Denominations are evil?

Darrell Guder has this to say in The Continuing Conversion of the Church

“The basic problem of institutionalism are not limited to the connectional structures of denominations and religious organizations.  The local congregation is profoundly susceptible to cultural captivity and gospel reductionism.  Money and power are as much a problem for the local congregation as they are for the denominational hierarchy.  The danger is great that, at the local level, these dangers will go unrecognized.”   p201

This is a great warning.  I am often tempted to blame the big evil monster that we can make a denomination out to be.  Actually the problem is (as always) our hearts, our desire to be significant and to be respected.  As Guder says we are in need as Christian communities to constantly be converted to the gospel – not just in theological correctness but in our structural, organizational, strategic ways of doing church.

Guder has a great reminder of how we engage with that continuing conversion.

“Only when the institutional church becomes the church penitent, the church candid about its compromises and reductions, can its renewal be expected.  This renewal will come about as we submit our cultural captivities to the transforming scrutiny of Scripture.  To do that, we need to let Christian brothers and sisters from other cultures, other parts of the worldwide church, engage with us in our discipline of reflection and contrition.” p204

Bible and community! A multi-cultural community for that matter, helps us to not ignore our cultural blindspots.  But I must confess I still think this is better done at local church, or grassroots level than in big denominational structures.  There simply is not a one size fits all model of church – whose structures can be legislated from above.

What do you think?

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~ by John on April 23, 2009.

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