Is restoration of New Testament Christianity possible in this modern century? A former teacher employed at Freed-Hardeman University was a brilliant and capable professor who came to reject the restoration concept. He hooted at the idea of restoration of the Lord’s church. But, restoration has been successful, and it has been demonstrated often.
The Restoration Plea
What is the idea? The Bible only must be the final and only authority in religion and life. Whatever The Lord’s church taught and practiced in the New Testament which God approved must be followed in the church today.
The New Testament reveals the work and worship of the church of Christ and we must restore the same. This can be done and it has been done in multiple nations.
A summation of this plea has been popular for generations: “We speak where the Bible speaks and remain silent where the Bible is silent. We call Bible things by Bible names and we do Bible things in the Bible way.”
Restoration leads back to the New Testament for original Christianity.
The principle of restoration has been taught in more than one Bible example. One of the most vivid restoration movements, however, was carried out by Hezekiah, the 25-year-old good king of Judah (2 Chronicles 29:1-2).
It is expected that a new leader, administrator, or president will present his agenda soon after taking office. He will have goals that he believes should bring progress. Hezekiah is no exception.
Restore the Temple
At the young age of 25, the first work he accomplished was to repair and cleanse the Holy Temple that was dilapidated by idolatrous worship. The conditions were so terrible that it took sixteen days to cleanse it (2 Chronicles 29:17).
Restore the Priesthood
In order to restore the worship, he asked that Levites “sanctify” themselves before cleansing the Holy Place. When he gathered the priests and Levites, he commanded them to get rid of false worship. He said,
“Hear me, Levites! Now sanctify yourselves, sanctify the house of the Lord God of your fathers, and carry out the rubbish from the holy place. For our fathers have trespassed and done evil in the eyes of the Lord our God; they have forsaken Him, have turned their faces away from the dwelling place of the Lord, and turned their backs on Him. They have also shut up the doors of the vestibule, put out the lamps, and have not burned incense or offered burnt offerings in the holy place to the God of Israel.
Therefore the wrath of the Lord fell upon Judah and Jerusalem, and He has given them up to trouble, to desolation, and to jeering, as you see with your eyes. For indeed, because of this our fathers have fallen by the sword; and our sons, our daughters, and our wives are in captivity. Now it is in my heart to make a covenant with the Lord God of Israel, that His fierce wrath may turn away from us. My sons, do not be negligent now, for the Lord has chosen you to stand before Him, to serve Him, and that you should minister to Him and burn incense” (2 Chronicles 29:5-11).
Restore the Sacrifices
Hezekiah also restored the offering of different sacrifices required under the Law.
“Now that you have consecrated yourselves to the Lord, come near, and bring sacrifices and thank offerings, and as many as were of a willing heart brought burnt offerings. And the number of the burnt offerings which the assembly brought was seventy bulls, one hundred rams, and two hundred lambs; all these were for a burnt offering to the Lord. The consecrated things were six hundred bulls and three thousand sheep” (2 Chronicles 29:31-33).
Afterward the divine historian recorded, “So the service of the house of the Lord was set in order” (29:35). That was restoration! Then he and the people “rejoiced.”
Restore the Passover
Yet, Hezekiah was not finished with the restoration. When he realized the children of Israel had not kept the Passover, he now had it reinstated.
This massive Passover is fully described in two chapters – 2 Chronicles 30 and 31. When he finished his reign as a leader and a restorer, he had the approbation of God. His restoration movement succeeded and demonstrates that the “restoration principle” is possible and workable.
His obituary is glowing and salutary. “Thus Hezekiah did throughout all Judah, and he did what was good and right and true before the Lord his God. And in every work that he began in the service of the house of God, in the law and in the commandment, to seek his God, he did with all his heart. So he prospered” (2 Chronicles 31:20-21).
We Can Restore Today
The restoration plea is scriptural, safe, and sensible. It is not founding a new religion, but it is the right way to practice New Testament Christianity.
Here are the basics in the New Testament that can be restored today:
- Authority of Christ, Mt. 28:18
- Inspiration of the Scriptures, 2 Tim. 3;16-17
- One body, the church, Eph. 4:4
- The name “Christian”, Acts 11:26
- The Lord’s Supper every first day of the week (Sunday), Acts 20:7; Heb. 10:25
- Giving each Lord’s Day, 1 Cor. 16:2
- Possibility of falling from grace, Gal. 5:4; 1 Cor. 10:12
- Faithful Christian living, Titus 2:12
- Simplicity in the organization of the church, Phil. 1:1
- Respect for God’s plan for marriage, Mt. 19:3-9
- Evangelistic spirit, Mark 16:15
- The doctrine of “last things”, 1 Cor. 15
- True worship, John 4:24; Acts 2:42; Eph. 5:19
- Love 1 Cor. 13
- Fellowship 1 John 1:7
Those who do not follow the goal of restoration are in a fluid state of whatever religious men believe to be acceptable. This reminds us of the dark day of Judges when it is said, “. . . everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25b).