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The Church Is an Organic Structure

When men charge us with discarding all organizations, they either ignorantly or willfully misrepresent us. As the Word teaches, so we teach. The church that Jesus purchased with His own blood, He also “built” (Matt. 16:18); that is, organized. “In whom [Christ] all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord.” Eph. 2:21.

These scriptures and many others clearly set forth the church of God as a symmetrical and perfectly organized structure. Of this fact there is no question, but with regard to who holds the prerogative of organizing the body, not all so well agree. The general teaching in sectarian theology is that God only saves and gathers men out of the world into a general mass and that it is the duty of ministers to form the material thus provided into organic form. But our teaching is that God not only saves men into His church, but also forms them in due order and really organizes the church itself.

In order to show which position is correct, we will now appeal to the Word. A few texts will be sufficient to settle the question. The church, as we have seen, is a building, a house; that is, an organic structure. Now, it must be apparent to all that whoever is the architect and builder of a house is also its organizer. But “he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house.” And “he that built all things is God” Heb. 3:3-4. “But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him” 1 Cor. 12:18. “And God hath set some in the church, first apostles,” etc., 1 Cor. 12:28. To furnish with organs, “built,” “compact,” “fitly framed together,” and to “temper the body together” cover all that is included in the word “organize.” And “all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit” 1 Cor. 12:11. Yea, “it is the same God which worketh all in all” 1 Cor. 12:6. He, then, through the Spirit, is the organizer of his own church.

As we view the pure church in her morning glory, we see her a perfect organized body. She had law, discipline, and government. This was all contained in the gospel–the New Testament. The law of Christ being a perfect rule of faith, the church needed no other, and it needs no other today.

There is no excuse for the modern creeds of men. Modern sects are of human origin. Hence they need man-made rules and discipline. The church of God is divine. Hence the divine law is sufficient for its government.

Moreover, the Lord calls, qualifies, and sends forth by His Spirit certain ones for the ministry. Among these are evangelists, pastors, and teachers. They prove their call by their ability to minister. Such are acknowledged by the church, and by the direction of the Lord are ordained by the imposition of hands to the important work to which the Lord has called them. This is all done by the direction of the Holy Spirit, without voting into office. In every congregation saved out of the world by the blood of Christ, the Lord calls certain ones and by His Spirit qualifies them to be elders or overseers. Others He calls to the work of deacons. “He sets the members every one in the body as it pleaseth him.” The ministry recognize these calls and by the laying on of hands, just like the apostles and ministers of old, dedicate to the various kinds of work those whom the Lord has chosen and qualified. This is called ordination. These officers of the church are in authority, and execute His word. They are called “overseers.” They are not made so by man, but “the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers” (Acts 20:28). The church is commanded thus: “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves.” Heb. 13:17.

So before the advent of any of the modern sects, God’s church was a perfectly organized structure, and we are happy to say that since we have come out of and discarded these sects of human origin, and have been abiding only in the church divine, we have the same government, rule, discipline, officers, authority, and organization that the primitive Christians had.

H.M. Riggle

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