Many will deny the need for the restoration of simple New Testament Christianity. Most will willingly admit that what is called Christianity and the church today is not the same as what is seen in the pages of the New Testament. However, they fail to see any harm in that. Some call it progress. Some just say that things change with time. The problem with that line of thinking is that God has not changed His commands.
God commanded that things be according to the pattern laid out in the Bible and that any departure from that is anathema, as is he who would teach it (Gal. 1:6-9; Matt. 7:21). God’s word still commands that all of His children be in unity. God’s inspired apostle to the gentiles stated, “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (I Cor. 1:10). Thus it is that there is certainly a need to be concerned with the restoration of simple New Testament Christianity.
The question might be asked, how could we go about accomplishing this great task? This is a good question and we are going to find that there is only one good answer to that question. We might start by noting that when those priest of the Roman Catholic church began to notice the disparity between the teachings of the Catholic church and what the Bible actually said, they set about to reform it.
However, as we have already noted, what they ended with was a number of differing churches, with different teachings and practices which were in harmony with those of the one who had set out to reform the apostate church. Instead of creating unity, the end result of their work was division which today we call denominations. In the course of the history of the protestant movement, there has been times when there was great animosity between denominations and sometimes outright hostility. In more modern times, efforts have resulted in there often being fellowship with if not acceptance of the practices of others.
A term that has at times been used in these efforts was “unity in diversity”. The idea was, simply stated, an agreement to disagree. You have your faith and I’ll have mine and we’ll just agree to disagree. However, this is not unity at all. It is union, but not unity. An old illustration to show the difference between union and unity is that one can tie two cat’s tails together and throw them over the clothes line. You will have union, but certainly will not have unity. When Jesus prayed for the unity of all believers, He prayed, “that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us” (John 17:21). There was no agreement to disagree between the Father and the Son. They had no divisions among them, they were perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment as Paul had instructed the Corinthians to be (I Cor. 1:10). And that is the meaning of unity of all believers as well.
As our title states, there is one and only one way that real church restoration can be achieved. No amount of sitting down together around a bargaining table will do the job. Actually, the answer to just what that one way is can be found in that same text where Jesus prayed for the unity of all believer.
He stated that He was not praying for the apostles alone, “…but for them also which shall believe on me through their word” (John 17:20). The only means of accurately restoring Christianity to its original state is to bring all of man’s teachings and practices back to, “their word”, the word of God. What I think, what you think, what they think, yea what we all think has absolutely nothing to do with what God said.
The entire world can disagree with the word of God and it is still the word of God that is correct and the population of the entire world that is in error. As Paul once wrote, “…yea, let God be true, but every man a liar…” (Rom. 3:4). The apostle Paul told the Romans, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith” (Rom. 1:16-17).
That gospel of Christ is easily available to us in the form of the New Testament scriptures. Paul told his young protégé, Timothy, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (II Tim. 3:16-17). Speaking of the word of God, Peter stated, “And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you” (I Pet. 1:25).
The only way to restore the church and Christianity in general is to go back to the original pattern given by God. At creation, the seed principle is introduced when the scriptures spoke of the seed being within itself (Gen. 1:11). Spiritually speaking, in the parable of the soils, Jesus taught concerning the kingdom, “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God” (Luke 8:11). We can all understand the Bible alike, regardless of what some claim.
Robert Oliver is a long time columnist for The Sampson Independent.