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institutional church #2 – the internet and blog-o-sphere March 28, 2007

Posted by Cobus in Blogging and church, church, Emerging Church, theology.

Most propably these posts won’t follow a very strict logic, but I’ll touch on a few different aspects. OK, so tonight. I started reading a little on what the internet and blog-o-sphere has to say on the institutional church. Now, anyone who has ever tried something like this would know, you will never have a finalized list. So if you come accross something interesting, leave a comment. And if you’ve written something yourself, definitely leave a comment or trackback.

This is not a systematic and complete review of everything that has been written on the institutionalized church. I also didn’t try and find the oppinions of well known individuals or organizations (except Wikipedia). I ran searches on “institutional church”, “institutionalized church” and “institutional church blog” using google. And this some of the ideas I came upon.

There is some people calling themselves part of the “non-institutional church“. They are basically against churches supporting other institutions, of whatever kind. “NI churches thought that each church should do its own work and that no church has the right to become the sponsor of a work in evangelism, benevolence or edification and expect other churches to send funds to it.” They call churches that so these kind of things liberal. OK, so this is not the kind of stuff we are talking about. But it will be your first hit when searching for “institutional church”. And this is similar to a definition you will find from this encyclopedia.

According to Wikipedia, the emerging church arose to challenge the church on it’s use of institutional structures. And someone from the House Church movement used the metaphore of a child from an orphanage (institution) and one from a family (relational community), very interesting metaphore I think. Then you have the site House Church Central defining House Churches as churches that attempt to get away from the institutional church. They started out by saying they don’t need seminary trained leaders, but this site is now trying to take over the role of the seminary to avoid heresy.

From the blog-o-sphere, Adam Walker Cleaveland, some guy I just discovered, commented on something written by Tony Campolo, and made the claim that a lot of people that are totally part of the emerging church conversation are also part of the institutional church. Something Roger, over at FutureChurch, said about the Emerging Church conversation as well. Aaron Flores use the term institutionalized Christianity, in some ideas he has for how the emerging church page on Wikipedia should be changed. Whould that be something different than the institutional church? Could we have mayor discomfort about institutionalized Christianity but still be fine with the institutional church? Or the other way around maybe? Philip Edwards list 7 reasons why they are doing “simple church“, and other Brother Manyard comments on this, especially focusing on the cost of maintaining the institutional church. And at the Dyingchurch blog you will also find much critique on the whole paid pastor and expensive church building thing.

There is much more. Follow some of these if you’d like. This guy Adam Walker Cleaveland looks like it might be a very interesting blog, but I’ll check it out some more in the next few days.

OK, what do I make of this? This isn’t scientific at all, so I’ll just say, some are negative about the money spent on pastors and buildings. The House Church movement are very negative about the concept of and institutionalized church. The Emerging Church conversation seems a little more at ease with it in some places. But hey, this is ENTIRELY random observations. So don’t make to much of it, rather start reading some of the stuff people are saying, and let us know what you find.

first post : institutional church #1 – posting the question

next post : institutional church #3 – the early church



1. pistolpete - March 29, 2007

Wow! You’ve really done your research. I’ve only been blogging about 3 weeks, so I’m no expert, but I’ve found what you’ve written to be very true. The “institutional” church is losing the battle on the blogosphere. And, even though I’m pastor at one of these churches, I’m not sure that is such a bad thing. I’m asking myself (and others), “What’s so bad about the “Institution of Church” collapsing? Would it prevent us from sharing the love of Christ? I could be wrong, but I don’t think so.

2. institutional church #1 - posting the question « emerging South Africa - March 31, 2007

[…] next post : institutional church #2 – the internet and blog-o-sphere […]

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