Belief in the concept of restoration was a primary factor which gave birth to the Gloster Street congregation of God's people. The idea was to put faith and practice back like it was in the New Testament. This involved much more than just reforming religious institutions which had become filled with both moral and doctrinal corruption. Many religious groups are in great need of reform, but this is not the same as restoration. There is a vast and important difference between remodeling an old dwelling and restoring that dwelling to its original form.
Those people who participated in the beginning of the Gloster Street congregation had no desire to start another denomination. To them denominationalism was sinful in that it violated the Savior's teaching about the unity of all believers.
Generally, established churches have been opposed to the concept of restoration because it undermines the very foundation of their existence. The concept is an invitation and a challenge to all religious people to become participants in the effort to put faith and practice back in its original form.
THE BASIS OF RESTORATION
Restoration depends on a perfect standard which is faithfully followed. It also requires the need to resist and reject all human rules as matters of faith. Pure, original Christianity relies on the authority of the inspired scriptures. Faith and practice must be endorsed by a "Thus saith the Lord." The word of God completely supplies everything needed to return to the ancient paths and to walk in them."
The restoration effort requires a correct way to interpret the true meaning of the scripture. It has been said that anything can be proved by the Bible. This is true only to the extent that it is incorrectly interpreted. Bible knowledge is the basis for restoration. It is comparable to carefully following the blueprint when constructing a building. To be a diligent and unbiased student of the Bible is necessary to discover God's truth.
Both nature and scripture proclaim that seed produces after its kind. The apostle Paul declared, "Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." The word of God is the true and only seed that will produce original Christianity. To produce denominationalism some other kind of seed must be used.
HUMAN CREEDS REJECTED
There must be rules of procedure. How shall God's people conduct their worship? How shall they be organized? How shall they admit new members to their fellowship? Because of these and other concerns human creeds exist. If I am a member of a denomination I must subscribe to its creed. Such creeds are divisive. There are manuals, disciples, books of common prayer, catechisms, councils, conferences, etc. None are inspired of God. Nearly all religious groups have pronouncements of common procedure. All are subject to revision.
The concept of restoration requires that the Bible replace all human creeds. There is no creed but Christ. A person is not asked to accept any manmade creed in order to participate in original Christianity. If all such guides were laid aside a giant obstacle to unity would be removed. The original members of the Gloster Street congregation took their stand on the all sufficiency of the word of God.
AN ONGOING EFFORT
Every generation presents challenges to the restoration concept. The young must be taught so that the concept cqan continue. Some become disenchanted with the idea and try to change it into something more palatable to the tastes of the religious world. Occasionally, some will depart from the cause altogether.
Over the past one hundred years the Gloster Street congregation has been blessed with people who loved pure Christianity and who worked and prayed to promote it. The providence of God is gratefully acknowledged. May the cause of restoration continue for another one hundred years or until he Lord returns, whichever comes first.
"We speak where the Bible speaks, and we are silent where the Bible is silent."