Chapter 3: New Testament Christianity in Central Texas

The gospel arrived in Central Texas on muleback, in covered wagons and in the hearts and minds of dedicated 19th century Christians. The home of the American restoration movement, Tennessee, Kentucky, and adjoining states was also the home of this state’s early settlers. Texas, in fact, was one of the first places to which the gospel was taken by early restorers. To the best of our knowledge, the people who flooded into Texas in the years prior to the War of Independence from Mexico were the first to shine the light of the gospel in this fair country. Stephen Daniel Eckstein, in his excellent book,History of the Churches of Christ in Texas, speaks of the earliest outposts of Christ’s kingdom in the area around Dripping Springs. We draw heavily from him.

In south central Texas, the first church of Christ was established near LaGrange in about 1840 by Colonel John H. Moore, a famous Indian fighter. About that time Alexander Campbell’s Millennial Harbinger began to publish news reports from Texas preachers. By the end of Texas’ Republic period, churches of Christ were the fifth ranking religious body in the state. A report from Austin in 1856 mentioned a congregation of 52 in Austin, one of 54 in Georgetown, one of 89 in Lockhart and a large congregation near Burnet. By 1863 at least 150 brethren were meeting regularly in a building on Congress Avenue in Austin.

The church in San Marcos, consisting of two brethren, began in about 1853 and has been meeting almost regularly since then. This group’s history has been very colorful. In 1887 the mechanical instrument of music was introduced into the worship services there. Brethren divided because of this unauthorized addition and “Grandma Driskill” went into the meeting house and demolished the organ with a hatchet. The descendants of sister Driskill live and worship in San Marcos until this day. After the resolution of the instrumental music question, the church stabilized and grew. In addition to this sister congregation in Hays County there are unconfirmed but persistent reports of a New Testament church that once met in Wimberley but later digressed into apostacy. Although the communities of Kyle and Buda are quite old, there is no record of members of the church of Christ ever meeting for worship in either of the two communities until the middle 1980’s.

 

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Back: Chapter 2

 

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