Shall We Surrender This Plea?
The "Restoration Movement" in America swept the country like wild fire in the days when our communication was very limited. It caught the attention and captured the interest of the religious world. All recognized that this plea was different. In the midst of confusion and warring factions, the plea was that every departure from Scripture was wrong and that peace and harmony could be had only by sacrificing creeds and dogmas, and by returning to the sacred ground of inspired truth.
This plea won instant acceptance with some, but open opposition from many more. But thinking people were arrested by the challenge: "We speak where the Bible speaks, we are silent where the Bible is silent." The cause grew, but with the growth came bitter opposition and persecution. But the ground was not surrendered, and the victory was assured.
WHAT WAS THIS PLEA?
Unlike today where it seems like every preacher aspires to be a "doctor" (Phd), many rustic preachers with very little education had to climb on the polemic stand to do forensic battle with higher echelons of theological scholarship. Yet the truth prevailed, because it was Truth. And the whole world came to recognize a difference and respect a line of demarcation between the church of Christ and the denominational world. Although it faced sneers and ridicule, the church grew daily in strength and respect, as each member went his way declaring, "We call Bible things by Bible names. We do Bible things in Bible ways."
With the contention that if a thing is scriptural, then there must be a scriptural term to describe it, they deplored the language of Ashdod, and
they quoted, "For who among men knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of the man, which is in him? even so the things of God none knoweth, save the Spirit of God. Gut we received, not the spirit of the world but the spirit which is from God; that we might know the things that were freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in words which man's wisdom teacheth, combining spiritual things with spiritual words" (I Corinthians 2:11 -13). The religious world didn't much like the sound of that challenge - but they respected it. Even today the churches of Christ continue to grow around the world!!
LET'S GET BACK TO OUR PLEA !
The world must be constantly reminded that we have: "No book but the Bible; no creed but the Christ; no way but His Way and no church but His church." We accept no authority but Christ, and refuse to be governed by any synod, council, or conference. No human creed can regulate our worship. We believe the Bible is an all-sufficient guide for all matters in religion, and feel that any addition is an insult to God Who gave it. Let the whole world know that anyone who is going beyond this Book "hath not God" (2 John 9-11). And therefore, we stand self-condemned if we fellowship error (Galatians 2:18).
Any "regrouping of forces or "modern day movements" due to changing conditions" is a sinister threat against the church - whether it is spawned within or without the body of Christ. The primitive order of things cannot be forsaken nor any compromise tolerated. If new converts are not grounded thoroughly in this plea, we may soon find we have won many members while losing our cause. ONE GENERATION can see the loss of all the ground won by the noble restoration. Let us not despise a single achievement or accomplishment we have gained. But let us beware, lest that which was won by a distinctive plea become lost by apostasy!!
This was first stated in print by the late brother Dillard Thurman on June 19, 1959. 62 years later and this plea continues...