Friday, July 17, 2009

A Preoccupation with Clothes

Some people have a preoccupation with clothes. Now do not get me; wrong clothing is important. (Don't go out without it.) It protects modesty, provides warmth, and serves a decorative function. But it is possible for it to become an obsession that rules our lives.

I am convinced that the organization is the clothing of the body of Christ. Yet too often we want to make the organization and how it is structured one of our main concerns--even to the point of dividing from those who organize differently. Yet Scripture says surprisingly little about the structure of the church organization. It lays down certain broad principles, such as that leaders should be qualified (1 Timothy 3:1-13), that the people should be subject to leaders (Hebrews 13:17), and that the leaders should not lord it over those under their care but lead by example (1 Peter 5:1-4). But it gives few specific details of how the church is to be organized. Now I am of the opinion that God is not shy. Further, I am convinced Scripture teaches that God commands what He intends to command (Deuteronomy 4:2; Proverbs 30:5,6; Matthew 15:9). If God had wanted to produce a detailed manual of how the church organization should be structured, He could have--look at what He did with the instructions for building the Tabernacle in the wilderness (Exodus 25-40). I must therefore must conclude, that while some church organizations may violate broad Biblical principles (such as putting the authority of men over that of the word of God (Galatians 1:8, 9; Matthew 15:3-9; Acts 17:11), God intended to leave a considerable freedom on how the church operates.

Now, on hearing this, we might conclude that we have major flexibility to reorganize the church to meet the church's current situation. I do not necessarily disagree with this. But if someone thinks that the key to solving all of the church's current problems (real or imagined) is simply to restructure the organization, I must disagree. This is really a symptom of the same old malady of preoccupation with the organization. While I am not urging laziness or sloppiness in the way we organize to do the work of God, I do believe that the emphasis should be on the power of God, not on our organizational ability (Zechariah 4:6; Psalms 20:7; 1 Samuel 17:45). Only then will we get beyond our preoccupation with the clothing of the body of Christ and focus on the Head.

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