to convict and convert the sinner.
    • Human society would decline.
    • Premillennial.
    • Campbell was optimistic.
    • Human reason was sufficient to respond to the gospel.
    • America was part of God’s plan to bring about a Christian world.
    • Postmillennial.

    Baptism, Communion, Clergy

    • Unimmersed could be members in Stone churches.
    • Communion service was sporadic.
    • Ordained elders and recognized “official” clergy.
    • Immersion was part of membership in Campbell churches.
    • Communion was weekly.
    • Democratic about leadership and anti-clerical.

    Practical “Barriers”

    “Raccoon” John Smith

    Efforts at Union

    Smith’s Proposal

    1. Inferences are not barriers.
    2. Love one another.
    “Let us then, my brethren, be no longer Campbellites or Stonites, New Lights or Old Lights, or any other kind of lights. But let us come to the Bible and the Bible alone, as the only book in creation that can give us all the Light we need.”

    The Union

    Unity is Hard Work

    1. Worship styles
    2. The work of the Holy Spirit
    3. The name of the church

    Some Objected to the Union

    How Was Union Possible?

    1. They believed union was God’s will.
    2. They focused on what was most important.
    3. They loved one another as God’s children.
    4. Put up with peculiarities.
    5. Christian unity may not always mean a merger.

    It Is Possible

    Chris Benjamin

    West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
    Evening Sermon, 13 April 2008

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