There was once a political group called Recreate ’68. In 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. So was Bobby Kennedy. Then there were the riots at the Democratic National Convention. Which part of 1968 did they wish to recreate?
I think the above illustrates not just the problem with slogans (i.e., their superficiality), but how sometimes they can even work against your cause.
What do you think people think about when we tell them we want to restore the first century church? I imagine some of them wonder why in the 21st century anyone would speak of wanting to go back twenty centuries. Are we some kind of spiritual archaeologists? Or, are we like our Amish friends and have some objections to modern technology? People familiar with the NT probably have another question – why would we would want to restore the church at Corinth, Laodicea, or anywhere for that matter? After all, they all had their problems.
If we’re going to speak of restoration, we’d probably be much better off telling people we want to restore NT Christianity – that is, we want to go back to the teachings of Jesus and His apostles. By doing this, we move the emphasis away from church and closer to Christ. Then rather than starting in Acts with the form of this or the frequency of that, we start with the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), where Jesus zeroes in on the state of the heart. After all, at the heart of restoration is restoration of the heart.
If we start with Christ, the church will follow. If we don’t start with Christ, then church doesn’t matter.