I grew up in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The prophetess of that church, Ellen G. White, a woman whose inspiration I respect but whom I do not assume to be perfect understood perfectly well dangers of church organization.

When the movement which became the Seventh-day Adventist church decided to organize formally she said (I paraphrase):

I know we have no choice but to organize so as to provide some order for all of the complexity involved in shepherding of believers. I know, however that formal organization can militate against listening to the Holy Spirit for guidance because maintenance of the church organization can become an end in of itself.

By the end of her ministry, the church organization she helped found rejected this woman’s spiritual guidance on right interpretation of righteousness by faith.

Church organization is messed up. Those of us who realize this must endeavor to try our best not to condemn but to love. We must be compassionate in our criticism with goal of saving and enlightenment.

This is not a criticism of what you have stated in this piece. Just a reminder that formal organization itself is the enemy.

But can we do without organization at all? Absolutely not. Church services must have some order to them. But can we be flexible enough to allow the Holy Spirit tweak that order? Can we be willing to spend the entire service in worship with songs and ditch the preaching because the Holy Spirit says so? Are we even open to any tweaking of that church service?

James 3:17 says wisdom is gentle. We must be gentle in our criticism of church organization so we do not end up walking out of love, much the same as those in church organization sometimes assume unwillingness to remain within formal organization automatically is backsliding.

Like I have noted in some other response, this conversation on Medium is fellowship between believers, fellowship non-Christians can invite themselves into much as they do by inviting themselves to a church service. Fellowship that hopefully helps both Christians and non-Christians understand better the heart of Christianity. Since the goal of church service is fellowship, we are obeying Christ just not within context of formal organization. We are operating like Martin Luther post ex communication by the Catholic Church but before the Lutheran Church was organized.

We must sound out what is wrong with organized church as you have done in this piece. Let us never lose sight, however, of importance of loving the people even as we continue to hate the easy to corrupt system from which we have disengaged.

This is the challenge of love — loving the person regardless of hatred for a person’s wrong attitudes or actions.

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Educator and Researcher, Believer in Spirituality, Life is serious business, but we all are pilgrims so I write about important stuff with empathy and ethos

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