There has been a lot of discussion about the future Christianity in the Western world and what things are going to look like in the future. This discussion has focused on everything from the loss of our young adults to rethinking what “church” is all about and why we do the things that we used to take for granted. These are important conversations that will be pivotal for many of our churches to understand and address looking ahead.

At Wineskins, our goal is to provide a place where we can discuss the topics that are more relevant and important looking ahead. But it is more than about putting words on a webpage. You can find that all over the internet. We are intent on producing an environment or ethos that fosters genuine, Christ-like and spirit-led conversation. In other words, an atmosphere that is open to honest inquiry done through a spirit of love and mutual edification for all.

We understand that these conversations can be very sensitive as they deal with things that are near and dear to our hearts. That means there is a certain vulnerability that comes with these discussions that, if handled in a godly manner, can be a catalyst for transformation and genuine restoration. If not handled with a Christ-like spirit, we recognize that same vulnerability can produce a defensiveness and hostility that is detrimental to our conversation being acceptable to God much less being productive or beneficial. We want you to know that you are welcome here and that you will find an environment where people are encouraged to be patient, kind, honest, and humble. The goal of this conversation is to help strengthen the faith of those who are also struggling through many of these same paradigm shifts so that we can build and encourage the next generation of faith.

In order to do this we are going to make Wineskins a resource to you and to the churches you attend. The resource Wineskins is becoming hinges on three things: 1) the Featured Authors we have recruited to weigh in on various issues, 2) the resources we provide and host through the site (resources for elders, small group ministry, ministry connect, and so much more) and 3) your input into the conversation so that you aren’t just a spectator but a participant. Through commenting on posts and in the forums we want you to be a part of the conversation here at Wineskins and to invite others who you know are working through many of these same issues to get involved as well.

As we kickoff Wineskins we begin with the theme of “Embracing Biblical Restoration”. Over the last few years restoration has become one of the big “buzz words” in Christianity today right alongside being missional. Our movement has embraced a vision for biblical restoration for well over 200 years. Past generations often focused that restoration on proper worship and church leadership but as the younger generation searches the scriptures and reads about God’s restorative process they find it is really about so much more than was often recognized or appreciated in past generations.

In this issue we want to talk about what it is, exactly, that God is restoring from a biblical perspective. We also want to explore examples of ministries, churches and individuals who are living out biblical expressions of restoration today so that we can learn from their examples and re-envision what biblical restoration looks like in our current cultural context.

Our features authors have been invited to weigh into that discussion and we hope you will as well through commenting on their articles and, once they are live, adding to the conversation in the discussion forums on the site as well. God bless you on the journey here at Wineskins. Pray that this can be a catalyst for God’s loving kindness to be expressed in ways that will humble us all.

3 Responses

  1. The Campbells were aware of John Calvin’s call for “A HUMBLE EXHORTATION
    SERIOUSLY TO UNDERTAKE THE TASK OF RESTORING THE CHURCH.–to aid the Church of Christ,

    http://www.piney.com/Calvin-Reform-1.html

    The Campbells did not think that Calvinism was in the text and Calvin had doubts about it. The plan was simply to remove anything and everything not commanded as necesary for being the Ekklesia or Synagogue: He defined the Church of Christ (the Rock) in the wilderness which never changed for the godly tribes quarantined from the sacrificial system at Jerusalem which had been abandoned to worship the starry host (Acts 7 Stephen denied that God could live in houses built by human hands or be worshipped by the works of human hands.

    Calvin defended the Regulative Principle but did not invent the term:

    “Moreover, the rule which distinguishes between pure and vitiated worship is of universal application,
    in order that we may not adopt any device which seems fit to ourselves,
    but look to the injunctions of Him who alone is entitled to prescribe.”

    That’s what Paul called “doubtful disputatins” in Romans 14 which hindered edification which is defined as education. That should take a lot of stress off preachers and elders who are commanded to “teach that which has been taught.” That, according to the Campbells, would allow everyone to assemble in Schools of the Word and leave their private opinions for other times. Speaking the same things is “speaking that which is written for our learning.: The Synagogue had a systematic reading plan.

    That is what historic scholars called an Apostolic Church: Built upon the Prophets (by Christ) and made more certain by Jesus and “left for our memory” by men like Peter who finished his “part.”

    The WORD or LOGOS is defined as the Regulative or Governing Principle and is defined by Paul and others to use “that which is written for our learning.” Problems with RESTORING should begin with grasping that LEARNING is what disciples of Christ do. The Campbells consistent with the wilderness definition defined a restored church as A School of Christ. He invited us to REST and “come learn of me.”

  2. To restore something you have to look backward to define the original for which Jesus died and left examples for us to follow. If you add a V8 and fog lights to your T-model you need to remove them before you enter it into the car contest. A Christian is defined as a Disciple and a disciple is a student. We are “washed with water INTO the Word” or into the School of Christ. The Calvin article defines that perfectly. Christ does not demand that we do things “to give the increase.”

    The Spirit OF Christ defined HIS REST both inclusively and exclusively. For instance, Jesus said that the kingdom does not come with observation: that means religious observations by people trying to assist God. For instance, He said:

    Yet they seek [as a Necromancer] me daily, and delight to know my ways [Seek something MISSING], AS (if they were) a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God. Isaiah 58: 2

    Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Isaiah 58:6

    Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy rereward (what you gather). Isaiah 58: 8
    Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity; Isaiah 58: 9

    And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity,and thy darkness be as the noonday: Isa 58:10

    And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. Isa 58:11

    And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in. Isa 58:12

    not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure,nor speaking thine own words: Isa 58:13

    CHRIST told the PROPHETS: A Church of Christ is built upon the Prophets and Apostles. Why isn’t the answer given by Christ relevant?

    Jesus was sent to seek and save a LITTLE FLOCK. He said that He nor the Apostles or those who gladly hear the looked-form invitation are OF the World. Jesus said that He did not PRAY for the World and God HIDES from the wise or Sophists. The youth will not rise up and call you blessed if you let them hunger and thirst for the WORD (Amos 8; Isaiah 5).

    Again, the Word or LOGOS is defined by the Greeks as the REGULATIVE PRINCIPLE: Logos is opposite anything you can imagine beyond SPEAKING that which is written for our learning. Sorry about that but that’s ALL that Jesus asked us to do. THAT will not make you rich and famous but will get you despised and rejected of men. Jesus gifted APT elders as pastor teachers and their only duty is to “Teach that which has been taught.” Postmodernism only works if you are a subatomic particle moving at the speed of light. RESTORE where you are and Teach the Word as commanded and practiced in the synagogue and church for almost 4 centuries before people defined SPEAK as SING.

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