Friday, June 02, 2006

Early influences on Christadelphianism (6) - Barton Stone

Barton Stone (1772 - 1844).

Stone was one of the founders and prominent leaders in the Restoration Movement which gave birth to the Church of Christ and Disciples of Christ (together with Thomas and Alexander Campbell, and Walter Scott). This movement was influenced by the Christian Connection and others, and emphasised the need to return to original Christianity. Hence it became known as Restorationism. It grew from two main roots as the result of the preaching of the Campbells on the one hand and Stone independantly on the other. They subsequently combined their efforts, so Restorationism is sometimes called the Stone-Campbell Movement. It is the group John Thomas almost always called the Campbellites.

Stone was a great evangelist and once led a revival in which 20,000 people took part. By 1826 there were 15,000 members in 300 congregations founded by or associated with him. John Thomas was a member of the Restoration Movement ("Campbellites") from 1834 until his final split from them in 1847. There is no evidence he ever met Barton Stone. Interestingly, however, Stone rejected much of trinitarianism although he believed in pre-existence. Alexander Campbell rejected pre-existence. One can only wonder to what extent the discussion of this doctrine in the Restoration Movement of which John Thomas was a member influenced his own views on the matter.

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