The Restoration Movement is unique to the Christian Churches/Churches of Christ/Disciples of Christ as we had our American beginnings in such a movement. It is a thrilling story; one which hooked me as I studied to become more committed as a Christian. Names as Jacob Creath Jr., Racoon John Smith, Moses Lard and of course Stone and Campbell riddle pages of Restoration history with riveting accounts of men moving deeper into the Bible church. Plain people with common thirst for God’s truth volleyed and adjusted their religious bent continually hoping to more align with the Word of God in belief as well as practice.
However, the movement shifted from restoration to preservation. Teachings began to crystallize. Pliability took on a strange form of rigidity. Learning was replaced by defending. Humility was booted out for a conquering sort of pride which moved from tender-hearted disciples to legalizing Pharisaism. Effort to get back to the Bible was t-boned by getting back to the Restoration Movement; something Stone and Campbell would never have accepted.
From the Restoration Plea there was a high note of “go by the Bible”. However such a thrust did not come from the movement itself. It came from the Bible. The idea of a movement leading anyone back to the original thoughts of God’s revelation is always a respectable course. However, when such attempts shift to preserving what little has been recovered, momentum and direction suffer injury. Discovery and mystery are replaced by defense and form; de-formed is the result.
A significant hiccup may be found in evolving plans to restore the church to the New Testament pattern. Scripture would indicate what is called for is to restore people to the New Testament Christ; he will not restore his church but will continue to build it. His church isn't something mankind gets back to. It is something man is added to. Have we not been in a long state of reversing the work by trying to add the church to man?
I love the early days of the Restoration Movement. To operate trying to restore the restoration movement, however, is something added to the will of God. Such a course is radical and the cost is a mistake. The latter day saints’ minds atrophy as the Bible doesn’t have a chance. It has been replaced in its own camp by names of notoriety other than Jesus. If we don’t continually move back to the glorious name of Jesus, God will most likely find someone who will.