Britton: "going organic is expensive"
"…contemporary sentiment has pretty much ruled against voluntary, wholehearted acceptance of authority in general, and Christians are hardly immune to contemporary sentiment. The extreme alternative to structured authority in the church is an attractively organic non-structure, in which the common priesthood of the believers is celebrated without the 'Big Brother' feel of a church hierarchy…"
"…the 'organic' vision…(is one) in which the absence of designated leadership is lauded… if an organic church is planted properly, 'those believers will know how to sense and follow the living, breathing headship of Jesus Christ in a meeting. They will know how to let Him invisibly lead their gatherings…[T]hey will minister out of what Christ has shown them -- with no human leader present!' This is a self-consciously antiestablishment vision, charged with enthusiasm and anthropological optimism, and its promoters take pride in tracing its roots to the Anabaptists and the 'Radical Reformation.' Anything short of a spontaneous, free, and authentic group experience of the Savior is, in their view, unbiblical and pagan.
"What do we lose if we jettison a structure of authoritative leadership in the church? No slur on farmers intended, but what is true at the grocery checkout is true in the church as well: going organic is expensive. Here the pinch is felt not in the wallet but in the health of the body of Christ.
"Ordination, as a commission and a covenant, sets apart from the congregation selected men who promise to love and guard that local expression of Christ's body… the elders' charge is to 'pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock…[C]are for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood" (Acts 20:28). In church discipline, Sacraments, doctrinal matters, and instruction, the oversight of elders is intended to preserve, protect, and defend the faith and the people. Without leaders who are set apart for and dedicated to this task, the church and its proclamation of the gospel are fair game for the ravening wolves without and the wayward saints within.
"Granted, ordination brings one into a position of visibility and influence that can be gravely abused. But although every pastor or elder is just a jar of clay, God has seen fit to entrust designated human officers, answerable to God with his gospel and his church…those who govern our congregation are themselves governed by the Lord, the Word, and one another, and my understanding that their calling is a necessary gift to the rest of us." -- Paige Britton, "A Necessary Gift", Modern Reformation, September/October 2009, pp. 23-26