Tuesday, April 13, 2010

THE RESTORATION MOVEMENT: ROCK OR SAND?

Could I share something with you which seems to be important to each reader's heart?  Could we talk about the church for a bit?  I don't wish to raise the ire of any.  I do hope to share an idea which would continue fervent hope in the Church of Christ for it is His glory.

When I began my journey with us I was completely enthralled with the Restoration Movement concepts.  What a grand move to take all who would follow back to the words of the Word.  Too simple.

While the concepts remained as powerful as ever, it wasn't long until it became apparent the Restoration Movement had become footings of sand.  Yet, the Word insists we build upon the rock.  There is an immediate glitch in the RM system.  Do we believe Jesus is still building his church or do we believe he built it, completed it, it was lost, and now we are restoring it?  One goes forward.  The other looks back.  One is built on the rock; the other on sand.

The Restoration Movement began with great hope.  But as anything with the hands of man involved in formation, it became the goal of many to keep the Golden Calf of the Church of Christ living by restoring the Restoration Movement.  At that point we slipped.  The Word was overridden by hammerings of the loudest debaters. 

Soon the efforts to restore the New Testament church were side-swiped by the sandy footings of personality agendas.  Clarions imposed the message to look back as in putting our hands to the plow.  Wrong direction says the builder of the New Testament church.  He would have us lift our eyes to mystery and possibility...all based on the teachings of the rock-solid Word.

The church has suffered over time for many reasons.  Guys like me do a lot of damage in the process of growing up.  Strong signals of hope are arising day by day and year by year.  Those marks will always be when believers untangle themselves from a movement and grow closer to the Man. 

There is a lot of good about us and with us.  None of it can be credited to what we have organized or structured.  Our entire hope remains in the remaining builder of the church....Jesus the Lamb.

If your commitment is to restore the Restoration Movement then at a least three things might be present:
  • You find yourself easily irritated ( I did).
  • You can't prove your faith from the Bible nearly as well as you have convinced yourself you can ( I couldn't).
  • You don't pray much (I didn't).
If your commitment is to grow in Jesus then at least these three things might be present:
  • You love people better than you once did.
  • You see your own flaws as more glaring than anyone else because you compare yourself to Jesus.
  • You no longer live in constant fear and resentment.
Be encouraged.  The invitation always remains to build upon the Rock.  That is our future.  The Restoration Movement is valuable only if it causes us to look to Jesus.  Restoring the Restoration Movement itself requires a blurred and distracted vision. 

One is Rock.  The other is sand.

8 comments:

Brian said...

AMEN! I want the latter, to love people, realize I am not perfect, and never fear that I can't perform all the traditions of the "c"hurch of Christ(restoration).

I can be powerfully used in the Church of Christ(kingdom built)!

matt said...

Yeah, I tried to restore the Church but I just couldn't do it. Then I realized that the Church hadn't gone anywhere, I was just looking in the wrong place. The problem is that I was looking for a place (that had all the right particulars) instead of for a Person. Thanks for the article.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Rush, thanks for this very encouraging post. I've long thought that rather than try to restore the church of the 1st century, that Jesus would rather we BE His church of the 21st century.

And you're so right...the more we compare ourselves to Christ, the lesser we become in our own eyes. And yet, what a GREAT treasure we find ourselves to be in God's eyes, for He sent His only son for us.

Stoogelover said...

Every now and then I read something that sort of makes me wish I were still preaching. That just happened with this blog.

Steven said...

The Rock is Christ and His solid foundation. It is those who scrutinize to fit into the scope of man's world that chips away at the foundation. When rock chips, it becomes gravel. When gravel is pounded it becomes sand. Why are those creating more sand, when the Rock is as solid as we can get?

Danny said...

I think the restoration ideal is still valid, but our focus should be on restoring the spirit, heart and ministry of Jesus- not a system of doing church.

We just can't seem to get the latter down too well.

Anonymous said...

I liked what Danny said. (I'm a little behind on my blogging!)

I am a little confused on what you said about Jesus still building his church. I confess, I thought he had built it. Could you explain a little more what you meant?

Janet

Terry Rush said...

Janet,

Your question is a good one and I think is at the heart of what I have addressed. I can't say I ever heard anyone point this out but me....so you know that I could be in question.

I don't see anyplace that says the church was completed. I think we have construed "established" for "full built". Because Jesus continues to live and continues to work among/with us, I believe he is still building his church.

One reason I believe this is because people are still being added to it.

A second reason for thinking this is that those in the church are still being built (maturing).

The thought which many have as the church being completed in the past thrusts us into our bind today of trying to "restore" when we have been called to join him in "building".

What I'm meaning is to view the church as a living and growing body (organism) rather than a reach back in history to duplicate an organization of the past.

These are my takes. Thanks for considering. Thanks for being you!