Sjolander Road Fellowship




Declaring the God of Unconditional Love

part of the institutional church

10/9/11

A good number of preachers want to equate their particular branch of the institutional church with the generic body/bride of Christ in the New Testament. Some would even deny that they are really a part of institutional Christianity and instead represent the true unadulterated “church” of the Bible, without any manmade additions. Of course, whether your group is a part of the institutional church will be a function of your definition of that institution. My definition includes two basic elements. Any party exhibiting human leadership and promoting party sanctioned truth through that leadership is a part of the institutional church.

This eliminates the claim that any church is not institutional because it teaches the truth and nothing else. Humanly deciphered and disseminated truth under the leadership of humanly sanctioned messengers is the essential element of every religious system ever conceived, including institutional Christianity in all its various flavors. This approach to truth is completely subjective, depending as it does on human involvement. In order to be meaningfully different from all religious experience which preceded it, Christianity would have to rely exclusively on God to impart His truth directly into each individual heart without human intervention. We all know that this is not the way church truth is conveyed.

Despite protestations and denials, what we have seen and known throughout the history of Christianity, under the auspices of the church, is just another institutionalized religious system, demanding compliance to humanly determined requirements in the name of God. A humanly projected religious truth is never absolute because men are fallible and subject to countless untested assumptions and cultural pressures.