Restoration or Revolution?
In the latter part of the 20th century there has been a small surplus of books written on the restoration of the apostolic gift. Many of these books claimed that the 1990s would be "the decade of the apostle." They asserted with absolute certainly that God would raise up "thousands of apostles," restoring the apostolic ministry to the Body of Christ on a grand scale.
The 90s have passed us by and none of these high claims have come to pass. Nevertheless, some of these authors continue to carry on quite loudly about the "restoration" of the apostle and the other "five-fold ministry" gifts at some nebulous date in the future. You may not realize this, but this same "prediction" has been with us since 1948. The literature, claims, exact rhetoric, and "prophecies" that were put to pen in that year are identical to what is being said today.
Some have called the "movement" that emphasizes the restoration of the ministry gifts—primarily the apostle and prophet—the Restoration Movement. This "movement" has been tried and found wanting. Instead, what is needed in the Body of Christ is not restoration. It is not even revival. What is needed is revolution—a complete and radical change from top to bottom. Revolution in our practice of the church. Revolution in our modern "Christian" mindset. And revolution in our ideas of church planting. Consider the following table that isolates the key differences between Restoration and Revolution:
This article has been excerpted from Frank Viola's book So You Want to Start a House Church? First-Century Styled Church Planting For Today.