BY ASHER LANE
A Christian church was organized in the year of our Lord 1837, by the Rev. Thomas Welch, at the
house of Peter Leare, in creek Township, De WittCounty, Ills, with thirteen members, consisting
of the following: Benjamin Lisenbey, Peggy Lisenbey, Jeremiah Thompson, Nancy Thompson, Rebecca
Lane, Maria Springer, John Springer, John Lane, John Miller. Nancy Miller, Ezekeil Lane, Tabitha
Lane, and Geo. D. Smallwood. In the organization of this church they covenanted together and
strongly contended for the right and duty of private judgment, and taking the bible and that
alone as the only rule of faith and practice. They also contended that Christian character should
be the only test of fellowship. In the admission of members it was their custom to present them
with a bible, instructing them to study it well, informing them that it contained all that was
necessary to guide them in the way of truth and righteousness, unaided by human commentary or
tyrannical creed. If, after careful searching therein, they though it taught the doctrine of
Trinitarnism, Humanitarianism, Socinianism, or any other ism, they were excommunicated from the
Church therefor, but were suffered peacefully to hold their own private views, providing they
showed forth the fruits of Christianity. They held and taught the doctrine of Christ.
1. They believe that there is one (and only one) true and living God who created all things,
"in whom we live and move and have our being".
2. That "Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God;" that He existed with the Father before
the world was; that He given as the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but for
the sins of the whole world; that He now exists with the Father and will be the final judge of
the quick and the dead.
3. That the Holy Ghost is a devine emanation of God, by which He exerts an energy or influence
on rational minds. The same emanation by which our Saviour was anointed (Acts x.38), and which
was poured out on the day of Pentecost. The same that Christ promised to send from the Father,
even the Spirit of Truth, which proceedeth from the Father.
4. That the Bible is of divine origin and profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction,
for instruction in righteousness; that it is sufficiently perfect without the aid of
one-sided commentaries or human creeds.
5. That all men have sinned and come short of the glory of God, and hence a regeneration or
change of heart is necessary in order to become true disciples of Christ.
6. That all men are created free moral agents and made capable of obeying the Gospel.
7. That baptism is the immersing of the candidate in water, in the name of the Father, and of
the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
8. That the Lords Supper and all Gospel ordinances are to be observed by all true believers.
9. That a life of watchfulness and prayer only will keep Christians from falling, enable them
to live in a justified state, and ultimately secure to them a crown of eternal life.
10. Relative to the atonement, they think the Scriptures plainly show that the death of Christ
has laid the only foundation of hope, and that Christ crucified is the power of God and the
wisdom of God.
To these we might add their belief in a resurrection of both the just and the unjust; in a
future judgment ; in future rewards and punishments; in infants salvation; in the necessity of
good works added to faith; in the meditation of Christ; in the willingness of God to bless all
that seek His face and favor in Christian equality; in Christian fellowship; in revivals;
in Christian character; and in church discipline. The above named church increased in number
and strength until 1850, when the onward and peaceful march was interrupted by the Disciples
(Campbellites so called), as well as other opposing elements with which they surrounded.
Notwithstanding all opposition they stood firm to their principles, and advocated what they
understood to be truth. Quite a number of their members left and joined the Disciples. About
this time the church joined the Christian conference. Bro. J. Welch labored hard and
faithfully for about twenty years to hold the ground they occupied. Bro. J. Lane commenced
exhorting and preaching, and continued faithfully engaged in advocating the doctrine they had
imbued until his death, being determined to hold their ground. In the fall of 1854 they sent
to Ohio for Eld. J.A. Simmerman to come ND hold a protracted meeting, and assist in establishing
their principles. He continued the meeting for thirty days and received in the church and
immersed 43. In 1855-6 a number of members left and joined the Disciples. In 1858 they built a
comfortable house of worship.
After the death of Bros. Welch and Lane the church gradually went down, but a small remnant yet
is left to advocate the cause of the Christian connection. End.