Christian primitivism

Christian primitivism

Christian primitivism, also called restorationism, is the belief that a purer form of Christianity should be restored using the early church as a model.[1]:635[2]:217 Fundamentally, "this vision seeks to correct faults or deficiencies [in the church] by appealing to the primitive church as a normative model."[1]:635 The term "restorationism" is sometimes used more specifically as a synonym for the American Restoration Movement.[2]:225-226 The term is also used by more recent groups, describing their goal to re-establish Christianity in its original form, such as some anti-denominational Charismatic Restorationists, which arose in the 1970s in the United Kingdom[3][4] and elsewhere. In comparable terms, earlier primitivist movements including the Hussites,[5]:13 Anabaptists,[5]:125-135 Landmarkists[5]:69-71 and the Puritans[5]:50-55 have been described as examples of restorationism.

Efforts to restore an earlier, purer form of Christianity are often a response to denominationalism. As Rubel Shelly put it, "[t]he motive behind all restoration movements is to tear down the walls of separation by a return to the practice of the original, essential and universal features of the Christian religion."[6]:29 Different groups have tried to implement the restorationist vision in different ways; for instance, some have focused on the structure and practice of the church, others on the ethical life of the church, and others on the direct experience of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer.[1]:635-638 The relative importance given to the restoration ideal, and the extent to which the full restoration of the early church is believed to have been achieved, also varies between groups.


Uses of the term

The terms restorationism, restorationist and restoration are used in several senses within Christianity.

"Restorationism" in the sense of "Christian primitivism" refers to the attempt to correct perceived shortcomings of the current church by using the primitive church as a model,[1]:635 and has also been described as "practicing church the way it is perceived to have been done in the New Testament."[2]:217 This theme arises early in church history, first appearing in the works of Iranaeus,[1]:635 and appeared in some movements during the Middle Ages. It was expressed to varying degrees in the theology of the Protestant Reformation,[2]:217 and Protestantism has been described as "a form of Christian restorationism, though some of its forms - for example the Churches of Christ or the Baptists - are more restorationist than others."[7]:81-82 A number of historical movements within Christianity may be described as "restoration movements," including the Glasites in Scotland and England, the independent church led by James Haldane and Robert Haldane in Scotland, the American Restoration Movement, the Landmark Baptists and the Mormons.[8]:659pf A variety of more contemporary movements have also been described as "restorationist".[9][10] Restorationism has been described as a basic component of some Pentecostal movements such as the Assemblies of God.[11]:4-5 The terms "Restorationism movement" and "Restorationist movement" have also been applied to the British New Church Movement.[12]:82-83

The term is also used as a synonym for the American Restoration Movement.[2]:225-226[13]

Other uses of the term "restorationism" outside the scope of this article include the belief that the Jewish people must be restored to the promised land in fulfillment of biblical prophecy before the Second Coming of Christ.[14]:3 Christian restorationism is generally used to describe the 19th century movement based on this belief, though the term Christian Zionism is more commonly used to describe later forms. It is also used to describe a form of postmillennialism developed during the later half of the 20th century, which was influential among a number of charismatic groups and the British new church movement.[15]:57-58

Historical models

The restoration ideal has been interpreted and applied in a variety of ways.[1]:635 Four general historical models can be identified based on the aspect of early Christianity that the individuals and groups involved were attempting to restore.[1]:635 These are:

  • Ecclesiastical Primitivism;[1]:635
  • Ethical Primitivism;[1]:635
  • Experiential Primitivism;[1]:635 and
  • Gospel Primitivisim.[1]:635

Ecclesiastical primitivism focuses on restoring the ecclesiastical practices of the early church.[1]:635 Huldrych Zwingli, John Calvin and the Puritans all advocated ecclesiastical primitivism.[1]:635, 636 The strongest advocate of ecclesiastical primitivism in the US was Alexander Campbell.[1]:636

Ethical primitivism focuses on restoring the ethical norms and commitment to discipleship of the early church.[1]:636 The Anabaptists, Barton W. Stone and the Holiness Movement are examples of this form of restorationism.[1]:636, 637

Experiential primitivism focuses on restoring the direct communication with God and the experience of the Holy Spirit seen in the early church.[1]:637 Examples include the Latter Day Saint movement of Joseph Smith, Jr. and Pentecostalism.[1]:637, 638

Gospel primitivism may be best seen in the theology of Martin Luther.[1]:638 Luther was not, in the strictest sense, a restorationist because he saw human effort to restore the church as works righteousness and was sharply critical of other Reformation leaders who were attempting to do so.[1]:638 On the other hand, he was convinced that the gospel message had been obscured by the Roman Catholic Church of the time.[1]:638 He also rejected church traditions and insisted on scripture as the sole authority for the church.[5]:23

These models are not mutually exclusive, but overlap; for example, the Pentecostal movement sees a clear link between ethical primitivism and experiential primitivism.[1]:635, 637

Middle Ages

According to Barbara Tuchman, beginning in about 1470 a succession of Popes focused on the acquisition of money, their role in Italian politics as rulers of the papal states and power politics within the college of cardinals.[16] The restorationist movement [17] at the time was centered on movements that wanted to renew the church, such as the Lollards, Hussites, and Brethren of the Common Life.[16]

While these pre-reformation movements did presage and sometimes discussed a break with Rome and papal authority, they also provoked restorationist movements within the church, such as the councils of Constance [18] and Basle,[19] which were held in the first half of the 15th century.

