So once again I get an email with nothing but a link and once again it takes me to the blog of one Wes White. You might remember his name from the post telling his readers that house churches invariably either grow up into "real churches" or devolve into cults you don't want around anyway. I addressed that slanderous accusation here as well as on his blog but he never bothered to respond. Since he just copied and pasted the article I can maybe understand it but if you are going to post something that accuses and slanders other Christians, you best think it through before you hit "publish post" and be prepared in this day and age to defend what you said.
The latest post from Wes purports to defend the institutional church as a flawed but vital...institution. Keep in mind that this is not a discussing of tax policy or business strategy or who should be the first pick in the upcoming NFL draft (hint: not Cam Newton!). We are talking about the Church, the blood bought Bride of Christ and the sole authority of the church is the Scripture. So when you title your post: What’s Right with the Institutional Church and then start by saying (emphasis mine):
Are there problems with institutional churches? Of course. Every sort of organization has problems. However, do the problems outweigh the benefits? I do not believe so. Let me tell you why I think that the institutional church is a good idea.
Of course, I could argue this same point directly from the Bible, but I want to just consider the institutional Church in terms of the nature of a society. Let’s suppose that we had no specific instructions on organization and just see what would happen if Christians tried to get together.
I have to think you are off target right out of the gate. Of course as I commented on his blog and no surprise to readers of my blog, I don't think you actually can argue in favor of the institutional church directly from the Bible. I wan to look at some of his arguments and show why they are flawed but I am writing this at 11:30 at night and getting super sleepy.
Why do I care what people like Wes White think? Just leave it alone! I simply can't do that. One, I sincerely desire for Wes and other people like him to step outside of the institutional church and see the messy but incredibly rich life of community that can exist when you unshackle the church from the fetters of institutionalism. Second, I see blog conversations like this as a way to get people studying and thinking. I don't expect anyone to be convinced by the force of my arguments but I hope that when people read this stuff and compare the arguments being made to Scripture that they will honestly and openly study and think their way through the issues and come to a conclusion based on Scripture and not on pragmatism and tradition. So as long as people post stuff like what Wes put up, I will post rebuttals like this in the hope that we can have a conversation and perhaps even an argument but that in the end we all end up a little wiser.