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Alexander Campbell

1788-1866. One of the founders of the Disciples of Christ and the Churches of Christ.* Son of Thomas Campbell,* he attended Glasgow University, then emigrated to Pennsylvania, joined his father's Christian association, and was ordained to the ministry (1812). Alexander was very interested in unity among Christians, and he spread his theological views in a series of preaching tours in Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, West Virginia, and Tennessee. Despite his emphasis on Christian unity, several congregations divided from the Baptist church because of his teaching, and these were united into the Disciples of Christ (1832, nicknamed “Campbellites”). While advocating a return to the simpler theology of the early church, he was opposed to both speculative theology and emotional revivalism. Campbell's desire for an educated clergy led to the founding of Bethany College, West Virginia (1840), which he directed until his death. He engaged in numerous debates on religious topics with such leaders as the secularist Robert Owen and John Purcell, Roman Catholic bishop of Cincinnati. Campbell wrote or edited over sixty volumes, the most important of which, in addition to his published debates, are a book, The Christian System (1835), and his periodicals The Christian Baptist and The Millennial Harbinger. He believed that baptism and confession of Jesus Christ as Savior are the only requirements of Christianity.

See J. Kellems, Alexander Campbell and the Disciples (1930).