Barton W. Stone and the Disciples of Christ

J. F. Burnett in 1921 denies that Barton W. Stone joined the Disciples of Christ. The so-called Stoneites never agreed with much that the Campbellites or Reformers or Disciples or churches of Christ believed. No one can doubt the godly nature of Barton W. Stone. His guiding light was to see everyone UNITE as one religious group. But, that there are many societies which gather to worship and work as they see the light makes it certain that people will exercise the right to worship without human elements which, in the minds of the Campbells, destroys the assembly as A SCHOOL OF THE BIBLE and worship as READING and musing on the Word as Jesus demanded in John four. Paul understood that to mean worship in the PLACE of the human spirit.

Because UNITY or agreeing to disagree was so important to Barton W. Stone he, too, saw the assembly as a place to carry out the work in a given congregation. However, he died as a member of the Christian Church and disagreeing with the Disciples who saw CHRISTIAN as the name of a disciple and the church of Christ or assembly of Christ as the term used to identify the BODY of Christ of which individual Christians are "building blocks."

We do not say this to disparage the right of people to worship God the way they understan worship: we do affirm that the CHRISTIAN CHURCH and a CHURCH OF CHRIST are two, mutually exclusive ways of identifying the faith and practice of the Christian Discipleship.

We deny that they were ever ONE DENOMINATION.

Therefore, we insist that there could be no breaking of a union.

Disunity occurred in many Disciples or churches of Christ when the Christian church sent out evangelists to RADICALLY CHANGE churches into Christian churches, add instruments and sign them up as LIFE MEMBERS in a denominational structure. See more comments.

The UNITY FORUMS are the initiative of the Christian churches which have no intention of changing their denomination. Therefore, the Stoneite priority of the Stone-Campbell Movement intends DISUNITY among churches of Christ as a way to fracture off members. This is identical to the motives of Cane Ridge seen by Methodists and Baptists of various sects as a grand OPEN sheepfold inviting them to STEAL SHEEP. And they did. Those of the REFORMATION or RESTORATION MOVEMENT did not approve or participate. Neither should you or your church.

The Christian Church was the Disciples of Christ in 1906. At that time the Disciples tried to include all of the Churches of Christ in Tennesse as part of the society and organ party. The NACC was formed in 1926 as a rump organization secting out of the Disciples. This quite violent sectarianizing was completed in 1968.  Therefore, the Church of Christ could NOT have sected out of the Christian Church which would not be fully denominated for another 6 decades.

If the Christian church seeks to restore any "unity" which existed in 1906 they are ethically bound to unite themselves with the Disciples of Chrisit as the only sectarian division which ever existed.  It is clear that the few who have worked with the NACC to turn over their church of Christ still operate on the fictional "High Church" right to use tradition to make chages while the accuse the churches of Christ with being "strict constructions."

Originally, nothing existed like the later Disciples which were contrary to the Campbell's views of church as a school of the Bible. Because many had come out of singing rewritten Psalms to make them metrical:

Sheryl D. Vanderstel
Weekly worship for Christian Disciples was a simple matter. No liturgical form was followed. Worship consisted of sermons and prayers with additional hymn singing. The Lord's Supper was an important part of worship. Baptism followed the guidelines of Christ's own baptism, that of adult immersion. Membership in the faith did not require a conversion experience or any examination. One only had to adhere to the tenet of Christ as Savior and Scriptures as the only doctrine.

But even hymn singing during worship caused a problem for some who considered hymns to contain religious doctrine and thus deserving of being excluded from worship.

Campbell felt strongly about the use of hymns in worship and sought to override the objections by compiling a book containing hymn texts appropriate to the Scriptural basis of the faith. His work was simply titled Hymn Book

AND: Hoosier singing master Silas W. Leonard, also an elder in the church, compiled a book of texts and music for use in
Christian churches entitled the Christian Psalmist.

The first congregation in Indianapolis organized as a Campbellite church was the Church of Christ in Indianapolis. Evangelist John O'Kane organized the church in June of 1833.

In 1872 the women began to organize societies and these led to further separation between the TWO SEPARATE groups as well as by conservatives within the Disciples or Christian churches.

