Restoration Plea & Restoration Movement
By David R. Kenney
One of my favorite illustrations as to the validity of the Restoration Plea comes from Alan Highers’ use of baseball: “The principle has been illustrated in this way. Suppose the game of baseball were totally lost from the face of the earth. No one knew how to play. But a hundred years from now, someone found the rule book and followed it explicitly. Teams were formed with nine to a side; the field was set up with first, second, third base, and homeplate; the ball and bat were utilized exactly as described in the rules. Question: What kind of game would it be? Answer: It would still be the game of baseball. It would not be a new game, or a different game. Wherever the rule book is used and followed, it would produce the game of baseball.” (“What Is Our Plea?” The Spiritual Sword, October 1991, p. 2). This would be, in essence, “Baseball Restored”.
But what about the study of Restoration History? My son James found an interesting book called Baseball Extra – A Newspaper History of the Glorious Game From Its Beginnings to the Present. It is a huge book 11” x 15”, 438 pages, full of newspaper clippings related to the history of the game of baseball. It contains newspaper articles of heroes and record breakers of the game: Jackie Robinson, Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Cal Ripken, Jr. and others. Major events are recorded: formation of National League, the founding of American League, and the Dodgers move from Brooklyn, NY to California. As one ought to see the difference between the rule book and the history of the game; so should they be able to see the difference between the Restoration Plea and Restoration History.
Some confuse the two concepts—The Restoration Plea and the history of the Restoration Movement. Basil Overton well stated the difference between “The Restoration Movement” and “The Restoration Plea”: “Many mistakes have been made in ‘The Restoration Movement,’ but ‘The Restoration Plea’ is not a mistake, but it is in complete harmony with what the New Testament requires.” (“Why Restoration Was Needed and is Still Needed,” West Virginia Christian Lectures: A Plea for the Fundamentals, Martinsburg, WV: Central Church of Christ, 2001, p. 3.) Is the Restoration Plea scriptural? Think of this—God has been calling us back to a restored relationship with Him since the Garden of Eden. So, yes, the Restoration Plea is both valid & scriptural! A study of the Restoration Plea and the Restoration Movement is to learn from the lessons of history as we continue to pursue our efforts at fulfilling the Restoration Plea in our generation.