Preachers at the time regularly harangued delegates to these conferences regarding simony, venality, lack of chastity and celibacy, and the holding of multiple benefices.[20] The lack of success of the restorationist movements led, arguably, to the Protestant Reformation.[16]

Protestant Reformation

Huldrych Zwingli as depicted by Hans Asper in an oil portrait from 1531; Kunstmuseum Winterthur.

The Protestant Reformation came about through an impulse to repair the Church and return it to its original biblical structure, belief, and practice,[21] and was motivated by a sense that "the medieval church had allowed its traditions to clutter the way to God with fees and human regulations and thus to subvert the gospel of Christ."[5]:21 At the heart of the Reformation was an emphasis on the principle of "scripture alone" (sola scriptura).[5]:22-23 As a result the authority of church tradition, which had taken practical precedence over scripture, was rejected.[5]:22

The Reformation was not a monolithic movement, but consisted of at least three identifiable sub-currents.[5]:21 One was centered in Germany, one was centered in Switzerland, and the third was centered in England.[5]:21 While these movements shared come common concerns, each had its own particular emphasis.[5]:21 The Lutheran approach can be described as one of "reformation," seeking "to reform and purify the historic, institutional church while at the same time preserving as much of the tradition as possible."[5]:21 In contrast, the Reformed approach can be described as one of "restoration," seeking "to restore the essence and form of the primitive church based on biblical precedent and example; tradition received scant respect."[5]:21 While Luther focused on the question "How can we find forgiveness of sins?", the early Reformed theologians turned to the Bible for patterns that could be used to replace traditional forms and practices.[5]:24 Heinrich Bullinger and Martin Bucer in particular emphasized the restoration of Biblical patterns.[5]:29-31 John Calvin reflected an intermediate position between that of Luther and Reformed theologians such as Zwingli, stressing Biblical precedents for church governance, but as a tool to more effectively proclaim the gospel rather than as ends in themselves.[5]:291,22

Luther opposed efforts to restore "biblical forms and structures,"[5]:112 because he saw human efforts to restore the church as works righteousness.[1]:638 He did seek the "marks of the true church," but was concerned that by focusing on forms and patterns could lead to the belief that by "restoring outward forms alone one has restored the essence."[5]:117 Thus, Luther believed that restoring the gospel was the first step in renewing the church, rather than restoring biblical forms and patterns.[5]:118 In this sense, Luther can be described as a gospel restorationist, even though his approach was very different from that of other restorationists.[1]:638[5]:121

Protestant groups have generally accepted history as having some "jurisdiction" in Christian faith and life; the question has been the extent of that jurisdiction.[22]:5 A commitment to history and primitivism are not mutually exclusive; while some groups attempt to give full jurisdiction to the primitive church, for others the apostolic "first times" are given only partial jurisdiction.[22]:5,6

First Great Awakening

During the First Great Awakening, a movement developed among the Baptists known as Separate Baptists. Two themes of this movement were the rejection of creeds and "freedom in the Spirit."[5]:65 The Separate Baptists saw scripture as the "perfect rule" for the church.[5]:66 However, while they turned to the Bible for a structural pattern for the church, they did not insist on complete agreement on the details of that pattern.[5]:67 This group originated in New England, but was especially strong in the South where the emphasis on a biblical pattern for the church grew stronger.[5]:67 In the last half of the 18th century it spread to the western frontier of Kentucky and Tennessee, where the Stone and Campbell movements would later take root.[5]:68 The development of the Separate Baptists in the southern frontier helped prepare the ground for the Restoration Movement, as the membership of both the Stone and Campbell groups drew heavily from among the ranks of the Separate Baptists.[5]:67 Separate Baptist restorationism also contributed to the development of the Landmark Baptists in the same area at about the same time as the Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement. Under the leadership of James Robinson Graves, this group looked for a precise blueprint for the primitive church, believing that any deviation from that blueprint would keep one from being part of the true church.[5]:68

Groups arising during the Second Great Awakening

1839 Methodist camp meeting, watercolor from the Second Great Awakening.

The ideal of restoring a "primitive" form of Christianity grew in popularity in the U.S. after the American Revolution.[5]:89-94 This desire to restore a purer form of Christianity played a role in the development of many groups during this period, known as the Second Great Awakening, including the Mormons, Baptists and Shakers.[5]:89 Several factors made the restoration sentiment particularly appealing during this time period.[5]:90-94

