Post-Restoration Sightings #1 (and thoughts on the previous post)  

Posted by The Metzes in , , ,

It's very interesting to me that we haven't been able to find a place in the ancient-future emphasis in the emerging/ent church. I mean, that's right up are alley. I am fascinated how often I am reading material (non-Restoration material that is) and find blatant first-century appeals - however, the appeals are different than Restoration pleas. It seems that our restoration fathers focused on their understanding of the "forms" of church and reinstating them. They were ecclesiologically driven (which most of the current conversations have been), but a renewed christological emphasis is needed, and hopefully, beginning.

While they (the leaders in our movement) probably would have been quick to say, "We need to do what they did" we limited that (extremely?) to what they did in their worship gatherings - often misunderstanding their gatherings to be pretty much like ours already. I think one of the biggest flaws in the Restoration mentality (besides believing that we had already put the theological puzzle together leading to a theology of defense and protection - thanks Dr. Hicks), is how we limited our understanding of church to the four walls of buildings. I don't think this was the case at first - however, it became such an ingrained part of our movement, that it is difficult to isolate that from some of the more positive elements. This particular issue, you have hit on, I believe, is at the crux for us in understanding who we, as the Restoration Movement are/can be in a postmodern, experiential world.

One more note, we can make the same mistake today, and I'm as inclined as anyone to make it. Today we are much more apt to read into the life of Jesus and the church this radical message and life of action and social justice. We can see the life of Christ and the early church and make it all about this. (Even as I write this, I am tempted to castigate myself - but he hung out with Zaccheus, Abraham, Moses - all the patriarchs were extremely wealthy and powerful). However, this seems to be as incomplete as the other (while, perhaps, closer to the center).

In the coming weeks, I plan to post "Post-Restoration" sightings from books and works that I am reading. The most recent dose came in ReJesus by Alan Hirsch and Michael Frost. I was amazed how often they made the plea: "Look at the first century church!" (Really, they were more focused on Jesus and their understanding of living out their faith in him). They even suggest that we should empty our theology and make it less complicated and closer to what the early church fathers adhered to - wait a minute, that's what I've heard my whole life. Here are two of the most visible leaders in the missional church movement stealing our thunder! With that said, here is the first installment of "Post-restoration Sightings."

Alan Hirsch & Michael Frost
"Missiologically speaking, it is also essential that we travel lighter than we have in Christendom in the past. We believe we need to be as theologically unencumbered as possible so that we may more approximate the way the early Christians understood their relation to God." (p. 136)

Wow . . . I wonder what they would say about "No creed but the Bible"?

This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 11, 2009 at Wednesday, March 11, 2009 and is filed under , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


this is a great idea for a series! I've been saying similar things in conversations lately about how a good bit of what I see in emergent and missional thinking is very resonant with RM thought. This is generally not recognized in the c of c because a) A lot of our people don't read "outsiders"...b) They didn't get these ideas from us...c) They didn't "admit" that we were "right" and they were "wrong". ;)

I'll be very interested to see where you have seen glimpses of RM though.

March 11, 2009 at 4:23 PM

I agree - great idea for a series. I'm pretty sure that Alan H is from the Ozzie CoC (there are two streams, one came with missionaries in the early days of the movement, the second in the 1950's. the streams don't have much to do with each other, the second being more sectarian). Check out this wiki for more info.

March 12, 2009 at 7:28 AM

I'll third that.

I love the fact that the wide growth of the early restoration was rooted in, among other things, a similar agreement among many brands of Christians that they should get together on the basis of the early church.

March 14, 2009 at 10:27 PM

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