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Study historical theology and one of the trends you
will notice is that churches and institutions almost
always drift into apostasy and spiritual decline.
Earthly organizations seem to have an almost
unavoidable tendency to degenerate‚ÄĒand if they
continue to exist at all, they will for all practical
purposes become totally secular. The ones that
continue as religious institutions (like the papacy
and the eastern orthodox church) grow corrupt, both
doctrinally and often morally, and wherever they
remain dominant they produce spiritual blight.
I suppose that's because human institutions
are built and populated by people who suffer from
total depravity. And it usually takes only a
generation or two before the founding principles are
abandoned or amended beyond recognition.
My faith is not shaken by that. The Lord is
not building an earthly temple or a worldly society,
so the dissolution of human institutions, while sad
and deplorable, is not a disaster of eternal
proportions. The only Christian institution God is
building is the church of Jesus Christ, and the gates
of hell will not prevail against her. Individual
churches may fail; the church universal will
ultimately be the Church Triumphant...
Phil Johnson is Executive Director of Grace to You, the media ministry of John MacArthur. Phil is also an elder at Grace Community Church, where he pastors the GraceLife fellowship group. He is probably best known for his websites, which include The Spurgeon Archive and The Hall of Church...