Restoration Movement

Restoration Movement

:"This article is about the Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement and churches that have a historical and/or theological connection to it (e.g., Churches of Christ, Christian Churches, and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).":"For more general information about other religious movements that attempted to restore the Christian church, see Restorationism.":"For information related to dispensational Christian views regarding Jews in the end times, see restorationism (supersessionism).":"For information relating to the restoration movement established by Joseph Smith, Jr., see Latter Day Saint movement."

The Restoration Movement (also known historically as the "Stone-Campbell Movement") is a Christian reform movement traced to the 18th and 19th centuries in the United States during the Second Great Awakening. Barton W. Stone and Alexander Campbell were leading figures of four independent movements with like principles who merged together into two religious movements of significant size. These churches have a total population of about 3,000,000 in the United States.fact|date=April 2008 Restorationism sought to renew the whole Christian church, on the pattern set forth in the New Testament, without regard to the creeds developed over time in Catholicism, Orthodoxy, or Reformed Protestantism, which allegedly kept Christianity divided. Churches are now found throughout the globe, claiming to "concentrate on the essential aspects of the Christian faith, allowing for a diversity of understanding with non-essentials." Basically, there are those whose beliefs and doctrines may differ on minor subjects, but who believe in Jesus Christ the Son of God as the savior and authority of the church. Among key practices are the weekly celebration of the Lord's Supper on the first day of each week and a commitment to believer's baptism by immersion in water.

Modern branches

Three modern North American religious groups trace their heritage back to roots in the Stone-Campbell Restoration movement:
* The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) - about 723,000 members in the United States and Canada.
* The Churches of Christ ("a cappella") - about 1,500,000 members in the U.S. []

:The branch that considers itself the conservative branch, generally goes by the name Church of Christ. It differs from other Christian churches in that it believes that Biblical silence is prohibitive. A prominent example of this principle is their not using musical instruments. Since they see no direct or indirect examples of instrumental music use in the New Testament, and per Col. 3:16 and Eph 5:19, they don't include them in worship. [cite web |url= |title=Some Things You May Have Wondered About the Churches of Christ |accessdate=2008-08-04 | |publisher=OnLine Ministries ]

:They insist on Bible names for Bible things. Elders/Pastors/Bishops are used for the leaders of the church, with Evangelist or Preacher reserved for the one who gives weekly sermons. Deacons are the servants, who assist the church more in its mundane functions while Elders deal more with the spiritual leadership of the church. Some Preachers will take on a leadership role with the other elders and at that point the title of pastor would not be unheard of, because pastor is just another name for the shepherds of the flock. The Lord's Supper is often used instead of Communion or Eucharists. [cite web |url= |title=Members of the Church Commune as Christ Ordained |accessdate=2008-08-04 |last=Hanson |first=David E |work=Introducing the Church of Christ |publisher=South Green Street Church of Christ ] They also may tend to use the phrase "Godhead" instead of Trinity to attempt to be consistent with Bible titles instead of non biblical titles. [cite web |url= |title=Do you teach the trinity? |accessdate=2008-08-04 |last=LittleJohns |first=Gene E | |publisher=West-Ark Church of Christ ]

* The (instrumental) Independent Christian Churches/Churches of Christ - about 6,000 congregations, about 1,150,000 members worldwide; approx. 700,000 members in the United States as of 2001 Fact|date=June 2007 .

This group is identical with the Churches of Christ in most all respects except for the use of instrumental music. This group does not view silence as prohibitive, but puts matters that the Bible does not address into the category of opinion. They are also more comfortable with national conventions and missionary societies. Though, both groups do not want to be a centralized denomination, the Independent Christian Churches think that working broadly with like minded churches is still a safe and beneficial practice.Fact|date=May 2008 Since the 1980s many of the autonomous congregations have become increasingly more evangelical in their orientation and style. Their autonomy has also catalyst in the growth of some 52 megachurches [ Christian Standard 2007 Megachurches] (averaging 2000+ attendance), some among the largest in the US: Southeast Christian in Louisville (18,000+) and Central Christian Church in Las Vegas (11,000). This growth has been noticed by the larger Evangelical network and in recent years Willow Creek Community Church (the flagship megachurch) has added two Christian Church ministers to its teaching staff. [] This growing interaction with Evangelicalism in an increasingly "post-denominational" American society presents a great growth opportunity for the brotherhood, but also threatens the loose ties that bind these congregations together.

The other large groups of the movement are:
* The Churches of Christ in Australia
* The United Reformed Church in the United Kingdom (also affiliated with the Reformed Church movement)
* The Fellowship of Churches of Christ in the United Kingdom
* The Associated Churches of Christ in New Zealand

Although they disassociate themselves from the Stone-Campbell Movement and have the least in common with the other branches, the Christadelphians share a heritage from the movement.

The Christian — Churches of Christ — Disciples of Christ family of Churches are linked through the World Convention of Churches of Christ. They will meet for the [ XVIIth World Convention of Churches of Christ] in Nashville, Tennessee in July-August 2008. Also see Jesse Moran Bader

Christ's Church Fellowship Inc was formed in 1988 as Charismatic Stone-Campbell organization [ Christ's Church Fellowship Inc.]

