The Restoration Movement
Early in the nineteenth century there was growing unrest among churches in
Almost simultaneously, yet without knowledge of one another, these men appealed to all sincere believers to be "Christians only but not the only Christians." They aimed not to start another denomination, but to call people back to the Church of the New Testament. This today is still the plea of the
At Sulphur Well Christian Church, an independent congregation within the Stone-Campbell Movement, our purpose is to promote the
“Where the Scriptures speak, we speak; where the Scriptures are silent, we are silent.”
God—As believers in Jesus Christ, we follow and accept His teachings, the teachings of the early Church, and what Scripture puts forth on the Doctrine of the Trinity.
The Father: In Genesis 1:1, we know that God is all-powerful and existed before the heavens and the earth because He created them. From Isaiah 40:14 we see that God is all-knowing. From Jeremiah 23:24 we discover that God is everywhere. Though the word trinity is not mentioned in Scripture, we note in Matthew 28:19 that there is a triune God made up of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Most importantly we know that God is holy (Isaiah 6:3) and righteous (Psalm 119:137). Yet God is also love for in John 3:16 it reads, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
The Son: Jesus, the most extraordinary person who ever lived was born of a virgin (Matthew 1:18-24), and made claims and performed miracles that no other could make. Jesus made statements that pointed to His divinity:
“I am the bread of life.” (John 6:35).
“I am the light of the world.” (John 8:12)
“…before Abraham was born, I am!” (John 8:58)
“I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.” (John 10:9)
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the
sheep. (John 10:11)
“I am the resurrection and the life.” (John 11:25)
“I am the way and the truth and the life.” (John 14:6)
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.” (John 15:1)
When the disciples of John the Baptist questioned Jesus if he was the Christ, Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor.” (Luke 7:22)
At the close of His earthly ministry Jesus said, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” (John 2:19) Tortured and crucified, Jesus who was sinless, died to pay the price of our debt of sin that He did not owe and we could not pay. His body was placed in the grave of a rich man as predicted in Isaiah 53:9 and later he arose from the pit as promised. His resurrection and victory over the grave, which the Christian faith hinges upon, removed the sting of death (1 Corinthians 15:55). Salvation is only found in Jesus, “…for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
The Holy Spirit: The Counselor is the third person of the Trinity and was promised by Jesus. He indwells in every Christian (John 14:17) and is responsible for renewing the heart of a sinful man (John 3:3-8), convicting us of our sins (John 16:7-11), and helping us to understand Scripture (1 Corinthians 2:12). In summation, whereas the Father is for us, the Son is with us, the Holy Spirit is God in us.
The Bible: The sixty-six books of the Bible were written by man, however, we learn in 2 Peter 1:21 that “…men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” These inspired books give us the best source of information about God. The Bible also acts as a compass to help us navigate through the many danger and pitfalls of life. From 2 Timothy 3:16-17 we learn that “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” God’s Word provides us a roadmap to explain man’s history concerning his existence, and gives us direction and meaning for our lives. Romans 15:4 states, “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” Our actions and behavior should reflect His teaching because many seekers or unbelievers will “read” our lives before they actually choose to open and read the Holy Scriptures.
Mankind: In Genesis 1:27 we find that God created man in his own image; later in chapter three, God has allowed us the volition to choose to follow him or to rebel. Because of this rebelliousness, we find in Romans 3:10 the most accurate assessment of man, “There is no one righteous, not even one.” Nevertheless, God the Father had a plan to bring us back into fellowship with Him. In John 1:29 we learn that Jesus Christ, whom John the Baptist called, “…the Lamb of God,” became the sacrificial lamb to provide the propitiation for us.
Salvation: Salvation is a gift from God, for we are saved not by our own efforts, but by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9). The plan for our salvation is outlined in the book of Romans. In chapter three, verse 23 we learn that “…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 6:23 states that the “wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” “While we were still Sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8), and that if we confess that Jesus is Lord, and believe that God raised him from the dead, we too will be saved (Romans 10:9).
The Church: The church is an assembly of immersed baptized believers that should be modeled around Acts 2:42 where members are devoted to the “apostles’ teaching (i.e., the teachings of Jesus and his death, burial and resurrection), and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” Fulfilling the Great Commission should be the primary goal of the church. Jesus in Matthew 28:19-20 said “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” In addition, as we draw near to the end of time, the church should be prepared and wait in expectation for Christ’s second coming.
Worship: Often we fail to remember that our worship should not be entirely about what we get out of it, but what we should give back to God because He alone is worthy. It should never be about us, but about Him. For example, in Matthew 4:10 when Jesus was tempted by Satan he answered “Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.” Later Jesus would quote the Shema when he was asked what is the most important commandment (Mark 12:28-31). Like other independent Christian churches in the Stone-Campbell Movement, we place a high value on the observance of the Lord’s Supper in our Sunday morning worship service. We encourage other immersed baptized believers when visiting to join us as we take part in this observance.
The End Times: In the final days we are told that there will be deception, persecution, along with suffering and hardship. In Matthew, chapter 24, Jesus said, “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” and “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.” Providing hope for the faithful, Jesus said in John 14:3, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
The Eternal Destiny of Man: Many in this day fail to note or remember that Jesus will one day judge us (Matthew 16:27, John 5:22). In this life believers mingle with the unsaved, but at death our fate is sealed and an eternal separation takes place where the “lambs” will be rewarded and the “goats” will be condemned to eternal punishment (Matthew 25:32). As recorded in the New Testament, Jesus spoke more on the topic of Hell than anyone else. Heaven is the reward for the “good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21) where there will be no more death, mourning, crying or pain (Revelation 21:4). On the other hand, the damned will be separated from God (Matthew 7:21-23) where they will be confined to an eternal, unquenchable fire (Matthew 18:8, Mark 9:43).
“No creed but Christ, no book but the Bible, no law but love, no name but the divine.”