Protestants: Worried Disciples

The Western frontier gave birth to many American dreams, but none so grand as the vision of uniting sectridden Protestantism into one great Church of Christ. That was the goal of Pennsylvania's Thomas Campbell around the turn of the 19th century, and also of Barton Stone of Kentucky. Out of their evangelical preaching emerged a faith that tried to be not another denomination but a movement to restore the primitive church known by Jesus' followers.

Ironically enough, the movement to end sectarian churches created just another sectarian church—but a uniquely American one: the Disciples of Christ. Last week, when 6,500 delegates...

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