Category Archives: Restoration Movement

The Origin and Growth of the Mayfield church

Adam Miller is a minister at the Mayfield church of Christ in Saltillo, Mississippi.  At one point, this congregation had two ministers working there who were both named Adam Miller (I can only imagine the fun and confusion during that time).

Adam has graciously sent us “The History of the Mayfield Church of Christ, Saltillo, Mississippi,” a paper he wrote, for inclusion in the Jimmie Beller Memorial eLibrary.

It has some interesting backstory, especially of a preacher named B.B. Sanders.  And the growth that the congregation when it first began is simply phenomenal!

To read it or download for future enjoyment, simply click the link below:

The History of Mayfield Church of Christ (Adam Miller)

The National Church of America???

I was quite surprised to read that some people descended from the Restoration Movement actually made the claim that they were the closest thing to a national church in America that there was–and that they foresaw the day when that vision became a reality, where all the denominational groups would join together with them.

Now, some might scoff at that statement and say that the Campbells looked to unite all the denominations into one body, and that I just don’t know my history.

No, there’s a difference.  The Campbells were trying to stop the division among the denominations based on clear teachings of the word of God.  These people I’m talking about took pride in saying that none of the sermons they preached would be offensive in any denomination.  They took pride in saying that they were the only church who weren’t offensive to anyone, and who would accept anyone, so long as they would acknowledge the Bible as the word of God (whether they accepted what was written in there apparently didn’t matter, as we’ll see momentarily), and displayed a Christian attitude.

If they accepted infant baptism, sprinkling or pouring as baptism, or rejected baptism completely, it didn’t matter.  If they used instruments and women preachers, no big deal.  Ignore the Lord’s Supper?  Who cares! As long as you take the word of God and act nice, you’re more than accepted!

We have brethren today who may not be as far gone, but they’re getting close.  In the name of “Christian Unity,” they are willing to ignore anything “doctrinal,” anything to do with worship, leadership roles, and even things the Scripture clearly connects with salvation, and just proclaim to people that their sins are all forgiven and that they have a home eternally with God awaiting them–WITHOUT OBEYING THE GOSPEL!

The people that brought this post about were the early 20th Century descendants of the Christian Connexion.  In 1911, Martyn Summerbell gave a short lecture called “An Address on the Origin and Principles of the Christians,” and in it he made the claim that the “Christians” were the only ones who could bring together all the denominations.

Perhaps they could.  But bringing together all the denominations into one body still doesn’t make them the church if they haven’t come to the Father through Jesus Christ in obedient faith which exhibits itself in repentance, baptism, and a faithful life in service to our Lord.

The address, fully reformatted and corrected (and searchable) can be downloaded below.

Address on the Origin and Principles of the Christians (Martyn Summerbell)

-Bradley S. Cobb

So…You’re a Unitarian, Right?

Misrepresentations and misunderstandings abound regarding the church.  “You hate music.”  “You hate women.”  “You think water is more powerful than the blood of Jesus.”  I’ve heard all these and more spouted by our “loving” and “understanding” denominational friends.

One I haven’t heard is “You’re a Unitarian.”

For those who don’t know, a Unitarian is someone who believes that Jesus Christ is not deity (that designation only applying to the Father), that there was a time when Jesus was not (i.e., he was created), and that the Holy Spirit is a thing or a force, not a conscious being.

Today, there are some small groups who hold that belief, and then there’s the so-called Jehovah’s Witnesses, who are probably the biggest group of Unitarians claiming to be Christ’s in existence today (note: one could make the argument that Muslims might fall into this category, but as they don’t claim to be Christ’s, they aren’t being considered).

Why bring this up?  Because back in the 1800s, some of the people involved in the Restoration Movement–people associated with Barton W. Stone, James O’Kelly, and others–had to defend themselves against this accusation.

The problem arose because of some rather bold and self-promoting preachers in New England began to publicly espouse Unitarianism.  One of them, Simon Clough, had become editor of one of the prominent papers in the Christian Connexion, and published a letter written to introduce the “Christian Church” to a Baptist group in England.  In that letter (which can be seen here), he declared that the Christians were Unitarian in sentiment.