The question of Rev. B. W. Stone's church membership has been frequently discussed by the Christians, and the Disciples of Christ. The following pages contain the best available evidence on the subject, and is regarded by the writer as conclusive, in which opinion many will concur. It is important that the question of his membership be settled, as it involves a fundamental principle of the two bodies of believers. Let it be understood that this booklet is not written in the spirit of controversy, nor with a desire to claim that which does not belong to us, but for the sake of settling the question in the interest of right. [1]

Did He Join the Disciples of Christ?

Barton Warren Stone was born near Port Tobacco, Maryland, December 24, 1772. In 1793 he became a candidate for the ministry in the Presbyterian Church, in Orange County, North Carolina.

The subject of his trial sermon, as assigned by the Presbytery, was "The Being and Attributes of God and the Trinity." His examination was satisfactory, but he did not accept license at that time. He went to his brother's home in Georgia, and while there was chosen Professor of Languages in the Methodist Academy, near Washington. After a year he returned to North Carolina, and attended the next session of the Orange Presbytery, and received license to preach. He commenced his public ministry at Cane Ridge, and Concord, in Bourbon County, Kentucky. In 1798 these churches extended him a formal call to become their pastor, which call he accepted, and a day was set for his ordination.

Of his [3] ordination he says: "I went into Presbytery, and when the question was propounded, 'Do you receive and adopt the Profession of Faith, as containing the system of doctrine taught in the Bible?' I answered aloud,

'So far as I see it consistent with the word of God.' No objection being made, I was ordained."

He preached for these churches but for a few years, for he was in the Presbyterian ministry but seven years in all. On June 28, 1804, he, with five others, signed the Last Will and Testament of the Springfield Presbytery.

He began at once to preach for the new body of believers known as Christians, and later on the Christian Church.

In 1823 Alexander Campbell began preaching in that part of Kentucky, and in 1824 he and Stone met for the first time. When they became acquainted with each other they found much common ground in gospel labor.

Of the things taught by Mr. Campbell, Stone declares, "That the doctrines had long been taught by the Christians, by his co-workers and by himself (Biography page 140). On the first day of January, 1832, in Stone's new brick meeting house in Lexington, Kentucky, the Christians and Disciples of Christ met and formed what was intended to be a union of the two bodies of believers.

Stone represented the Christians, [4] and J. T. Johnson and John Smith, the Disciples of Christ. Of this union The Christian Messenger, edited by Rev. B. W. Stone and Rev. J. T. Johnson, says:

"We are happy to announce to our brethren, and to the world, the union of Christians in fact in our country. A few months ago the Reforming Baptists (known invidiously by the name of Campbellites) and the Christians,

in Georgetown and the neighborhood, agreed to meet and worship together.
We soon found that we were indeed in the same spirit, on the same foundation, the New Testament, and wore the same name, Christian
. We saw no reason why we should not be the same family.

"It may be asked, is there no difference of opinion among you? We answer, we do not know, nor are we concerned to know.

We have never asked them what were their opinions, nor have they asked us.
If they have opinions different from ours, they are welcome to have them, provided they do not endeavor to impose them on us as articles of faith

They say the same of us. We hear each other preach; and are mutually pleased and edified.

"To increase and consolidate this union, and to convince all of our sincerity, we, the Elders and brethren, have separated two Elders, John Smith and John Rogers, the first known, formerly, by the name of Reformer, the latter by the name Christian. These brethren are to ride together through all the churches, and to be equally supported by the [5] united contributions of the churches of both descriptions; which contributions are to be deposited together with Brother John T. Johnson, as treasurer and distributor. We are glad to say that all the churches, as far as we hear, are highly pleased, and are determined to co-operate in the work.

"Some may ask--Will the Christians and Reformers thus unite in other States and sections of our country?
We answer--If they are sincere in their profession, and destitute of a party spirit, they will undoubtedly unite.

It is an obvious fact that in this union there was no joining one body to the other, in the sense that one body was lost in the other.

The Disciples of Christ joined the Christians as certainly as the Christians joined the Disciples of Christ, and Alexander Campbell became a member of the Christian Church, as certainly as B. W. Stone became a member of the Disciples of Christ.

It is evident that it was not Stone's desire, nor intention, to join the Disciples of Christ as an individual would join a church, but to make effective the union spirit, and reach the ideal so deeply seated and fervently cherished by the signers of the Last Will and Testament of the Springfield Presbytery, and their co-laborers in the gospel.

