At the end of June I began to blog through the book Introduction to the Restoration Ideal. Because of circumstances (one being misplacing the book) I have not gotten back since finishing chapter 1. In order to catch you up you can read my previous 6 posts here, here, here, here, here, and here.
Chapter 2 is entitled: The Church For Which Christ Gave Himself. The focal point of the Restoration Ideal isn’t individual Christians, but the Church. I believe this is one area that the Restoration Ideal could benefit Western Christianity. Evangelical Christianity that dominates our country focuses on our “personal relationship” with God. While it is true that the choices of faith are often personal choices God never intended for faith to be private. Spiritual maturity is the result of the Christians loving, serving, encouraging, help, and teaching one another. Author Marshall Leggett writes; “It is his (a new Christian) responsibility to become a supportive member of the priesthood of believers in the local congregation of the church” (p. 17).
It needs to be noted that unity and fellowship are not only essential for the maturity of a follower of Christ, but they are also essential for the Church to carry out her God given commission to make disciples. The Church is the body of Christ, and by working together we are able to continue the work of Jesus here on earth.
In a time of diverse opinions how can there be unity? We can find unity by focusing on the foundation of the Gospel: Jesus. Remember Jesus told His disciples that He would build the Church on the “rock” of faith in Him. Leggett writes:
“Christianity became founded upon faith in Jesus as the Christ, which means ‘the anointed one’ or ‘Messiah,’ and as the the Son of God. The apostle Paul would later say, ‘For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ’ (1 Corinthians 3:11).” (p. 17)
Restoring the Church to the New Testament ideal requires us to see the Church as Christ’s Body, and not just an optional event to attend. If we can understand that we are part of Christ’s Body, not only will that remind us that an important task to complete, but it will also give us motivation to work for unity.