What Are We? Restorers, Reformers, or What?

There’s this very intriguing series of questions: What are we as a church? Are we restorers, reformers, or renewers? (This last word I have to invent; it’s not in the dictionary).

The churches of Christ are not the only religious group who claims to be the restored church; the Mormons (founded by Joseph Smith in 1830) and the Iglesia ni Cristo (by Felix Manalo, in 1914) do too.

Alexander Campbell and his father Thomas, as far as my studies are concerned, called themselves and their fellow disciples “reformers,” not restorers. At the close of the 17th century, forsaking their Seceder Presbyterian roots, they urged all believers to go back to the Bible. Brother Bill Humble goes on record as saying that the “Restoration Movement [rooted in the work of the Campbells, Abner Jones, Elias Smith, Barton W. Stone and Walter Scott] began in America in 1800″ (The Restoration Story, p. 1). Thus it can be said that the “Restoration Movement” was fathered by those who never called themselves “restorers.”

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