Denominational Organization

Donald P. Ames
Aurora, Illinois

For some time now many of us have been crying that the liberal churches are fast forming a full-fledged denomination, and that many associated with them are going to either be forced to go along or get out. Evidences have not been wanting in recent years as the trend is accelerating, and no doubt many are getting concerned - even in the liberal camp itself. The May 31, 1967 issue of the "Communiqué," bulletin of the Wilmette Church of Christ, Wilmette, Illinois, is just another classic example of the denominational trend.

Discussing the organization of the church, they marveled at how "efficient and amazingly problem-free" it had been, and then proceeded to announce new appointments for the various departments they had already created. The name of the "Special Projects Department" was to be changed to the "Administrative Planning Department." However, it seems the benevolent projects are now to be transferred to the "Membership Services Department." Apparently their benevolence is no longer a "special project."

The elders (they do have them) are taking over the activities of the Finance Department. It seems they need to do this "in order to study and supervise certain policies and procedures and review commitments outside the congregation." (emphasis mine DPA). This is a bit odd, in view of the fact it has been handled so well "through the years." How did they know? And just who is supervising the work of the church anyway? I thought this was the work of the elders (Acts 20:28, 1 Pet. S:2). But these need to "study" and "review commitments" they are unfamiliar with, formerly handled by the Finance Department.

No, that ' is by no means aJ1. They also continue to list other appointments to other departments, such as: "Property Department," "Educational Committee," "Property Department in charge of the grounds," as well as a new "permanent chairman of the Worship Department." In fact, now that I think about it, just why do they need elders? Just to decide what will be the next department they will set up? And what about the Deacons - what do they do? I note that Sunday, June 4th, was to be a special meeting of the "Department Chairmen, Deacons, Minister and Elders."

And to think, all these years I had only read about elders and deacons (Phil. 1:1) in the church organization. Who says they have not drifted?

February 1968