History of the Restoration Movement

Growth & Departures


A. The Stone and Campbell movements between 1828 and 1832 are moving closer and closer together.

B. Campbell, by 1830 had distanced himself from the Baptists.

C. Both have come to accept baptism for the remission of sins.

D. Unity is on its way.


I. Leading Up To Unity in 1832.

A. Stone meets Campbell in Georgetown, Kentucky 1824.

1. They agreed that sectarianism was anti-Christian.

2. All Christians should be united in one body.

3. Taught that creeds and confessions were the strong props of sectarianism.

4. Evidence of Scripture was sufficient to produce faith.

5. Both accept baptism for remission of sins.

6. Both reject all names but Christian.

B. Stone Befriends John T. Johnson in 1831.

1. Johnson preaches for Disciples Church in Georgetown, KY

2. Stone preaches for Christian Church in Georgetown, KY

3. Both work tirelessly to unite both groups.

C. Christmas, 1831 = The Meeting Of The Minds.

1. Met on Sunday and arranged to meet each day of the week leading to the New Year's Day.

2. Additional preachers involved were: John Rogers & "Raccoon" John Smith.

3. Met at the Oldham Cotton Factory, 168 N. Broadway. Georgetown. (Today a Civics Center)

4. Speeches were spontaneous, (no agenda)

5. John Smith was the first to speak:

a. “Let us, then my brethren, be no longer Campbellites or Stoneites, New Lights or Old Lights, or any other kind of lights, but let us come to the Bible and to the Bible alone, as the only book in the world that can give us all the light we need.”

D. On New Years Day, 1832: John Smith & Barton Stone extend the right hand of fellowship and with it two separate movements become one.


II. The Spreading Of Good News.

A. John Rogers and John Smith are selected to go throughout the country for one year to tell the churches of the unity of the new movement.

1. All churches contribute to the financial need of both men and their families.

2. J.T. Johnson is selected to hold the purse and distribute the funds.

B. Success Is Experienced.


III. Some Highlights over the next few years.

A. In 1835 "The Disciple's Hymn Book" is distributed. Bearing the names of B.W. Stone, A. Campbell, Walter Scott, & J.T. Johnson.

C. 1836 - Bacon College begins with Walter Scott as first president.

1. Georgetown, Kentucky

2. J.T. Johnson was Vice-President.

3. Walter Scott spoke on the opening day of the school, returned home and never returned to the campus.

4. Moves to Harrodsburg in 1839.

a. Because of Financial difficulties

b. Building erected July 29, 1839.

5. College closes June 14, 1850 due to financial problems.

D. Defunct Bacon College Becomes Kentucky University.

1. J.B. Bowman and others secure a new charter from the Kentucky Legislature to begin a new University on the old Bacon College Campus, 1858

2. Kentucky University opens September 19, 1859.

a. Robert Milligan of Bethany College elected 1st president.

1) Later president of the College of the Bible.

2) Writer of GA commentary on the book of Hebrews

3. Main building burns February 16, 1864.

4. Transylvania College in Lexington, now defunct offers the campus to Kentucky University and approved by legislative act February 28, 1865.

E. 1841 - Campbell Begins Bethany College under direction of A. Campbell.

F. 1844 - B.W. Stone dies in Saturday, November 9. 1844 at 4:00 a.m. in Hannibal, Missouri. Later re-buried at Cane Ridge, Kentucky


IV. Digression Begins With The American Christian Missionary Society in 1849.

A. Annual meetings of church leaders caused them to plan works of outreach.

1. People wanted to do work outside of the church (congregationally).

2. Pooled money from different churches could insure more work.

B. A society was developed to do evangelism.

1. Met for four day beginning October 23, 1849 in Cincinnati at Christian Chapel, cnr. Of Walnut and 8th St.

2. A. Campbell was not in attendance due to sickness. W.K. Pendleton comes in his place.

3. 156 delegates in attendance.

4. Alexander Campbell elected the first president with 23 vice-presidents of which included: D.S. Burnett, Walter Scott, T.M. Allen, W.K. Pendleton, John T. Johnson, Tolbert Fanning.

