Sunday, January 8, 2012

Watch Your Back

One of NTCC’s justifications for its unscriptural requirements of dress and the wearing of hair, etc. is the spurious assertion that “these things do not save a person, but are an indicator of salvation.” If this were true, there would be considerably less sin, adultery, gossip, and apostacy in NTCC than is experienced by groups with fewer “indicators”. Yet this is not the case, as NTCC enjoys about the same amount of engenuousness, and suffers from approximately the same degree of disconcerting hypocrisy, as other churches; no more, no less. Noteworthy on this topic is the presence of rapacious self-promotion that exists within the ranks.
  NTCC is not alone in this. Many church organizations endure the pitfalls of a top-down administrative structure. Church organization is much more loosely defined in the New Testament than in American Church-ism today. It seems that once the leadership bug hits a man, once the perceived need for administrative authority takes over, there is no turning back; and like all bureaucracies, it only grows and never shrinks. It seems absurd that a group of people who are perfectly capable of standing on their own two legs independently should give in to the pleas of one man with a need to lead, who suggests building a human pyramid so they can help each other stand, and volunteers to be the one to take the risk and get on top. R.W. Davis has repeatedly claimed “I would rather join the Catholic Church than be an independent.” While he is obviously using hyberbole, he is pointing out something very important about his character: He is telling his hearers that organization is more important than truth.
  Think about this in practical terms: A corporation that exists in order to earn a profit requires people at every level to operate efficiently, and has a built-in (bottom-line) financial incentive to maintain profitability so that the bureaucracy is automatically limited. A non-profit organization needs some degree of administration to distribute its resources to its agents in the field. But there is a stark difference between a conventional non-profit organization, which derives its resources from outside donations, and a church, whose resources come directly from its own members! One might reasonably ask why such a group requires several layers of administration to help its agents in the field to do what they are already doing anyway, with money that was already in that local church to begin with! Does anyone wonder, as they are placing their tithes in the offering plate, “Why are we paying someone to count the money?” The simple fact is that most church organizations accomplish little if anything of lasting spiritual value that their various members and local assemblies could not accomplish independently and with far less difficulty. Yet the perceived need for organization, accompanied by the call to teamwork!, trumps everything.
  New Testament Christian Church is just such a place. It is a church organization with a pyramid structure, with one man on top who claims to be God’s man, with several levels of administration whose logical reason for existence hardly stands up to scrutiny, and with an epidemic case of leadership virus. They preach success, growth, expansion, prestige and image. And many are jockeying for position, their heads filled with dreams of making it “to the top”. Relegating non-clerical church members (the “laity” as it were) to a second-class status, awash in the cult of ministerial priviledge, these preachers get a taste of what it’s like to be part of an aristocracy at a young age, and they like the way it feels. Along with a multiplicity of obnoxious regulations that are easily violated by even the most conscientious strivers, there is the continual exhortation to bring “problems” to the attention of superiors. This is another means of control, and turns brethren against one another. There are plenty of rules violations of which one may be found guilty, and plenty of available informants to tell about it. The same phenomenon takes shape in the local churches, where pastors demand to know when anyone in the church misbehaves, and people are made suspicious against one another. The slightest acts are reported to the pastor and the information put to use for the purpose of control and intimidation. It is a Soviet-style system in which everyone is employed in the act of spying on everyone else.
  Even at this present time, rivalries are building among the upper crust of NTCC that will soon shred its fabric. It cannot exist in its current form, but will either become all the way better, or all the way worse. With its current doctrinal positions, its habit of ministerial priviledge, and the way in which the group always errs on the side of abusive authority, the latter seems more likely. Watch your back if you should choose to become involved.  

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