[CS-FSLUG] Don't Tread on Me?

Jon Glass jonglass at usa.net
Fri Aug 13 17:17:22 CDT 2010

On Fri, Aug 13, 2010 at 3:54 PM, Fred A. Miller <fmiller at lightlink.com> wrote:
> Agreed. In my view, the church "structure" isn't at fault as much as the
> direction most churches have taken.

I would disagree. ;-) And I'll use the free software model to prove
it, too! What is it that we all like about the open-source, free
software model? It's the decentralization of power. Why? It keeps any
one person bending the whole thing to his own, personal needs. With
the Mac, people have one man to "blame" for everything--Steve Jobs.
With Windows, it's not one man, but the organization, called
Microsoft. But try to pin _anything_ on any one person with the Linux
model, and who can you blame? Sure, it may seem chaotic, but it keeps
moving forward. It's almost organic.

To make the parallel to the Gospel and the "church." I would say that
"church" as it's used today is a horribly abused term. I suppose I
need to say a bit more at this point, but years ago, when I was
preparing for my ordination, I had to prepare a doctrinal statement. I
was preparing my thoughts on "church" for it, and started looking for
verses that show the universal church (which I had been taught all my
life, of course), so I found all instancs in the NT where the Greek
word shows up, (this was back in the days of DOS, and The Online Bible
3.x). I kept the printout I made of this for years, but there were
something like 115 verses. I started through this list of verses,
planning to put "L" for local church, "U" for universal, and "X" for
neither (only one or two verses in the NT that get that, and that's an
interesting study). As I went, I could not find _any_ verses that are
unequivocally "universal" church. None. There are a few that use the
term "church" in a generic sense, but nothing that somebody could
point out and say that this verse is the doctrinal basis for what is
commonly held to mean "universal church." It became clear to me that
Scriptures truly see only one church on this earth, and it's local,
i.e. a gathering or assembly or congregation of believers in one place
for fulfilling the Great Commission (Matt 28:18-20) and for the
building up of the body (Eph 4:11ff)--not worship, not
organization/hierarchy or any other tiered system of multiple
congregations. Elders are servants/pastors/shepherds or
unde-rshepherds, with nothing suggesting any form of organization as
we tend to view denominations/churches today--even the Baptist
conventions. Needless to say, while I was ordained, I did upset some
folks on my ordination. Yes, I am independent Baptist, and my
convictions in this are very deep. People tend to berate the
independent Baptists, because of its chaotic nature, and I've had
Catholic friends tell me that they think heresy must be easy, but if
you think about it, just like with Steve Jobs, one man can make _huge_
changes in the direction of a top-down church, or the committees that
drive things can really muck things up, making for unwieldy ships of
state (Microsoft). But the de-centralization of the independent
Baptists has, in a very real sense, protected them from doctrinal
shift. This does not make them "perfect" by any means. We all hold
this Truth in earthen vessels. But is Linux perfect? No. In fact, it
is quite ugly and imperfect in many ways--at least as men usually
judge these things. But I am convinced that as long as we live in
fleshly bodies, that de-centralized is the only way to limit the
effects of the sin nature. (You know, power corrupts. Absolute power
corrupts absolutely) But that's more than anyone wanted to hear, I'm
sure. ;-) I just hope that somebody likes my Linux comparison. :-D

 -Jon Glass
Krakow, Poland
<jonglass at usa.net>

"I don't believe in philosophies. I believe in fundamentals." --Jack Nicklaus

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