Morrill, in "History of the Christian Denomination," says: [6]

"The 'union' itself was consummated on New Year's day, 1832, in Hill Street Christian Church, at Lexington, Kentucky, where representatives of both parties pledged themselves 'to one another before God, to abandon all speculation, especially on the Trinity, and kindred subjects, and to be content with the plain declaration of Scripture on those subjects on which there had been so much worse than useless controversy.'

The plain meaning is that they found common ground to occupy, threw away their divisive teachings and opinions, and acted as one. The men who at Lexington pledged themselves there and then gave one another the hand of fellowship,

speaking for themselves, and the churches they came from,
but not for all the churches or the denominations in Kentucky or the United States.

There was no voting, and no attempt at formal union, but merely a 'flowing together' of those like-minded. In token of that union Elder John Smith, of the Disciples of Christ, and Elder John Rogers, of the Christians, 'were appointed evangelists by the churches' to promote that simple unsectarian Christian work, which was adhered to by thousands; and Stone took Elder J. T. Johnson, a Disciple, as co-editor of The Christian Messenger.

"This 'union' did not change the status of any name or church or minister or piece of property.
At a later time Campbell made some public invidious remarks
about the Christians, and it began to be claimed that they had joined or united with the Disciples. John [7] Rogers says on this point:

'No one ever thought (at the first) that the Reformers, so-called, had come over to us, or that we had gone over to them; that they were required to relinquish their opinions, or we ours.

We found ourselves contending for the same great principles, and we resolved to unite our energies to harmonize the church and save the world. Such are the simple facts in the case."

The Christian Messenger (1832) says:

"It is common for the Christians to say, the Reformers have joined us--and no less common is it for the Reformers to say, the Christians have joined us.

One will say, the Christians have given up all their former opinions of many doctrines, and have received ours; 
another will say, the Reformers have relinquished their views on many points, and embraced ours. 

These things are doing mischief to the cause of Christian union, and well calculated to excite jealousy, and to give offense.
They can do no good--in fact they are not true. We have met together on the Bible, being drawn together there by the cords of truth--we agreed to walk together according to this rule, and to be united by the spirit of truth.

Neither the Christians nor Reformers professed to give up any sentiments or opinions previous to our union, nor were any required to be given up in order to effect it. We all determined to learn of Jesus, and to speak and do whatsoever He says to us in His Word. We all profess to be [8] called Christians, being the followers and disciples of Jesus."

From a letter written by Mr. Stone, and published in the Christian Palladium (1841), in which he makes a strong plea for the union of the Christians and the Disciples of Christ--East and West--we copy the following:

"If the Christians in the East reject our brethren, 'the Disciples,' from Christian union, and seek union with those alone in the West who are called Christians, then there is an end of the cheering hope of union between us.

We are not partisans and therefore cannot reject our brethren, the Disciples, with whom we are harmoniously united in Christian love; nor can we see them rejected without feeling ourselves rejected also.

We are grieved that they have taken another name; yet this shall not dissolve our Christian union.

It is a fact that many among us are called Disciples, whose faith differs not from yours, and many are called Christians, whose faith in some particulars differ, from yours.

If you were to be united with the Christians of the West, you would be in union with many who have the faith of A. Campbell; and if you were to reject the Disciples of the West, you would reject many who are of your faith.

"But my brother thinks we are laboring under a mistake, relative to the cause of disunion, if it exists between us of the East and West.

For he says, 'the Christians of the East, from their [9] rise, have ever been ready to unite with all Christians--they are firm on this ground yet.' I really should rejoice to believe it true--true in the general sense of the expression.

But it comes out that all Christians means all who wear the name. And will the Eastern Christians unite with none else? No, for they blame us, the Western Christians, for uniting with the Disciples.

He says, 'You have gone over to the Disciples; you have become one with them; they are close communionists; hence we are debarred from their communion.' My brother's information is incorrect.

We did not go over to the Disciples.

We had for many years before their existence been standing on the Bible alone, and endeavoring to live up to its precepts.
They came on the same foundation on which we stood, and endeavored to live according to its holy precepts.
Now, what could we do? Must we endeavor to push them off, and claim the foundation exclusively to ourselves? Heaven and earth would have frowned upon our folly; and all the world would have said we were insincere in our profession--professing the Bible alone to be the only true foundation, inviting and persuading all to unite with us there, and when they came and met us on this foundation, we should demur against it, and refuse to be united with them. Now, did we go over to the disciples, or did we, as brothers, meet them on the Bible, and welcome them there?

