Forthright Magazine

A plea for restoration

Men like John Wycliffe, in the 1300s, saw a corrupted church, which led, in turn, to remarkable wickedness. They called for men to use scripture only to determine the will of God.

Good people are shocked by the changes of recent days. Hatred seems to grow by the minute. Sin is openly practiced and set forth as the way every right thinking person should walk, or at least praise.

Our world needs the Savior and his church, but division has torn believers apart. We must restore the church of the Bible if we are to turn the world around.

A restored church is united on the Bible alone. Its members must speak the very words of God (1 Peter 4:11). Those words God spoke are found in scripture (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Every believer should, over time, grow in knowledge so they can teach others.

“For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food” (Hebrews 5:12).

A restored church will reject all man-made creeds. A creed is “a brief authoritative formula of religious belief” ( God’s children must, as Paul told Timothy, “Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 1:13). He later explained that the young preacher should only preach the word (2 Timothy 4:1-4). He also told Titus, “But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1).

A restored church will only use scriptural names for the people of God. The church itself has no proper name, only descriptions. It is described as the church of God; the temple of God; the church of the firstborn ones; the body of Christ; the household of God; the kingdom of the Son; churches of Christ; and the household of God (1 Corinthians 1:2; 3:16; Hebrews 12:23; Ephesians 1:22-23; 2:19; Colossians 1:13; Romans 16:16; Galatians 6:10). God gave Christ’s disciples the name Christian (Acts 11:26). We know God gave the name because the word “called” is used in scripture to describe a divine message (Matthew 2:12, 22; Hebrews 11:7).

Each church is self-governing in the restored church. Paul addressed the letter to the church in Philippi, “To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons” (Philippians 1:1). Those bishops, or overseers, are responsible for watching out for the souls of the saints where they serve (Acts 20:28). Peter, who was an elder, instructed his fellow elders to, “Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock” (1 Peter 5:1-4).

The saved are the only members of the first century church, as they must be in a restored church. Luke reported that the Lord added those being saved to the church (Acts 2:47). No human being or group of humans voted on their membership. They had to have been set free from their sins as described by Peter to those asking what they must do to be saved (Acts 2:37-41). Paul likewise understood that one enters a new life as he comes up out of the waters of baptism (Romans 6:3-4).

The solution to the hatred and sinfulness surrounding us is found in a call to restore the church as God designed it. We must probe the depths of God’s word to find his will for our lives, knowing it can change the world.


Gary C. Hampton
Latest posts by Gary C. Hampton (see all)