|RESTORATION MOVEMENT TEXTS|
Last Will and Testament of Springfield Presbytery
It happened at Cane Ridge, Kentucky, June 28, 1804.
Item. We will, that each particular church, as a body, actuated by the same spirit, choose her own preacher, and support him by a free-will offering, without a written call or subscription--admit members--remove offenses, and never henceforth delegate her right of government to any man or set of men whatever.
Springfield Presbytery, June 28, 1804
Robert Marshall, John Dunlavy, Richard M'Nemar. Witnesses. B. W. Stone, JohnThompson, David Purviance.
Declaration and Address
Published at Washington, Pennsylvania, in the year 1809 by Thomas Campbell.
I. That we form ourselves into a religious association under the denomination of the Christian Association of Washington, for the sole purpose of promoting simple evangelical Christianity, free from all mixture of human opinions and inventions of men.
II. That each member, according to ability, cheerfully and liberally subscribe a certain specified sum to be paid half yearly, for the purpose of raising a fund to support a pure Gospel ministry, that shall reduce to practice that whole form of doctrine, worship, discipline, and government, expressly revealed and enjoined in the word of God. And, also, for supplying the poor with the holy Scriptures.
III. That this Society consider it a duty, and shall use all proper means in its power, to encourage the formation of similar associations; and shall for this purpose hold itself in readiness, upon application, to correspond with, and render all. possible assistance to, such as may desire to associate for the same desirable and important purposes.
IV. That this Society by no means considers itself a Church, nor does at all. assume to itself the powers peculiar to such a society, nor do the members, as such, consider themselves as standing connected in that relation; nor as at all associated for the peculiar purposes of Church association; but merely as voluntary advocates for Church reformation; and, as possessing the powers common to all individuals, who may please to associate in a peaceable and orderly manner, for any lawful purpose, namely, the disposal of their time, counsel and property, as they may see cause.
V. That this Society, formed for the sole purpose of promoting sirnple evangelical Christianity, shall, to the utmost of its power, countenance and support such ministers, and such only, as exhibit a manifest conformity to the original standard in conversation and doctrine, in zeal and diligence; only such as reduce to practice that simple original form of Christianity, expressly exhibited upon the sacred page; without attempting to inculcate anything of human authority, of private opinion, or inventions of men, as having any place in the constitution, faith, or worship, of the Christian Church, or anything as matter of Christian faith or duty, for which there can not be expressly produced a "Thus saith the Lord, either in express terms, or by approved precedent."
VI. That a Standing Committee of twenty-one members of unexceptionable moral character, inclusive of the secretary and treasurer, be chosen annually to superintend the interests, and transact the business of the Society. And that said Committee be invested with all powers to act and do, in the name, and behalf of their constituents, whatever the Society had previously determined, for the purpose of carrying into effect the entire object of its institution, and that in case of any emergency, unprovided for in the existing determinations of the Society, said Committee be empowered to call a special meeting for that purpose.
VII. That this Society meet at least twice a year, viz.: on the first Thursday of May, and of November, and that the collectors appointed to receive the half-yearly quotas of the promised subscriptions, be in readiness, at or before each meeting, to make their returns to the treasurer, that he may be able to report upon the state of the funds. The next meeting to be held at Washington on the first Thursday of November next.
VIII. That each meeting of the Society be opened with a sermon, the constitution and address read, and a collection lifted for the benefit of the Society, and that a communications of a public nature be laid before the Society at its half-yearly meetings.
IX. That this Society, relying upon the all-sufficiency of the Church, its Head; and, through His grace, looking with an eye of confidence to the generous liberality of the sincere friends of genuine Christianity, holds itself engaged to afford a competent support to such ministers as the Lord may graciously dispose to assist, at the request, and by invitation of the Society, in promoting a pure evangelical reformation, by the simple preaching of the everlasting Gospel, and the administration of its ordinances in an exact conformity to the Divine standard as aforesaid, and that, therefore, what ever the friends of the institution shall please to contribute toward the support of ministers in connection with this Society, who may be sent forth to preach at considerable distances, the same shall be gratefully received and acknowledged as a donation to its funds.
The above is not all of the Declaration and Address.
ADDRESS AND DECLARATION
It happened at Sand Creek, Illinois, on August 18, 1889.
Three years have elapsed since I was with you in this grove on a similar occasion. In some of that period many changes have taken place, yet we are spared in God's good providence to meet agam in the good purpose that has called us together. But as we are assembled and the Holy Volume is open before us, your attention is kindly invited to the scripture. I first read a familiar passage in John 20th chapter. "Many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of the Disciples which are not written in this book. But these are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing ye might have life through his name." I also read Rom. 10:17. "So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God"
Next we come to the subject of confession. In many funeral discourses and by many compromising religionists it has been by implication and even explicitly declared, that confession of faith in Christ is not necessary in order to become a Christian, meet the divine approbation and get to heaven. But no one on earth ever did or ever can BELIEVE such teaching to be the will of God. WHY? The answer is, because there is no testimony to that effect. Not a fragment of the word of God so declares. Therefore no one can so believe. What is not revealed as the will of God no one can believe to be the will of God. Therefore secret discipleship, or that kind of a religious life which those live who are ashamed or afraid to confess the name of Christ before others-such discipleship no one on earth can believe to be the will of God. There may be inferences or suppositions but not FAITH.Now we come to the disputed subject of baptism. Applying the well-established truth. concerning the domain of faith or belief it becomes evident that no one on earth DOES or CAN believe that baptism is a non-essential to salvation, or that it is not necessary in order that the alien sinner may reach a state or condition where his sins are remitted. Multitudes have had INFERENCES, or OPINIONS, or VIEWS, or NOTIONS, or SUPPOSITIONS to that effect but not one ever had or ever can have that high confidence called FAITH. Besides, multitudes have taught that baptism is a "door into the church," "an outward sign of an inward work of grace," or "the first act after conversion," but none have ever believed thus concerning baptism, or believed that such teaching is a part of the divine will. WHY? The reason is, because none have ever found a fragment of scripture to that effect and belief or faith is produced or comes by the word of God.