  • To immigrants in the early 19th century, the land in America seemed pristine, edenic and undefiled - "the perfect place to recover pure, uncorrupted and original Christianity" - and the tradition-bound European churches seemed out of place in this new setting.[5]:90
  • The new American democracy seemed equally fresh and pure, a restoration of the kind of just government that God intended.[5]:90,91
  • Many believed that the new nation would usher in a new millennial age.[5]:91,92
  • Independence from the traditional churches of Europe was appealing to many Americans who were enjoying a new political independence.[5]:92,93
  • A primitive faith based on the Bible alone promised a way to sidestep the competing claims of all the many denominations available and find assurance of being right without the security of an established national church.[5]:93

Camp meetings fueled the Second Great Awakening, which served as an "organizing process" that created "a religious and educational infrastructure" across the trans-Appalachian frontier that encompassed social networks, a religious journalism that provided mass communication, and church related colleges.[23]:368

American Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement

Thomas Campbell

The American Restoration Movement aimed to restore the church and sought "the unification of all Christians in a single body patterned after the church of the New Testament."[6]:54 While the Restoration Movement developed from several independent efforts to go back to apostolic Christianity, but two groups that independently developed similar approaches to the Christian faith were particularly important to its development.[24]:27-32 The first, led by Barton W. Stone began at Cane Ridge, Bourbon County, Kentucky and called themselves simply Christians. The second began in western Pennsylvania and Virginia (now West Virginia) and was led by Thomas Campbell and his son, Alexander Campbell; they used the name Disciples of Christ.

Barton W. Stone

The Campbell movement was characterized by a "systematic and rational reconstruction" of the early church, in contrast to the Stone movement which was characterized by radical freedom and lack of dogma.[5]:106-108 Despite their differences, the two movements agreed on several critical issues.[5]:108 Both saw restoring apostolic Christianity as a means of hastening the millennium.[5]:108 Both also saw restoring the early church as a route to Christian freedom.[5]:108 And, both believed that unity among Christians could be achieved by using apostolic Christianity as a model.[5]:108 They were united, among other things, in the belief that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; that Christians should celebrate the Lord's Supper on the first day of each week; and that baptism of adult believers by immersion in water is a necessary condition for salvation. Because the founders wanted to abandon all denominational labels, they used the biblical names for the followers of Jesus that they found in the Bible.[25]:27 The commitment of both movements to restoring the early church and to uniting Christians was enough to motivate a union between many in the two movements.[26]:8,9

With the merger, there was the challenge of what to call the new movement. Clearly, finding a Biblical, non-sectarian name was important. Stone wanted to continue to use the name "Christians." Alexander Campbell insisted upon "Disciples of Christ". As a result, both names were used.[25]:27-28[27]:125

Alexander Campbell

The Restoration Movement began during, and was greatly influenced by, the Second Great Awakening.[23]:368 While the Campbells resisted what they saw as the spiritual manipulation of the camp meetings, the Southern phase of the Awakening "was an important matrix of Barton Stone's reform movement" and shaped the evangelistic techniques used by both Stone and the Campbells.[23]:368

The Restoration Movement has seen several divisions, resulting in multiple separate groups. Three modern groups originating in the U.S. claim the Stone-Campbell movement as their roots: Churches of Christ, Christian churches and churches of Christ, and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Some see divisions in the movement as the result of the tension between the goals of restoration and ecumenism, with the churches of Christ and the Christian churches and churches of Christ resolving the tension by stressing restoration while the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) resolved the tension by stressing ecumenism.[28]:383 Non-U.S. churches associated with this movement include the Churches of Christ in Australia and the Evangelical Christian Church in Canada.[29]


John Thomas

Dr. John Thomas (April 12, 1805 - March 5, 1871), was a devout convert to the Restoration Movement after a shipwreck at sea on his emigration to America brought to focus his inadequate understanding of the Bible, and what would happen to him at death. This awareness caused him to devote his life to the study of the Bible and he promoted interpretations of it which were at variance with the mainstream Christian views the Restoration Movement held. In particular he questioned the nature of man. He held a number of debates with one of the leaders of the movement Alexander Campbell on these topics and eventually agreed to stop because there was no practical merits to his personal beliefs and it had the potential to create division. He later determined that salvation was dependant upon having the theology he had developed for baptism to be effective for salvation and published an "Confession and Abjuration" of his previous position on March 3rd 1847. He was also rebaptised.

Following his abjuration and rebaptism he went to England on a preaching tour in June 1848 including Reformation Movement churches,[30] Although his abjuration and his disfellowship in America were reported in the British churches magazines[31] certain churches in the movement still allowed him to present his views. Thomas also gained a hearing in Unitarian and Adventist churches through his promotion of the concept of "independence of thought" with regards to interpreting the Bible.

Through a process of creed setting and division the Christadelphian movement emerged with a distinctive set of doctrines incorporating Adventism, anti-trinitarianism, the belief that God is a "substantial and corporeal" being, objection to military service, a lay-membership with full participation by all members, and other doctrines consistent with the spirit of the Restorationist movement.[32]

One consequence of objection to military service was the adoption of the name Christadelphians to distinguish this small community of believers and to be granted exemption from military service in the American Civil War.[32]

Latter Day Saints

Joseph Smith, Jr.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) or "Mormons" teach that Joseph Smith, Jr. was chosen to restore the original organization established by Jesus, now "in its fullness", rather than to reform the church. This belief is no longer shared by the second largest breakoff of the Latter Day Saint Movement, the Community of Christ (formerly The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints).

