NextLevel Online: History of the Restoration Movement

Session 4: Alexander Campbell: Spokesman for a Movement

In session 4 we look at Alexander Campbell, arguably the most prolific advocate for the Restoration Movement.


Classroom Instructions

Materials: Lesson Outline
  • Life and Times of Alexander Campbell
  • Sept. 12, 1788 – Born in Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland.

    • Educated by his father.

    • Assisted his father as a tutor at his academy

  • 1808 – Departed for America, but was shipwrecked off the coast of Scotland.

    • When his ship wrecked, he promised to become a minister if the Lord would save him and his family.

    • 1808-1809 – Studied at the University of Glasgow in Scotland

  • 1809 – Arrived in America and read his father’s Declaration and Address – Agreed to live by the principles of this document.

  • 1810 – Preached his first sermon – Great success!

  • 1811 – Married Margaret Brown (died 1827).

  • 1811 – He and his father formed of the Brush Run Church in Western Pennsylvania.

    • Thomas served as elder, Alexander served as preacher.

    • From its beginning, this church offered the Lord’s Supper on a weekly basis.

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

  • 1813 – Alexander’s father-in-law, John Brown, gave him a farm to keep the family from moving out of the area.

  • 1816 – Preached his most famous sermon, “The Sermon on the Law”.

  • 1818 – Opened the Buffalo Seminary in his home – Closed the seminary in 1822.

  • Prominent debater – Successfully discussed numerous religious topics with numerous opponents:

    • 1820 – Debated Presbyterian John Walker.

    • 1823 – Debated Presbyterian W. L. McCalla

    • 1829 – Debated Skeptic Robert Owen

    • 1827 – Debated Roman Catholic Bishop John B. Purcell

    • 1843 – Debated Presbyterian Nathan L. Rice

  • Became a prolific publisher and writer:

    • 1823-1830 – Monthly Periodical: Christian Baptist

    • 1830-1866 – Monthly Periodical: Millennial Harbinger

    • 1826 – First modern translation of the New Testament in the U.S.: Living Oracles

    • 1831 – “Delusions,” the first scholarly review of the newly published Book of Mormon

  • 1828 – Married Selina Bakewell after the death of his first wife, Margaret Brown.

  • 1829 – Served in the Virginia Constitutional Convention.

  • 1841 – Opened Bethany College and served as President.

  • 1847 – Toured Great Britain with massive crowds – Briefly imprisoned in Scotland.

  • 1849 – American Christian Missionary Society formed with Alexander Campbell as president.

  • 1857 – Preaching to Washington, D.C., crowd that included President Buchanan, then had a private diner with the President.

  • March 4, 1866 – Died at his home in Bethany, West Virginia.

  • Additional Resources:

    • Campbell, Selina Huntington – Home Life and Reminiscences of Alexander Campbell

    • Cherok, Richard J. – Debating for God: Alexander Campbell’s Challenge to Skepticism in Antebellum America

    • Cochran, Louis – The Fool of God: A Novel Based Upon the Life of Alexander Campbell

    • Grafton, Thomas W. – Alexander Campbell: Leader of the Great Reformation of the Nineteenth Century

    • Richardson, Robert – Memoirs of Alexander Campbell

    • Wrather, Eva Jean – Alexander Campbell: Adventurer in Freedom (3 Vols.)

    • Websites:

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.