Now let us enter upon another chapter of this subject. In so doing I again read. Acts 11:26 is first suggested. I read the last sentence. "And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.- Next comes Acts 26:28. "Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian." Finally I read on this point I Pet 4:10, "Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this behalf." In the light of such scripture it is evident that we all can and should believe that the name "Christian" is the proper name of those who have obeyed the gospel. WHY? Simply because this is a matter of divine testimony. If it can be said that such name was given the primitive followers of the Savior by their enemies, I answer by reading Eph. 3:14,15. "For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and on earth is namied." This settles the question concerning who named the divine family on earth. Therefore, though many people may have inferences, views, opinions or suppositions to the effect that Christ's enemies gave his people the name "Christian," yet no one on earth can so believe, because to that effect THERE IS No TESTIMONY. What disciples teach on this subject is a matter of divine testimony and hence is a matter of faith.
In the entire Book of God there is not one fragment of TESTIMONY in favor of the imported, one-man, preacher-pastor as the feeder and watcher over the flock after it had been gathered and established. Therefore, there is no one on earth who BELIEVES that such an arrangement is according to the divine will. That arrangement originated with apostate Rome, and from Rome was borrowed by the Protestant denominations, and from them has been borrowed by a certain class of disciples who are determined to be like other folks and be in the fashion. Concerrung the preacher the testimony is, that his business is to gather a flock, establish it and then move onward, or visit a church, proclaim the truth for a season, forewarn the brethren against all manner of evil and false teachers and move onward. Paul and Barnabas, I have sometimes thought, were a little inclined to pastorate at Antioch. The Church there was well established and no doubt it was a pleasant place to remain--good company and good eating. Not much danger there of missing a meal in traveling. As Acts 11:26 informs us, that they assembled a whole year with the church in that place. But the Holy Spirit said, "Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them." Then the brethren unto whom such revelation was made fasted, prayed, laid hands on them and SENT THEM AWAY. This shows what every church should do with every man who can preach. Send him away--let him go forth and proclaim. the unsearchable riches in the regions beyond. Of course it is more pleasant to remain at home if he have a good wife, and if she be a good cook and a good housekeeper, yet as certainly as that he is worthy of being called a preacher he should be SENT AWAY with the benediction, blessing and support of the church. That this is the divine will we CAN believe and SHOULD believe without doubt, because we have the divine testimony to that effect. But to believe that the preacher should settle down upon an established congregation and locate himself and do the work of feeding intended to be done by the overseers--to believe this is UTTERLY IMPOSSIBLE, because there is not one fragment of testimony to that effect. There may be INFERENCE and thus OPINON or SUPPOSITION, but there can be no FAITH and whatsoever is not of faith is sin."
In other words, the great, deep-toned organ so slurred and blurred and drowned the human voices that no one could distinguish whether they were singing in English, Dutch or Sanskrit. Such music makes teaching by means of psalms, hymns and spiritual songs simply impossible and thus it is evident that it contravenes or comes in conflict with what is divinely authorized. But this is not all. If those who are offended at the organ were the weakest, most ignorant and least to be esteemed in the church (which they are not), yet even then it would be a sin to offend them by making an unauthorized instrument a test of fellowship, as is done whenever the organ is put into the meetinghouse and used in connection with the worship, since none can then worship there without seeing it and hearing it--I say, when such a course is pursued even if those opposing the organ were the least and the most ignorant, yet that course would be sinful in the sight of heaven. I read 1 Cor. 8:12, "But when ye sin so against the brethren and wound their weak conscience ye sin against Christ." I also refer you also to Matt. 25th chapter where the Savior said, "Inasmuch as ye did it unto the least of these my brethren ye did it unto me." This shows beyond controversy that multitudes are in danger of being finally rejected because in this life they have persistently sinned against Christ in sinning against his brethren. In conclusion on this point I mention again that in favor of the organ in the worship there may be inferences, opinions, views, notions, preferences but there is not faith that it is the will of Christ that it should be used in connection with the worship. But "whatever is not of faith is of sin."
Returning now to our original theme, I call heaven and earth, men and angels to witness that the discrimination between testimony and inference, and between faith and opinion-this discritnination which made disciples a great and a mighty and a separate people--this discrimination which has given us our peculiar strength and power as teachers of the religious and irreligious world--I say that I call heaven and earth, angels and men to witness that THIS DISCRIMINATION HAS BY INNOVATORS AMONG DISCIPLES BEEN ABANDONED. Do not infer that I mean it has been abandoned by them in every particular, but rather in relation to their innovations. While dealing with their religious neighbors they declare the difference between testimony and inference, and the difference between faith and opinion. But when they come to the worship and work of the church they make matters of inference, and thus matters of opinion, tests of fellowship by thrusting them in upon peaceable churches, so that none can worship or work with them except by practically adopting their devices. They have in some instances even gone so far as to exclude men and women who would persist in opposing their matters of opinion. As a result they are responsible for all the evils that now afflict us as a people in consequence of the introduction among us of things unauthorized by the New Testament. We therefore lay down before and against our modern school brethren who have acted the part of innovators among us on the following charges.
7. We finally charge upon and against our innovating brethren that they are responsible for all the bickerings and feuds, griefs and lamentations, heart-burnings and heart-breakings, which has resulted from the introduction among us of human devices which are not mentioned in the word of God--not authorized by our King--but which they have borrowed from the denominations of Protestantism and from the world.
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