Barton Stone

Born: 
December 24, 1772
Died: 
November 9, 1844

Barton Warren Stone was an important preacher during the Second Great Awakening of the early 19th century. He was first ordained a Presbyterian minister, then was expelled from the church after the Cane Ridge, Kentucky revival for his stated beliefs in faith as the sole prerequisite for salvation.

He became allied with Alexander Campbell, and formed the Restoration Movement in . His followers were first called "New Lights" and "Stoneites". Later he and Campbell tried to bring denominations together that relied solely on the Scriptures. Stone was born to John and Mary Stone in Port Tobacco, Maryland. During his childhood, the boy grew up within the Church of England, then had Baptist, Methodist and Episcopal church influences as well. Preachers representing Baptists and Methodists came to the area during the Second Great Awakening, and Baptist and Methodist chapels were founded in the county.

After enrolling in 1790 at the Guilford Academy in North Carolina, founded by David Caldwell, Stone heard James McGready (a Presbyterian minister) speak. He studied and became a Presbyterian minister. But, as Stone looked more deeply into the beliefs of the Presbyterians, especially the Westminster Confession of Faith, he doubted that some of the church beliefs were truly Bible-based. In particular, he found the Calvinistic insistence on man's total depravity to be inconsistent with the Scriptures.

Stone also took issue with the doctrine of the Trinity, and argued against it. "Revelation no where declares that there are three persons of the same substance in the one only God; and it is universally acknowledged to be above reason" (Address to the Christian Churches, 2nd Edition [1821]). At the Cane Ridge, Kentucky revival of 1801, which attracted an estimated 20,000 people, Stone revealed his new-found conviction of faith as the only prerequisite for salvation. This was not in keeping with the doctrines of the Presbyterian Church, which accused Stone of Arminianism.

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