The problem was that this wasn’t as widespread as Clough was letting on.  In fact, this stance was viewed as heretical and anti-Christian by most of the “Christian Church” in the southern and western states.

So, when a Methodist preacher wrote a book declaring all those in the Christian Connexion as Unitarians, it required a response.

W.B. Wellons, a preacher and editor for the Christians in the southern states, took up the charge, and entitled his book “The Christians, South, Not Unitarians.”

In it, he exposes the faulty reasoning of attributing to all, the views of a few; he explains why they believe in the Godhead, the Deity of Jesus Christ, and the Personality of the Holy Spirit, but refuse to use the theological word “trinity” or subscribe to the historic creedal descriptions and definitions of the Trinity.

For those interested in Restoration Movement history, this book highlights some of the theological issues that caused Alexander Campbell concern, and caused Barton W. Stone problems.  Understanding the topic contained therein helps to explain why much of the New England branch of the Christian Connexion didn’t join in the union between the “Reformers” and the “Christians,” as well as why there was a distinction between the southern and northern “Christians” who had years earlier given each other the right hand of fellowship.

In all, it is an interesting read from both a historical and theological perspective.

And you can download it below in a fully-reformatted, corrected (and searchable!) edition.


The Christians South, Not Unitarians (W.B. Wellons)

Division at Henderson, Tennessee

Henderson, Tennessee, is well known for being the home of Freed-Hardeman University.  But did you know that this symbol of conservative schooling was once in the control of those who favored the use of instruments of music in worship?  And that the congregation there used instruments for a time?

It might be hard to believe, but it’s the truth.

Today, we are proud to present to you an unpublished manuscript by Grady Miller (preacher at Pikes Peak church of Christ) which deals with the division in the church at Henderson in January, 1903.  Miller wrote this document while a student at Freed-Hardeman in 1975, and has graciously permitted us to post it here for you to read and enjoy.

Please feel free to comment.  All comments will be passed on to Mr. Miller.

Division in Henderson, TN (Grady Miller, 1975)

David Lipscomb: Child of God, Soldier of the Cross

It’s nice to have friends.

Lee Parish, who preaches in Marlow, Oklahoma, was kind enough to send a paper he wrote in 2013 on David Lipscomb to be placed in the Jimmie Beller Memorial eLibrary.

The paper looks at David Lioscomb’s life in the following headings: (1) His Early Years, (2) Not a Preacher, (3) The Civil War, (4) His Prolific Pen, (5) The Greatest Man on the Continent, (6) “Aunt Mag”, and (7) A Life that Lives On.

He does send a note along with it, that his “works cited” page somehow disappeared.  But the references are scattered throughout the paper.


David Lipscomb: Child of God, Soldier of the Cross (Lee Parish, 2013)

A History of the Birdell-Noland churches of Christ

History is a hobby of mine.  Especially church history.  But I’m not alone in that hobby.

Joshua Dement, who lives and works in Northeast Arkansas, is quite the history buff as well, and he specializes in researching the history of congregations in his area.

Today, thanks to brother Dement’s kind permission, we will be presenting a portion of his research, showing the Restoration Movement in action in the planting of several congregations in that part of the state.

If you happen to have more information about the congregations or individuals mentioned therein, I’m sure Joshua would love to hear from you.  Send a note via our contact page, and I’ll make sure it gets to him (don’t want to just publicize his email address for the world to see, you know).

Until then, enjoy!

History of the Birdell-Noland Churches of Christ (Joshua Dement, 2014)

The Quarterly has Arrived!

You probably remember a few months ago that we made the announcement of a new publication, called The Quarterly.  In fact, we even made the Preview Edition available as a free download.  Now, we want to share the news with you…

The first official issue of the Quarterly is now available!