As Allen and Hughes put it, "[n]o group used the language of 'restoration' more consistently and more effectively than did the [Latter Day Saints] ... early Mormons seemed obsessed with restoring the ancient church of God."[5]:94 According to Smith, God the Father and Jesus appeared to him and instructed him that the creeds of the churches of the day "were an abomination in his sight" and that through him, God would restore (or re-establish) the true church.[33] Smith taught that the Great Apostasy was complete and required a full restoration of the original church. This included the Aaronic priesthood, the Melchizedek priesthood, and the full church structure consisting of prophets, apostles, evangelists and teachers. Joseph Smith founded The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in 1830, serving as the first prophet believed to be appointed by Jesus in the "latter days".

Smith published the Book of Mormon, which LDS members believe was translated from Golden Plates as directed by the angel Moroni. Members of the Latter Day Saint movement believe that the Book of Mormon contains a record of the original church of Jesus in the Americas between about 600 BC and AD 421. In addition, Smith claimed that he received the true authority or priesthood directly from those who held it anciently, namely John the Baptist, who returned as an angel and gave him and Oliver Cowdery the authority to baptize. Saint Peter, Saint James and Saint John, the Apostles, returned as angels and gave Smith and Cowdery the authority to lead the church just as they had done anciently.

The church was organized on April 6, 1830 in New York State. Originally the church was unofficially called the "Church of Christ". Four years later, in April 1834 it was also referred to as the "Church of Latter Day Saints" to differentiate the church of this era from that of the New Testament. Then, in April 1838, the full name was stated as the "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints".[34]

Some among the Churches of Christ have attributed the restorationist character of the Latter Day Saints movement to the influence of a preacher, Sidney Rigdon, who was associated with the Campbell movement in Ohio but left it and became a close friend of Joseph Smith.[5]:95[35]:544,545 Neither the Mormons nor the early Restoration Movement leaders invented the idea of "restoration"; it was a popular theme of the time that had developed independently of both, and Mormonism and the Restoration Movement represent different expressions of that common theme.[5]:95[35]:544,545 The two groups had very different approaches to the restoration ideal.[35]:545 The Campbell movement combined it with Enlightenment rationalism, "precluding emotionalism, spiritualism, or any other phenomena that could not be sustained by rational appeals to the biblical text."[35]:545 The Latter Day Saints combined it with "the spirit of nineteenth-century Romanticism" and, as a result, "never sought to recover the forms and structures of the ancient church as ends in themselves" but "sought to restore the golden age, recorded in both Old Testament and New Testament, when God broke into human history and communed directly with humankind."[35]:545


Adventism is a Christian eschatological belief that looks for the imminent Second Coming of Jesus to inaugurate the Kingdom of God. This view involves the belief that Jesus will return to receive those who have died in Christ and those who are awaiting his return, and that they must be ready when he returns. Adventists are considered to be both restorationists and conservative Protestants[citation needed].

Millerites and Sabbatarianism

William Miller

The Millerites were the most well-known family of the Adventist movements. They emphasized apocalyptic teachings anticipating the end of the world, and did not look for the unity of Christendom but busied themselves in preparation for Christ's return. Millerites sought to restore a prophetic immediacy and uncompromising biblicism that they believed had once existed but had long been rejected by mainstream Protestant and Catholic churches. From the Millerites descended the Seventh-day Adventists and the Advent Christian Church.

Seventh-day Adventists

The Seventh-day Adventist Church grew out of the Adventist movement, in particular the Millerites. The Seventh-day Adventist Church is the largest of several Adventist groups which arose from the Millerite movement of the 1840s in upstate New York, a phase of the Second Great Awakening. Important to the Seventh-day Adventist movement is a belief in progressive revelation,[36] teaching that the Christian life and testimony is intended to be typified by the Spirit of Prophecy, as explained in the writings of Ellen G. White.

Much of the theology of the Seventh-day Adventist Church corresponds to Protestant Christian teachings such as the Trinity and the infallibility of Scripture. Distinctive teachings include the unconscious state of the dead and the doctrine of an investigative judgment. The church is also known for its emphasis on diet and health, its holistic understanding of the person, its promotion of religious liberty, and its conservative principles and lifestyle.

Worldwide Church of God

The Worldwide Church of God arose from the Seventh Day churches. The personal ministry of Herbert W. Armstrong became the Radio Church of God, which became the Worldwide Church of God. It later splintered into many other churches and groups when the Worldwide Church of God disassociated itself with the Restoration movements and made major attempts to join the Protestant branch of Christianity.

Advent Christian Church

The Advent Christian Church is unaffiliated with Seventh-day Adventism, but considers itself the second "of six Christian denominations that grew out of the ministry of William Miller".[37] As a "first-day" body of Adventist Christians established by The Advent Christian General Conference in 1860, the church's beliefs include "conditional immortality" and a form of "soul sleep".

