"Restoration and the churches of Christ"
Posted in the Martinsville Forum
#1 Jun 13, 2013
This is something I wanted to talk to Bobby, other former or current coc members about.
Growing up in the coc, and preaching in them now, there are one of two responses you get when you bring up the "Restoration Movement", Thomas and Alexander Campbell, etc. Either they are revered and honored; or no one knows what you're talking about!
Basically I was brought up to know that restoration was a joke, that those guys weren't even Christians, they started a cult, etc. Now if I happen to mention one of them or the "RM" I get nothing but blank stares from most- like they've been erased from history.
As I go back and look at this all now, I think the motives of these guys, what they taught, their beliefs have been hijacked and abused.
*Alexander Campbell was baptized by a Baptist preacher. He wasn't rebaptized after learning of baptism and remission of sins. His goal was to unite all Christianity on things they had in common. Alexander Campbell would not be welcome in churches of Christ today. Most don't believe he was even a Christian.
Many of these "restorers" considered people in all denominations could be Christians. Coc reject this today. They did not require rebaptisms for people previously baptized-that started later by the hardliners.
The hardline coc finds its origin at Sand Creek, Illinois. Look up Daniel Sommner (sp?) sometime. They decided they couldn't fellowship with the "innovators" anymore. Sound familiar?
The hardline coc seems to have attempted to whitewash its history.
*Bobby, you have in the past threw out the terms "Campbellite" and "Campbellism" before. Campbellism doesn't fit the hardline coc-they reject it. As I grow more, I think these guys were trying to do good things, but they got hijacked by sectarians. I want to ask-what do you dislike about restoration movement, or campbellism or whatever else? Is it the baptism doctrine? The sectarianism you saw in Texas?
#2 Jun 13, 2013
It is quite the curiosity, isn't it Dave:-)
And non-instrumental was not an issue until later when someone started name calling and false accusations because a preacher introduced a reed organ to aid the singing - which was reportedly so bad that the mice ran from the building when they started to sing:-)
The CoC has long had a number of 'defenders of the faith' that have no more knowledge of the truth of Jesus Christ than anyone else, but they have the supreme ability imparted by the Accuser of the brethren. The first I knew of the issues came up in the 50's and 60's as the 'anti' movement. Then it became fashionable for 'preachers schools' to generate fairly ignorant students to 'defend'(attack anyone not agreeing with their 'brand' of issues). It is not of Christ to make false accusations of brethren, nor to alienate a brother for false cause or lies against them, which is to violate elemental teachings of the Lord.
The real issue is everyone needs to draw closer to His truth and teachings as the limitations of the Actual Doctrine of God.
This has to start with their abandoning the doctrine of 'if it isn't approved in the NT it is prohibited'. Jesus said man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. Jesus preached from the OT, at the truths He taught MUST be accepted or they are NOT disciples of Jesus Christ and hence NOT Christian. They need to come to that realization first. Truth sets us free from the lies of men and Satan.
#3 Jun 13, 2013
I think the mice running happened at Berea, KY if I remember right. That's bad singing. Yikes!
*It seems as if every small coc in the south and its' preacher has a magazine, a website, a school, or something propagating "the one true faith". That guy on topix in Texas, "Sosthenes", constantly plugs websites, printing services, TV networks, etc.
The truth does set us free. Perhaps this is why the whole restoration thing and attitudes about it are bugging me.
#4 Jun 13, 2013
Excellent thoughts Dave.
The restoration movement was not exclusive to the campbellite groups. This followed on the heels of the great awakening which came in two phases, some say as many as four.
The basis for this was founded on finding separation from catholism- Martin Luther being the first. All were seeking for their new identities. What I noticed about all of them was that they retained much of their catholic backgrounds. The two main issues that remained was the catholic position of salvation through water baptism and a strong connection to works for salvation.
The drift away from works for salvation is still under way. In my mind it is directly connected to baptismal regeneration.
