And I didn’t say that. (Later near the end of this post, we will see that even the 4th century church father Jerome calls this idea an “instigation of the devil.”)
It was Thabiti Anyabwile, Pastor of First Baptist Church of Grand Cayman in the Grand Cayman Islands and a Council member with The Gospel Coalition. That’s the title of his post in The Gospel Coalition last September 27, 2011. The first and most important of several reasons why he objects to this fad isÂ idolatry:
You can read the rest of his post here.
Michael Horton chimes in on this multi-site discussion in a White Horse Inn post. He defines multi-site churches from another author as “one church meeting in multiple locationsâ€¦ A multi-site church shares a common vision, budget, leadership, and board.” Many American megachurches operate in this pattern: Tim Keller’s Redeemer City to City, Bill Hybels’ Willow Creek Church, Mark Driscoll’s Mars Hill Church, and James MacDonald’s Harvest Bible Chapel. In the Philippines, there is the trio of “fellowships” (not churches): Greenhills Christian Fellowship, Christ Commission Fellowship, Victory Christian Fellowship; and Bread of Life, all competing for who best can entertain the goats. (I didn’t say that either; it’s the beloved Charles Spurgeon.)
Horton says there is at least a theoretical agreement between Rome’s hierarchical church and these multi-site churches:
How must a church be organized? Not according to the multi-site church model. On the contrary, the New Testament tells us that there must be aÂ pastor (or pastors), elders and deacons in each church. Each has a pastor (or pastors) who preaches and administers the sacraments, elders who rule and order the church, and deacons who take care of the flock’s material and physical needs. If you have elders and deacons in your “local” church, but your pastor comes to you via live (or worse, taped) video stream every Sunday, then you basically have a papal model. Horton says,
This is the presbyterianÂ (eldership) model, and the apostolic church was organized in this model. But are these apostolic churches completely independent of each other, with no accountability to each other? Horton says no,
This connectedness was already evident in Acts 15 when all pastors and elders of churches throughout the Roman world convened in Jerusalem to settle a doctrinal disagreement. All of them “had equal rank with every other church, as well as equal responsibilities and accountability.” No pastor or elder lorded it over another. This is so contrary to the multi-site church idea.Â In fact, it was not Peter (who considered himself only a “fellow elder” among the churches in 1 Peter 5:1), not John the Beloved, not even Paul, but James who presided over the meeting:
Thus, the early church fathers and even the present Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic popes all agree that presbyterianism was the original church government model. The fourth-century church father Jerome agreed with Cyprian a century earlier when he said, “Before attachment to persons in religion was begun at the instigation of the devil, the churches were governed by the common consultation of the elders.” Jerome even “goes so far as to suggest that the introduction of bishops as a separate order above the elders and ministers was ‘more from custom than from the truth of an arrangement by the Lord.’â€
Horton thus concludes that multi-site churches are unbiblical, agreeing in effect with Pastor Thabiti that “multi-site churches are from the devil”:
Thus, the CCF attender who called Reformed doctrines and a fellow Reformed pastor kulto (“cult”) should consider this question: If there is no Biblical basis for the church polity of CCF, GCF, VCF, BOL and other multi-site churches, and if the doctrines of these churches are unbiblical, then are not these churches cults, and therefore instigated by the devil?
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