A Dream Worth Resurrecting: by Ben Brewster

Ben Brewster wrote the below for Common Grounds in 2018. His book "Torn Asunder" is a must-read! The below is a re-post.

As a child, I remember feeling an intense pride in being part of the American Restoration Movement heritage. We read our Bibles, we applied what we learned to our daily lives, and we blessed all those around us.

I later learned that is not always the case.

Our bent toward legalism has done untold damage to people. Holding up a human-made model of biblical interpretation as divinely ordained (“command, example, necessary inference”) has led to more and more division.

In the process, we forgot the prayer of Jesus – “I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one — as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me” (John 17:20-21 ).

We quit listening to the counsel of Thomas Campbell: “That although inferences and deductions from Scripture premises, when fairly inferred, may be truly called the doctrine of God's holy word, yet are they not formally binding upon the consciences of Christians farther than they perceive the connection, and evidently see that they are so; for their faith must not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power and veracity of God.”

Unity cannot be based on our opinions. Oh, but how we have tried to claim that our opinions are on par with the commands of God! We reason, rationalize. and elevate logic as our god as we condemn and separate from others who do not share our conclusions.

How quickly we moved from accepting and loving to disowning and rejecting. At one point in our history, we were motivated to bring all Christians together in unity. It was, as one leader termed it, “our polar star.” We worked hard to build bridges among fellow Christ-followers. We thought unity was possible — not based on our opinions, but on what God said in the Bible. Barton Stone put it so well when he wrote, “We profess to stand upon the Bible alone, and contend that opinions of truth should not be made terms of fellowship.”

We treasured the beautiful saying that at one time summed up our attitude: “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, love”

We believed that Jesus’ prayer for unity could be accomplished, and that his prayer should be our prayer.

Yet even though that dream seems to have been abandoned, it is worth resurrecting. In the name of Christ it is worth resurrecting! For the sake of the world, it is worth resurrecting!

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