5. Two secretaries and a treasurer (Jesse B. Ferguson).

C. Campbell's Involvement Is Mixed.

1. Before its existence he didn't support it.

2. Just before it came together he spoke in favor of it.

3. Was the first president of it, but very low key.

4. David Lipscomb's later surmising:

a. In A.C's old age he allowed younger men sway his judgment.

b. Remember the 1847 visit to Scotland and the events that took place there, the arrest, the death of Wycliffe at home, the illness, etc. caused some to say that A.C. was never the same when he returned home.

c. T. Fanning related a visit made to A.C. after the society was formed. He said, " . . . he stated that he was shocked to find his (Campbell's) mind was so shaken that he could, with difficulty, keep it on one subject; that he could converse in general terms on things he had studied in the past, but that all power of close, connected reasoning was gone; that he had to be continually prompted to keep up an ordinary conversation."

D. Some who early on supported the Society later opposed it as being unscriptural.

1. Jesse B. Ferguson, Nashville, editor of the Christian Magazine recorded at the close of 1849 a number of write-in comments against the Society.

2. James M. Mathis, editor of The Christian Record, in Indiana said, "A missionary society was formed for the spread of the gospel in our own and foreign lands. This is quite an important measure. We have always been in favor of sending the gospel to the destitute at home and abroad; but our own plan was to do all this through the church, as such."

3. Benjamin Franklin, editor of the American Christian Review originally supported it, but in later years opposed it.

4. Jacob Creath, Jr. opposed it from almost the beginning.

5. J.T. Johnson supported it to just before his death.

6. Tolbert Fanning and Granville Lipscomb began the Gospel Advocate in 1855 coming out strongly against the Society.

E. Early Work of The A.C.M.S.

1. The first foreign mission point was Jerusalem.

2. James Turner Barkley selected to be the first missionary.

a. He was a one-time owner of Monticello, six years after T. Jefferson died.

b. In 1850 selected to go Jerusalem

c. Arrived in Jerusalem Feb. 10, 1851.

d. Left to return during the summer of 1854.

e. Not much accomplished while there.

3. African Work in 1853.

a. Alexander Cross, a black slave-preacher from Kentucky selected.

b. Departed from Baltimore November 5, 1853.

c. Arrived in January, 1854 in Monrovia.

d. Two months spent in preparation to preach.

e. Warned before departure to be careful in the hot African sun.

f. He took very little heed to the warning.

g. While on a fourteen-mile boat ride up the St. Paul's river, got sun stroke. In a few days got a fever and died.

h. Never preached a sermon.

4. Other works developed over the next few year leading up to the Civil War in 1861.

a. J.O. Beardslee to Jamaica Jan. 20, 1858

b. W.W. Eaton to Nova Scotia, 1858.

c. John O'Kane to Kansas, 1859.

5. The Civil War separated brethren, disallowing involvement by southern brethren.

a. Probably the chief reason southern churches move away from supporting the society.


V. The Introduction of Instruments of Music.

A. Scattered reports of the introduction of the instrument were reported as early as 1851.

1. Aylette Raines recorded in his diary that a Brother Saunders wanted to introduce it at Millersburg, KY but he bitterly opposed it, April, 1851.

B. In the early 1850's discussion in Journals became prevalent.

1. Many wrote in requesting studies on the instrument of music.

2. J.B. Henshall in Ecclesiastical Reformer, wrote against its introduction by saying that those wanting to introduce it were "worldly minded."

3. A. Campbell in an article in the Millennial Harbinger, October, 1851 said, " . . . I presume, to all spiritually-minded Christians such aids would be as a cow bell in a concert."

C. Ben Franklin wrote against it in 1860 by saying that it would be only permissible if a church or preacher had lost the Spirit of Christ and were trying to become a fashionable society rather than the church of the Bible.

1. L.L. Pinkerton of Midway, KY responded that as far as he was aware the church at Midway where he preached was the only one of his knowledge where the instrument had been successfully introduced.

