THE OLD PATHS
The restoration plea is about calling people back to the “old paths” of first century, New Testament, apostolic (i.e., “as in the days of the apostles”) Christianity. In reality, there is no other kind of Christianity, for anything that differs from what was preached, believed, and practiced in the first century, during the days of the apostles, and as set forth in the New Testament is but a perversion of the “one faith” (Ephesians 4:4), “the faith of the gospel” (Philippians 1:27), “the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). Those who preach “another gospel” are accursed (Galatians 1:6-9).
As noted in an earlier essay (“The Restoration Plea: Is It Valid?”—September 19, 2017), in the days of Josiah, king of Judah (c. 640-609 B.C.), the prophet Jeremiah said to the people, “Thus says the Lord: Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it’ ” (Jeremiah 6:16). How sad that many today do not desire “the old paths” as revealed by Christ and His apostles and as set forth in the New Testament. Any mention of “the old paths” brings a smirk to the face of some and a mocking, condescending comment from their lips. Now, as in the days of Jeremiah, people by their attitudes and by their actions are saying, “We will not walk in the good way of the old paths”! Rather, they seek their own way. Many are enamored by the latest fad in churches and that which appeals to their “felt” needs and their desire to be entertained. Simple, New Testament Christianity has little appeal to them.
As we continue our emphasis on the restoration plea, consider these thoughts concerning the “old paths” of biblical Christianity. Continue reading
THE BAPTISM OF ALEXANDER CAMPBELL
Following is the account of Alexander Campbell’s baptism (as well as that of other members of his family) as reported by him in the Millennial Harbinger of May 1848, Vol. V, Number V. These are Campbell’s own words (including his spelling and punctuation) in describing the baptisms and the events leading up to them. It will be noted that the baptisms occurred one year to the month following Campbell’s sermon on “Humble Beginnings,” the subject of last week’s “News & Views.” (Note: I have inserted numbers into the body of Campbell’s account to indicate explanatory notes which I provide at the end of the account.) Continue reading
In the Millennial Harbinger of January 1842 (Volume VI, Number I), Alexander Campbell, one of the leading voices in pleading for a restoration of original New Testament Christianity, looked back to the earliest days of the movement and gave a recap of a sermon he preached “under an oak” some eight miles from Bethany, Virginia (now West Virginia) in June of 1811 when he was 22 years old. Below are excerpts from the article by Campbell in which he gives the background to his sermon titled “Humble Beginnings.” Following that are excerpts from the sermon itself in which Campbell set forth some of the principles upon which he and others were launching out in the establishment of an independent congregation based on the New Testament alone. This was before any of the group had come to be immersed. (“We were all then Pedobaptists,” Campbell acknowledges, meaning they had been sprinkled as infants or very young children), thus indicating the infancy of the movement. Excerpts are in Campbell’s own words (as well as his spelling and punctuation), not the words of some Restoration Movement historian giving his spin, twist, or “interpretation” of what Campbell wrote and said about the event. Continue reading
THE RESTORATION PLEA: IS IT VALID?
The restoration plea is a plea to go back to the Bible for all that we preach, teach, believe, and practice in the realm of religion. As we noted in our essay last week, it is a plea to take the Bible as our only guide in religious matters and use it as the divine pattern by which to reproduce in the present day the church as it existed in the first century—in faith, doctrine, and practice. It is a humble plea to speak where the Bible speaks and to remain silent where the Bible is silent, to call Bible things by Bible names and to do Bible things in the Bible way.
Is the restoration plea valid? Is it a sound, reasonable, logical, and defensible plea? Should people today be concerned about discovering what God has authorized in the Scriptures in the way of religious belief and practice and hold to those same beliefs and practices today? Continue reading
THE RESTORATION PLEA: WHAT IS IT?
There are three inseparably connected and interrelated concepts with reference to the way God’s people approach scripture and their service to the Lord.
First, there is the restoration principle, the principle that says we need to go back to the Bible for authority for all that we believe, preach, and practice in the realm of religion.
Second, for those who take this principle to heart and believe that others should take it to heart as well, a clear and compelling proclamation is made of it. This is known as the restoration plea, a plea to actually go back to the Bible for one’s religious faith and practice.
Third, as the principle and plea are advanced and people see that they are both right and necessary, a restoration movement begins to unfold, a movement that takes people back to the Bible for all that they preach, teach, believe, and practice in religion. Continue reading
FORTY THINGS WE ALL NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE HOLY SPIRIT
1. The Holy Spirit (referred to as the Holy Ghost in the King James Version of the Bible) is a member of the Godhead (the Divine Nature) (Matthew 28:18-20; II Corinthians 13:14; Acts 17:29; Romans 1:20). As such, the nature of the Holy Spirit is compatible with the nature of the other two members of the Godhead, the Father and the Son. Continue reading
We were having a light supper with one of the elders and his wife in their magnificent home one Sunday night after church. Another elder and his wife had been invited to join us. We were seated at the table, enjoying delicious food and delightful conversation. Suddenly, the wife of the other elder said to me, “Hugh, I think your preaching is a little bit old style. I think you need to update your preaching.” To say the least, I was taken aback. Continue reading