Vol.V No.IX Pg.2
November 1968

Monument To Conviction

Robert F. Turner

With this issue (p.6) we begin publication of a historic document written in 1808, by Thomas Campbell. It is taken from Memoirs of Thomas Campbell by Alexander Campbell, 1861.

Newly arrived in this country in 1807, Thomas Campbell presented his credentials and was assigned to duty by the North American Synod of the Seceder (Scotch) Presbyterian Church. Deep faith, and respect for the Divine will, possessed this quiet man; and soon he found his honest convictions concerning the teaching of the word of God, at variance with the creedalism of his church. The protectors of orthodoxy brought charges against him, and on Feb. 11, 08, he was suspended from the ministry by the Chartiers Presbytery.

May 20, 1808, he appealed his case before The Associate Synod of north America, met in Philadelphia, and presented the paper quoted here. His appeal was only partially successful as he was censured for his answers to certain questions. In September, 1808, he denounced the authority of the Presbytery, the Synod, and all their courts (Search for Ancient Order, by Earl West; Vol. 1, p. 46) and began his work for the Lord, free from ecclesiastical domination.

Thomas Campbells Appeal and his more lengthy Declaration and Address (Sept. 7, 09) have been called Magna Charta's of the restoration movement; but we would not give either the so-called movement nor any of its papers such a status. We do not consider any movement the object of loyalty; nor Campbell, Stone, or others the Fathers or authors of any thing to which we owe allegiance. We do appreciate the fine, non-sectarian spirit manifested in Thomas Campbell appeal, and many of the principles here stated.

But perhaps the greatest benefit to be derived from this study— for those who WILL see — is the parallel between Campbells fight against the party in his day, and the same so of battle that must be fought by who would stand honestly upon their convictions today, and always.

Ironically, many praise the pioneer preachers and their great work without a discerning thought for the dedication to principle it represents. There seems to be little awareness of the fact that Anti quarantine, and the acceptance of Church of Christ doctrine — regardless of pattern Bible authority — is the very attitude that drove Thomas Campbell to protest, declare, and appeal. HOW GREAT THE INJUSTICE — indeed!!