The Restoration Movement – So What?
Evangel – Fall 2012
As a professor, the question I ask my students every class is: “So what?” This is not I implying that what I share with them is non-essential; it is me asking them: “So, what are you, personally, going to do with this information?” So, what about the Restoration Movement? Why do I, personally, as a forty-something female, think it is vital I attend a Restoration Movement church, and teach at a college founded on Restoration Movement principles? Here are four reasons I consider myself a Restorationist.
Restorationists do not follow certain creeds, nor do all “Christian Church” members subscribe to exactly the same statements of faith. I belong to a Christian Church of the Restoration Movement because I personally believe certain aspects of following Christ are non-negotiable. Christian Churches embrace these aspects, thus I consider myself a Restorationist: one who tries to restore the first-century church.
Authority of Scripture
I believe that the Bible is the infallible and inspired word of God. This does not mean that I never look to church history for help in interpreting God’s word, but that I insist that God’s word trumps tradition every time. Again, does this mean I never read commentaries to give insight into certain passages? No. However, it does mean that I believe that my ruler-of-the universe, God, has guided the transcription of scripture throughout the ages so that my Bible alone is the final authority. Christian Churches do not look to other “inspired” books to interpret the Bible, so that is why I consider myself a Restorationist.
My Lord was baptised and I need to follow His example. Do I believe it was my baptism that opened the gate to heaven? No. It was my personal decision at the age of twelve to follow Jesus, regardless of life’s circumstances, until death unites us in the flesh. My baptism was my public confession of faith that Jesus is Lord of my life and His death was the only “work” sufficient to atone for my sins. I belong to a “Christian Church” because I accept the principles of “believer baptism” and full immersion. I believe that one should be old enough to make a conscious, personal decision to follow Christ. Also, since Jesus and his first-century followers were fully immersed during baptism, whenever possible, we need to be fully immersed.
The Lord’s Supper
Jesus asked the disciples to celebrate the re-enactment of His last supper with them whenever they met. The early church continued this practice of weekly “communion” in accordance with the Lord’s words, so we should too. Most Christian Churches celebrate weekly communion to remember Jesus is the reason we have been restored to a perfect relationship with our Father. And that is why I am a Restorationist.
Christian Churches preach that unity in Christ derives from Christ in us, rather than a name on the outside of a building. We strive to work in unity with all members of the universal church who claim Jesus as Lord. Will we ever practice or enjoy perfect unity before heaven? I do not believe so, but Christian Church members do not claim exclusive entrance rights to heaven for only our members. Thus, I consider myself a Restorationist.
So what? What are you, personally, going to do with this information?