Several commenters on my last post indicated that they though me too hard on “Free churches.” Wordiness, and not clarity, is sometimes a hallmark of my writing and I wish to clear up what I said and what I intended to communicate.
My post was made in the context of those in the blogosphere and bookosphere, involved with the so-called Emerging Church movement who feel that denominations are due for a systemic failure. It is said that since we all have different interpretations, and we all can only interpret as our uncontrollable paradigm dictates, then a hierarchical structure only serves to oppress and control. Foucalt would be proud.
My main point was a reaction to this. It was not to denounce free-churchmanship as a theological and ontological truth, but to be at least one voice in the EC who thinks there are appropriate places in Christian life for the sort of fellowship and accountability which a group can offer. I am not sold on the word “denomination.” As a good post-modern I know that words only have the value which we determine to give them. So call it a denomination, call it a fellowship, call it a Village; the point remains. That organization needs to exist whereby those things which denominations have traditionally brought us can continue into posterity.
It is my contention that often it is a distatste for authority which manifests itself in assertions such as some have made, and not a truly thought out theological argument.
That being said I would like to point those concerned to an old post whereby I think I argued for a radially free-church ecclesiology in response to Reeds posts asking how source(s) of authority can be active in an incredibly diverse Christianity.
My ecclesiology in a nut-shell.
A person “becomes” a Christian by faith in Jesus Christ as the crucified and risen Lord.
When some Christians regularly get together to proclaim that Word, take the Eucharist, operate in the giftings and fruits of the Spirit, and live as disciples including compassion for the poor and abused etc… then that is The Church operating. I do not suppose for one moment that a bishop or a prebytery or a president makes one more of a Church than another.
I hope that clears anything up, but we are always open to sustained debate here!