I want to thank you guys once more for the Question and Answer section of your web site. It is a great format!
My question has to do with the "restoration movement." I recently noticed that a local church of Christ referred to itself as a restored church of Christ on its web site. I know that to restore something would give the idea that it at one time had to be destroyed, which in Scripture Jesus said that the gates of Hades would not overcome His church. My question is if a church of Christ that practices by Scripture, is organized by Scripture, and does everything that they're commanded to do, but claimed to be a restored church does this make it not a congregation of the Lord's church?
- "bring back (a previous right, practice, custom, or situation); reinstate"
- "return (someone or something) to a former condition, place, or position."
- "repair or renovate (a building, work of art, vehicle, etc.) so as to return it to its original condition."
You used the third definition, but just because it can refer to repairing something that has been damaged, it doesn't mean that the word carries that meaning in every usage.
A second problem is that when Jesus said, "And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18), you missed an important point. Gates are for defensive action. It is Hades that is on the defensive. Hades represents the world and those caught up in worldliness. In other words, Satan and the world is unable to stop the church from raiding its people and bring the slaves to sin out to the freedom found in Christ. However, this doesn't mean that the church at times doesn't take damage from the world. In Revelation 2 and 3 we read of seven churches, five of which are heavily damaged and are warned to straighten up or they would lose their position as a church. "Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place -- unless you repent" (Revelation 2:5). When a church does turn back, is this not a restoration to its former position?
The period known as the "restoration movement" was a time when many people in a variety of denominations all realized that they had moved too far from the truth. There was a call to return to the simple teachings of God. These people, sometimes whole congregations, were restored to the ways of Christ.