Alexander Campbell (Dictionary of World Biography: The 19th Century)
Article abstract: Campbell became a leader in a movement that attempted to restore the original structure of the Christian church of the first century, helping spawn both the Disciples of Christ and the Churches of Christ in the process.
The son of Thomas Campbell and Jane Corneigle Campbell, Alexander Campbell grew up in Ireland in a highly religious household that emphasized study of the Bible. When he was young, Campbell preferred the outdoors to academics and spiritual reflection but eventually developed a phenomenal memory and overcame his loathing of study. Around age sixteen, Campbell accepted the teaching of Christianity and began to fulfill his father’s and his own dream of becoming a preacher. He read moral philosophy and church history. Although a Presbyterian, Campbell was especially impressed by the ideas of independent ministers such as John Walker and James Alexander Haldane, who suggested that creeds and denominational structures were made by humans.
These early encounters, augmented by his own reading of scripture and history, led Campbell to believe that the existing arrangement of Christian churches into various denominations was contrary to divine teaching and was the source of disunity. If the biblical principles of church membership, worship, and organization alone were the basis for church polity and practice, then a genuine unity among Christian people would be possible....
(The entire section is 2040 words.)
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