What is the “Restoration” Movement?


Will God use our broken stories and the loving influence of the visible church to “restore all things?” Well, not exactly. He is God, and we… well. We are not.

There is a “restoration movement” that has been seeping into the visible church and convincing Christians that we are God’s solution and His instrument to bring about what He said HE will do. As always when we report on movements, we acknowledge that there is usually a bit of truth and even Scripture verses used to convince the flock that these movements of God. But are they really? Or are they movements of men trying to make things happen?  Pastor Randy White reports and warns about the latest on why this movement is so appealing:

Restoring All Things

Restoring All Things? Another Misguided Attempt

The bandwagon toward restorationism has more unsuspecting believers jumping on than just about any other bandwagon that is railing its way through the church today. The Christian desire to see a better world, free from the suffering of poverty, sickness, abuse, and other evils, is the fuel that many have used to gain riders on the restoration bandwagon. We want–and should want–a better world.

The latest is a conference and book, both by the title, “Restoring All Things,” by Warren Cole Smith (World Publishing) [not to be confused with Stand up For The Truth guest Warren B. Smith!],  and John Stonestreet (Colson Center and co-host of Breakpoint). These authors join a host of other “restoration movement” authors and speakers who have become prominent in the last decade. Giving the benefit of the doubt, I am sure that the leaders of the movement are not motivated by a book-selling, speech-giving, royalties-driven heart. Rather, they are leading out of an honest-to-goodness desire for a better world.

But their desire is totally misguided.

The “Restoring all Things” book and conference is built on the foundation of thought that believes that the church’s collective influence is what God will use to “restore all things.” Therefore, if we join hands in perfect harmony, we can end injustice and usher in a new world order, bringing God glory.

It’s a nice thought, but it doesn’t work.

It is a thought that those in the Calvinist / Reformed Theology movement are beginning to fully adopt, and quickly. This baffles me, since the Reformed Theology movement is a movement that so emphasizes the glory of God and the depravity of man. Yet the restorationist movement magnifies the strength of man and makes God dependent upon man’s collective strength for restoration of His created order.

Not only is it strange that the reformed movement is buying into this garbage, but the garbage is unbiblical at its core. We live in a fallen world that can only be redeemed and restored by the “zeal of the Lord of hosts.” A Biblical worldview is one which sees the brokenness of this world being restored in the cataclysmic return of the Lord, coming in judgment and bringing justice and restoration. (I am not surprised, therefore, that adherents of this theology almost always choose to speak of a “Christian worldview” rather than a “Biblical worldview.”)

While the book is not-yet-released, the back cover states that, “Through inspiring real-life stories of justice, mercy, love, and forgiveness in our communities and neighborhoods, you’ll encounter a God who is intimately involved in His creation and using His church to work out the redemption of this world” [emphasis mine].  I have no doubt that the church can be ambassadors of Christ, preaching the good news of reconciliation to God through Christ. I am fully convinced, however, that there is absolutely no means or manner by which the church can “work out the redemption of this world.” The book’s subtitle says all I need to know: “God’s audacious plan to change the world through everyday people.”

Folks, everyday people simply cannot restore all things, even if we all come together and pool our resources. Such restoration is reserved for the Son of Man, who will someday restore all things, as the second Adam, and finally present the restored work to the Father, for His glory.

The conference, which will be at venues across America, will feature speakers like Jim Daly of Focus on the Family, Rick Warren, Jennifer Marshall of the Heritage Foundation, Eric Metaxes,  and Ed Stetzer of the Southern Baptist Convention’s LifeWay Christian Resources.

Christians can, and often should, be involved in politics, philanthropy, benevolent works, and other humanitarian issues. They should do this as opportunities to do good to all, especially to the household of faith. They should use these opportunities to give witness about the only hope for individuals and for society: Jesus Christ.

Here’s what you can expect from any books, conferences, or movements that have a restorationist vision:

  • Ecumenical fervor – Evangelicals, protestants, and catholics all working together as if we had no theological differences.
  • Justice initiatives – When you hear the word “justice” in the church today, you need to go on “red alert.” This is a code word for restorationism (but is really a new-wave of socialism).
  • Stories – lots of them. And statistics. These movements work to grab the heart-strings. Don’t allow the stories and statistics to manipulate your feelings. Be Bible driven!
  • Old Testament – The justice initiatives and restoration worldview are built on Hebrew prophecies of the coming Messianic Age (the Millennium). Using these Scriptures (and the Sermon on the Mount), teachers will misapply the description of things to come, creating a scenario in which such a scene is built by the church rather than, “the zeal of the Lord of hosts.”
  • Twisted millennial views – Almost all restorationist work is built on the idea of creating the Millennial age by human effort. It is old-style post-millennialism re-crafted for a new day.

