The true and only one Church stayed hidden until around this time period in 1798 or a few years sooner. At this time men in various church groups decided on going back to only what the New Testament taught, withdrawing from churches they were associated with and being involved in new ones.
This became known as the Restoration Movement.
Here’s a list of five men who had a part in the restoration, their efforts were to go back to the fundamental teachings of the New Testament.
- James O’Kelly (1757 to 1826)
- Elias Smith and Abner Jones at this time period
- Barton Warren Stone (1772 to 1844)
- Thomas Campbell (1763 to 1854)
- Alexander Campbell (1788 to 1866)
The Restoration kept moving along with the true church growing when Thomas Campbell arrived in North America in 1806. He became well known for his engaging promotion of the New Testament Church. A famous quote of his was,
“Speak where the Bible speaks and be silent where the Bible is silent.”
In 1808, Thomas Campbell was joined in America by his family and his son Alexander Campbell Alexander Campbell (1788 to 1866). Alexander Campbell was a phenomenon in teaching only what was between the pages of the New Testament.
He read and spoke fluently: Greek, French and Latin as a young man. Naturally committing to memory voluminous amounts of information from literature and history. He became the most outstanding figure in the restoration movement. With his powerful preaching he was recognized as an outstanding orator.
In June 1850, he preached before both houses of Congress in Washington. Henry Clay, James Madison and other notables traveled many miles to hear him preach. Madison said of Campbell:
“I regard him as the ablest and most original expounder of Scripture I ever heard.”
Alexander Campbell was very Intellectually productive and energetically worked hard at giving a hand at what needed to be done for the Church of Christ. Much credit is given to him for his intellectual ability of adding authenticity to the church. One of the men most responsible for raising the status of the church.
After he arrived in America, he entered enthusiastically into the work which his father had begun. He lived at Bethany, Virginia, (now West Virginia). Campbell established Bethany College In Bethany, Virginia, from which went forth hundreds of ministers.
Alexander Campbell edited two influential journals, The Christian Baptist and The Millennial Harbinger. An almost unlimited capacity that he had for work.
Campbell preached an average of four sermons a week; authored sixty books during his lifetime; participated in numerous debates; was a successful farmer and lecturer on agriculture; twice annually conducted preaching tours in neighboring states; and carried on correspondence with people all over the world.
He possessed an aggressive spirit and had the ability to turn this spirit into proper channels. He was very pointed in disagreement, but was constructive and would not delve in personalities. He held hotly contested debates with Rice (Presbyterian); Bishop Purcell (Catholic); and Robert Owen (Athiest and Communist). They all admired him for his conduct. He fought issues not personalities.
He was a successful business man. He was self-supporting, contributed liberally to the support of preaching of the gospel and when he died was the wealthiest man in West Virginia.
Charges that were made even in his day that he was establishing another denomination, Campbell clearly
“I have no idea of adding to the catalogue of new sects. This game has been played too long. I labor to see sectarianism abolished, and all Christians of every name united upon the one foundation on which the apostolic church was-founded. To bring Baptist and Paido Baptist to this is my supreme end. But to connect myself with any people who would require me to sacrifice one item of revealed truth, to subscribe any creed of human device, or to restrain me from publishing my sentiments as discretion and conscience direct, is now, and I hope ever shall be, the farthest from my desires, and the most incompatible with my views.”
Campbell as one of the great advocators of the restoration movement was one of the most responsible for the Church as we know it, Church of Christ.