“DID ALEXANDER CAMPBELL FOUND THE CHURCH OF CHRIST?” (by John Waddey)

“DID ALEXANDER CAMPBELL FOUND THE CHURCH OF CHRIST?” (by John Waddey)

Donnie Cruz
Donnie Cruz

May 1st, 2007, 12:36 pm #1

<font face=courier>-----Original Message-----
From: [[url=mailto:fortify_your_faith@yahoogroups.com]fortify_your_faith@yahoogroups.com[/url]] On Behalf of John Waddey
Sent: Saturday, April 28, 2007 3:38 PM
To: fortify_your_faith@yahoogroups.com
Subject: [fortify_your_faith] A Lesson to Fortify Your Faith - 04/28/07</font>

DID ALEXANDER CAMPBELL FOUND THE CHURCH OF CHRIST?

<font color=black face=arial>Dear Readers:

Today's lesson answers a question commonly encountered by members of the church of Christ. We are use to denominational antagonists raising this question, but today we hear it from those in our midst who are trying to remake the church of Christ into a denomination. Hopefully this information will be helpful to you should you encounter this question or assertion. Share it with other Christians.

— John Waddey</font>

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    DID ALEXANDER CAMPBELL FOUND THE CHURCH OF CHRIST?
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    <font color=indigo size=3 face=times new roman> Jesus promised to build his church (Matt. 16:18). In his death on the cross he purchased the church with his blood (Acts 20:28). He fulfilled that promise, for we read in the Book of Acts of the Apostles that the church existed in Jerusalem (Acts 8:4). The author of the Book of Acts relates how sinners were saved and added to Christ's church (Acts 2:14-42). It also reports the spread of Christianity from Jerusalem to Rome in the lifetime of the apostles. The Epistles of Paul, Peter, James, John and Jude provide instructions on the faith of the church and how they worshiped and served God. The New Testament was given by Christ to be a pattern by which his church would be ordered in every age and nation (II Tim. 1:13).

    Historically, we know that the church prospered and flourished for the first three centuries, even though she faced severe persecution at the hands of the Jews, pagans and the Roman government. With the ascension of Emperor Constantine as head of the Roman Empire (313 A.D.), the church finally was freed from official persecution. Given power and privilege by the emperor, many unconverted people rushed to join the church. Soon signs of corruption were seen. Depending on the support of the government rather than on God, the church began a long journey away from the teaching of Christ. In time the church of Christ was supplanted by the Church of Rome with her pope and his supporting hierarchy of lesser officers. The Roman priesthood not only dominated the church, but also the souls of the people. They persecuted all who did not submit to Rome's dictates. While most conformed, individuals and small groups scattered throughout the empire refuse to do so. They sought to be true Christians, nothing more. They suffered for their faith, but steadfastly refuse to compromise themselves.

    This sad situation continued from some thousand years until the birth of the Protestant Reformation in the early 1500s. Martin Luther, John Calvin and Huldrich Zwingle were the most notable leaders of that protest against Rome's corruption and domination. Their noble efforts were soon thwarted by internal strife and controversy that resulted in the creation of the many Protestant denominations. Although Protestantism greatly reduced the power of the Roman Church its adherents did not enjoy the pure and simple Christianity of apostolic times. Doctrines and commandments of men still ruled the day. After some 300 years of conflict, competition and confusion, many people began to question the concept of denominationalism. With easy access to the Bible, they began to study it with a desire to go back to the fountain head. These men were found in virtually all denominations in Europe, Great Britain and America.

    As early as the 1600s scattered disciples in England were protesting against the sad state of the various denominations and calling for a pure church. Among the early voices pleading for a return to New Testament Christianity were James and Robert Haldane of England (ca.1765-1850). It was from Greville Ewing, one of their disciples, that a young Alexander Campbell learned about restoration of the ancient faith. Small groups known as Glassites, Sandemanians and Scotch Baptists were scattered throughout Great Britain. From Northern Ireland, Thomas Campbell, a Presbyterian preacher, and his family immigrated to America (1807-1809). His son Alexander eventually became a famous preacher and a leading voice for restoration of the ancient faith.

    Here in America, others were pleading for a return to Biblical Christianity before Campbell arrived. In North Carolina, James O'Kelly launched a restoration movement among the Methodists as early as 1793. He had great success and his followers were found from Georgia, north to New Jersey and inland. In New England Dr. Elias Smith and Dr. Abner Jones left the Baptists and began a back to the Bible Movement in the
    opening years of the 1800s. In Kentucky, in 1804, Barton Stone launched a similar movement among the Presbyterians. Several other smaller movements were also pleading for a return to the original faith and worship of the church. The Campbells left the Presbyterians and for a while worked among the Baptists. Young Alexander emerged as
    a brilliant and capable student of God's Word, preacher, writer and leader. The Campbells eventually left the Baptists and proclaimed themselves and Christians only. Enemies of the church accused Campbell of founding a new denomination. This he vehemently repudiated and denied. Some of those who make this charge do so out of ignorance, others out of malice.

