Christian Association of Washington

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The Christian Association of Washington was an organization established by Thomas Campbell in 1809 to promote Christian unity.[1]:173 It was a study group that Campbell formed with like minded friends and acquaintances in the local neighborhood of Washington, Pennsylvania.[1]:173[2]:80,106 The group sought to foster unity by focusing on a common form of Christianity that they could all agree upon.[1]:173[2]:106 This charter that Campbell wrote for this group, the Declaration and Address of the Christian Association of Washington, became one of the most important early texts of the Restoration Movement.[1]:173[2]:80,106[3]:140

History[edit]

Thomas Campbell

After arriving in the United States in 1807, Thomas Campbell began working with the Associate Synod of North America, which assigned him to the Chartierd Presbytery in Western Pennsylvania.[3]:140 He was censured by the Presbytery for extending communion to individuals who were not seceder Presbyterians, and withdrew from the synod.[2]:106[3]:140 After withdrawing, he continued to preach, working with Christians without regard to their denominational affiliation.[1]:173[3]:140

In 1809 Campbell decided to establish a Christian society which individuals could join, but that would not be a church.[1]:173 During a first meeting in the summer of 1809, Campbell discussed his concern about the divisions among Christians, and proposed that unity could be restored by taking the Bible as the only standard for faith and practice.[1]:173 The group adopted the "rule" he proposed, "Where the Scriptures speak, we speak; and where they are silent, we are silent," as its only creed.[1]:173[4]

During a second meeting, held on August 17, 1809, the name "Christian Association of Washington" was chosen and Campbell was asked to draft a statement of the purposes and objectives of the Association.[1]:173 The Declaration and Address of the Christian Association of Washington was adopted unanimously on September 7, 1809 and published shortly before the end of the year.[1]:173 The Declaration received little attention at the time.[1]:174[3]:140,141

Campbell soon became concerned that, despite his intentions, the Association was taking on the characteristics of a church.[3]:141 After the Association unsuccessfully sought to be accepted into fellowship with the Pittsburgh Synod of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, Campbell became convinced that it would have to become an independent church in order to continue to function.[1]:174[3]:141 On May 4, 1811, the Association reconstituted itself as a congregationally governed church. With the building it constructed at Brush Run, Pennsylvania, it became known as the Brush Run Church.[5]:117

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Douglas Allen Foster and Anthony L. Dunnavant, The Encyclopedia of the Stone-Campbell Movement: Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Christian Churches/Churches of Christ, Churches of Christ, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2004, ISBN 0-8028-3898-7, ISBN 978-0-8028-3898-8, 854 pages, entry on Christian Association of Washington
  2. ^ a b c d C. Leonard Allen and Richard T. Hughes, Discovering Our Roots: The Ancestry of the Churches of Christ, Abilene Christian University Press, 1988, ISBN 0-89112-006-8
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Douglas Allen Foster and Anthony L. Dunnavant, The Encyclopedia of the Stone-Campbell Movement: Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Christian Churches/Churches of Christ, Churches of Christ, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2004, ISBN 0-8028-3898-7, ISBN 978-0-8028-3898-8, 854 pages, entry on Campbell, Thomas
  4. ^ Reid, D. G., Linder, R. D., Shelley, B. L., & Stout, H. S. (1990). Dictionary of Christianity in America. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press. Entry on Campbell, Thomas (1763–1854)
  5. ^ McAlister, Lester G. and Tucker, William E. (1975), Journey in Faith: A History of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), St. Louis, MO: Chalice Press, ISBN 978-0-8272-1703-4

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