“I Am A Restorer”

Today’s post is a quote from a brother in Christ who has since moved on to his reward. Dr. David Edwin Harrell was a devout Christian, faithful preacher, and historian who focused on the religious history of the United States. He was a professor at Auburn University. But, fundamentally, he was a Christian simply trying to get back to the simple pattern God gave us in the New Testament. He was a restorer, as am I.

I’ll let Ed explain what it means to be a restorer:

I am a restorer – unbowed, undaunted, extremist, and eccentric–a period piece in a Disciples of Christ movement grown increasingly uncomfortable with the intellectual, social, and psychological pitfalls of restoring New Testament Christianity.

The centerpiece of my intellectual universe is Biblical primitivism, a search for the first pure truths and ordinances. I am seeking that illusive, pristine image of Christianity as it came from the mind of God.

You say it is not there; it is an illusion. I have decided to seek it anyway. We live in a world of illusions. You say I will not find it because I carry on my back the baggage of my own past, of the culture in which I live, of the language with which I think. Self-consciously and with as much self-awareness as possible, I have decided to try. You say I shall fail and be disillusioned. So far, I have not.

In a sense, all restorers are seekers, though sometimes we may think otherwise. Yet I shall not become cynical and despairing because all truths are not readily apparent, but rather I am joyous and thankful that we have come this far by faith.

To be a restorer has always meant to be an explorer in search of Zion, bound to grope in our own human and cultural maze, never finishing our task, but ever learning through struggle and commitment to the truth. But I have never been alone; God has provided others of like mind to be my fellow travelers.

It has been a rigorous journey, but I know existentially no other way. The search has served me well, and should you come to look for me, you will find me a bit further down the same road.

David Edwin “Ed” Harrell

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