The Evolving Church

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I once wrote, “Jesus has never been intimidated by the questions of men. It is men who fear questions and conveniently stifle them with cries of blasphemy!”

I’ve been thinking deeply about the current structure of the Christian church. I wondered why the Apostles set up the organisational structures they did – Deacons, Overseers and so on. It occurred to me that my mistake was to imagine it was “divine instruction”. The Apostles simply designed a structure based on the exigencies of the time – rapid and cross continental church growth.

It was much the same way Jethro advised Moses to set up structures as the administrative demands of leading the Israelites grew.

You see, the Bible is a narrative. It presents the nature of divinity while portraying the frailties of men – their idioms, cultures, thoughts and frailties. The Bible tells us how Elisha used divine power to murder children and leaves us to make a moral judgment. You would be callous to assume he was right. That’s why God gives us the capacity to read scripture with wisdom and within context. You must be able to discern what is a direct instruction from God and what is a human decision or judgment.

On the issue of the church, I think we must separate the original concept of the church designed by Jesus, and the administration of the church designed by men. If administration is based on exigencies, then it is dynamic and can change. After all, the law was made for man and not the other way round. Anytime a structure conflicts with the concept, we should go back to the concept, in this case, the notion of a Shepherd and his flock.

Some of our current church structures scarcely resemble the original concept of a Shepherd who has intimate knowledge of and a relationship with his flock. Rather, it resembles a massive ultra-modern ranch where the cattle are biometrically tagged, managed and sustained by industrial feed.

I believe the multi-tiered central structure of the church should be examined closely. I also humbly recognise that it is all many pastors have known. It is cultural and hence difficult to question.

I once had a discussion with a friend in a megachurch and he said that the only way church members could gain access to leadership was if they joined a department or attended a cell fellowship. I am concerned about a system that is focused on the collective and not individuals. As an individual, my needs cannot be met in church if I do not join a department or attend meetings?

I think a centralised system may run the risk of producing demigods. However, I’m deeply appreciative of the fact that pastoring requires deep sacrifice. Pastors must be commended for all the things they have given up for God’s work.

Notwithstanding, I think importing models wholesale based on the demands of a bygone era may not be in consonance with the dynamic nature of the Holy Ghost. Christianity embodies individual relationships with God and the Church is an intricately connected and integrated body. It is not a religion. Jesus did not come to found a religion – men did that.

Jesus did not come to found a religion - men did that. Click To Tweet The Bible is a narrative. It presents the nature of divinity and portrays the frailties of men. Click To Tweet Men who fear questions conveniently stifle them with cries of blasphemy! Click To Tweet

 



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