The answer to this question is a most emphatic NO! Before one can be said to be the founder of any institution, it is essential that the institution in question never have existed prior to the period of its alleged founder. The church of Christ did exist long before the time of Alexander Campbell. Its establishment occurred in Jerusalem on that memorable Pentecost morning; its early history forms the theme of the Book of Acts; its needs for instruction were satisfied by the Epistles of the New Testament.
Campbell's enemies utilized every means at their command to criticize, ridicule, and undermine, his work. One of their favorite tactics was to accuse Campbell of being the founder of a new religious denomination; for they believed that if he could be branded a factionist, the founder of a new sect, his plea for religious unity would appear absurd to the religious community.
As often as Campbell encountered this charge that he had founded a new denomination, he carefully pointed to the true character of his work and disclaimed all pretenses at being the founder of a new sect. For example, when Campbell visited New Orleans, the Commercial Bulletin announced his visit to the city and referred to him as the "founder" of a religious denomination Campbell immediately addressed a letter to the editors of the paper; and after thanking them for the complementary notice of his visit, he continued:
"You have done me, gentlemen, too much honor in saying that I am the 'founder' of the denomination, quite numerous and respectable in many portions of the West, technically known as 'Christians,' but more commonly as 'Campbellites.'
"I have always repudiated all human heads and human names for the people of the Lord, and shall feel very thankful if you will correct the erroneous impression which your article may have made in thus representing me as the founder of a religious denomination." (Richardson, Memoirs of Campbell, II, 441)
Neither the facts of history nor the statement of Campbell himself give any support to the charge that he founded a new denomination. It follows, therefore, that when someone asks a Christian, "Didn't Alexander Campbell found your denomination?" he reveals either an ignorance of the basic facts involved or a malicious design. If it be a case of insufficient information, he can be persuaded that the church of Christ is not a denomination and that Campbell was not its founder. If the question proceeds from malicious intent, the questioner illustrates again the power of religious prejudice!