NextLevel Online: History of the Restoration Movement

Session 6: Civil War and the Instrumental Music Division

The Civil War not only divided our country but it also divided our churches, many of which would never reunite. The Restoration Movement was not immune to the political divisiveness of the time.


Classroom Instructions

Materials: Lesson Outline
  • The Civil War (1861-1865)

    • April 12, 1861 – The American Civil War began with the southern bombardment of Fort Sumter, a northern stronghold in the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina.

    • No event in American history has been more divisive than the Civil War.

    • All but two major Protestant denominations in the U.S. (Disciples of Christ and Congregational Churches) divided along northern-southern boundaries in the years leading up to the Civil War.

    • 1866 – After the Civil War, Restoration Movement minister and leader, Moses Lard wrote, “If now we have triumphantly come through this storm, and still gloriously stand an undivided people, have we not reason to count with confidence in the future? May we not boldly say, trusting in God to help us, we can never divide?”

    • Unfortunately, Lard was wrong and the Restoration Movement did divide many years later.

  • Issues of National and Church Division

    • Many issues contributed to the first separation between the non-instrumental and instrumental churches of the Restoration Movement.

    • Some of the issues associated with national division also contributed to the Restoration Movement’s division.

      • Interpretation of the U.S. Constitution.

        • Two forms of interpretation:

          • Strict Constructionism (Jeffersonians – South) – The government is prohibited from acting in any manner not expressly permitted by the Constitution.

          • Loose Constructionism (Hamiltonians – North) – The government is permitted to act in any manner than is not prohibited by the Constitution.

        • These interpretive ideas influenced the way Americans read the Bible.

      • Slavery.

        • The Restoration Movement had advocates of all views on the issue of slavery: Pro-Slavery, Abolitionist (immediately end slavery), and Emancipationist (slowly end the institution of slavery).

        • The issue of slavery led to sectionalism (national divisions).

        • 1861 & 1863 – The American Christian Missionary Society proposed a “Loyalty Resolution” condemning those who separated from the Union.

      • Sectionalism – The U.S. divided into three basic areas, and these areas also influenced the Restoration Movement.

        • North – Political Leader: Daniel Webster

          • Restoration Movement Leader: Isaac Errett, editor of Christian Standard.

          • Promoted conservative theology, but liberal methodologies for advancing the gospel.

        • South – Political Leader: John C. Calhoun

          • Restoration Movement Leader: David Lipscomb, editor of Gospel Advocate.

          • Promoted conservative theology and conservative methodologies.

        • West – Political Leader: Henry Clay

          • Restoration Movement Leader: J. H. Garrison, editor of Christian Evangelist.

          • Eventually promoted liberal theology and liberal methodologies.

    • Additional issues associated with Restoration Movement division: Musical Instruments, Missionary Societies, Organizations, and Theological Liberalism.

  • Instrumental Music Division

    • 1849 – Dr. Lewis L. Pinkerton put a melodian (pump organ) in his church at Midway, Kentucky – Caused little concern.
  • After the Civil War, the issue of musical instruments became a symbol of the tensions between the norther and southern churches.

  • 1889 – Sand Creek “Address and Declaration”

    • Daniel Sommer led a small group to break from the instrumental churches

    • Most became the “non-institutional” Churches of Christ.

  • 1906 – David Lipscomb requested a separate listing for “churches of Christ” in the United States Religious Census – This formalized the separation between the instrumental and non-instrumental churches.

  • Additional Resources:

    • Brewster, Ben – Torn Asunder: The Civil War and the 1906 Division of the Disciples

    • Holloway, Gary and Douglas A. Foster – Renewing God’s People: A Concise History of Churches of Christ

    • Hughes, Richard T. – Reviving the Ancient Faith: The Story of Churches of Christ in America

    • West, Earl Irvin – The Search for the Ancient Order (Vols. 1-4)

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.