About the Book
Historian William Warren Sweet has called the Declaration and Address one of the most important religious documents in America. He and others compared it to the country’s Declaration of Independence. As Thomas Jefferson challenged the American colonies to cast off the old world political tyrannies, Thomas Campbell challenged the people of America to throw off their old world religious creeds.
Noted restoration historian Earl West says that the Declaration and Addresshas a “deserving place among the classics of restoration literature.” Author
and preacher J. M. Powell called it the “Magna Carta” of the Restoration Movement. L.L. Brigance, a long-time teacher of the Restoration Movement at Freed-Hardeman University, said that the book was “the most important religious document since Inspiration or the days of the Apostles.”
About the Author
Thomas Campbell was a Presbyterian preacher and school teacher who migrated from Ireland to America in 1807. Religiously speaking, he was an Old Light, Anti-burgher, Seceder Presbyterian who was tired of continual Puritan fragmentation. While still in Ireland he pled for unity among the warring Presbyterians, but he was rebuffed.
When Campbell came to America he preached in the Allegheny Valley of western Pennsylvania. While working there he served communion to some Presbyterians who were not of the Old Light, Anti-burgher, Seceder persuasion. For this action he was censured by his Presbytery. He appealed to the Synod and his case was dismissed because of the way the Presbytery had handled his case. After review by the Synod, Campbell withdrew from all communion and fellowship with the Synod. Since Thomas Campbell was highly respected by his denominational neighbors, the announcement that he was leaving denominationalism made a deep impression in the community.
After this Campbell and some friends formed the Christian Association of Washington County Pennsylvania for the purpose of studying the best means of attaining Christian unity. The Declaration and Address was a product of a committee of this Association and of Thomas Campbell, who wrote this as a report of the committee.