Dt. 4:2 π Mt. 13:31-32 π Lk. 5:37-39 π 1 Cor. 2:14 π 1 Cor. 12:24-25 π 1 Cor. 12:25 π 1 Cor. 14:33 π 1 Cor. 14:40 π Gal. 5:4 π Eph. 4:11-14 π Eph. 4:13 π Col. 1:18 π 1 Tim. 1:9-10 π 1 Tim. 3:1-7 π Tit. 1:5 π Tit. 1:6-9 π 1 Pet. 5:8 π Jude 3 π Rev. 2:6 π Rev. 2:15 π Rev. 3:1
All quotes from A.W. Tozer are from his book, God Tells the Man Who Cares unless otherwise specified.
[Paul] reminded Titus that he had left him in Crete to set in order the things that were wanting and to ordain elders in every city. Surely this can only mean that Titus was commissioned by the apostle to impose some kind of order upon the various companies of believers living in the island, and order can only be achieved through organization.
Christians have tended to err in one of several directions because they have not understood the purpose of organization or the dangers that attend it if it is allowed to get out of hand. Some will have no organization at all, and of course the results are confusion and disorder, and these can never help mankind or bring glory to our Lord. Others substitute organization for life, and while having a name to live they are dead. Still others become so enamored of rules and regulations that they multiply them beyond all reason, and soon the spontaneity is smothered within the church and the life squeezed out of it. (“Organization: Necessary and Dangerous,” p. 30-31)
Tozer’s first paragraph is a classic example of the slippery slope method of reaching false conclusions. Tozer does not make this error often. Let us note the foundation he is building on: “Order can only be achieved through organization.” It is true that all things spiritual are to be done decently and in order ( 1 Cor. 14:40 ) and God is not the author of confusion. ( 1 Cor. 14:33; top ) But it is precisely here that we find the first crack or flaw in Tozer’s logic. When people confuse the organization of men for the organization which God builds, there is some other author writing the script.
In Tozer’s second paragraph, he gives three directions that organizing the people of Christ usually has taken: no organization, organization instead of life and hyper-legalism. But this list, as accurate as it may be for what Tozer is describing, does not address the deepest issues. Tozer did not foresee, as far as is discernible, that the “church” would reject God’s order and take upon itself the traditions of men and the doctrines of demons as its script for organizing itself.
Let us consider some salient points where the present-day “church” has deviated from God’s order:
These four discrepancies between God’s order and the “church” ought to be sufficient to expose the differing authors who are writing the scripts which men follow in the name of Christ. One is God and the other is Satan, who like a roaring lion is seeking whom he may devour. ( 1 Pet. 5:8; top )
Let us return now to Tozer’s quote. Remember his underlying faulty premise is “order can only be achieved through organization.” Let us examine the steps Tozer goes through to build upon this idea.
“[ Tit. 1:5 ] can only mean that Titus was commissioned by the apostle to impose some kind of order…” (emphasis added) This is precisely the error the “church” (where it is error and not outright rebellion) has fallen into. The New Testament does not clearly lay out, for the natural man to latch onto and soulishly obey at any rate (see 1 Cor. 2:14 ), rules, guidelines, bylaws and creeds by which we can establish beyond dispute the particular way in which we should regularly assemble as ekklesia. Instead, the New Testament tells us we are delivered from law and placed under a Head, Christ Jesus, who will direct us in the way that we should go. (see Col. 1:18 ) The “church,” under the influence of the traditions of men and the doctrines of demons, rejects the literal and active Headship of Christ – something even Tozer acknowledged over 50 years ago (see “The Waning Authority of Christ in the Churches,” pp. 204-214) – and therefore they cannot spiritually discern or submit to the pattern of New Testament ekklesia. Instead they must form organizations that, because God is not the author of them, become places where the birds of the air (the demonic) can come and nest. (see Mt. 13:31-32; top ) Thus the “church” is quite content to impose “some kind” of order. It was not “some kind” of order that Titus was to impose – it was God’s order that Titus was to impose! And this may be the present-day “church’s” greatest sin – having rejected the order of God, they have taken up the order of men and even of demons.
“Chistians have tended to err in one of several directions,” Tozer wrote, “because they have not understood the purpose of organization…” What is the purpose of organization? We have already seen from the Scriptures that God’s purpose is for the spiritual maturity of all believers. ( Eph. 4:13 ) God’s plan is that there be no class divisions and that all members have the same care one for another. ( 1 Cor. 12:25; top ) Where our efforts to organize the people of Christ conflict with God’s agenda, we have made ourselves God’s enemy.
“…[Christians] have not understood…the dangers that attend [organization] if it is allowed to get out of hand.” Again, this does not address the deepest issue – an error Tozer does not make often either. It is not a question of organization getting out of hand – it is a question of whose hand is the organization in – God’s, men’s or the demonic’s? We have seen repeatedly (in this chapter and throughout this whole series) that the fruit being borne by the “church” far too often indicates that some hand other than God’s is on far too many of the reins.
“Some will have no organization at all,” wrote Tozer, “and of course the results are confusion and disorder, and these can never help mankind or bring glory to our Lord.” This sentence too is a slippery slope because it builds upon ideas that aren’t as solidly placed as Tozer supposes. Of course, confusion and disorder helps no one and dishonors God. And, of course, no order of any kind will result only in confusion and disorder with their attendant results. But when men institute their own order at the expense of God’s order, the results are far worse than failing to help mankind or failing to bring glory to God. The result is a systematic structure that enables vast numbers of people to fall away from the faith even as they call Jesus “Lord”! The result is the great apostasy that comes before Christ’s return: churchianity.
“Others substitute organization for life,” Tozer wrote, “and while having a name to live they are dead.” (see Rev. 3:1 ) Wherever the organization of men is substituted for the organism of the Tree of Life that grows from the Head Christ Jesus, death must ensue! It is inevitable. The wineskin must harden and the Holy Spirit must bypass yet another generation of entrenched status-quo clergy and find a new wineskin capable (and willing!) to be the vessel of His next new work. Anyone exposed to an old work of the Spirit will not immediately take to the new wine because he is settled into his own traditions and habits. (see Lk. 5:37-39; top ) Yesterday’s manna has become rotted and filled with worms but it is preferable to embracing the Headship of Christ and forsaking all the traditions of men that so comfort and exalt the soul and flesh.
“Still others become so enamored of rules and regulations that they multiply them beyond all reason,” wrote Tozer, “and soon the spontaneity is smothered within the church and the life squeezed out of it.” Rules and the making of laws is for lawbreakers, not for the glorious company of God’s righteous elect. ( 1 Tim. 1:9-10 ) Putting one’s self under rules and laws is evidence of departing from grace. ( Gal. 5:4 ) We have a Head, Christ Jesus, who will direct and enable us to fulfill every law of God in a spiritual, life-giving manner. Why do we need any rules and regulations to supplement the Scriptures and the Spirit of God? It is not, as Tozer suggests here, the multiplication beyond reason of rules and regulations that is the danger. The danger is that of writing any rules and regulations whatsoever! The faith was completely delivered once for all. ( Jude 3 ) and the Scriptures clearly warn against adding to or taking away from God’s word. ( Dt. 4:2; top ) Yet most religious people have no problems with “church” constitutions and by-laws by which they order their religious lives! The Headship of Christ is rejected by the “church” at the most basic levels – death must ensue.
“…Order can only achieved through organization,” was Tozer’s main thesis here. The truth is that God’s order is to be submitted to – not achieved. And it will not be attained to through any carnal means.
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