Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Our Future Is Buried In The Past

I am a 4th generation member of the restoration movement. I was raised "died in the wool" conservative church of Christ. I went to a church of Christ college and studied to be a church of Christ minister. While in college I lost faith in the Church of Christ. I did not lose faith in God, nor did I lose faith in the principles of the restoration movement. I simply lost faith in the institution the Church of Christ had become.

In those years of study we naturally studied the work of Alexander Campbell and Barton Stone. CoCers are often called Campbellites which is an unfortunate part of our heritage. As you study these two thinkers you quickly discover that Campbell's philosophies won out over Stone's. This is unfortunate since Stone had the more Kingdom World View.

Anyway, to get back to what I was saying, I stayed with the Church of Christ despite my disagreements and my discomfort because that's what you do when you are fourth generation. Now, in these days of being dispossessed, trying to decide if I am leaving the Church of Christ, I decided I needed to go back to my roots. I needed to go back to the roots of the restoration movement and learn from the past. That decision led me, always being a fan of his work, to Barton Stone.

O when shall Zion's glory be restored! One thing is certain, her glory will not be restored till a reformation of these evils be effected-- till the church be purged from idolatry, or the service of mammon--from seeking the friendship and honor of the world--from union with the States and Kingdoms of the world--from the vain desire and work of legislating, in order to check and destroy the reigning corruption of mankind--from the vain attempts to have better laws, and better rulers in the civil government to the neglect of the king and kingdom of peace. Had half the Zeal been expended in the cause of christianity, which of late has been spent by religious professors in state politics, religion would have raised her drooping head, and smiled in hope of better times.

As I read this article today, published in November of 1840, I could not believe it was 150 years old and yet so relevant to today's church. The very reasons Stone was searching for restoration are the same reasons I am seeking restoration. The reason he walked the path he walked was because he shared the same vision then I see today.

The post-modern Christ centered church is the embodiment of Stone's restoration principles. The institutions that weighed against the church in his time, weigh against her now. So I will decide to walk. I will walk alongside my teacher Barton Stone. I will be a part of the eternal restoration movement.


PeaNuht said...

Great find! Thanks...As you know I am in the same boat as you. I am a 3rd gen. christian and feel the same...that was a good read.

gerbmom said...

I went through a similar process this year. 4th gen. baptist - yeah. I hear you. Last February, due to some circumstances I was yanked out of my apathy and into the world of thinking and questioning. I lost faith in my faith, not God. I knew I had to seriously re-think all that I knew, or thought I knew. I had to discard my church's faith, my college's faith, and find my own belief system. Postmodern/emerging has been a godsend in my life. I finally feel it's ok to ask questions and challenge my beliefs. It has been an interesting journey. And not at all safe or easy. But it is a year I wouldn't trade for the world. It's encouraging to hear others are on the same road.....