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Alexander Campbell around 1855
Alexander Campbell

Alexander Campbell (12 September 1788 – 4 March 1866) was an early leader in the Second Great Awakening of the religious movement that has been referred to as the Restoration, or Stone-Campbell Movement. The Campbell wing of the movement was said to begin with his father Thomas Campbell's publication in 1809 in Washington County, Pennsylvania, of The Declaration and Address of the Christian Association of Washington.[1] In 1832 the group of reformers led by the Campbells merged with a similar group that began in Kentucky under the leadership of Barton W. Stone. Several American church groups trace their history to the Campbells' leadership, including the Churches of Christ, the Independent Christian Churches/Churches of Christ, Evangelical Christian Church in Canada, and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

Contents

Early life and education

Alexander Campbell was born 12 September 1788 near Ballymena, County Antrim, Ireland.[2] Of Scots-Irish descent, he was educated at the University of Glasgow, where he was greatly influenced by Scottish Enlightenment philosophy. He was also influenced by the English philosopher John Locke. At age 21, Alexander emigrated to the United States with his mother and siblings from Scotland, to join his father Thomas, who had emigrated there in 1807. The Campbells arrived just prior to their father's publication of The Declaration and Address, in 1809. Alexander Campbell also became ordained as a Presbyterian minister, but soon became a significant leader among the reformers.

Marriage and family

Campbell married Margaret Brown on March 12, 1811.[3]:83 The couple resided in what is now known as the Alexander Campbell Mansion near Bethany, WV. Their first child, a daughter, was born on March 13, 1812.[3]:83 His daughter's birth spurred Campbell to study the subject of baptism. He ultimately concluded that Scripture did not support the baptism of infants. He came to believe that individuals had to choose baptism and conversion for themselves.[3]:83

Writings

Campbell edited and published two journals: The Christian Baptist from 1823 through 1830, and The Millennial Harbinger from 1830 until his death in 1866. In both, he advocated the reform of Christianity along the lines as it was practiced on the American frontier.

He wrote several books, including The Christian System. He also wrote hymns, including Upon the Banks of Jordan Stood.[4] Campbell compiled and published a translation of the New Testament under the title The Living Oracles. Published in 1826, it was based on a 17th-century translation, with edits by Campbell.[5] He served as a delegate to the Virginia constitutional convention held in the 1830s, which led that state toward a more powerful executive branch of government.

In 1840, Campbell founded Bethany College in Bethany, Virginia (now Bethany, West Virginia) as a school for ministers.

Campbell died 4 March 1866.

Notes

  1. ^ McAllister & Tucker, (1975), page 111
  2. ^ McAllister & Tucker, (1975), page 98
  3. ^ a b c Adron Doran, Restoring New Testament Christianity, 21st Century Christian, 1997, ISBN 0-89098-161-2
  4. ^ Richardson 1871. Vol 2, Chapter XXI, Footnote 1 Accessed 1-Nov-2008
  5. ^ Holloway 1995

Sources

  • Challen, James (editor), "Biographical Sketch of Alexander Campbell", Ladies' Christian Annual, March, 1857 (Volume VI, No. 3), Philadelphia: James Challen, Publisher. Pages 81–90. Online Edition
  • Foster, Douglas, et al., The Encyclopedia of the Stone-Campbell Movement. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2005.
  • Holloway, Gary, "Alexander Campbell as a Publisher", Restoration Quarterly, Vol. 37/No. 1 (1995) Accessed 1 - Nov 2008.
  • McAllister, Lester and Tucker, William E. Journey in Faith St. Louis, Missouri: The Bethany Press, 1975.
  • Richardson, Robert. Memoirs of Alexander Campbell. In two volumes. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1871.

External links

Additional pictures

Alexander Campbell, Age 65
Young Alexander Campbell
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