    While we are deeply indebted to Alexander Campbell for his tireless and sacrificial labors, and while we greatly admire his knowledge of Scripture and skill as a preacher, writer and debater, we do not consider him or any other human being to be our founder. Jesus founded his church. Our stated goal is to be that church, nothing more nor less.</font>
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John Waddey, Editor
Christianity: Then and Now

E-Mail: [url=mailto:johnwaddey@aol.com]johnwaddey@aol.com[/url]
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Donnie Cruz
Donnie Cruz

July 9th, 2007, 9:28 am #2

THE GREATEST GENERATION

<font color=black face=arial>Dear Friend in Christ:

Today's lesson looks back on the life and work of our fathers and mothers in the faith through whom God did great things in the 20th century. To them we owe a debt of gratitude for building the road over which we travel with ease. Yet there are some ungrateful souls among us who promote their own cause by casting reproach on that great generation of Christians. If you find this lesson meaningful, please forward it to every Christian in your email address book. Make copies to share with members of your congregation. When all of Israel shouted together, God brought down the walls of that heathen fortress called Jericho. If we say NO! with one powerful voice, the change movement will crumble.

— John Waddey</font>

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      THE GREATEST GENERATION
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      <font color=indigo size=3 face=times new roman>Tom Brokow's best-selling book, The Greatest Generation, chronicles the story of the Americans that came to maturity in the 1930-s and 40s. They had survived the Great Depression. They fought and won the titanic struggle with Japan and Germany. They helped to restore the nation to a peace time economy and built the greatest economic power in human history. They not only achieved great personal prosperity for all who were willing to work for it, they shared their wealth with the people of virtually all nations. They did this while maintaining a high level of personal morality and faith.

      In this article I want to recognize, praise and honor a great generation of Christians. I speak of those saints who lived their lives in 20th century America.
      • These brothers and sisters were true to their faith in the face of a massive avalanche of apostasy. They saw some 85 % of their fellow-Christians and sister congregations abandoned the old paths of New Testament Christianity to embrace the golden calves of denominationalism.
      • From the ashes of that disaster they came back to recover what had been lost and rebuild the shattered walls of the kingdom. With dedicated zeal and sacrificial labor, by mid-century they had surpassed those who had chosen the broad road of denominationalism (Matt. 7:13-14).
      • They set their eyes on every community without a congregation of the church and set about to plant one in each of them.
      • They sent out a numerous and dedicated band of missionaries following World War II, circling the globe and planting thousands of congregations in over 175 nations. In many lands they have found great success, notably in India and Nigeria.
      • They utilized the mediums of radio and television to send the gospel message winging around the world.
      • They fought the combined forces of digression and denominationalism and claimed the field. So successful were they that by the middle of the century scarcely one could be found that would publicly oppose them.
      • They successfully engaged the champions of atheism and skepticism and proved the superiority of the Christian faith.
      • They established and nurtured to maturity a half dozen major schools that eventually reached university status and another half dozen quality colleges. In addition to those schools of higher learning they founded and operated more than a hundred successful elementary and secondary schools. They created a dozen schools of preaching that offered free ministerial training to worthy men.
      • They created campus programs and Bible Chairs to minister to students in state and private colleges and universities. They created numerous prison ministries.
      • They established and maintained numerous homes for widows, orphans and unwed mothers. They provided millions of dollars in benevolence assistance to those in distress both at home and abroad.
      • They wrote and published an extensive and respectable body of literature that helped to shape the thinking of fellow-Christians, especially young ministers and new converts. Some of this circulated far beyond their own borders. In this category were the writings of Batsell Baxter, Jr., Burton Coffman, Jack P. Lewis, Neil Lightfoot and Homer Hailey.
      • They withstood the several varieties of legalists who tried to impose their narrow systems on the church.
      • They believed the restoration of the original aspects of Christianity to be valid. They respected the Bible as the final and complete authority for the church and rejected the skeptical views of the liberal theologians.
      • They were satisfied to stand alone in their work and did not seek a compromise with denominationalism.
      • They hammered out their internal differences with pen and discussion.
      • They knew who they were and what they believed and were not ashamed of it.
      • From 159,658 members in 2,649 small, struggling congregations in 1906 they grew to 1.5 million in 9,500, congregations, many of them large and flourishing and most of them in attractive, well situated houses of worship.
      Churches of Christ of the 21st century are indebted to this great generation that preceded them. May we not forget their labors, their sacrifices and success, lest we prove ourselves unworthy of the treasure they bequeathed to us. May we not give credence or reception to those ungrateful souls who denigrate that great generation.</font>
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John Waddey, Editor
Christianity: Then and Now

E-Mail: [url=mailto:johnwaddey@aol.com]johnwaddey@aol.com[/url]
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