Gospel Gazette, Bible Articles

Vol. 2, No. 4 Page 14 April 2000

Gospel Gazette, Bible Articles

What Is The
Restoration Movement?

By Basil Overton

The New Testament teaches that the Lord Jesus Christ built one church. He built his church. He established it on the first day of Pentecost following his resurrection after he had ascended back to heaven and “sat down on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:3). “The Majesty on high” is God the Father. This is the same as Jesus being made head of his church after he was raised from the dead and ascended (Ephesians 1:20-23; Colossians 1:18; 3:22).

There are several prophecies in the New Testament which said there would be a falling away of the Lord’s church. These predictions by the Holy Spirit came to pass. As a result of this great apostasy, many religious bodies were started over a very long period of time. In the United States alone, there are over 1,200 religions.

Throughout the centuries since the great falling away took place, men at various times attempted to go back to the Bible and restore the New Testament order of things regarding the one church and the way to get into it, or the way to be saved, and the way to worship God, and the way the church should be organized.

Some work in this regard was done even before Barton W. Stone and Thomas and Alexander Campbell and others were successful in their efforts to restore the New Testament order of things in the 19th century.

Those of us in the churches of Christ want everyone to know what we mean by the Restoration Movement. We simply mean the work of teaching and preaching the Gospel so that people can accept it and obey it and be added by the Lord to his church. His church is not a denomination. Denominations have been started throughout the centuries, and the first ones were started a long time after Jesus established the church.

The church that Jesus started is also called in the New Testament the body of Christ and the kingdom of Christ. It is the church that you can read about in your New Testament. Peter, James, John, Paul, Timothy and many others named in the New Testament were members of it. You can be in the same church they were in if you are not already in it.

If everyone not in the church of Christ should accept and follow the plea we are making, it is true, that would mean that all would be in the church of Christ, and that would do away with all other churches. But, the same is true of any church. If everyone does what any one church teaches, everyone will become a member of that particular church, and that would do away with all other churches.

We do not hate people who are not members of the church of Christ. Rather, we love them and long for them to see that religious divisions are contrary to the teaching of the New Testament. We want everyone to be united and be close together in fellowship in Christ that is possible if all accept the Gospel and nothing but the Gospel in religious matters. Even where there are divisions in the church of Christ, there have to be some who are not following the true Gospel, but are either adding their opinions to it, or they take something from it.

All need to understand that the mass of over 1,200 religions in the United States, and many more than that in the world, constitute a condition that does not please our Savior because he prayed that all who follow him would be one as he and his Father are one (John 17).

We Are Still In
The Restoration Movement

The Restoration Movement is not merely a thing of the past. It is still going on, and needs to be continued until all understand that God’s Word only will make Christians only. Until all understand that being a Christian is equated in the Bible with being in Christ, which means being in his church.

The Restoration Movement offers the solution to all the perplexing confusion caused by so many religious groups. It offers the means by which all people can be together in service to Jesus Christ who died for all, that they might be saved in him.

This is not a time to abandon the plea of the Restoration Movement. Instead, it is a time to strengthen the plea and make an even stronger appeal and offer hope for peace and unity in Jesus Christ in the midst of massive religious confusion.

Everyone in the whole world needs to be offered the opportunity to understand how to become and be just a Christian and thus be in the one church which our Lord Jesus established. Because there are more people than ever who do not know this concept, the Restoration Movement needs to be intensified with the preaching and teaching of the pure Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Yes, the Restoration Movement is still going on. If you are not involved in it, you should be! Pleading for the Restoration Movement to be intensified is a plea for Jesus Christ.


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