Saturday, November 15, 2014

Campbells Essays on the Ancient Order of Things (Part 1)

Alexander Campbell wrote a series of essays having to do with the Restoration of the Ancient Order of Things, by which he means the apostolic Church or the New Testament religion, in his The Christian Baptist.

The series of the A Restoration of the Ancient Order of Things essays starts with (CB Vol II.7 1825-02-07 127:2). Here. in essay number one, Campbell argues against reformations, which are still human things, and for restorations, which bring back the divine.
Just in so far as the ancient order of things, or the religion of the New Testament, is restored, just so far has the Millennium commenced, and so far have its blessings been enjoyed. For to the end of time, we shall have no other revelation of the Spirit, no other New Testament, no other Saviour, and no other religion than we now have, when we understand, believe and practice the doctrine of Christ delivered to us by his apostles. (CB Vol II.7 1825-02-07 128:2)
The second essay starts at CB Vol II.8 1825-4-7 133:1 pointing to the impossibility of improving upon the religion inaugurated by Jesus Christ, given his maximal foresight and philanthropy (133:2). Campbell then begins to describe that creeds and "compilations of doctrine in abstract terms" did not exist back then, and thus need to be discarded (133:2).
  1. If the creeds or doctrinal compilations would best the NT, then men would either be wiser than God or more benevolent. Campbell then underscores his point by sampling the Westminster Creed (134:1). 
  2. The creeds cannot contribute to the unity, since the Church was united before them and has not been since (134:1). Inferences upon inspired words never become inspired words themselves (134:2). And Campbell believes that the Christian unity is the precondition to the conversion of the pagans in large numbers (135:2). 

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