The Restoration Movement (Conclusion)

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It is written:

1 Corinthians 1:10-13-Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11 For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you. 12 Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.” 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?

One of the great goals of the Restoration Movement is an attempt to encourage disciples to return to the Word of God in all areas-including that of names. In the New Testament, the disciples wore the name “Christian” (Acts 11:26; 26:28; 1 Peter 4:16). The church was known as the church of God (Acts 20:28), and congregations were identified as “churches of Christ” (Romans 16:16). These were not denominational titles: but rather they were simple descriptions of who the Christians were. When Christians in the first century began to denominate themselves with human names and titles, they were rebuked the Apostles (1 Corinthians 1:10-13; 3:1-5).

As the Restoration Movement spread, the opponents of New Testament Christianity began to refer to disciples of Christ as “Campbellites,” i.e., claiming that they followed Alexander Campbell. Interestingly enough, Campbell had a response to those folks!

“His answer to those guilty of this uncharitable designation was: It is a nickname of reproach invented and adopted by those whose views, feelings, and desires are all sectarian; who cannot conceive of Christianity in any other light than an ism. These isms are now the real reproach of those who adopt them, as they are the intended reproaches of those who originate and apply them. He that gives them when they are disclaimed violates the express law of Christ. He speaks evil against his brother, and is accounted a railer and reviler, and placed along with the haters of God and those who have no lot in the kingdom of heaven. They who adopt them out of choice, disown the Christ and insult him; for they give the honor, which is due to him alone, to the creature of the devil, for all slander and detraction are of the creation of the devil. If Christians were wholly cast into the mold of the apostles’ doctrine, they would feel themselves as much aggrieved and slandered in being called by any man’s name as they would in being called a thief, a fornicator, or a drunkard.” (Thomas Grafton, Alexander Campbell: Leader of the Great Reformation of the Nineteenth Century (The Restoration Movement Library), 80-81 (Kindle Edition); Charleston, AR; Cobb Publishing)

Michael Shank describes the remarks made by his friend and mentor who eventually led him to Christ:

““I’ve heard Kirk call you a Campbellite. What’s he mean by that?” I asked without meaning to change the topic. “He’s speaking out of ignorance. Kirk is a good guy but he has no idea what he’s talking about and that’s the problem. People hear something like that and they repeat it to others.” “What’s it mean?” I asked again. “They call members of the church of Christ Campbellites because Alexander Campbell2 was one of several pioneer preachers who helped bring about the Restoration Movement3. Campbell’s family were Scotch-Irish Presbyterians but Campbell became a well known Baptist preacher. He published a widely circulated paper called The Christian Baptist4. Campbell began to recognize the church that Jesus founded within the pages of the New Testament. He began to point out his findings and encouraging others to look at it for themselves. Through his continued studies he found that his own Baptist doctrines were not supported by the Bible. Over time Campbell rejected his own Baptist creeds, desiring instead to be a Christian only. He was one of many men during the nineteenth century who began to urge all believers to throw away denominational creeds and names and restore the church of the Bible. In reality Campbell started nothing. He started no church or religion. He simply pointed people back to the Bible. His plea was the restoration of the first century church and practices that were supported by the Bible. He encouraged people to leave denominationalism and be unified under the banner of Jesus Christ and the Lord’s church as found in the New Testament. The Baptists grew to hate the man. Denominational preachers from many different brands began to hate Campbell because to unify under Jesus Christ and Christ’s church meant they had to denounce the false doctrines of their respective denominations. The denominations started losing people by the thousands to the church of the Lord.”” (Michael Shank, Muscle and a Shovel: 10th Edition: Includes Randall’s Secret, Full Index, Q&A’s, 5076-5098 (Kindle Edition))

The Restoration Movement continues in our world today. Churches of Christ encourage all of our religious neighbors to return to the Word of God. Let’s discard Denominationalism and return with all of our might to what the Lord has revealed to us through Holy Scripture.

Jeremiah 6:16-Thus says the LORD: “Stand in the ways and see, And ask for the old paths, where the good way is, And walk in it; Then you will find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen.

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