As a Southern Baptist, I bemoan the fact that there was a day in which the social gospel was strongly condemned in our ranks. Now it is promoted by those who are either participating in this conference (Stetzer and Warren), or by those who have the same thinking (Russell Moore and David Platt). Whether you are Southern Baptist or not, I hope you will realize that “justice” sounds good, and a world of peace looks beautiful, but it is all the same agenda as the liberal social-gospel of old. The only change is that the liberal has now put on a cloak of conservatism. The pseudo-conservative agenda is just as misguided.


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18 Responses to What is the “Restoration” Movement?

  1. Evangelina Vigilantee March 9, 2015 at 7:04 pm #

    Thank you, this hits it. The church is being hijacked by repackaged Dominionism. All of popular Christianity is bombarded with phrases like 'as we bring in the kingdom,' 'you can change your world,' and so on. What the error is is usurping the role of Jesus Christ. Only Jesus can and will bring in the kingdom at His return. That is what the bible says and that is how it is going to be. Only Jesus is the solution, only He can bring in world peace, love, harmony, end poverty, etc. But you can hear an echo from the garden of Eden that you can do what only God can do, and the message; 'what are you waiting for? Jesus to return?' because they don't believe that either. Sure, the church is to do good works, charity, etc. But that is just us being a witness of the changing power of the gospel. We are not the solution. God is.

  2. Evangelina Vigilantee March 9, 2015 at 7:09 pm #

    Just like what Jesus came to accomplish during His 1st coming; salvation for our souls, only He can do. Well what He is coming to do at His 2nd coming, again, only He can do; restoring all things in physical redemption. But the devil wants people to think that they can, by the power of their own flesh, do both via good works which is of course a lie. He wants the church to doubt the promises of God and instead take things into their own hands in both cases. I study and investigate movements in the churches too and I see a lot of this stuff coming in, usually related to 'missionary' or 'missional' work of the emergent church. It's all about 'kingdom building' aka dominionism. It's also not about the gospel, but a social gospel utopia, the same as many cults and communist governments. Satan always has his counterfeits for the legitimate work of God. Stay tuned…

  3. Evangelina Vigilantee March 9, 2015 at 7:22 pm #

    Here's where bible prophecy enters the picture. Let's do the symmetry here:

    Bible: God will establish a one world system (spiritual & political) of peace and love (His kingdom). (The 'kingdom' is among the church but that is not global and another issue.)

    World: Man will establish a one world government, one world religion. (See Revelation 13)

    Bible: Sharing is good. (see early church history in Acts 1-7, other parts of bible)

    World: Attempts to set up sharing communal structures to establish a global economic utopia. (mark of the beast)

  4. Evangelina Vigilantee March 9, 2015 at 7:23 pm #

    Bible: God is all knowing, seeing, present, powerful, etc.

    World: Attempts to set up a surveillance system that can 'watch everyone' and be globally powerful (police state).

    Bible: Jesus is the Savior (saves the soul, delivers us, will return).

    World: Antichrist is their savior (will offer physical deliverance and temporary comfort). Whole world will embrace him.

    Bible: The end times involves a wide spread apostasy.

    World/Apostate church: There will be a worldwide revival.

    More to follow…

  5. Evangelina Vigilantee March 9, 2015 at 7:25 pm #

    Talking about symmetry, the devil has a trinity too: Devil, antichrist, false prophet. Then there is the bride (church) and harlot (apostate church). The list goes on…

    Anyway, the apostate church never talks about bible prophecy and the return of Christ, nor do they talk about the antichrist and end times events such as Armageddon. Why? Because they don't believe it and/or they don't want you to know because it won't fit their neat little NWO agendas. And, you ask… what agendas are those? Stay tuned…

  6. Evangelina Vigilantee March 9, 2015 at 7:32 pm #

    It all boils down to this:

