Tags: Rapture | Independent Christian Church | Restoration Movement | Religion

Independent Christian Church Origins: 6 Things That Led to Its Development

By    |   Friday, 06 Feb 2015 03:14 PM

The Independent Christian Church movement in America is fast growing. It shuns doctrinal rigidity and focuses on a personal relationship with Jesus and knowledge of the scriptures. These churches may seem new, but they have a history tied to the frontier settlement of America and a Restoration Movement in Christian churches that sprang up when the country was new.

According to the Christian Restoration Association, 
there were several different movements that simultaneously developed which led to the popularity of Independent Christian Church today.

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Here are a description of six of those Independent Christian Church movements and their leaders:

1. James O'Kelly Movement: The North Carolina History Project calls James O'Kelly the founder of the Christian Church in the South. Originally a Methodist minister, his ideas led him to found the Republican Methodists in 1794 which emphasized the Bible as the supreme authority and equality of all believers. His denomination became the Christian Church in the South in 1802.

2. Alexander Campbell Movement: The Restoration Movement points to the Irish born Alexander Campbell as the leader of what would become the seeds of the Independent Christian Church movement in Kentucky. Campbell came to the United States in the early 1800s, shunning the confessions of his Presbyterian background and "teaching the will of God as he then saw it, independent of denominational restrictions." He participated in several debates over the faith which became well known arguments for the belief in an independent view of baptism and the role of the Holy Spirit through scriptures.

3. Abner Jones Movement: This former Baptist preacher brought Independent Christian Church ideas to New England in the early 1800s. The Church History of the Bible Institute of Missouri published a history of Abner Jones' life and his push for believers to go "back to the Bible." Along with O'Kelly, he became a part of a group of Bible believing churches called the Christian Connexion, when it became too much like a denomination, he left to become a Universalist.

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4. "Raccoon" John Smith: The University Press of Kentucky describes John Smith's style of non-denominational Christianity as flamboyant. He was a frontier preacher who renounced the Calvinist influence of his Baptist upbringing and upheld the Bible as the only authority in a Christian’s life.

5. Elias Smith movement: In the Autobiography of Elias Smith entitled "Life, Conversion, Preaching, Travels and Suffering," Smith calls himself a "freeman" and "servant of all, for Jesus sake."  Was also a founder of the Christian Connexion. He also founded a religious newspaper in the early 1800s which reported on the news of what he called religious liberty.

6. Barton Stone: The Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals credits Barton W. Stone as the founder of the Disciples of Christ Church. He was a Presbyterian pastor who left the church and formed a separate group of Independent Christian Church leaders who used the name "Christian." He was one of several Presbyterian ministers at the 1801 Cane Ridge camp meeting in Kentucky, which drew thousands of people who experienced an outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the manifestation of speaking in tongues which grew into the Pentecostal movement.

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The Independent Christian Church movement in America is fast growing. It shuns doctrinal rigidity and focuses on a personal relationship with Jesus and knowledge of the scriptures.
Independent Christian Church, Restoration Movement, Religion
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2015-14-06
Friday, 06 Feb 2015 03:14 PM
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