Anarchy In The Church

For the past several months I have witnessed what appears to be a total lack of respect for
our government. I remember a time (not that long ago!) when there was at least a respect for
government, even if there wasn’t a total agreement with policies [law] or the personalities who
make up government. Listening to the debates and arguments, reading of the protests and open
disregard for our government, I keep hearing in my mind the word “anarchy”. I suppose some
would think this a little extreme, but it seems to best describe our society today in this country
(and throughout the world). According to Webster, anarchy is a social structure without
government or law and order; utter confusion. The apostle Paul would argue with us as he did
2000 years ago, “Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no
authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore he who
resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive
condemnation upon themselves” (Romans 13:1-2). Keep in mind that at this time, the “world”
was under Roman rule and Christians were persecuted for their beliefs.
But consider for a moment beyond the realm of government. Is it possible that we have
fallen into the same confusion [anarchy?] in the church today when we choose to disregard
God’s Word? Time and again it is recorded in Scripture how God’s people turned from obeying
His ways, choosing rather to live according to their way of thinking. Consider the rebellion of
Korah, Dathan and Abiram against the Lord (Numbers 16). Or perhaps the Israelites as they
chose to disobey the Lord at the Jordan river, then wandering for 40 years in the wilderness due
to their disobedience (Numbers 14). Perhaps anarchy of God’s people is best summed up at the
end of the book of Judges, “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was
right in his own eyes” (Jdgs. 21:25).
It is somewhat easier to see the problem of anarchy in our society today and we see the
unrest caused by this mindset. It may be more difficult to see in the church today, but when we
spend time in God’s Word (2 Timothy 2:15), spend time applying His Word to our lives (2
Corinthians 13:5), then perhaps we can begin to see the inconsistencies that prevail in our lives.
While at the Minister and Wife Day at Harding this past week, a minister shared with us
his concern that so many in the church today have quit spending time reading the Bible. Just as
the first step leading to anarchy in society may very well be a lack of knowledge of history,
anarchy in the church may be caused by a lack of knowledge of God’s Word. Unfortunately,
anarchy in the church will lead to greater consequences — eternally! ~P. Mowrer P