Have you ever tried to solve a puzzle? Though there are many types of puzzles, in modern day western culture when we speak of puzzles we think of an image or a picture separated into many different pieces. In order to reach the goal of completing the puzzle, one must identify the correct pieces and interlock them harmoniously together, so that when finished, the picture is restored to its original state, revealing the image or picture as it existed before the fragmentation process began.
Amongst the vast rank and file of modern day Christianity, within it’s splintered denominations and respective theological circles, many have approached studying the Christian faith exercising a type of Progressive Continuous Revelation, meaning, that as time passes the Church gradually receives further revelation in matters of faith and belief, whether through a new understanding of Scripture or from God unveiling new perspectives.
This practice has come to produce within vast groups of believers, what I call a “forward looking faith”, fostering expectant uncertainty and in fact compelling congregants to eagerly pursue the securing of something new. This has created opportunities for rampant misuse of Biblical text, omission or distortion of historical facts and possible spiritual deception.
In our time, with little effort, one can effectively argue that within many facets of Christianity, the practice of this type of Progressive Continuous Revelation is widely accepted and generally not considered threatening to the Church. However, history proves this approach is not only threatening to the Church, it stands as and always has been a real and present danger to the very identity of the Church herself.
Contrary to this precarious practice, I submit the study of Christianity should not be approached as the pursuit or expectation of something new, rather, study of the faith should be conducted in a manner resembling the act of working a puzzle.
By exercising puzzle like procedural fact finding efforts one can identify and harmoniously interlock genuine pieces of the Christian faith, revealing a clearer linear image of the first century Church. It is my hope to see the puzzle completed and in time, the restoring of Biblical Christianity, even to her core. Though we may never fully know until, we know as we are known.
If you were to join me on this venture, then the first decision one must confront when solving a puzzle is where to start. What piece do we start with? Some would say that it is advantageous for one to start with the corner piece, we will explore this suggestion.
Because there are only 4 corner pieces, they are easy to identify and when linked by other edge pieces they create a detailed outline from which to gain a clearer perspective of the fragmented image. In my comparison of the Church to a fragmented puzzle, I would label the beginnings of the Protestant Reformation as one such corner piece.
Within the Protestant Reformation, we find a catalyst for what theologians term as the Restoration Impulse, which being defined is the desire to return to the practice of Biblical Christianity or, if you will, to see the shattered puzzle pieces of the first century church restored to its original state. To put the puzzle back together again.
During this time of unprecedented restoration, Martin Luther, founder of the Reformation, proclaimed, “I consider myself convicted by the testimony of Holy Scripture, which is my basis; my conscience is captive to the Word of God.”
Martin Luther’s hunger for the Church to restore her Biblical example has been shared by many such individuals over time and as they came after him, they identified and placed many additional pieces of the puzzle, helping us further our understanding of Biblical Christians, while inspiring generations to come, ones such as myself, to continue the work they left behind, to further the puzzle toward completion, to act toward restoring the Church to the original model.
Just as the act of completing our puzzle takes a certain process, the restoration of today’s Church to it’s first century self has and is going through a process.
This process of restoring the image of the first century Church, I have decisively termed “Progressive Christian Reversion”, meaning a gradual movement over time to revert or return the Church back to her Biblical Apostolic ideal. The puzzle pieces are coming back together again, allowing a clearer view of what once was.
Many denominations, ministers and secular peoples have contributed to the progress that has been made, so far, towards full Reversion, but even as such there is much work that needs done and many pieces yet undiscovered. That’s where you come in.
Though we may never see the Church’s puzzle fully completed, with The LORD”s help, He may allow us a clearer view of what once was, possibly within the confines of these pages. If so, then you can help someone else further the completion of their own doctrinal puzzle. Each subject is arranged as a quick reference for you.
No matter the reader/scholar’s denominational influence, few could deny the many puzzle pieces still lost to us all and most could acknowledge the pieces they have personally discovered in their own distinct search for truth through personal study.
However, unfortunately I have personally observed a total lack of organization and cooperation between denominations concerning even having dialogue about these issues. Many denominations are content with gains already made towards restoration and some discourage exploration into the origins of the Christian faith.
Some even mock, ridicule and curse those that teach the practice of Biblical Christianity. These happenings are very disturbing and are most certainly deserving of our immediate attention.
Ministers, not only must we evaluate and accept new truths as they have been revealed to us, we must share these truths with others or face eternal fire. (James 3:1)
If a minister fails the truth, contributions are made toward misinformation, heresy, and apostasy. Souls become victims of eternal death because ministers lack knowledge. (Isaiah 5:13, Hosea 4:6.)
In the words of the late Reverend E.N. Bell: “One or two experiences of being consecrated to God according to the light then had and being cleansed from all known or conscience sin, will not do away with a necessity to yield to new truth when it is revealed. Ever new consecrations will be demanded by the advancing grasp of truth.”
As a reminder, if you are in ministry or aspire to ministry, it is your responsibility to yourself, those you serve and to Almighty God to explore all pertinent data on any given subject thoroughly before teaching others. (add timothy)
Woe to those who do not engage in these well rounded research practices. For it is truth that we must continually seek, never remaining content with what we know or have been taught. We must reach for the fullness of the knowledge of Christ. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God, (1st Cor 2:10).
There is Biblical precedence for evolving our views based on new found facts. In The Acts of the Apostles (Acts 18:24-28) we find that Apollos was a mighty preacher but needed further instruction pertaining to the Kingdom of God in order to properly equip him for the work he was called to perform.
The fall of the Church from practicing Biblical Christianity is well documented and has been recognized by Christian and non-Christian scholars alike. Even still, the steady climb back to the practices of the original Church, have been met with opposition and contempt within “Christian” circles throughout history and even in our present day.
