“Church” as the New Testament shows it is simple:
– The only “hierarchy” is preferring everyone else above ourselves;
– All are “called” with diverse gifts, motivations and perspectives bestowed by God among His people;
– Among those diverse gifts are elders, who emerge within fellowships to watch, protect and serve through example, persuasion and earned respect – rather than hiring a “senior pastor” to become the focus and “head” of the church;
– “Ministry” is not by the one but through one another;
– Local believers assemble in homes – and other places where life, hospitality and community naturally happen – to participate together as Christ’s multi-part Body as they motivate one another towards love and good works; while also
– Going forth as His disciples into all spheres of life to extend the blessings of His Kingdom to a waiting world.
However, you’ll never get there through the writings and influence of the existential “organic” church fringe – including the mutual promotion networks of authors like Frank Viola, Milt Rodriquez, Jon Zens, Ross Rohde, Keith Giles and their buddies – who:
– Promote various extraneous, counter-Biblical agendas like insular mysticism, “deeper life” revelation and post-modern ideologies in their books, workshops and offers of “itinerant” visits and oversight;
– Dismiss God’s plenary authority of Scripture as His written Word;
– Love to tell others “how to” on things they themselves “don’t do”;
– Express open contempt and impose a new legalism against those who serve the Lord by engaging our broader society in ways that transcend their own narrow political biases, experiential limitations, and unbiblical ideologies of civic retreat and anarchy;
– Try to impose their own detailed, cookie-cutter image of church life – rooted in their own backgrounds, failures and angst – rather than teach general New Testament precepts which allow Christ to express Himself uniquely within each different locale and community as He chooses; and
– Have consistently failed to start, sustain and be part of viable simple churches – like they peddle to others – in their own lives, home towns and elsewhere.
Honestly, viable simple church need not be impossible or a disappointing failure …
If you simply avoid phony and start instead with the only true apostolic foundation which was laid once and for all in the New Testament.