This we view as among the best and most consistent acts of our lives
, and posterity will not [10] forget it as a worthy example for their imitation."

The examination of a score or more of reports from ministers and lay-workers from both bodies, as found in The Christian Messenger and Christian Palladium, failed to adduce a single evidence contrary to the above statement, but all of them, in one way and another, recognized the mutual arrangement of the two bodies. One of the number, examined in a very particular way, interested the writer. The report is as follows:

"Brother John Powell, of Clermont County, Ohio, October 24, writes that at Salem, 3rd Lord's day, September, eleven confessed the Lord, and seven were immersed at Five Mile, the 1st Lord's day of October. At a four days' meeting fifty-three confessed the Lord, and forty-seven were immersed. Never did we witness such solemnity, and general engagedness among the people." (The Christian Messenger, 1832)

The two churches named in the report were then, and are now, Christian churches, and never were other than Christian churches.

The writer was pastor of one of them--Salem, now Point Isabel church, for nine years. The Five Mile church still bears testimony to its original character.

Rev. John Powell was always a Disciple minister, though for a while a member of the [11] Southern Ohio Christian Conference.

Liberty, Brown County, Ohio, Georgetown, Brown County, Ohio, and Bethel, Clermont County, Ohio, and others which might be named,

were originally Christian churches to which the union preachers ministered and
which in course of time became definitely churches of the Disciples of Christ.

They being originally Christian churches explains the fixing of the name Christian upon them. The churches above named were all members of the Southern Ohio Christian Conference--indeed, the church at Lawshee, Adams County, Ohio, where the Conference was organized in 1820, was under the influence of the union movement changed into a definite church of the Disciples, and where now they have a good house of worship and a creditable congregation.

These historical items are cited--and many more of like character could be--to show that the obvious intention of the agreement between the two bodies

was not that one should be lost in the other, but that mutually they should live together in the unity of the Spirit and the bonds of peace. The above conclusion is supported by Stone himself. From The Christian Messenger (1833) we copy the following, which was signed, B. W. Stone, Editor. [12]

Alexander Campbell on Unitarianism

Unfair Representations Exposed
Under this caption Mr. Broaddus, in the Religious Herald, attempts a justification of the Dover Association for excluding from their body a number of preachers for the crime of differing from them on some points in their religious creed.
The third and last reason assigned by him for their exclusion is this:
'that through the people called Reformers
, we found ourselves virtually connected with the Unitarians or Arians of the West, who deny the divinity of our Redeemer; for have they not there become one people?'

"This is one of the most extraordinary reasons for excluding the dissenting brethren that we have seen recorded. It is true that many congregations of the people called Reformers, and many of those called Christians, stigmatized by unkind sectarians as Unitarians and Arians, have become one people in the complete sense of that term.

But what has this to do with the Reformers in the East? They may have been as ignorant of us in the West, as we of them. The errors of Reformers in the West surely should not be imputed to those in the East; especially when they were united by no written compact, no association, no conventional constitution. As well might the Baptists in England exclude all Reformers there from their body, because a few Reformers in the West of America had wickedly become one people with the Christians, whom malicious sectarians had agreed to style Unitarians or Arians; names with which [13] Catholics branded the poor Waldenses of old, for the same purpose, to sink them in the estimation of the world, and to justify themselves in cutting them off by death.

"Mr. Broaddus seems to have forgotten the simple and independent form of government of the Baptists in their best days. The churches were not then bound together by an authoritative creed, or by a dictatorial association. They were free to think for themselves without the dictation of ghostly Bishops.

We wish Mr. Broaddus and his brethren to know that the Reformers and Christians in the West became one people, not by the decree of a general council of Bishops assembled, but we were drawn together by the spirit of truth as taught by our common Lord, and experienced by us, the subjects of his kingdom."

There is strong evidence that Mr. Campbell did not favor the so-called union.

In The Christian Messenger for November, 1834, is quoted an article from the Millennial Harbinger (Campbell's paper) as follows:

"Or does he (Stone) think that one or two individuals, of and for themselves, should propose and effect a formal union among the hundred of congregations scattered over this continent, called Christians or Disciples, without calling upon the different congregations to express an opinion or a wish upon the subject?

We discover, or think we discover, a squinting at [14]  some sort of precedency or priority in the claims of the writer of the above article," etc.

