If you have an interest in the RESTORATION OF NEW TESTAMENT CHRISTIANITY, then I want to invite you to join my new discussion group I on Linkedin. Just look for “Restoration Summit.”
What’s it about? Well, it’s about taking another look at how to begin again, (that is assuming we need the “re-boot.” The “roots” of the Restoration Movement are rich. There is no need whatsoever, to “bail out” on our roots, and in fact we should cherish our historical roots. Perhaps though, there is a need to go back and rediscover the good things and emphasize these, and reconsider how some things may have been badly handled and learn from the mistakes of the past, and make some changes. Perhaps there is a way to begin again and find a way to move forward into the 21st Century (and beyond) with something grand indeed. Can this be done? I don’t know.
What will it take?
First, it will take a deep respect for the authority of the Word and for what the Word of God actually says, as well as principles found there. We have no other ‘guide-book,’ and Jesus Himself is our creed, and example of how to live.
Secondly, it will take open minds, and the understanding that not everything is a “salvation issue.”
Thirdly, it will take looking back (20/20 eye sight), and re-examining where the church (small “c”) divided, which were totally unnecessary. Things which we possibly could have avoided, and not given the world something to throw back in our faces. Besides, ours was a UNIFYING MOVEMENT. Who knows, maybe we can learn from the mistakes of the past… and grow. We could and can still show that we can love each other, and work together in spite of many differences we have.
Fourthly, it will take understanding of where we went wrong, and courage to make corrections based on God being the Judge in some cases, and by all means, the grace of God which gives time and makes room for Christians to grow and study things out.
Finally, it will take courage… The fear of being black balled by some with a printing press, has scared the willies out of us… but we had better get over that before it’s too late.
What is the goal? To open up dialogue (ie just talk and listen) with all who have repented and immersed into Christ and have received the Holy Spirit as Peter commanded and promised in Acts 2:38-39. Our salvation doesn’t depend on our agreeing on every thing, but it does depend on some very fundamental things. Outside that, well we can still love each other, and even join hands and work together on some things that are bigger than our differences.
What did Jesus pray? “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one — 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me” (John 17:20-23). The question remains… will we stay in the struggle long enough and love each other deep enough, to realize this prayer, and goal which Jesus prayed.
While some wars and battles need to be fought, there are those who wish to pass down to other generations, some for which many are ‘battle weary’ and are not needed. While there is a place for boundaries and walls, there are some which are not in accord with Jesus’ prayer nor Paul’s hope.. Those who simply wish to fight and argue, well, just love and pray for them, but certainly, don’t allow their attitude to prevail or govern your thinking.
What did Paul say? “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all” (Ephesians 4:1-6).Sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it… so what happened to us? The above is still true.
What would happen if Christians could lay aside (just for a time), all the issues on cups, buses, hats, buildings, paid preachers, musical instruments, pitch pipes, song books, VBS, projectors, orphan homes, Christian colleges, Bible classes, long hair, short hair, no hair, translations, spiritual gifts, clapping and raising hands in worship, women praying with men, cooperation and non-cooperation, etc., and just stop for a moment of meditation… and think?
1. Who are we?
2. Whose are we?
3. Why are we “who we are” and “whose we are?”
4. Whose blood made it all possible?
5. What has made us ONE body, and how can we maintain this ONE body?
6. Whose Spirit dwells in each and every believer? What does this mean in regards to HOW WE SHOULD TREAT EACH OTHER… even when we disagree?
a.) What in the world does Romans 14-15 mean for us today?
7. How important… are the things we have listed above when compared with the pain and suffering Jesus went through to make of all peoples “one new nation?”
8. Can we learn to love, and get along with each other, and work towards the goal of Christ, to bring all the lost to him?
9. In the event that we disagree on something not a salvation issue… In other words, something that in all probability will fade away in years to come just like WOMEN WEARING HATS TO CHURCH has done… Why sacrifice the precious ONENESS of the body of Christ and embarrass or shame the Lord before the world, over things like this? Can we not have a “conscience fellowship?” In other words, “I don’t agree with what they do in worship, and can’t at this time worship there… but they are still my brothers and sisters in Christ.”
10. In the event that there are disagreements over salvation issues… can’t we agree that this is where the line is drawn, because God ‘drew it’ thus allowing God to be the final Judge on all the rest?
11. What about God’s grace? How does His grace apply to those we have judged and found unfit?
12. What if God is displeased with the lines WE HAVE DRAWN, and is thinking “How dare you break up MY SON’S BODY.”
There is much to talk about… and so little time, but the need is urgent. So JOIN ME, I welcome all who sincerely wish to just think and discuss together in this RESTORATION SUMMIT.
(Grow in grace!)