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Alexander Campbell History of The Baptist Church

Kenneth Sublett,, Hohenwald, Tennessee
To Alexander Campbell a Baptist church was one which BAPTIZED FOR THE REMISSION OF SINS and not because of remission of sins. Therefore, one should not sail a boat on a waterless sea. Churches which reject his belief on baptism must not claim him for their authority: that would make them a Campbellite, would it not? The church is the "Bride" of Christ which He purchased with His own blood. A bride should wear the name of her husband and not one of his teachings. His name is Jehovah-Saves (Jesus) Spirit-Anointed. Therefore, in a History of The Baptist Church we need to look a bit closer.

Click for Campbell's article which agrees with all recorded literate history.

Jesus said that without being born AGAIN of Water and Spirit or Water and the Word you CANNOT, SHALL NOT enter into His kingdom or rule which is the Ekklesia or Christian synagogue or school of the Bible. The seven "spirits" of Isaiah 11:1-4 which would rest on the BRANCH are all related to forms of spiritual knowledge. Jesus said "My Words are Spirit and Life." Therefore, you might join a venue for Rock and Roll peddled as "worship" but Jesus Christ WILL NOT be your free-of-charge Teacher until He washes your spirit or mind. Only then do you have access to the seven spirits represented by the Menorah or Candlestick which gave LIGHT to the Holy Place along with the table of bread and the incense altar. Each Christian "priest" must look into the Most Holy Place with their own prayers. Then, you can enter into the Most Holy Place to meet God. Jesus said that the ONLY new PLACE is the human spirit as it gives heed to the Spirit of Truth through the Word. Don't believe the lie that "musical teams" lead you into the presence of God: that makes them claim to be God standing in the Holy Place. Not in the vilest pagan temple could singers and musicians enter into the holy precincts on the penalty of death. Don't follow people making "Christianity" viler than paganism. If you are part of the 5 out of 13,000 congregations then you have become a laughing stock just like the musical idolatrs at Mount Sinai which forfeited and continues to forfeit the Covenant of Grace.

People who refute this have a "spirit" which intends to hurt you real bad. 

But your name is Smith and your cousin is a plumber. You decide to take a bride. When married, she decides to be called Jane Plumber. She will not wear your name. The church belongs to Lord Jesus Christ. God is not a personal name but a generic name for real and imagined gods. She won't wear your name but insists on calling herself "the bride of that man." Her family is the "family of that man."

And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son (visible manifestation) of the living God (invisible Spirit). Mt 16:16

And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Mt.16:18

Therefore the History of The Baptist Church did not so much name itself the Baptist church as the fact that it baptized rather than sprinkled. All churches were known as the church of Christ.

Jesus Christ is the name God choose to be honored by:

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. Acts 4:12

Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. Ac.20:28

Whose blood? The blood of Lord Jesus Christ in whom dwelled full Deity--

For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. Col 2:9

Therefore, the church of God in a generic sense is specificially the church of Christ.

When we speak of the church of God (which is a perfectly good name)

we should be sure that we know that Lord Jesus Christ to our world is fully God: Father, Son and Spirit. The Bride of Christ is the Body of Christ. We don't call His body "The church" because we are ashamed of the name which always brings reproach. However, name yourself after Lord Jesus Christ and that makes you a Campbellite!

The Word Catholic means "universal." It is not the name of an early church. Catholics and all others called their church The Church of Christ or The Church of God. They never called themselves The Baptist Church. Click for the historical evidence that churches which baptized were not called Baptist Churches but The Church of Christ.

Of John Smyth's view:

'That baptism ought to be received by none, but such as can give a good account of their faith; and in case any have been baptized in their infancy, that they ought to he rebaptized after they come to years of discretion, before they are to be admitted to the church of Christ.

But, Smyth would still call himself a Baptist to distinguish between sprinklers.

In that sense The Historical Church of Christ has always been baptists as opposed to sprinklers.

