Now available on my Academic Materials page is the lead article of the then new academic periodical the Stone Campbell Journal entitled “God’s Sensible Pledge: The Witness of the Spirit in the Early Baptismal Theology of Alexander Campbell”.
The article suggests that Campbell regarded baptism as God’s sensible (empirical) pledge of assurance. It is an objective assurance of God’s forgiving grace which we receive by faith. Assurance, then, has an objective dimension. Instead of depending solely or wholely on a subjective experience at the “mourner’s bench” (a conversion strategy common on the frontier of early 19th century America), believers are assured by the divine promises attached to baptism. Baptism, then, is more about what God does than what we do. It is God’s act by which he assures believers of his grace.