Advent Christians such as George Storrs and Jonas Wendell influenced the Bible Student movement.

Other groups originating in the 19th century

Bible Students (Jehovah's Witnesses)

Charles Russell in 1911

In the 1870s, a Bible study group led by Charles Taze Russell formed into what was eventually called the Bible Student movement. Russell's congregations did not consider him to be the founder of a new religion,[38] but that he helped in restoring true Christianity from the apostasy that Jesus and the Apostle Paul foretold. They believed that other Churches departed in a Great Apostasy from the original faith on major points, and that the original faith could be restored through a generally literal interpretation of the Bible and a sincere commitment to follow its teachings. They focused on several key doctrinal points that they considered a return to "primitive Christianity",[39] derived from their interpretation of the Bible, including a rejection of trinitarianism, the immortality of the soul, and the definition of Hell as a place of eternal torment;[40] active proselytization; strict neutrality in political affairs;[41] abstinence from warfare;[42] and a belief in the imminent manifestation of the Kingdom of God (or World to Come) on Earth.

Jehovah's Witnesses emerged as a distinct religious organization, maintaining control of Russell's Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society and other corporations. They continued to develop doctrines that they considered to be an improved restoration of first century Christianity, including increased emphasis on the use of Jehovah as God's personal name.[43]

Plymouth Brethren

John Nelson Darby

The Plymouth Brethren is a conservative, Evangelical, restorationist movement whose history can be traced to Dublin, Ireland, in the late 1820s.[44][45] The title, "The Brethren", is one that many of their number are comfortable with, in that the Bible designates all believers as "brethren". Christians meeting in "Brethren assemblies" are commonly perceived as being divided into at least two branches, the "Open Brethren" and the "Exclusive Brethren".[46]

The Plymouth Brethren movement began in Dublin in around 1827 and soon spread from Ireland to Britain. The first English assembly was in Plymouth where the movement became well known. Brethren assemblies diffused throughout Europe and beyond.[47] Leonard Strong led the formation about 1836 of assemblies in British Guiana among the slaves.[48] In Dublin, more than one group of believers met separately around 1827, and for some time were unknown to each other.[49] These believers included John Nelson Darby and Anthony Norris Groves. They were dubbed "brethren" because of their practice of calling each other "brother" instead of the titles favored by mainstream denominations.

The first meeting in England was held in December 1831[50] in Plymouth. It was organised primarily by George Wigram, Benjamin Wills Newton and John Nelson Darby.[51] The movement soon spread throughout the UK. By 1845, the assembly in Plymouth had over 1,000 souls in fellowship.[52] They became known as "the brethren from Plymouth", and were soon simply called "Plymouth Brethren." The term "Darbyites" was also used, although it was uncommon and referred mainly to the "Exclusive" branch. Many within the movement refuse to accept any name other than "Christian."

By 1848, divergence of practice and belief led to the development of two separate branches. The rift was caused primarily by a difference of opinions between John Nelson Darby and Benjamin Wills Newton in regards to eschatology. Despite more divisions, assemblies are still often generalized into two main categories: "Open Brethren" and "Exclusive Brethren".

20th century groups

Charismatic Movement

British New Church Movement

During the Charismatic Movement of the 1960s and 1970s, which focused on the transformation of the individual, some leaders formed what has become known as the Charismatic Restorationist Movement. These leaders, of whom Arthur Wallis, David Lillie and Cecil Cousen were at the forefront, focused on the nature of the church and shared a distinctive view that authentic church order was being restored to the whole church. This authentic church order centred on what is referred to as the "fivefold ministries", as listed in Ephesians 4:11: Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Teachers and Pastors. Although the Charismatic Movement brought the Pentecostal gifts to the denominational churches, these restorationists considered denominationalism unbiblical, and shared a conviction that God would cause the church to be directly organized and empowered by the holy spirit.

The movement has thousands of adherents worldwide, and notable church networks include Newfrontiers led by Terry Virgo, Salt and Light Ministries International led by Barney Coombs and (arguably) Ichthus Christian Fellowship led by Faith and Roger Forster.

Shepherding Movement

The British leaders of charismatic restorationism mutually recognised a parallel movement in the United States, centered on the Fort Lauderdale Five; Derek Prince, Don Basham, Bob Mumford, Charles Simpson and Ern Baxter. This movement became known as the Shepherding Movement and was the subject of significant controversy in the mid-1970s. The movement left a significant legacy through its influence on contemporary ministries International Churches of Christ, Maranatha Campus Ministries and Great Commission International.

Apostolic-Prophetic Movement

More recently another form of charismatic restorationism with a similar recognition of the apostolic office has emerged in the form of the Apostolic-Prophetic Movement, centered on the Kansas City Prophets. Leading proponents of the movement include C. Peter Wagner, Rick Joyner, Mike Bickle and Lou Engle.

Church of God (Restoration)

The Church of God (Restoration) is a Christian denomination that was founded in the 1980s by Daniel (Danny) Layne.[53] In a booklet written by Mr. Layne in the early 1980s, he claimed to be an ex-heroin addict who spent years dealing drugs and living a life of crime and sin on the streets of San Francisco. Layne was originally raised in the Church of God (Anderson), where his father was a minister. Layne began preaching in the Church of God (Guthrie, OK) after his conversion.

