Vol.XVI No.IV Pg.1
June 1979

The Two-Fold Ideal

Robert F. Turner

In his book, Quest For A Christian America, the historian Ed Harrell, Jr. says the original reformers of the "restoration movement" had a two-fold ideal. "Their desire was for 'Christian union' through the 'restoration of the ancient order of things. While the two goals seemed perfectly compatible, indeed, inseparable, in the minds of the early reformers; in later years the dividing parties began to feel a closer kinship to one or the other of the two — the liberals, 'Christian union' and the conservatives, 'the restoration of the ancient order of things'." (p.10.)

Believing as we do that union is the result of unity in Christ, without which "togetherness" is purely a social or humanistic arrangement, we agree with this analysis. We have known some who stressed unity (?) at the expense of Bible authority and/or of conviction — and in a kinship category, unity (?) on the dubious claim that to "be like us" is to be right. Last month's center spread; "Truth is a Sword" should have made clear our conviction that "the ancient order" must have precedence. Further, we are not convinced that "the original reformers" sought union above all else. Campbell wrote, "I have no idea of seeing, nor one wish to see, the sects unite in one grand army... Let them unite who love the Lord, and then we shall soon see the hireling priesthood and their worldly establishments prostrate in the dust." (Christian Baptist, V.2; n.9.) Today, those who act and speak as though division due to conscientious conviction is a denial of "restoration principles," need to ask themselves why the reformers did not stay with their former religious affiliations.

But there is more for the thoughtful saint. Have we stressed "being right" into a self-contradiction? Are we "right" who have no concern for brethren in error? Are we "right" who will not honestly seek to understand another brother's viewpoint, and make joint effort to measure the true issue by the scriptures? Is truth fearful of investigation?

If the dual goals of restoration are truly "inseparable," dare we neglect legitimate efforts for union?