Restoration Thinking #4


I have been thinking a lot lately about the idea of Restoration Theology.  What do you think?  I’m curious, how many folks out there who read this blog are from a Restoration Heritage – Churches of Christ, Christian Churches, Disciples of Christ – or other non-denominational fellowships springing from that heritage.  AND, most especially, if you are a believer and are NOT from that heritage, I would love to know what you think about the idea of “restoration.”  I’d love your thoughts on that question, or the following:  B)  What do you think of Thomas Campbell’s statement, “Where the Scriptures speak, we speak; where the Bible is silent, we are silent.”  C)  How would the true disciple minister the poor of this world?  Is this only for the church?  for the individual believer?  both?  This is the first of my attempts to open discussion on my blog, rather than one-way monologuing… yes, boring after a while.

For the sake of argument, I will define Restoration Theology in this way:  The effort to “restore” the ideals of early Christianity.  The desire to practice – in the modern day – the same selfless, evangelistic, Spirit-led, dynamic worship and daily walk as the early Christians demonstrated in kind.  The desire to leave all sectarianism, all denominational thinking, and yet through the lenses of our warped history, to put into practice the same type obedience to Jesus, and discipleship as the early disciples demonstrated.  Although not perfect, the early saints were closest in chronology to the ministry of Christ; in addition, restoration theology may be defined as a desire to “go back to the Bible” for all one says and does in the Christian faith. 

What do you think the church of Jesus Christ would look like today?  Buildings?  Cathedrals?  Foot-washing?  Alms-giving to poor?  Televangelism?  An industry?  An attitude?  Feel free to leave comments below; please be nice to all, but be candid.  I am not an anti-traditionalist.  I believe in every sect of the Christian faith there are remnants of what was… but what should it be?  (you’ll make this more fun if you play along, and speak your heart!)  Based on the history recorded in the Old OR New Testaments, (Acts, Jeremiah, the Epistles of Paul, Ezekiel, etc.) what would the ideal church look like today?

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4 thoughts on “Restoration Thinking #4

  1. I really don’t want the pressure of being the first to respond to your call for a discussion on this subject. I have only recently read anything on this subject, however, it seems that by understanding my past it is easier to make decisions about my future service and walk by knowing my “true” history. I believe that the path I am on is a continuation of the spirit of the forefathers of the 1800’s restoration movement. Consequently, I am more confident of my salvation than I have ever been in my life. The first step was to admit that I don’t have it all figured out. I am now excited about the journey of discovery that lies ahead.

  2. Amen, brother. Admitting you don’t have all of the answers is easy, it’s the putting to practice that admittance that is difficult! I agree with you – that to continue on that trek the Restoration fathers began is vital. There was a huge contingent that continued the same trek as some of the Restoration fathers went down, and before the turn of the 20th century, there were articles in the Gospel Advocate claiming that the New Testament church HAD BEEN restored. Seems pretty arrogant to me, and yet at the same time, I find it entirely possible that they COULD HAVE restored the attitudes of the early Christians. We’re far too removed to know what their practices would have been in every aspect of worship, daily activities, etc. Thanks for the post.

  3. When I read Luther I see a man who tried to remove the layer of bureaucracy that seperated the common man from God. I think that we would do well to take more ownership individually in both the life of the Church and in our own relationship to Christ. Having grown up as the son of on Old School Church of Christ minister it seems ironic for you to mention them as children of the reformation, also while I know these groups believe they are non-denominational it seems to be an argument of semantics.

  4. Good points Mark. I agree about Luther and am challenged by him. I’m actually speaking of the Restoration movement and “children of the Restoration.” Luther was most definitely of the ilk of people whose spirit was what I’m talking about, but primarily I find it very ironic – as you say – that these groups believe they are non-denominational. I can’t help but observe the obvious that CoC’s, and Disciples, and Christian Churches have MOSTLY reverted to a denominational form and doctrinally serve an unwritten creed. I would be a fool to say they are all that way – I know they’re not… and they sure don’t intend to. In many ways, I believe Luther and a few others of the same era were closer to “restoring” early Christianity, because of what you said, they wanted to break the barriers between man and his God. I see Campbell especially (1800’s) as doing more to attempt restoration of doctrine, than restoration of a relationship both horizontal (brothers) and vertical (God). I’d say Stone and some others were more like Luther. Enough for now… thanks for the comments.

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