When I was converted I thought the restoration movement was one of the most thrilling stories I ever heard. It has had great impact on my heart, my ministry, and my life. It also has led to disappointment and heartache.
The Restoration Movement in its early stages brought authentic hope of going back to the Bible for both God's wisdom and will. One of its tremendous strengths is it calls all back to the Word. But somewhere about a hundred years after its beginning a subtle transition occurred which has taken the movement from life to death. In the latter time emphasis shifted from returning to the Bible to returning to the Restoration Movement. Efforts are now made to restore the Restoration Movement. Campbell and Stone would be ashamed of us.
Included in this shift was the reversal from seeking and adjusting according to the Word to defending aggressively conclusions reached by the early restorationists. The problem with this is three-fold: (1) it violates the very principles the restorationists proposed, (2) competitive pride rather than humble search began to develop the very ugliness of religion Jesus opposed, and (3) one has to jump several hoops to determine just exactly which part of which man on which day believed what he did because they were wonderfully ever changing their minds according to learning new portions of the scripture to which they were returning.
While we continue to believe we are a part of the Restoration Movement we have to choose which part. The part which believes there is yet unexplored oil which can be tapped or the zone of continually drilling only the same wells we've drilled for the last fifty to sixty years? The divide over this one is as big as Congress. The aisles are wide.
I'm on one side of the aisle; not both. I love the early part of the Restoration Movement and deeply desire to continue its love and hunger for more of the Word. I am not for continually drilling only in the same places some have roped off as permissible. I love the exploration and discovery of the pure Restoration Movement. I defy the calloused, fearful part which lives only to preserve what little we have thus far brought to the surface. The church is in need of more and more energy. It's buried in the Word. Keep drilling!