I was recently criticized for my use of the term, “Institutional church”, saying that I was attempting to set up an “them vs us” scenario in this posting? https://spiritualabusesanctuary.wordpress.com/2015/04/25/are-you-an-isolated-christian/
Well, I had to stop and think about that a bit….was I? Actually, there is an “them vs us” that exists between us, those who have come out of the organized institutional church system, and those, (them) who are in charge of it, (clergy), and the ones, (them), still participating in, and supporting it…the so-called (laity). But hey, I wasn’t the one who set it up…they did. However, I have not only pointed out the “them vs us” disparity in that post, but many times in other postings, and will no doubt do so in the future, as the Lord directs.
The question is….what is an institution? And is, what is commonly, but falsely mislabeled “the church” an institution?
Origin of the word, “Institute”:
early 14c., “to establish in office, appoint,” from Latin institutus, past participle of instituere “to set up,” from in- “in” (seein-(2)) + statuere “establish, to cause to stand,” from PIE root *sta- “to stand,” with derivatives meaning “place or thing that is standing” (seestet ). General sense of “set up, found, introduce” first attested late 15c. Related: Instituted ; instituting. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/institute
Frankly, I don’t know how else you could define the present day church other than as a collective institute, since the majority of them are 501C3 tax exempt corporations; http://hushmoney.org/
“It’s impossible to have religious freedom in any nation where the churches are licensed to the government”
Congressman George Hanson, from “In Caesars Grip” by Peter Kershaw
What does “The Institutional Church” mean?
“And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. “‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you. Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy. The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
“In general the institutional church is that form of ecclesiology that has been the traditionally accepted form in Western culture since the Reformation. Furthermore, the Protestant/Evangelical institutional church is by and large a modification of the Roman Catholic institutional church. The theology is radically different but the practices remain much the same: a formal and rigidly scheduled weekly gathering, mute observance by most of the church during that gathering, a ritualistic observance of the Lord’s Supper, a clerical class that is distinguished from the laity by extra-Biblical educational standards and that derives its financial support from the offerings of that same laity, and finally a focus on performance instead of mutual edification. We have removed the authoritarian pope but replaced him with a pastor-centric model that invests an untoward amount of authority and an unsustainable amount of responsibility on the shoulders of one or perhaps a few men.”http://thesidos.blogspot.com/2011/04/what-does-institutional-church-mean.html
Back in the day when I was still “churched” rather than “unchurched”, in a service one day, an old man stood up and yelled, “WHERE’S THE POWER?” He was right! I’ve seen the gifts of the Spirit, and the power that the Holy Spirit had endued good, well meaning Christians with, being diminished, suppressed and quenched, simply by sitting under the church heirarchy and their directives.
A form of godliness, but no power
“With the desecration of the teachings of Jesus comes a lost of power. If you read the gospels and the book of Acts, you’ll find the believers had power to raise the dead, heal the sick, cast out devils, do miracles and, most importantly, overcome sin. But the institutional church has replaced the raw power of God with emotionalism, performance and light shows. This is why the bible also foretells:
1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away (2 Tim 3:1-5) http://letspleasegod.com/2009/11/institutional-church/