I like Silas Noel. Spencer wrote of him, "Mr. Noel was a man of fine culture, of broad views, of active enterprise, and enlarged public spirit."1 He wrote this in 1823, before Campbellism was even a blip on anyone else's radar:
"Can any society be preserved in harmony where the ministry entertain various and conflicting views in regard to the plan of salvation? It is folly to expect it. Other causes may lead to confusion, but this is certainly and clearly a never-failing source of schism and distraction. We lay it down as a principle not to be controverted that in order to preserve the peace, unity and purity of the church there must be a oneness of sentiment among the preachers in regard to the Gospel truth. We consider a second proposition equally clear: that in order to preserve the oneness of sentiment among ourselves, our views of Gospel truth should be plainly inscribed in every church constitution and in the constitution of every association."2
1 J. H. Spencer, The History of the Kentucky Baptists from 1769 to 1885 (Cincinnati: J. R. Baumes, 1885), 1:316.
2 Frederick Eberhardt, "Silas Mercer Noel," Publications of the Kentucky Baptist Historical Society 3 (1913): 3-16. Cited 12 April 2006. Online: http://www.geocities.com/baptist_documents/noel.s.m.html.