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Striving toward a Common Mind in Jesus Christ: Thomas Campbell’s Declaration and Address and the Historic Principle of the Consensus Fidelium

Paul M. Blowers
Johnson City, TN
blowersp@esr.edu

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Abstract

Thomas Campbell's Declaration and Address (1809) adds itself to a long Christian tradition East and West of attempts to cultivate consensus among the Christian faithful on the interpretation and performance of the "faith once delivered to the saints." On the one hand, his restorationism simplified the process by appealing to supposedly "self-evident" truths in Scripture. But Campbell was not utterly naïve to the complexities of interpretation and consensus-building. Instead of simply proposing a list of the non-negotiable truths, he spends more time on the conditions for achieving consensus. This essay identifies six such conditions in Campbell's discourse, the last being the ecclesial imperative to strive for the "mind of Christ."

 
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