The Restoration Plea is valid, vital, and victorious! It urges every believer in Christ to throw off the shackles of humanly-devised traditions and beliefs that undermine and contradict the sole, supreme authority of Christ. Religious division has been spawned through time because of men’s preference for their own creeds and doctrines. Reason and rationale becomes, “We’ve always done this” or “We prefer this” rather than “Thus saith the Lord!” With human nature, we are often prone to see such faulty thinking in others while being blinded to our own potential guilt. This happens to us individually and it certainly can happen to us collectively. Painfully aware of my own limitations and shortcomings, may I offer some cautions to us out of a sincere love of Christ and His glorious bride?
If the church of Christ will truly be undenominational,
- We must build our faith and beliefs from the “text out” rather than assert our beliefs and then find verses to support it.
- We must avoid blind loyalty to any individual, congregation, school, work, and the like.
- We must determine not to press our inclinations, preferences, judgments, and opinions to the extent that such divides brethren or becomes matters of fellowship.
- We must strive to preach and practice “the whole counsel of God,” even in unpopular matters or those we may have neglected (church discipline, evangelism, marriage, divorce, and remarriage, moral purity, first-century-like benevolence, etc.).
- We must be patient and loving within and towards congregations, be they Thessalonicas or Corinths.
- We must avoid unconditionally venerating and idolizing men above the Lord.
- We must repent of our intensely “in-reach” philosophy and rededicate ourselves to intense “outreach” in our communities.
- We must avoid convenient silence in our pulpits and classrooms regarding New Testament distinctiveness and doctrine.
- We must increase our faith in the absolute, unqualified Lordship of Jesus.
This list is inevitably incomplete and imperfect. How could it not be, since it is put forward by one who is certainly both those things? Yet, it is put forward to emphasize that there is an urgent need for us to continually examine our beliefs and practices making sure our allegiance is to the Christ and not men—however great and noble they seem to us. Our Lord said, “He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day” (John 12:48).