People v. Institution

There is a lot being said in this short quote concerning the loss of authority in the modern church …

“In a communal grouping like that of early Christians, the overall leadership of the community governed the people. The heads of the Christian communities functioned in a way similar to the fathers in a family; they did not treat the community members like children, but they did lead and direct them personally. They governed (cared for) the people. They taught them and watched over their lives. When members of the community were in need, the elders saw that the need was met. When the lives of the community members did not conform to the Lord’s way of life, the heads would personally discuss the issue with those members. If a major transgression occurred, the elders would discipline the person. They governed and led the people, not the institution.

By contrast, the leaders of most modern churches concern themselves more directly with the institution than with the people, and their leadership consists primarily of administration, decision-making, and opinion-forming. The people’s lives are a private matter. The leader will counsel someone upon request. The leader will run a program for those who want something enough to sign up and participate. The leader thus provides services for some individuals when they express a personal interest. The authority of church leaders extends over the institution — the common activities — but not the lives of the church members.”

Man and Woman in Christ, Stephen B. Clark

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