One of the things I am very thankful about in my life is to be part of the Christian Church/Church of Christ, one of the branches of what is called the Restoration Movement. It is within this movement that my thinking has been shaped and I have learned what it means to be a disciple of Christ Jesus. For this reason it is something I like to talk about and introduce other people to because I think we have a lot to offer other Christians. So to introduce more people to the Restoration Movement I thought I would take some time and blog through Marshall Leggett's book Introduction to the Restoration Ideal, now I did attempt this several years ago, but I thought I would give it another shot. With this first post, before we get into the book, I would like to share a couple of my thoughts about being part of the Christian Church/Church of Christ.
The thing I have probably come to appreciate the most about the movement is that we don't adhere to any systematic theology. We certainly have core doctrines that we hold on to, but there really is no such thing as "Restoration Movement Theology". Since we don't have a systematic theology that has allowed me the freedom to read widely and really develop a theology that is my own, one that I can embrace, and one that is able to influence what I teach and how I live. While the core doctrines of the Movement have provided a firm foundation for me to build upon, I have had the freedom to follow where the Holy Spirit led me.
Another aspect of the Christian Church/Church of Christ that I have really appreciated is that we are nondenominational. Yes, there are certain doctrines that set us apart from other churches and so we form a loose brotherhood of churches, we do not have a denominational headquarters that oversees our local church families. This has given us flexibility when it comes to reaching out into our various communities. If you know me you know that I cherish that type of freedom. The downside of not being a denomination has been that there has not been a group to come in and mediate when local church families were having difficulties, which have led to some very nasty and ugly church splits. This is a sad reality for a movement that began as a unity movement.
A third reason I love the Christian Church/Church of Christ is because it is part of my journey of faith. Not only did I grow up in a Church of Christ (Sutherland, IA), but I also attended a Christian Camp (Nebowa Christian Camp) growing up, and attended a Christian College (Nebraska Christian College). I am currently preaching at a small Church of Christ (Storm Lake, IA) and I am making arrangements to return to seminary at Lincoln Christian Seminary (Lincoln, IL). Most of the the Christians I have interactions with on a regular basis are part of this brotherhood of Churches and they have been a source of encouragement to me.
I hope that you will join me on this journey through the Introduction to the Restoration Ideal as we learn what this ideal is and why it is important to all our church families no matter what your faith tradition is.