RESTORATION MOVEMENT–HOW URGENT?

How important is Restorationism?

Our previous article treated the question, “What is Restorationism? It was well received by many. In this one we treat a follow up question, “How important is it to embrace the ideals of restorationism?”We cited the Bible answer to our first question in three passages, one in the Old Testament, one in the New, and one between the testaments in the Gospels. Ironically our second question, before us now, is answered in the same three passages. (1) In 2 Kings 22 & 23, we  read about the restoration Josiah did. (2) In the Gospels the mission of John the Baptist to restore Israel back to God is recorded, and (3) in the New Testament, Revelation 2, the church at Ephesus was ordered to restore their first love and first works. Now let’s look at what these same passages say about the question “How urgent is that order?”

The Old Testament: In the case of Josiah’s restoration we read that God showed His approval of what Josiah did. He said that because of it Josiah would not “see all the calamity that I will bring on this place.” (2 Kings 22:19-20) But be careful here to understand what it was that pleased God. The statement of the Lord was ”Because your heart was tender and you humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard what I spoke against this place and against its inhabitants…” (22:19) So what Josiah restored was an attitude, that of humble submission toward the covenant, a vow to abide by it. The text says ”The people took a stand for the covenant.” (23:3) Josiah did not become super human and mistake proof. But he had an attitude. His heart was tender and he cared deeply about the covenant. God said it was because of this that God’s wrath was diverted from him. The idea of “restoration” is to restore that attitude, of humble submission to God’s will. How urgent was it? Those who did not give their heart felt effort to taking a stand for the covenant did not escape the calamity that was to come.

Everyone attempting restoration today is still imperfect. We do not claim that adopting the ideals of restorationism makes one perfect nor give anyone a reason to boast of themselves. It does not. What it does do is put in our hands the God given compass. It puts in place the right standard of measurement, the one God appointed. Honest efforts to humbly follow that, even if not perfectly, is what pleases God.

Between the Testaments: John’s mission to restore Israel back to God was received by some and rejected by others. Was that an important matter? A key point that Jesus brought up is that the baptism of John was from heaven, not of men. Thus those who rejected John’s message of restoration and the baptism it required, were rejecting God in so doing. In Luke 7:30 the scripture says, “The Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him.” That is very urgent.

The New Testament: In Revelation 2 when Jesus said to the Ephesian church, “Rermember therefore from where you have fallen, repent and do the first works,” He added an “OR ELSE” to it. “or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.” (2:5) As the last verse of chapter one says, the lampstands represent the churches. So that church was in danger of losing its standing with Jesus as one of His churches. It depended on returning to the original.

What about the current need to return to the “ancient order of things”? If Jesus were on earth todsy would He not raise the same question? “Is it from heaven or of men?” How can we determine that? Only by comparing it with the word of God. It is not a matter of my theory versus your theory. It is not a matter of WHO is right. It is a matter of WHAT is right?

We have seen that what God wants is that anytime we find ourselves separated from His directives the answer is to adopt the attitude of returning to His written directives. John did not preach a doctrine of his own invention,but they killed him for saying it as though he was the author of it. Even so our pioneers said such things as “We speak where the Bible speaks and are silent where the Bible is silent,” “We are Christians only,” etc, yet those teachings, saying exactly what the Bible says,  are condemned by many who claim to be Christians. Those who do that have as a compass such writings as Pulpit commentary, the comments of Vincent, Adam Clarke and other theologians. They follow these even when they directly contradict the written word of God. Returning to the scriptures is urgent because of this fact, all of us will die and after that the judgment. (Heb. 9:27) That judgment will be according to what is written. (Rev. 20:12) How many will avoid that? Zero. None. Whether you call it a restoration movement or not, God said it is essential that we return to His word and that word says, ‘OR ELSE!”

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