When a people doesn’t have a history they are not a people. We cannot be what we are without knowing what we have been.
On 4 October 2009 out of 15 Restoration Movement churches in our county only 4 participated in an evening commemorating the 200th anniversary of Thomas Campbell’s composition of a seminal document, “The Declaration and Address”. Since Edgar County is one of the few counties in the entire United States in which Restoration Movement forms the majority religious group in the county, it was sad that most congregations were indifferent to this part of our history. I found the same attitude present in our churches in Oregon when I was talking with my brothers-in-law about any observances they might know of. It would be the same as if no one knew what the Declaration of Independence was or had showed up for any of the observances on 4 July 1976. Still, I would like to speak briefly about this as I did that night.
“The Declaration And Address” is not a document which has ever been authoritative in our brotherhood. It was not the entire course, but it was the starting point. It was a call to arms, not a battle plan.
We never intended it to be another human creed. In fact we were coming out against all humanly devised standards of doctrine. Only scripture covers all things necessary to the Christian life.
There were 13 propositions in “The Declaration And Address”. I would like to condense these down further to remind us of what we should not forget as we go to church and live the Christian life.
UNITY: We start at the goal
*The church of Christ is "essentially, intentionally and constitutionally one."
*Faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God is a sufficient profession.
*Division is a horrid evil.
*Human innovations have caused much evil in the church.
AUTHORITY: This is the only means to the goal
* The Bible alone as opposed to creeds or human schematics of doctrine.
* We need to stick to what the Bible says and not any inferences or deductions from it.
* Opinion is not to be made a condition of fellowship.
Let us remember to look both ways in life: back to where we came from and ahead to where we are going.
The entire text of this lengthy 19th century document is available at http://www.mun.ca/rels/restmov/restmov.html under Thomas Campbell on the Restoration Movement Texts page of that website.
4 years ago