I have noticed that you are moving toward salvation by grace without works but still clinging to water baptism as being part of regeneration. I disagree but do not see it as a reason to divide over as long as people see that works cannot cannot merit salvation and water baptism is definitely for Christians.
For years I have seen the changes going on in our non catholic churches. Just about all of us are changing, moving closer to grace. I am disturbed that some have moved beyond the boundaries of grace toward an anything goes doctrine such as the unitarian churches.
So what I see is to extremes. One toward maintaining legalism from their catholic roots and the other drifting off the cliff beyond the boundaries of grace. Most of the good stuff is found somewhere in the middle.
I believe my background in the ultra legal coc groups has been good for me because it has helped me to find higher ground and better recognize the grace of God. Having now experienced grace I can appreciate it even more that those who never experience legalism.
Stop and think why Mike and other catholics hate teachers of salvation by grace through faith more than any other groups. They can use works as the basis of gaining new converts especially when that group already retains some of catholic works based theology. The only real difference is the way they preform their works.
Surprisingly, I still believe some catholics are probably true christians- God knows his own...
#5 Jun 13, 2013
The premise of autonomous Churches under only local guidance is attractive in some ways, but they don't really hold it as dear as they purport - as evidenced by a Texas Church eldership providing 'guidance' to the CoC Sojourners group.
I'm sure they feel justified, but then Scriptures do say each mans way is right in his own eyes;-)
Rather than debating non CoC, I think it's due time that CoC debate their own stances amongst themselves - in full light of history, and what the Master Teacher actually said is the truth that matters. But then, that's just my opinion:-)
For example, I'd love to debate either Wayne Jackson or Johnny Robertson.
#6 Jun 13, 2013
No matter where we go, to include the actuality of the need that we all be disciples of Jesus Christ, just as Peter, James and John - that should be an integral part of our faith and growth in Him - that we 'let the word of Christ dwell in us richly.' His teachings are an all or nothing - accepting the whole only - which is why 'word' and not 'words'.
#7 Jun 13, 2013
I'm going to address you first BW. Autonomous local churches- I agree, they don't put as much stock in that as they claim. With all the newsletters being used to rally the troops against the innovators, that's a hard story to sell.
The local churches in Acts weren't exactly autonomous either-apostles leaving Jerusalem to deal with matters elsewhere, representatives sent to Jerusalem. There were to be elders in every church, but that doesn't mean they were independent of each other.
I think you are correct. The coc needs to deal with each other instead of constantly battling denoms. I'm up for BW vs WJ or JR.
#8 Jun 13, 2013
Bobby: I have noticed that you are moving toward salvation by grace without works but still clinging to water baptism as being part of regeneration. I disagree but do not see it as a reason to divide over as long as people see that works cannot cannot merit salvation and water baptism is definitely for Christians.
Dave: I am leaning closer to this view now more than ever. I do see baptism as an essential thing. God promised if we repent and are baptized, we would receive forgiveness and the Spirit. I do not think that we must think or acknowledge that baptism itself is specifically by itself FOR forgiveness of sins. Belief and repentance are necessary for forgiveness too.
I think there has been many arguments about the "point of faith"- when does a person have real faith. I have argued this myself. I don't see the scriptures argue such a thing.
In other words, if a person hears the gospel, believes it, they will act on it. No doubt all will be baptized. Will God save them, if they don't do so according to our standards? I think so. If they believe God will do what He promised, when they do what He says God will do as He said.
Make sense? No one can deny that the crowd at Pentecost, the Samaritans, Cornelius, the eunuch all believed before going into the water.
Bobby: I believe my background in the ultra legal coc groups has been good for me because it has helped me to find higher ground and better recognize the grace of God. Having now experienced grace I can appreciate it even more that those who never experience legalism.
Dave: I would agree. I never experienced it to the level you have, or BW or Randy even. But it still does exist in some points here, just not as suffocating. But I can't go back to it. Once away from it, you don't like it.