It is well known that Mr. Campbell insisted upon immersion before believers were received into fellowship, to which Stone answered:

"We cannot, with our present views, unite on the opinions that unimmersed persons cannot receive remission of sins."

And though later on he came to believe in immersion in water for the remission of sins, there is no evidence that he ever made it a test of fellowship, without which he could not
have been a member of the Disciples of Christ.

It is certainly conclusive that if Barton W. Stone individually joined the Disciples of Christ, it is not even intimated in the fact nor the fruitage of the agreement entered into between the two bodies. The one purpose of his life and labor was the union of all believers in Jesus Christ. This he sought in every way, and whatever mistakes he may have made, whatever entanglements into which he may have fallen, his desire for union, and his effort to obtain it were a sufficient, apology. In 1839 the editor of the Christian Palladium wrote him, earnestly soliciting him to write for that periodical. In replying to that request, among other things he says: [15]

"I am grieved, Br. Marsh, at the course you and the Reformers (better known by you as the ) have taken, one against the other.

Blame equally attaches to both parties. Had you both cultivated more of forbearance and charity, the wide gulph between you might have disappeared.

Christian union is my polar star.

Here I stand as unmoved as the Allegheny mountains, nor can anything drive me hence. I have suggested the propriety of a convention of the Eastern and Western Christians, to meet at some middle point, and converse as brethren on the subject of disunion.

If we were to meet in a Christian spirit, I should not despair of union on the Bible.

The Reformers are a precious people, but they have their failings like you all. They are in some things too precise and dogmatic; and are rather disposed to urge measures too positively.

Br. Campbell's last numbers on 'OUR NAME' are universally disapproved by all with whom I have conversed in Missouri and Illinois. I hope the objectionable features of those articles will be by him softened, or actum est de amicitia--The friendship of thousands will be at an end--with thousands."

It is very evident that Rev. B. W. Stone did not regard his union with the Disciples of Christ as leaving the Christian Church, nor was it ever so considered by the church as such. It was Stone's individual right to believe, and to teach as he believed, a privilege [16] recognized by the Christian Church as belonging to each and every member of God's family.

Elder Matthew Gardner, who was received to fellowship by Rev. B. W. Stone, and who knew him as well as any other man knew him, says,

"After a time Elder Barton W. Stone, with others who were dear to my heart, received Mr. Campbell's views, with this exception--Elder Stone would not make baptism a test of Christian fellowship." (Autob. 73)

Elder Gardner's statement is confirmed by Stone himself. In replying to an article written by his old friend and co-laborer, Elder David Purviance, who was a product of the Cane Ridge Revival, and a signer of the Last Will and Testament of the Springfield Presbytery, he says:

"It is no article of my faith, that God cannot, and will not, forgive and save the penitent believer without immersion--

but if a man knows to do right, and does it not, to him it is sin.
Our duty is to teach the good and the right way, and not teach two or more ways to obtain the same end."

Much convincing testimony can be given in support of the statement that Stone did not intend to leave the Christian Church and that in his mind he had not left it, but we shall be content with the following copied in full from The Christian Messenger, of 1832: [17]

"Hamilton Co., Ohio,      
Dec. 24, 1832.      

Brother Stone:

I wish you to discontinue my No. of The Messenger and Mrs. B------. W. L------, R. P------ and S. R------ wish to continue another year.

Brother Stone, I think The Messenger has forsaken the Christian Church, and I must withdraw my support. It appears to favor the errors of the Reformers who are splitting and destroying our churches, and it has left us to contend alone.

Dear Brother, when McNemar and others left us, you stood by us; and when Marshall and Thompson turned to be our enemies, you pleaded our cause: but now, I fear, you are going to forsake us. May the Lord lead us into truth. Farewell.

J. M.      

Brother J------M------: At your request I shall discontinue sending you and Mrs. B------ The Messenger. You state your reason for discontinuing your support; because you think The Messenger has forsaken the Christian Church--by The Messenger you understand the senior Editor of that Journal. Let us, my brother, take a view of the Christian Church, when first constituted in Kentucky, and let us examine her history, and then ask the question, have I forsaken the Church?

