200 Years Ago Today

“…tired and sick of the bitter jarrings and janglings of a party spirit, we would desire to be at rest; and, were it possible, we would also desire to adopt and recommend such measures, as would give our brethren throughout all the churches — as would restore unity, peace, and purity, to the whole church of God.”
~ Thomas Campbell’s Declaration and Address

Declaration & AddressThe meeting was held in Buffalo on August 17, 1809. Thomas Campbell and a large group of men “consisting of persons of different religious denominations,” had gathered to put aside their doctrinal differences and tear down their religious distinctions and cooperate in a mission to restore the unity to Christ’s Church. They claimed the Bible as their only source of authority. They rejected as binding the opinions and interpretations of man. And they envisioned a universal communion of love and acceptance — a brotherhood, a fellowship — of all those who claim Christ Jesus as Lord and do their best to keep his commands.

These men viewed church factions and denominations and schisms and divisions as arrogant sins against God. They railed against all division among Christians as contrary to God’s will and, unless repaired, a fatal impediment to the advancing of God’s Kingdom. They called for one Church. They were courageous. They were bold. They are heroes.

That night in Buffalo, 200 years ago today, they chose 21 men, led by Thomas Campbell and Thomas Acheson, to write up a statement of their mission and purpose. And the Declaration and Address, ratified by a unanimous vote on September 7, became the charter document of what we now call the Stone-Campbell Movement.

It is our history. It’s our heritage. It’s where we came from. It wouldn’t hurt to be familiar with it.

Between now and September 7, I’ll probably include a little bit of this document in these blog posts every day. I’ve read and re-read the 13 central propositions a hundred times. But I’ve never studied the entire document before from start to finish. But in light of the 200-year anniversary of this watershed writing, the increasingly frequent conversations that are taking place today between the three streams of our Restoration roots churches, and the Great Communion celebrations that are being planned all around the world, I’ve just last week read and studied the whole thing.

I encourage you to do the same thing.

You will be inspired by its vision of universal Christian unity ground in and flowing out of the gracious love and mercy of our God. You’ll be challenged by its uncompromising acceptance as brothers and sisters all those of every name who confess Christ Jesus as Lord and obey his commands. You’ll be comforted by the “thus saith the Lord” and “Christians only” and “no man-made creeds” language that marks several pages of the text. And you’ll be shocked to learn that very little of what we do and say in Churches of Christ today actually reflect the biblical mission outlined in our founding document.

Here’s a link to a copy of the Declaration and Address. Read it carefully and prayerfully. Here’s a link to more information about the Great Communion, planned for October 4 this year. I’ve added both these sites to the links list on the right side of this page.

“Not that we judge ourselves competent to effect such a thing — we utterly disclaim the thought. But we judge it our bounden duty to make the attempt.”


Ron Fellows27 days until the Cowboys kick off the 2009 season. And the Red Ribbon Review reveals the second-best player to ever wear #27 in Cowboys history, cornerback and kick returner Ron Fellows. A 7th round pick out of Missouri in 1981, Fellows played six years in Dallas as part of a young secondary that featured Everson Walls and Michael Downs. He played in 86 games for the Cowboys, including two NFC Championship Games in 1981 and 1982. He finished his career with 17 interceptions.

Tyson ThompsonCatching up from the weekend, Tyson Thompson, a backup running back from 2005-2007, is our second-best #28. He racked up a grand total of 266 yards and a single touchdown in his three seasons. He was an undrafted free agent out of San Jose State. The Cowboys got everything out of him anybody could have. And that tells you all you need to know about the kind of player the Cowboys historically assign #28.

Woodrow DantzlerEven worse are the choices at #29. How about Clemson running back Woody Dantzler? I’m serious. That’s it. He’s clearly the second-best ever. Touted as a multi-faceted threat who could run, catch, and throw, he lasted only one year in Dallas, 2002. He never got one regular season carry. He did return 27 kickoffs that year for 602 yards, including an 84 yard return for a score. But that’s it.

Boring weekend for the Red Ribbon Review. Watching the Rangers bounce back and take the Wild Card spot away from the Sox was much, much better. I’m already searching “magic number” formulas on the web!




  1. Rob's Dad

    Is it too early to issue a failed bit warning for this 200 yr old document? I tried to read it and got immeadiate tiredhead.

    Much better with the Rangers. Thought we witnessed the catastrophic moment on Friday but they really bounced back nicely. Concerned about the catcher situation – maybe we could get Pudge back for the stretch run (think he is available).

  2. James Prather

    Thanks for sharing this, Allan. It’s important to remember where you came from so that you can see where you’re going. It’s too bad that the church of Christ at-large had lost sight of the original idea. Now most see us as just another denomination, rather than a non-denominational church.


  3. DavidW

    Rob – here’s a modern restating (paraphrase) of the Declaration.

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