    The visible church will believe that… 1) they bring in God's kingdom (dominionism), 2) there will be a global awakening and revival, 3) ecumenism is okay (one world religion is the result), 4) world peace will come (one world government & police state) 5) poverty will end (new economic system with mark of the beast). So far all of this is widespread commonplace belief in the church. All that is missing is the antichrist and all the end times prophecies will be in place. Only instead of knowing it is the antichrist and running, they have already accepted all of his platforms and will then follow after him. That is all that is missing. And he may already be here but of course the church won't see him as such, especially since they bought that whole pretrib rapture package… see where this is going? And yes, if you take the mark you will be lost. Pieces of the puzzle. It's almost complete except for that missing piece…

    • rascott247 March 9, 2015 at 8:35 pm #

      Evangelina ,
      There’s a problem with your conclusion. A pre-trib rapture and dominionism are directly opposed; mutually incompatible. Dominionist are most hostile to a pre-trib view.
      Explain to me how a pre-trib rapture believer (one who truly understands it) will accept ecumenism or a one world government. Why would they accept a “christ” who has not caught them up in the clouds and changed them from perishable to imperishable and from mortal to immortality?

      • Evangelina March 11, 2015 at 10:35 pm #

        It's like this. We know they are directly opposed. So a dominionist who doesn't believe in a pre trib rapture won't be expecting one. When their dominionist goals are reached (aka NWO, etc.) they will think all is as it should be and join in. A pre tribber will believe that they will be here until a pre trib rapture occurs. They don't believe they will see the antichrist or any of the tribulation period. So, as long as they are still here, they will assume whoever is on the world stage in religion 'can't' be the antichrist and will think it is safe to join in.

      • Evangelina March 11, 2015 at 10:36 pm #

        see part 1, this is part 2
        They have similarly been duped into the kingdom building campaign. It wasn't sold to them in a package labeled dominionism. It was sold to them in a package labeled 'be a world changer,' 'transform your world,' 'bringing in God's kingdom' 'kingdom building' and similar terms.
        These infiltrators have used their concepts and wrapped them in terms and definitions that sound Christian. I have seen so many fooled by this so I know it is deceiving many. They will think that for now they are doing 'God's work'. They won't know what it all really is until it's too late.

      • Evangelina March 11, 2015 at 10:36 pm #

        part 3
        I hold to a prewrath view (I truly understand it). But many who do will be so deceived into following the antichrist because they won't see that it is him. Even if you are pretrib, just remember if you see all these things happening, (one world leader gaining momentum, mark of the beast, one world religion, etc.), it's all the end times prophesies minus a pretrib rapture. I see so many people who claim to be pretrib already going along with ecumenism and all the like. The bible says people will be under a strong delusion, and that includes those in the church. During hitler's time most of the churches went along with him too and claimed all the same things people are claiming now who are calling themselves born again. There is a huge deception underfoot that is intentional. So someone knows someone is able to be tempted and I see many already falling for it all.
        God bless!

        • rascott247 March 12, 2015 at 4:45 pm #

          Thanks. I appreciate the tone you took of your replies. Your zeal for the Word of God and concern for brothers and sister is evident, God bless you. But let me elaborate on my initial point.

          For one to be “duped into the kingdom building campaign” one would then cease to believe or understand the pre-trib rapture, in fact they would cease to be premillennial, the views are antithetical you can’t truly hold to both at the same time. The same can be said for your pre-wrath view; it is antithetical to Kingdom Now theology. We both know the prophecies of the Bible make it clear deception, ecumenism, and a world leader are part and parcel to end times. So again I’m not sure how you came to the conclusion that a pre-trib rapture view plays a part unless you believe that a pre-trib rapture believer by definition is already deceived and therefore not a brother or sister in Christ, which would make the timing of the rapture a salvation issue. Again thanks for the interaction.

    • rascott247 March 12, 2015 at 7:05 pm #

      I, like you, draw comparisons between the days of Nazi Germany and the coming world order. The 3rd Reich was after all to be a Kingdom. The churches or believers who did not support or turn a blind eye were, for the most part, premillennial and were able to recognize the wicked futility kingdom building. The vast majority of the visible church is not premillennial let alone pretribulattional. So the movement has little to gain in numerical strength by duping pre-tribbers to go along with the program. The movement has much more to gain by stifling and opposing, portraying pre-tribbers as being deceived.

