The Restoration Movement

Alexander Cambell

The Restoration Movement in America began a little over 200 years ago, around 1800. During the first two centuries of history of this country, many European denominations were transplanted to America, and it was amidst these older churches and not in virgin religious ground that the Restoration Movement began.

The movement began as a desire to complete the work of the Protestant Reformation by restoring the New Testament church and the practice of apostolic Christianity.

There was no thought in the minds of those founding the movement to begin a new church. Rather, their one purpose was to reproduce the church of Christ as it is portrayed in the New Testament.

The various leaders of the Protestant Reformation had aimed at reforming the Roman Catholic Church rather than restoring the church of the apostles.

Luther, Calvin, Wesley and others lopped off many of the abuses of the church, but by failing to go back entirely to the New Testament foundation, they left much undone. Moreover, in their strife with Catholicism, they split up into numerous sects or parties and lost their vision of the one body of Christ - the one united church.

The chief features of the Restoration plea are:

  • The acknowledgment of the New Testament Scriptures as the only authoritative rule of faith and practice for Christians and hence, the only basis for determining fellowship.

  • The renouncing of all human creeds and the acceptance of Jesus as the Christ, the son of God, as the only creed binding upon members of the church of Christ. Salvation comes only through the blood of Jesus Christ.

  • The restoration of the apostolic or New Testament church, with its ordinances and life as originally practiced in apostolic times.

  • The union of all Christians upon the basis of the platform laid down in the preceding propositions. (The plea has sometimes been regarded as primarily a plea for Christian union, but it was only upon the basis mentioned that union has been advocated.)

The Restoration Movement includes churches which wear the name Christian, church of Christ and Christian (Disciples of Christ). They are found across the country and around the world and their members number several million collectively.

If you have any questions about the Restoration Movement or about any of the propositions listed above, you may contact the church through e-mail and we will respond as quickly as possible.