Our Positive Heritage from the Restoration Movement
- The Freedom to Restore. Alexander Campbell took a courageous stand to view the Bible in a way that might cut through the issues of tradition and culture that had contributed to division in the church. His hope and mission was to continually seek to restore and maintain Biblical truth as the core of unity and faithfulness for the church.
- Priesthood of All Believers. A consistent theme of the restoration message was that the average person on the pew could read and understand the Bible. Therefore, all Christians were called upon to join in the study of scripture and the service of God to aid in the ongoing restoration of the church.
- Importance of Bible Knowledge. The pioneers of our heritage insisted that people must do more than simply respect the Bible—they must learn its contents.
- Congregational Autonomy. Since there is no central office or headquarters, each congregation is free to make its own decisions. This allows local congregations to make changes that would not be possible otherwise.
Chenal Valley Church desires to follow the Bible and its teachings. However, we realize that our ability to logically figure everything out is not the basis for our acceptability before God. Our salvation is based on what God has done for us through Jesus Christ. His grace motivates and empowers us to be diligent in our efforts to follow what God instructs us to do. The restoration process is a never-ending one and we are open to follow the leadership of God as he directs us. The ongoing task of closely following the leading of God through the Bible and thus identifying and eliminating those traditions and other influences that divide, distort, or mislead us is a difficult one. As early as 1836, Barton W. Stone issued a warning: “Some among ourselves were for some time zealously preaching against them [traditions]—but instead of a written creed of man’s devise, they have substituted a nondescript one, and exclude good brethren from their fellowship, because they dare believe differently from their opinions.”
The need to be in touch with our history and heritage is summed up by Leonard Allen in his book The Cruciform Church: “We never quite rid ourselves of the past. We can try, but we will still carry our past with us in ways we do not fully perceive. One may spend one’s life renouncing a heritage but—mark it down—even that renunciation will be shaped by the very heritage it seeks to renounce. Accepting what has been given us from the past is a mark of our finitude, or our creaturely limits. Acceptance of a past, however, should not mean undue reverence for that past or an easy compliance with its orthodoxy’s strictures. For as the early pioneers of our movement saw so clearly, traditions easily become absolute—and thus make idols of—their own limited perspective and pronouncements. Therefore, accepting one’s tradition (or heritage)means in part caring enough about eh tradition to engage it critically, thereby helping preserve and correct the ideas that have sustained it over the generations.”
We welcome you into the Chenal Valley Church family and our rich heritage! We have tried to be honest, transparent, and straightforward in our presentation of who we are and where we came from. Please feel free to share with us your insights because, as a newcomer, you may see us more clearly than we see ourselves.