The Restoration Plea

hugh’s news & Views

THE RESTORATION PLEA

Christ declared that He would build His church. (Matthew 16:18). Obviously, He did what He said He would do, and according to the inspired historical record found in the New Testament, Christ’s church was established and existed in New Testament times. All who had been saved from their sins were members of it (Acts 2:47).

Since the church was established by Christ, it is perfect and complete from the standpoint of its divine aspects. The church is the fruition of God’s eternal purpose to redeem fallen mankind by Jesus Christ (Ephesians 3:8-12). It is the fulfillment of numerous Old Testament prophecies pointing to the Messiah and His redemptive work.

The foundation of the church—the "rock" upon which it rests—is the very deity/divinity of Christ (Matthew 16:16-18; I Corinthians 3:11). Christ is the one and only head of the church (Ephesians 1:22-23), and He is the savior of the church (Ephesians 5:23). All persons who have reached the age of accountability who are not members of that divine entity have no promise of salvation extended to them.

Contrary to the opinion of many, the church is not only important, but it is absolutely indispensable to the salvation of the human race. Christ did not die and shed His blood for something that is not essential to our eternal salvation, yet He purchased the church with His blood (Acts 20:28). To talk about going to heaven without being a member of the church, the spiritual body of Christ, in all kindness, is to be guilty of biblically uninformed prattle.

In spite of the perfection with which Christ established His church, down through the ages men have not been content with the church as Christ gave it to us. Through the corridor of time, men, by their creeds, councils, and humanly devised doctrines and practices, have corrupted the purity and simplicity of the church as originally revealed in the New Testament scriptures. The Bible itself warned of such (Matthew 7:15; Acts 20:28-30; II Thessalonians 2:3-4; I Timothy 4:1-5). Today numerous doctrines and practices exist in Christendom for which there is not the slightest support in the Bible.

Fortunately, in time, people in various places recognized the sad state of religious affairs and began to call for a restoration of the New Testament way. A number of watchwords went forth: "Let us speak where the Bible speaks, and remain silent where the Bible is silent." "Let us call Bible things by Bible names, and do Bible things in the Bible way."

These were all based on the divine injunction, "If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God" (I Peter 4:11). They were rooted in the conviction that the scriptures alone are adequate for all of our religious needs, without the creeds, church manuals, and catechisms of men (II Timothy 3:16-17), and that by a sincere and diligent study of the scriptures one can know the will of the Lord (Ephesians 3:1-7, especially verse 4; Acts 17:11).

Today, the churches of Christ are committed to the restoration principle, the principle which says that wherein people have departed from the revealed will of the Lord they need to return to it. We are committed to heralding the restoration plea, which is a fervent proclamation of the restoration principle. And we are committed to the ongoing effort of restoring and being the church as it was originally established by Christ.

Churches of Christ are not endeavoring to be "another denomination." In fact, we disavow being a denomination at all. Our purpose is to be the church of the New Testament, the church as Christ and His apostles left it to the world.

The restoration plea is a God-honoring plea, a Christ-exalting plea, and a "back to the Bible" plea. It is a noble plea, an exciting plea, and, with a proper understanding, appreciation, and application of it, it is a winning plea.

Hugh Fulford
February 22, 2011