Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 1, 1960
NUMBER 17, PAGE 1,14b

Seeking Old Paths - VI.

Forrest D. Moyer, Sunnyvale, Calif.

Seeking The Old Organization

Only a few people will question the fact that Jesus built His church. The Scriptures teach that it was built on the first Pentecost following the resurrection of Jesus. Of course, it was built according to God's pattern for the apostles were guided into all truth by the Holy Spirit. (John 16:13) In those days the only organization that existed (so far as the church was concerned) was the local congregation. In the centuries that followed there came an apostasy in the realm of organization. There developed an hierarchy with a super-organization having authority over the churches. This apostasy continued until it resulted in one man, a pope, having power over all the churches. After Catholicism came denominationalism with its many bodies and organizations. When sincere souls began seeking to restore the ancient way and walk in the old paths, they resolved to preach what the Bible taught in all things including organization. If we restore the old organization, what shall we find? Will it be a denomination? Will it be an organization subject to the desires of the majority or even a board? Let us observe that:

I. The Only Thing That Jesus Ever Built Was The Church Of Christ

He said, "Upon this rock I will build my church." (Matt. 16:18) Jesus did not establish the denominations. They came many centuries thereafter. They came as the product of the work of men and not of Jesus. They are formed upon the doctrines of men and not the pure doctrine of the Lord. The only thing Jesus built was the church — His church.

II. The Only Organization Of Which Jesus Is The Head Is The Church.

....gave him to be head over all things to the church...." (Eph. 1:22-23) Jesus is not the head of the Catholic church — the Pope is. He is not the head of denominations — men are. He is not the head of human institutions — the boards are. He is the head of His church. There is no other organization over which He is head.

III. The Only Organization That Jesus Bought With His Blood Was The Church.

"....feed the church of the Lord which he purchased with his own blood." (Acts 20:28) Jesus did not purchase denominations or human institutions.

IV. There Is Only One Body — The Church.

"There is one body...." (Eph. 4:4) Realizing that the body is the church, (Eph. 1:22-23) causes us to know that there is only one church. It is the one that Jesus built and purchased with His own blood. It is the one over which He rules as Head. There is no other.

V. The Only Functional Unit Of The Church Is The Local Congregation.

"....the church of God which is at Corinth...." (I Cor. 1:2) "And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church." (Acts 20:17). The local congregation is the result of the Lord's plan and purpose. It is that "which the Lord pitched, not man." There is no such thing as an organization of the church universal for there is no function of the church universal.

VI. Denominations Are Human Bodies.

They were planted by men — not God. "Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up." (Matt. 15:13) "Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it." (Psa. 127:1) This describes the condition of those who are laboring to build up denominations. The Lord did not build them and their efforts are in vain. I have no fight against the people in denominationalism. My objection is against their religious system that winds them in its deadly coils and, thus, they go blindly about to establish their own religion not submitting themselves to the righteousness of God. (Rom. 10:1-3).

VII. Institutions Planted By Brethren Are Human Bodies — Not Divine.

Regardless of the purpose and intent of these institutions, they are human. The institution may be designed to teach young people secular education and Bible such as many colleges. They may be designed to care for unfortunate children or for elderly people. They may be built to care for sick people. But still they are human institutions. They are not divine ones. There is no organization larger than the local church, smaller than the local church, or other than the local church authorized by the Bible to do the work of and for the churches, such is wrong. It is a violation of the scriptures for churches to donate funds to any of these organizations. Such is unauthorized!