Robert, most folks in the mainline coC would consider me a \"liberal\" (Stone and the Campbells would be too under the modern mainline coC's tests of orthodoxy. So would David Lipscomb and James A. Harding, who both taught premillennialism. Under that church charter some of the godlest Christian men in coC history would be banned from setting foot inside that building.); never have I tried to steal or take over a church. I have though, personally witnessed a group of conservatives actually take over a church back in '93 (I do realize that not all folks with a conservative bent take over churches). To me, the whole idea of church charters bothers me. I would not consider instrumental music or premillennnialism to be issues worth dividing over; while I do not agree with premillennialism on intellectual and theological grounds, nevertheless, most premillennialists are sincere (I certainly think Harding and Lipscomb were!). I cannot believe God would send Harding or Lipscomb (or anyone else) to hell for being sincerely mistaken about the end times. A mature church, in my opinion, should not need charters or creeds (though like Campbell, I have no problem reciting the Nicene or Apostle's Creeds). Certainly Campbell and Stone regarded creeds (save the two before mentioned) as mostly divisive, because they in effect say, \"to be one of us, you must think, reason and interpret scripture like us,\" which Stone and the Campbells realised was neither true nor possible.
Kevin has it right, I think. No creed, or charter, but the Bible. It worked for Stone and the Campbells. Campbell and Stone taught that unity on every single doctrine taught in the Bible was a) impossible and b) unnecessary. They urged a unity based upon the basic, essential, core doctrines of the apostolic faith. Anything not essential to salvation (instrumental music, premillennialism, womens' role, missionary societies, cooperative meetings, etc.) was opinion, which each individual Christian was free to interpret for herself. Though T. B. Larimore was personally opposed to instrumental music he never refused fellowship to churches that used it. Would I refuse fellowship to a church that had a charter? NO. But what right do we have to legislate where God has not expressly legislated? Pax vobiscum.