By: Tommy Haynes
• When a person makes an article of clothing, they do so by following a pattern. Follow it exactly, and you have the same article of clothing that is shown on the cover of the pattern.
• Researchers look for patterns in behavior of physical objects, diseases, or human beings. These patterns tell them if they are on the right track to finding the truth about a particular aspect of their research.
• Men like the Haldanes in Scotland, Robert Sandeman and John Glass in Britain, the Campbell’s and Barton Stone in the U.S. all came to a similar conclusion: The Bible presents a discernable pattern of obedience to God through His New Testament.
• This is what we propose to study today.
RESTORATIONISTS SPEAK OUT ABOUT PATTERNS
• To have any concept of the kingdom, we must explore what the Bible says about that pattern.
• This was one of the major areas of focus by past and present restoration leaders.
• Thomas Campbell, Article 4 of the Declaration and Address: “…yet as to what directly and properly belongs to their immediate object, the New Testament is as perfect a constitution for the worship, discipline, and government of the New Testament Church, and as perfect a rule for the particular duties of its members…”
• Alexander Campbell said, “The Bible alone must always decide every question involving the nature, the character, or the designs of the Christian institution…The foundation of apostles and prophets is that projected and ordained by the Lawgiver of the Universe. On this, and only this, can we safely found the Church of Jesus Christ, whether we contemplate its doctrine, its discipline or its government.
Nothing less authoritative and divine can fully satisfy the conscientious of all parties, or withstand the assaults of the adversaries of our most holy faith.”
• Moses E Lard said, “…the reformation consists in an effort to induce all the truly pious to become perfectly joined together in the same mind, and in the same judgment, by accepting as doctrine, precisely and only what is either actually asserted or necessarily implied in the Bible; to speak the same things by speaking what the Bible speaks, and to speak them in the language of the Bible; and practice the same things by simply doing the will of Christ. Thus it is proposed continually to construct the body of Christ after the Divine model, to unitize completely its constituent members, to imbue them with a new, divine life, and to pervade them with the peace of Christ, and a warm* pure, fraternal affection. Such is the great and good work in which we are now engaged (Restoration).
• “Raccoon” John Smith in 1832 stated: “Let us, then my brethren, be no longer Campbellites or Stoneites, New Lights or Old Lights, or any other kind of lights, but let us come to the Bible, and to the Bible alone, as the only book in the world that can give us all the light we need.”
• These men, along with thousands of others, laid their practices on top of the original pattern, and discovered their mistakes. Such we must also do.
• Paul’s arrival in Ephesus describes pattern theology (Acts 19:1-7). He asked about the Holy Spirit. The brethren there had not even heard of the Holy Spirit, and so Paul questioned them about their baptism and discovered they had been baptized with John’s baptism. You see, these brethren laid what they/had done on top of the true biblical pattern and found they had not been baptized into Christ. This is the same as was experienced by restoration leaders. A. Campbell upon the birth of his first child began to research infant baptism and found it to be a foreign subject to the Bible. This led to his whole family being baptized into Christ and no longer practicing infant baptism.
THE CONCEPT OF PATTERNS
• To restore anything you have to know what it looked like in the beginning. That is a pattern. In Joshua 22:28 those on the east side of Jordan had made a replica of the original altar of the Lord.
When those in the west attempted to attack them thinking they had started worshipping idols, they said to them “…Behold the pattern of the altar of the Lord…” (KJV). They had copied it exactly as a reminder to the rest of the nation that those east of Jordan were as much Israelites as those west of the Jordan.
• God expected His people to follow His commanded patterns throughout history:
• Cain failed to follow the pattern God had given for sacrifice (Gen.4).
• Noah followed God’s pattern for the ark and he and his family were saved: Gen. 6:22 Thus Noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he did.
• Moses followed God’s pattern for the tabernacle and every item in it.
• Uzzah broke the command of the Lord for touching the ark and died instantly (2 Sam.6:6-8).
• The apostles taught a single pattern for the establishment of the church in every city. There is never any mention of denominationalism, but simply of THE CHURCH.
• Acts 11:22 “The church in Jerusalem…”
• Acts 11:26 “And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.”
• Acts 18:22 “And when he had landed at Caesarea, and gone up and greeted the church, he went down to Antioch.”
• Looking for patterns is common in everyday life.
• Successful businesses use business models that work – that is patterning.
• Exercise programs, following the directions on a label, construction projects, all require we follow a pattern.
• Even obedience to the laws of the land has to do with patterns. The entire governmental structure is a pattern and leads to legislation and laws.
