Looking Back: The Association

May 16, 2009

The Declaration and Address of Thomas Campbell not only made a proposal for how Christian unity might be achieved. It also set up an organization to promote and implement that proposal.

Following the introduction which explained the reasons for their actions, the document contains nine resolutions agreed upon by the signers. These resolutions defined the methods by which they agreed to promote and spread their vision of unity based on the scriptures alone.

  • Resolution (I) established the Christian Association of Washington, “for the sole purpose of promoting simple evangelical christianity, free from all mixture of human opinions and inventions of men.”
  • Resolution (II) set up the funding necessary to support their efforts, including funds to provide Bibles to the poor.
  • Resolution (III) bound all the members to work to create similar organizations of like-minded Christians wherever they may be found.
  • Resolution (IV) clarifies that the new organization is not considered a church, but an affiliation of “voluntary advocates” for their shared convictions.
  • Resolution (V) defines the type of ministers they would support — namely, those who support and practice the core principles defined in the document, “without attempting to inculcate anything…for which there cannot be expressly produced a thus saith the Lord either in express terms, or by approved precedent.”
  • Resolution (VI) set up a committee of twenty-one persons to oversee and carry out the business of the Association.
  • Resolution (VI) set up the periodic meetings of the Association.
  • Resolution (VIII) specified that every meeting would be opened with a sermon, the reading of the “constitution and address”, and a collection of funds for the Association.
  • Resolution (IX) committed the Association to provide financial support to ministers whose work complies with the principles of the Association.

What I find most interesting about the Association is their commitment to work and to provide funds for establishing like-minded organizations and supporting ministers who practiced according to the convictions of the Association. They not only talked about unity; they did something about it.

One comment

  1. Alan, Thank you for your research and thought. I too, have been, for some time, meditating on and praying for unity in The Body of Christ. For years I saw this as only a "spiritual union," not a practical union. But as I meditated on John 17, several things became apparent. One, the enemy has been allowed to take away the greatest evangelism tool our Lord gave us, and second, this is a most amazing prayer. Our Lord asks that we would be one as He and The Father are one. That is beyond my comprehension. Only The Holy Spirit can create this kind of relationship. And our Savior prayed for this to become a present reality in His Church. My prayers began some fifteen years ago. 12 years ago I was diagnosed with cancer. The lesson of cancer was about humility. And some years later I began to see that humility leads to unity. Humility defines our Savior. And yes, I am a slow learner. But The Lord is patient.Thank you for encouraging my prayers. Your brother in Christ , Richard Beale

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