Explorations in Stone-Campbell Bibliography, #5, Periodicals


THE CHRISTIAN MESSENGER, by Barton W. Stone, Jacksonville, Illinois.

EVANGELIST, by Walter Scott, Carthage, Ohio.

APOSTOLIC ADVOCATE, by John Thomas, M.D. Richmond, Virginia.

GOSPEL ADVOCATE, by J. T. Johnson, Esq. and Dr. Hall, Georgetown, Kentucky.

PRIMITIVE CHRISTIAN, by Silas E. Shepherd, Auburn, New York.

CHRISTIAN INVESTIGATOR, by Wm. Hunter, Eastport, Maine.

MILLENNIAL HARBINGER, by A. Campbell, Bethany, Va.

For the next year to them are to be added, by proposals now issued, THE CHRISTIAN PREACHER, by D. S. Burnet, Cincinnati, Ohio; and THE CHRISTIAN REFORMER, by John R. Howard, Paris, Tennessee.  Also, THE DISCIPLE, by brethren Butler & Graham, of Alabama.  I am not sure whether C. F. R. Shehane has commenced, or is about commencing a periodical in Georgia.  A report to that effect has reached us.

That much good or evil may be done by the Press now in operation, as clearly and eloquently set forth in the remarks of our much esteemed and judicious brother Richardson, must be apparent to all the reflecting.  That it might be much more profitably employed I have long been convinced; but unfortunately reform appears in this, as in all other matters, difficult.  I am still endeavoring to be more useful, but am far from satisfying myself.  Some pieces, in spite of all our vigilance, occasionally appear, which are not calculated to do good.  We are very tired of controversy, and still more of that unkind, uncourteous, and proscriptive spirit which appears to be the genius of every sectarian establishment.  I would, indeed, very gladly bestow one hundred volumes of the warmest religious controversy as a reward to that gentleman who would teach me how to contend for the doctrine of Christ without offending any person in the world.  Offences must come; yet I think it more than probable that we occasion many more that the Lord calls for; and that, of all our earthly sufferings, the smallest share is for the sake of righteousness.  Let us, then, brethren of the Press, all try to improve a little in our next volumes.  I am willing to try.  Let us all contend for the doctrine of Christ in the spirit of Christ.                               EDITOR.


Millennial Harbinger, December 1835, pp. 618-619.


This little notice is helpful on a couple fronts.  First of all, here is a listing of early Restoration Movement periodicals.  A few, like the Apostolic Advocate, are hard to find anywhere, while others, like the Christian Messenger, the Evangelist and the Millennial Harbinger have been reprinted and are widely available.  But the notice raises our awareness that there were voices other than those of the Campbells, Stone and Scott and we should pay attention to them.  Secondly, notice that the Reformation printing presses cut a rather wide geographical swath by the mid 1830’s: from Maine to Alabama and from Virginia to Illinois.  Thirdly, AC reflects some on his editorial task.  He wants to be useful, persuasive and righteous.  He is dissatisfied with needless controversy and a contentious spirit.  he wants to do better and as he is “willing to try” to do better, he urges his brother-editors to do the same.

Campbell is at times portrayed as a pugilist intolerant of diverging views.  Perhaps so.  But perhaps not, as this notice would seem to indicate.  And then there are his comments about a controversy over rebaptism (with John Thomas, editor of the APOSTOLIC ADVOCATE) immediately after this notice.  The short version is that AC refuses to engage in debate  because he feels exploring the rebaptism question is useless.  Not only is it useless controversy, but it distracts from the mission of the reform movement in general and the Christian mission in particular.  I’ll post those comments in time, but for now it is enough to see a brief list of periodicals to which researchers should be alerted and to be edified by brother Campbell’s exhortation to a higher level of discourse.


Sorry to be late in posting this latest installment.  I had prepared a draft version of a short essay entitled ‘first reads in historiography.’  I scheduled it to post automatically on the 27th…which was a mistake since the 27th slipped up on me and the meager draft published.  So, I took it down and will beef it up before reposting it.  I had already prepared this little item about the periodicals, so here it is instead.  Comments concerning either are welcome.


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