The goal of the Restoration Movement has always been a commitment to reproduce the original Christianity of the first century. God designed and Jesus built the church exactly as they wanted it (Matt. 16:18). When changes were imposed on the church they were always destructive, never beneficial. Like a masterpiece of art, we should restore the Lords’s church to its original state of existence. In the words of the prophet, “thou shalt be called the repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in” (Is. 58:12).
The Restoration Movement is a non-denominational effort, dedicated to serving do in a nonsectarian way. Jesus built but one church (Matt. 16:18; I Cor. 12:13). It was his dying prayer that his followers be one as were He and His father (John 17:20-21).
Denominational division is soundly condemned in Scripture. Paul besought the Corinthians “that there be no divisions among them” (I Cor. 1:10). He labeled as immature and carnal those who denominated themselves as followers of Peter, Apollos and Paul (I Cor. 3:1-4). Even those most deeply involved in denominationalism concede the undesirable nature of that system.
It is a “back to the Bible “ movement. Catholicism has elevated tradition, the decisions of councils and declarations of popes above the Bible. Liberal Protestantism has attacked the Bible as unreliable and irrelevant. Evangelical churches give lip service to believing the Scripture, while placing their creeds and subjective experiences about it in practice.
We should exalt God’s Word above all creeds and philosophies of men. We should speak as the oracles of God (I Pet. 4:11). “The God-breathed Word is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness: that the man of God may be complete…” (II Tim. 3:16-17).
Furthermore we should properly distinguish between the two great covenants. While the entire Bible is from God, the words which Christ spoke will judge us in the last day (John 12:48). Because of this truth we do not look to Moses or David’s writings for instructions on salvation, worship or practice of our faith.
It is also a doctrinal movement. Our message is not one of human theology, philosophy, speculation, or experience. We should seek always to abide in “the doctrine of Christ” (2 John 9).
We should advocate strong, clear Bible preaching. Preachers are urged to cite chapters and verses so their hearers can verify for themselves the lesson taught. We expect our spokesmen to “preach the Word” (II Tim. 4:2). We demand “sound doctrine” from our pulpits (Tit. 2:1). Our preachers can generally be distinguished from their denominational counterparts by the “Biblical ring” of their lessons.
A modern generation must be reminded that all the social activities, marriage enrichment seminars and self-improvement courses will not save a single soul. Only by preaching the gospel will sinners be brought to the Savior (Mk. 16:15; Rom. 1:16).
Because it offers a reasonable, common sense approach to religion, the Restoration Movement is great. God expects a person to use his head, to think rationally if he would be a Christian.
Faith comes by hearing the Word of Christ (Rom. 10:17). Christianity is not a fuzzy, emotional response to some vague religious impulse; rather it is reasonable. It is logical and sensible.
The emotionalism of the old mourner’s bench system, the irrational behavior of the charismatics and the mysticism of the ritualistic churches all give way before the simple truth of our plea (John 8:32). Faith is not foolishness.
The Restoration plea is also universal both in nature and appeal. It alone can bring religious unity to a world torn by sectarian confusion and division. Can any man who sincerely loves Christ object to being called a Christian? Visit any minister in your community and inquire of him, “Are you Christian?” I can safely predict a favorable reply.
But ask the Methodist parson is he is a Baptist and he will quickly deny it. Call him a Baptist and you will insult him.
Ours is a universally accepted name. Who will oppose calling Bible things by Bible names? This in itself would eliminate most of the confusion in the religious word.
Who would criticize doing Bible things in Bible ways? Who would condemn preaching the Bible, only the Bible and all of the Bible? Can anyone conceive a better way to serve God than his own divinely appointed way?
The plea to restore the ancient faith and practice of the first Christian is great because it is thoroughly Biblical. Jeremiah exhorts the people of his day to ask for the “ the old paths” and walk therein (Jere. 6:16).
King Josiah labored to restore the true worship of Jehovah in Israel (II Kings 22:8; 23:5). Paul exhorts us to hold the pattern of sound words (II Tim. 1:13). The author of Hebrews reminds us to build according to the revealed pattern (Heb. 8:5). The New Testament is our pattern, and we must conform to its divine standard.
May we never neglect, forsake or betray that is noble movement of which we are part. Let us always labor to restore the ancient church, her doctrine, worship and practice. May we pass it on safely to those who come after us.