- Religion and Philosophy
Order - Organized vs. DisOrganized Religion
I've often heard from people how they love God and have accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour and are under the influence of the Holy Spirit, yet they despise "organized religion". I've heard even more often from people who believe in God, but have gone no further because of "organized religion". Then, theres this other statement I've heard quite a bit, "organized religion is better than disorganized religion". As odd as it sounds, I agree with both of these statements for the most part. "Organized Religion" has become a pretty generic term, like "Kleenex" for all facial tissue, or "Q-Tip" for all cotton swabs.
Many "organizations" are so lost and adrift that they give organized religion a bad name. Yet, organized religion can be a small church of 12-24 people (or even less!) who love and serve God fully. Many denominational churches are a thorn in peoples side(s) because of certain beliefs & criteria that are specific to them. There are no perfect churches, they only way a church could be perfect would be if no one went to it, once the first member walks in the door, it's become imperfect. How can any body of sinners being converted be perfect? Theres never been a perfect man besides Christ, hence, no member of man(kind) can keep a church from imperfection once attending.
The word "organized" should merely be viewed as a point meaning "away from" disorganization. It sets, establishes and allows guidelines and parameters for order and organization, both good things in any group of people - ANY group of people. Like Government (good or bad), local or national it sets an agenda of right & wrong to help keep order, direction and focus. "Lone Wolf" churches, often a.k.a. "cults" are a dangerous thing. A body of believers in place to oversee and direct is needed, and it's Biblical. Our God is a God of order and organization. There are several scriptures that speak to Gods command to us to obey our Govt's as they are placed by God. Can Gov't, (or anything for that matter) be "out of Gods will?" Yes surely, BUT, it is never out of His control or reach.
In a sense, Jesus could be seen as a "lone wolf" or a renegade, yet this was only because He broke tradition, not Gods law. Jesus however was one of a kind, whereas many of these "lone wolf renegades" of the modern era are out of gods law in much (if not all) of what they do. Their "fruits" don't show the heart of God. So, wheres the line? Well, back to the original Church, Jesus appointed and trained the Apostles, they in turn oversaw, proclaimed, missioned and served. The Apostles were selected from hundreds (maybe thousands) of disciples who followed Christ, and learned under Him.
I believe that a church doesn't have to be a denomination, though I don't see denominations as bad either. But any church that doesn't has a diverse oversight board would be in error. An organization made up of all "yes" men to a leader, or all members of one family would also be an organization in error. They wouldn't likely be open to a change that could affect all of them, the family ties might block some needed change. Semblence and balance are needed, if all leaders have the same background, far to much would be missed, if all the leaders have the same thing at stake, much would be overlooked.
In closing I encourage everyone to seek "organized" religion - be it a small or large. It may even be in a diverse group of believers who don't have a "building", but without organization & order I can't see how we can be in Gods will in "disorganization". We need the accountability and assurance of fellow believers, we need people that will correct us when our emotions may decieve us. Even Paul, likely the closest to Jesus in a "lone wolf renegade" style, worked and traveled quite often with other believers. Even when traveling alone, Paul worked and ministered with others when he reached his destination. A cord of 2 or 3 strands is not easily broken. As for me, I'm a member of a Chruch that I really like, I've been there for years, are they perfect? -Nope, and thank God for that or I couldn't go there. Also, they don't think their perfect either, I'd say any church that thinks they are is way off base. How can an organization made up of all imperfect people possibly be perfect? There is no perfection this side of Heaven! Yet, even though i'm deeply connected to the Church we attend, it's members, ministries and many friends, I also have many Christian friends outside the Church, they are from a wide range of denominations and creeds. I share accountability with these folks, theres surely iron sharpening iron as we discuss and challenge one another, all while encouraging one another. This offers me a balance and a perspective that I may not get in a single organization. I intentionally don't select "yes" people, as Prayer partners, fellow warriors etc, nor do I seek "negative nellies" (so to speak), I seek real people who will be real in their observations and statements. In addition to checking myself against scripture and following the Spirits guiding & leading, I seek an "outside view". God is first, and I know in the end I answer to Him, but, I want to know that I did all I could to be in His will & service and that requires organization.