How Is the Whole Church Organized?

The whole church or body of Christ has no government on earth. Its Head is in Heaven and all authority is in His hands (Colossians 1:18; Matthew 28:18). In this way it is different from denominational churches. They have an earthly head such as a Pope or Archbishop. Their authority is the authority of men written in catechisms, creeds and prayer books. The worldwide body of Christ has no earthly organization with officers over all members. It has no districts or synods or divisions. Its members do not come together in conferences to decide its affairs. These are all corruptions and changes which men have brought. Instead of any earthly connection with other members, all Christians have a spiritual union with one another and with Christ. Every Christian and every congregation is independent and free under Christ. The whole church or the body of Christ has no government or organization on earth.

A headquarters is the quarters of a head. Since Jesus is the only head of His church, Heaven is its only headquarters (Hebrews 12:2). Denominational churches have central earthly headquarters. The head has his office at the headquarters and controls all parts of the denomination. This shows another difference between the Lord’s church and churches founded by men. No large church compound or school compound is the center of the Lord’s church. The first congregation planted in an area is not more important than others. There is no payment of fees to any earthly headquarters. No center has the authority to send out preachers. There is no place where all members in the area must come together to decide the policies of the churches. Heaven, where Christ the Head is, is the only headquarters of the churches of Christ.

Men sometimes want to give the Lord’s church a denominational government. A large church may try to rule smaller churches in its area. This desire could lead to an attempt to organize the whole church in a nation. Because many members were formerly in denominations, it is difficult for them to forget their human church governments. They like big conferences. Men like to control many churches. They want offices and officers like the denominational churches around them. But these things corrupt the pure government of the church which is found in the Bible. We must not go beyond the doctrine of Christ (2 John 9). We dare not change the Gospel (Galatians 1:6-9). We must not add to nor take from God’s plan in the Bible (Revelation 22:18-19). Any attempt to organize the whole church in the world, or in any nation, state, province or region is a sin! It is rebellion against God’s plan for the church as He gave it in His Word. God will judge those who change His church!