  • Editorial: An Important Note
  • Insights from Seasoned Ministers: Loren Gieger
  • Insights from Seasoned Ministers: Stafford North
  • Equipping (Jim Mitchell)
  • The Lost Sermons of H. Leo Boles (Kyle Frank)
  • Elders in the Old Testament (Richard Mansel)
  • I Can Do All Things Through Christ Which Strengtheneth Me (Roderick Ross)
  • Not Always Roaring… (Bill Howard)
  • Restoration Moments: The Conversion of Blue Dick (William Baxter)
  • Divine Peace (Jake Schotter)
  • The Parable of the Lighted Candle (Devin Self)
  • CHRISTIANS: Different Cultures, Different Races, Different Generations, Different People (Joseph T. McWhorter)
  • Biblical Biography: Barnabas (Bradley S. Cobb)
  • Quotes
  • What Ever Happened to Shepherding? (Jamie Beller)
  • Paul Darst: A Novel (Daniel R. Lucas)
  • Funny and Not-So-Funny Events in the Life of Elijah Martindale (Elijah Martindale and Bradley S. Cobb)
  • Poetry Corner (Deserae Cobb)
  • Sons and Daughters of Encouragement (Gerald Cowan)
  • Tabernacle Shadows (Mark McWhorter)
  • Preparing Yourself to Conduct Bible Studies (James Sims Sr.)
  • Hospitality Revisited (Perry Hall)
  • The Practical Atheist (Gantt Carter)
  • Book Review: Bobby Gayton’s My Thorn in the Flesh: A Vietnam Veteran Speaks about PTSD and the Bible (William Howard)
  • Bible Q&A: What was Paul’s “Thorn in the Flesh”? (Bradley S. Cobb)
  • Children’s Puzzle Page: WHO AM I? (Questions from the Book of Esther)

If you already subscribe, then look for your copy to arrive this week.  If you don’t already subscribe, but want to, you can do that here.  If you want just a single issue, you can get it on Amazon by clicking here.

Thanks for all your support and for reading what we have to write!  There will be more real articles coming soon!

-Bradley S. Cobb

Kill the Cat!


The following anecdote is taken from Recollections of Men of Faith, by W.C. Rogers (soon to be in the Jimmie Beller Memorial eLibrary, as well as in print from Cobb Publishing).  This is from the chapter on B.F. Hall.  Enjoy!

One night he (B.F. Hall) was much disturbed in the beginning and during the delivery of his discourse. A white cat had noiselessly, and no doubt innocently, followed someone into the meeting-house, and just as the Doctor entered the pulpit he spied the unfortunate truant. Immediately, and with much ado, he ordered that the cat be thrust out from among the good people who had come together to hear him preach, alleging, with more or less emphasis, that he could not possibly preach if he even knew that a cat was in the house, although it might be hid; that he hated cats and dogs immensely. A dear brother snatched poor pussycat, and, notwithstanding it may have wanted a corner ever so much, he flung it out the door violently, and as a presumptuous intruder.

When the Doctor took his text and began speaking, he seemed to be unhinged — altogether or largely out of kilter. He appeared to be thinking of the cat, fearing that it might make its appearance while he was engaged in preaching. And, sure enough, he heard the fatal mew. Stopping suddenly, snapping his eyes in a peculiar manner, he remarked with indignation, “Brethren, I was afraid of this when I commenced preaching; here is this abominable cat again; the devil has sent it just to ruin my discourse; I cannot, I will not, preach another word until you have killed that infamous thing, or put it in durance (imprisonment) vile.” The cat was again waited upon by someone, and was this time handled so roughly that it returned not again during the evening services. But alas! The Doctor was not able to overcome his embarrassment, or recover himself sufficiently to do himself justice, or speak to the edification of his hearers. It was clear to all that it was an uphill business to speak throughout his entire discourse, and all on account of a cat.


The Judge Who Objected to Muddy Baptism


The following story is recorded in Recollections of Men of Faith, by W.C. Rogers, in the chapter on John. T. Johnson.  This book will soon be available in the Jimmie Beller Memorial eLibrary, as well as in print from Cobb Publishing.  But we thought this section was well worth sharing, and we hope you do too.  Enjoy!

In company with Elder R.C. Ricketts, a prominent preacher in Kentucky, John T. Johnson visited Little Rock, Ark., for the purpose of proclaiming the Gospel in its primitive purity and power.