  7. Evangelina Vigilantee March 9, 2015 at 9:12 pm #

    Oh, and I just remembered another item; there are real miracles and then there will be false signs and wonders done by the antichrist too (Revelation) just as there are by the occult today. Many will follow after him as a result, it is prophesied. These symmetries also in no way imply a balance, as God is far above the kingdom of darkness. It just shows that satan tries to counterfeit legitimate works of God and it is all biblical knowledge. I always worry later how a thing will be taken. ( ;

  8. Evangelina Vigilantee March 9, 2015 at 9:12 pm #

    Another biggie is that salvation is the solution because the root of the problem is human nature; sin. That's what Jesus came to save us from. We live in a fallen world and unless everyone gets saved (the bible says few will be saved), a global utopia is impossible due to human nature, so that's why there can be no world peace, harmony, brotherly love or man made "solution" without Jesus. Remember: Know Jesus, know peace; no Jesus, no peace. That is what the antichrist will try to undo in the minds of the people. He will fool many for a short time.
    Blessings to you and thank you for posting this!
    ( :
    Oh, and Christ's ministry was about 3 years and the antichrist's will be 3 and a half years in the spotlight. I hope I don't remember any other items for now… ( ;

  9. Karen March 12, 2015 at 8:23 am #

    How can we "reclaim" the culture when it is becoming increasingly difficult to outwardly and inwardly distinguish the difference between a "Christian" and "non-Christian"? I have heard those in church say "We must witness to the unchurched"…..but when those who attend church are such as these I Timothy 3:1-6

    "But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth."

    Why are "the churched" acting the same way as the "unchurched" with no acknowledgement of their own depravity, their own admission of sins, tears and hearts of repentance, and turning to and proclaiming the Name and Teachings of Jesus for the remission of their own sins…………….and yet the visible, organized, 501c. 3 church that we see here in America wants to "RECLAIM" the culture?

    Are you kidding me, seriously? There is a popular saying amongst church goers, and I have heard this personally over and over again amongst those who claim to be more in tune with "the spirit", charismatic and pentecostal types, which goes like this…"When people (the unchurched) see what we have, they will want it!"__Such vain glory is this. For when most look upon "the churched" and see no humility, no personal admission and grief over their own sins, nor tears of repentance and a true witness and testimony of Jesus, the Christ (for most testimonies are of the self centered, self glorifying, and self praising kind), one must ask, "Who wants that?" __Funny thing…..one can go to church for 50 years and not one person speaks the name of Jesus, visits about what they are learning from their Bibles, nor exhibits the fruits of God, the Holy Spirit in every day conversation or every day lifestyles and yet believe they are going to heaven because they "go to church" every Sunday, have been "confirmed" through classes and an installation membership service, and have been primarily a "good person" in their own eyes…….

    And this is the phrase that comes out of the mouths of "the churched" these days, and you will hear it often within communities……"I AM SO PROUD OF MYSELF, WE ARE SO PROUD, I AM SO PROUD OF MY DAUGHTER/SON, WE ARE SO PROUD OF OUR COMMUNITY……..PROUD, PROUD, and more PRIDE,"

    And yet Jesus, our LORD and Savior, humbled Himself to willingly go to the cross and shed His blood for the remission of our sins………and those who proclaim His Holy Name……are proud. No, I do not want what church people have….I desire what Jesus has. Come LORD JESUS, come.

  10. In Jesus is Life March 12, 2015 at 10:28 am #

    This is all crazy. 2 Thessalonians 2 is clear that there will be a FALLING AWAY amongst believers, not a revival. Revelation 13 and Daniel 7 also make it clear that the antichrist will prevail against the saints…so the whole dominants idea that we have to rise up and usher in Jesus, is patently false. We all MUST know the eternal word for ourselves!!

  11. Paul McCluskey March 14, 2015 at 11:38 pm #

    Restoration theology, Kingdom Now theology, Dominionism, all of these seem to be more and more prevalent in the church these days. In our area and in our church quite a number of people are involved in a ministry called Terraforming. This teaching is led by a couple, Scott and Shari Norvell, out of Tulsa Oklahoma. They believe they have been called by God to restore and heal the earth so that Jesus can return to an already restored earth.

  12. Kate March 21, 2015 at 12:17 am #

    I joined a cult called "The Twelve Tribes" while in college, and that was their main message, that we had to live as one in a community, selling all our possessions, living together in order to bring about the Messiah. The Messiah would not come we were told, unless the church became one. Sounds eerily familiar. Praise God I left after 10 long years. I guess pastors today think it's easier to tell people to go do a good deed then to tell them they need to repent of their sins. That's why our churches are worldly. No need to repent. Just go wash a bathroom at McDonald's ( yep we were actually told to do that).