Restoration Thinking #6


Many Christians want to return to the New Testament brand of Christianity.  Many from the heritage I grew up in want to restore N.T. Christianity in theory and practice, and I agree.  I truly believe we need to restore the true religion that Jesus taught about – and preached/quoted from Micah 6:6-8:

6 With what shall I come before the LORD
       and bow down before the exalted God?
       Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
       with calves a year old?

 7 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams,
       with ten thousand rivers of oil?
       Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression,
       the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?

 8 He has showed you, O man, what is good.
       And what does the LORD require of you?
       To act justly and to love mercy
       and to walk humbly with your God.

Now, let’s go back and re-read that passage and do the fortune cookie exercise… Except we’re going to put “On Sunday” at the END each sentence of those 3 verses. 

I’m in a class this week at Lipscomb called, “Critical Interpretation of the New Testament.”  We’re talking about a number of issues that had a deep impact on the early Christian atmosphere and experience.  What “canon” did they have to study from?  Did they just flip over to 2 Peter and read about the Day of the Lord?  Far from it… the early Christians may have had the 2nd letter of Peter.  But if so, it would have been rolled up most likely as a papyrus scroll, in the pottery urn with many other scrolls.  They might have had random letters or gospel accounts.  They may have had random Hebrew texts as well, or if they were “rich” and fortunate, a copy of the Septuagint (LXX) – or Greek translation of the Old Testament.

Their faith and Christian walk was far more incarnational than specifically doctrinal; by incarnational, I simply mean that it was far more active in ethical and daily walk than we often may do.  Whether we intend to or not, we often reduce our Christian identity to a doctrinal set of rules, or sometimes a life limited to the building we meet in as a church.  In true restoration thinking, and in Jesus’ true teaching, the kingdom is in US.  Not in the building, nor in some corporate entity that is greater than our own personal identity.  None of this is to say doctrine didn’t matter… quite to the contrary – just read the Corinthian letters or the letter to the Romans, or any other epistle that addressed certain topics.  But our problem is a problem of orientation.  Orientation not in the sense of “learning” – but in the sense of our point of view; our location in time and place versus their contextual period and place and time understanding the instruction much more clearly.

I am learning in this class a deeper appreciation for scripture than I ever have had.  It is precious, and what we have is what the Spirit intended for us to have.  And yet as God’s children today, we must not be guilty of Bibliolatry – that is – worship of the word (or Bible) itself, rather than the God, the Savior, the Spirit, and living the reciprocal life of love and service that the true Word (Jesus) leads us to live.  THAT is what I want to restore.  Not merely the dogma of the early church.  In the coming days/weeks, I’ll try to take several issues from different epistles and contextualize them into their time, place, and application. 

LORD, may you help us to be humble.  You are all powerful and glorious, and Father I pray for your guidance for us all.  For us to glorify you and live in your Son Jesus, and that we will demonstrate the Kingdom’s coming in our lives, by the very presence of our King’s love and perfect teachings. 

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2 thoughts on “Restoration Thinking #6

  1. I have a question for you that may not necessarily go here, but does go along with this category of your post. Where is the connection of the line from the mid-1800’s with Stowe, Lipscomb, and the Campbell’s……back? I know the maps you refer in Restoration Thinking #5 I used to think that my church family had roots or linage strait back to the cross. Learning now of the above men’s new denomination that they started in the mid 1800’s, I wonder who was carrying the Lord’s banner before them? Or was is it that it wasn’t a particular group that was carrying on the traditions of the Apostles but various individuals across the spectrum who, with a pure heart, continued in The Way striving to follow the Lord’s desires as best they could, though not perfect. To which I believe that perfection was not attainable then, nor is it attainable today. But praise is to Jesus who’s blood cleanses me from my inperfections.

  2. Doug – There are several men who carry the torch before the Campbell’s, Stone, Lipscomb, Scott, and others. One of those men is Walter Kelly, who was a Methodist minister in Europe in the 1700’s, and there are others before him. Earl West refers to it in “The Search for the Ancient Order” Volume I. I would pick it up somewhere or check it out and read it bro. I may even let you borrow it! More later…

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