The Church vs. The Institution

Several months ago I ran across the blog of Eric Carpenter (his blog “A Pilgrim’s Progress” is now in my links section). I frequently visit his blog because he and I are largely in agreement on the state of the Church in America. He has written an article about the institutional church in America and the actual Church — and how the two are not the same. It’s entitled “The Church is healthy, the institution is not” and it’s worth a read.

Eric is not alone in this view. The missionary and evangelist Paul Washer addresses the same thing in the video below (WARNING: he pulls no punches)…

About Chip
Chip is a graduate of Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, AR and Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary in Memphis, TN. He served more than five years on the staff of the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana as Director of Communications and Public Relations, editor of the Indiana Baptist newsjournal, and regular contributor to the Baptist Press, the official news service of the Southern Baptist Convention. He currently earns his living as a writer. He serves his local church as a teacher and deacon and his local Baptist Association as a Seminary Extension instructor and supply preacher.

3 Responses to The Church vs. The Institution

  1. Amen! Of course, this makes me continually question, Am I His? Is the evidence there?

    • Chip says:


      The encouraging thing is that you question whether or not you are truly His. The unregenerate rarely think on such things. Fortunately Scripture provides us with a test — 2 Corinthians 13:5 tells us to, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you — unless indeed you fail to meet the test.”

      The book of 1 John is written almost totally for this purpose, note chapter 5 verse 13 — “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.”

      1 John is full of characteristics of regenerate believers. Specifically it mentions…

      — Walking in the light
      — Confession of sin
      — Obedience
      — Love for the brethren
      — Hatred for the world
      — Perseverance in doctrine
      — Righteousness
      — The testimony of the Holy Spirit

      Any time you want to test yourself to see if you are truly in the faith, compare your life to the characteristics contained in 1 John and see how you stack up.

      • I’ve been a Christian for about 40 years, but went through a “dusky evening” a few years ago, emerging far less sure of who is or isn’t in. 1 John 4: 15 encourages. And God has restored that Holy Spirit assurance. And yet… I know SO MANY who claim to be believers – who some would say have all of the characteristics of belief you mention above – yet there’s something (to me and to others) that rings false. If I have the temerity to question if these folks are “in,” then once in a while, I must ask the same of me.

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