Emmanuel professor signs book written on history of the Stone-Campbell movement


Dr. Henry E. Webb

By Julie Fann
star staff
jfann@starhq.com
A former Milligan College professor who is an active participant in Christian unity movements signed copies of his book "In Search of Christian Unity" Monday afternoon at Emmanuel School of Religion.
Dr. Henry E. Webb, former chair of the department of Biblical studies at Milligan, said he is pleased that his book is used as a text by the three divisions of the Christian Church.
"The book chronicles achievements, problems and institutions formed as a result of the Stone-Campbell Movement," Webb said during the signing. The Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement, which sought to achieve Christian unity, began in 1803 in Kentucky and, later, in western Pennsylvania, Webb said.
On the frontier, men from various religious persuasions came together and found they had a sense of "oneness", according to Webb, which led them to drop their denominational leaning and sit with other Christians. Barton W. Stone led the frontier movement in Kentucky.
"A few years later, in western Pennsylvania, a Presbyterian minister, Alexander Campbell, and his son, came to virtually these same conclusions, and issued what is known as the declaration and address. Those two movements merged in 1832," said Webb.
As the movements merged, basic tenets of the Christian Church were established, including the renouncing of human creeds (which, for Presbyterians, was the Westminster Confession of faith) in favor of the Bible only.
"They adopted a slogan: 'In faith, unity; in opinions, liberty; and in all things, love,'" Webb said. Members of the Christian Church believe in baptism by immersion and the observance of the Lord's Supper on the Sabbath.
"In Search of Christian Unity", originally published in 1990, has been revised and is being re-released by Abilene Christian University Press.
Dr. Webb spent more than 40 years on the faculty of Milligan College, where he served as the chair of the department of biblical studies, and has lived in Johnson City since 1950. He has been active in discussions among the branches of the Christian Churches and Churches of Christ. He is a current member of the Disciples/Christian Church/Church of Christ Dialogue for Christian Unity.
Now retired, Webb still teaches occasionally at a Biblical institute in Vienna, Austria.
Emmanuel School of Religion is a graduate seminary affiliated with the Christian Church and Churches of Christ and is located between Johnson City and Elizabethton off the Milligan Highway.