The following is a quick overview of the history and outlook of the Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement. I wrote it in order provide basic information to readers of an academic paper who are not of Disciple heritage, who are not members of the Christian Church or Churches of Christ. My goal here is to evaluate and improve this statement. I welcome all respectful questions and comments:
The phrase Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement refers to a back-to-the-Bible tradition that grew out of the teachings of Barton W. Stone (1772-1844, pictured here), Thomas Campbell (1763-1854), above all, his illustrious son, Alexander Campbell (1788-1866). The great evangelist of the movement was Walter Scott (1796-1861), a distant relative of the famous Scottish novelist by that name.
These leaders and their followers pursued a distinct religious goal: the restoration of primitive Christianity. They spoke of restoring “the ancient gospel,” the Bible’s most basic claims about Christ which everyone must believe and respond to in obedience. They sought to identify the biblical progression by which one becomes a Christian. And, they set out to restore what Alexander Campbell called “the ancient order of things,” especially the Bible’s teaching about baptism, the Lord’s Supper, the congregational offices of bishop and deacon, and church discipline. Additionally, restoration pertained to matters more personal and inward: to self-control, pure speech, right living, the love of mercy, and the hopeful spirit of the New Testament.
The project of restoration involved tearing down as well as building up. Christians of the Stone-Campbell movement sought to erase all distinctions between clergy and laity. Along with what often seemed to them the arbitrary authority of religious elites, they also rejected the authority of creeds, confessions, extra-biblical traditions, and specialized, learned theology. They replaced all such traditions with a populist hermeneutic according to which every person was welcomed, even expected, to read and understand the Bible for oneself. Having embraced the tenets of Enlightenment philosophy and American freedom, Stone, the Campbells, and like-minded believers acted upon their conviction that the imposition of illegitimate authority in matters of faith provoked disunity and amounted to a certain type of idolatry, a defiance of Almighty God. Such pseudo-authorities were never needed anyway, since the essential teachings of the Bible, the Word of God, could be understood and agreed upon by all responsible people who were truly seeking the Lord.
The ultimate goal of the Stone-Campbell Movement was the unity of all believers in Christ, a oneness that was essential to the salvation of the world. Leaders often noted that on the night when Jesus was betrayed into the hands of the authorities, he prayed that his followers would be one, even as he and God the Father were one. According to Jesus as he prayed, the purpose of Christian unity was that “the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me” (John 17:23). The unity of the church was necessary for a lost world to believe the gospel, to recognize the true identity of Jesus Christ as well as God’s unique love for those who follow Christ.
Ironically, sometime after the Civil War, Christians associated with what Alexander Campbell called “the present reformation,” a movement designed to unify all true believers on the basis of the simple gospel and plain Bible teaching, splintered into two distinct groups. On one side stood those Christian Churches that would eventually give rise to the Disciples of Christ denomination and the independent Christian Churches. (Those two now-distinct churches emerged as separate groups during the modernist-fundamentalist controversy of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries). Predominately, these congregations were in northern states, with power centers in places like Cincinnati and Indianapolis. They tended to value the later Alexander Campbell’s emphasis on Christian forbearance and unity at the expense of doctrinal particulars. However, influenced by then soldier-preacher and future U.S. President James A. Garfield (1831-1881), representatives of the northern congregations used resolutions issued by the Disciples’ American Christian Missionary Society to officially endorse the Union.
On the other side stood congregations that typically wore the name Church of Christ. Following the war, these churches were influenced by leaders like Tolbert Fanning (1810-1874)—who as a young man had been mentored by Alexander Campbell—and especially Fanning’s protégé, David Lipscomb (1831-1917). Both Fanning and Lipscomb resided in Nashville. The Churches of Christ were characterized by their commitment to the earlier Alexander Campbell’s emphasis on biblical primitivism and strict doctrine. For them, this specifically meant opposition to instrumental music in worship, and to all para-church institutions like the Disciples’ American Christian Missionary Society, which members of the Churches of Christ insisted were not authorized by Scripture. Unlike the Disciples of Christ, who prized Christian unity, the Churches of Christ more often saw the restoration of the faith and practice of the New Testament church not as a means, but as an end.
With two fellowships of autonomous congregations having gone their separate ways and having begun to grow apart from one another, it fell to the federal Census Bureau in 1906 to enquire, call attention to the fact of division, and finally provide, at least for their purposes, distinct names for the groups. Nowadays, three discrete church bodies trace their roots back to Stone and Campbell: the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), which embraces its denominational identity, the independent Christian Churches/Churches of Christ (sometimes referred to as Independents), and the acappella Churches of Christ.
For several decades during the early twentieth century, historians referred to this tradition as the American Restoration Movement, or simply the Restoration Movement. The more recent moniker, Stone-Campbell Movement, first appeared, more as a descriptor than as a title per se, in Lester G. McAllister and William E. Tucker’s 1975 history of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) titled Journey in Faith. The newer title has had some success in replacing the older one, especially among scholars, ever since Leroy Garrett published the first edition of his interpretive survey, The Stone-Campbell Movement: An Anecdotal History of Three Churches in 1981.
