Does Acts 3:19-21 teach that the New Testament Church needed to be restored with the LDS Church in these latter days?
Joseph Smith receiving the Melchizedek priesthood from Peter, James, and John
LDS often claim that this Acts 3:19-21 passage is indicative of Christ coming back to make a "restitution" or a restoration of His Church with Joseph Smith. LDS claim this passage is already or at least beginning to be fulfilled with Smith's first vision in 1820 and the establishment of their church in 1830. The problem is that there is nothing in the passage that demands this. LDS simply impose their own belief upon the passage.
Christians instead think the passage is yet to be fulfilled. It is easily understood as the restoration of all things when Christ permanently comes back to rule physically. The passage is referring to His second coming when He will establish peace upon the earth. This is the blessed hope of the Church (Titus 2:13).
Further, the passage clearly says it is a restoration of "all things." Christians take this passage quite literally; everything is going to be made like it was in the beginning when Christ comes back. And when He come back, every eye will see Him for it will be as lightening flashing from the east to the west (Matthew 24:24ff. and Revelation 1:7). This is played out in Revelation 19-22. There Jesus comes back to earth to establish His kingdom and binds Satan. LDS on the other hand take this "all things" of Acts 3:21 as simply referring to Jesus secretly restoring some things, namely, those things having to do with His Church and His word. On this view, Jesus goes back up to heaven and does not bind Satan until some later date.
Also, as Marv Cowan pointed out in Mormon Claims Answered, the LDS Church is a substitution, not a "restoration." The LDS Church has unique offices that were never known of in the early Church: "First Presidency, Patriarchs, High Priests, Stake Presidency, Ward Bishopric, Priests, and so on." We only have the testimony of LDS to substantiate that these were in fact part of the early New Testament Church. But why should we believe LDS on this?
Ironically, even Brigham Young used the language of "the restitution" to refer, not to the restored Church, but to the renewal of the earth itself. When he addressed the Utah Territorial Legislature in 1852, he said in reference to "negroes" not being able to have the priesthood that curse was to remain on them "until the times of the restitution shall come, and the curse be wiped off from the earth" ("Brigham Young Address to Legislature - Feb 5, 1852").
Finally, Christ already taught Peter that the gates of hell would not prevail against the Church (Mat. 16:18). If that is the case, then why would Peter later in Acts 3, according to LDS, teach that the gates of hell would prevail against it and then be in need of restoration? Further, Paul said that God would get glory from the church in every generation (Ephesians 3:20-21). Of course there may be times of darkness or apostasy, but Christ was clear that His Church would never be completely lost and in need of restoration.
R. M. Sivulka