In Boston T. Party’s excellent novel, Molon Labe, the central character, James Wayne Preston, writes an inspiring letter on page 45 to his father outlining the issues he sees requiring separation to build a common community of free people in Wyoming. A better plan doesn’t require moving to one state for a political revolt. For those who are not Christian, please bear with me for a moment. You will quickly identify many of these organizational principles as essential for all group dynamics of individualists freely associating with each other to achieve specific goals. God’s plan of true Church organization does not require a physical move. It simply requires a small gathering of His people wherever they live, organized as outlined by the early apostles. Both accurate orthodoxy and orthopraxy (the practice of the Christian life) are vital to creating a dynamic culture that will overcome today’s popular culture. In 1858, Southern Baptist theologian J. L. Dagg wrote in Manual of Church Order, P. 84-86 that the apostles, “have taught us by example how to organize and govern churches. We have no right to reject their instruction and captiously insist that nothing but positive command shall bind us. Instead of choosing to walk in a way of our own devising, we should take pleasure to walk in the footsteps of those holy men from whom we have received the word of life…respect for the Spirit by which they were led should induce us to prefer their modes of organization and government to such as our inferior wisdom might suggest.”
Just as true conservatives know in order to understand the implications of our Constitution for today, they must understand the root arguments made by both the Federalists and Anti-Federalists. These type conservatives will appear radical to the world today. Consider the term radical is from the Latin radix and simply means root. To understand Christ’s organizational format we must return to the roots of the apostles’ writings, while often ignoring the customs around us today.
Remember that no one survives for long without the assistance of others. Within the preparedness community some are primarily interested in political reform, others economic, religious, social or just preserving certain issues we know are important to a free people such as rights of speech, arms, or privacy. None of these issues alone will compete with the culture of tyranny that grows in our midst. We must actually grow an alternative culture that provides a more dynamic and free alternative to what the current environment is forcing upon many of us. Home education was the mustard seed of involvement that resulted in many Americans realizing the ineptitude of the design and intent of government education. Now comes a new growth of social organization I believe will even eclipse the positive experiences of those having grown up in the home education culture.
Everything that happens in this world, including preparedness, begins first in the heart. It then works its way into the subconscious mind and into our conscious thoughts. Only then do we decide if we will take the time, energy, risk and creativity to put it into effect.
The great challenge of the preparedness community is the conflict of world-views. The Western world has historically understood that “civilized” life began first with the integrity and value of the individual. It then worked its way out to the family, tribe, and only then to the state or nation. We are now often at odds with a socialists or communist perspective of sacrificing individual values, even the entire individual, for the better good of the state. We have come a long way from the original values of a government designed to protect live, liberty and property to those of grand social designs that harness your life, liberty, and property for it’s purpose. Even our religious institutions have mostly gone this same route of centralization of power to serve the needs of an “organization” at the expense of basic individual rights.
How does one stand against such a great tide of opposition? Millions have been killed and persecuted in the last century of its oncoming wave of ideology. Many have argued our defense with opposing theories, but with no success against the envied and hate-filled majorities of democracy’s tyrannies. For almost 1700 years the Christian church has organized itself more along the lines of the world’s spirit of collectivism than the spirit of freedom that Christ came to give. Once Constantine made Christianity legal and forced its adoption, the original principles of organization outlined by the apostles in the first several hundred years of Christian growth began to be subverted and then mostly lost. The accurate application of orthodoxy and orthopraxy will show how weak and fallen men are built into individuals of spiritual, moral, intellectual, and physical strength completely capable of working together in a spirit of freedom to overcome even the strongest system of collectivism ever created by the fallen nature of man…that of Rome in it’s later days. The success of the Christian home churches in communist China is also an excellent example of the success of God’s organizational system even today.
Please do not discount this brief article as an inspirational or motivational piece. It is neither. It is motivational only to the extent that my desire is to move you toward a self-directed academic study of the greatest “how to” organizational design ever to come form the heart and consciousness of the Creator Himself.
While space does not allow me to get into the details of how the early church gathered in homes, was lead by a plurality of unpaid elders, and provided for the teaching, spiritual and physical well being of its members and often the larger community, please permit me to point you to a few resources to guide you on your self-study:
1. The New Testament Reformation Foundation:
2. A Baptist Greek Professor’s blog:
3. For encouragement of young adults: Turning The Tide
4. The first week of March 2006 issue of Time magazine gave an interesting overview of the “home church” topic.
The combination of communities of free people working with and alongside others who both home educate and have home fellowships is a viable foundation of building a dynamic decentralized culture. This is far superior to the alternative being forced on us by confiscation of our life from both government taxation and emotional manipulation of a paid clergy system. In summary, first develop a love of freedom, second, a knowledge of freedom, and then, act with inspired courage in being free.