Definition: Restorationism

The genesis of many religious movements or Bible-based sects is frequently rooted in the ideal of restorationism. In the restorationist mindset, the church fell away from the truth (apostatized) some time shortly after the death of the apostles. Typically, it is said that the church's integrity was either compromised by the influence of the Roman state, paganism, or Platonist philosophers. Restorationists may point to biblical verses such as 2 Thess. 2:3 as evidence that some type of falling away of the church was to be expected and may have indeed happened. Whether that is true or not, the presumption is made that the particular group in question represents the restoration of the original, pristine doctrine of the apostles; a claim that may be difficult to prove if the thesis is maintained that the entire church (and thus our only link to the apostolic church) completely fell away at some point in history.

Some groups that are "restorationist" in their ecclesiology are Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, The Way International, Christian Science, Armstrongism, United Pentecostal Church, among many others.