Question: Bob, why do you still treat them [the Church of God Restoration] like a legitimate group of followers of Jesus Christ?
Answer: I do accept the Restoration is a legitimate Christian group. But let me quality that position. I believe people are getting saved through the Restoration’s labors. I believe the Restoration congregations have a lamp stand and are congregations of God.
But personally I would not return unless they renounced the one true visible church (OTVC) teaching and their sectarian and bigoted spirit they have toward other Christians that leave them or they put out over doctrinal issues.
There are many other areas in my opinion that the Restoration also needs to change. However I think there is much we can learn from them and I have encouraged most of my close Christian friends to go and attend their meetings at least once. I have also encourage the deacons and elders at the Vienna congregation where I attend to go to their meetings and especially their school program.
When I look through the New Testament and especially Revelation I see there are many problems in the congregations of God. In the book of Revelation five of the seven congregations got a bad report. It is interesting to note that they still had lamp stands and were still congregations of God. There is no perfect congregations.
My experience with the Restoration/Guthie groups has not been the same as yours. I have benefited much from both groups. When I first met Ron Walter I was a sin-you-must, worldly, sinful, 5 point Calvinist. I was in bondage to smoking, I read adult magazines, I had a bad anger management problem, and I was quite happy in my Romans 7 form of godliness that denying the power to have victory over sinning.
Through my contact with the Guthie/Restoration group I learned that eternal security was not true and that God had power to deliver a person completely from willful and known sinning.
I have memorize that I will treasure as long as I have a mind. I remember my conversation with brother Merle Smith 24 years ago as if it happened yesterday. How to deal with me and how we when to the chapel in Charis campground and he passionately prayed with tears for me to be free from smoking. I had struggled for 3 years with my smoking problem and just could not get the victory. I got up from that prayer bench and I have never smoked since.
Beside being saved from my sinning and sinful nature I learned how to dress modest, how to conduct myself toward the opposite gender, how to act in a socially acceptable way, and how to live a life of victory. I learned how divorce and remarriage is adultery, why we should be conscientious objectors, how we give 100% not 10% to God, and many many other truths and I love and hold dear.
I was also introduced to many “holiness authors” from outside that Guthrie/Restoration groups that have become a great help to me spiritually. For me it was while with the Guthrie/Restoration groups I learned much of what I hold to be truth today.
After I left Chilliwack congregation I was in the Aylmer congregation of the Restoration for 5 years. In that congregation I found shining examples of Christian living. People that from what I could see where living a closer live to God that I was. People that I could look up to as true examples of holiness in heart. Now, not all are what they profess to be and I found that out in a number of cases. But that is the way it always is. In a mature congregation that is 10 to 20 years old you have about 20% spiritual then the other 80% is made up of those that are babies in Christ, those that are up and down, the hypocrites, and the unsaved.
So my list of what is good there is longer than my list of what I consider is wrong and unscriptural. Keep in mind also that I didn’t leave the Restoration I was put out. And even when I was put up and asked brother Henry H. to just let me attend but he didn’t feel like he could do that and I understand.
So while I was willing to push the envelope by giving bHenry H. my list of the main things that I disagreed with I was more than willing to stay and had no thought what so ever of leaving.