 Although the Restoration Movement, sometimes called the Stone-Campbell Movement, is often considered an American phenomenon, it is significant that three of the four founders mentioned here were not born in America. Both Thomas and Alexander Campbell were born in Northern Ireland, and Walter Scott was born in Scotland. More to the point, as James L. Gorman has recently argued, "The influences of the evangelical missionary movement that emerged throughout the transatlantic region in the 1790s was the clearest and most comprehensive context that produced the earliest manifestation of the Campbell Movement in 1809." See Gorman, Among the Early Evangelicals: The Transatlantic Origins of the Stone-Campbell Movement (Abilene, TX: Abilene Christian University Press, 2017), 15. For a summary of Gorman's work, see my review in The Journal of Ecclesiastical History 70 (January 2019), 203-04.
 See Nathan O. Hatch, The Democratization of American Christianity (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989), esp. 3-46 and 67-80. For an explanation of the Puritan roots of the Stone-Campbell Movement, especially its biblicism, see Theodore Dwight Bozeman, To Live Ancient Lives: The Primitivist Dimension of Puritanism (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1988). An outstanding overview of the basic theological outlook of American restorationist leaders can be found E. Brooks Holifield, Theology in America: Christian Thought from the Age of the Puritans to the Civil War (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003), ch. 14. Paul M. Blowers, Douglas A. Foster, and D. Newell Williams provide a fine review of the historiography, “Stone-Campbell History Over Three Centuries: A Survey and Analysis,” in the Encyclopedia of the Stone-Campbell Movement, xxi-xxxv.
 The unity of the church is a prominent theme in the two great “charter documents” of the Stone-Campbell Movement. The Last Will and Testament of the Springfield Presbytery, signed by, among others, Barton W. Stone in 1804, quotes from “the seven ones” passage found in Paul’s Epistle of the Ephesians, chapter 4. The “Imprimis” of The Last Will and Testament reads: “We will, that this body die, be dissolved, and sink into union with the Body of Christ at large; for there is but one body, and one Spirit, even as we are called in one hope of our calling.” Similarly, Thomas Campbell’s 1809 Declaration and Address cites or alludes to Christ’s prayer for the unity of his followers, recorded in John 17, as well as to “the seven ones” passage several times. See Christopher R. Hutson, “Scripture Index to the Declaration and Address,” in The Quest for Christian Unity, Peace, and Purity in Thomas Campbell’s Declaration and Address: Text and Studies, eds. Thomas H. Olbricht and Hans Rollmann (Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2000), 129-47.
 On the earlier versus later Alexander Campbell as a key to understanding some of the difference between Churches of Christ and the Disciples of Christ, see Richard T. Hughes, Reviving the Ancient Faith: The Story of Churches of Christ in America (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1996), 32-44. For some of his insights, Hughes credits an unpublished manuscript by Don Haymes, “A Battle of Giants: Alexander Campbell and Bishop John Baptist Purcell in Cincinnati, 1837.” For restoration as the means to unity versus restoration serving the goal of purity and, thus, salvation, see Jay Smith, “Notes on Thomas Campbell’s Declaration and Address,” Restoration Quarterly 5, no. 3 (Third Quarter, 1961): 113-18.
 The names used in the Library of Congress subject authority records are: Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Christian Churches and Churches of Christ, and Churches of Christ. Catalogers and researchers sometimes refer to these three groups simply as Disciples, 4Cs, and 2Cs. Although restorationist champions of undenominational Christianity would no doubt object to the use of such terms, everyone conversant with the history understands exactly what they mean. The state-of-the-art treatment of the worldwide history of the entire movement can be found in D. Newell Williams, Douglas A. Foster, and Paul M. Blowers, eds. The Stone-Campbell Movement: A Global History (St. Louis: Chalice Press, 2013), especially chaps. 1-5. The history of the nineteenth-century American Restoration Movement and, after division, the twentieth-century Churches of Christ is best told by Richard T. Hughes, Reviving the Ancient Faith.
 See, for example, Homer Hailey, Attitudes and Consequences in the Restoration Movement (Los Angeles: Citizen Print Shop, 1945); Enos E. Dowling, The Restoration Movement (Cincinnati: Standard Publishing, 1964); and, more recently, Henry E. Webb, In Search of Christian Unity: A History of the Restoration Movement (Cincinnati: Standard Publishing, 1990).
 Lester G. McAllister and William E. Tucker, Journey in Faith: A History of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) (Saint Louis: Bethany Press, 1975), 149, 253, 443.
 Leroy Garrett, The Stone-Campbell Movement: An Anecdotal History of Three Churches (Joplin, MO: College Press, 1981).