As people do not call themselves the Sprinkler Church we do not call ourself the Baptist church and thereby transfer the honor to John the Baptist or to one of our practices.

Clement of Alexandria (b. AD 150, Athens -- d. , between 211 and 215) defined the common view of baptism. Whether you now agree or not, this was the view of those closest to the apostles.

Mandaeands Sabians Iraq Christians

"Sabian" is a word derived from the Aramaic-Mandic verb "Saba" which means "baptised" or "dyed", "immersed in water". "dMandaeans" is derived from "menda" which means in the mandiac language "knowledge".

Thus, "Mandaean Sabians" means those who are baptised and who know the religion of God.

Paul wrote the Romans:

Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you. Ro.16:16
And was unknown by face unto the
churches of Judaea which were in Christ. Ga.1:22
For ye, brethren, became followers of the
churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews: 1Th.2:14

Because Lord Jesus Christ is God, the house of God or the church of God is the church of Christ to Whom it belongs:

But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. 1Ti.3:15

But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end. He 3:6

The Family of God means that every member is a saved person. This includes all saved persons, living and dead. However the Church simply means the Assembly (ekklesia) where the faithful DO their "synagoguing." Those who attend are the good, the bad and the ugly. The local assembly exists to bring people into the family but the family name is Lord Jesus Christ.

I want my family name to be on the mailbox and I don't want it labeled: "The Plumber." Because the name THE BAPTIST CHURCH does not appear in the Bible or early church history, Alexander campbell identified a baptist church as one which baptized those who had already believed for the remission of sins rather than baptize infants and then build faith later. Click Here to see that denying the family name may deny the Father.

To church history "believer's baptism" is baptism reserved for those who believe and are thereby qualified to be "discipled" or pledged to a new Master Teacher. This term never meant that people were baptized because they had already been saved or discipled.

Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. Ac 4:10

This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner (capstone or capital replacing ancient Asherah poles ). Ac 4:11

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." Ac 4:12

The Testimony Of
Alexander Campbell
As To The History Of Baptist Churches
By Alexander Campbell

[EDITOR'S NOTE: This article by Mr. Alexander Campbell (1788-1866), the instigator of Campbellism and founder of the Campbellite Church, is taken from the book entitled, "Campbell - Walker Debate." This debate was held in 1820, a few years prior to Mr. Campbell's complete departure from the Faith. It is to be regretted that Mr. Campbell thus departed from the Faith but we are happy that he left this printed testimony as to the history of Baptists.

The portion of the book from which this article is taken, was added to the printed debate by Mr. Campbell, in reply to a Mr. Ralston, a Presbyterian, who had made some erroneous statements as to Baptist history. This is a portion of Mr. Campbell's reply to Mr. Ralston, the purpose of which was to show how ignorant Mr. Ralston was of the history of the Baptists.]

"While the Protestant church must date its origin from the nineteenth of April 1529 - that memorable day on which fourteen cities of Germany PROTESTED against a decree of the Diet of Spires, which met in the March preceding; while the Presbyterian Church must date its origin from the autumn of 1537, the year in which John Calvin published his Confession of Faith, had a PUBLIC DEBATE with Peter Caroli, and constituted a church in Geneva: whilst the Scotch Presbyterians must date their origin from the arrival of John Knox in Scotland from Geneva, who arriving there Anno Domini 1558, and becoming a champion in the cause of Presbyterianism, was denominated the "Scotch Apostle John Knox": while the English Presbyterians must date their origin from November 20, 1572, "when a small Presbyterian church was erected at Wandsworth, a village near London: " whilst the Seceders must date their origin from August, 1733, when Messrs. E. Erskine, W. Wilson, A. Moncrief, and J. Fisher, were deposed and excluded from the communion of the Presbyterian church, and became the founders of a new sect: while the Unionists or Scotch Burghers, must date their origin from the year 1747: the Methodists from John Wesley, 1729: the Quakers from George Fox, 1655: -I say, while all these sects are of recent origin, not one of them yet 300 years old -

not one of them able to furnish a MODEL of their peculiarities, or antiquity, greater than I have mentioned, the Baptists can trace their origin to apostolic times, and produce unequivocal testimonies of their existence in every century down to the present time; and the MODEL of their peculiarities the Scriptures themselves afford, as far as the name BAPTIST is concerned.

