The Vision Dilemma in the Restoration Movement

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When your paradigm is archae-oriented it can be difficult to have vision. We are “restoring the ancient order.” We are “becoming (or have become) the first century church”. Statements like those remind us that our values and priorities are anchored in the past.

I appreciate much of that thinking but if we aren’t careful two things can happen. First, we may just think we arrived. Once you think you restored the ancient order the goal becomes to sit still. Don’t make a move because you restored it. A move to the right or to the left will undo decades, centuries of hard work. Second, it makes it very hard to be forward thinking. Innovation is difficult.

How do we navigate this?

We need to understand that our theology is indeed rooted in the past but that the expressions of that theology will have components of the 21st century. We can innovate and be true to our roots. We can look ahead without discounting the past.

We also need to be in prayer seeking God’s guidance. Where is God trying to take us…into the future? What is it supposed to look like? We need to pray that God would guide us into understanding which things must remain and which things are free to flex. Without prayer and study, we will remain stuck for the foreseeable future. Those who think they have arrived see no need to pray for this kind of direction. Which means we need a good dose of humility.

Our churches are struggling for lack of vision. We lack vision because vision is discouraged. Vision is discouraged because we bought the idea that we had arrived (achieved our goal).

We are only as stuck as we want to be or as our fear determines.

One Response

  1. I think there were only 3 things that were restored, namely, no IM, congregational autonomy, and exclusion of women. Additionally, the Saviour became Paul because he gave the rules on church organisation and when cofC could not argue the faith with denominations, the only thing that could be argued was church organisation and then it became a salvation issue to convince people to switch to the cofC. There is also a lack of vision because only certain people are allowed to contribute ideas.

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