The Church of Christ in 1771

by Jeffrey W. Hamilton

In a book titled, "A History of the Rise and Progress of the Baptists in Virginia" by Robert Baylor Semple, published in 1810 is a copy of this journal entry:

"Wednesday Morning -- Met and proceeded as follows: The church of Christ on Black Water, in Bedford, having sent neither letter nor delegate to this association; at the request of the association, brother Samuel Harris and brother Wm. Lovell, are agreed to visit them, and invite them to appear by their delegates, at the next association.

"The church of Christ, on Dan River, in Pittsylvania, having sent neither letter nor delegate to this association, and hearing that the said church is in distress, brother Walker and brother Burruss are agreed, by and with the consent of the association, to offer them their help the 2nd Friday, being the 12th of July 1771; and they requested to make a report at the next association." [p. 52].

It is an interesting bit of history because a frequent claim is that the churches of Christ were started by Alexander Campbell, but this entry shows that churches existed 17 years before Campbell was born and 38 years before Campbell came to the United States.

This short tidbit doesn't tell us whether the churches in Virginia at this time were faithful to the teachings of the Bible, but it is noteworthy that there were groups choosing to call themselves a church of Christ.

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