The churches of Christ Greet You (Romans )
Have you ever become tired of religious division in your community? We believe almost everyone has at one time or another. Have you wondered why so much division exists among those who believe in God and accept Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world? Again, we believe almost everyone has been puzzled about such division existing among those who claim Jesus as the Son of God, especially when Jesus Himself prayed that His disciples be united as ONE (John 17:21).
Have you ever wondered why we could not all just go back to the Word of God - back to unity based upon the Bible? Well, we who are members of the churches of Christ have not only wondered why, but we are trying to do something about it. The understanding you will hopefully receive from this short article is one way we are striving to unite all TRUE believers.
If you have been puzzled and frustrated by religious division, we have some good news for you. The children of
There are those today who remember only a part of God’s law. These are the ones who usually add unauthorized ordinances, just like
Jeremiah had an answer to the problem of man-made doctrines and traditions. He called for a restoration of the "old paths” (Jer. ). He wanted
What do we mean by restoration? Simple. We are asking people everywhere to return to the authority of the law of Christ (cf. Gal. 6:2). We are urging people to unite upon the teachings of the New Testament (cf. Heb. -17). This is restoration! Of course, this plea assumes certain things:
First, it assumes that all of us must have a desire to return
the authority of Christ (Matt. 28:18; Heb. 1:1-2). In other words, we
be willing to let Christ tell us what to do (Luke ; cf. John 2:5). Jesus tells us what to
in His written word (cf. John ;
Secondly, this restoration plea assumes that we must STOP considering as religious law those things which are NOT authorized by Jesus' New Testament law. This is to say that human traditions and opinions of men should NOT be said to have Divine authority. No human being or group of human beings have the right to make and bind religious laws on God’s people (cf. Col. 2:20-23). When man-made traditions and religious laws are practiced in religious service they simply make one’s worship vain (Matt. 15:8-9).
Thirdly, this plea assumes that we will be called Christians only, just like the disciples we read about in the New Testament (Acts ).
Finally, it assumes that we will be lovingly patient with one another as we unite upon the Bible ALONE as our guide to unity (1 Thess. ).
BUT HOW? Just how do we go about restoring primitive
The plan is simple, though there might be great sacrifice on the part
those who desire such. Let us notice FIVE steps that must be taken
begin or continue this restoration.
1. WE MUST HAVE A CLEAR UNDERSTANDING OF BIBLICAL RESTORATION.
Restoration is not a reformation of a religious body. Biblical
demands a complete return to New Testament Christianity. Such
that we must NOT consider religious practices which we do not read
the New Testament as having any Divine authority (cf. 1 Cor. 4:6).
God's Word is the truth (John ). It is THIS TRUTH that we must follow, not religious traditions of men (Mark 7:5-13). We must seek the pattern or “form of sound words” (2 Tim. ), the teachings of Jesus (2 John 9-10). If we are to restore the Christianity of the New Testament, we must be willing to live by what the New Testament tells us.
2. WE MUST HAVE A SUBMISSIVE ATTITUDE TO THE RESTORATION PLEAS OF THE HOLY WRITERS.
Peter commanded that we long for the Word of God (1 Pet.
2:1-2). Jesus prayed for unity (John -21), and the New Testament writers
plead for it also (1 Cor. ;
Phil. ; Eph. 4:4-6).
Therefore, let us remember these
pleas and return to God's inspired Word (2 Pet. 1:13, 15; 2 Tim.
We must come out from among them (unbelievers, the unrighteous, and idols) as Paul commanded (2 Cor. -17). We must listen to Isaiah's plea: “Seek ye out of the book of the Lord, and read” (Isa. 34:16). These holy writers, even today, are pleading for us to return to the authority of God's Word. They are asking us to restore the right ways of God from which so many have strayed (cf. 1 Tim. 4:1-6).
3. WE MUST HAVE A THIRST FOR THE TRUTH.
Paul warned that we stand condemned if we do not have the “love of
the truth” (2 Thess. -12). Jesus
said, "Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness”
5:6). Yes, let us be objective in our thirst for righteousness. We
have our opinions, but let us first determine what God says about
religious matters before we form our opinions. We must have an
intense love and respect for the Word of God (cf. John ). We must be willing to
find answers in the Bible and not in the traditions and opinions of
4. WE MUST HAVE A DESIRE FOR BIBLE AUTHORITY.
Have you ever wondered what would happen in the religious world
if everyone just put away all man-made books, creeds, and religious
not found in the Bible? Well, restoration of New Testament
calls for such action. We need to speak as the oracles of God (1 Pet. ). We must go to the Word of
not the opinions of men, to find answers to solve religious
other words, to have restoration we must desire to practice what the
tells us to practice. We should not assume that what we have been
is right just because we or our parents have always done it.
5. WE NEED TO HAVE A DESIRE TO UNITE UPON JESUS ALONE, BEING CALLED CHRISTIANS ONLY.
When one believes on Jesus Christ and obeys His teachings, he
JUST a Christian. He doesn't become some “type” of Christian -
i.e., Baptist, Catholic, Mormon, etc. He is identified only by the
(Acts ; 1 Pet. ) or by some other BIBLE term
Col. 1:2; Rev. 1:6).
Restoration of New Testament Christianity in the midst of false teachings and division is a Biblical plea. It can be done and it is happening today! There are thousands of individuals throughout the world who are now calling themselves after Christ. They meet regularly on the first day of the week (Sunday) just like the New Testament Christians did (Acts 20:7; Rev. 1:10). They meet upon the first day of the week to partake of the Lord's Supper (Acts 20:7). They use only their voices to sing praises unto God (Eph. ; Col. 3:16). They give of their means (1 Cor. 16:1-2), and their worship also includes preaching/teaching (Acts 20:7), and praying (Acts ; 1 Thess. ); all just like the simple worship of the first Christians we read about in the New Testament.
Yes, these individuals want to be called Christians only, nothing else. They desire to have the