Friday, October 10, 2014

The Restoration of the Gospel and the Restoration of the Church Are Different Things

I admire greatly the people (like anabaptists, my wife's Waldensian ancestors, etc.) who lived exemplary lives throughout history and, in my opinion, actually contributed to the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times. I don't think the pure Gospel of Jesus Christ in its entirety (as I read it in the Bible, particularly) remained openly taught throughout the centuries leading up to the restoration of the Gospel; hence, the concept of a Great Apostasy and a Restoration. However, I believe deeply that the Protestant Reformation was the major, God-directed movement that allowed a restoration to occur (to continue, to be more precise) and continue to build to this day, with necessary pruning still happening as fast as the root can take it.

I don't see the Restoration of the Gospel as happening simultaneous to the restoration of the Church - or as the same thing. I see the restoration of the Gospel as starting LONG prior to Joseph Smith's birth (in the case of some of my wife's ancestors, as early as AD 1215 when they were declared heretics by the Catholic Church and persecuted, tortured and killed for nearly 700 years until her 5th great-grandfather was baptized by Mormon missionaries in 1851and left the homeland he and his people had vowed through blood-soaked centuries never to leave, all in order to heed the call of a man they believed to be a prophet) and continuing as I type this comment. I honor that terrible sacrifice of those dedicated "Christian heretics" as part of "the restoration of the Gospel" - independent of the establishment of the church those missionaries represented at the tail-end of those indescribable centuries of faithful dedication to the Gospel they understood in their hearts.

In other words, I see the restoration of the Gospel as a long process that extends backward and forward through time longer than most people consider, while the restoration of the Church was an event - even as the subsequent organizational growth of the Church continues still. 

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