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institutional church #4 – something from the NT April 1, 2007

Posted by Cobus in church, Emerging Church, theology.

#4 – It’s not really like me staying on something for this long. Maybe I’ll break for a few days, hear some thoughts on the institutional church thing, don’t know. But I will finish in a couple of days (remember the De La Rey thing, won’t take that long, although that might have been a good thing). But first, some more thoughts. This is the thoughts I wondered if I it should be placed before those of yesterday.

I already mentioned some stuff from the first century ad yesterday; this is just some more things we should at least keep in mind. This is some of the things that Christians from the first century figured out so that they can keep this thing we call church running. Again, I don’t think this is what Jesus started. But early Christians were theologians as well, trying to figure out how to follow Jesus in there context.

1 Tim 3. Written sometime from 60-150 ad. OK, so there isn’t that much consensus on the dating of some books of the Bible. Timothy probably one of the most debated. Personally, I won’t go with the very early dating, probably not with the very late dating either. At some point the church needed to get some official leaders. And there were certain prerequisites for someone being an elder of deacon. But definitely we find different prerequisites than those mostly employed in churches today if we read this text. Can we get over the “you need to know the right people” thing when choosing our leaders?

But hey, look at James. Another very much disputed book when it comes to dating, maybe 50 ad, but probably somewhere in the first century. Again, James 5:14 talks about the elders.Well, according to Louw and Nida, OK, that’s is some kind of dictionary of New Testament Greek, the term presbuteros (which we translate as elder) means something like:

(a) old man 9.31- “an adult male advanced in years”
(b) elder 53.77- “a person of responsibility and authority in matters of socio-religious concerns, both in Jewish and Christian societies.”

OK, I’ll stop now. Point made. We should stop just pointing at the early church saying that we find some ideal relational church that simply happened out of itself. Dingemans (De stem van de Roepende) explains a social institute as ‘purposeful human acts with fixed roles’. Well, this is not the problem, there is a lot of problems with the institutional church, maybe that is what should be discussed. But some form of institution has been with us from about the beginning, and it’s never functioned perfectly. That’s fine. But we need to remember that the way we structure things may change! The question is what has to change?

first post : institutional church #1 – posting the question

previous post : institutional church #3 – the early church



1. » institutional church #4 - something from the NT - April 1, 2007

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2. institutional church #3 - the early church « emerging South Africa - April 2, 2007

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3. Werner - April 2, 2007

I wonder sometimes, if I just get over myself and greet the person sitting next to me if that wouldn’t change something of the church experience for that person and me alike. Well not only a greeting with hello, a real greeting.

Maybe if we started to really care for each other at church, really listened and really made people feel welcome, the institutionalised church would become more of a fellowship.

Home churches are great, and so are cell groups, but what makes something like that work is people who accept other people. If acceptance isn’t there cell groups and the like becomes a clique.

I think some mega churches is doing something right. I think all people want a place to belong, so acceptance is vital. People also want to make a difference but don’t see what difference they might make,don’t think they can make a difference and aren’t encouraged to make a difference.

Maybe the instutution should only change rather than fall away.

4. cobus - April 2, 2007

Maybe it’s not a question of institutional or non-institutional, but ofpeople deciding to live a life that really care about others. Just breaking with some kind of institution won’t fix that. Although, I think sometimes the way the institution works make is really difficult to become a caring person while on the inside.

5. cobus - April 2, 2007

Check out this post by Glenn : http://glennhager.wordpress.com/2007/04/02/the-people-formerly-know-as-the-congregation/
From those who used to be the congregation. Really worth reading.

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