Much like the tragic adversities recorded at the cry of “Sola Scriptura” or “Scripture Alone” during the Protestant Reformation, the Apostolic movement has experienced immense difficulties in her advocating the practice of Biblical Christianity. The movement has endured untold hardships and complex stereotypes on the road of Progressive Christian Reversion.
There is no doubt that the Apostolic Movement is challenged with tradition, heresy and paganism, as individuals and influential institutions make a great attempt to merge foreign pieces into our puzzle, even though these strange, post apostolic and extra Biblical pieces just do not fit.
However, we are definitely witnessing the beginnings of a modern day revival within Contemporary Christian circles, and a sincere desire to return to practices mirroring that of the Apostles.
Whether it be the Home Church movement, Contemporary Pentecostalism or Televised Congregationalism, we are finding an exuberant and unprecedented longing for Spiritual Baptism.
Christians are hungry for the presence of God during their worship services, as their leaders are challenged with an honest appeal for knowledge concerning Biblical Christianity.
I believe these apparent pursuits of truth, of genuine worship and of Biblical knowledge, along with the recent general acceptance of the Apostolic movement into modern Christianity as a whole, shows that the fields are ripe for the harvest and are in fact another sign of the eminent return of Jesus Christ to this earth.
Unfortunately, after reading this book, some may hold on to their religious beliefs and traditions, neglecting any move toward Progressive Christian Reversion, all the while claiming Apostolic heritage and acknowledging that the story of modern day Christianity, is in fact, a story of Progressive Reversion.
Truly there is nothing new under the sun, for did not the religious world behave the same way towards Jesus and His followers in their day? Many of them believed that Jesus came to destroy the law (their religion) when in fact, Jesus came to fulfill the law.
Many during the time of Jesus loved their religion and traditions so much, that when The God of their religion stood before their face, they despised Him and rejected His teachings. Clearly, the light they professed to have was ultimately darkness.
But there is hope. You see, many gave up everything to follow Jesus at His first coming.
Some gave up traditional ministries to follow Him, some gave up land and property, some their livelihood.
Others discarded expectations, formed from what they were taught, of what The Kingdom of God should be like.
Many of these individuals gave up their very lives, as they followed Him, the Son of Man, claiming to be God.
As we bring this chapter to a close, I ask that you please consider the following questions:
Are the teachings you have ascribed to more important than the pursuit and preaching of The Truth?
What would you do if you find your own teachings to be in error?
What should you do if you discover that your elders are teaching wrong?
Would you give up everything, even your organizational affiliations, to follow Jesus right now before His second coming?
Of course I am not suggesting you should renounce your particular affiliation with any denomination or organization that teaches Biblical Christianity, however, I do challenge you to take a closer look at just how far down the road of Progressive Christian Reversion your Church affiliations have traveled.
Ask yourself this question, “Can we identify and eliminate obstacles on our path back to the mirror image of the first century Church?”
If you can identify obstacles preventing a shift towards Apostolic reversion, then a plan must be made and executed for the removing of those obstacles.
If the obstacles have been identified but cannot be eliminated, we invite you to join with us in a fellowship of believers making a sincere effort towards returning to the practices of Biblical Christianity.
The truth must prevail, even if some organizations are caused to amend their statements of faith. You must be a voice for truth, no matter the consequence.
(2nd thess 2:10-14, Rom 10:14)
Jesus said He is The Truth, and it is only Him that we should seek to follow after today. In order to restore the puzzle to it’s original form, the Church must forsake creeds and proclamations of faith not inherently cohesive with scripture and/or Apostolic practices.
Remember, in the Gospels, Jesus taught the Apostles His way of doing things. In the Book of Acts, the Apostles enacted those teachings. If we are to err, let us err on the side of scripture, not in practices of denominational origin.
If we are to remain pure in the faith, our practices must mirror that of those Jesus chose to propagate His doctrines. It would be contrary to Biblical Christianity then to practice doctrines conceived by men decades, centuries and millennia after the fact.
It is said; “to gain knowledge is to be wise”. This work is not intended to discourage or discredit any progress made towards restoring The Church of our Great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, to her New Testament Church example.
To the contrary, it is the author’s prayer that this work propels truth seekers into a purposeful practice of Progressive Christian Reversion within their own lives, equipping them to live as Christ intended, equipping them to share historical and Biblical truth with others.
These verity focused ones would incite those around them to discover and practice the same, in high hopes of restoring to our world a more Biblically based faith and a clearer picture of our Apostolic roots, which at times, seem to elude us all.
Furthermore, it is my earnest hope to ignite within contemporary Christianity the same drive for Biblical Restoration that both sparked the Protestant Reformation and the modern day Apostolic movement. Indeed all Christians should seek a genuine practice of the first century faith.
I invite you to join me in this pursuit, to unify the followers of Christ under the one banner of Biblical Christianity.
It is in this time, in these latter days, to this generation that I am sent, to proclaim that which was given to me by Jesus to proclaim.
That truth should prevail and that the wicked one, the father of lies, should be cast down, who works the mystery of iniquity and deceives the nations. And that those who bear witness within themselves, are accused by The Holy Spirit of their deeds in opposition to the rule of faith and to the truth.
I bid you to search for the truth with me, to examine yourself, to find whether you are a truth seeker or a follower of the traditions of men, whether you are content with what you have been taught or do you hunger to know more of Christ and His ways, whether you love light or love the darkness.
Come fellow man, if you seek truth, come let us shine for the light, for the hour is late and darkness comes when no man can work. Come let us share the full council of God. Come let us reason together.
Let us together with one mighty voice advocate for a revival to the Bible, for a returning to Biblical Christianity, for restoring the Apostolic ideal and for the completion of the Apostolic Puzzle.
Apostolic Church of
Truth in Salvation