I have been trying to sort out the influence of the world on the body of Christ. Many believers have abandoned the professional congregations, called the Institutional Church, for smaller house church groups called, Simple Church. Often, however, they do not fully understand the influence of the world on both the IC or the SC. Neither do they really comprehend what it means to be a citizen of the Kingdom of God.
So what I have here, is an attempt to catalog those characteristics of the world in contrast to the kingdom of God to see where and how much one influences another. It should be noted that this is a backward approach. For the Kingdom of God has always been preeminent over the world system. But since we are within the world it is easier to understand it from this point of view.
First, a definition of the four categories is in order.
- The World System
This is based upon the selfish nature of the old man. It is demonically controlled, but relies on the flesh to fulfill its objectives.
- The Institutional Church
Began in the Spirit with the new man but through the centuries has been greatly influenced by the flesh and the world system.
- The Simple Church
A reaction against the influence of the flesh and world system in the church, endeavoring to come back to the community of the Spirit.
|World System||Institutional Church||Simple Church||Kingdom of God|
|Hierarchal Leadership: Governments, businesses, and organizations. One leader on top of pyramid of authorities. Grassroots level serves the top down management.||Hierarchy: Popes to pastors govern congregations in pyramid of authorities. Congregation serves the leadership who take God’s place.||Consensus of Group: Attempt to restore headship of Christ. Priesthood of all believers. Consensus should be agreement on the mind of Christ, but sometimes becomes mere democracy.||Self Governed Individuals: Who die to self so Christ may live through them instead.|
|System for the King: Everyone pays tribute and exists for the purpose of the system, whether governments or businesses.||System for God: All labor for the system that supplants God, for the benefit of the pope and pastors who stand in His place.||Collective for God:The group seeks to serve Christ together, with each individual standing in Christ’s stead.||Individuals Create the Body:A corporate expression of Christ is revealed through the self denial of all individuals who serve one another in love.|