Sunday, April 03, 2011

Wes White on the Institutional Church

Wes White has written an excellent short piece on why there is nothing wrong with the Church as an Institution per se. The Anarchist "House Church movement" by [Frank] Viola et al is just another "Restorationist" anti-institutional institution in its own right. Christ however instituted order in the Church, and this excludes the anarchist attitude of the so-called "House church movement". As it has been said, we are not opposed to having church in homes; what we are objecting is the sheer naivete that "Institution" is necessarily bad and that a house church is not an institution- that a house church is an "organism" not an "organization". As Pastor White says:
To bring this to a close, the institutional church is highly necessary if our goal is for Christians to come together. If people are going to come together, they must have an organization of some sort. An institution is really just an organization plus time. Institutions are inevitable in human society. If Christians are called to love one another, then they will inevitably form institutions. If they take the Bible seriously, they will set up boundaries of fellowship.
So, why not simply form your own organization based on what you think the Scripture says? At times, like during the Reformation, this may be necessary. However, even in the Reformation, the Reformers sought to look to the best of the past in order to learn how to put together their institutions. Theoretically, you may be able to build a better institution, but knowing you (whoever you are), probably not. The likelihood is that if you start from scratch, you will still build an institution. It will just be a very bad one.

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