By Clark Cowden, posted on his blog
Four years ago, Gil Rendle wrote a book entitled Journey in the Wilderness. In this book, he describes some of the changing landscape of the church in North America today. At the end of the book, he discusses a few issues about denominations, which are interesting for us to consider as we approach our General Assembly meeting next month.
Rendle makes the comment that the relationship between pastors and their denomination, and the relationship between churches and their denomination has changed and will continue to change. About 40 years ago, denominational systems shifted to a regulatory model. In the regulatory model, there was an expectation that all pastors and all congregations would behave according to polity and established practices. Those pastors and churches who obeyed and fulfilled these expectations were identified as “good pastors” and “good churches”, while those who veered from the regulations were “bad pastors” and “bad congregations.”