Bobby: I disagree but do not see it as a reason to divide over as long as people see that works cannot cannot merit salvation and water baptism is definitely for Christians.
Dave: Agree here.
Since: Jun 11
#9 Jun 13, 2013
So after nearly 2,000 years of Christian history and theology it has come down to you three. You three alone, the final arbiters of what is a Christian Church and who is a Christian. Don't you three wonder why not a single Church meets your approval? You three are quite delusional but nevertheless I shall pop in here occasionally to get my jollies.
#10 Jun 13, 2013
Very well said Dave.
And Mark, the issue is what the Master has declared - not who can discern the moment of salvation. God is true to His word, and we'll do well to acknowledge we know it and believe it in a straight up manner - not twisting it all around or pretending to know things God has not told us through the Son.
What Church focuses on discipleship to Jesus and also teaches immersion as promised by God in Acts 2:38,39? And which Church 'abides' in the word of Jesus? Last review I did many quote Paul sources for doctrine more than twice the number of quotes that Jesus gave. I find that very odd. Do you?
#11 Jun 13, 2013
There are some wonderful voices in the coc out there. I like Carl Ketcherside, Leroy Garrett, Cecil Hook, Al Maxey, the coc "change agents" so to speak. I don't agree with them on all things, but what two do totally agree?
BW said "twisting it all around or pretending to know things God has not told us through the Son". Isn't that what the silence of the scriptures arguments does? Figuring out what God meant by His "silence" or lack of details on some things? Can't we twist that to make our will become God's will in a sense?
I was publicly "rebuked" at a camp meeting once for stating that I didn't believe the church needed restored, and that Jesus and the apostles were enough. I was told that without those restoration pioneers, I wouldn't be where I am today.
The very person that told me that also preaches ideas contrary to the beliefs of the very ones he held in high esteem. No way those in the awful denominations are saved!
*And now, at this point in my journey, I have more respect for many of the restoration pioneers than I ever had before. They were just like us, just trying to live and do the best they could. They just wanted to be simple disciples. Being simple disciples isn't enough for a lot of people.
I don't worship those guys, build statues, pray to them, bow, call them blessed, etc. But I also don't think they should be judged as unbelievers or ignored by the coc either.
#12 Jun 14, 2013
:-) Reminds me of LDS singing 'Praised be the man' who spoke with God and gave the BOM:-) They also have a lot of statues of JS, BY and the angel Moroni on their temples:-)
Studying the AENT this morning I came across Matthew 13:52 where Jesus was speaking about those who are taught in the word will bring out treasures from the new and the old. So far in my 'scribing' His word, it was all based on what had been said before - from Moses, Job and the Prophets and Psalms. I think another great error is the 'if it isn't authorized in the NT it is prohibited' doctrine. At least equally wrong is to think God has abandoned His instructions to us about righteousness in the OT. My goodness - Jesus and the apostles preached the gospel of the kingdom from OT passages! How anyone could pretend otherwise just shows how little understanding they have of the fulfilled and revealed mystery of God.
#13 Jun 14, 2013
One of my major points I wanted to bring out in that instrumental thread was exactly what you're talking about. Everybody wants to go to "history" to prove their point about music, but that history is forward from the NT. But many make all kinds of excuses why our real history-the OT- can't be consulted now.
Another thing that got my attention was the RCC cavalry discussing Acts 15, and stating that no scripture was used in that decision. No scripture? Anybody realize James quoted from the book of Amos?
Another argument that was used in the instrumental thread was "I will show from the whole of the Bible why you're wrong"- but every quotation was from the NT!
IMHO, the coc has little regard for the OT. I can imagine the howls coming. But truly, unless some point about baptism, instrumental music, homosexuality, abortion, or any other such topic can be made, how many really study it?
One slogan is, "We are New Testament Christians". You may be- and the OT is disregarded to prove it.
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