NextLevel Online: History of the Restoration Movement

Session 3: Thomas Campbell and the Declaration and Address

Thomas Campbell, a lifetime of desiring unity according to Scripture to reach the world for Christ. “Where the Scriptures speak, we speak; Where the Scriptures are silent, we are silent”.


Classroom Instructions

Materials: Lesson Outline
  • Life and Times of Thomas Campbell
  • Feb. 1, 1763 – Born near Newry, Co. Down, Northern Ireland.

  • 1783-1786 – Completed a Literary Degree at Glasgow University, Scotland.

  • 1787-1791 – Studied at the Whitburn Seminary of the Anti-Burgher Presbyterians in Scotland (8 weeks each summer for 5 years).

  • 1787 – Married Jane Corneigle (1st son, Alexander, born in 1788).

  • 1798-1807 – Pastor of the Ahorey Presbyterian Church near Rich Hill, Northern Ireland.

    • 1798 – Participated in and was influenced by the Evangelical Society of Ulster, an evangelistic organization made up of several of denominations.

    • 1799 – Ordained by the Presbyterians, but only if he withdraw from the Evangelical Society of Ulster. They opposed his mingling with the other denominations.

  • 1807 – Relocated to Washington, PA, in the U.S.A. (arrived on May 13, 1807).

    • Connected with the Presbyterians upon arrival and dispatched to western Pennsylvania to serve with the Chartiers Presbytery of Washington, PA.

    • Soon charged with heresy by the Chartiers Presbytery for serving the Lord’s Supper to all who wished to partake – Some have suggested this charge was the result of professional jealousy.

    • 1808 – Broke with the Presbyterians even though he was found innocent of the heresy charges.

  • 1809 – Formed the Christian Association of Washington (based on ideas from the Evangelical Society of Ulster).

    • At the founding meeting, Campbell said, “Where the Scriptures speak, we speak; Where the Scriptures are silent, we are silent”.

    • Campbell wrote The Declaration and Address of the Christian Association of Washington to explain the goals and ideas of the Association.

  • 1811 – The Christian Association of Washington became the Brush Run Church – Thomas Campbell served as the church’s elder and Alexander served as its preacher.

  • 1812 – Accepted immersion as the New Testament form of baptism.

  • 1819 – Moved to Bethany, Virginia (now West Virginia) to assist his son, Alexander, with the Buffalo Seminary – Continued to make preaching tours until his retirement.

  • 1831 – Challenged Sidney Rigdon, leading figure among the emerging Mormon movement, to a debate – Rigdon failed to respond to Campbell’s challenge.

  • 1843 – Retired to his son’s home in Bethany, Virginia (now West Virginia).

  • 1848 – Lost his eye sight.

  • 1851 – Preached his final sermon (an organized and advertised “final sermon” for Thomas Campbell).

  • Jan. 4, 1854 – Died at Bethany during the 90th year of his life

  • Additional Resources:

    • Campbell, Alexander – Memoirs of Elder Thomas Campbell: Together with a Brief Memoir of Mrs. Jane Campbell

    • Carson, Glenn, Douglas Foster, and Clinton Holloway, eds.– One Church: A Bicentennial Celebration of Thomas Campbell’s Declaration and Address.

    • Hanna, William Herbert – Thomas Campbell: Seceder, and Christian Union Advocate

    • McAllister, Lester G. – Thomas Campbell: Man of the Book

    • Website: Declaration and Address of the Christian Association of Washington

About NextLevel Online

The vision of Ozark Christian College is to glorify God by evangelizing the lost and edifying Christians worldwide. The mission of Ozark Christian College is to train men and women for Christian service as a degree-granting institution of biblical higher education.