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The Structure of the in the 21st Century to many of us stand as a mystery, especially to those who are outside the Church. Over the years, in my interaction with many outside, I have come to understand that there’s a lot of confusion and misunderstanding in the minds of many about the types of Churches and their functioning. This post will bring about a clear perspective and understanding on the matter.
I am of the firm belief that every Church listed below is the Church of God having its own strengths and weaknesses. The LORD is aware of this; He demands maturity to a fully grown up Body of Christ, the perfect Bride to be, but never rejects or disowns them. The LORD is patient with regard to His people. Amen!
Some of the Churches have false doctrines amongst them; I wouldn’t like to single them out in this post as that would be incorrect on my part. Even though the Churches in the Book of Revelations were found to hold incorrect doctrines yet Jesus was patient. He warned them and required them to repent. I too am of the same opinion, however, at this point, I would not in the least thought, raise a finger against any denomination in this matter.
Why?? Because, there is no perfect Church as such to boast about, every denomination and types have both good and bad issues around them, I would be a hypocrite if I were to single out any Church and refer it as the “Perfect Church”.
Although, some Churches have a gross error of doctrine, yet, in some matters they are more Christ-like than those who are with the right doctrine. The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans, states clearly about their acceptance,
Romans 2:14 for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves,15 who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them
Revelations 3:1 I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.
Revelations 3:4 You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy.
As per the above verse in Revelations 3:1,4, even in the Sardis Church that Jesus referred to as “dead”, they were few names who were worthy of Him. So, I believe that even in the Denomination filled with demonic doctrines, heresies, evil practices, customs, traditions and so on….there are a few who are worthy of God.
Therefore, I wouldn’t dare to Judge any denomination before the Great Judgment day of the LORD. This post is meant only to give to our many readers – An insight, knowledge, awareness with regard to the Structure, Functioning and Belief of the denominations in the 21st Century Church.
Contemporary churches of the 21st century
Organized / Orthodox Churches
There churches have a top-down hierarchy and reporting structure. The Catholic Church or the Church of South/ North India (CSI / CNI), or Anglican churches all come under this category. They are instructed in a proper structure of authority with the Pope or the Bishop as their head. The Branch Churches under them have no liberty to follow their own rules and customs but have to adhere to a strict code of conduct.
The good side of the Church over here is in their unity and common purpose. They have the advantages of finances, a mass following people and an unbreakable structure that can withstand any storm. The churches are well known in the country and have representative power in them. They are deep in missions, charity and so on.
But on the other side, there is little freedom of expression in the leadership because of its nature. The Liberty of the Spirit talked about in some other denominations cannot be found here. However, a majority of the Christians are a part of the Organized and Orthodox Churches.
The Churches here follow the Saturday as their day of worship unlike the majority of the Churches who follow Sunday. This belief is from Judaism or from the Old Testament (OT) law of honoring the Sabbath (Saturday). Under the OT, the Sabbath was a very strict ordinance or law to follow as told by God to the Jews. There are many scriptures underlining the importance of the Sabbath. The New Testament does not mandate this, however, the Churches here have a belief in honoring the Sabbath at whatever cost, whether it be to avoid their work and so on and to take rest from labor. The believers don’t go to work, open business or trade on the Saturday.
The Seventh-Day Adventist Church and some other churches in Korea have adopted this belief. They have been blessed by God for their stand and commitment as we see them. However, doctrine and adherence is a must here and to some it is a challenge.
On Fire – The Pentecost Church
The Pentecost Church is the church that believes in the manifestations of the person of the Holy Spirit. The book of Acts describes the Holy Spirit descending on the day of Pentecost (observed by the Jews) and filling the upper room with tongues of fire. So the worship in the Pentecost Churches lifts up the Holy Spirit and honors the person of the Holy Spirit giving full liberty to the Spirit to move in its Glory. The believers speak in Tongues, believe in Prophecy, practice Faith Healing and in casting out demons and so on. They follow the leading of the invisible Holy Spirit of God and follow the words of the Apostle Paul to the Galatians to “Walk in the Spirit”, meaning, to live a life centered in the gifts and calling and the fruit of the Holy Spirit giving no room to the Flesh. As the scripture says that the Flesh and the Holy Spirit are at war with each other and we are slaves to whom we yield.
The functioning of the Church here and the manifestations of the Spirit are not properly understood by those who are unaware of the scripture and so the criticism is high with regard to the Pentecost Church. Also, a barrier or thought of being the superior body with the superior doctrine limits the Pentecost church in accepting the other denominations. The Pentecost Mission (TPM), Ceylon Pentecost Mission (CPM), the AG (Assembly of God) and many other Independent Churches come under it.
Word Based Churches
The Word Based Church believes the Bible as its foundation for practice, belief, preaching, teaching and so on. The Baptist Church, the Lutherans, Methodist and so on, rely heavily on sound Biblical based teaching, preaching and doctrine. There is no room for any belief or private interpretation other than what is written in the Bible. The Bible is followed in its literal sense.
The revival churches were born because of the apostasy of the traditional or the lukewarm churches and so aimed to bring in Passion, Purpose and Motivation to those who have lost their ‘First Love’. The church here has a single-minded focus and so by its nature cannot focus on other areas.
The Community Church
The community churches target communities of people based on language, region, nationality and so on, sometimes even restricting them to a particular community such as the blind, old or deprived, poor or neglected, linguistic, nationalistic, regional and so on. Their vision is to reach out to their own community and challenge and encourage them to the Christian Faith. As the name goes, they do not have a wide reach but do a good job focusing on community.
As the name suggests, the Evangelical Churches are focused on reaching out with the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the unreached people groups or masses. They believe in conducting campaigns, crusades, meetings, outdoor preaching and so on and believe on giving the altar call which leads to the Salvation of Souls. The church here is focused heavily on Evangelism but as its nature is cannot focus on other areas of Community, Teaching, Prayer, Service and so on. They do partake in these activities but are heavily inclined on Evangelism.
The Discipleship Church are churches who mentor a few people with the intention of making them true disciples of the Lord Jesus. Jesus had 12 disciples whom he schooled to make them Apostles and so is the belief here. These churches stay for a short time in a city or a place, disciple people, lay down a foundation of Jesus-like living, empower leaders, plant churches and move on.
I hope the Post has blessed you, it’s not exhaustive though. It’s not possible to describe the detail viewpoints followed in each denomination due to time and space but I sincerely hope it has brought in a little clarity. Every Church is a serving Church in its own capacity just as the LORD has inspired them to their own vision and purpose.
It is my sincere prayer that one day before the coming of the LORD JESUS to the earth, the prayer of Jesus be fulfilled:
John 17:21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.
Amen! Amen! Amen!