Yesterday I read an excerpt from a new book that is due to be released by Leafwood Press. The book is entitled, “One Church,” and it asks if “churches of Christ” will join the 21st Century Restoration. Personally, I’m all in favor of restoration. My problem with the excerpt I read is that the author is not calling for “restoration,” but rather “digression.” Restoration puts something back in its original state, but the changes this author calls for were never a part of the original state of Christianity.
- To speak of a “new worldview” that reduces the “church of Christ” to a small part of the “larger body of Christ” is not a restoration of the church of the Bible. Rather it is a sectarian view of the “church of Christ” and such terminology is never employed in Scripture. Nowhere does the Bible speak of or view the “church of Christ” as a small part of the larger body of Christ. This isn’t a “new worldview” but rather “old sectarianism.”
- To say we are “called to unity with all Christians everywhere who call Christ Lord” confuses the concepts of brotherhood and fellowship. Certainly, all who have obeyed the gospel are brothers in Christ and should be acknowledged as such. But that acknowledgement doesn’t mean that we can “fellowship” all who call Jesus Lord. Jesus, Himself, does not even practice that (Matthew 7:21). Again, this is not “restoration,” but “digression.”
- Calling people to abandon “stagnant thinking” such as debating others who teach a different plan of salvation and who substantively worship differently is not a call to “restoration,” but a digression away from the doctrine of Christ. Treating people who are “like Christ” as though they are “in Christ” is not a restoration of anything biblical.
Friends, I’m in favor of restoration. I continually want and call people to go back to the Bible and follow the instructions of our Savior. But to call people to extra-biblical teachings, and call that “restoration” is a misnomer.