What is the “Restoration Movement”
We in the churches of Christ have been referred to as being part of the “restoration movement”. Many people are not even aware that there ever was such a movement, even though it is still on-going all over the world. The movement’s goal is to restore Christianity back to exactly what it was in the first century when the church was first established on Pentecost.
Many things have happened to Christianity over the past two thousand years. History saw the original New Testament church fall away (apostatize) into the Catholic church just as Paul predicted would happen in second Thessalonians chapter two. The Catholic church grew more and more corrupt over the next one thousand years until its corruption finally led to the Protestant reformation. The reformers broke away from the traditions of Catholicism in an effort to reform or fix it. It was out of the reformation that we see the birth of the many denominations we have today. All of the present denominations were formed in an effort to reform Catholicism or break away from another denomination that had tried to do the same thing. This eventually led to the religious chaos and confusion we now have in the world. The problem with the reformation movement is that they were trying to reform something that was terribly corrupt (the Catholic church), when they should have been trying to restore the church back to its original state before it had apostatized into Catholicism. To reform means to attempt to fix or improve on something, where to restore means to take something back to its original state.
God gave us the inspired New Testament as our standard, rule, pattern, and blueprint for all things concerning the church. We can go back in time before denominationalism and Catholicism to exactly where the church began on the day of Pentecost in Acts chapter two. We can then establish our congregations based on the same blueprint and pattern for the church that they used, the Word of God. When people do this you cannot go wrong. You can know that you are part of Christ’s church (the real church of Christ), when you do everything exactly like they did then. When we follow the pattern and examples recorded in the New Testament instead of the man made creeds of denominations, then we know we are doing it God’s way and not man’s. When we do that, then we are restoring the New Testament church.
You may be asking if there is anything in the Bible regarding the principle of restoration? Well, actually the Old Testament is full of it. Every time an evil king of Judah would take the nation into idolatry, the next good king that came along would have to attempt to restore it. But, the best description of restoration in the Bible is the account of the Jews return from Babylonian captivity. King Cyrus of the Media Persian empire released the Jews to go back to Jerusalem and restore their worship to God. The books of Ezra and Nehemiah record their efforts to restore the nation and worship of Israel back to its original state. Men like Ezra, Nehemiah, Joshua the high priest, and Zerubbabel led this restoration movement. The books of Ezra and Nehemiah are often referred to as the restoration books of the Bible. The only way to know if a church is the true church of Christ, is to measure and compare it next to the one we read about being established in the New Testament. -Ed