Are we Going Back to our Roots? The Restoration of Early Church Ecclesiology in the Modern Church Today

Jerry Pillay, Machiel Greyling


A movement, known as the Restoration Movement, developed on the early American frontier (19th century) to unite the various denominations that followed migrants from Europe and to bring them back to the ideals of the early church. The means to fulfil this quest was done through the belief that the early church could be “restored” in the 19th century. It was asserted that if all denominations simply read the Bible only and rejected all human creeds and traditions that came along with the centuries, there would be one church, total unity and an exact replica of the 1st century church. The methodology was correct, but unfortunately the intellectual paradigms of the day led the restoration leaders to formulate a wanting ecclesiology which ended in more schism than unity. This article sets out to establish that when one considers the modern church trends today and the true nature of the early church, there is clear evidence that contemporary ecclesiologies are being shaped more accurately into the shape of the early church. This is happening by default and spontaneously. Postmodernism is the catalyst that is slowly but surely influencing the natural restoration of the early church in contemporary society.


Early church; ecclesiology; postmodernism; Restoration Movement; Fresh Expressions of Church; Emerging Churches; House Church Movement

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