Thursday, November 13, 2014

Campbell and Rigdon in Richardson 1870

Richardson (2:43) points out that in the aftermath of the Walker debate, the "undenominational independence of belief" [that stemmed from Alexander Campbell's anti-creedal attitude, RCK] was a big problem for the Baptists.

Bentley and Thomas Campbell had once met on the way from Philadelphia without proper introduction (2:43) around 1809.

Bentley had organized Baptist ``ministers' meetings'' in the Western Reserve, from which on August 30, 1820, the Mahoning Baptist Association was born (2:44). In 1821, Bentley read the Walker Debate, and decided to visit Campbell as soon as possible. When he and Sidney Rigdon, then the great orator within the Mahoning Association, were on the road on association business, they took a day's ride detour to stop over in Kentucky and converse with Campbell, thus becoming part of the reformation project (2:44; Hayden 1875, p.19). In turn, Alexander Campbell began to attend the association meetings, starting with the summer of 1821 (2:47).

Sidney Rigdon and Adamson Bentley of Warren Ohio were brothers-in-law, being both married to daughters of Mr. Brooks, of Warren (2:47).

(2:47) believes that Alexander Campbell's continued influence with the Redstone Association and preaching in Baptist churches helped Sidney Rigdon to receive a call from the Pittsburg Baptist church in 1822. At the same time (2:48), Campbell wanted Rigdon and Walter Scott, who was a New Testament lecturer at Mr Forrester's church,  to join forces. Campbell wanted the congregations to merge as well, but the communities resisted this idea.

By late 1822, weakened from the labors of the Buffalo Seminary, Alexander Campbell closed the school and switched to a mode of supporting the Reformation that took a cue from the success of the publication of the Walker debate (2:48). After consultation with his father, Thomas Campbell, and Walter Scott, Alexander Campbell issued a prospect for The Christian Baptist in the spring of 1823 (2:49f). Campbell built his own printing office on his farm ``near the creek-fording, at the foot of the cemetery hill'', purchased type and press, hired skilled laborers and published some 46,000 volumes of his own writing over the next seven years (2:50f).

In May 1823, a Presbyterian minister and former lawyer, Mr [William L., RCK] McCalla, from Augusta, Kentucky, began to correspond with Campbell regarding a new debate on infant baptism (2:51). They settled on Washington, Kentucky and October 14th, 1823, as place and time for their debate. Campbell humorously reminded McCalla that even the Archangel Michael had not railed against the Devil when they both contested the body of Moses (cf. Jude 1:9).

In October 1823, with the Ohio too low for steamboat navigation, ALexander Campbell travelled by horseback to Kentucky to debate Mr McCalla (2:70). He was accompanied "by the pastor of the Baptist church in Pittsburg, Sidney Rigdon, who wished to be present at the discussion".

After the debate, which did not go well for McCalla, who could not refrain from demonizing Campbell (2:86) and did not give reply to his arguments (2:80), Campbell was glad that he had participated.
And we are fully persuaded that a week's debating is worth a year's preaching, such as w generally have, for the purpose of disseminating truth and putting error out of countenance. (2:90). 
However, Campbell was unhappy about being misread as supporting the Baptists, rather than baptism. As he mentioned to a group of Baptists in the evening, after a heavy day of debating McCalla:
For let me tell you that I have almost as much against you Baptists as I have against the Presbyterians. They err in one thing and you in another; and probably you are each nearly equidistant from original apostolic Christianity. (2:88)
Upon arriving home, Campbell began immediate work on the publication of the McCalla debate, using not only his own notes, but also those kept by Sidney Rigdon for the occasion (2:95).

[[RCK: McCalla published his own response, in 1828 in Philadelphia, where he had moved; cf. William Latta McCalla, A Discussion of Christian Baptism, Philadelphia 1828, Volume I & Volume 2. For a more general appreciation of Alexander Campbell's debates, cf. Jesse James Haley, Debates that made History: The Story of Alexander Campbell's debates ...,  St Louis, 1920, one volume.]]

After the Redstone Association meeting of 1823, Walter Scott and Sidney Rigdon collaborated more closely with regards to their congregations, and a union was established in 1824 (2:99). Campbell's congregation at Wellsburg, Virginia, was received into the Mahoning Association that same year, sending Campbell as their messenger to the meeting at Hubbard, Trumbull county (2:100). The questions submitted showed an increase of interest in the primitive Church.

In 1825, Alexander Campbell published his Essay on the Ancient Order of Things in the Christian Baptist, vol 3, Nr.9, p.360 (2:127), arguing for the appropriateness of reimbursing the bishop for their work.
The abuses of the principle have led many to oppose even the principle itself. (2:128)
 Sidney Rigdon at the same time returned to Ohio, while Walter Scott was still teaching school and getting married, but in 1826 he moved to Steubenville, where he started an academy (2:128). At a meeting in Warren, Ohio, where an even more aggressive push for the primitive church was urged (2:129), Campbell considered the need for an evangelist (2:130), as he wrote in the Christian Baptist, Vol 4, p.37.

In the fall of 1826, Alexander Campbell attended the Mahoning Association meeting at Canfield (2:163), and when he preached, Sidney Rigdon and Thomas Campbell were invited to a seat, as was Walter Scott, who was visiting the Western Reserve for the first time (2:164).

In the fall of 1827, the Mahoning Association met in New Lisbon (2:173). Campbell met with Walter Scott in Steubenville, who was working on a prospectus for a monthly paper to be called Millennial Herald (2:173)., but Campbell talked him into coming to the meeting. There, Walter Scott and Sidney Rigdon were asked to sit in the association (2:173), and in the evening (2:174) Sidney Rigdon delivered a discourse on John 8. Walter Scott was elected evangelist (2:174) and an initial collection of funds taken up, netting $11.75 (175). [The Christian Baptist was $1 per issue. RCK]

During the fall months of 1827, Margaret Campbell knew that she was succumbing to her sickness and entreated her husband to marry her friend Miss Bakewell after her departure (2:176).

Bibliographic Record

Dr Robert Richardson, Memoirs of Alexander Campbell, 2 volumes, Philadelphia (J.B. Lippincott & Co) (Volume I 1868, Volume II 1870).

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