A Case for Institutional Church

No doubt an “Organic” church is much more appealing than an Institution.  Yet even Brian McLaren, in his book Church on the Other Side, recognizes that any church that includes more than a handful of people needs some level of organization, and the larger a church gets the more organization it requires.  While the notion of a purely “Organic” church seems nice, it is hardly realistic.  Those clamoring to remove all remnants of the church as an “institution” are not only kidding themselves, they do not seem to me to be thinking Biblically.

Jared Wilson, a missional practitioner and pastor, offers 10 Reasons for the Institutional Church:

  1. The New Testament presumes church governance
  2. The New Testament commands church discipline
  3. The New Testament designates insiders and outsiders in relation to the church
  4. The image of “the body” presumes unified order
  5. The New Testament churches had recognizable structures. The apostles sent their letters to somebody
  6. “Spirit-filled community or institutional organization” is a false dichotomy that presumes the Spirit is powerless against institution
  7. Logically speaking, there is no such thing as “no institution” except chaos or anarchy. Every community made up of people is institutional to some degree
  8. That institution is not eternal is not grounds for jettisoning it. Marriage isn’t eternal either.
  9. The subjection of kings and nations presumes institutional subjection to Christ and therefore that God works in, with, and through institutions.
  10. No one in 2,000 years has successfully cultivated an enduring institution-less expression of the local church