Reclaiming a Heritage

Hughes, Richard. "Reclaiming a Heritage," Restoration Quarterly 37, no 3 (Third Quarter, 1995): 129-138.

Richard Hughes explores the current identity crisis of the Churches of Christ by examining the restoration vision of that denomination. He argues that by understanding the restoration vision differently, the Churches of Christ can effectively solve their identity crisis. Another denominational tradition, the Anabaptist/Mennonite tradition, has used its ideal of restoring the church to its pre-Constantine condition to their advantage. Franklin H. Littell, an Anabaptist author, critcized the Churches of Christ for having a restoration vision that embraced rhetoric, not substance. But Hughes argues that this is untrue. Previous Churches of Christ elders, such as Barton W. Stone and David Lipscomb, embraced apocalyptic beliefs that provided a strong base for the Churches of Christ restoration vision. By rethinking and reaffirming this restoration heritage, the Churches of Christ could reconnect to their history and thereby solve their current identity crisis. Hughes warns, however, that if members of the Churches of Christ are too comfotable with the current state of affairs to make that shift or do not take their history seriously, the crisis will intesify, and the church will be swallowed up by the popular religious culture. (LT)