After the meeting had advanced a number of days, and quite a number of persons had become obedient to the faith, an incident occurred of more than ordinary interest, and which I feel ought to be preserved. Judge Johnson, of the city of Little Rock, a brother of the evangelist, a prominent politician, had been attending the meeting nightly with his wife, but neither belonged to any religious body. Like many others, Judge Johnson had never given the subject of Christianity very much thought; perhaps owing to the fact that he was constantly engaged in the affairs of this life, and had no time, as he supposed; it may have been that he knew not what to do, because of the many sad divisions in Christendom. Through courtesy or curiosity, he and his amiable wife had been attending church and listening to the preaching of John T. Johnson and R.C. Ricketts. But sometimes it turns out that those who attend religious services through curiosity become deeply concerned for their souls’ salvation. This was the case with the Judge and his wife at the time of which we are speaking, although, I presume, neither would have acknowledged it.

One morning after breakfast, seated in the parlor with his brother, John T., Elder Ricketts, and his wife, the Judge filed several formidable objections to the course pursued by the preachers in the meeting they were then conducting. Of course he did this, be it understood, in the most polite manner possible; still, with honesty, and desiring, no doubt, that a change be made in the management of the meeting. When offering his advice, the Judge supposed he understood himself perfectly — knew precisely what he would do under given circumstances. But it is difficult to know one’s self. It is certainly not an easy task to divine what the strongest minded persons would do under heavy pressure of circumstances. “The best of men are men at best.” It would be well to remember this in all of our wise forecastings. The preachers had baptized several persons in the Arkansas River, and now the Judge had come to the conclusion that this ought to be stopped. And why? Because the waters were too muddy in which to administer this divine ordinance. “If I should ever be baptized,” he continued, “it will “never occur in the Arkansas River. I will never go down into that muddy stream of water — never. I would prefer to go to a beautiful clear pool of water near the city, should I ever consent to be baptized. Besides, I seriously object to your administering the ordinance of baptism, while the lawyers, doctors, and the reckless ones about the city, are lining the banks of the river, and some are engaged in talking and laughing and making unbecoming remarks. This is certainly not in good taste — is certainly not in harmony with my views of propriety or good order, under such circumstances I could not consent to be baptized. I must have pure, clear water, and only a few friends.”

“Very well,” said Bro. Ricketts, “we will go with you and a few chosen friends to some clear pool and baptize you whenever you are willing to make the good confession — whenever you are prepared to submit to this command of Christ.”

The Judge replied: “Understand me, I am not saying that I ever intend to become a member of the church. I do not know that I will ever join any church. I am only telling you that I do not think it proper to baptize in the Arkansas River, and that I never could, under the circumstances, consent to be, as others have been. Again, should I ever join the church — and I may or may not — I trust to be able to control my feelings a little better than some who have come forward during this meeting and confessed faith in Christ. They have shown great weakness in weeping like children — at least it seems so to me. Should I ever be induced to go forward and confess Christ, I hope I shall have manliness enough about me to do so without shedding a tear.” “Come forward, Judge, in your own way; if you are a believing penitent, and fully prepared to obey the Gospel from the heart, in order to the enjoyment of all the blessings promised, we care not as to the manner,” rejoined Bro. Ricketts. The following remarks were offered by the Judge in closing: “You and my brother may suppose from what I have said that I purpose becoming a member of the church. I confess that I understand the teaching of Christ and the Apostles as I never did before. I see a fitness, beauty, and adaptation in the plan of redemption which has been hid from me heretofore. But I have not at all determined to join the church. I am fully persuaded that it is the duty of all persons to attach themselves to the church of Jesus Christ, but I am not prepared to say I am ready to do so now. I trust you will not look upon what I have said to you as meddling; pursue your own course. Still, I am convinced that there is far too much feeling manifested by those who confess Christ and obey him in your meeting, and that you ought, if in your power, to suppress it.”

Bro. Ricketts added that he thought there was no improper excitement in the meeting. There had been no shouting, no clapping of hands, no swooning or fainting. No unjust means had been used to compel persons to become the disciples of Christ. The Gospel had been presented in its fullness, so far as the speakers were enabled to offer it to the people. “This glorious Gospel is God’s power to save those who believe and obey it, and, mark you, there is no power like it in this world. All persons are not alike in their make-up. Some, in renouncing sin, weep bitterly; others show but little feeling. This is owing to the difference in the emotional nature. And there is no need in our attempting to regulate these things; they must take their course. But few persons know themselves.”