One tenet of this group is that they are ordained by both prophecy and divine command to restore the church of God as it was in the Book of Acts.[54] Most of Daniel Layne's beliefs concerning the book of Revelation originated from some ministers who had left the Church of God (Anderson) reformation movement thirty or so years earlier. This teaching is upheld by the official eschatology, which is a form of church historicism. This Church of God (Restoration)[55] teaches that the 7th Trumpet in the book of the Revelation began to sound around the year 1980 when Daniel Layne was saved, alleging that there was a general discontent among many of its current adherents that were in various Churches of God at that time. A variation of this "7th Seal message"[56] had been taught in other Churches of God for approximately 50 years prior to this point.

Iglesia ni Cristo

Iglesia ni Cristo began in the Philippines and was incorporated by Felix Y. Manalo on July 27, 1914.[57][58] The church professes to be the reestablishment of the original church founded by Jesus Christ and teaches that the original church was apostatized. It does not teach the doctrine of the Trinity or the divinity of Jesus.[59][60] Iglesia ni Cristo does not subscribe to the term Restoration or claim to be a part of the Restoration Movement.

Members Church of God International

The Members of the Church of God International began in the Philippines and was incorporated by Bro. Eli Soriano on March 30, 1977. The church professes to be the continuation of the church founded by Jesus Christ in Jerusalem. They reject the doctrine of the Trinity and various "added" doctrines.

Local churches

Watchman Nee

The local churches are a Christian movement influenced by the teachings of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee and associated with the Living Stream Ministry publishing house. Its members see themselves as separate from other Christian groups, denominations, and movements, part of what they sometimes call "the Lord's recovery". One of the defining features of the local churches is their adherence to the principle that all Christians in a city or locality are automatically members of the one church in that locality. Another defining feature is the lack of an official organization or official name for the movement. The local churches believe that to take a name would be disrespectful and insulting to the name of Jesus. To distinguish themselves, each local church refers to itself only as "the church in [locality]".[61]


Jesuism is the personal philosophy encompassing the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth and commitment or adherence to those teachings.[62] Jesuism is distinct from and sometimes opposed to mainstream Christianity, the organized religion based on the Christian Bible.[63] In particular, Jesusism is distinguished from the writings attributed to Paul of Tarsus and from modern Church doctrine.[64][65] Jesusism is not necessarily critical of the Christian Bible or Church doctrine, but rather it does not affirm their authority over the teachings of Jesus. As a philosophy, Jesusism is characterized as naturalistic and rationalist, rejecting the conflict between faith and science.[66]

See also

Christian Denominations
in English-speaking countries

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American Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement

Mormonism (Latter Day Saint movement)



17th century Christian denominations in Britain with some similar views:


