Aspects of Alexander Campbell's baptismal debate with John Walker in its biographical and societal contexts

Wilson, Craig Munro (2013) Aspects of Alexander Campbell's baptismal debate with John Walker in its biographical and societal contexts. MTh(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

This dissertation seeks to measure the degree to which Alexander Campbell had retained and rejected his Anti-Burgher Seceder Presbyterian tradition, as his mature ministry began. The principal means of assessment is discussion of a baptismal debate (Ohio, 1820), within its biographical and societal contexts. The debate’s disputants were Seceder Minister John Walker and Baptist Pastor Alexander Campbell. The former contended for covenantal infant baptism from the perspective of a unified Covenant of Grace. The latter argued against this position from a two-covenant perspective; that is from the view that there is a fundamental discontinuity between the old and new covenants. Furthermore, contrary to Walker, he maintained that baptism is an emblem and so lacks sacramental efficacy. As such it demands retrospective faith from the baptisand, who cannot therefore be an infant. The dissertation discusses two aspects of this debate. Firstly, a comparison is drawn between circumcision and baptism that addresses the ‘who?’ of the sacrament. Secondly, the method of baptising is discussed and this addresses the ‘how?’ of baptism’s application. It is my contention that although Campbell departed somewhat from the Calvinistic orthodoxy of his Irish roots, nevertheless his position was nuanced and that, by 1820, at heart he had remained a Calvinist.

Item Type: Thesis (MTh(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Keywords: Alexander Campbell, John Walker, baptismal debate, immersion, paedo-baptism, circumcision, mode, Frontier
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BR Christianity
E History America > E151 United States (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > Theology and Religious Studies
Funder's Name: UNSPECIFIED
Supervisor's Name: Methuen, Dr. Charlotte
Date of Award: 2013
Depositing User: Mr Craig Munro Wilson
Unique ID: glathesis:2013-4257
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 13 May 2013 10:49
Last Modified: 13 May 2013 10:54
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/4257

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