D. Instruments At Midway Christian Church, Kentucky

1. Added because of the deplorable singing.

2. Pinkerton did not originate the idea of introducing the instrument.

3. He did say the singing, "scare even the rats from worship."

4. At first they met in the home of some brethren on Saturday night for practice, to get the right pitch.

5. Before long one of the sisters was accompanying the singing with playing the melodeon.

6. The group noted how the accompaniment helped the singing, and so decided to use it at worship the following Sunday.

7. Thompson Parrish played the instrument at the Sunday service.

8. Two Melodeons

a. Initially, Adam Hibler, one of the elders, late one night helped his slave, Reuben, through the window to remove it from the building. It was passed through the window, placed on his wagon, taken home and hidden in his barn.

c. Another was purchased, but later was destroyed as the building burned around the turn of the 20th century.

9. Some years ago, the stolen melodeon was found and placed in the library at Midway College where it sits on display to this day.

E. Opposition Increased As Its Use Spread.

1. 1864 - J.W. McGarvey wrote against it in the Millennial Harbinger

2. 1864 - Moses Lard addressed it in Lard's Quarterly, Vol. 1 #3. (March Issue)


VI. The Church During The Civil War.

A. Many lost their faith.

B. Many enlisted in the military.

C. Preachers were amazingly silent on the subject of war and slavery.

1. Many of them joined the military for both sides.

2. Garfield in the north.

3. Dr. Winthrop Hartly Hopson & Benjamin Franklin Hall, Alvinzi Thomas, T.W. Caskey and others joined the south as chaplains.

D. It was difficult to find people who would come to hear the gospel preached.

1. J.H. Dunn & John Taylor helped maintain churches in Alabama.

2. Nathan W. Smith & Dr. Daniel Hook helped maintain churches in Georgia.

3. The Lipscomb brothers, R.B. Trimble, J.J. Trott, W.D. Carnes, W.C. Huffman and others helped maintain churches in Tennessee.

E. A number of the journals ceased publication during the war.

F. The Biggest wedge that took place during the Civil War between brethren in the North and Brethren in the south was when the Missionary Society officially condemned the South. October, 1864. Southern churches were appalled.


VII. After The War.

A. Many of the issues that were at the forefront before the war were picked up again.

B. The Gospel Advocate began again in 1866 with Tolbert Fanning and David Lipscomb as co-editors initially focusing on a Christian’s involvement in Civil Affairs.

C. Over the next forty years, the development of the Society and the introduction of the instrument further splintered the church of Christ.

1. By 1884 the Church of Christ and the Christian Church were separate entities.

2. Lines had been drawn by many.

3. Not until the 1906 U.S. Census do we see the complete separation of the two movements recognized by the government.

D. Alexander Campbell dies March 4, 1866 at home in Bethany, West Virginia


VIII. Further Splintering In The Christian Church.

A. The College of the Bible.

1. J.W. McGarvey, long time teacher and administrator in the College of The Bible.

2. Fought many battles to preserve the truth.

a. Since its inception with the University of Kentucky in 1869.

b. Confrontations with Regent John Bowman led to McGarvey's dismissal as teacher in September, 1873.

c. Reappointed 1874.

d. Pulled away and started a new College of the Bible In July, 1877.

e. Returned to U.K. campus June 11, 1878.

f. In 1895 McGarvey is made President of the College of the Bible and served until his death in 1911.

3. After his death in 1911, Hall Laurie Calhoun, groomed by McGarvey for this position, took the presidency temporarily.

4. Major controversy in March, 1917 over Higher Criticism.

a. Liberal, German influence, interpretation of Bible and how it came into existence.

b. Teaching of evolution by some of the teachers such as E.E. Snoddy, A.W. Fortune.

c. Unwillingness of President Henry H. Crossfield to take a stand.

d. H.L. Calhoun fights the battle of his life: preserving truth and fighting against the liberals.

5. College of the Bible goes into apostasy over Higher Criticism.



A. Three things that destroyed the unity of the Restoration Movement:

1. The Introduction of the American Christian Missionary Society.

2. The Introduction of the instrument of music into the worship assembly.

3. The religious institutions went off into Higher Criticism.


B. Lessons to be learned.

1. The Bible is clear in its authority for worship and godly living.

2. The Restoration Movement is the United States is movement that deserves continuous effort to promote.

3. The men and women who sacrificed were not perfect and are not honored in any area where they may have failed. They are honored in their attempts, no matter how successful, in moving men back to the Bible as their authority of faith and religion.