The Restoration Principle

18 — Whither Our Children?

“And I will take every care so that you may have a clear memory of these things after my death” (2 Peter 1:15 BBE).

IN REGARD TO THE PRINCIPLE OF RESTORATION, WHAT ABOUT OUR LEGACY? If we believe the principle is valid, do we believe it enough to teach it to our children — or do we remain silent and hope they will somehow pick it up on their own? Are we giving them biblical reasons to resist the pull of apostasy and take a stand for “the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3)?

Like Peter, I want people to “have a clear memory of these things after my death” (2 Peter 1:15). While I’m still living, I want to emphasize holding fast to the apostolic faith and leave my words ringing in the ears of all whom I have taught. And when the time comes for the faith of my kids and grandkids to be tested, I want them to remember the things Grandpa Gary warned them to watch out for. If they leave the Lord, I don’t want it to be because I never spelled out the stark alternatives they would be faced with.

No matter how effectively any of us teach, there is no guarantee that those whom we teach will remain faithful to Christ. With unspeakable sorrow, I call to mind the godly parents I know who have seen some of their children take the path of apostasy. The fact is, we can’t make our children’s choices for them. All we can do is teach them and warn them, as the apostles did for their hearers in the first century. If we’re not doing that, we need to get started.

So, in case you haven’t noticed, I am a restorer. I am unbowed in my belief that until the Lord returns, the church must imitate the plan revealed by Him to the apostles in the first century. We must be diligent in learning the Lord’s will from the Scriptures, and patient with others who are learning. But nail this down: there is a huge difference between the Lord’s church and the churches of men, and I want my children to know that I make that distinction. I hope they’ll join me in the restoration quest — and never cease being restorers themselves.

“To be a restorer has always meant to be an explorer in search of Zion, bound to grope in our own human and cultural maze, never finishing our task, but ever learning through struggle and commitment to the truth. But I have never been alone; God has provided others of like mind to be my fellow travelers. It has been a rigorous journey, but I know existentially no other way. The search has served me well, and should you come to look for me, you will find me a bit further down the same road” (David Edwin Harrell, Jr.).

Gary Henry — +

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