Institutional from the start #LukeActs2014

So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables.” (Acts 6:2, NIV)

It is interesting how fast our emerging, organic, non-institutional forms of life sprout institutions. The apostles went from a group of 12 leaders of a communistic society in which everyone shared everything and few distinctions were made, to the executive committee of an institution. Here we have differeniated ministry, modes of conferring authority, and even standards of selection. By Acts 15, we will have full blown church councils and formal declarations of orthodoxy.

Some see institutions as a fall from grace. It strikes me that institutions are the way God ensures the continuation of his people across generations and geography.

I understand the disdain people have for corrupt or dysfunctional institutions, but it appears to me that institutions are not only biblical but integral to God’s plans.

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5 thoughts on “Institutional from the start #LukeActs2014

  1. Important to define what “institutional” even means. Is it anything that has structure and formalized leadership? In this sense, even the anarchist group would be institutional. Is it just word used in the effort to articulate what the church’s bad areas are? I’ve heard both of these definitions all over the place.
    Personally, I’ve resonated with Walter Wink’s concept of the demonic: anything that becomes self-serving. I agree with you that God uses institutions. The key question is whether we are inclined towards inwardly-focused operations, or embrace God’s otherly-minded Kingdom.

    1. I agree that institutions can be good or bad. While I agree with Wink that being self-serving is anti-Christian, I hesitate to embrace his definition since I believe that actual demons exist. Your summary makes it sound like the word “demon” is just something we hang on other things.

      1. Oh, I definitely agree with you. I think Wink’s thoughts are somewhat correct about individual and collective sin (provided that you recognize that “self-serving” isn’t just something you happen to fall into) and institutions. But take his work and craft a comprehensive view on spiritual warfare and I think it’s incredibly insufficient.

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