New exhibit ready…Thus saith the Lord: Thomas Campbell’s Declaration and Address

Long recognized as the cornerstone document for the work of Alexander Campbell and the Restoration Movement, Thomas Campbell’s Declaration and Address in its first printing is one of the rarest such literary productions in all of American Christianity.  Though the movement it spawned is now a global Christian force, the booklet itself was birthed in sectarian strife, published in a small press run, derided by many of its first readers, and was largely unavailable to any readers for fifty years hence.  In time it became one of the most widely heralded documents of the Restoration Movement.

In it Thomas Campbell argued extensively and passionately for a close reading of the Bible, especially the New Testament, and upon that basis urged all Christians to unite in imitation of the earliest church.  The unity which would become manifest when extrabiblical doctrines were cast aside, Campbell argued, would facilitate missionary activity, many good works, and a reformation of life and character among Christians.  It was, and is, an earnest appeal to Christians everywhere to examine their faith, practice, and life against the standard of the New Testament, to enjoy the community of faith, and to teach and evangelize.

Exhibited here is an exceptionally scarce first printing from 1809 along with specimens from the literature of the Restoration Movement about this foundational document.

Click here for the full online exhibit.

Restoration Day 2022

You are invited to join the ACU community as it celebrates Restoration Day on Tuesday, September 6, at the Brown Library Packer Forum (6:00–8:00 pm).

This year’s Restoration Day will feature the opening of a new library exhibit that displays the first edition of Thomas Campbell’s Declaration and Address of the Washington (PA) Christian Association. This short book, written and published in 1809, is integral to the history of the Stone-Campbell Movement because it articulates many of our core beliefs about Christian unity.

In 2021, Wesley Williams of Memphis, Tennessee, and Bradley Williams of Nashville, Tennessee, entrusted the ACU Brown Library with a copy of this book, one of only four known original copies to exist in the world today. Members of the Williams family will be our honored guests at Restoration Day. Once the exhibit is unveiled, the ACU Brown Library will be the only location in North America where an original copy of this work will be on public display.

Our other special guest will be Dr. Ed Robinson, associate professor of history and religion at Texas College in Tyler. He will speak on the relevance of the Declaration and Address for today’s world. A reception following this lecture will be held in the ACU Brown Library’s Special Collection & Archives department, and a new exhibit displaying this work will debut at that time.

Dr. Ed Robinson

Dr. Edward Robinson

Dr. Robinson will also speak in the Graduate School of Theology’s weekly chapel service at the Chapel on the Hill in the Onstead-Packer Biblical Studies Building at 11:30 am on Wednesday, September 7.

Restoration Day is hosted by the Center for Restoration Studies (CRS) at ACU. The Center for Restoration Studies was established in 1986 and is jointly managed by the ACU Brown Library and the ACU College of Biblical Studies. The Center advances scholarship related to the Stone-Campbell Movement and is one of the most active research communities dedicated to collecting, preserving, and disseminating scholarship related to the history of the Stone-Campbell Movement, specifically Churches of Christ. The Center for Restoration Studies also provides a robust and vital link between Abilene Christian University and congregations within the Stone-Campbell Movement.