The Restoration of Biblical Christianity

February 18, 2014

The Restoration of Biblical Christianity

            There is always a tendency for religious groups to depart from their pristine purity.  The same things happen with evangelical groups.  Throughout history we read of groups that attempted to make people aware of the reality of apostasy and bring them back to their origins.  These movements are often called “revivals,” “an awakening” and a “reformation.”

When these are legitimate evangelical groups, their desire is to bring churches back to the original purity of the New Testament.  We take the New Testament as our standard of faith and practice.  It is our authority.  The tendency is to depart from the teaching and practice of the New Testament.

Groups that seek to restore biblical Christianity always have limited success.  Even those that have been most successful have been disappointed after a few years when they see that groups they restored have again begun to slide back into apostasy.  Some have had very limited success because they attempted to restore an entire denomination that had already drifted too far to the left.  Perhaps they succeeded in stopping some of the most flagrant violations, but they didn’t succeed in bringing the denomination back to New Testament faith and practice.  The reformation, under Martin Luther, is a good example.  The reformation made many necessary and beneficial changes, but it fell short of bringing many churches back to biblical Christianity.

What is called “the great awakening,” in the early history of the United States, did much good in the colonies.  That was mostly between the years 1725-1750.  Churches were full of unbelievers and morals had fallen to a low level.  Thousands were converted under the preaching of men like Gilbert Tennete and George Whitefield.  Thousands of churches were started.  However, just as it was with other movements, as the years went by coldness and indifference took their toll.

Some might be tempted to think “It’s hardly worthwhile to attempt a restoration of biblical Christianity if it doesn’t last.” But it is worthwhile because souls are saved and Christians are brought back to God.  It is sometimes said “Every good thing must come to an end.” The fact that the good results won’t last forever doesn’t diminish the value of the good that is done.

We read of a time of revival in the Old Testament in II Chronicles chapter 30.  King Hezekiah called the people to come to Jerusalem to keep the feast of the Passover.  The posts went out with the announcement and the invitation.  Some laughed them to scorn, but a great multitude went and the feast of the Passover was restored after many years of neglect.

In the history of Christianity we read many times of groups of people who broke away from the predominant religions to form new groups so they could have New Testament churches.  Some examples were the Paulicians, the Donatists, the Arnoldists and the Waldeneses.  We aren’t always in agreement with all their beliefs and practices, but it’s edifying to know that there were those who saw the need of attempting a restoration.

When Christians neglect to watch and pray their churches drift away.  We are constantly surrounded by influences that discourage the faithful Christian.  That’s why Jesus said in Mark 14:38, “Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.”  Satan tempts us to depart from biblical teaching.  There are people in the world who think and say that it’s foolish to try to live by the Bible.  They say it is to put oneself in bondage to primitive ignorance.  People around us don’t always share our views.  That’s why we need to watch and pray.

A departure from biblical Christianity is what happens when Christians are negligent in maintaining a good relationship with the Lord.  That’s why we encourage every Christian to set aside time every day to read the Bible, meditate on it, and pray.  If you let your heart get cold, the things of God will have less importance.  That’s another reason why we need to watch and pray.

A prominent philosophy in our day says that it doesn’t matter what your method is as long as you reach your desire end.  That can be interpreted to say, “If you want to get rich quick you may have to lie, cheat and steal.” Such a philosophy encourages us to put aside the moral laws of the Bible.  That’s another reason why we need to watch and pray.

Do your best to stay true to biblical teaching and practice.  Don’t hesitate to speak up when you see your church departing from biblical faith and practice.  Negligence is never a virtue.  Watch and pray.

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