The Christian Church was constituted upon the New Testament alone, and not human opinions, as the only rule of her faith and practice--and did formally [18] reject all human creeds and confessions as authoritative. They agreed to reject all human names, and to take the name Christian alone. They determined to labor for the unity of Christians on the one foundation, and consequently for the destruction of sectarianism in the world. Have I ever forsaken this Church? Have I ever forsaken the New Testament, as the rule of my faith and practice, and taken in its room any human creed? Have I rejected its name Christian, and assumed any other? Have I ceased to oppose sectarianism, and to promote the unity of Christians on the one foundation? I boldly say, No; and challenge a contradiction.

When McNemar, Dunlavy and Houston forsook the Christian Church, and turned away from the Scriptures as the foundation of their faith and practice, to an old woman's fables, you acknowledge I stood firm on the foundation laid in Zion.

When Marshall, Thompson, and others forsook the Christian Church, and refused the Scriptures as the only rule of faith and practice, but received again the Presbyterian Confession and name, you acknowledge I firmly stood and pleaded the cause of the church.

When hosts of sectarian opposers stood up against us, did I not firmly stand and defend the Christian Church against their mighty efforts to destroy us? Do, my brother, tell me--tell the world--what principle of the Christian Church have I relinquished. If one, I am unconscious of it; if one, I should be glad to know it.

But this charge against me is not [19] novel. We were all pedo-baptists when we determined to take the name and word of Jesus alone as our name and our rule. Not long after I, with many others, from reading the scriptures, became came convinced that baptism signified immersion; we submitted to be immersed.

Many among us cried out, they have forsaken the Christian Church. Did we forsake it, or one principle on which the church had been constituted? You shall be judge. When Marshall, Thompson, and others endeavored to introduce another creed besides the Scriptures, and had persuaded many of the propriety, I, with R. Dooley, Kincade, and many others, stood up and boldly protested against it. Was it not then said, they have forsaken the Christian Church? And do you not remember that some of our once devoted friends could not receive us into their houses? You shall judge whether I, or they, forsook the Christian Church.

But you now preach, and boldly advocate, baptism for the remission of sins? Yes; and so I preached and acted near twenty years ago [1812]--so did our worthy brother James Hughs, whose faith is yet unwavering on this point; and so did others among us. Was it then objected against us that we had forsaken the Christian Church?

We had previously received the common exposition of Acts 2:38, "Be baptized for the remission of sins," which was,

"Be baptized on account of the remission of sins," believing that sins must be remitted before baptism.

But we saw that the text could not mean this, because it is said, [20] "Repent and be baptized for the remission of sins;"

if we read for to mean on account of then it would follow that we must repent also on account of the remission of our sins. Can this be correct? Does not repentance always precede forgiveness? Is it not unnatural that we must be sorry and repent because our sins are forgiven?

We therefore understand it to mean, Repent, and be baptized unto, or in order to the remission of sins. In doing this, have we forsaken the Christian Church, or one principle upon which it was constituted? Or did the constitution of that Church forbid us to correct any error we might have entertained when we first constituted it? If so, did you not forsake that church when you were immersed?

But you insist so much upon this topic when many in the Christian Church are dissatisfied with the doctrine. Is this a good reason why I have forsaken the church?

You know the violent flood of opposition against us on this ground,

ever since Bro. Campbell came out so ably and fully on the doctrine.

Before this we said but little, not being so fully impressed with the importance of the subject. We viewed the cause as common; therefore have boldly, yet temperately, advocated it, and defended it against the misrepresentations of opposers, as we once did on the doctrine of the immersion of penitent believers.

We may have written and spoken too much on this doctrine. I believe we have. Yet surely this should not subject us to the charge of having forsaken the Christian Church. [21]

But you make immersion as absolutely essential in baptism? What then? Have I therefore seceded from the Christian Church? Was this church constituted on the principle that baptism signified rantism, aspersion, and immersion?

If so, did you not secede from the Christian Church when you were immersed? You virtually denied that rantism or aspersion signified baptism by this your act. With you I believe, and long have believed, that immersion, alone, is baptism.

But you debar unimmersed persons from the Lord's table. In this you are not correctly informed.

We invite none, we debar none; because we have no scriptural authority for either.

We sit not as inquisitors on the conscience of any man. We simply say, "Let a man examine himself, and so let him eat and drink."

I suppose as many of other denominations commune with us as with you, though you may invite and urge them with brotherly affection.

Yet we are fully persuaded that every one should (according to the Scriptures) be baptized before he partake of the supper. So are pedo-baptists; but our views of baptism differ from theirs.

