Vol.II No.X Pg.6
November 1965

"Anti" Church In Austin

Robert F. Turner

The following is taken from "History of the Churches of Christ in Texas," by Stephen Eckstein, Jr. (p.130-)


"In Austin, the church of Christ, begun in 1847, grew slowly for several decades. After the Civil War, the congregation met in a log house on Congress Avenue between Fourth and Fifth Streets. A frame building was constructed in 1867 at Eighth and Calhoun but was replaced in 1872 by a two-story house with a basement for a Sunday School."

"In 1885, a visitor found only twentynine in Sunday School and thirteen in the morning worship service. Apparently trying to invigorate the apathetic congregation, W. A. Morris and Hardin Welsh, two of the three elders, invited the state meeting of disciples to convene in Austin.

The following year, the delegates, who met in the church building, formed the Texas Christian Missionary Society. According to one account, sixteen members, who opposed the missionary society and the use of the organ in the worship, soon withdrew and formed another congregation. Shortly thereafter, the group wrote a letter of reconciliation to the elders which evidently was rejected.

In 1887, evangelist J. D. Tant was invited by the group which withdrew, now numbering eighty-seven members under the leadership of McGary and J. W. Jackson, to conduct a meeting. The next year the following advertisement appeared in the Firm Foundation: "The Church of Christ in Austin, will meet every Lord's Day at 1014 E. 7th, at their own hired house and all Christians opposed to innovations in the work and worship of the Lord's plan are cordially invited to meet with us when possible." This body formed the nucleus for the University Ave. Church of Christ in the twentieth century. The old church became the Central Christian Church."



(1) A majority of the elders favored the "church cooperation" movements of the day.

(2) As the fruit of this error became apparent, sixteen members withdrew and formed another congregation. (Please note -- they were "antis," rebelling against the elders, leaving the church -- at least that is the way sectarian-thinking members then and now would classify them.)

(3) Their efforts to discuss and correct differences were rejected by those who "stayed in the church."

(4) They frankly and openly advertised their opposition to innovation, and invited all who felt the same to worship with them.

Surely any open-minded person can see current church problems reflected in this history of the Austin church. Today's sectarian-thinking members, blinded by prejudices, probably have not read this far anyhow.