My last post on this blog
was intended to point readers to articles exploring differences between Mormonism and Christianity. That
post was about matters essential to the definition of the Christian faith. This
post is about what may be termed a "second order" doctrine: a matter that is important, but about which well-meaning Christians may amicably disagree.
The mere existence of the distinction between "first order" and "second order" doctrines causes some [well meaning(?)] Christians to protest any attention given to "second order" doctrines: 'Why waste time' [the reasoning goes] 'debating secondary matters when people are going to Hell without hearing the gospel?' Certainly the primary emphasis in our lives must be the gospel itself, but because the Church-- the bride of Christ-- is so important to God and impacts the lives of so many, it seems
wise to give some sustained reflection on a proper understanding of the nature of the Church.
Near the end of last month, Thabiti Anyabwile, the senior pastor of First Baptist Church on Grand Cayman, wrote an excellent article
on the danger of multi-site/multi-campus churches. (In the article, Anyabwile focused on the type of situation where a single pastor is broadcast to large television screens in many congregations, but he did mention other multi-site/multi-campus situations as well, both in the article and-- especially-- in the comments section.) A high point in this article [as pointed out in a related blogpost
by Frank "centuri0n" Turk] was the following section:
A very thoughtful pastor pointed out this morning that we surely need a better theology of the unity of the church beyond the local church. But I think the multi-site, multi-campus strategy that is not speedily and intentionally moving to church planting unravels the local church with an absentee pastor model. Indeed, “church” becomes a strange moniker for this situation. A “church” is not just an assembly, it’s an assembly that is also a “family” where the members do all the one anothers and also a “body” where the joints are connected to supply to one another and a “flock” kept in a corral where the shepherds feed, bind, lead, and guide in personal relationship. Multi-site churches reduce the family, body, and flock to an anonymous assembly. In that way it trades in the lowest common denominator (assembling) while effectively mimicking “local.”
Within the blogpost, Anyabwile does not cite specific Scripture references (he composed the post in an airport, waiting for a plane), but in the comments he cites several, such as 2 Timothy 2:2, 1 Timothy 1:3-11, and Titus 1.
Again, I highly commend Anyabwile's post, which is found HERE