Vol.IV No.IV Pg.3
May 1967 (note this is the 2nd May 1967)

Is "The Church" Restored?

Robert F. Turner

"Restoration" is a prominent word in Mormon (Latter Day Saints) nomenclature. They teach concerning the "falling away" (the "Great Apostasy") Reformation, And "Restoration." One of their books, "Restoration of the Gospel" by O.J.P. Widtsoe, makes authority and "the church" the two things needing restoration; and makes Joseph Smith, with his accompanying priesthood and writings, the means by which this restoration takes place.

The true church consists of two elements: the truth, and those who obey and abide in that truth. Mormons react as though the truth itself had been lost; "...there are many plain and precious things taken away from the book--" (1 Nephi 13:24-f.) Plates, visions, laying on of hands, etc. are conjured by which the truth may be restored. But the whole fabric of their cloth, warp and woof, is false. The "unbroken succession" of human instruments is a fallacy of the very apostate church the Mormon's decry; and the Sinaitic mms., found about 15 yrs. after the Bk. of Mormon was written, prove Jospeh Smith an impostor. These mms., dating to ca. 320 A.D. and obviously copied from much earlier mms.; vindicate our present Bible text, and offer no comfort whatsoever to Smith's claim as a "restorer."

Of the two elements making a true church, truth needs no restoration. It "liveth and abideth forever" (1 Pet. 1:23). But people need restoring. We change, in faith and practice, and must be brought back to the way of the Lord. Paul wrote that some (people) would depart from the faith---the delivered truth. (1 Tim. 4:1; Jude 3) The church (in its universal aspect) is made up of people---assembled by trope only. It is a collective consideration of all saints, but authorizes no collective action; i.e., does not constitute a functional unit. Christ "shepherds" His flock, ruling in the heart of each saint distributively. (Cf. Eph. 5:26) This "church," being the saints ideally considered, certainly needs no "restoration" for it is "glorious" without spot.

The local church is sometimes considered distributively (each saint viewed separately) but it is also considered collectively-- capable of collective action. It has overseers, servants, hears, speaks, sends, etc. Now these saints may so act as to be unworthy of Christ's name, and He will "remove thy candlestick" (Rev. 2:5) but "restoration" can only be achieved by turning people back to God. The local church acts rightly when saints, acting collectively, serve the Lord according to His will. When saints act collectively in something contrary to Christ's will, the local church acts amiss. But I know of no way to consider "church" apart from "people""---so I know of no way to "restore" something that has no existence.

What did the Restoration restore?? It restored, in the hearts of people, proper respect for the authority of the Lord, as expressed in His unchanging Word. With such an attitude some people hungered and thirsted for righteousness, and were filled. They sought truth, and found it. With such an attitude they became followers of Christ. They remain Christ's church only so long as they keep this spirit.