Why do we need the organized church?

Hi,
A dear protestant friend of mine, who believes in home churches, told me that Jesus left no organization, structure or hierarchy to supervise the expansion of the church. How can I best charitably refute this statement?

Inform your friend that when Paul was knocked off the horse,
he was ordered to seek out the lowly Ananias to gain entry into the Church, and had to meet personally with the first pope, Peter.

dljl:

Two things. One, without the church no bible…it wasn’t going to put itself together magically. So home church would not be possible either. Two, the home is supposed to be the ‘domestic church’. Our households should be a microcosm of the CC-the universal church. Those ideas are not opposed to each other. They are in cooperation with each other.

I like the fact that you’re asking for a charitable way of giving apology. Pray for your friend before during and after you give an apology of your faith. Our words are so small compared to the graces that Christ may grant for others to see his bride.

in XT.

Your friend is probably bible-believing and may even advocate sola scriptura, so will probably be delighted when, in re-reading the gospels, he discovers that Jesus did in fact establish a church, choose and train its leadership and institute a hierarchy. of all his disciples, 12 were chosen to lead the Church he founded and specially trained for this ministry. One, Peter, was singled out repeatedly for leadership over the rest.

[quote=dljl]A dear protestant friend of mine, who believes in home churches, told me that Jesus left no organization, structure or hierarchy to supervise the expansion of the church. How can I best charitably refute this statement?
[/quote]

I laugh a little at the concept that a disorganized church is somehow preferable to an organized church. There are lots of ways you could refute your friend’s statement.

If you friend prefers home churches, surely there is some form of organization to those. Do the people know what time Bible study/service/whatever will be held? Do they know how to get to the home where they’ll meet? Your friend probably does go to a somewhat organized church, just not a large organized church.

There’s lots of scripture to refute that he left no hierarchy. Matt 6:13-16, lists the names of the 12 Apostles. In the first chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, after Jesus’ Ascension, the apostles are again listed and a replacement is chosen for Judas. Acts 1:17 Peter speaks about Judas and says “for he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry” also Acts 1:20 “***‘Let another take his position of overseer’***” Scripture records the apostles believed they had been given a ministry, and that it could be passed along to another whom they selected. There’s more scripture to make that same point.

Another approach would be to discuss that God is creator of all of creation. The “intelligent design theory” is making headlines of late. God created humans with an organized structure to our bodies, so we could function (DNA, cells, organs, limbs, etc.). Scripture also tells us that the Church is the Body of Christ. (Ephesians 4:12, I Corinthians 12:27) Now if God bothered to create our human bodies in an organized fashion, why would He do anything less for the Body of Christ?

Those are just a few aproaches you might consider.

[quote=gardenswithkids]Another approach would be to discuss that God is creator of all of creation. The “intelligent design theory” is making headlines of late. God created humans with an organized structure to our bodies, so we could function (DNA, cells, organs, limbs, etc.). Scripture also tells us that the Church is the Body of Christ. (Ephesians 4:12, I Corinthians 12:27) Now if God bothered to create our human bodies in an organized fashion, why would He do anything less for the Body of Christ?
[/quote]

What a profound observation!

Not only is nature organized, it is organized in a hierarchical fashion. The body is comprised of semi-autonomous sub-systems nested within other systems from which they draw their sustenance. Systems of systems form eco-systems. It’s definitely hierarchical.

Then the icing on the cake is that scripture refers to the Church on the analogy of the body of Christ. Well, the body is de facto hierarchical. It makes me wonder how anyone could conclude how the Church could be anything but organized, and organized specifically in a hierarchical fashion.

The other choice is disorganized religion.

DLJL,

Just some thoughts, but I would be willing to “bet” that your friend is a member of a young ministry. Like, a couple really nice, outgoing people have decided to have a small ministry. They were perhaps formerly a member of a denominational church body. Maybe Southern Baptists, or maybe a “non-denominational” group that got too big for their liking.

Good for them, but whatever the case, the fact that they are “new” indicates a certain lack of historical link.

However, as they, and their “home church group” evolve in history, in a couple years or so, they will likely want to get a better meeting place. As they grow (assuming they do) they will need to have some sort of organization. Especially if they intend to do much missionary work, which I’m sure they do.

In other words, as the months and years go by, as they get some “history” in their veins, the body will grow and eventually, without anybody knowing it, boom, they’re organized like a young denomination.

That’s just my guess at what your friend’s situation is like. I’ve seen it more than a couple times here in my hometown.

I know, that doesn’t help you “refute” your friend’s claims, but maybe it will help give perspective. You probably already know it anyways.

-Peace be with you
Rob

Without the guidance of the Church, I could make the Bible say whatever I like. I could set my own moral code.

But who am I? I am but a foolish little child who would quickly be lost.

[quote=gardenswithkids]I laugh a little at the concept that a disorganized church is somehow preferable to an organized church.
[/quote]

Yes, that reminds me of a quote from Will Rogers (boy, am I showing my age here!): “You can’t call me political; I don’t belong to any organized political party at all. I’m a Democrat.”

  • Liberian
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