An Interesting First Find

EliasSmithHello Everyone:

While doing some searches for primary sources related to the Glasites, I came across a letter written by Elias Smith of the Christian Connexion, to Daniel Humphreys, a Sandemanian elder.  Smith’s letter is highly polemic in nature, and he attacks Humphreys’ teachings on subjects such as baptism and  soteriology.

This letter is significant to me because it shows a connection between the Christian Connexion, one early precursor to the Stone-Campbell Movement, to the Glasite/Sandemanian movement, another early precursor.  While the letter is polemical in nature, it provides us with direct evidence about Smith’s beliefs, and his views on how Glasite beliefs fit or did not fit within his religious framework.

I had not previously heard of Humphreys’, but found that the Library of Congress had established a subject heading under his name.  A search of Worldcat found nothing, but I did find that Vanderbilt holds several sermons and letters that he published on microcard.  One of the letters in this collection is a letter to Elias Smith, which possibly is the letter that Smith was replying to in his published letter.  In it, Humphrey’s asks Smith why the Sandemanians, who called themselves “Churches of Christ,”  and the “Christian Church” of Elias Smith could not worship together, an interesting question posed by the typically exclusivistic Sandemanians. This is one question, I am sad to say, that has been asked over and over again by those in the Stone-Campbell Movement.

You can find the full text of the letter at the Glasite Digital Archive.

Erratum: The post above states that Humphrey’s letter to Elias Smith asked why the Christian Connexion could not worship with the Sandemaninans.  This was incorrect. The letter from Humphrey’s is a public response to a series of letters between a Congregationalist minister and Elias Smith, where the Congregationalist was asking Smith why the Chrisitan Connexion could not commune with the Congregationalists.  I regret the error.