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 Vol. 2, No. 11                                        Page 14                                                November, 2000

What Is the Restoration Movement?

By Jimmy R. Canup

Some in our world have never heard of the Restoration Movement. Others have heard of it, but do not understand the meaning and purpose behind it. Still others have heard, but they have misinterpreted it. It shall be our aim to set forth what the Restoration Movement is and to explain the meaning behind it. The churches of Christ [in a sense, editor] are a present day result of the Restoration Movement. It is our prayer that before you read the remainder of this tract that you put from your mind any prejudice you may have about the church of Christ.

In approximately 33 A.D., in the city of Jerusalem and on the day of Pentecost, the church of our Lord had its beginning. This took place following the preaching of the apostles as they presented the Gospel for the first time. All of this is recorded in the second chapter of the Book of Acts. From this point of establishment, the pattern for the Lord's church is revealed in the New Testament. Every facet of the church is set forth. The time, place and occasion are revealed. The work of the church is very plainly set forth. How God intends for us to worship is also revealed. God has given the organizational plan for the church. In Hebrews 8:5, Moses was instructed to make the tabernacle according to the pattern shown to him on Mt. Sinai. The same principle of following a divine pattern holds true for the church.

Jesus and the apostles warned of a future departure from truth. This departure began in the days of the apostles. By the second century, a number of departures had taken place to the extent there was little resemblance left to the original church. From this condition evolved Roman Catholicism. In 606 A.D., Boniface III was given the title of universal Pope. This led to a period known as the Dark Ages. During this time, Roman Catholicism controlled the minds of the people and Bibles were chained to the pulpits.

In the 1500's, such men as Martin Luther, John Huss and others began a movement to attempt to reform the then present existing religious condition. This was known as the Reformation Movement. Out of this movement evolved a large number of man-made organizations known as Protestant denominations. They were "Protestant" because they were a "protest" against Roman Catholicism. They were "denominations" because they were divided by teachings and practices from each other.

In the 1800's, another movement had its beginning. It was known as the Restoration Movement. Such men as Thomas and Alexander Campbell, Barton W. Stone, John Smith, as well as many others, set forth a plea in the religious world for men to go back beyond all man-made doctrines, creeds and organizations and to restore the pattern of the church found in the New Testament. Out of this movement came a biblical slogan stated by Alexander Campbell. The slogan was, "To speak where the Bible speaks and to be silent where the Bible is silent." The basis for this is found in 1 Peter 4:11, "If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God." Another plea or slogan set forth was, "To call Bible things by Bible names and to do Bible things in Bible ways."

This plea and movement is just as valid today as it was when first spoken. This plea is still being made today by churches of Christ. Alexander Campbell and other of his contemporaries did not found a new church. They did not found the church of Christ. They called upon men to return to the New Testament for all matters pertaining to our eternal well-being. They were not infallible men and they made mistakes, but no man makes a mistake when he follows the New Testament and that alone!

Just suppose that the game of baseball should cease to be played on earth for one thousand years. A thousand years from now someone finds a baseball rule book, lays out a diamond and again according to the same rule book begins to play the game of baseball. All sensible people would have to agree, he has not begun to play a new game, but rather has just simply begun to "restore" the game of baseball.

This is the same principle today among the churches of Christ. We are not attempting to be a new church. We claim no denominational affiliations. We are simply and humbly asking men and women to join hearts and hands with us and to go back to the New Testament and follow that as our lone and sufficient guide to reach heaven after life here is over. Will you accept our plea and our challenge?

In Romans 16:16, Paul said, ". . . the churches of Christ salute you." Please, today, investigate what the church of Christ teaches and practices. In the long ago, the prophet Jeremiah called the nation of Israel to restoration by saying, "Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, we will not walk therein." Do not let this be your attitude! Your eternal destiny is involved. Do not take any chance on loosing your soul.

Copyright 2000 Louis Rushmore. All Rights Reserved.
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