THE CHURCH WAS ESTABLISHED BY JESUS (30 AD)
· It would be built on the foundation of Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 3:11; Col 1:18, 1 Peter 2:6).
· The church began in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2).
· The Holy Spirit inspired apostles who corrected error and persecution kept the church pure.
THE CHURCH “CORRUPTED” (300-1500)
Constantine made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire: persecution ceased. The neglect of Scripture and the corruption of human leaders resulted in the erosion of basic doctrine.(Nicene Creed, 325 AD - Purgatory, 593 AD - Papacy, 660 AD - Transubstantiation, 1000 AD - Sprinkling for baptism, 1311 AD - Selling indulgences - etc). Note: The Roman Catholic Church and the Greek Orthodox Church split in 1054.
THE CHURCH REFORMED (1500-1800)
Godly men called the church to positive change.
1. Martin Luther - 1530 - Germany (Lutherans)
2. John Calvin - 1536 - Switzerland (Presbyterians)
3. The Church of England; Henry VII - 1552 (Episcopalians)
4. Baptist Church - 1611
5. John Wesley - 1739 - England (Methodist)
The result: "It spread across the frontier like wildfire..."
The restoration movement did experience division in the early 1900s.
THE NON-INSTRUMENTAL CHURCH OF CHRIST -
A division over the use of musical instruments and the interpretation of the silence of the Scripture.
THE DISCIPLES OF CHRIST -
A division over the necessity of immersion and inspiration of Scripture (Liberal Theology)
IS A UNIFIED CHURCH POSSIBLE?
If Christ desires it, it must be possible. To achieve it, however, today's Christians must be willing to let go of their man-made traditions and loyalties to dynamic personalities and determine to exalt Jesus.
Although these movements each helped make some important reforms, they were divided from one another. Each denomination had its own creed and distinctive doctrines. While the Reformation had a positive impact, by 1800, the divisions diminished its effectiveness (Luke 11:17).
Jesus prayed His followers would be united and stand for truth (John 17:17-21).
RESTORATION MOVEMENT (1800+)
Christian Churches of Churches of Christ, trace their modern origins to the American frontier in the early Nineteenth century. It was a period of militant disagreements among denominations. So the Presbyterian squared off against the Methodist who defended themselves against the Baptist who had no tolerance for the Lutheran. A reaction from the animosity was inevitable. When the reaction came, it was a spontaneous movement.
A group of Christians in New England broke out of denominationalism, announcing they would follow the Bible only. A group in Kentucky and still another in Pennsylvania, each independently of each others, felt the spirit of unity moving them to stand with, not against, fellow Christians.
Barton Stone led a group of Presbyterian leaders in Kentucky to publish "The last Will and Testament of the Springfield Presbytery," putting to death their denominational connection. This movement later became known as The Restoration Movement.
In a unity movement totally separate from the Stone movement, another Presbyterian minister, Thomas Campbell, published the "Declaration and Address" in 1809. He had grown restless with the strictures of his denomination, the Old-Light Anti-Burgher Seceder Presbyterian Church, a splinter off the split of a division in the denomination.
THE GOALS OF THE RESTORATION MOVEMENT:
· To free the church of creeds, traditions and denominational distinctive that divide.
· To restore doctrinal purity by using the "Bible only" as the source of authority.
· To unify all Christians for the purpose of evangelizing the world (Ephesians 4:1-16).
KEY "SLOGANS" OF THE RESTORATION MOVEMENT:
· We are not the only Christians, but Christians only.
· Where the Bible speaks, we speak; where the Bible is silent, we are silent.
· No book but the Bible; no creed but Christ; no name but the divine name.
· In essentials unity; in non-essentials liberty; in all things love.