THE AIM AND PLEA
In 1809, Thomas Campbell, a Presbyterian minister, became displeased with the doctrines of both the Presbyterian and Baptist Church and decided that he would oversee a new congregation at Bush Run, Pennsylvania. He organized this Church of Christ on one principle, "Where the Scripture speaks, we speak; where the Scripture is silent, we are silent." From that statement came our Aim and Plea.
Congregation: We, the Disciples of Christ, wishing to be in complete accord and agreement with the doctrine of Christ, set forth the following principles, which have been the focus of the Church for more than a century.
Minister: General aim of the Church.
Congregation: Restoration of the New Testament teachings and practices.
Minister: Plea of the Church.
Congregation: No creed but Christ, no book but the Bible; no name but the Divine.
Minister: Where the Bible speaks, we speak.
Congregation: Where the Bible is silent, we are silent.
Minister: In essentials unity.
Congregation: In nonessentials, liberty; in all things, charity.
The Aim and Plea of the Church of Christ was established as a statement that clarifies and reminds all Disciples who we are. This petition is scripturally sound and should be studied and learned by all Disciples. Christ calls us his Disciples in John 15:8, so we adopt that title humbly and whole heartedly. We iterate "in essentials unity" because of how the early church operated; the early Church was not divided. It was united in Christ (Ephesians 4:4-6). Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians, condemned divisions in "the body of Christ" (1 Corinthians 1:10). The aim and plea highlights the importance of being in agreement with the doctrine of Christ as well since the Church agrees on the principles and precepts that Christ left for all of His followers (Matthew 28:20, John 7:16).