Restoring New Testament Christianity, Adron Doran
On November 22, 2001 Adron Doran departed from this life at the age of 92. I have a tremendous amount of respect for him due to his many accomplishments for the cause of Christ. He had preached the gospel for nearly 70 years, was president of Morehead State University, member of the Kentucky State Legislature including Speaker of the House, member of FHU Board of Directors, married for over 70 years, and an avid student/scholar of Restoration History. There are several other accomplishments that this great man achieved, but I want to focus on his efforts in the field of Restoration History. He spent the last twenty years of his life focused on the study of Restoration History and wrote several articles from his research.
It seems, to this reviewer, that many congregations have set themselves doctrinally adrift in an effort to meet felt needs in an effort to drive their attendance numbers up. They have lost sight of the plea that brought churches of Christ in accordance with God’s word and have given preference to being in accordance with the fads of the day. Church growth by trying to meet the whims of the public, compared to obtaining the favor of God by obedience to His Word, is a shallow, vain, and futile pursuit. Men need to be reminded of Samuel’s words about the sin of Saul that cost him the kingdom—“Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He also has rejected you from being king.” (1 Samuel 15:22-23.) Saul sinned in thinking God would be more pleased with the sacrifices rather than obedience. Imagine how God feels when churches have pursued the pleasure of the masses rather than obedience to God! Abandoning the Biblical pattern will take churches down the same road to apostasy that has taken prior generations who abandoned the Restoration Plea to “Speak where the Bible speaks and to be silent where the Bible is silent.” We desperately need to examine the events of Restoration History to avoid the mistakes of the past. In times like this one needs the wisdom of men who have dedicated their lives to the pursuit of obeying God’s word. Adron Doran was such a man who pursued this and studied others who had dedicated their lives to the same pursuit. Sadly, we cannot call him before us to tell us about restoring New Testament Christianity any longer. However, we are blessed in that he delivered a series of sermons that address this very subject.
This work discusses the New Testament church, the departure of men from the New Testament pattern, and efforts of men to return to the Bible in order to restore their worship and practices in accordance to the original New Testament pattern. It discusses the efforts of Restoration leaders such as Alexander Campbell and Barton W. Stone. These men (and others) accomplished so much toward restoring New Testament Christianity. As brother Doran wrote in his book:
In retrospect we ponder what if these courageous, loyal, dedicated, and devoted men had not labored tirelessly to bring us out of denominationalism and into the church of our Lord? What if they had not taught what they did, when the outcome seemed, at times, in question? Had Stone and Campbell not accomplished what they did, we know not what the situation would be like today. We have accepted the teaching of Stone and Campbell wherein they taught the word of God. One things is certain; it would be a pitiable situation indeed if these men, and hordes of unnamed supporters, had not given themselves to the leadership of this great movement. Thank God for their lives and their efforts! Let us attach the same significance to the Bible and to the church as they did. God rest their weary souls. (Page 38.)
It also discusses several of the difficulties that Restoration leaders experienced along their journey. It is these lessons that we desperately need to be taught today.
This book is a transcription of six lectures delivered in Nashville, TN in 1996. There are copies of these lectures available that can be ordered for viewing. I encourage congregations to have these lectures presented to the assembly by men who have equipped themselves to fulfill the work of an evangelist.
Originally printed West Virginia Christian, Vol. 10, No. 6, June 2003, p. 8. Reprinted by permission.