Modern evangelicals are often a reflection of the individualism and cynicism of the present age in their attitudes to institutions or denominations.
As celebrity leader models collapse, and as expectations of accountability as protection against abuse grow, the benefit and necessity of denominations and institutional linkages is becoming more apparent.
These structures don’t exist for their own sake though, and if they do they become their own snare.
From Tish Harrison Warren:
If individuals and societies are to flourish, we need healthy institutions. But institutionalism, an idolatry of institutions, where the preservation of an institution is it’s only end, is, in no uncertain terms, evil. Though Christian leaders need to be (overtly) institutionally embedded and accountable, we cannot embrace a kind of institutionalism that overlooks justice, accountability, and the weak in order to gain ecclesial power.
We must seek just and good institutions and systems of accountability, yet there is no ecclesiology, there is no church structure, that will save us from sin. In the words of Artur Rosman, “there are no silver bullets against the werewolves of faithlessness.” Any institution or system we form, no matter how wise, will be sin-soaked. We do not simply need better institutions; we need atonement.
Yet, because ecclesiology won’t rescue us from bad things happening does not mean that wise structures of accountability are not important for a just and faithful church.
Read the whole post here.