It must be acknowledged that each sect is distinguished by some peculiarity which is generally expressed in the name of it. The history of a sect is the history of a people adhering to one general system of peculiarities, which distinguishes them from all others. The date of the origin of a sect must, then, be the date of the origin of its grand peculiarities. Were we to adopt any other method we should be obliged to describe sects by that which is not peculiar to them, which would be impossible, for all sects would then be alike. The grand peculiarity, from which the Baptists have found their name, is found in the Scriptures as a part of Christianity, and is simply this -

To require faith or repentance, as previous to Baptism; and to immerse the subject professing faith and repentance in water, in the name, or into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

This is the peculiarity from which Baptists have their name; all that believe and practice in this way, are Baptists;

and all that do not are not Baptists. I now proceed to show that the Baptists have existed in every century from the Christian era to the present day.

Of course, most early churches baptized for or in order to the remission of sins. This was one of their beliefs. However, they never called themselves Baptists as the name of their church as in: The Baptist Church.

When Campbell met with Baptists he never subscribed to THEIR BELIEF that salvation was by faith only and baptism put one into a sect call THE BAPTIST CHURCH. Otherwise, they would not have kicked him out.

Campbell would say that a BAPTIST is qualified by the above statement that faith and repentance must exist before one is baptized (Acts 2:38). True churches of Christ always believed that. However, those who named their church after the act do not qualify for Campbell's definition and are not therefore BAPTISTS in practice at any level.

First Century, Anno Domini 33, we read, in a well attested history, of a large Baptist church which was formed and exhibited as a GRAND MODEL, by the immediate agency of Pentecost, 3000 souls were illumined, led to repentance, converted, baptized, and added to the church. The history of this church, and of many others like it, is clearly and forcibly written by an excellent writer, styled Luke the Physician.

This Luke is the oldest ecclesiastical writer in the world. He writes a history of the Christian Church for little better than thirty years. See his Treatise styled "Acts of the Apostles," chapter 2:41-47, "They that gladly received his word were baptized: and the SAME day there were added unto them about 3000 souls: and they continued steadfastly in the apostle's doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers-praising God, and the Lord added daily to them such as should be saved," or such as were saved.

The members, then, of the first Christian church ever planted on earth, gladly received the word BEFORE they were baptized, and upon the SAME day of their baptism were added to the church; and thence forward CONTINUED in the above practices. It is then incontrovertibly evident,

that the FIRST Christian church planted on earth was, in respect of baptism, as now distinguished,

or a church composed of baptized believers.

It is true, it is not called by Luke, a Baptist church, for all the churches were imitators of this first church, and to have called it a Baptist church would have implied that there was a Pedo-baptist church too, which was a thing unknown in the apostolic age, as all ancient historians declare.

They were the Christian church or church of Christ because they baptized: they were not called the Baptist church because they were Christians.


The second church that was planted was at Samaria" Philip went down into Samaria and preached Christ into them. And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake-and there was GREAT JOY in the city. WHEN (not before) they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were BAPTIZED, BOTH MEN AND WOMEN."

The second church planted on earth was also composed of men and women who professed faith before baptism; consequently, a Baptist church. Acts 8:5-13.

The church was not named The Baptist Church but it was a baptist church because it baptized only believers. Therefore, Campbell is not defending the modern Baptist Church as against the Presbyterian church but a baptizing church as against a sprinkling church.


The third church of note, and in order of time, was the church of Caesaria, a church interesting to us, inasmuch, as it was a Gentile church, or a Gentile people composed it. This church was evidently a Baptist church - "while Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost FELL ON ALL THEM WHICH HEARD THE WORD-Then said Peter, can any man forbid WATER, that those should not be baptized, seeing THEY HAVE RECEIVED THE HOLY GHOST as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. " Acts 10:44 to the close.