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  2. ^ a b c d e Gerard Mannion and Lewis S. Mudge, The Routledge companion to the Christian church, Routledge, 2008, ISBN 0415374200, 9780415374200, 684 pages
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  4. ^ Alternative Religions: A Sociological Introduction, Stephen J. Hunt, pub 2003, Ashgate Publishing, Ltd; ISBN 0754634108, pg 82,83
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq C. Leonard Allen and Richard T. Hughes, "Discovering Our Roots: The Ancestry of the Churches of Christ," Abilene Christian University Press, 1988, ISBN 0-89112-006-8
  6. ^ a b Rubel Shelly, I Just Want to Be a Christian, 20th Century Christian, Nashville, Tennessee 1984, ISBN 0-89098-021-7
  7. ^ David Lynn Holmes, The faiths of the founding fathers, Oxford University Press US, 2006, ISBN 0195300920, 9780195300925, 225 pages
  8. ^ Erwin Fahlbusch and Geoffrey William Bromiley, translated by Geoffrey William Bromiley, The encyclopedia of Christianity, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2005, 952 pages, ISBN 0802824161, 9780802824165, entry on Restoration Movements
  9. ^ Max Turner, “Ecclesiology In The Major ‘Apostolic’ Restorationist Churches In The United Kingdom,” Vox Evangelica 19 (1989): 83-108.
  10. ^ Elaine Milley, "Modern Theology of Restorationism,", Masters Thesis, Theological Studies Department, Tyndale College and Seminary
  11. ^ Edith Waldvogel Blumhofer, Restoring the faith: the Assemblies of God, Pentecostalism, and American culture, University of Illinois Press, 1993, ISBN 0252062817, 9780252062810, 281 pages
  12. ^ Stephen Hunt, Alternative religions: a sociological introduction, Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2003, ISBN 0754634108, 9780754634102, 268 pages
  13. ^ See for example Cassandra Yacovazzi, The Crisis of Sectarianism: Restorationist, Catholic, and Mormon Converts in Antebellum America, Masters Thesis, Department of History, Baylor University, May 2009
  14. ^ Anouar Majid, "The Political Geography of Holiness", American Literary History, April 17, 2009
  15. ^ Stephen Hunt, Christian millenarianism: from the early church to Waco, Indiana University Press, 2001, ISBN 0253214912, 9780253214911, 258 pages
  16. ^ a b c Barbara W. Tuchman (1984). The march of folly. New York, U.S.A.: Alfred A. Knopf. ISBN 0-394-72777-1. 
  17. ^ Barbara W. Tuchman (1978). A Distant Mirror. Knopf. ISBN 0-394-40026-7. 
  18. ^ Council of Constance (1414). "Council of Constance". Retrieved 2008-04-08. 
  19. ^ Council of Basle (1431-1449). "Council of Basle". Catholic Encyclopedia 1907. Retrieved 2008-04-08. 
  20. ^ John M. Todd (1971). The Reformation. New York. 
  21. ^ Richard Hooker. "Martin Luther, The Freedom of a Christian". Retrieved 2007-03-08. 
  22. ^ a b Richard T. Hughes (editor), The American Quest for the Primitive Church, University of Illinois Press, 1988, 292 pages, ISBN 0252060296
  23. ^ a b c Douglas Allen Foster and Anthony L. Dunnavant, The Encyclopedia of the Stone-Campbell Movement: Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Christian Churches/Churches of Christ, Churches of Christ, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2004, ISBN 0802838987, 9780802838988, 854 pages, entry on Great Awakenings
  24. ^ Monroe E. Hawley, Redigging the Wells: Seeking Undenominational Christianity, Quality Publications, Abilene, Texas, 1976, ISBN 0-89137-512-0 (paper), ISBN 0-89137-513-9 (cloth)
  25. ^ a b McAlister, Lester G. and Tucker, William E. (1975), Journey in Faith: A History of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) - St. Louis, Chalice Press, ISBN 9780827217034
  26. ^ Richard Thomas Hughes and R. L. Roberts, The Churches of Christ, 2nd Edition, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2001, ISBN 0313233128, 9780313233128, 345 pages
  27. ^ Douglas Allen Foster and Anthony L. Dunnavant, The Encyclopedia of the Stone-Campbell Movement: Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Christian Churches/Churches of Christ, Churches of Christ, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2004, ISBN 0802838987, 9780802838988, 854 pages, entry on Campbell, Alexander
  28. ^ Leroy Garrett, The Stone-Campbell Movement: The Story of the American Restoration Movement, College Press, 2002, ISBN 0899009093, 9780899009094, 573 pages
  29. ^ Sydney E. Ahlstrom, A Religious History of the American People (2004)
  30. ^ Encyclopedia of new religions: new religious movements, sects and Christopher Hugh Partridge - 2004 "In June 1848, he returned to England and was well received in Nottingham and had further speaking engagements in Derby"
  31. ^ The British Millennial Harbinger and Family Magazine ed. James Wallis July 1848 cover, October 1848 in full
  32. ^ a b "Our History". Williamsburg Christadelphians. Retrieved 2008-04-03. 
  33. ^ (See Pearl of Great Price: Joseph Smith - History: Chapter 1:19)
  34. ^ See The Doctrine and Covenants, Section 115:4
  35. ^ a b c d e Douglas Allen Foster and Anthony L. Dunnavant, The Encyclopedia of the Stone-Campbell Movement: Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Christian Churches/Churches of Christ, Churches of Christ, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2004, ISBN 0802838987, 9780802838988, 854 pages, entry on Mormonism
  36. ^ "Seventh-day Adventist Doctrines and Progressive Revelation". 
  37. ^ Midnight and Morning: The Millerite Movement and the Founding of the Advent Christian Church, 1831-1860 by Clyde E. Hewitt (Venture Books, 1984), as cited by "The Advent Christian Church: An Introduction",
  38. ^ Jehovah's Witnesses – Proclaimers of God's Kingdom. chap. 31 p. 707 "A biography of Russell, published shortly after his death, explained: “He was not the founder of a new religion, and never made such claim. He revived the great truths taught by Jesus and the Apostles,"
