The other day Scot McKnight posted about those who claim to be creedless. I would prefer the term "non-creedal" to "creedless," but either way, he questioned whether one could be creedless, and pointed to the Churches of Christ as one example of a creedless community. In pointing to my Stone-Campbell siblings, I had to include my branch. We too are non-creedal, though perhaps not quite as strongly as perhaps our siblings. We do have what we call the Preamble to the Design, which serves as an introduction to the denomination's constitution and bylaws (the Design). Our worship committee decided to utilize the Preamble in worship for a little over the month as part of an "experiment" related to a conference at nearby Rochester College. I won't go into that, but there was some resistance to using the Preamble on the part of some, who saw it as a creed. This was true even though the Preamble was written nearly fifty years ago. Still there seemed to be discomfort.
So, what does it mean to be non-creedal? I should note that while Thomas and Alexander Campbell rejected creeds at one level, they didn't do so in any whole-sale manner. The question isn't whether or creeds are bad, but how they're used. In looking up something else, I came across this statement from a second-generation Disciple leader -- Isaac Errett. Errett, interestingly enough, was active starting churches in Michigan and in Detroit, and thus could have been instrumental in planting the church that became Central Woodward Christian Church (my congregation). He wrote a piece called "Our Position," in which he laid out a series of basic beliefs and practices (much like the Preamble). But he made it clear (though not everyone believed him) that this wasn't a creed. He writes of creeds in this manner, which I think is helpful:
While agreeing that the Bible furnishes an all-sufficient revelation of the Divine will, and a perfect rule of faith and practice, we disagree practically in this; We act consistently with this principle, and repudiate all human authoritative creeds. We object not to publishing, for information, what we believe and practice, in whole or in part, as circumstances may demand, with the reasons therefor. But we stoutly refuse to accept of any such statement as authoritative, or as a test of fellowship, since Jesus Christ alone is Lord of the conscience, and His word alone can rightfully bind us. What he has revealed and enjoined, eitehre personally or by His apostles, we acknowledge as binding; where he has not bound us, we are free; and we insist on standing fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, carefully guarding against all perversions of said liberty into means or occasions of strife. [Historical Documents Advocating Christian Union].
Note that Errett emphasizes the rejection of creeds as authoritative statements that can be used as tests of fellowship. This is because even if Scripture is, as he believes, authoritative, interpretations can differ. Thus, only Christ can bind the conscience. Thus any creed serves as signposts and summations of what a community may believe and practice. They can be helpful, but they can't be used to exclude from the Table. Even as I have no problem reciting the creeds, I feel no obligation to affirm in every way the statements as being authoritative in any final and definitive manner. I think that what Errett is espousing here is a good principle!
I hope this clarifies "our position" in response to Scot McKnight's questions.