The restoration ideal is to restore the modern church according to the New Testament standard. It is like taking a 200-year-old house and making the necessary adjustments to bring it up to code while staying true to the original design. You want to keep the original look while adding the modern comforts. To restore the New Testament Church means to keep the original principles, being true to the original design, while adopting modern ways of communicating and relating. In other words it isn’t about taking the church back 2,000 years, but using the 2,000-year-old design to meet modern expectations.
Marshall Leggett writes:
“Many believe that the church needs more than reformation or repair. That would be superficial. They believe it needs to return to the standard of excellence found in the New Testament church. It contained both the essential marks and the vitality to enable the church to fulfill its mission. A reformation, or repair job, would merely patch up obvious faults, and the church in our age needs more than this. It needs to be restored to what the original Builder intended. The ideal, the standard of excellence, the ultimate object of attainment, the model, can be found in the New Testament church.” (p. 12)
I think it is important to point out that in the New Testament we don’t discover one local church family that was perfect. It is obvious, just by reading many of the epistles, that the church 2,000 years ago struggled with problems. The ideal isn’t found so much in what a specific church was doing, but in the principles that the New Testament lays out for what the Church should be like. We are using the original blueprints as we do our restoration project