  39. ^ "Be Joyful Harvest Workers!". The Watchtower: 11. 15 July 2001. 
  40. ^ Reasoning From The Scriptures. Watchtower. 1988. p. 169. 
  41. ^ "Militarism and Navalism - How Long?" by Charles Taze Russell, Watch Tower, January 1, 1916, page 5, "We see wrongs perpetrated in every direction; Divine Laws entirely set aside by these so-called Christian nations--Christendom. ...God's nation--is in the world, but not of it. Its members cannot be loyal to the prince of this world [Satan], and to the Prince of Glory, both. ...Indeed, we entreat all the Lord's dear people to remember that there are but the two great Masters; and that we have enlisted on the side of our God and His Christ, and are to prove loyal to these in the midst of a crooked and perverse people, blinded by the god of this world and filled with his spirit of pride, boastfulness, animosity, hatred and strife. It should be our desire to be neutral as between these contending factions of Satan's empire. ...Let us never forget our neutrality. Let us be just toward all, kind, generous. Let us avoid as far as possible any discussion of these matters with those who would not be able to understand and appreciate our position."[italics added]Retrieved 2010-12-20
  42. ^ "Bible Students and the Future", Watch Tower, April 1, 1915, page 101, "In all the Continental Armies our Brethren, known as Bible Students, are to be found--not willingly, but by conscription. ...Before the war we recommended to the Brethren that in the event of hostilities they should, so far as possible, if drafted, request positions in the hospital service or in the supplies department, where they could serve the Government efficiently; whereas, if they were ordered to the firing line, they would not be obliged to shoot to kill. We have reasons for believing that these suggestions are being followed... We have exhorted the brethren to strict neutrality so far as the combatants are concerned, whatever might be their natural inclination through accident of birth or association."Retrieved 2010-12-20
  43. ^ The Watchtower, April 15, 1983, pg 29, "Why is God’s name, Jehovah, missing from most modern translations of the Bible? Superstition that developed among tradition-bound Jews caused them to avoid pronouncing God’s personal name, Jehovah. This has contributed to worldwide ignorance regarding the divine name."
  44. ^ Abigail, Shawn (June 2006). "What is the history of the 'Brethren'?". "Plymouth Brethren" FAQ. Retrieved 12 June 2009. 
  45. ^ Mackay, Harold (1981). Assembly Distinctives. Scarborough, Ontario: Everyday Publications. ISBN 978-0-88873-049-7. OCLC 15948378. [page needed]
  46. ^ Steidl, Grant (c. 1988). "Schematic Diagram of Brethren History". Philip H. Van Amerongen. Retrieved 12 June 2009. 
  47. ^ Neatby, William Blair (1902). A History of the Plymouth Brethren (2nd ed.). London: Hodder and Stoughton. p. 24. OCLC 11627558. 
  48. ^ Stunt, T. C. F. (1984). "Leonard Strong: The motives and experiences of early missionary work in British Guiana". Christian Brethren Review 34: 95–105. 
  49. ^ Bellet, John Gifford; et al.. Interesting Reminiscences of the Early History of "Brethren" in and around 1827. Retrieved 12 June 2009. 
  50. ^ Burnham, Jonathan D. (2004). "The Emergence of the Plymouth Brethren". A Story of Conflict: The Controversial Relationship Between Benjamin Wills Newton and John Nelson Darby. Carlisle: Paternoster Press. ISBN 978-1-84227-191-9. OCLC 56336926. [page needed]
  51. ^ Livingstone, Elizabeth A. (2000). The Concise Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-280057-2. OCLC 46858944. [page needed]
  52. ^ Noel, Napoleon (1936). The History of the Brethren. Denver: Knapp. p. 46. OCLC 2807272. 
  53. ^ Zion's Voice
  54. ^ Advanced Bible Search
  55. ^ The Church of God, Official Website of The Church of God
  56. ^ "Worshipping Christ". Archived from the original on 2007-10-07. 
  57. ^ Sanders, Albert J., "An Appraisal of the Iglesia ni Cristo," in Studies in Philippine Church History, ed. Anderson, Gerald H. (Cornell University Press, 1969)
  58. ^ Tipon, Emmanuel (Jul 28, 2004)."Iglesia Ni Cristo celebrates 90th anniversary". Retrieved August 19, 2005
  59. ^ Shepherd, Harvey (July 30, 1994). "Millions mark Church of Christ's 80th anniversary; Founded in the Philippines by Brother Manalo". The Gazette (Montreal). pp. H.7. Retrieved 2006-09-03.  (as cited by ProQuest)
  60. ^ Aromin, Rubin D. "God's Own Special People", God's Message (Manila: Iglesia ni Kristo, July 2001) cited by Student621. Bible Students Page at[dead link]. Retrieved July 6, 2005.
  61. ^ "Local Churches Beliefs". 
  62. ^ Bouck White. The Call of the Carpenter. USA: Doubleday, Page & Company, 1911. p.314.
  63. ^ Owen J. Flanagan. The Really Hard Problem: Meaning in a Material World. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2007. p.36
  64. ^ Edgar Dewitt Jones. Paul the Stranger. Abilene: Voice of Jesus, 2003 (online transcription).
  65. ^ Douglas J. Del Tondo. Jesus' Words Only. San Diego: Infinity Publishing, 2006. p.19
  66. ^ Owen J. Flanagan. The Really Hard Problem: Meaning in a Material World. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2007. p.263

Further reading

  • Birdsall Richard D. "The Second Great Awakening and the New England Social Order." Church History 39 (1970): 345-64.
  • Cross, Whitney, R. The Burned-Over District: The Social and Intellectual History of Enthusiastic Religion in Western New York, 1800–1850.
  • Zdero, Rad (2004). The Global House Church Movement. Pasadena: William Carey Library Publishers. ISBN 978-0-87808-374-9. 
  • Zdero, Rad (2007). NEXUS: The World House Church Movement Reader. Pasadena: William Carey Library Publishers. ISBN 978-0-87808-342-8. 
  • Zdero, Rad (2011). Letters to the House Church Movement: Real Letters, Real People, Real Issues. Xulon Press. ISBN 978-1-61379-022-9. 

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