I read an interesting review of The Shack by Dan Walker at the New Testament Reformation Fellowship, a group I think has a lot of important ideas to offer to the simple/house church conversation. What I really like at the NTRF is that they seem to strike the right balance between core doctrines and Biblical ecclesiology. As Dan points out in his review with the catchy title of Shack Attack — One More House Church Disaster, the author of the Shack is a "house church guy" but that doesn't shield him from criticism. I have found that the "house church" or more broadly the simple church movement is a lot like the Reformation era Anabaptists. We run the gamut. Many of us are orthodox in theology like the mainstream leaders of Anabaptism. Some of them are more like the Zwickau Prophets unfortunately.
Please note I have not read The Shack and have little interest in doing so. Nor is this post even about that book. I am more interested in what you think about this statement:
But there are far too many house church Christians who don’t know where to reign in their criticism of the institutional church. When house church Christians start throwing bombs at the foundations of orthodox belief, when they deny Hell, when they use the one-man pastor’s unscriptural appropriation of authority to himself as an excuse to start chiseling away at all hierarchy and authority, when they pooh-pooh the Holy Scriptures as a guilt-edged rulebook, when they embrace a leveling egalitarianism and feminism that would, were mankind dumb enough to embrace it, destroy life on the planet, that is when I feel sorely tempted to write a check to Bob Jones University, along with an apology for all the bad things I’ve said about them for fifty years.
I think there is some wisdom here and some vital cautions. Maybe a bit over the top but nevertheless. There are many, many things that are wrong about the institutional church but not everything the institutional church believes is wrong because it is taught from a pulpit. As I said, there is a pretty big tent that people who question the institutional church fall under and I often am concerned that major deviations from orthodoxy seem to spring up in our circles. Granted that is true in the institutional church as well (see: Protestantism, Mainstream) but there is a real danger that when you start tossing rituals and traditions overboard, you might also start tossing orthodoxy aside. I don't care how swell your fellowship is if the Gospel gets lost along the way.
What do you think, is this criticism/concern warranted or is it over the top?