Thursday, March 24, 2005

A New Kind Of Restoration Movement

I am a child of the American Restoration Movement. That comes with many treasures and much baggage. While I'm not really into the "restoration" of forms with no regard for cultural context anymore, the very Biblical concept of "restoration" has captured my heart.

The main theme that runs through the vast majority of Jesus' teaching (and life) as well as the remainder of the New Testament (not to mention the Old Testament) is an idea he referred to as "The Kingdom of God" (also, synonymously as "the Kingdom of Heaven") This does not refer to a place you go after you die, but rather to the reality of God's real and actual reign on this Earth as it is in Heaven (the realm of God). You see, there was a time when the two were in synch, but mankind made a choice that disrupted it. It is important to note that this disruption was not just between individual people and God, but rather had ramification that affected the relationship between all creation and God (read Romans 8). Since that time, God has been in process to bring the two realms back together, in line and in synch with each other. Does this involve the salvation of individual "souls"? Of course! But, it involves so much more than that. You see, the church is meant to be a catalyst for the Kingdom of God. One of the main purposes for its existence is to be catalytic in God's Kingdom coming and His will being done "On Earth as it is in Heaven". That's why (if you read it right) the first chapter of the Bible and the last chapter look so surprisingly similar. That's why, in Revelation, you find Jesus saying things like "Behold I am making all things new". It's because God never gave up on His project. He isn't just killing time until one day when He's gotten tired of it all, He pulls all the people who believed the right things off of the failed planet and destroys it. He intends for this earth He created to be what He has always planned for it to be. If you remember, when He created the Earth, he thought it was "good".

You see, the church's role was never intended to be defensive. Our mission is not to just believe the right ideas, convince others of the right ideas and defend those ideas against all challenges. The goal is not to simply "restore" the structures and forms of the church in another time and culture and then maintain it. The mission of the church (and consequetially the Christian) is to be catalytic in the restoration of all things to God's dream for them. That's a "Restoration Movement" that I can get behind.


Phil said...

I like this. I like this a lot.

Now then, you've given us a what and a why.

What's the how? What do we as Christians do to accomplish this?

Keith Brenton said...

Phil, I pondered the same thing, and the answer was just too simple: live like Christ. Like Adam, I've come to the conclusion that we've got to start thinking in "kingdom" terms.

Phil said...

I agree with you, Keith, although I think the word "Kingdom" loses some of the power it had when Jesus first spoke it.

I love the concept behind it and the subversive nature of it. I think the really sad thing is that many people and many churches have decided what they think Kingdom means without looking at what Jesus meant when he used it. It's a much scarier and more envigorating concept than I think we (meaning "I") give it credit for.

Gabe said...

Great post!

Just the terminology 'restoration' carries so much baggage, but I agree we need to move away from Campbell's 'anchient order of things' and towards a more biblical restoration/kingdom theology, if we are going to continue to use the word at all.

Best of luck in your new ministry position!


David U said...

Awesome post, brother! I very much want to be a part of THAT restoration movement also!
Keep bloggin!


c said...

Adam, good stuff. You should check out a book by Walter Wink called The Powers That Be as well as Lee Camp's book in regards to this "Kingdom."

The "Kingdom" dialogue used in much of our churches seems to be based on a dualistic worldview, secular/spiritual. Therefore, kingdom of God becomes a seperate reality after this life making discipleship and matters of global economics, poverty, environmentalism insignificant. Intergrating a more holistic view of life in my mind would help our understanding of this now/not yet "kingdom."

In regards to Phil, I would say we might need to change the language of "kingdom" to something else. I guess it all depends on ones context. Maybe we should use the word "empire" since that is what America is looking more and more like every day under BushCo and Delay. Yikes.

Kristy said...

Hi Adam. Im a new visitor to your blog. So far I like what I am seeing. You strangly remind me of my previous youth pastor who resigned a little over a year ago from his job and moved back to SC where he was from. Now he is coming back to Idaho next month. Alot of what you have to say reminds me of what I used to do at my previous church. It was a Southern Baptist church.

Anywho, I had a few specific thoughts in regards to this specific post. A small thought...Last sunday during sunday school i learned that the very first thing that God said was BAD in the bible was that man shouldnt be alone. So it just kinda reflects on how we were made for a deep relationship with God. We arent meant to be alone. Minor thought...

The bigger thought was something I again learned last sunday. It was something that was sorta catchy.

Beincarnation... its like reincarnation, but its BE-incarnation.

Jesus said that if you want to know what the Father is like, watch him in action. Watch how Jesus lives. Why? because Jesus IS God. Jesus also said that we will do greater things then he (I dont have the exact reference for this, but John 15:16-Jesus chose us; Mt. 5:14-Jesus says "You are the light of the world"). So when we say be incarnation, it means be Jesus in the flesh, live like Jesus did. Do great things in HIS name. Having Jesus in my heart, i should strive to be exactly like Jesus everywhere I go. Look for those "Incarnational possibilities". Opportunites to allow God to show up in YOUR life to help serve just like Jesus did.

sorry, im very much a rambler...
check out my personal blog. I'd post the link to my knew one on msn, but the link kinda messes up the comment space, ill post it in my blog i use for this...anywho...ha... Ill be praying for your move. God bless