Pioneers of the movement

Although Barton W. Stone, Thomas and Alexander Campbell, and Walter Scott were to become the best-known and most influential early leaders of the movement, others preceded them and laid the foundation for their work.
* Barton W. Stone (1772–1844) – [ Texts]
* Thomas Campbell (1763–1854) – [ Texts]
* Alexander Campbell (1788–1866) – [ Texts]
* Walter Scott (1796–1861) – [ Texts]
* James O'Kelly (1735?–1826), Durham, North Carolina – [ Texts]
* Rice Haggard (1769–1819) – [ Texts]
* Elias Smith (1764–1846) – [ Texts]
* Abner Jones (1772–1841) – [ Texts]
* Marshall Keeble (1878–1969) His successful preaching career notably bridged a racial divide in the Restoration Movement prior to the American Civil Rights Movement.
* Elijah Martindale (1793-1874), active in Indiana.
* Scholars such as C. Leonard Allen at Abilene Christian University say that, besides the New Testament, the Restoration Movement was also influenced by the philosophy of John Locke and Scottish common sense philosophy.

Early churches

According to the records of the Old Philadelphia congregation of the Church of Christ, this congregation came into existence in 1804. The records are in the possession of the church in Warren County, Tennessee. In 1807, a congregation gathered at Antioch in the Alabama Territory and moved, in 1847, two miles south to Rocky Springs, Jackson County, Alabama near where Bridgeport, Alabama is now. The records are in the possession of the Church of Christ at Rocky Springs. There were people who wanted to form a central control of congregations but this did not materialize.

The first congregation in this movement to take the name "Church of Christ" was established in June of 1834 at Knob Creek, in southern Graves County, Kentucky. This church is still in active existence.

Churches of Christ in Europe arose separately from the American RM and during the 1840s onwards various movements came into fellowship. The Restoration Movement in the United Kingdom started before the Campbell/Stone movement in the USA. In England churches of Christ flourished in the 1600s and before; eventually many became Baptist. []

Key principles

* Christianity should not be divided, Christ intended the creation of "one" church.
* Creeds divide, but Christians should be able to find agreement by standing on the Bible itself (from which they believe all creeds are but human expansions or constrictions) instead of on the opinions of people "about" the Bible.
* Ecclesiastical traditions divide, but Christians should be able to find common ground by following the practice (as best as it can be determined) of the early church.
* Names of human origin divide, but Christians should be able to find common ground by using biblical names for the church (i.e., "Christian Church," "Church of God" or "Church of Christ" as opposed to "Methodist" or "Lutheran", etc.). It is in this vein that conservative members of the Churches of Christ object to the phrase "Stone-Campbell Movement."

The Christian Connection

Inextricably related to and intertwined with the Restoration Movement is the Christian Connection (sometimes spelled as Connexion). This religious movement began in several places and were secessions from three different denominations during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. In 1792, James O'Kelly, dissatisfied with the role of bishops in the Methodist Episcopal Church, separated from this body. O’Kelly’s movement, centering in Virginia and North Carolina, was originally called Republican Methodists.

The denominational name was dropped in 1794 in favor of the name “Christian” and a commitment to use the Bible as the only “rule of faith and practice.” During the first several years of the 19th century, two Baptist ministers in New England espoused similar views to O’Kelly and began exclusively using the name “Christian.” Working independently at first, Elias Smith of Vermont and Abner Jones of New Hampshire joined together in their efforts.

In 1801, the Cane Ridge Revival in Kentucky would plant the seed for a movement in Kentucky and the Ohio River valley to disassociate from denominationalism. Barton W. Stone and four others separated from the Springfield Presbytery in 1804 preferring to be known only as “Christians.” Rice Haggard who suggested that the Republican Methodists use only the name Christian was the impetus behind Stone's western group doing the same.

By 1808, O’Kelly’s followers and the Smith/Jones movement were united; Stone’s Christians in Kentucky would soon follow suit. This loose fellowship of churches was called by the names “Christian Connection/Connexion” or “Christian Church.”

When Stone and Alexander Campbell’s Reformers (also known as Disciples and Christian Baptists) united in 1832, only a minority of Christian Churches participated. The participating churches largely were from Kentucky, Indiana, and southern Ohio. Those who did not unite with Campbell continued to use the name Christian Church as did the Disciples — thus beginning the confusion over names among the various factions of the Restoration Movement which continues today.

The Christian Church merged with the Congregational Churches in 1931 to form the Congregational Christian Churches. The Evangelical and Reformed Church formed in 1934 as a merger of the Reformed Church in the United States and the Evangelical Synod of North America. In 1957, the Congregational Christian Church and the Evangelical and Reformed Church, after twenty years of discussion, forged the United Church of Christ.

In 1989, the UCC and the Disciples of Christ agreed to participate in full communion with each other, while remaining separate denominations.


Murch, James DeForest. Christians Only. Cincinnati: Standard Publishing, 1962.

Jennings, Walter Wilson. Origin and Early History of the Disciples of Christ Cincinnati: Standard Publishing, 1919.

Morrill, Milo True. History of the Christian Denomination in America. Dayton: The Christian Publishing Association, 1912.

[ A Short Course in UCC History: The Christian Churches]

[ UCC-Disciples Ecumenical Partnership]

[ A Short Course in UCC History: The Congregational Christian Churches]

[ A Short Course in UCC History: The Evangelical and Reformed Church]

Churches of Christ/Disciples of Christ split

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