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The Church, the Falling Away, and the Restoration

The Church, the Falling Away, and the Restoration
Title: The Church, the Falling Away, and the Restoration
Release Date: 2019-03-03
Type book: Text
Copyright Status: Public domain in the USA.
Date added: 27 March 2019
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The Church, the Falling Away, and the Restoration


Editor of
Handbook on Baptism,” “Queries and Answers,” “Salvation of Sin,” “What is the New Testament Church?

Publisher logo

Nashville, Tenn.

By F. L. Rowe

Gospel Advocate Co., Owner
Nashville, Tenn.


Preface 3
The Church
What Should the Church of the Present Be? 5
The Church and the Temple 9
Infant Baptism 16
Conditions of Membership 25
Conditions of Admission 25
Agencies 28
Conditions 28
Conditions of Continued Membership 29
The Worship 32
The Apostles’ Teaching 36
The Fellowship 38
Breaking Bread 39
Prayers 40
Singing 40
Polity 42
The Word of God 42
Names 43
Congregational Independence 44
Elders 45
Deacons 47
Evangelists 47
The Falling Away
The Falling Away Predicted 49
The Falling Away 54
The Confessional 63
Indulgences 67
John Tetzel 69
The Reformation In Europe
John Wyckliffe 74
Translates the Bible Into English 75
William Tyndale 79
Erasmus Arrives in England 80
Tyndale Translates the Bible Into English 82
Goes to Hamburg 84
Bishop of London Supplies Money 86
Betrayed and Murdered 88
Martin Luther 89
A Friend Indeed 90
Becomes a Monk 91
Makes a Pilgrimage to Rome 94
Professor of Theology at Wittenburg 96
The Ninety-five Theses 97
Debates With John Eck and Burns the Papal Bull 100
Before the Diet of Worms 103
Under Imperial Ban 110
A Change Comes Over Luther 112
Retains What Is Not Forbidden 115
Origin of Protestantism 116
The Reformation in Switzerland 122
The Reformation in England 126
Changes Made by Edward VI 129
“Bloody Mary” 131
Elizabeth, the Protestant Queen 133
The Reformation in Scotland 138
The Independents 138
Haldane and Aikman 141
The Scotch Baptists 142
The Separatists 144
The Restoration Movement In America
Spiritual Unrest in Many Places 148
Barton W. Stone 153
Confronted by Many Difficulties 153
Ordained to the Ministry 157
Remarkable Meeting at Cane Ridge 160
“A Time of Distress” 163
Last Will and Testament 166
The Witnesses’ Address 167
Practices Modified in Many Particulars 169
“Shakerism” 170
The Work Prospers 171
Thomas Campbell 175
Conflict With the Seceders 175
The Declaration and Address 180
Alexander Campbell 188
Subject and Act of Baptism Settled 188
The Redstone Association 195
A Wider Field 199
The Campbell-McCalla Discussion 203
Visits the Kentucky Baptists 207
John Smith 209
Soul Struggles 210
Desires to Preach 213
Terrible Calamity 215
Preaches at Crab Orchard 215
The Christian Baptist 217
Fetters Cast Off 218
Resolves to Preach the Simple Gospel 220
“Ancient Order”—Baptists in Kentucky 224
Walter Scott 231-236
A Sincere Truth Seeker 232
Turning Point in His Life 235
Reformers in Other States—John Wright 246
Herman Christian Dasher 249
The Christians and Reformers Unite 251


An effort is made in the following pages to set forthwhat the New Testament church was when it came into theworld through the preaching of inspired men; how it wasled into apostasy; and an account of some of the manyattempts to restore it to its original purity and simplicity.

In proportion as any religious work becomes a potentforce in affecting the welfare of mankind, its early historybecomes interesting and important. This is especially trueof the very beginning of its history where those influenceswhich have molded its character are most clearly seen. It isdue to the world no less than to the heroic men who werechief actors in such a movement, that the motives whichinspired them, the principles which guided them, and theforces which opposed them, together with the results of thisconflict, should be set down accurately for the informationand for the benefit of those who are seeking the truth.

If the writer did not most profoundly believe that thiseffort to restore the New Testament church was one of thoseprovidential movements designed by Jehovah to correctexisting evils, and to purify religion from its corruptionsthat the gospel may run and be glorified in the earth, thenhe would feel but little interest in its history and achievements.But recognizing, as I do, the hand of God in thisremarkable movement of the nineteenth century, it is believedthat an important service is being rendered by putting onrecord the causes which gave birth to it, and the influenceswhich by action and reaction have made it what it is. IfGod overrules in human affairs, and teaches men by meansof history, then he who faithfully records historic facts fulfills4an important service in the education of men. This ispre-eminently true of that kind of history which deals withthe struggles of the human mind and heart to know God, andto understand his will concerning human redemption.

It is of the very greatest importance to the successfulcarrying forward of the Lord’s work that the younger generationshould become thoroughly acquainted with the spiritwhich animated, and the principles which controlled the menwho, under God, gave the primary impulse to this great work.They should become familiar with the conflicts of thoseearly days and with the tremendous sacrifices made by thosevaliant men and women who loved the truth more than popularity,more than ease, more than wealth, friends, and familyties. It is only as we shall be able to perpetuate this loveof truth, this freedom from the bondage of tradition andinherited opinions, that we shall be able to carry forward,successfully the work they inaugurated.

