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Early Church Splits & Union – The Bible Only?

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

A Perspective on the Restoration Movement

The church of God is complex. These days we use the term “It’s complicated!”. Throughout church history, the church has gone through many cycles. One such cycle was the Restoration Movement. According to James North (2) “The church has constantly gone through cycles of revival in order to cast off some of the accretions that have built up around the structure of the church”. Throughout the process, we find people leading the charge with a variety of opinions, many rallying the cause under a variety of titles such as Liberals, Conservatives, Fundamentalist, Disciples of Christ, and even, “Christians”.

“Probably the most significant of the reviving and cleansing movements was the Protestant Reformation” (North, 2). The Movement took place in the Americas around the year 1800 and its goal “was to restore the church to the ideals of the New Testament” (ibid, 6). These ideals were built upon the twin pillars of (1) The Unity of all Believers, and (2) The use of the Bible as the only authority for the Faith and Practice of Christians. This platform was very attractive, considering the state of the church at the onset of the movement. There were sectarian divisions, splits over doctrine, objections to the use of musical instruments, creeds and church polity. One thing was sure, the Reformation Movement was very appealing in that it was a breath of fresh air for the church in general and the community of unbelievers who had to endure constant scandals, fights and splits over these issues. “The existence and competition of rival denominations was a stumbling block to the smooth progress of the Gospel. Therefore, removing the stumbling block was to be the goal of the Movement” (ibid, 7). The strategy was brilliant.

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