Campbell, Thomas

Campbell, Thomas, one of the founders of the religious denomination generally called "Disciples," was born Feb. 1, 1763, in Ireland, and descended from a family — the Campbells of Argyle — which makes a prominent figure in Scottish history. In 1798 he entered the ministry in connection with that branch of the Presbyterian Church which is known as Seceders or Seceding Presbyteries. SEE PRESBYTERIANISM. In 1807 he emigrated to the United States, and was received at Philadelphia into the communion of the Associate Synod of North America. For about two years he supplied with ministerial labor the destitute churches of this connection in Western Pennsylvania Shortly after, in 1809, he was joined by his son, Alexander Campbell (q.v.). Both father and son soon declared against the use of any human creed, confession of faith, or formularies of doctrine and church government; and when their views were rejected by the Seceders as a body, they drew up a "declaration and address," in which the pious of all the denominations in the vicinity were invited to form a union, with the word of the Bible as their only creed. A congregation on the basis of these principles was organized at Brush Run. SEE CAMPBELL, ALEXANDER. Thomas Campbell retained at first infant baptism, although his son Alexander pressed upon his attention "the incongruity of demanding an express precept or precedent for any positive church ordinance, and yet practicing infant baptism, for which, neither the one nor the other could be produced." Gradually Thomas Campbell changed his views on the question of baptism; and on June 12, 1812, both he and his son Alexander, together with the members of their congregation, were immersed by Elder Luse, of the Baptist community. In 1813 they were received into Redstone Baptist Association, stipulating in writing that "no terms of union or communion other than the Holy Scriptures should be required." Henceforth Alexander Campbell took, instead of his father Thomas, the lead in the religious movement which at length eventuated in the formation of those who sympathized' with them into a separate denominational connection. Thomas Campbell labored with great zeal; as an itinerant minister, for the dissemination of his views, until 1846, when old age compelled him to rest. He spent the remainder of his life at Bethany with his son Alexander. In 1850 he was deprived of his sight, but his intellect remained unclouded. He died January 4, 1854. See Alexander Campbell, Memoirs of Elder Thomas Campbell (Cincinnati. 1861, 8vo); and the articles SEE CAMPBELL, ALEXANDER; SEE DISCIPLES OF CHRIST.

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