I have finished Radical Restoration by F. LaGard Smith. This was a really confirming book for me in a lot of ways, but it also brought up more questions that I don’t really know how to answer.
Like I said before, it’s a book aimed at those of us familiar with the “Church of Christ”, but I think is still valuable for those from any Christian background. LaGard, a lawyer, takes a look at scripture and asks more questions than he really answers. It was kind of frustrating because:
“You want answers.”
“I think I’m entitled.”
“You want answers!”
“I want the truth!!!”
“YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!!!”
Okay, enough silliness, though I may not be able to handle it. This paragraph toward the end of the book, was really helpful to me. It was under the heading “Still Not Convinced?”
I’ll share with you one of my own reservations: the distinct likelihood that in the initial stages of radical restoration we’d be so focused on form and format that we’d lose sight of what it’s all for! Just another round of changes for the sake of change. More gimmicks. The latest fad. Or, for those already so inclined, legalism nouveau–yet one more opportunity to get bogged down in doctrinal debate and details. Father, spare us! (page 269)
Then just a few paragraphs later LaGard finally gives something of an answer to something of a question:
So where do we go from here? Is there any way forward? I think so. Or at least I think there may be many ways forward. For those who are already running through the streets shouting for the revolution to begin, down-size your congregations, flee your pulpits, become real teaching shepherds, and spread the love feast table in memory and in fellowship! The rest of us wish you Godspead. Show those of us who are less courageous, or simply not yet fully convinced, that it really can be done. All the way. To the extreme. Your unique role is to push the outer margins so that the rest of us have more room to manoeuver in the center. We want to believe; help our unbelief. (page 269)
I really enjoyed the book, it had some great questions, and I think took genuine looks at scripture. More questions come up in my mind now; Can I be a follower of Christ and not be radical? What does radical even mean?
I listened to an audio clip from Francis Chan the other day. He said he sold his house and is moving his family to Asia. He then talked about how this looks radical to most people in the church, but if his life was recorded in the book of Acts, it would sound out-of-place. You would read about Peter and Paul, and then there would be a verse saying, “there was a Chinese man who when to Asia”. It wouldn’t even be worth mentioning!
I know he was being a bit dramatic, but the point rings true. I often make a big deal out of the little things I do. Not saying we have to do great things like Paul or Peter, but I do think the call is to be different, and maybe even radical, as seen by the world. And probably even to be called radical by the average Christian we might sit beside on any given Sunday.
Back to the quotes from A Few Good Men, we may all claim to want the truth, but how often it is that I end up not being able to handle the truth when I find it.
This also goes along with a video I found about being The First Follower.