Edited by John Ellis in Dayton, Ohio, The Gospel Herald was the western expression of the so-called "Christian movement" tradition. This movement embraced political and religious democracy, and rejected sectarian beliefs and practices. The newspaper was decidedly anti-slavery.
The stated mission of the paper reads: "It is designed to be an exponent of "the Faith once delivered to the Saints." It acknowledges no authority in religious doctrine and morals, but the sacred scriptures; bows to no human creeds, confessions of faith, or discipline; and will earnestly contend for those pure and heavenborn principles on which the christrian church stands predicated. We earnestly desire the co-operation of all liberal Christians, for we are not laboring to build up a religious sect, but to extend those liberal truths born in the infinite councils of heaven, and brought down to earth by the blessed Savior amid the song of angels."