We need the same dauntless heroism, the same faithin God, the same zeal for truth and the same underlyingprinciples which characterized them and who have transmittedto us the responsibility of carrying forward the workwhich they began. If this volume which is now sent forthshall serve to inspire the workers who are to succeed us withthe same passion for pure apostolic Christianity, with thesame spirit of loyalty to Christ, which marked the beginningof their work, the purpose of the writer shall have been fulfilled.

J. W. Shepherd.

Birmingham, Ala., July 25, 1929.


The Church.


That the church is the bride of Christ is clearly expressedin the following: “Wherefore, my brethren, ye also weremade dead to the law through the body of Christ; that yeshould be joined to another, even to him who was raisedfrom the dead, that we might bring forth fruit unto God”(Rom. 7:4). “For I am jealous over you with a godlyjealousy: for I espoused you to one husband, that I mightpresent you as a pure virgin to Christ” (II Cor. 11:2).In these passages the bride evidently means the church.That the bride will remain till the Bridegroom comes therecan be no reasonable doubt; that she has ever waited hiscoming is equally certain. She has been in great distress,being driven into the wilderness and deprived of much ofher glory, but she has ever looked for the coming of herespoused. In what condition the Bridegroom will find heris a question about which there has been much speculation.Unless we believe that the Bridegroom, when he comes, willfind his bride in dishonor—living in fornication with theworld—we may not measure the church by human standards.That the bride will be found wearing the name of theBridegroom and living in chastity when he comes to claimher, there is no room for reasonable doubt. The world maybe deeply defiled by crime, but the church will be arrayedin her robes of righteousness. Hence, while the churchmay have its impurities, as everything composed of humanityhas, it must at least be uncontaminated to the extent offidelity to Christ. This may cut off much of what the worldcalls the church, but not what God regards as the church.6This has ever been the case since the apostasy, and willdoubtless so continue to the end.

In the days of the apostles, God had a people in Babylon,but while they were in Babylon they were not of Babylon.Hence the Lord says: “Come forth, my people, out of her,that ye have no fellowship with her sins, and that ye receivenot her plagues” (Rev. 18:4). God doubtless has a peoplein Babylon now; but they and Babylon are two distinctthings. God’s church is not composed of the Babel ofsectarianism. Just who God’s people are who may now bein Babylon it is not my purpose to determine. God hasrevealed to us the things that pertain to his church—thefaith, the practice, and the promises—and with these it ismy purpose to deal. Here, all is faith and assurance; beyondthis, all is opinion and fruitless speculation. Concerningthose in Babylon we have but one living direction. “Comeforth, my people, out of her.” To this we should givefaithful heed. For to console people in the Babylon ofsectarianism, and to reconcile them to their bondage, wehave no divine right; but to deliver them from it is a divineobligation. Therefore God’s church is an institution separateand distinct from the Babel of denominationalism.

In determining, then, what the church should be, it willbe necessary to ascertain the characteristics of the apostolicchurch. If the church of the present day be essentially differentfrom the apostolic as a matter of preference, it cannot be the church of which God is the author. Hence it cannot be a divine institution, neither can it be the virginbride of Christ. It follows, therefore, that the church mustpossess the following characteristics:

1. It Must Be a Divine Institution

At the beginning the church was a divine institution,and it can not cease to be divine and still be thechurch of God, for God does not begin with thedivine and end with the human. Beginning in thespirit the things of God are not made perfect in theflesh. A divine institution must have for its organization7and essential features divine authority, forthe world can not make an ordinance or an institutiondivine. It must be specially appointed of God.No human institution, therefore, nor combination ofinstitutions for which there is no special divine appointment,can ever constitute the church of God, forit is of God and not of men. Hence the church mustbe in all its essential features of specific divine appointment.These appointments are all found in theNew Testament; therefore, the church to be a divineinstitution must be fashioned after that model.

2. It Must Be Governed Wholly by Divine Authority.

The church was governed wholly by divine authorityat the beginning. Should it substitute humanfor divine authority it would cease to be the churchof God. A substitute for a divine thing can neveritself be divine; therefore, anything substituted forthe church as it was in the beginning is not thatchurch. Just as certainly therefore, as Christ willown and accept his church when he comes again, socertainly will it be governed by his authority. Christwill accept only the church which he established.That which he established was governed wholly bydivine authority: therefore the church of today mustbe so governed.

3. It Should Have Only the Names It Had atthe Beginning.

In the New Testament there are various namesapplied to the church and to its members. All thesenames have their significance, for the Holy Spiritnever used them by accident, and for these names,and for these only, is there divine authority. Thetrue church of to-day will be governed by divine authority;therefore, only these will the church accept.This with it is not simply a matter of taste, but of8loyalty to Christ. Names unknown to the NewTestament have come of the apostasy.

4. It Must Have the Form of Government Givento the Church in the

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