T. Pierce Brown
The following illustrations may help to explain what we normally mean when we talk of restoring the New Testament church. There are those who think one or more of three things about that. 1. Those who think it does not need to be restored. 2. Those who think it cannot be restored. 3. Those who would like to see it restored. But it is interesting to note that those who talk about these three aspects of restoration may not be talking about the same thing at all.
Suppose the Ethiopian eunuch went back home and established a church. How did he do it? The only possible way it could be done was by preaching the gospel which persons would obey, at which point they would be added to the church (Acts 2:47). Now, suppose there came an apostasy (1 Timothy 4:1) and the church in that locality ceased to exist or was spewed out of His mouth (Rev. 3:16). Is it proper for any Christian to want to restore it or cause it to exist again? If one takes the position that it is not appropriate, then it seems logical to forget the whole proposition and cease to write about Christianity at all. If one takes the position that it cannot be restored, then answer the following questions.
Suppose one went back to where the eunuch was, and preached the same gospel he preached, and persons again obeyed it, would they be added to the church? If not, why not? If so, would not that be the church restored? Notice several things about which we may not have been as clear as we should have been because we assumed that persons knew what we meant when we spoke of restoration.