Murfreesboro, TN — For many generations there has been an unquestioned and uncompromising slandering of Stone-Campbell congregations and Christians by the state’s local Southern Baptists. This dates back prior to the Civil War, when a family feud was touched off by the evangelization and rebaptism of multiple kinsmen in a historically Baptist area by Stone-Campbell preachers from a neighboring county. Since that day, the term “Campbellite” has been used by individuals as a term of disgust and hatred, the worst of all swear words. What’s more, Baptists have historically refused to set foot at the local Philips 66, boycotted cane sugar, and banned all coonskin caps (despite their love of Davey Crockett). Yet, very recently, “Campbellite” has become a buzz word and rapprochement has been reached among the churches. What is the source of this sudden and complete change of heart?
Behind this transformation, the hero for ecumenism is Campbell Lite Soup. Due to the many potlucks taking place in the area’s Baptist congregations over the years, every church member age 40 and above acquired hypertension and diabetes—to the complete and utter shock of everyone. Doctors recommended that their patients try the Campbell Lite Soup diet, with many people reporting successful health turn arounds. Contrary to dogmatic opposition, Campbell Lite Soup was more than an outward sign of inward grace; it led to a regeneration of their inner selves. Many patients simply told us, “I saw the lite.”
Now, within county lines, many people speak the words “Campbell Lite” with joy in their voices and faces, an inaudible difference to the once negative term “Campbellite” in the local dialect. Visible unity between the churches can now be witnessed as both Baptists and Stone-Campbellites collect soup labels for their local school fundraisers and have created a new business venture for joint missions, “Raccoon John Smith Caps.”
When asked his view on the situation, local Stone-Campbell preacher Barton Scott told us, “We knew this day would eventually come. Due to their views on baptism, we’ve been saying Baptists were just Campbell-lights for years.”
By Alexander Foster McGarvey