Alexander Campbell’s relationship with the Baptists is rather complicated. His Brush Run congregation petitioned for membership Redstone Baptist Association in 1815 and then was admitted in 1816. In 1823 Alexander Campbell, along with thirty members from the Brush Run church, planted a new congregation in Wellsburg, Virginia. That congregation joined the Mahoning Baptist Association in 1824. The Redstone Association effectively removed the Brush Run church from their rolls in the years 1824-1826 due to rising tensions. In 1829 the Beaver Association anathematized the Reformers and six other Baptist Associations did the same in 1830. These anathemas split the Baptist church in Kentucky. Between 1829-1831 Baptists, in Kentucky alone, lost 9,580 members to the Reformers and half their churches.
The primary tension between the Reformers and the Baptists was the relationship between faith, baptism and “christian experience.” The 1830 Redstone Association “resolved” that the “exclusion” of the Reformers “was on account of being erroneous doctrine [sic], maintaining, namely…that faith in Christ is only a belief of historical facts…rejecting and deriding what is commonly called christian experience…there is no operation of the Spirit on hearts of men…” (Minutes of the Redstone Baptist Association, September 3-5, 1830, p. 5).
Alexander Campbell attempted to maintain fellowship with the Virginia Baptists despite the rejection of the Kentucky Baptists. He sought dialogue with leading Baptist ministers such as Robert B. Semple and Andrew Broaddus. But Campbell’s “Extra” on the baptism for the remission of sins in July 1830 was a major breaking point as Broaddus believed this was at odds with “christian experience.” In 1832 he wrote a friend: “To his view of baptism, as the only medium of actual pardon, justificatio, sanctification, reconciliation, adoption and salvation from the guilt and power of sin–and to his view of divine influence as consisting merely in the moral influence of the word, I would not consent” (Broaddus, Memoirs, 289-90).
Eventually, the Dover Association of Virginia excluded the Reformers in 1832 based on resolutions drawn up in December 1830 (e.g., seventy-two members were dismissed from the First Baptist Church of Richmond, Virginia). Campbell himself commented that the “whole matter” of the Dover resolutions “is the denial of their mystic influences of the Holy Spirit, and immersion for the remission of sins” (Millennial Harbinger, 1831, 78). Thus, both the Baptists and the Disciples (Campbell) recognized that the theologial differences between them were basically two (though there were other tensions, of course): the design of immersion and the work of the Holy Spirit in conversion.
This, of course, remained the primary tension between the Stone-Campbell Movement and the Baptists throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. Many debates ensued on those two topics (e.g., the Nashville Debate between Moody and James A. Harding as well as the Hardeman-Bogard Debate, and many, many others). I have suggested in another presentation that reproachment is possible (“Seeking Consensus: A “Kinder, Gentler” Campbellite Baptismal Theology“) and especially so in the light of recent discussions among the Baptists themselves (especially Believer’s Baptism: Sign of the New Covenant in Christ). Understanding the origins of our differences, their nature ,and how they were originally polarized is an important first step in pursuing dialogue today.
For those interested my article Baptism, Faith and Christian Experience: Baptists and Disciples Part Company discusses the history of this separation of Baptists and Disciples in some detail and explores the theological tension between them on the nature, means and content of “christian experience” in relation to salvation. The article first appeared as “Baptism, Faith and Christian Experience: Baptists and Disciples Part Company” in Evangelicalism and the Stone-Campbell Movement, edited by William Baker (Downer’s Grove: Inter-Varsity Press, 2002). It now appears on my Academic page.