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Restorationists - American Family Tree   [Return to List of Trees]

Restorationist churches broke away from established American denominations during the 19th century to restore what they understood as true New Testament Christianity, stressing strict adherence to the Bible rather than to creeds. Restorationist churches include the Churches of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

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Restorationists Family Tree: Static Image

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Note: Groups that are colored blue are still active. Groups that are colored gray are defunct.




 
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Restorationists Family Tree: Dynamic

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Included in this tree

Religious Group Founded Description
James O'Kelly's Christians 1792 James O'Kelly (1738-1826) was a preacher in the American Methodist Church at the time when John Wesley sent a letter to the American (Methodist) churches that gave them their independence from the English churches. However, with this notice came the appointment of Francis Asbury to the head of the American church, which eventually proved problematic for O'Kelly. After disagreement between O'Kelly and Asbury over the preaching autonomy of Circuit Riders, O'Kelly left the Methodist conference (this was in 1792) and took a number of members with him. This new group operated as The Republican Methodists for several years before removing the denominational name and simply choosing to be called Christians. This was per the advice of Rice Haggard, another preacher in the area, who would later give the same advice to Barton Stone.
Christian Connection/Christian Church 1810 The Christian Connection, or Christian Church, was formed around 1810 as the congregations associated with the movements of James O'Kelly, Abner Jones/Elias Smith, and Barton Stone united. At the time, it was still a loose fellowship of churches, and they preferred the name The Christian Church. In 1832, many of the churches within this group that were led by Barton Stone united with those of Alexander Campbell. This produced the Stone-Campbell movement that would become the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). The remaining group continued to exist as the non-Stone-Campbell Christians.
Barton W. Stone's Christians 1801 Barton W. Stone (1772-1844) was an editor and former Presbyterian preacher who was expelled from the Presbyterian church after the Cane Ridge revival of 1801 in Kentucky. Stone and four other ministers censured by the Synod of Kentucky subsequently formed the Springfield Presbytery. This presbytery was dissolved in 1809, however, as the founders protested Presbyterian polity in their celebrated document, The Last Will and Testament of the Springfield Presbytery. The group took the new name Christian Church. In 1832, Stone's movement (followers of which were called Christians) merged with Alexander Campbell's movement to become the Stone-Campbell movement.
Abner Jones / Elias Smith 1800 Abner Jones (c. 1772-1841) and Elias Smith (1769-1846) were former Baptists in New England who established Christian fellowship in 1800 that eschewed denominational labels and referred to followers simply as Christians.
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) 1832 The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is one of several large groups that has grown out of the Restoration Movement begun in the early 19th century by Barton Stone and Thomas and Alexander Campbell.
Alexander Campbell's Disciples 1809 Alexander Campbell (1788-1866) was an early leader in the Restoration movement. He was born in Ireland, educated at the University of Glasgow (Scotland), and emigrated to the United States with his mother and siblings at the age of 21 (his father had preceded the family in emigrating). After reuniting, Alexander and his father, Thomas Campbell, recognized their similar positions in religious thought. In 1809, Thomas Campbell published his Declaration and Address of the Christian Association of Washington, which became a classic in the Restoration literature. Alexander became a powerful editor of religious publications. In 1832, the Campbell movement (the followers of which were referred to as Disciples of Christ) merged with Barton W. Stone's movement, becoming the Stone-Campbell movement.
Christian Church 1833 The Christian Church formed officially from a general convention in 1833 that united churches as old as the 1794 church started by James O'Kelly. The Churches united around desires for non-sectarian unity and identification as merely Christian Churches. In 1931, the Christian Church merged with the Congregational Churches. In 1957, the General Council of Congregational and Christian Churches was part of the merger that formed the United Church of Christ.
Christadelphians 1844 The Christadelphians were founded in 1844 by Dr. John Thomas. They deny the divinity of Jesus Christ and aspire to study scripture accurately in congregations not ruled by employed clergy. In 1898, there was a controversy over an amendment on eschatology in their statement of faith. This has left a lasting schism among Christadelphians in the United States between the Central and Unamended Christadelphians.
Churches of Christ 1906 The Churches of Christ (Non-instrumental) is one of the several branches of the Restoration movement begun in the early 19th century by Barton Stone and Thomas and Alexander Campbell, recognized in the 1906 Religious Census as distinct from the Christian Church. Originating primarily among those Restorationist congregations in the South, it has become a national movement. It has been most identified for its disavowal of the use of instrumental music in worship and ultra-congregational organization. Over the years, the decentralized polity has allowed for a number of factions to develop over various beliefs and practices not accepted by the majority of churches. The Churches of Christ (Non-instrumental) represent the largest faction of the movement.
North American Christian Convention 1927 No description available.
Congregational Christian Churches 1931 Formed in 1931 by the merger between the National Council of the Congregational Churches and the Christian Church, the General Council of Congregational and Christian Churches lasted until it merged with the Evangelical and Reformed Church in 1957 to form the United Church of Christ.
Christian Churches and Churches of Christ 1968 The Christian Churches and Churches of Christ is a decentralized movement derived from the Restoration Movement initiated in the United States during the first half of the 19th century by Barton Stone, Thomas and Alexander Campbell (former Presbyterians), and Walter Scott (a former Baptist). Until recent decades an integral part of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), these congregations gradually separated as the Disciples of Christ became more centrally organized in 1968.
International Churches of Christ 1979 The International Churches of Christ (ICOC) was founded in 1979 under the leadership of Kip McKean. McKean led his formerly Churches of Christ (Non-instrumental) congregation to begin a rapidly growing international movement built upon one-on-one discipleship of older believers to younger. After accomplishing tremendous missionary goals, the ICOC faced internal chaos in 2000; Kip McKean and his wife eventually stepped down from leadership after their sabbatical, and the association restructured. In the past, some have accused the ICOC of being a cult; these accusations have lessened since the McKean's departure.
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