Very often, I think about what is being termed “simple/house/organic” church. I’m persuaded that many who are content in institutional churches may not understand what it is that makes their churches (more or less) institutional. They may even bristle inwardly at the suggestion that their churches are more organizations than organisms.
Aside: a church that believes it is nondenominational may in fact resemble a full-blown denomination. The noticing of this resemblance can cause similar resistance, excuses, and concocted explications, but the alarm doesn’t negate the resemblance.
Once or twice a month, posts from Roger Thoman’s blog come to my inbox. Thoman is not a particularly active writer, and I suspect he is more engaged in living out “simple church” than he is in writing about it, yet I infer that he feels a sense of responsibility to share thoughts periodically. Personally, I would have much the same bent without having read Thoman, but he has helped to form my thinking with some well-placed words in recent years.
From time to time, I have republished Thoman’s thoughts. (This link will bring you to a listing of prior posts.) Before giving you a link to a recent post of his, I’m spotlighting some thoughts from the article that I find the most salient. . . .
I think people today have trouble being who they really are because as social creatures we live in a hierarchical world in which we’re highly dependent on others.
. . .
. . . In other words, at some level we are comfortable with hierarchical structures because they meet our need for external affirmation and approval.
As long as we need our approval and identity to be affirmed by externals, we will likely create hierarchical type systems to be part of–even in simple/house church models. As long as we need our approval and identity to be affirmed by others, we will probably relate wrongly to spiritual authority including genuine, servant, spiritual authority.
The answer, therefore, is not simply to reject forms of church that are hierarchical. Nor is the answer to reject community all together.
. . .
In other words, just attempting to come out from under “hierarchical, unbiblical church structures” does not get to the root of the issue. . . .
Emphases in bold are mine, not Thoman’s.
To read the full post, click here: Roger Thoman: Hierarchies Create Dependency