• The words “tupos” and “hupogrammos” appear together several times in the N.T. Roy Deaver wrote in his biblical notes:
“The Lord is our ‘example.’ This is not the word tupos,…rather, this is hupogrammos. This word means underwriting. The Lord is our underwriting. Consider: A stencil; the letters of the English alphabet , posted over the chalk board, which the child is to strive to imitate; the letters of the Greek alphabet, which the little Greek boy was obligated to strive to imitate.
Research on this word suggested the thought that if and when the student would do the very best that he could to imitate the posted letters, that the teacher would take the student by the hand and help him or her to do a better job in writing the letters.” (Vol.15, May 1981, pages 1,2).
• To throw out the pattern concept in spiritual matters is foolish and reckless. It fails to recognize that there is logic and sense in God’s way of doing things.
• Milton Jones (New Leaf Books, pg.20): “How do you fit Christianity into a post–modern world?” The answer is that we don’t. Romans 12:1,2. Men come to Christ and change, not the other way around.
• James Woodruff (The Church in Transition –pg.21) states, “Our burning desire to be biblical has blinded us to the need to be tolerant toward others…” Of what value is tolerance if we do not have a biblical model of salvation to which we can bring people?
• Tim Woodruff in “A Church That Flies” calls us to “discover unconventional forms for refreshed religious expression.” (p.138). The only place to find “unconventional forms” for Christianity are outside of the bible. Otherwise, they would “conventional” forms.
• Consider the logic of these passages:
• Matthew 16:18 Jesus predicts His church, that it will be built on Him as the foundation, and death will not destroy it. Jesus is inferring that we must follow that pattern to have His church.
• John 8:32 implies there is a pattern of truth that can be known.
• Romans 6:17 Clearly states that there is a pattern. “But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered.”
Implies that we are not delivered from sin if we do not follow the pattern.
• The leaders of the restoration movement in America followed the biblical pattern in order to restore the New Testament church. When they failed to do so, there was a rupture in fellowship, and damage to the cause of Christ. Men who did not have any knowledge of the works of other men, came to the same conclusion at the same time as to how to establish the church in America – follow the Bible.
THE RESTORATION PLEA FOR THE NEXT GENERATION
• Simply stated, the restoration plea is to do bible things in bible ways:
• John 14:15
• Col. 3:17: This means by the authority of the Lord, not just attaching His name. Matt.7:22-23.
• 1 Cor. 4:6
• 2 Tim. 1:13-14
• Titus 2:6-8
• Heb. 8:5-6
• We must teach these principles to the next generation by – –
• Being consistent in our practices. Never let opinion rule.
• Actively teaching these principles as parents. Eph.6:4 “But you fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” 2 Tim.4:2.
• Being transparent about how decisions are made. Elders must be able to biblically justify decisions they make and the direction they lead the church.
• H. Leo Boles – May 3, 1939 to a unity meeting in Indianapolis: “There is but one pathway to unity among God’s people; there is but one rule that can make us one in Christ Jesus; only one way that can bring salvation to the world. All must exalt the supremacy of the word of God and keep opinions private; no one should propagate his opinions in "the areas of silence," but acknowledge the leadership of Christ and love each other as brethren in order to enjoy Christian unity. So let each one lay aside all opinions, ways, inventions, devices, practices, organizations, creeds, confessions, names, manner of work, except those plainly presented and clearly required in the New Testament. Let all determine to do nothing in religion, save that plainly taught in the scripture and ask his brother to accept nothing that God has not required. Let all do faithfully just what God has required, and let all do this in the way approved by God, and unity is the inevitable result and no "conference" or "unity meeting" is needed. This will reduce all religious worship and service to its original divine simplicity and purity, and will restore to it its original efficacy and power to save. In this simplicity and purity of worship, and in perfect harmony with the will of God, the richest blessings of God will be ours. Faith unites men to God and one another; opinions sever them from God and one another; opinions are the occasions of endless strife and bitterness.
Brethren, let us not be deceived; let us not have a misguided zeal for unity that blinds us to the only way which leads to God and unity. When Martin Luther was summoned by imperial authority before the Diet of Worms and asked to recant what he had said, he closed his speech with these immortal words: "Unless you confute me by arguments drawn from the scripture, I cannot and will not recant anything; for my conscience is a captive to God’s word, and it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. Here I take My stand- I can do no otherwise. So help me God Amen!"
• Like Paul, we should give thanks to God that our forefathers and others have “…obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered” Rom.6:18.
• When we follow that biblical form, the pattern, we will become what they were – New Testament Christians.
Nothing more, and nothing less.