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 Vol. 5, No. 7 

July 2003

~ Page 5 ~

Reformation or Restoration?

By Dennis Gulledge

Dennis Gulledge Reformation is still a topic of current interest. U. S. News & World Report recently told of the interest of Reform Jews, who "endorsed a return to traditional practices...that the movement's founders deliberately rejected more than a century ago" (6/7/99, p. 56). One rabbi said, "We've embraced the modern world. Now we have to anchor ourselves back in our Jewishness." Josiah, of the Old Testament, initiated a reform of the apostate Jews by returning to the law of God and cleansing Judah of idolatry (2 Chronicles 34:1-7). The leaders of the Protestant Reformation were, for the most part, Catholics, endeavoring to reform the existing hierarchy. There was no thought among them of leaving the "Mother Church" and re-establishing the Lord's church.

The Reformation and Restoration movements, however, were similar in that they were both "back to the Bible" movements. For virtually all of the classic reformers, from John Wycliffe to Ulrich Zwingli, reform meant a simple return to the Bible. Many of these men rendered a translation of the Bible in the common tongue: Peter Valdes [Waldo] (1160), John Wycliffe (1380) and William Tyndale (1526). It was believed then, and still is, that in order for men to rise to the standard of the New Testament, they must have it at their disposal.

There are several reasons why the Restoration Movement is the greatest movement since the establishment of the Lord's kingdom in Acts 2. First, it is a restoration movement designed to reproduce the New Testament church in name, worship and mission. Second, it is a Bible movement. The goal is to bring men to walk in the faith and in the commandments of the Lord and Savior, as presented in the inspired volume. It is an undenominational movement. It seeks the Bible pattern of autonomous churches with no denominational name, doctrine, worship, etc. It is a reasonable movement. It is reasonable to believe that the Bible pattern for religion is the only infallibly safe way.Image

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