Christian Church, or Diciples[sic] of Christ, sometimes called Campbellites, is one of the distinctively American church organizations. It grew out of a great revival movement which began in northern Tennessee and southern Kentucky about the beginning of the nineteenth century. One of the centers of this revival was Cane Ridge, Ky., and John Allen Gano, one of the earliest of the disciples, at a meeting held June 22, 1845, said, "The first churches planted and organized since the great apostacy, with the Bible as the only creed or church book, and the name Christian as the only name, were organized in Kentucky in the year 1804. Of these the Cane Ridge was the first."
The organizers of this church decided to take the Bible as the standard of faith to the exclusion of all creeds, and believed the name "Christian" to have been given the disciples by divine authority. Similar movements took place in other sections of the country about the same time. Thomas Campbell, a Presbyterian minister, arrived in the United States and began to preach in western Pennsylvania, where people of various Presbyterian denominations resided and he invited all to his communion. This caused dissention and charges were preferred against him. He insisted that he was acting according to the Bible and began to preach a restoration of apostolic Christianity, protesting against creeds and advocating the sufficiency of the scriptures, but at no time advocated separation from the fellowship of the church. Many were converted to the new belief and the Christian Association was formed. Campbell asked for admission to it but there was so much controversy over his admission that the members of his church formed an independent Church of Christ on May 4, 1810, under the name of "The First Church of the Christian Association of Washington." In 1812, the question of baptism came up. The Campbells, father and son, were immersed and at the next meeting of the church other members of the organization expressed a desire to be immersed upon confession of faith. From that time the church accepted baptism as a divine ordinance and the custom has been maintained.
In 1831 a union of the Washington and Cane Ridge churches was effected which was the beginning of an era of great progress and expansion of the Christian church. In 1900 there were 10,000 churches with 1,250,000 communicants in the United States. The largest and strongest bodies of this organization are found in the newer states of the west and southwest; Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio having the largest number of members. The first work of the Christian church in Kansas was begun during the early '60s, though services were held at Centropolis, Franklin county, as early as 1858. One of the first organizations was established at Holton, Jackson county, July 13, 1862, by Mr. and Mrs. Allen, B. Scholes and three others. The first services were held in the court-house by Elder A. J. Francis but no building was erected until ten years later. A Christian church was organized at Erie, Neosho county, in the spring of 1869 by C. F. Stauber, though services had been held previous to that time by George Booth. The same year a church was organized at Ottawa by Warren Skells. In 1869, the Christians organized in Jefferson county and erected a church within a short time after. A year later a church was organized at Girard, Crawford county, with 25 members who held services in a school house until 1871, when a church building was erected. Cherokee county was opened to white settlement in 1870, and in October of that year a Christian church was organized there with 40 members by J. A. Murray. There were a few Christians among the early settlers of Shawnee county. They met in a hall at Topeka under the leadership of elders, with an occasional evangelist, until 1870, when an organization was perfected and J. W. Mousen called as the first pastor. At Fort Scott, Bourbon county, a church was started in the fall of 1871 by Dr. Franklin of Cincinnati, Ohio, with 10 members. In 1876 a church was started at Hiawatha, Brown county, by James McGuire and it has become one of the leading congregations of the state. With the spread of the faith and growth of the church it has become divided and now consists of the Disciples of Christ, or Christian church, and the Churches of Christ.
In 1880, according to the census, there were 54 Christian church organizations in Kansas, with a membership of 18,579; by 1890 the organizations had increased to 394 with 190 church edifices and a membership of 25,143, and by 1906 the Christian church ranked fourth of all denominations in Kansas, with a membership of 43,572.Pages 341-342 from volume I of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed May 2002 by Carolyn Ward.
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