The following night the Judge and his wife came to church and sat a little nearer the pulpit than usual, the wife placing herself on the end of the bench and next the aisle; the Judge occupying a place near the center of the house and directly in front of the pulpit. At the conclusion of the discourse, and while the invitation song was being sung, the Judge’s wife stepped forward and gave her hand to Bro. Ricketts. She took her seat on the front bench preparatory to making the good confession. The Judge, seeing this, could bear up no longer; so, stepping right over the benches, forward he came, and, weeping as a child, seated himself beside his wife, the great tears rolling down his furrowed cheeks. Making the good confession with much feeling, he remarked in the hearing of many, “I am now ready to go down into the muddy waters of the Arkansas and be baptized in the presence of the lawyers, doctors, and all who may be inclined to witness my obedience to the faith.” How few know themselves.


The Preacher Who was Kicked out of the Church…


Elijah Martindale, a pioneer preacher of the 1800s, was quite an interesting character.  If you read the free preview edition of the Quarterly (you can download it here), then you got to read some of the interesting things that happened in his life, including the fact that he was kicked out of the church that he was preaching for…

because he preached the truth on baptism and salvation.

There are a lot of interesting things that happened in this man’s life, and we only touched a few of them in the Quarterly.  But today, we are giving you a much fuller picture.

Today’s addition to the absolutely free Jimmie Beller Memorial eLibrary is The Autobiography and Sermons of Elijah Martindale.  Take a look at what you can read in this free eBook:

  • Chapter I.
    Birth and Early Training — Emigration to Ohio — To Indiana — Indian Troubles — Returning a Second Time to Our New Home — Religious Impressions.
  • Chapter II.
    Marriage — Deep Conviction for Sin — Christian Experience and Baptism — A Journey with William Stubbs — Uniting with the Newlight Church.
  • Chapter III.
    Ordained to the Ministry — First Sermon — Poverty and Persecution — Mourners Uncomforted — Preaching Near New Lisbon — Flattery.
  • Chapter IV.
    The Jerusalem Doctrine Calls Down Persecution — Voted Out of the New House — Some Things Lacking — Controversial Preaching — Ministers Exhorted to Faithfulness.
  • Chapter V.
    Preaching the Gospel — Desire for Union — Love for the Erring — Zeal of the Old Preachers
  • Chapter VI.
    Preaching Near Middletown.
  • Chapter VII.
    Preaching at Bentonville.
  • Chapter VIII.
    A Flourishing Church at Hillsboro.

Sermons and Articles

  • Chapter IX.
    On Family Training.
  • Chapter X.
    The Gospel Invitation.
  • Chapter XI.
    A Sermon on Supporting the War
  • Chapter XII.
    Sermon On Prayer.
  • Chapter XIII.
    Letter To Church Members.
  • Chapter XIV.
    Object And Form Of Local Churches.
  • Chapter XV.
    On Exhortation.
  • Chapter XVI.
    Parable Of The Ten Virgins.
  • Chapter XVII.
    Religion And Politics.
  • Chapter XVIII.
    Where Is The True Church Of Christ?.
  • Chapter XIX.
    Letter To My Brother John.
  • Chapter XX.
    Extract From Speech Delivered At An Old Settlers’  Meeting At New Castle, Ind.
  • Chapter XXI.
    Sermon delivered at the Christian Chapel, New Castle, April 13, 1873.
  • Song I Used To Hear My Father Sing.
  • A Brief Excerpt Of The History Of The Martindale Family In America.

I found this to be a very interesting read, and I think you will too.  It’s not that long–actually only 67 pages.

If you like the church, the truth, conflict, and history, you’ll get all of it in this book that we’ve proofread, reformatted, and made into a nice-looking eBook just for you!

Read it online, or download it for later reading by clicking the link below:

Autobiography and Sermons of Elder Elijah Martindale

-Bradley S. Cobb