Broad objects deserve broad brushes. While I am painfully aware of my own sinful condition and don't hold to the logical progression rhetorically assigned me, the question remains: Should modern institutional churches be taken seriously by those Christians currently living quietly at peace beyond the Pale? In most places today its an individual choice, unlike in Calvin's Geneva. I do miss the fellowship and the hot-dishes, but I don't think God has called me to be a reformer or a well-disciplined vassal of an institutional church. The quandry faced by those who have abandonded the ecclesiastics is the relative rarity of credible and relevant alternatives to a good lie-in on Sunday morning. What's the point of 'church'ing the 'unchurched', if not to correct their supposed doctrinal error? There are plenty of closer-to-home and less intransigent oportunities within the existing institutions. Blessings...I really have no intention to get into a tug-of-war over the nature of "Calvin's Geneva", but I am curious... I do know many who came out of the church I referred to in the previous post have since kept from joining a church. Some for doctrinal reasons, some because of hurts, some for probably both.
[Name], you ask: "What's the point of 'church'ing the 'unchurched', if not to correct their supposed doctrinal error?" Hmm... could there be any other reasons? That sinners/saints might be nourished by the Holy Spirit through the preaching of Christ crucified and partake of the fellowship of brothers and sisters in the church, which is His body? Yes, this does occur in many of what you label as so-called 'institutional' churches. So, if there is a Christ-centered band of believers in the "institutional church" are they by definition to be avoided like the plague because they are "institutional?" Again, the progression of logic you say I assign to you seems to be what you argue: There are some (or many) bad churches both today in throughout history that imposed rigid, controlling and authoritarian doctrines. Therefore all churches should be avoided because their only purpose is to 'correct... supposed doctrinal error' of the unchurched.
[Name], isn't this a pretty iron-clad doctrinaire position in its own right that you insist upon in your church of one? A doctrine that might steer you and other saints away from hearing Christ proclaimed and knowing Him in His church among His redeemed? To what purpose... to avoid being hurt?
There were doctrinaire-controlling Judaizers in the first century churches as in every century, causing much pain and problem. Paul considered this part of the agonizing landscape with which he and the churches had to contend with; some of the very hurts, injustices, and difficulties that God in fact uses to further His work in his church. “For Your sake we are being put to death all day long; We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered"... even sometimes coming from within the church. He uses trials to bring about perseverance. Hurts to bring about healing. He uses sin exposed by the Spirit's light to bring about faith and repentance. He uses death to bring forth life. By an unjust crucifixion of a Righteous Man God brings justification and righteousness through faith to guilty unworthy sinners.
I don't think that it's what happens to us that lastingly hurts us. Rather, how we respond to those hurts is what can cause the real damage.
By the way, what are you referring to when you write, "There are plenty of closer-to-home and less intransigent oportunities within the existing institutions"? Peace...