To these I might add all the churches in the New Testament; for there is something said of the baptism of most of them. Particularly something said of the church at Philippi, at Corinth, at Rome, at Ephesus, at Colosse, and of the churches of Galatia, with regard to their baptism. Of all of these cities and regions, it might be said, as was said of the Corinthians, viz. "many of the Corinthians hearing, believed, and were baptized. " This is the SACRED ORDER of these three words: first, to hear; second, to believe, and third, to be baptized.

The testimonies of the holy oracles reach down to the close of the first century; and these, as has been observed, mention no other kind of churches than those composed of believers, baptized upon a profession of their faith, a fact which should perfectly satisfy the mind of every Christian upon this subject.

But there has been a cloud of witnesses in every age attesting the same important truth, viz. that believers are the ONLY proper SUBJECTS and that immersion is the ONLY proper ACTION of baptism.

The testimonies of God are the foundation on which our faith and practice rest.

Campbell did not claim that believers were already saved but belief or faith is necessary for one to be baptized into the one being accepted. Again, the discussion is between baptizing those capable of faith and repentance as opposed to children who were not capable.

(In other spots throughout Mr. Campbell's reply to Mr. Ralston, we have such statements as the following:)

It would be imposing upon the reader, and an imputation of his understanding, to be more copious in furnishing documents to put to silence the ignorance of foolish men who would assert that the Baptist denomination grew out of the wild, fanatic, enthusiastic Anabaptists of Germany.

That men professing Baptist principles have acted in many instances incorrectly, is a very common truth. That some individuals professing Baptist principles might have been in that, or any other insurrection, may be conceded, without at the same time yielding that the Baptists arose from the Anabaptists of Germany.

As truly might it be said that the church of Christ in Jerusalem, planted A.D. 33, arose out of the Anabaptists in Germany in the sixteenth century-Yes, Mr. Ralston with equal truth and honesty might have said that all Christians originated from the Mohammedans, or Sicilians, as that the Baptists arose from the Anabaptists of Germany ....

Thus I have shown, that even in England, the Baptists have continued from the apostolic times to the present day, as also that there have been in every century advocates for Baptist principles

We cannot subscribe to the maxim which saith, "Ignorance is the mother of devotion," nor can we excuse that ignorance of history which caused Mr. Ralston to fix the origin of the Baptists at Munster. If his assertion did not proceed from ignorance, it must have proceeded from something worse. For it is the offspring of either ignorance or malevolence.

(To Mr. Alexander Campbell's contention as to Baptist history, we say "Amen and amen!")

But on the other hand:

Campbell Believed that

Characters, not persons, as such, are the subjects of baptism. Penitent believers - not infants nor adults, not males nor females, not Jews nor Greeks;

but professors of repentance towards God, and faith in Christ - are the proper subjects of this ordinance.

"To as many as received him, to them he granted privilege of becoming the sons of God, to them that believed on his name, which were born not of flesh, nor of blood, nor of the will of man, but of God."

"He that believeth, and is baptized [not he that is baptized and believeth], shall be saved." "Many of the Corinthians bearing, believed and were baptized,"

not many of the Corinthians were baptized and then believed, and finally heard the gospel! "for without faith it is impossible to please God," etc.


"In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, the baptism of repentance, for the remission of sins." "And Jesus said that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." Therefore, Peter said to the penitent Pentecostians,

"Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of the Lord Jesus, for the remission of sins." Again,

"As many of you as have been baptized or immersed into Christ, have put on Christ, have been immersed into his death"; "have risen with him."

Baptism is, then, designed to introduce the subjects of it into the participation of the blessings of the death and resurrection of Christ; who "died for our sins," and "rose again for (not because of) our justification."

