Every now and again one will read a bulletin article or, perhaps, a periodical article that addresses whether it is right and proper to restore the church. In this country, a movement over 200 years old, called the Restoration Movement, took hold and swept many out of denominationalism and into the church as established by the Lord through His apostles.
The Restoration Movement is a way of thinking that seeks to reaffirm the sole authority in religious matter as being in the Bible, specifically the New Testament. One popular phrase that came from this way of thinking is, “Let us do Bible things in Bible ways, and let us call Bible things by Bible names.” What this means is this: if the New Testament does not speak of it, there is no authority to do it (whatever topic of discussion might be under consider).
In Christendom, there are three religious thrusts, or ways of thinking. First, there is Catholicism. This is an ideology that seeks to promote all things relative to the Catholic Church. Whatever change may occur within or without must have sanction of the Pope and the College of Cardinals. Second, there is Reformation. This was an effort to reform the Catholic Church (in the early days of the movement) from within. In other words, the Catholic Church was so religiously and morally corrupted that many priests were determined to reform or change what was done to what should be done. From this reformation effort came the Protestant movement, a protest of the Catholic Church and teachings associated with it. Third, there is Restoration. This is a movement seeking to get back to the way things were done in the times of the New Testament.
Some, in their elitist way of thinking, mock the restoration movement by asking which church will you seek to restore? Will it be the Corinthian church, perhaps the church in Colossae, or even the churches of Galatia? In their mockery, they imply that the efforts to get back to the New Testament is misplaced, that it can’t be done because when people are involved problems and corruption can’t be avoided. Even though there is truth in this, it fails to understand and accept the power of God in the Gospel (Rom. 1:16); they fail to understand, and accept, the desire of many people who are determined to stay loyal to the Lord.
Do we need to restore the church? What needs to be done is this: look through the pages of the New Testament and determine what the Lord requires in the way of holiness, that is, the way of holy living. Pursue that, and with the application made, it will no longer be a desire of the individual’s way of thinking holding sway, but it will be a desire of the individual person submitting to the Lord’s way of thinking. With this in place, again study the New Testament and see what the Lord said relative to the church, and those who were members of it in the first-century. Having learned that, implement what they did to what you and others are doing. The New Testament has a plan in place for the structure of the New Testament church. For instance, some passages that will help one gain clarity of understanding: Matthew 16:13-19; Acts 2:37-47; 20:17-28; Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy chapter 2 and 3.
These are just some passages that may be of help.
Restoration is not a movement of a body of people, but a movement of one to learn from the Lord and obey His holy will. When that one learns, then that same one teaches. With the one come two, with the two comes four and with the four comes eight, etc. It starts with one’s response to the Lord. How do you choose to respond? RT