As we begin to consider the subject of restoration, the first question which must be answered is, "Do we need to restore the church of the New Testament?"
Many people today believe that the spirit of the church should be restored but that there in no need to return to the New Testament pattern for the doctrine, organization and work of the church. We believe that the plea for restoration is a valid one. We believe that God did intend the scriptures to be the standard pattern for the church today.
The authority of Christ demands the restoration of the church of the New Testament. God gave all authority in heaven and on earth to his Son (Matthew 28:18). The New Testament contains the teaching of Christ by which the church was established and sustained. If we wish to establish the church which Jesus built, then we can do so only by the authority of Christ, which is found in the New Testament.
To use any other teaching for the church would be not only useless but positively dangerous. The scriptures tell us that by preaching another gospel we make ourselves anathema--cut off from God (Galatians 1:9).
The practice of New Testament Christians demands the restoration of the church of the New Testament. Those who became Christians on the day that the church began did so after hearing the teachings of the Holy Spirit-inspired apostles, They became members of the church by following the directions of the Spirit of God. The scriptures record that they then continued steadfastly in the teaching of the apostles (Acts 2:42).
If we want to be members of the church as these early Christians were, we need to become Christians in the same way they did and then we must continue to observe the teachings of those who were inspired by God. To do otherwise would be foolish.
The prayer of Christ for unity demands the restoration of the church of the New Testament. Jesus prayed that all believers would be united as He is with the Father. Such unity would demonstrate to the world the divinity of Christ (John 17:20-21). When the church began, the Christians were one body of believers. They were united in spirit and also in doctrine according to the standard of one God, one Lord, one Spirit, one faith, one hope, one baptism and one body (Ephesians 4:4-6).
The religious divisions which exist today do so because men have refused to accept the doctrines which once bound believers so close together. When we are ready to accept the teachings of Christ, we will be united in both spirit and doctrine according to the wish of our suffering Saviour.
The principle of restoration is scriptural and the plea for restoration is valid. The result of following this principle and accepting this plea will be the unity of all believers. Men and women will become Christians and God will add them to the church which Christ died to save (Ephesians 5:23-25).
God did intend the New Testament to be a once-for-all revelation to man (Jude 3). God did intend the scriptures to be the standard for religion for us today. God does want us to believe and practice the same things that men believed and practiced in the first century.