But it has no abstract efficacy. Without previous faith in the blood of Christ, and deep and unfeigned repentance before God,

neither immersion in water, nor any other action,
can secure to us the blessings of peace and pardon. It can merit nothing.

Still to the believing penitent it is the means of receiving a formal, distinct, and specific absolution, or release from guilt.

Therefore, none but those who have first believed the testimony of God and have repented of their sins, and that have been intelligently immersed into his death,

have the full and explicit testimony of God, assuring them of pardon.

To such only as are truly penitent, dare we say, "Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling upon the name of the Lord," and to such only can we say with assurance,

"You are washed, you are justified, you are sanctified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of God."

But let the reader examine with care our special essay on the Remission of Sins, in which this much-debated subject is discussed at considerable length.

Click For These Writings




"Campbell's Baptism"

Alexander Campbell took the position that the kingdom of God was with the Baptists previous to the inauguration of his "New Party," which they called the "Reformation". Mr. Tant said in the Springdale debate that "If the kingdom was ever with the Baptists it is still with them."

Hear Mr. Campbell:

> "That there are some worthy Baptists exactly accords with the views of some of our brethren long since expressed; that as it was with the Jews, in the times of the Messiah and his apostles, so it is now with the Baptists.

> > The nation. as such, continued to be the kingdom of God, until they rejected the offered salvation;
so the present kingdom of God was found amongst those who plead for
faith, repentance, and baptism

as necessary to admission into the kingdom of grace, until the present call upon them to reformation.

> > Since the rejection of that call by them, as a people. or SO FAR AS ANY OF THEM HAVE APPOSED THIS REFORMATION,


John Calvin wrote:

16. Baptism does not depend upon the merit of him who administers it

Moreover, if we have rightly determined that a sacrament is not to be estimated by the hand of him by whom it is administered, but is to be received as from the hand of God himself, from whom it undoubtedly proceeded,

we may hence infer that its dignity neither gains nor loses by the administrator. And, just as among men, when a letter has been sent, if the hand and seal is recognised, it is not of the least consequence who or what the messenger was;

so it ought to be sufficient for us to recognise the hand and seal of our Lord in his sacraments, let the administrator be who he may.

This confutes the error of the Donatists, who measured the efficacy and worth of the sacrament by the dignity of the minister.

Such in the present day are our Catabaptists, who deny that we are duly baptised, because we were baptised in the Papacy by wicked men and idolaters; hence they furiously insist on anabaptism.

Against these absurdities we shall be sufficiently fortified if we reflect that by baptism we were initiated not into the name of any man, but into the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit; and, therefore, that baptism is not of man, but of God, by whomsoever it may have been administered.

Be it that those who baptised us were most ignorant of God and all piety, or were despisers,

still they did not baptise us into a fellowship with their ignorance or sacrilege, but into the faith of Jesus Christ, because the name which they invoked was not their own but God's, nor did they baptise into any other name.

But if baptism was of God,

it certainly included in it the promise of forgiveness of sin,

mortification of the flesh, quickening of the spirit, and communion with Christ.

Thus it did not harm the Jews that they were circumcised by impure and apostate priests. It did not nullify the symbol so as to make it necessary to repeat it.

It was enough to return to its genuine origin.

The objection that baptism ought to be celebrated in the assembly of the godly, does not prove that it loses its whole efficacy because it is partly defective.

When we show what ought to be done to keep baptism pure and free from every taint, we do not abolish the institution of God though idolaters may corrupt it. Circumcision was anciently vitiated by many superstitions, and yet ceased not to be regarded as a symbol of grace; nor did Josiah and Hezekiah, when they assembled out of all Israel those who had revolted from God, call them to be circumcised anew

Kenneth Sublett

The Gospel means freedom from human-imposed rules: To become a disciple of Christ one "enrolls" by believing in Him, redirecting our lives and confessing our faith in water baptism. You need no clergy or approval of a "gathered church" to become a Christian. The "gospel" and baptism according to some historical views:

Alexander Campbell Christian System


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