<font face=courier>-----Original Message-----
From: [[url=mailto:email@example.com]firstname.lastname@example.org[/url]] On Behalf of John Waddey
Sent: Saturday, June 02, 2007 3:03 PM
Subject: [fortify_your_faith] A Lesson to Fortify Your Faith - 06/02/07</font>
MAINTAINING OUR RESTORATION MOVEMENT
<font color=black face=arial> Dear Friends in Christ:
Today's lesson stresses the need to maintain that which was bequeathed to us by our spiritual forebearers. It is easy for later generations to take for granted and neglect their spiritual heritage. In this lesson we provide some suggestions that will be helpful if followed. Please share this lesson with other Christians. Either we will maintain our back to the Bible movement or we will lose it.
- <font size=5>MAINTAINING OUR RESTORATION MOVEMENT</font>
<font color=indigo size=3 face=times new roman> The Restoration of New Testament Christianity is a continuing quest and goal for all who love God. We have the tendency to forget mistakes of the past and to lose our way. History demonstrates that departures have occurred and such will continue to plague us.
Within 40 years of the time that Alexander Campbell began his work, he and his co-workers had forgotten their objections to human organizations and ecclesiastical structures over the church, thus they organized the American Christian Missionary Society. In another forty years some of the heirs of those men (the Disciples of Christ/Christian Churches) had gone full circle back into denominationalism.
To Maintain Our Restoration
God wants us to maintain good works (Tit. 3:14). Surely we should strive to maintain the noble cause of the restoring the primitive Church of Christ. Such will not happen by accident. It demands much thought and determined effort on our part.
- We must know, understand and appreciate the history of our movement. We need to be acquainted with the great men who blazed the trail before us. Not only do we need to know of their sacrifices and labors, but also the problems and controversies they faced. It is beneficial to see the mistakes they made, lest we repeat their errors. A historian once noted that he who does not learn the lessons of history is doomed to repeat the mistakes of history.
To gain the above information, we must read the history and biography of the Restoration Movement. Every saint should read Earl West's Search for the Ancient Order, Homer Hailey's Attitudes and Consequences of the Restoration Movement and Christians Only by J. D. Murch. All would be blessed and strengthened by reading the Memoirs of Alexander Campbell by Robert Richardson; the Life of Elder John Smith by J. A. Williams; The Life and Times of David Lipscomb by Earl West; The Life of Elder Barton Stone by John Rogers; Ben Franklin, the Eye of the Storm by Earl West; J. D. Tant, Texas Preacher by F. Y. Tant; and W. W. Otey, Contender for the Faith by Cecil Willis. Of course there are numerous other excellent biographies. They should be placed in church libraries, called to the attention of the congregation and highly recommended.
- Preachers need to present sermons on the concept of and our commitment to restoring original Christianity. Without this our people will soon be destroyed by their lack of knowledge in this area (Hos. 4:6). Lessons are needed that tell brethren about the heroes of the faith and the price paid to bring us where we presently stand. Thus did Paul in Hebrews 11. We must help today's disciples to know the sacrifices made and the debt we owe to those who fought and won the good fight of faith (I Tim. 6:12). Buy, read, and use the classic books of Restoration sermons of men like Ben Franklin, T. W. Brents, N. B. Hardeman and others.
- Congregations should plan series of lessons on the Restoration Movement using knowledgeable men to lead the discussions.
- Bro. Bill Humble's video series Back to the Bible: How We Got There: How We'll Stay There, should be purchased and frequently used in classes and with new converts to help them see where we came from, how we got where we are and the necessity of sticking to God's word if we expect to get where we are going.
- We need special, in-depth lectureships and workshops on Restoration history such as that conducted annually by the elders of the North Lexington Church in Lexington, KY. Ideally there should be programs conducted throughout the land. Each could lay emphasis on the origins of the church in their own region.
- We need writers to carefully research and write the biographies of great Christians of the past lest the stories be lost. Likewise we need to publish books that recount the history of the rise and progress of the Restoration Movement in the various states and in the nations of the world. The Disciples of Christ have done this for many states, but their presentations give a very slanted view of Restoration history.
- Our schools that train preachers should include a course in Restoration History as a requirement for graduation for all such students. Just as teachers need to know the history of education, so our young men need to know their roots.
Every Christian needs to examine himself to determine if he is yet in the faith (II Cor. 13:5). Erosion of faith is a slow but steady experience and at first, imperceptible. By the time it is seen, it is hard to stop the destructive process. Elders need to refresh their minds as to just what it means to restore the first century church, then ask the hard question, "Is our congregational program loyal to that idea?" If not, "What steps must we take to remedy the situation?" Preachers need to carefully review their sermons and Bible classes asking, have I given adequate attention to "the old paths?" Have I taught and led the people to walk therein? (Jer. 6:16). Moses charged Israel to: "Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations: ask thy fathers, and he will show thee; thy elders, and they will tell thee" (Deut. 32:7).
We who are heirs of those who made their exodus from the bondage of sectarianism would be blessed beyond measure if we would likewise ponder our past.
Let us hold fast to the ancient gospel. Let us preach it boldly. May we never be ashamed of our heritage. What a tragedy if we forget and lose all that has been won by the blood, sweat and tears of past generations. Rather, let us "be...imitators of them who through faith and patience inherited the promises" (Heb. 6:12). Let us maintain the restoration! </font>
John Waddey, Editor
Christianity: Then and Now