I am a Restorationist!
Since I was in Bible college in in 1985, I have been a “restorationist.” —the belief that God is in the process of restoring His body to New Testament likeness and as a dual restorationist, that God is restoring Israel. (only a braindead theologian could deny God’s restoration of Israel at this point!) This was before Tikkun was birthed and before I met Dan Juster, Asher Intrater or Eitan Shishkoff. It was, however, what attracted me to them. When I heard there was a group of men who rejected the royal pastor model (where one leader has all the power), believed in team ministry based on the Ephesians 4:11 model, and embraced accountability in a Messianic Jewish context, I knew these were people with whom I could build.
Others I have learned from include Alistair Geddes, (director of Christ for the Nations, Long Island), Dick Iverson (author of Team Ministry), and his son-in-law, Frank Damazio (author of The Making of a Leader). Let me say that these men are serious Bible teachers, unlike some of the silliness we see in the Charismatic world—and I say that as a member of the Charismatic world.
The NAR and me!!!
Here is what I did not know until two years ago: Believing in the restoration of the Church is considered heretical by some individuals. I also learned that I am a member of a group that I didn’t know existed, called the NAR (New Apostolic Reformation). I have since discovered that not one person accused of being in the NAR actually claims to be in the NAR or even knew what it was before they were accused of leading it. Fundamentalist opponents of the NAR know far more about and its evil agenda, than the people who are supposedly in it. In fact, it is clear now that there no such group.[i]
Some wrongly assume that if you believe in “restoration,” you are a dominionist (the belief that we will win the whole world to Yeshua before He returns). Not true at all. I know many restorationists, and I don’t know one of them who is a dominionist. Most restorationists believe that the fullness of the restoration prophesied by Peter will come only after Yeshua returns.
Repent, therefore, and return—so your sins might be blotted out, so times of relief might come from the presence of Adonai and He might send Yeshua, the Messiah appointed for you. Heaven must receive Him, until the time of the restoration of all the things that God spoke about long ago through the mouth of His holy prophets. (Acts 3:19-21)
We believe that restoration has begun. If you looked at the global church 500 years ago, it was dormant—on life support. The Catholic Church was dominant and there was no visible, viable evangelical movement. See how that contrasts with today:
- Missionaries, evangelists, and congregational planting teams are taking the Gospel to the ends of the earth.
- Passionate evangelists preach the gospel in power!
- God is pouring out his spirit in Iran! (“From 1994, there were about 100,000 believers. Right now, there are over 3 million.”)
- Every miracle in Acts is taking place in countries like China and all over Africa. I have seen it!
- Most people can read the Bible in their own language, and are free to do so.
You have to be blind to not see the restoration that is taking place. Don’t worry, though, God is opening up the eyes of the blind in this hour!
However, we know from Scripture that things will get worse before He comes. As I said, we do not believe in dominionism: There will be an antichrist, a seven-year tribulation, wars and rumors of wars, famines, earthquakes, persecution, and, of course, a great falling away. But nowhere does the Bible teach that in the end-times the Church is beat up and defeated. Neither will she be anti-Semitic. Jesus does not return for a Jew-bashing bride!
Connected to Israel completely
You cannot separate the Acts 3:21 restoration from the Acts 1:6-7 restoration.
So when they gathered together, they asked Him, “Lord, are You restoring the kingdom to Israel at this time?” He said to them, “It is not your place to know the times or seasons which the Father has placed under His own control. (Acts 1:6-7)
John Calvin said there were as many problems with this question, as words. Maybe that is because he was not a first-century Jew, who knew the promises all throughout the Bible, regarding Israel’s restoration. This was no dumb question from the disciples, but the most obvious.
When does this happen? What date has the Father set for the restoration of Israel? I submit to you that it has already begun—clearly. The prophecies to which the disciples referred had to do with the ingathering of the exiles and Israel being restored as a nation. Surely, they also were thinking about the Messianic kingdom. They were talking to King Messiah! But yes, it has begun!
- Christians in the 1800s started to pray for Israel to become a nation again.
- Five waves of Aliyah beginning in 1882.
- Ben Yehuda restoring the Hebrew language beginning in the late 1800’s
- Herzl promoting Zionism
- Independence 1948
- Jerusalem 1967
- Fulfillment of exiles coming from the “land of the north” 1991-present (Jeremiah 16:14-15)
- Trump recognizing Jerusalem (2017, exactly 500 years from beginning of the reformation—10 jubilees.)
And, of course, we must include the spiritual awakening happening today. In 1948, I am told, there were 25 recognized Messianic Jews in the country. Now there are 15,000 to 30,000 (from US state dept. 10 years ago)! This was prophesied by the prophets Jeremiah (Jeremiah 31:31-33), Ezekiel (Ezekiel 36:25-27), Hosea (Hosea 3:4-5) and Zechariah (Zechariah 12:10, though this one seems to be just before Yeshua returns).
Imagine living in a time where your only option was a corrupt Roman Catholic church that did not preach an evangelical gospel? You could not read the Bible. If you were somehow attracted to a Jewish-less Jesus, you had to renounce your Judaism. The Church was entirely anti-Semitic, even to the point of killing Jews! I am speaking of the Middle Ages.
Greater than Acts!
Look at today—God is restoring. There can be no doubt. He is restoring His global Body to the same power as displayed in the book of Acts. He has largely restored the nation of Israel and continues to draw in the exiles from the diaspora. A believing remnant of Jews has been birthed in our lifetime and continues to grow.
Romans 11:12 clearly says that when the Jewish people accept the gospel, it will lead to a greater riches or, beyond the book of Acts, revival.
Now if [Israel’s] transgression leads to riches for the world, and [Israel’s] loss, riches for the Gentiles, then how greater riches will [Israel’s] fullness bring.
If riches represent what Paul saw in his lifetime among the Gentiles, as recorded in Acts, then Greater Riches means greater than what Paul experienced! Restoration is not a four-letter word, but a powerful biblical concept.
[i] C. Peter Wagner, now deceased, a former missionary and Fuller Seminary professor, observed a restorationist and apostolic led movement happening globally and began writing about it. He eventually became a subject matter expert then formed a coalition with John Kelly called the International Coalition of Apostolic Leaders or ICAL. It aligned with the prophetic movement led by people like Cindy Jacobs and Chuck Pierce. After the death of Wagner portions of the movement went to Che Ahn and other portions to John Kelly. Joseph Mattera leads the U.S. version called USCAL. According to the critics, anyone who believes in the present day charismatic view of apostles and prophets are a part of what they now infamously call “the NAR.” But there is no such organization or membership into this NAR. For the record, I have never read a Peter Wagner book or listened to a message. My views on apostolic ministry are based on Scripture.