Updated: May 11, 2022
The distinctive feature of the church of Christ is its endeavor to restore New Testament Christianity. Its plea is to restore the church of the New Testament. Churches of Christ throughout the world are calling upon honest, truth-seeking men and women to return to the Bible. We must “Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls” (Jeremiah 6:16). A failure to walk according to divine truth is to plunge into moral and spiritual darkness. “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isaiah 8:20). The apostle Peter wrote, “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God.” (1 Peter 4:11) We must speak where the Bible speaks. We must be silent where the Bible is silent.
Churches of Christ have made the plea to restore the New Testament plan of salvation. The New Testament teaches that upon hearing the gospel one must believe in Christ. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12-13). The scriptures further are found to teach that one must repent of his sins. “I tell you nay, but except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3).
One must also confess Christ before men. (Matthew 10:32-33) An example of this is to be found in Acts chapter eight where the man from Ethiopia said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God” (Acts 8:37). If the New Testament plan of salvation is restored, then baptism for the remission of sins must be taught and practiced. On the day of Pentecost Peter told those who inquired, “What shall we do?” to “repent and be baptized…. for the remission of sins.” (Acts 2:38)
The work of the church must also be restored. Its work is threefold: (1) evangelism (Matthew 28:18-20); benevolence (Galatians 6:10); (3) edification (Acts 20:32).
Also, in restoring New Testament Christianity, Bible things must be called by Bible names. Individually, God’s people are called Christians. (Acts 11:26; Acts 26:28; 1 Peter 4:16) Collectively, they are called “churches of Christ” (Romans 16:16), “church of God” (Acts 20:28), “house of God” (1 Timothy 3:15), and “church of the first born” (Hebrews 12:23).
We have not outgrown the plea to restore the New Testament church. We should endeavor to restore the church of the Bible in every generation. Inasmuch as we are never more than one generation away from apostasy, we must continue to call men back to the Bible.
What effect should the plea to restore the church of the Bible have upon the church? This will be the context of the next few blogs. We pray these blogs will bless you!
May the Lord bless you and keep you!
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