Did Alexander Campbell Establish The Church of Christ?
Carol R. Lumpkin
The above question is thought by some people to be answered in the affirmative. Those who actually believe Campbell was the founder of the church of Christ do not know the truth or else they would not make such charge. Those who contend that Campbell established the church of Christ do so for one of the following reasons: (1) they do not know any better and are ignorant of the truth; or (2) they do so to poke fun at and to reflect upon the Lord's church in a bad way; or (3) they are afraid to admit that the church of Christ is the church the New Testament authorizes (Matt. 16:18; Acts 2:47).
We read in the gospel according to Matthew (16:18) that the Lord said He was going to build His church. At the time this was spoken the church was yet in the future. We then read where people were being added to the church (Acts 2:47). Earlier in Acts chapter two, the gospel was preached to the Jews on the day of Pentecost. Those Jews who believed in Jesus were instructed to repent of their sins and be baptized (Acts 2:37-38). About 3,000 did obey and were added to the church (Acts 2:41, 47).
We observe that there is no mention of a man by the name of Campbell. The apostles were the ones who stood up with Peter, as Peter preached this first gospel sermon. Campbell was not born until 1786, or some 1753 years after the events of Acts chapter two occurred.
Campbell was born in Northern Ireland in the year 1786. He came to this country on September 29, 1809. Campbell was at one time a member of the Presbyterian and Baptist churches. He found that neither of these churches followed the teachings of Christ, so he withdrew from them. Taking his~New Testament, he read his way to an understanding of truth.
Here are some facts for our consideration. (1) Christ established His church in 33 A.D. (Acts 2); Campbell was not born until 1786 or some 1753 years later. (2) Christ purchased the church with His blood (Acts 20:28); Campbell never died to purchase any church. (3) Paul stated in the year 64 A.D. that the Colossians had been delivered from the power of darkness and translated into the kingdom of his dear Son (Col. 1:13); this was written several hundred years before Campbell was born.
The church of Christ was established not by Campbell but by the Lord Jesus Christ (Matt. 16:18; Acts 2; Ac. 20:28). Campbell did not introduce a single doctrine or practice for the church of Christ. In fact, every doctrine and practice of the church of Christ dates back to the first century A.D., and is recorded in the New Testament.
Campbell did, along with a number of others, determine to leave man-made churches and turn to the New Testament. This indeed, we commend him for doing. We also urge all people who are concerned about their souls to do the same today.
Those who read this short article must now understand that Mr. Campbell had nothing whatsoever to do with the establishment of the church of Christ. There is only one church mentioned in the New Testament and every person is urged to obey the gospel of Christ and be added to that church (Rom. 16:16; Acts 2:47). Churches of men offer no hope beyond the grave, for they all shall be rooted up (Matt. 15:13). Christ is going to deliver up His church to the Father following the day of judgment (Heb. 9:27; Eph. 5:27).
Why be a party in a church in which the Lord has no part? You still have time to become a member of the Lord's church and secure your salvation in Christ Jesus (Acts 4:12).
Truth Magazine XXIV: 26, p. 417