More than two hundred years ago, four people who had recently migrated to Southern Indiana from New Jersey, banded together to worship their faith and, with the assistance of a Baptist minister from Kentucky, organized the first Protestant Church in the Northwest Territory.
Over the next few decades, the little pioneer congregation at Silver Creek became "the leading church of all denominations in Clark and adjoining counties, and also was the mother church of many churches in other neighborhoods and adjoining counties."
In 1829, the majority of the congregation of the Silver Creek Baptist Church opted to abandon the Baptist Articles of Faith and became a "Christian" Church. They built a new meeting house closer to Charlestown in 1858 and, today, that congregation is known as Stony Point Christian Church.
The congregation of Stony Point Christian Church hosted a celebration of the auspicious occasion of its 200th anniversary on November 22, 1998, with a special afternoon service, a gospel concert by Mike McCoskey and a reception. Guest speaker Bob Kelly, a former Stony Point minister, now Minister of Hillview Christian Church in Marengo, Indiana, spoke on the impact of the 19th Century Restoration Movement on religious history in the Hoosier State and the future of Christian churches.
On November 22, 1798, John Fislar, his wife Sophia, John Pettet and his wife Cathern constituted a church on Owens Creek, east of Charlestown, Indiana. In 1801, the congregation moved to the banks of Silver Creek, several miles west of Charlestown, near Sellersburg. A log meeting house was built there in 1804, which was replaced with a brick structure in 1824. From these humble beginnings grew one of Indiana's leading churches of the 19th Century.
By the mid-1820s, the Restoration Movement had spread across Indiana like wildfire, fueled by the renewed spirit of the thousands who attended protracted revival meetings throughout the Midwest and South. The most famous of these meetings took place at Cane Ridge near Paris, Kentucky in August of 1801 where the week-long meeting was attended by an estimated 25,000 people.
19th Century evangelists Barton Stone, Thomas Campbell, and Alexander Campbell and their advocates spent many years preaching to the masses that there was a "new light" to be found in the Scriptures. The doctrine they preached was boldly simplistic - salvation for all, obedience to the Gospel, unity and the absence of denominational creeds.
In 1829, the repercussions of the Restoration Movement rocked Silver Creek Baptist Church to its very foundation. A 10-person minority of the 70 or so members left the church when the majority opted to abandon the Baptist Articles of Faith and be governed only by the Word of God. The congregation was for many years known as the Christian Church at Silver Creek. The minority group chose to remain associated with the Baptist denomination and for many years the two groups shared the use of the old brick building.
In 1858, the Christian majority built a new wood frame meeting house that is today known as Stony Point Christian Church. The Christian group gave the old building to the Baptist Brethren from Charlestown, who dismantled it and in 1861 built the "Red Brick Church" near Sellersburg, using many of the same brick. That building is now owned by the Silver Creek Cemeterial Association.
In its early years, the congregation at Silver Creek Church enjoyed tremendous growth and was instrumental in the formation of many other congregations throughout the region. Many illustrious pioneer ministers of the Gospel passed through its doors, including Absalom Littell, John Littell, William McCoy, Isaac McCoy (famed 19th Century missionary to the American Indians), James McCoy, Royce McCoy, Moses Sellers, A. S. Kellogg, Benjamin Franklin, Moses Smith, and John Wright.
Independent Christian Churches such as Stony Point Christian Church and New Testament Christian Churches, Christian Churches (Disciples of Christ), non-instrumental Churches of Christ, Christadelphians and the International Church of Christ all consider themselves rooted in the Restoration Movement and enjoy a combined U.S. membership of at least 5 to 6 million.
Like other independent Christian Churches, Stony Point is governed by the Word of God, has no church hierarchy and is administered solely by its Elders, Deacons, Trustees, and congregation. The congregation continues to enjoy New Testament ministry and looks forward to its third century of service to Christ and its community.