Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
August 31, 1950

Concerning Church Organization

Elbridge B. Linn, Denver, Colorado

Paul left Titus in Crete to "set in order" certain things which were lacking—among which was the appointing of elders in "every city." So, while the word "organization" is not used in connection with the church, yet the same idea is expressed in "set in order."

The New Testament church had elders and deacons. The Jerusalem congregation had elders and deacons. (Acts 6:1-8; 11:30; 15:6) The church in Ephesus had elders. (Acts 20:17) The church in Thessalonica had elders. (1 Thess. 5:12) The church at Philippi had elders and deacons. (Phil. 1:1) Paul instructed Titus to appoint elders "in every city" of Crete, (Titus 1:5) and he himself appointed them in every church on the return trip of his first missionary journey into Asia Minor. (Acts 14:23).

Here are five different conditions in which congregations may find themselves:

(1) "Scripturally unorganized," where there may be no members qualified to be appointed or serve as elders and deacons.

(2) "Unscripturally unorganized," when men are qualified, but have not been appointed, or where some other system is used.

(3) "Unscripturally organized," wherein there is no resemblance to New Testament example; or where those appointed may be unqualified, or disqualified.

(4) "Scripturally organized," the ideal according to scriptural example and personal qualifications.

(5) "Sub-organized and disorganized"—a dangerous condition, having neither the approval or good judgment nor the commendation of God's word.