But you admit no unimmersed person into the church. We are not alone in the doctrine that through baptism we enter into the church--all pedo-baptists and Baptists believe the same. But we understand immersion alone to be baptism. So do you, I presume.

Therefore, I cannot see any way according to the law of Christ of entering into this Church but by baptism or immersion. [22]

If my brother, or any other brother, shall inform me of any other way in the New Testament I shall rejoice to know it.

Do pedo-baptists exclude the Quakers from heaven, though they deny them a place in the church on earth? No.
Do we exclude pedo-baptists from heaven, because we cannot think they are in the kingdom on earth according to the law of Christ? No.

Does my brother think that I have forsaken the Christian Church, because I thus believe? The New Testament is the constitution of this church; where in that book is this faith condemned? I ask not by whose opinion it is condemned, but by what inspired writer?

Ah! But you favor the errors of the Reformers, "who are splitting and destroying our churches, and you have left us to contend alone."

This is the hardest rub, I suspect. Pray, brother, tell me what errors of the Reformers I favor; I really wish to know. I would prefer death to such a practice.

The Reformers have, doubtless, errors, as fallible men--no doubt we have also; and who, but His infallibility, can plead exemption from them? Your charge is too indefinite for my conviction.

You may think I have seceded from the Christian Church, because the Reformers and we,

being on the same foundation, and,
agreeing to take the same name Christian, have united as one people.

Is not this the very principle we have been pleading from the beginning? Is uniting with any people in this manner seceding from the church? In thus uniting do we agree to unite with all [23] the opinions and errors of each other?

Have we not always had in our church, Calvinists, Arminians, Trinitarians and Unitarians? Have we by such union agreed to receive all their errors? No. In the great leading principles, or facts, of the New Testament we agree, and cheerfully let each other have his opinions as private property.

In vain may we expect a union on any system of opinions devised by the wisdom of man.

My dear brother, if a division ever take place among us, one part must secede from those principles on which we constituted.

It would be worth attention to inquire, how do the Reformers split and destroy the Christian Church? Do they oppose the principles of our constitution, and the unity of the church? If so, they are wrong. It may be that you and others wrongfully oppose them. Let us, my dear brother, examine this matter, and as an humble Christian learn at the feet of Jesus.

Your old bro. B. W. Stone, Editor.  

It is a historical fact that in 1836, Alexander Campbell suggested the name Disciples of Christ for those who had, or who would accept, his views, but B. W. Stone, to his dying day, rejected all names but Christian. In The Christian Messenger, of October, 1843, appears an article signed A. S. It is clearly a defense of the name Disciples of Christ, and yet favors the name Christian. The Editor, B. W. Stone, in commenting on the article, says: [24]

"First.--We are pleased to find that Brother A. Campbell so highly approves these sentiments. He will no longer contend for Disciples as our family name, in future; no longer will he reject the name Christian because others had taken it before us."

Inasmuch as Elder Stone refers to "A. Campbell" in his reply, it seems reasonable to suppose that the letters A. S. in the article should have been A. C. Evidently the word us as used by Elder Stone does not refer to the Disciples of Christ any more than it does to the Christians. Elder Stone thought and wrote of the Disciples of Christ and the Christians as having united.

A word only need be said about Stone being an Elder in the Church of Christ. This has been used as proof of his membership in the Disciple Church. But it must be remembered that he accepted the title, and used it as many as twenty years before he met Mr. Campbell, and that The Christian Messenger bore the inscription as early as 1826, at least, six years prior to the union of the two bodies.

And besides, in the early period of the Christians all ministers were Elders, and many of them stoutly stood out against any other title. In many instances they were ordained as Elders, and not a few thought of themselves, [25] spoke of themselves, and wrote of themselves as Elders in the Church of Christ.

The man who preached the ordination sermon of the writer would have suffered his eyes plucked out rather than preach "Faith, Repentance and Baptism" as the way into the Kingdom, always spoke of himself as an Elder in the Church of Christ;

and when the Conference to which he belonged, thinking it might testify to its tender love for him, suggested that he be known as "Father Daugherty," said, as the tears came out of his eyes and made mellow his voice, "Brethren, the title Elder has always been a precious word to me," and even yet he is remembered as "Elder Daugherty." In many localities now, our ministers are known and addressed as elders, so that the fact that B. W. Stone was known as an Elder in the Church of Christ, does not count one way or the other as to his church membership.

