Vol.XII No.VII Pg.4
September 1975

"As The Twig Is Bent"

Robert F. Turner

The rebellion against State churches in England, Scotland and Ireland produced Independents and Separatists who contributed much to congregational independence. Particularly, we should be interested in the work of John Glass, Robert Sandeman, and the Haldane brothers, for they are a part of our historical background.

In 1726 John Glass withdrew from the Church of Scotland and formed several independent congregations. The Glassites taught: 1) National establishments of religion are inconsistent with the true nature of the Church of Christ. 2) A congregation, with its elders, is subject to no discipline save that of Christ and his apostles. 3) Each church should have a plurality of elders, chosen by the church according to the scriptures, without regard to previous education for the office. 4) The churches observe the Lords Supper on the first day of every week. (They also hold love feasts.) 5) Mutual exhortation by any member able to address the church. 6) A weekly collection was made in connection with the Lords Supper in aid of the poor, and for necessary expenses.

In 1755, when Robert Sandeman adopted independent views he repudiated that mischievous mysticism which views saving faith as an inspiration directly from the Holy Spirit. He taught that the benefit of the gospel is conveyed to men only by the apostolic report concerning it; and, that all the divine power which operates in the minds of men, either to give the first relief to their conscience, or to influence them in every part of their obedience to the Gospel, ispersuasive power, or the forcible conviction of truth. Campbell said Sandeman was keen, sharp, censorious; and wrote like the mountain storm that roars among the cliffs. Despite controversies, or maybe because of them, his influence was very great. His extremes included community of goods and feet washing.

James A. and Robert Haldane left the Established Church of Scotland to advocate lay preaching and a revival of spiritual interests. In 1799 they organized an independent church in Edinburg; and within nine years had organized 85 churches. Out of these evolved the Scotch Baptists. In the beginning the Haldanes were content with monthly communion, but in 1802 they resolved to have the Lords Supper on the first day of every week. They contributed greatly to Biblical inquiry, organizing night schools to teach religious truths. Grenville Ewing was connected with the Haldane school, and Alexander Campbell met and became his close friend. Campbell was yet a member of the Seceder Presbyterian church at the time, but this association encouraged in him an intensely independent spirit and before he left for America he had decided to leave the Presbyterian church.

Richardsons Memoirs of Campbell devotes two chapters to the Haldane movement and credits it with giving Campbell his first impulse as a religious reformer. . . Campbell himself acknowledged particularly the influence of Archibald McLean, Scotch Baptist. These are the winds, that bent the twig, that formed the oak, that..