Four Planks of New Testament Christianity
In the early 1800’s various men and groups in the eastern US realized that there were doctrinal errors and denominational problems in their churches. These groups – unknown to each other at first, absolved from their denomination ties to form churches whose greatest goal was to be true to the Scriptures.
There are several names that are worthy of recognition in the history of the Restoration Movement as we know it in America, but four of the early leaders stand out more than the others. Each man focused more strongly on a different, but important plank on which the Restoration Movement is founded.
Their message should be our message today.
1. Barton W. Stone from Kentucky was a Presbyterian minister at Concord and Cane Ridge.
In 1804 he wrote the “Last Will and Testament of the Springfield Presbytery” to establish a church that chose the name “Christian” to the exclusion of all sectarian titles.
His greatest efforts were toward unity – I Corinthians 1:10-13, John 17:17-21; Ephesians 4:4-6.
NOT THE ONLY CHRISTIANS, BUT CHRISTIANS ONLY – A name that all can wear, non-denominational and Biblical.
2. Thomas Campbell, from Scotland, came to America for his health in 1803.
A Presbyterian, he settled in Pennsylvania at Washington, PA in 1809. He wrote the “Declaration and Address” – one of the greatest documents of the Restoration Movement.
His greatest efforts were in trying to restore “The BIBLE ONLY as the only authority in all matters of Faith and Practice. II Timothy 3:16-17; II Peter 1:16-21.
WHERE THE SCRIPTURES SPEAK, WE SPEAK. WHERE THE SCRIPTURES ARE SILENT, WE ARE SILENT.
IN MATTERS OF FAITH – UNITY, IN MATTERS OF OPINION – LIBERTY, IN ALL THINGS – LOVE.
3. Alexander Campbell, son of Thomas, came to America in 1809.
Before coming to America, he began to question several doctrines of the Presbyterian Church. After a discussion with his father and reading the Declaration and Address, he began to prepare for the ministry. In 1816, he preached his “Sermon on the Law” – which set the pattern for interpretation of the Scriptures in the Restoration Movement.
His main thrust was to restore the ancient order of New Testament Christianity. Revelation 2:1-7; Romans 8:3; Hebrews 8:6-7, 13; Colossians 2:13-14.
NOTHING BUT SIMPLE NEW TESTAMENT CHRISTIANS.
4. Walter Scott, also born in Scotland,
He became involved in a church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania that took the Bible alone as its rule of faith and practice. In 1821, he became fully convinced that Christianity should be fully centered on the Messiahship of Jesus as the Christ. All other teachings of Scripture revolve around the Lordship of Christ.
He restored the ancient Gospel to the Restoration Movement. Galatians 1:6-10; Matthew 28:19-20; I Corinthians 2:2, 9:16.
KNOW JESUS AS LORD, (Savior and role model)
Scot met Alexander Campbell in 1821-1822 and Stone met Campbell in 1824. By 1832 these men had fully united in the determination to restore the Church back like it was in the New Testament in unity and doctrine.
Today we have slipped and become careless in the cause for which we owe our heritage. We should:
a. Restore ourselves to Christ.
b. Restore the Church back to the New Testament
c. Restore the Restoration Movement as a movement of our Lord.