That he preached the doctrines as understood and taught by Alexander Campbell cannot be questioned. This was his individual right as a member of the Christian Church.

His preaching immersion in water for the remission of sins was in no sense beyond his right in the Christian Church.

He had the right to interpret God's Word for himself, and his [26] preaching that interpretation was strictly within the privilege of his membership.

Such privilege would not have been his had he taken membership with the Disciples of Christ, for then it would have been required of him, and no other mode or purpose allowed.

There is not the slightest evidence that he ever surrendered his right to interpret the Word for himself, and to so preach it. There have been men among us from the beginning until now who have so believed and taught, and there have been, and are now, churches enrolled in our membership that have no place for a baptism other than immersion. We have had, and have now, ministers who were Quaker born and Quaker bred, and churches in which the font is as prominent as the pool, and for B. W. Stone to preach and practice as he did was for him to exercise a right absolutely his.

One can readily see, however, that the preaching and the practicing of immersion in water of repentant sinners, to the exclusion of other forms of baptism, and other approaches to the Christ, would soon establish and define the character of both preacher and people.

Elder Levi Purviance, in the biography of his father, David Purviance, describes a visit from Elder Stone in June, [27] 1843. It was the Sabbath Day, and services were well under way in the Christian meeting-house in New Paris, Ohio, when Elder Stone, worn down by fatigue, and enfeebled by disease, leaning upon his staff, walked slowly up the aisle, and quietly took his seat in front of the pulpit.

Elder Elijah Williamson was in the stand, and preaching at the time. It would be irrelevant to this report to record the fellowship which immediately followed the sermon. On the following day Elder Stone preached, and as usual, discoursed on a phase of Christian union. There were present, he says, David Purviance, John Adams, Nathan Worley, David Ireland, John Purviance, and David Foster, all between seventy and eighty years of age, with many others who were but a few years younger, all from Cane Ridge, except Elder Worley, and he had long been acquainted with Elder Stone. Elder David Purviance spoke of the service of Elder Stone, and asked the people for an offering for their aged and well beloved brother.

Elder Matthew Gardner, who, as stated elsewhere, had been received into church fellowship by Elder Stone, and had traveled and preached with him for twenty years, describes, with other items connected with Elder Stone, the last visit he made to southern Ohio. In an article by Elder Gardner, published in the Christian Herald, July 8, 1847, he reviews the life of his old time friend, as written by Elder John Rogers. He quotes quite freely from the biography, and says:

"Do not the above extracts show that Father Stone never did receive the views which are peculiar to Mr. A. Campbell, and (as he calls them) Disciples?

To the day of Father Stone's death, he contended that the name Christian was of divine authority, and the followers of Christ were so called first at Antioch."

He says in the same article:

"In May, 1834, (if memory serves) was the last visit that Father Stone made to southern Ohio. I attended a large meeting with him in Georgetown, Ohio. At that time there was a large and flourishing church of the Christians in that town.

Reformation, so called, had become the exciting subject with many in the church.

The old Father entreated them not to go into the practice of the weekly communion against the feelings and wishes of the balance of the church.

The dear old Father's advice was disregarded. A weekly communion was set up--the church was divided and destroyed.

This means that members of the Christian churches HAD THE RIGHT and EXERCISED THE RIGHT to remove themselves from congregations which BEGAN to practice weekly communion. Note that this was in 1834 after the so-called union with the Disciples.

"From the meeting in Georgetown I accompanied the venerable Stone to his appointment in the evening at Pisgah Chapel. He stayed over night in Ripley, with Doc. Alex. Campbell. In the [29] morning I met him there. We went into the garden and had a long conversation, which I shall never forget.

He entirely disapproved of the course pursued by the Reformers, so called.
After we had talked I went with him to the boat where he crossed the river. There I took his hand for the last time, and bid him farewell, to meet him no more in this world.

"It was in the latter part of the summer of 1810, I first saw Elder Stone, in the days of his strength, at which time he opened the door of the church, and I made a public profession of religion. Since which time, until he moved to Illinois, there was not a year, to my recollection, that I was not in his company, or traveled with him. Union, and the love of God, were his themes."

Elder Gardner had believed and declared that Elder Stone had left the "platform of the Christian Church," but after this conversation, his very definite opinion was that while his old-time friend had erred,

he never had at any time any intention of withdrawing from the Christian Church,
of which he had been a member since its beginning at Cane Ridge, Kentucky. [30]


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