Our fallen human nature dictates that we try to organize to best suit our own preferences. But leadership in the church, organization of the church is never to reflect the fallen nature of our world. No, it is to reflect the unity and love found in our triune God.
Today’s post explores the question: “Who organizes the Church?” Make sure to click the play button below to hear our thoughts over the matter.
The word organize is not in the scriptures. It is defined in the dictionary as follows: “To furnish with organs; to arrange in parts; to form in due order.” God’s church is furnished with organs, arranged in parts, in due order; hence, is an organic structure. But who is the orga- nizer of the same? Who furnishes it with organs?
Answer: “For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.” 1 Cor. 12:8-11
“Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily proph- ets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.” v.27-28
“Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” Acts 20:28
“Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” 2 Cor. 3:5-6
“He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things. And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teach- ers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” Eph. 4:10-13
These are sufficient to prove that God furnishes His church with all its organs, namely with all necessary gifts of the Spirit, and officers. The foregoing scriptures cover the first two defi- nitions of the word organize. But who forms the parts in due order? “But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him…. For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked: That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.” 1 Cor. 12:18,24-25
Other scriptures also show the harmonizing of the body of Christ, by the hand of God and through the Spirit. But those given above are sufficient. One thing, however, we mention, and that is, the laying on of hands by the elders in ordaining elders, etc. (Heb. 6:2; 1 Tim. 4:14; 5:22). That this pertains to the organization of the church, we freely allow. But it is never called “organizing the church.” God ordains by way of qualifying and choosing, and His ministers ordain in the sense of recognizing the divine call, and dedicating thereunto. This order is clearly seen in Acts 13:1-4.
Succession of authority down through a course of ecclesiastical lords is all a superstitious delusion; a dragon power. Those whom God saves, baptizes with power, and commissions by the Holy Spirit have the only ecclesiastical authority instituted of God; this comes direct from heaven, and not through any imaginary line of predecessors.
Voting for officers only belongs to Babylon formality, where God is not present to work “all in all,” 1 Cor. 12:6 by the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He wills.
The church, then, is organized by the Lord, who sets all the members in the body as it pleases Him, and distributes the gifts and callings by His own wisdom to all the members of the body. Men may organize a human compact, but never the divine body of Christ, which is the church. Thus said the Lord: “And who, as I, shall call, and shall declare it, and set it in order for me, since I ap- pointed the ancient people? and the things that are coming, and shall come, let them shew unto them.” Isa. 44:7
This is to the point. God Himself “appointed the ancient people” to their several places in the body, and who will now presume to take upon himself the prerogative of the Almighty? “Every man is brutish by his knowledge; every founder is confounded by the graven image: for his molten image is falsehood, and there is no breath in them. They are vanity, the work of errors: in the time of their visita- tion they shall perish. The portion of Jacob is not like them; for he is the former of all things: and Israel is the rod of his inheritance: the LORD of hosts is his name.” Jer. 51:17-19
The sect-founders are confounded because their structures “have no breath”—no life. They call them churches, but it “is falsehood,” the work of error. But God, “the former of all things,” has a true church, the primitive church that Jesus bought with His own blood, and built before the rise of the first sect of the apostasy.
He that builds a house organizes the same. But if other men were to come and saw the same house into four parts, and wedge each apart from the others, such work would be disor- ganizing the building, and destroying the same. Just so if God, by the pure Word and Spirit, should fully save, say four hundred souls in one city, He would organize and temper all together in one body. But should four preachers, representing as many sects, each form his schismatic organism there of equal members, each would have the impudence to report to his conference that he had organized a church there of one hundred members. Yet the facts would be that they, like the parties cleaving the house asunder, would really disorganize and disintegrate the church.
Thus, we see that the organizing sects, the work of men, is the disorganizing of the church, which is built of God. There- fore, since the church is organized by the Lord, it follows that so-called churches, organized by men, lack the authentic seal of God. They are not His church, but unscriptural schisms.
Love, The Downings