Cane Ridge and Barton W. Stone
Intro.-General History of Restoration Movement
1. Cane Ridge Meeting House: Built by Scotch/Irish Presbyterians in 1791, who on the advice of Daniel Boone, settled the area. It was the site of the largest revival meeting of the Second Great Awakening in August 1801. The meeting house is built of Blue Ash logs for its walls & oak and chestnut for its beams. BWS became its pastor @ 1796-Remained a Disciples of Christ congregation till 1921. Disciples formed the Cane Ridge Preservation Project to preserve the building. 1934 Dept of interior named it a building of historic significance. 1957 a gold limestone superstructure was built around it to protect it from weather, vermin, and wood peckers. Its inside have been restored, and is now used for special meeting, group can worship there, etc.
2. Brief Biographical sketch of BWS.
¨ B. 1772 in Port Tobacco Maryland, D. November 9th, 1844 in Hannibal, Mo. Buried at Cane Ridge.
¨ BWS character: Described as a quiet thoughtful man. He is thought of as the embodiment of sincerity. Honest to a fault, and loved the Scripture with all his heart. Grave, meek, holy, plain, and humble.
¨ 1796—The Call To Preach. BWS struggled with Calvinism. He tried to be licensed earlier but gave up. In 1796 he heard the preaching of William Hodge who spoke on the love of God. This helped him and received his license. He was given a Bible and BWS was a prolific reader. When before the Presbytery he was asked if he accepted the Westminster Confession of Faith—“In so far as it is consistent with the Word of God.”
¨ August 1801-Revival At Cane Ridge Meeting House. Describe the settings. Called to observe the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. 20 to 30 thousand. Charismatic “falling out” barking like dogs, etc. What touched stone was the unity. Presby. Methodist, Baptist, and Shakers. Gave him a life long desire for unity.
¨ 1804—Dissolving of the Springfield Presbytery. An association of 5 churches. Will look at its enormous influence latter. But from this time BWS was totally free to preach his conscience. Odd things BWS believe-Never could accept the idea of the Trinity. He was never bapt. for the remission of sins—believe the highest motive was obedience. BWS defined as Xian as “Whoever acknowledges the leading truths of Christianity, and conforms his life to that acknowledgement, we esteem a Christian.”
¨ 1824—Met Alexander Campbell and became fast friends with him. This is about the time the Stonites and Cambellites began to meet. The two groups numbered 10,000 to 12,000 respectively. Discovering they had more in common than differences.
¨ 1832—The Unity Meeting In Lexington. The noblest day in BWS life. But only two differences were monumental enough to threaten the proposed union. The Stone people feared the Campbellites had too much head religion and not enough heart, and they were strongly suspicious of their views on the work of the Holy Spirit. The Campbellites in return had serious misgivings about Stone's speculations about "the Trinity," especially in reference to the old Arian controversy on the pre-existence of Christ. They accused Stone of believing that the Christ was a created being and therefore not eternal with the Father. But it was his speculative and metaphysical turn of mind that most alarmed them, and they feared he would infiltrate the ranks with such opinions, the very thing they were seeking to escape. It was here that Stone showed his magnanimity. Realizing that he had been too speculative in his handling of scripture, he resolved to cool it. He went on record as agreeing that there is but one thing necessary insofar as faith is concerned, for union in Christ, and that is believing that Jesus is the Son of God. And there is but one act that is required for entrance into the fellowship of the church, and that is immersion. Campbell had long stressed this believing the one fact, obeying the one act as the basis of fellowship, and Stone accepted it.
3. Influences of BWS.
¨ His spirit of love and unity remained alive during the 1920-1940s when the accapella church underwent some very serious stresses. Primarily through the influence of David Lipscomb. Most of the Tenn. Congregations could trace their heritage back to the Stone movement.
¨ The teaching on the Holy Spirit. Stone was a child of the Enlightenment and certainly modern in his thinking. However, he combined this modern outlook with a firm belief in the current experience of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer. In contrast to some who would place the work of the Holy Spirit solely in the biblical past, Stone writes: The denial of the direct operation of the spirit [sic]4 cuts the very nerves of prayer. We have known some, who were once warmly engaged in the duty of prayer, lose the very spirit and practice of it, by speculating and philosophizing on this subject. We can conceive of no doctrine more dangerous to the souls of men, than that, which tends to destroy the spirit of prayer. Such a doctrine stands opposed to the spirit and practice of Jesus, our pattern, to the doctrines and example of the apostles and primitive saints, and to the experience of every living Christian.5
¨ The Last Will and Testament.
¨ Unity—1)Book Union: Creedal confessions, 2) Head Union: based on a common understanding of the Bible, 3.) Water Union: based on immersion into water. Stone promoted the 4th Fire Union: Instead, we should embrace his final model or type, "fire union" or "the unity of the Spirit." In Stone's words, How vain are all human attempts to unite a bundle of twigs together, so as to make them grow together and bear fruit! They must first be united with the living stock, and receive its sap and spirit, before they can ever be united with each other. So must we be first united with Christ, and receive his spirit [sic], before we can ever be in spirit united with one another. The members of the body cannot live unless by union with the head—nor can the members of the church be united, unless first united with Christ, the living head. His spirit is the bond of union. Men have devised many plans to unite Christians - all are vain. There is but one effectual plan, which is, that all be united with Christ and walk in him.11