"Churches of Christ: Heritage and Destiny"
THE DISRUPTION OF THE VISION
by Dr. Douglas Foster
I. First major divisive issue: The American Christian Missionary Society
A. Result of Campbell's articles on organization and the American "Age of Reform"
B. Meeting in Cincinnati, Ohio, October 1849
C. Organization of the ACMS
D. Positions for and against the ACMS
1) Christ said take the gospel to all the world but did not specify how. The
Missionary Society is an expedient way of carrying out the command. In
united effort there is strength.
2) This is an unscriptural, human organization that takes away from local congregations responsibilities committed to them. Money basis of membership.
II. Further Wedges are Driven: The American Civil War
A. Slavery as an issue in the Movement
B. Division of other religious groups in the 1840s and 1850s
C. Resolutions of the ACMS during the War (1861/1863)
III. Second Major Divisive Issue: Instrumental Music in Worship
A. Earliest introduction recorded at Midway, Kentucky
B. Became major issue after the Civil War
C. Bitter intra-congregational fights. (Thorp Springs, TX)
D. Positions for and against instrumental music in worship
IV. The Real Causes of the Division--two levels
A. Differing attitudes concerning religious authority/ interpretation of Scripture
B. Emerging theological liberalism/ a change in worldview
VI. The Final Stages of the Division
A. Sand Creek, Illinois "The Address and Declaration" August 1889
B. 1906 Religious Census gives recognition to the reality that already existed
C. 1927 The first meeting of what became the North American Christian Convention
How did a movement dedicated to the unity of all Christians based on the clear teachings if the New Testament come to be fractured by issues not even mentioned by the New Testament? How did a unity movement come to miss or obscure the foundational truths of the New Testament concerning the life of unity Christianity was meant to create? These questions are not easy to answer, but we will try to identify some importants parts of the answer in our last two lessons.
Moses E. Lard. "Can We Divide?," Lard's Quarterly 3 (April 1866):336.
Bill J. Humble. "The Missionary Society Controversy in the Restoration Movement (1823-1875). Ph.D. dissertation, State University of Iowa, 1964.
Douglas A. Foster. "The Struggle for Unity During the Period of Division of the Restoration Movement: 1875-1900. Ph.D. dissertation, Vanderbilt University, 1987.
John T. Lewis. The Voice of the Pioneers on Instrumental Music and Societies. Nashville: Gospel Advocate Company, 1932.
David Filbeck. The First Fifty Years: A Brief History of the Direct-Support Missionary Movement. Joplin, Mo.: College Press Pub. Co., 1980.