Should We Still Be Trying To Restore New Testament Christianity?
Well, The word restoration means the act of restoring something or someone to a satisfactory state. Others say that it is to get something back again, indicating it was lost. But usually, when Christians speak of the word restoration, it is either speaking of an era of time or it is referring to restoring New Testament Christianity. Sadly, it is true that there are some who believe that there was no Lord’s church between say AD 400-AD1800. I fully disagree with that. We can see throughout history, that it has never been lost. Sure, it was not publicized as other religious groups, but it was still there.
Now, as to the word restoration, many Christians, and that would include myself, do not like the term “restoration” when it comes to the church. The reason why I say that is because the Word of God tells us that His Word will never end. In Matt. 16:18, Jesus said to Peter, “And I say also unto thee, That thou are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” That includes that the church will continue to stand. In 1 Pet. 1:25, Peter said, “But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” There are so many scriptures in the NT that imply that the church will exist until Judgment Day. I mean, how can one “walk in the light as he is in the light” or how can we “have fellowship one with another” (1 Jn. 1:7) if the church didn’t exist for a period of time? No, the church is His body and that body was established on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2) and regardless if there was a physical building or not, the body of Christ has remained since that day.
Now, sure there were persecutions, or they were scattered, or they worshiped in private or even in enormous caves, but the Body of Christ was, has been and will always be His Church which He died for, which will not be overpowered. And, it is not for man to ‘eliminate’ or destroy. I mean, you think about if the church had completely disappeared for around 1100-1400 years, then no one would possibly be able to know or obey the truth. God would not allow that. And so, because of these reasons, the church never needed to be restored, but rather a better ‘terminology’ would be “revived.” I mean think about the church: she survived the “black ages” and around the 1500s or so, she was free again to worship openly, telling and teaching others the Gospel.
Now, the idea of using the word restore came from these four verses: Matt. 17:11; Lk. 19:8, Acts 1:6 and Gal. 6:1. But, these words in the English language do not do justification here because often in English we use is done without clarifying the meaning. But with Greek, it is much more precise because sentences give the definition and meaning of the word and not dictionaries. For example: Matt. 17:11, restore here refers to making all things complete and closing the Mosaic law since Christ fulfilled it. Lk. 19:8, restore here is referring to giving back by way of repentance or if any wrong was done. Acts 1:6, here the kingdom had been taken away from some time, from the Jews and Judea was reduced to a Roman province and now under Roman power. Here the word restore shows that something was completely vanished and had hoped for its return. But, it never returned. Gal. 6:1, here the word restore indicates taking a weakened Christian or unfaithful one and bringing them back again, resetting them in the church and restoring them to their former usefulness and good conduct which is to be done.
Therefore, if we use this word “restore or restoration,” we must be careful how it is used because those who are progressive in the church use this word meaning to keep updating the church to suit person preferences. This is the reason why many Christians are now saying that they are a member of the church of Christ and not a member of the restoration movement.
Again, as for the word restoration, it is true that the church can stray into liberalism and be restored or brought back to the truth. But, one cannot be restored to a truth of which it never knew, upheld or taught. Therefore, the church, as a whole, was never lost. And, read lights should go off when we hear of congregations who are restoring the New Testament Christianity or church.