The movement called by some the "reformation" and by others the "Restoration Movement" began September 7, 1809 when Thomas Campbell published his famous Declaration and Address in Washington, Pennsylvania. This was followed by the equally important "Sermon on the Law" given by his son, Alexander Campbell on August 30, 1816 at the meeting of the Redstone Association at the Cross Creek Baptist church. The implications of what both had written led them to leave the denominational churches to which they belonged and to seek for a return to the "ancient order" of the church.

Previous to the Campbells, James O'Kelly and Rice Haggard in the town of Maryland, Virginia had led their people out of the Methodist church. These people adopted the name "Christian church" and took the Bible as their only creed. This was 1801. Over in Kentucky, in 1804, Barton W. Stone had led the two Presbyterian churches he preached for, Cane Ridge and Concord, out of that denomination. Fifteen Presbyterian churches then formed the Springfield Presbytery. It lasted only a short time until dissolved by a famous document called The Last Will and Testament of the Springfield Presbytery. By this statement they renounced all creeds, took the Bible alone "as the only sure guide to heaven" and adopted the name Christian. Rice Haggard, who had come from Virginia to cast his lot with Stone's unity movement, made the motion to adopt this name. Finally, at a historic meeting in Lexington, Kentucky, December 30 - January 2, 1831-32, the Stone-Campbell forces united. A stirring sermon preached by frontier preacher "Raccoon" John Smith was the fire that warmed the spirit of unity that day. It was Alexander Campbell, however, who became the acknowledged leader of the movement.

This movement had marvelous success for eighty years. But on August 18, 1889, led by Daniel Sommer in the North, it divided. On that day, brethren gathered at the Sand Creek church in Shelby County, Illinois, passed a declaration that they would no longer fellowship with those who used instrumental music in worship. As far as the South was concerned, David Lipscomb, in 1906, petitioned the government for a separate listing in the census. From then on this group came to be known exclusively by the name "Church of Christ" (non-instrument).

A second division took place following the formation of the United Christian Missionary Society on June 20, 1920. This was an amalgamation of all then existing missionary agencies. But the new society came to be the vehicle of liberal theology, open membership and control of local churches. This group became known officially as the Disciples of Christ and more recently as The Christian Church.

Those that remained, called by James Deforest Murch (in his book, Christians Only) "the Centrists", named their local congregations either "Church of Christ" or "Christian Church". Each church decided for itself. As a group they stood for free churches, conventions for preach ing and fellowship only and a thoroughly conservative theology. Also they became champions of independent or direct sup-port missions as a viable method of carrying out missionary work world-wide.